John Foxe (1517-1587) on the Death of Christ

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in For Whom did Christ Die?


Christ Died for all:

1) Many other places there by in Holy Scripture, which testify of the righteousness, holiness, and innocency of this immaculate person, of whom it is written: “Which of you can rebuke me of sin?” Against whom also we read “That the Prince of this world came, and found in him nothing,” as writes Saint John, meaning thereby his innocency to be such, and perfection of his life so absolute, that no creature could stain or charge him with blot or blemish. So absolutely he performed the law, and every iota thereof, both the first Table, and the second, in loving God above all things, and his neighbor as himself, that neither was there lacking in him anything that the Law required, nor any thing forbidden in the Law, that in him was found: nor yet any else found able to accomplish the same Law, besides himself alone. For it behooved him, which should die for all, to be holy and innocent alone, and none but he, according as we read and sing in the hymn of Ambrose, Tu solus sanctus, i. “Thou art holy,” &c. And so he was, and is, and none else holy and innocent in all the world but he. John Foxe, A Sermon of Christ Crucified, preached, at Paules Crosse on Fridaie before Easter, commonly called Goodfri-daie, (At London: Imprinter by Ihon Daie: ouer Aldersgate, 1575), 102-103. [Some spelling modernized; some reformatting; and underlining mine.]

2) Christ
appointed to
fulfill the law
before the law
was given.

First, that God has given a Law to be fulfilled, we all confess.

Second, that Christ came from the beginning, before the Law was given, was preordained to be incarnate, and to take our nature, no man can deny.

How the law
is not impossible
to man,
and how it is
fully answered
by man.

Thirdly, that the same Christ in the same our nature has utterly fulfilled and discharged the law, it is manifest. And how then is that to be accounted impossible to man, which man so clearly has accomplished.

Christ the
second Adam.

Fourthly, that in the same nature and humanity of Christ, the Son of God, and the Son of Man, the whole nature of mankind is included, the Scripture teaches: and therefore his called the second Adam. For as all we were included in the nature of Adam, which first disobeyed, and by him condemned: So we are likewise generally included in the human nature of this second Adam, which obeyed, and by him saved.

iustitia nostra

So that we being now in Christ, that is to say, GOD beholding our whole nature, in the nature of his own Son, his fulfilling is our fulfilling, and what he does, that we may do, especially in all such points, as properly belong to his human nature working: and therefore is denominated in Scripture to be Iustitia nosta. For as the proposition is true: Christus pro ominibus mortuus est. i. “Christ died for all men:” so is this proposition true also: Christus pro omnibus innocens factus est. i. “Christ was made innocent for us all.” So that what he has fulfilled, we also have fulfilled, although not after the same manner, yet in as good effect as if it had been after the same manner done: He for us, we by him: he actually performed, we may by imputation: heby virtue and merit, we by gift and grace. And this is the perfect grace that we have, to fulfill the perfection of the law. John Foxe, A Sermon of Christ Crucified, preached, at Paules Crosse on Fridaie before Easter, commonly called Goodfri-daie, (At London: Imprinter by Ihon Daie: ouer Aldersgate, 1575), 111-112.  [Some spelling modernized; some reformatting; marginal headers and citations cited inline; and underlining mine.]

Christ payed the debt for all mankind:

1) Prosopopeia.1
The oration
of Christ hanging
upon the
Cross to the

“…Remember thou not now Adam our old progenitor, having all the fruit and the whole Orchard of Paradise at his will, was not therewith content, but needs would reach out his hand to the tree, which only was forbidden: and by that one lost all the other, and deserved death for his disobedience? No less was it forbidden thee by justice, finding no cause in me, to murder me upon this tree, which is ordained for the guilty, and not the innocent. And therefore for your unlawful greediness, shall you be rewarded with the same price as he was.

If Adam
were expelled
Paradise for
tasting the
tree of life,
much more
us Satan to be
expelled from
his possession,
for murdering the
author of life.

For it is no reason, that he which was seduced by you, should be punished: and you which was both the author of his falling, and now found guilty of the like transgression yourself, should escape unpunished. As Adam, therefore, being Lord of Paradise, lost all he had for the presuming one fruit forbidden, so because you having authority given upon all sinners, have now likewise presumed upon one that is no sinner, have forfeited ipso facto, to me all your authority, which you had before me: so that henceforth I discharge all wretched sinners from your jurisdiction, and the power of death, whosoever come to me.

The prince of
this world
shall be cast
out. John 12.

