Imatges de pÓgina


troubled, could not rest until it had swallowed him up. But, like his figure, he came out of it on the morning of the third day in a calm, entered the paths of life, and at this moment sits "on the right hand of the throne of the "Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary, and "of ise true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not "man."

Sixthly, These were the days of his supplications, prayers, and tears. In the days of his flesh, the Son of God employed himself frequently in prayer. On one occasion, "rising up a great while before day, he went out and de"parted into a solitary place, and there prayed." Upon another occasion, "He went out into a mountain to pray, "and continued all night in prayer to God." On the mount, where he was transfigured, he was praying when that extraordinary manifestation of his glory appeared; and, before he passed over the brook Cedron, in the way of Gethsemane, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and made that prayer which is recorded in the gospel by John.

BUT in regard our text refers unto the prayers and supplications which in the close of the days of his flesh he offered up, under his agony, we proceed to the SECOND head of our general method, and shall illustrate-thesewords of the text, "When he had offered up prayers "and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto "him who was able to save him from death." Unto every attentive hearer, three interesting particulars will appear in these words: The action of the Son of God under his agony, "Offering up prayers and supplications;" the description of the object to whom he offered up these prayers and supplications, "To him who was able to save him "from death;" and the fervency with which he offered them up, "With strong crying and tears."-May the witness of the spirit accompany the illustration of each particular, and make the whole substantial food to our souls!

First, "Offering up prayers and supplications," is the action of the Son of God under his agony, in the close of the days of his flesh. In our nature, he is "the high-priest "of our profession;" and his suffering and dying for our sins, are represented in many texts of scripture as actions of a priest offering sacrifice, and making atonement and reconciliation for sins. Under the law, the sacrifices offer

ed by the high-priest, who was a figure of him in his office, were accompanied with prayers and supplications for accepting the sacrifice, averting the curse, and bestowing the blessing. And while the sacrifice of himself was offering and burning on the altar, the Son of God, in whose person and office, priest, sacrifice, and altar, unite and form one mysterious whole, offered up prayers and sup plications for the glorifying of the name and perfections of his Father; for the acceptance of the sacrifice offering to him for the averting of the curse from the people for whom he was offering himself; and for bestowing upon them the blessing of reconciliation. The riches of the glory of this mystery are unsearchable. To enemies of the cross of Christ it always hath been a stumbling block; and by disputers of this world, who set the throne of reason above that of revelation, it is accounted foolishness.-But the inspirer of reason is the author of revelation, and men of understanding, who receive and acknowledge the witness which he hath testified of his Son, act reasonably. The Son of God, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, humbling himself, offering up prayers and supplications beneath the throne of his righteous Father; and, under the iniquities of his people, enduring the execution of the curse, and making reconciliation for their sins, while his righteous Father, who will have all men to honour the Son even as they honor the Father, wounds and bruises, and puts him to death by the hands of the wicked, are mysteries which draw the attention of angels, demand acknowledgments from men, and raise the glory of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, above the heavens! Equal and independent persons, assuming distinct stations, and, by mysterious operations in these, glorifying themselves in the highest, cannot be proved to be unworthy of perfect wisdom and goodness. Before a little proud and impudent creature pronounce these stations and operations unworthy of infinite perfection, and contrary to the fitness of things, he ought to comprehend the incomprehensible One, "of whom, and through whom, "and to whom are all things;" and before he presume to be his counsellor, or to tell him, in the face of revelation, that these stations and operations do not become the glory of his character, he ought to find out his reasons and mo

tives, and principles, and ends, which scripture acknow,, ledges, and reason does not deny to be past finding out.

Secondly, "To him who was able to save him from "death," is the description of the object unto whom the Son of God, under his agony, in the days of his flesh, offered up prayers and supplications. Though no name appears, by this description we know the person unto whom the prayers were offered up. It agrees to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to no other person. In prayer, the address of the Son of God was, "Fa"ther," "Abba Father," "Righteous Father," "Holy Fa"ther," "O my Father," and "My God, my God." The writer to the Hebrews, knowing his address, avoids mentioning it, and describes the object of prayer under this remarkable circumlocution: "To him who was able to save "him from death." He doth not this without intention or design. His intention is to exhibit the Father under the consideration which operated upon the Son; and certain it is, that in offering up prayers and supplications under his agony, this consideration of his God and Father operated strongly. In our nature, and in that station wherein the Son of God stood, he considered his righteous and holy Father as possessing sovereign power over him with respect to life and death, and executing the curse upon him according to the penalty of the law; he considered him as able, not to deliver him from dying, this is not the object of his prayers and supplications, but to uphold his suffering nature in conflicting with the pangs and sorrows of death, and to save him from the mouth of the lion, and from the horns of the unicorn, or from being overcome by the prince of this world, who had the power of death; and he considered him as able to loose the cords and pains of death, and, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, to to bring him again from the dead, by a glorious resurrection on the third day. By thoughtless readers, some beauties in scripture are never perceived. Read over again this part of our text, refer it to the station in which the Son of God stood, and to the character under which his righteous Father acted toward him in his agony; consider the illustration of it which we have now given, and you will perceive beauty and propriety in this description of the object, to whom he offered up prayers and supplications "unto him who was able to save him from death."

