Saying, that he thanketh God for their excellent faith and charitie, and continually praieth
for their encrease, he doeth withal giue witnes to the preaching of their Apostle Epaphras,
and extolleth the grace of God in bringing them to Christ, who is cheefe aboue al & peace-maker
by his bloud. This is the Ghospel not of Epaphras alone, but of the vniuersal Church, and of Paul
himself who also suffereth for it.
1. PAVL an Apostle of Iesvs Christ by the wil of God, and Brother Timothee:
2. to them that are at Colossa Saints and fathful Brethren in Christ Iesvs.
3. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord Iesvs Christ. We giue thankes to God and the Father of our Lord Iesvs Christ alwaies for you, praying:
4. hearing your faith in Christ Iesvs, and the loue which you haue toward al the Saints,
5. for the hope that is laid vp for you in Heauen, which you haue heard in the word of the truth of the Ghospel,
6. that is come to you, as also ✟ He sheweth that the Church and Christes Ghospel should daily grow and be spred at length through the whole world. Which can not stand with the heretikes opinion of the decay therof so quickely after Christes time, nor agree by any meanes to their obscure Conuenticles. See S. Augustin ep. 80. in fine in the whole world it is, and fructifieth, and groweth, euen as in you since that day that you heard and knew the grace of God in truth,
7. as you learned of Epaphras our dearest fellow-seruant, who is a faithful Minister of Iesvs Christ for you,
8. who also hath manifested to vs your loue in spirit.
9. Therfore ⋮ The Epistle vpon the 24. Sunday after Pentecost. we also from the day that we heard it, cease not praying for you and desiring, that you may be filled with the knowledge of his wil, in al wisedom, and spiritual vnderstanding:
10. that you may walke ✟ αξίως τοῦ κυϱίου
So S. Ambr. & the Gr. Doctours, or thus worthily pleasing God, &c worthie of God, in al things pleasing: fructifying in ✟ Many things requisit, and diuers things acceptable to God beside faith. al good worke, & increasing in the Kingdom of God:
11. in al power strengthned according to the might of his glorie, in al patience and longanimitie with ioy
12. giuing thankes to God and the Father, who hath made vs ✟ We are not only by acceptation or imputation partakers of Christes benefits, but are by his grace made worthie therof & deserue our saluation condignely. worthy vnto the part of the lot of the Saints in the light:
13. Who hath deliuered vs from the power of darkenes, and hath translated vs into the Kingdom of the Sonne of his loue,
14. in whom we haue redemption, the remission of sinnes:
15. who is the * Heb. 1,3. image of the inuisible God, the first-borne of al creature:
16. because * Ioa. 1,3. in him were created al things in Heauen, and in earth, visible, and inuisible, whether Thrones, or Dominations, or Principalities, or Potestates: al by him & in him were created:
17. and he is before al, and al consist in him.
18. And he is the Head of the body, the Chvrch, who is the beginning, First--borne of the dead: that he may be in al things holding the primacie:
19. because in him it hath wel pleased, al fulnes to inhabit:
20. and by him to reconcile al things vnto himself, pacifying by the bloud of his crosse, whether the things in earth, or the things that are in Heauen.
21. And you, whereas you were sometime alienated and enemies in sense, in euil workes:
22. yet now he hath reconciled in the body of his flesh by death, to present you holy & immaculate, and blameles before him:
23. if yet ye continue in the faith, grounded and stable, and vnmouable from the hope of the Ghospel which you haue heard, which is preached among al creatures that are vnder Heauen, whereof I Paul am made a Minister.
24. Who now reioyce in suffering for you, and Doe accomplish that wanteth.
There is no want in Christes passions which he suffred in himself as Head: but there is want in those passions of christ which he daily suffereth in his body the Church & the members therfore.
