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Christ, acknowledged their sins, and desired to have been partakers of the forgiveness which he supplicated for them: they might have obtained from him a place in Paradise, as one of the malefactors on the cross did, to his unspeakable happiness. But they, when they had got our Saviour's raiments, cared for nothing further. They leave the blessed Jesus to bleed and die on the cross, while they are busied about dividing his garments. Herein they represent those earthly minded nominal Christians, who, if they can but draw a good income from the world, little concern themselves about knowing Christ, and the power of his resurrection.
But let us now direct our eyes to the Lord Jesus, under these sufferings; for he has both atoned for several sins, and acquired grace for us by his behaviour on this occasion: He has both sanctified such sufferings of his faithful servants, and left them a pattern for their imitation.
He has first expiated the loss of the Divine image, and that glorious innocence, bestowed on our first parents. Man was then pure from all inordinate desires and evil propensities, so that he was not ashamed of his natural nakedness; for he knew no sin, and consequently experienced no shame. This invaluable jewel we lost in Adam ; at his fall, we, as it were, immediately fell among thieves; who stripped us naked, deprived our souls of this precious ornament, and placed us in such a condition that we may well be ashamed of our nakedness.
But secondly, he has likewise hereby obtained for us a garment to cover the nakedness of our souls ; which was prefigured by the coats of skins, which God made for our first parents, after their eyes became opened, so as to perceive that they were naked, (Gen. iii. 21.) Jesus Christ himself is, in Scripture, represented as a garment, which we are to put on ; • Put ye on the Lord Jesus, (Rom. xiii. 14.) As many of you as have been baptized in Christ have put
on Christ,” (Gal. ii. 27.) But on what account the sacred person of Jesus Christ is considered under the emblem of a garment, we are informed by several other passages in Scripture; for it speaks of a 'Garment of salvation, and a robe of righteousness,'(Isaiah lxi. 10, &c.) But the righteousness of Christ is nothing but his perfect obedience, by which he has fulfilled whatever the sinner was to have done, to acquire a right to eternal life; and suffered all that the sinner was to have suffered, by making atonement to the Divine justice for the offences committed against it. Now, as this righteousness is imputed by God to the penitent sinner, and accepted by him through faith ; so it may very properly be compared to a garment, since it is of the same use to the soul, as a garment is to the body. For as a garment covers the nakedness of the body, preserves it from heat and cold, and both cherishes and adorns it. So likewise the righteousness of Jesus Christ covers the shameful nakedness of the soul, (Psalm xxxi. l. Rev. iii. 18.) It protects the soul against the heat of Divine wrath, and the howlings and gnashings of teeth of the damned; it warms and kindles in believers an ardent love and gratitude towards God, who, for their sake, has not spared his only begotten Son. Lastly, it is such a glorious ornament to the soul, that, in this dress, it need not be ashamed to make its appearance before the throne of God, and to have fellowship with the citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem. But as the hu- . man body can receive no benefit from a garment without putting it on; so must the righteousness of Jesus Christ be put on, before it can cover, protect, warm, and adorn the soul. Now it is put on, when the soul through faith and love becomes united with Christ Jesus, and by obeying his divine precepts, brings forth the fruit of good living ; so that putting on the Lord Jesus, includes both our justification and sanctification,
In justification, the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to us at the Divine tribunal, and received by us through faith; so that God no longer looks on us as we are in ourselves, in our corrupt sinful nature, but as we are in Jesus Christ, the Son of his love, in whom his soul is well pleased. In sanctification, the Spirit of Christ also works in us an active righteousness, whereby that faith, by which we put on Christ. as our garment, now produces in the soul all the fruits of the Spirit, and good works; and this is called in Scripture, putting on the new man, (Eph. iv. 24.) putting on bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meckness, long suffering,' (Col. iii. 12.) Thus, Christ obtained for us a splendid robe of salvation ; 80 that by putting on the garment of our first-born Brother, we happily inherit the blessing. This garment is of the same nature with the coat of the Lord Jesus; because it is not to be divided, but must be put on entire. Christ is not only made our righteousness, but likewise our sanctification, (Cor. i. 30.) and therefore they, who are for having only his righteousness as a covering for sin, but deny his sanctifying power, and do not seck after holiness, as it were rend Christ's coat, and are worse than these Pagan soldiers.
Thirdly, our blessed Saviour has acquired for us a robe of glory; for, when the use of food and raiment shall be superceded, our glorified bodies shall be adorned with a heavenly effulgence. To this St. Paul alludes in these words : ? We have a desire to be clothed upon with our house, which is from heaven,' (2 Cor. v. 2.)
Moreover, our dear Mediator, by these ignominious circumstances, has sanctified the similar sufferings of his children, and sweetened them with superabundant consolations.
1. He has sanctified their bodily nakedness ; especially in times of persecution, when they are deprivedi of all their goods, and are obliged to go about almost
naked, and destitute of every thing, (Heb. xi. 37. 1 Cor. iv. 11.)
2. He has sanctified the sufferings of Christians, when they are stripped by the executioner, stretcher out on the rack, given up to the brutality of insolent wretches; or when painful or inhuman outrages are committed on their dead bodies.
3. He has sanctified to his servants the spoiling of their goods for his sake, when they must see what of right belongs to them or their relations withheld from them, or taken away, by the unjust violence of strangers.
4. He has sanctified the state of our spiritual nakedness, when the soul is stripped of what it account. ed its dearest property, its covering, ornament, and glory; when it lies in extreme indigence, without comfort, strength, tranquility, or joy; and when all it has to support itself is a word of the Divine pro. mise.
Lastly, The Son of God, by this part of bis suffer. ings, has left us an example, which we are to follow.'
1. He instructs us how ready we ought to be, to suffer ourselves, when God requires it, to be stripped of all temporal things.
2. He teaches us that we should likewise give our cloak or upper garment to those who would take our coat, rather than sin by revenging ourselves; and that we should rather suffer injustice than do air injury.
3. He enjoins us to part with some of our substance in covering others, and particularly in clothing his persecuted servants.
O FAITHFUL Saviour! we thank thee for all those salutary truths, which we have now learned froin two particular circumstances attending thy passion. Praised be thy name, who by the title on thy cross hast given us to understand that, even in thy deatli,
thou didst still remain our lisus, our Saviour, and our King. Make us partakers of those blessings which thou hast procured for us by thy sufferings. Islay we be truly selisible of the shame of our spiritual Bakedness. Grant that we may know the insuficiency of our own riglitecusness, and desire to be clothed by thy righteousness lent; so that, after laying aside the Purmont of our fesli, we may be arrayed in the effulgent robe of licavenly glory hereafter. Amen.
TYE MENTAL SUFFERINGS OF JESUS CHRIST ON
THE CROSS. AND the people stood beholding; and they that jassed by reviled him, wagging their heads, and say. ing, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself; if thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chicf l'riests, mocking him with the Scribes and Elders, said, Ile saved others, himself he cannot save. If he be the Christ, the King of Israel, the chosen of God, let him save himself, and now come down from the cross, that we may see it, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him ; for he said, I am the Son of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him and offering him vinegar ; and saying, If thou be the King of the Jews, save thyself. The thieves also, who were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. And one of the malefactors, who were hanged, ruiled on him, saying, Iithou be Christ, save thyself and us,' (Matt. xxvii. 31–14. Mark xv. 29–32. Luke xxxii. 35, 36. 37, 39.)
This part of the history of the passion exhibits to us the mental sufferings of our blessed Lord. Such cutrageous indignities, as were offered Christ on the