Avoid, therefore, your cruel murder: surrender your hold of your possession: let go your captives: yield from you your will of debt, wherewith you have them indebted to my Father, and condemned unto death: whom now I hear discharge and receive for my people, and set them free forever.

mundi huius
iam iudicatus
est. John. 12.

And lest you should think me herein to do you any wrong, or to do more than I may, I would therefore you should well know Satan, that neither I will here precede with you by my absolute power (as I might by reason of my divine nature, which I have united here to my humanity: For that were but to overcome you by myself, for myself): neither yet by the mere mercy will save sinners from you, but by plain justice and order of law, I will proceed with you, and in my manhood I will conquer you, not for myself, but for man, because in my manhood I have satisfied the debt of all mankind. Which being discharged, then good right it is, that th books should be cancelled, so that you shall have no more claim, nor title to them, neither you, nor the Law either.

Christ in his
pays all the
debts of mankind
to the law.

For this cause I took this nature of man upon me, and came in similitude of sinful flesh, suffering thee all this while, to work this eternity against me, not that I needed for my own part, to have fallen into your hand, except I would: but for their sake because I would clear them out of all debt, whom you had endurance.

Now therefore, whatsoever it is that they owe to my Father, or to his Law, here I offer myself bound, to answer by the law, the uttermost farthing for them. If their bodies have offended almighty God, my body here makes amends: if their souls be impure, my soul makes a recompense: if the law require life for life, blood for blood, head for head, eye for eye, tooth for tooth [Matt. 5. Lev. 24. Deut. 19. Exod. 21.]. I set my life, my blood, my head, eye, tooth, heart, hand, foot, and ever member of my body for theirs. For what member in all my body is it, that you haste not tormented: And though you have justly condemned them, and death deservedly have slain them, yet I being wrongly condemned of you, do here abandon your just condemnation. And because their deserved death also shall be dissolved, as I have payed all other debts, so will I also pay the debt of death, and lay down my life for them. Which being done, neither shall you, nor death, nor the Law have any more interest upon them. For as by the disobedience after him were worthily condemned to death [Rom. 5.]: so by the same justice it is convenient, that by my obedience all my posterity, that is, all they which issue out of me, by Spiritual regeneration of faith and baptism, should be partakers of my life. John Foxe, A Sermon of Christ Crucified, preached, at Paules Crosse on Fridaie before Easter, commonly called Goodfri-daie, (At London: Imprinter by Ihon Daie: ouer Aldersgate, 1575), 140, 148-159.  [Some spelling modernized; some reformatting; marginal headers and citations cited inline; footnotes and content mine; and underlining mine.]

Sins of the world:

1) A brief repetition
of the of the
fruits that come
to us by Christ’s

Let us, therefore, that be right Christians, and think to win, mark well our mark, and look well to this crucified pronoun, this person I mean [per illum] for by hum, as Saint Paul says, we are made the righteousness of God. 2. Cor. 5. By whose passion all enemies be subdued, all gotten, all cleared and discharged, all finished and consummate. By the blood of whose cross all things are pacified, both in heaven and in earth, Col. 1.2 By the body of whose flesh, we are reconciled. Col. 1. By whose blood we have redemption, and remission of our sins [Ibidem.] Eph. 1. And we that once were far of, are made near unto GOD, Eph. 2. By whose stripes we were made hole, Isai. 53. By whose death, Death is destroyed, and life brought to light, 2 Tim. 1. And he also destroyed, which had power of death, that is, the Devil, and they delivered, which lived under fear of death all their life in bondage, Heb. 2. By whose flesh is taken away the division, and separation between God and us, Eph. 2. In whose one body, both Jews and Gentiles are united to one God, Eph. 2. By whose obedience we are made just, Rom. 5. By whose righteousness we are justified to life Ibidem. By whose curse we are blessed from malediction to the Law, Gal. 3. By whose poverty we are rich, 2 Cor. 8. Who is our peace, Eph. 2. Who is our advocate with the Father, and the propitiation for ours sins, 1 John 2. Who was made of God for us our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, 1 Cor. 1. Who saves his people from all their sins, Matt. 1. Who takes away the sins of the world, John 1. Who has torn a pieces the obligation against us, Col. 2. Who justifies the wicked by faith, Rom. 4. By whom we are peace with God, Rom. 5., whom we have boldness to enter with all confidence through faith in him, Eph. 2. In whom we are all made full and complete, Col. 2. Jonas was no son cast out of the ship into the sea, but the tempestuous winds ceases by and by, and stetit mar a feroure suo, Jonas 1. The Paschal Lamb was no sooner slain and his blood upon the posts, but the people even the same night were delivered out of Pharaoh’s thralldom, Exod. 12.

