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Erasmus Sarcerius (1501-1559) on the Death of Christ

May 5, 2009

Sarcerius:

Sins of the world:

1) For Saint John in his gospel begins thus of the second person, saying: “In the beginning was the Word,” &c, [John 1:1], whereunto Paul agrees in his epistle to the Philippians , where he writes: ‘Which when he was equal with the Father,” [Phil. 2]. Lo here he makes the same equal with the Father. Also Christ says himself: “I am my Father be one.” Now, to Adam promise was made of Christ in Gene. iii. To Abraham in Gene. xii, & xvii. To the other holy fathers the promises made be spread in sundry places of Scripture. The end of the promises is the redemption of mankind, Gene. iii. (Ipsum conteret caput tuum), that is to say: ‘That seed” (meaning Christ) “shall tread thee on thy head,” [Gen. iii.]. In Gene. xvii, to Abraham, he said: “In thy seed all nations shall be blessed,” [Ge. xvii]. The occasion of the redemption was the damnation gotten by the fall of the first parents. Of the manhood of Christ, teaches us the prophet Isaiah, saying: “Lo, a virgin shall conceive,” [Isa. vii]. Also in the epistle to the Hebrews, where it says: “In all things it became him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be merciful,” [Hebr. iia]. The common creed says: “Born of the virgin Mary,” which proves also the rest, how Christ suffered and was crucified. Also how he rose again, which was not only for this purpose, to take away the sins of the world, [Isa. liiia]. This was long before prophesied by Isaiah, which says: “But he was wounded for our wickedness: he was smitten for our offences.” And John in his Epistle says: “for the sins of the whole world,” [1 John a d]. And lest we should think that Christ has now fully executed his office, and has nothing a do, you shall wonder that “he sits on the right hand of God the Father, making intercession for us,” [ Rom. 8 f]. Erasmus Sarcerius, Common Places of Scripture, trans., Richard Tauerner (Imprinted at London by Nycolas Nyll for Abraham Vele, dwelling in Pauls church yarde at the signe of the Lambe, 1553), folios iiii b-va. [Some reformatting, some spelling modernized; marginal references cited inline; side-headers included; and underlining mine.]

2) The effects
or works
of Christ

The works or offices of Christ ought to be gathered of the whole Christ, which now sits on the right hand of God the Father, very God and man, the works of his mankind, as to eat, drink, sleep, wake and such like now that he is glorified he ceased, neither came Christ to the purpose that he should exercise them perpetually. But besides those effects and works of the manhood, there be yet other appertaining chiefly to our salvation, which shall endure perpetually: as to save the from their sins: “To take away the Sins of the world,” as John Baptist witnesses, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world.” To justify, as the Apostle Paul reads, saying: “Being justified of faith by Jesus Christ,” [Ro. v]. To satisfy for our sins [Isa. liii], to be a mercy stock for our sins, as John the apostle writes in his epistle [1 Joh. ia]. To be our mediator and peace maker: to become the priest and bishop for evermore [Gal. iii, Tim. ii, Psa. cix]. Erasmus Sarcerius, Common Places of Scripture, trans., Richard Tauerner (Imprinted at London by Nycolas Hyll for Abraham Vele, dwelling in Pauls church yarde at the signe of the Lambe, 1553), folio v a-b. [Some reformatting, some spelling modernized; marginal references cited inline; side-headers included; and underlining mine.]

3) Parties

Sacrifice taken in generally for a service of God indifferently among all men, proceeding of the knowledge of some God, is of one only sort, that is to wit[?], a sacrifice of praise, which as well the godly as the heathen, since the beginning of the world have studied to utter their kindness towards him, whom they have known for God, save that the godly have had other occasions or causes also an intent of their sacrifices, which were acceptable unto God because they proceed of faith,

Sacrifices propitiatory
of redemption

Afterwards in the law came sacrifices of redemption, which be called propitiatory sacrifices, which redeemed righteousness in the commonality of Moses.

Beside there is yet another sacrifice of redemption, which is the sacrifice for sin made to reconcile and pacify God. This took his occasion at the fall of Adam, which after he had sinned and again received by grace, forthwith in the self promised this sacrifice of redemption began to stand for the sins of Adam, through faith upon Christ that was to come, the offerer of this sacrifice, who should offer in the latter days a propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the whole world for a perfect and everlasting righteousness. In this offer or Priest, I mean Christ, believed the fathers and became partakers of this sacrifice. Erasmus Sarcerius, Common Places of Scripture, trans., Richard Tauerner (Imprinted at London by Nycolas Hyll for Abraham Vele, dwelling in Pauls church yarde at the signe of the Lambe, 1553), folio cix a-b. [Some reformatting, some spelling modernized; marginal references cited inline; side-headers included; and underlining mine.]

Of Interest:

Christ brought righteousness to the whole world:

1) As concern the perfect fulfilling of the law, which brought to the whole world a righteousness which is of force before God for evermore: Christ is the cause of fulfilling the law, who perfectly has satisfied the law, for which sentence also he was promised of the Father: as himself testifies, saying: “I came not to break or destroy the law, but to fulfill it. Erasmus Sarcerius, Common Places of Scripture, trans., Richard Tauerner (Imprinted at London by Nycolas Hyll for Abraham Vele, dwelling in Pauls church yarde at the signe of the Lambe, 1553), folio lxxxiiii a-b. [Some reformatting, some spelling modernized; marginal references cited inline; side-headers not included; and underlining mine.]

[Note: this is not Desiderius Erasmus, Luther’s humanist opponent.]

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