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And no wonder; as upon his fufferings and death our redemption depended. These were the meritorious price of our being delivered from the wrath to come; whereby pardon, grace and heaven were purchased, and himself made perfect for the bringing many fons unto glory.
Our redemption fo greatly depending on these, Christ often thought and spoke of them himself : and by his example he taught his disciples and followers, what it becomes them to do, even to be often thinking of Chrift's death, and their own deaths, that the awful change may be no furprize to them, but looked upon as what they are to get themselves prepared for, that they may willingly meet it.
But this brings me to the
2d Thing, Chrift's temper with reference to his fufferings and death. He speaks of these in a manner that difcovers his readinefs and refolution to go through them, how heavy or preffing foever; With defire have I defired to eat this paffover with you before I fuffer.
His willingness to fuffer and die, is many ways difcovered.
(1.) As foon as the Father's purpose was known, this way to bring about the falvation of man, he clofes it with approbation and delight. Ifaiah 1. 5. The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious. He made no excufes or delays, but with the greatest readiness approved, and then pleafed himself with the office to which he was chofen, and had confented. He rejoiced in the habitable part of his earth, and his delights were with the fons of men, Prov. viii. 31. (2.) He
(2.) He came into the world highly pleased, as fent of God to lay down his life, or fuffer and die for mankind. He speaks with the greatest readiness to obey his Father's will, and as one who took most intimate delight in it, when about to affume our nature, wherein to fuffer, Pfalm xl. 7, 8. Then faid I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me: I delight to do thy will, O my God.
(3.) As the time drew on wherein he was to fuffer, notwithstanding the innocent reluctancies of nature, he did not repent of his undertaking, or defift from it, but fpake of his paffion with greater frequency, and ftronger defire.
He fuffered Judas in his family, though he knew he would be the man that would betray him. He fharply rebuked Peter, as acting Satan's part in diffwading him from fuffering, faying, Get thee behind me, Satan, for thou art an offence to me. As fitting down at the last passover, he, in the text, fpeaks of his approaching fufferings, as matters that had drawn forth his strongest defire, With defire have I defired to eat this pallover with you before 1 fuffer. It is as if he had faid, The fufferings I have fo often fpoke. of, are now approaching: the hour is at hand when I shall be betrayed and crucified: this is the laft paffover I fhall ever keep with you before I am lifted up from the earth; and therefore, I moft earneftly defire it, because it is the laft, and that which will immediately precede my death. With calmnefs and compofure he fpake to the traitor, What thou doeft, do quickly. After his laft fupper with his difciples was over,
he went to the garden, whither he knew Judas would bring a band to apprehend him. And tho' he prayed, that if it were the will of God the cup might pafs from him, (as fuffering cannot but be grievous to fenfe) yet he ftill refigned, faying, Thy will be done: For this caufe came I unto this hour, Father glorify thy
When the multitude came to feize him in the garden, he did not attempt to escape, but went forth, and faid unto them, Whom jeek ye? They anfwered him, Jefus of Nazareth. Jefus faith unto them, I am he. And, upon his faying fo, they went backward, and fell to the ground. He that threw them to the ground, could have thrown them into the grave, and into hell: but he fuffered them to rife, and again offered himfelf unto them, faying, Whom feek ye? And they faid, Jefus of Nazareth. Jefus answered, I have told you that I am be. If therefore ye feek me, let thefe, pointing to his difciples, go their way. He had a care of his difciples, to keep them out of cruel hands, while he willingly yielded up himself unto fuch.
Upon Peter's drawing his fword in his defence, and beginning to fight, he prefently restrained him, faying, Put up thy fword into its fheath; adding this as the reafon, The cup which my Father giveth me, fhall I not drink it? John xviii. 8. to the end.
He could easily have refcued himself by his own power, or have had aid enough from heaven; but he would employ neither, that the fcriptures might be fulfilled, that foretold his fufferings, Matth.
Matth. xxvi. 53, 54. Thinkeft thou, faith he to Peter, who would have refcued him, that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the fcriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
It is true, nature fhrinks from fuffering; and from the innocent averfion our Lord had to it, he once and again prayed that if it were poffible, the cup might pafs from him: But this is fo far from eclipfing, that it fets off his refolution, as he was mediator, fo much the more, his refolution to go through the darkness and death he had before. him, how terrible foever it was to nature. With what earnestness foever he prayed to be exempted from the bitter fufferings, after all, he yielded all deference and fubmiffion to his Father's pleasure : O my Father, if it be poffible, let this cup pass from me: Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt, Matth. xxvi. 39. He patiently yielded to be feized and bound, whipped and fcourged, and carried his own cross, and without the least oppofition was nailed to it. The foreft trial remained till laft: But he remembered the caufe for which he came to that hour, and welcomed the feaft that would lead on his death, fpeaking thus with ardour and affection concerning it, With defire have I defired to eat this pallover with you before I fuffer, adding; for I fay unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
1. How wonderful and endearing is the love of Christ, that notwithstanding the full and tremendous view of what he was to bear as ftanding in
our room, would yet engage in the work of our redemption, and fteadily purfue it to the laft! When the bitter cup was even at his own mouth, he declared with a zeal and earneftnefs never to be forgotten, but for ever to be admired, With defire have I defired to eat this pallover with you before I fuffer. This is an inftance of love that hath depths in it that invite angels to stoop down to look into, and should peculiarly affect his ranfomed ones, when going to the feast of love, the fupper of their Lord.
Confidering his original freedom and greatnefs, how infinitely above us, and in no deed of us, &c. What amazing condefcenfion was it in him, thus to teftify his concern for us!
He willingly offered himself of old in the council of peace about our redemption, and undertook to make fatisfaction to divine juftice: And after his incarnation, he always knew of, and frequently foretold his own fufferings and death. Upon the account of its preparing the way for them, he fo earnestly defired to eat this paffover the text fpeaks of, it being the last he should eat of before he fuffered death.
This is wonderful, and the more fo, confidering the greatnefs of his fufferings, and the flights and neglects which he forefaw he should meet with from fome that would call themfelves his friends.
2. Did Chrift, with his death and crucifixion before him, fay to his difciples, With defire have I defired to eat this passover with you before 1 fuffer? How plain is it, that having loved his own, he loved them to the end? That the greatest