Infinite it were to express, and joyful to behold in the Scriptures, all the admirable treasures and riches, contained in this principal pronouns of all pronouns (per illum): which have no end in them. But because this sermon must have an end: wherewith I have wearied you enough, and myself more: therefore, not to over-weary you with more prolixity: I think good to cease after I shall add a word or two, to show you to whom, and by what means these excellent benefits of Christ’s passion are to be applied . Whereof needful it is somewhat to be said. For as all we Christians agree in this, that Christ is our redeemer, and that he died for the sins of the world: so all we agree not in this,3 by what means the merits of Christ’s passion, are to be applied to us. John Foxe, A Sermon of Christ Crucified, preached, at Paules Crosse on Fridaie before Easter, commonly called Goodfri-daie, (At London: Imprinter by Ihon Daie: ouer Aldersgate, 1575), 191-193.  [Some spelling modernized; some reformatting; marginal headers and citations cited inline; footnotes and content mine; and underlining mine.]

Christ suffered the curse required of all:

1) Go too, therefore, good Brother in Christ, whosoever you are that groans under any burden, acknowledging the voice of him that calls you: and if much the more you are afflicted, so much the more hold fast unto him, who is read to help all, but especially he came to visit, and comfort the poor afflicted.

The wrath
of God

If the Wrath of GOD terrify you, you have terrify you, you have an atonement, and Peacemaker, who having slain Hatred by his cross and Passion, offered unto you a sure sanctuary to flee unto. If his Law touch or sting you, or the feeling of your SIN disquiet you, “he has taken away the hand-writing ordinances, that was against us, and has spoiled the Principalities, and Powers, and has made a show of them openly, and has triumphed over them in himself.” If the fear, and horror of Death dreadful unto you: DEATH has now lost his sting in him, and does now fear you more, than you her. But perhaps, Satan the worker of all evil thoughts, and cogitations does a little assault you, tush, let him rage, and raving as long as he list [wish]; how can he greatly hurt you, when as his head being bruised and broken he can but hiss at you. Peradventure also your Faith is shaken and tried, or some other storm of Temptation coming from some other where violently upon you, does disturb the tranquility of your mind: fight therefore, and put on the whole armor of Christian warfare: or if the battle be over hot, and exceed your strength, yet fall to Prayer: or if you cannot pray, at the leastwise sigh and groan under the LORD. The inward sighing, and groaning of the heart, shooting up before the LORD is strong and hearty prayer. You must strive, and labor to do what you can, and are able: but this which you are able is not of such value of itself, as it is esteemed of GOD, who both accepted and crowns in us the affection of a willing heart, and a ready mind, like as if were an action, or deed. Otherwise, that which the rigorous Justice of GOD does exact of us to our salvation, and to the vanquishing of these forsaid Enemies were exceed great, too too far above your strength, or reach: But that which you seely man being born of man was not able to perform, that a man, born of GOD, the Son of God, CHRIST Jesus, has fully accomplished.

The works
of Christ

He has fulfilled every jot of the Law through wonderful humility, and obedience: he has abated the pride of the world: opened the gates of heaven, which our sinful life had shut up: dispossessed Satan of his kingdom: utterly weakened the power of his Death, and takes away the sting of sin and torments of Hell. Finally, he performed every point of perfect righteousness, and being but one, answered that for all, which was required of every one.

And beside that this heavenly Prince has wrought these, and so many wonderful works, with incredible Triumph, and do amaze, and astonish even

The singular
of Christ

Nature itself, it is also to be considered how much more famous, and Triumphant he is, not only in that he had no fellow or mate to assist him, but in that whatsoever he took upon him, he compassed it, and obtained the victory, not for himself, but for us only, and our behalf. John Foxe, Christ Triumphant (London: Printed by Iohn Daye, and Richard his Sonne, dwelling at Aldergate, 1579), 13a-41a. [Some spelling modernized; marginal headers cited inline; square bracketed insert mine; and underlining mine.]


1Here the side header indicates that the following is a rehearsal of something Christ might have said on the cross. This monologue too long for our purposes here. I have started with the header, and then resume with the relevant section of the monologue which speaks to the extent of the death of Christ. The reader should also note that the following side-headers (here cited inline) are not properly part of the ‘rehearsal.’

2For this section, the text cites the verses both inline and in the margin. Here only the inline citations are cited,

3Here Foxe speaks of his adversaries such as the Church of Rome.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 at 8:24 am and is filed under For Whom did Christ Die?. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One comment


Ive updated the Foxe file. See entry under header: Christ suffered the curse required of all.

October 22nd, 2010 at 7:17 am

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