As Christ the Head and his body make one person mystical & one ful Christ, the Church being therfore his plenitude, fulnes, or complement Ephes. 1: so the passions of the Head and the afflictions of the body & members make one complete masse of passions. With such difference for al that, between the one sort and the other, as the preeminence of the Head (and specially such a Head) aboue the body, requireth and giueth. And not only those passions which he suffered in himself, which were fully ended in his death, & were in themselues fully sufficient for the redemption of the world & remission of al sinnes, but al those which his body and members suffer, are his also, and of him they receiue the condition, qualitie, and force to be meritorious and satisfactorie. For though there be no insufficiencie in the actions or passions of Christ the Head, yet his wisedom, wil, and iustice requireth and ordaineth, *that his body and members should be fellowes of his passions, as they looke to be fellowes of his glorie: that so suffering with him & by his example, they may applie to themselues and others the general medicine of Christes merits and satisfactions, as it is effectually also applied to vs by Sacraments, Sacrifice, and other waies also: the one sort being no more iniurious to Christes death then the other, notithstanding the vaine clamours of the Protestants, that would vnder pretence of Christes passion, take away the valure of al good deeds.
* Ro. 8. 17
Leo ser. 19. de passione.
How Christ's merits are applied to vs, without any iniustice to his death.
Hereupon it is plaine now, that this accomplishment of the wants of Christes Passions, which the Apostle and other Saints make vp in their flesh, is not meant but of the penal & satisfactorie workes of Christ in his members, euery good man adding continually (and specially Martyrs) som-what to accomplish the ful measure therof: and these be the plenitude of his passions and satisfactions, as the Church is the plenitude of his person: and therfore these also through the communion of Saints & the societie that is not only between the Head & the body, but also between one member & another are not only satisfactorie and many waies profitable for the sufferers themselues, but also for other their fellow-members in Christ.
The workes of one may satisfie for another.
For though one member can not merit for another properly, yet may one beare the burden and discharge the debt of another, both by the Law of God and nature. And it was a ridiculous Heresie of Wicleffe to deny the same. Yea (as we see here) the passions of Saints are alwaies suffered for the common good of the whole body, and sometimes withal by the sufferers special intention they are applicable to special persons one or many: as here the Apostle ioyeth in his passions for the Colossians, in another place his afflictions be for the saluation of the *Corinthians, sometimes he wisheth to be Anathema, that is according to Origens exposition (in li. Nu. ho. 10. & 24.) a Sacrifice for the Iewes, and he often speaketh of his death as of a libation, host, or offering, as the Fathers doe of al Martyrs passions. Al which dedicated & sanctified in Christes bloud and Sacrifice, make the plenitude of his Passion, and haue a forcible crie, intercession, & satisfaction for the Church & the particular necessities therof. In which, as some doe abound in good **workes & satisfactions (as S. Paul, who rekneth vp his afflictions and glorieth in them 2. Cor. 11. and ***Iob, who auoucheth that his penalties farre surmounted his sinnes; and our Ladie much more, who neuer sinned, and yet suffered so great dolours) so other-some doe want, and are to be holpen by the aboundance of their fellow-members.
* 2 Cor. 1,6.
** 2 Tim. 4
The ground of Indulgences or pardons.
Which entercourse of spiritual offices and the recompense of the wants of one part by the store of the other, is the ground of the old libels of Indulgence, wherof is treated before out of S. Cyprian (See the Annotations 2 Cor. 2. v. 10.) and of a indulgences or pardons, which the Church daily dispenseth with great iustice and mercie, by their hands in whom Christ hath put the word of our reconcilement, to whom he hath committed the keies to keep and vse, his sheep to feed, his mysteries and al his goods to dispense, his power to bind and loose, his commission to remit and reteine, and the stewardship of his familie to giue euery one their meat and sustenance in due season. doe accomplish those things that want of the passions of Christ, in my flesh for his body which is the Chvrch:
25. whereof I am made a Minister according to the dispensation of God, which is giuen me toward you, that I may fulfil the word of God,
26. the mysterie that hath been hidden from worlds and Generations, but now is manifested to his Saints,
27. to whom God would make knowen the riches of the riches of the glorie of this Sacrament in the Gentiles, which is Christ, in you the hope of glorie,
28. whom we preach, admonishing euery man, and teaching euery man in al wisedom, that we may present euery man perfect in Christ Iesvs.
29. Wherein also I labour striuing according to his operation which he worketh in me in power.