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Daniel Tossanus (1541-1602) on John 3:16

April 13, 2009

Tossanus

1)

Upon the 3. Chap. of S. John. v.16

God so loued the world, that hee hath giuen his onely begotten sonne, that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life.

MEDITATION

S. Paul oftentimes says, how he would not boast but in Jesus, and the same crucified. And indeed if man would consider these things at leisure, which are contained in this sentence of S. John, he would easily agree with that which S. Paul speaks, and should find, that there is no knowledge in the world, that gives so much contentation, as the knowledge of God’s love through Jesus Christ, in such sort as this sentence of S. John ought to be as a precious owel[?], which a man daily wears about his neck: even so ought we to imprint in our hearts, this excellent witness of God’s love. For what are men, that God loves them? what cause has the immortal, to love the poor worms of the earth? The righteous, to love sinners The Master, the ingrate, the unfaithful servants? Are we not of nature the children of wrath? [Eph. 2:3]. Ought he not without ceasing, rather to represent unto us the hatred of his just anger of this mighty God, and that because of our corruption? And moreover, if GOD had been affectioned to some just or excellent men, yet say I, this should be greatly to debate him. But O divine love: Oh wonderful divinity. Thou has loved the world, without considering any certain world, any Sex or Quality: yea, all the creatures which are come of since Adam and Eve, men and women, great and little, poor and rich, fools & wisemen. And all the cause of and occasion that thou has had to savor them, was not for their beautiful eyes, but it is even thy great and extreme bounty. All their righteousness is as an unclean cloth before him [Isaiah 64:6.]. And their excellence is but a flower which withers and Fades from day to day [Isaiah 40:6,7; 1 Pet., 1:24.]. Therefore it pleased thee O God to love man. But what, say I to love? What tongue shall not judge himself insufficient: yea, what heart shall not be unable, to deduct or comprehend this so great a love, which has brought thee to give one only and innocent son to death, and that to give life unto those creatures that are so unthankful and so corrupted? Where is it, that one shall find a man in this world, that will pledge himself, even to suffer death for another, were he his friend, and an honest man? Truly it is very rare. But what? O Lord, thou has done truly more: for thou has not given an Angel, or an Archangel, but thou has given thy only son unto a sorrowful and most shameful death, for to redeem thy enemies, that were revolted from thee: but alas, wherefore do we not love thee with a burning desire, as thou has loved us? Wherefore complain we of a little earth lost in they Service: and thou has not complained at all of the death of thy well-beloved son of thy delight, when the question was our redemption? When a prince does not give us his good countenance and favor, then we are sore troubled and grieved: and yet in respect thereof we make, ah alas, but small reckoning of thy love, which are the king of kings and eternal God. Therefore that which we do want, is, that we do not sufficiently tast how much the Lord is good and sweet. Seeing now O Lord that thy love is endless, grant us hearts, that we may comprehend his infinite goodness, and that we may forthwith feel therein and endless comfort, which may swallow up all the sorrows of this wretched life. So be it.  Daniell Tossain The Exercise of the faithful soule (Imprinted at London by Henrie Middleton for Henrie Denham, 1583), 137-141. [Some spelling modernized, some reformatting, underlining mine.]

2)

The history of the passion and death of Jesus Christ, we have drawn out by the four Evangelists, especially in the 22th, & 23th, of S. Luke.

The causes of the passion and death of Jesus Christ, were first and unchangeable counsel and providence of GOD: as it is said in the second of the Acts and the 23rd verse, “He was delivered by the determinate counsel of God.” And again the love of God towards mankind: “God so loved the world, that he has given his only begotten son,” as says S. John in the 3rd. chapter. And we do read in the 5th chap., to the Ephesians and the 25th verse, how he also so loved us, and gave himself willingly for us. If we must come unto other outward causes of this death, and which be inferior: there is the hatred of the devil, and the enmity, whereof it is spoken in the 3rd chap., of if Genesis, between the serpent and the seed of the woman. There is likewise the envy of the Scribes and Pharisees: as it is written in the 27th chap. of S. Matthew of the 18th verse. There is the cruelty of the Jews, and the treason of Judas [Mat. 26:48, 49.], as S. Steven reproaches them in the 7th chap., of the Acts, that they were traitors, and murderers of the just. Notwithstanding, these were our sins that caused his death, as it is said in the 4th Chap. to the Romans. For our sins was he delivered to the death.  Daniell Tossain The Exercise of the faithful soule (Imprinted at London by Henrie Middleton for Henrie Denham, 1583), 167-168.  [Some spelling modernized, some reformatting, underlining mine.]

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