Throughout the month of May we are looking in the evenings at some of the great sermons from the first century church to modern America. We are looking for a few specific details of these sermons. First, we are looking at what sermons looked like throughout world history. How was a sermon in the 2 century different from one from the middle ages or the Reformation preachers? Second, we are looking for the message similarities to things we talk about in our modern sermons. Third, we are looking at the historical impact of the sermons and the people who preached him. Last night, we got to look at one of England's most note worthy preachers from the early middle ages. The Venerable Bede was one of England's greatest minds and later wrote the definitive work on early English history. He was moved to a monastery at age seven and lived in the same monastery from age 9 to his death.
One of his sermons survives to this day on the text of Psalm 85:10 which says, " Mercy and Truth are met together, Righteousness and Peace have kissed each other." He used a type of speaking common in their day by giving an allegory to teach this verse. It is common through all of history to convey truth through stories. Take for example Pilgrim's Progress or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. In this story, Bede told of a father who had four daughter. The first was named Mercy. The second, truth. Justice and Peace were the last two. He also had a son that was renowned for his great wisdom.
The father hired a servant for the household. The servant was not chosen based on merit of accomplishment or experience, but simply chosen to serve. He was told that if he did well he would be crowned with honor and glory, but if he failed he would be delivered to the tormentors. It wasn't long before the servant failed the father. When the father questioned the servant, he replied with a arrogance and audacity unheard of as he blamed the father for his failure. "It is your fault I failed. You gave me all the tools I need to fail." Much like Adam saying, "The women thou gavest me..." The father was righteously angered by the servant's failure and response. He delivered him to the tormentors. There were four tormentors that Bede introduced later in the story.
Soon Mercy, the eldest daughter visited the tormentor's prison and saw the servant in anguish. She returned home to her father and told him, "Father, I thought you were a man of mercy. If you refuse to have mercy upon the servant than you cannot have me for a daughter because I am Mercy." The second daughter overheard this conversation and stormed into the room. "Father, you can't seriously consider giving mercy to him. I thought you were a man of Truth. You said you would punish him for his failures and you have. You must leave him there for if you do not you cannot have Truth for a daughter." The commotion of the house brought in the third daughter who agreed with Truth. "Justice demands the penalty. If you have Mercy you cannot have Justice as a daughter." The father called for the fourth daughter, but she was not to be found for in the disagreement of the daughters, Peace could not reside.
The father turns to his wise son and asks for his counsel. I will return all four daughters and deal with the servant. He leaves to go to the tormentors prison with his father's blessing and takes Mercy with him. Not Truth or Justice, just Mercy. The tormentors are found the first is the evil of this present day, the second, the effect of sin upon all that exists, the third was guilt, and the last the worm that dies not. The son breaks down the door to the tormentor's prison and conquerors the four tormentors, binding the strong ma, and taking the spoils. He leads the captive out of their captivity and returns the servant to the father, Mercy is obviously please for the servant was spared. Truth has nothing to complain about for the father kept his word. Justice is also satisfied for the payment has been made and the debt satisfied. With the three in harmony, Peace is able to return.
Mercy meets truth, and justice kisses peace. God sent His Son to be the propitiation (substitute) for my sin debt. He satisfied the price for my sin debt with His own blood, and extended to me mercy.