Thirdly, "Strong crying and tears," are expressions of the fervency with which the Son of God, under his agony, in the close of the days of his flesh, offered up prayers and supplications to his righteous Father, who was able to save him from death. In a prophecy of his sufferings, his fervency in prayer is described under this strong expression, "Words of my roaring." This expression however, applied to his agony, denotes intenseness of mind rather than loudness of voice, or the spirit rather than the noise of roaring; and whatever his voice might be, whether high or low, it appears, from the prophecy, that his prayers and supplications were offered up in the spirit of roaring, or under that vehemence and oppression of mind which cannot be repressed, and which naturally bursts out in strong and vehement crying. In an history of his sufferings, his fervency of prayer is set forth by this expression, "Prayed more earnestly." His agony increased, and his earnestness rose in proportion, till a servant of the throne appearing, and strengthening him, the conflict of his soul and the oppression of his body became too violent for language to express; and his earnestness in offering up prayers and supplications ascended the highest degree of vehemence and fervency. In our text, the apostle, referring both to the prophecy and the history of his agony, expresses his fervency in offering up prayers and supplications under it, by the words "strong crying "and tears." The prayer in the garden, "Father, if it be "possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as "I will, but as thou wilt," was offered up in the spirit of fervency; and on the cross, the words, "My God, my God, "why hast thou forsaken me?" and "It is finished," were uttered with a strong and fervent voice. He wept over Jerusalem and at the grave of Lazarus; and though his tears are not expressed in the histories of his agony and prayers, they are implied in his sweat and sorrows; and by revelation the apostle knew that he shed tears when he offered up prayers and supplications unto him who was able to save him from death.

After illustrating these interesting particulars, The action of the Son of God under his agony; "offering up prayers and supplications;"-The description of the object unto whom he offered up prayers and supplica

tions; "to him who was able to save him from death" -and, The fervency with which he offered up these; "with strong crying and tears," we proceed to illustrate his acceptance, which is affirmed by the apostle in the latter part of our text, "heard in that he fear"ed."-In order to apprehend and improve the meaning of these words, we shall ascertain the nature of the fear which is ascribed in them to the Son of God, collect the principles which gave force to its operation, and illustrate the sense in which he was heard under this fear.

The nature of that fear, which is ascribed to the Son of God under his agony, is to be ascertained in the first place. The term used by the apostle, and translated "fear," signifies godly fear, accompanied with weaknesses and feelings in the present frame of our nature. Noah was moved with godly fear, accompanied with a certain expectation of judgment and wrath coming upon the world of the ungodly, an holy anxiety at the prospect of perils to which he would be exposed in using the means of safety, and awful impressions of the justice and holiness of God appearing in a dispensation of wrath so extensive and terrible. Under awful impressions of his greatness and majesty, of his holiness and righteousness, and of his hatred and detestation of iniquity, believers, though delivered from servile fear, which hath torment and despair, serve the Lord their God, who is a consuming fire, with reverence and godly fear, accompanied with apprehensions inseparable from their present weaknesses. Of desponding and servile fear, the Son of God, even in the days of his flesh, was wholly free. This fear was inconsistent with the perfection of his holiness, the assurance of his faith in God, and the subsistence of his human nature in his own person. The fear which is ascribed to him under his agony, is reverential and godly fear. Reverential and godly fear comprehends in it the affections and graces which enter into perfect obedience, and constitute religious adoration. In this comprehensive sense fear is often used in scripture, particularly in the passages referred to above; and in this sense our text ascribes it to the Son of God under his agony. Impressions of the holiness and righteousness of his Father, together with sensations of his displeasure and wrath, sunk deep into his scul, and affected every member of his body, exciting and calling forth into operation

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