« AnteriorContinua »
abandon his enterprize, and to despair of succeeding in his undertaking; but these temptations his faith resisted and overcame. Unmoved, undismayed, unashamed, he stood firm, and without fainting held fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. In his faith, on that trying occasion, the words of Isaiah, recited above, were verified and exemplified. "The Lord God will help "me, therefore shall I not be confounded." Abuses and indignities, which would have confounded ordinary suf ferers, had not that effect upon him. Trusting in his Father, he set his face like a flint, heard all, endured all, felt all, triumphed over all, without being ashamed and confou ded.
Secondly, In the common hall, where the Lord Jesus suffered the indignities, the glory of his love appears in splendour and dignity. Observe the scarlet robe, the reed, and the crown of thorns; behold the vilest ruffians bowing the knee, striking, reviling, and spitting upon the blessed and only Potentate, and say, Behold how he loved us?Would you be able to comprehend, with all saints, the breadth and length, the depth and height; would you measure that which is not measurable; would you know that which passeth knowledge-the love of Christ? Behold him standing in the assembly of the wicked, under the curse denounced against your iniquities; and, in obedience to the will of his Father, bearing their reproaches and insolences for your redemption from the vengeance of the curse. Recollecting this, Paul speaks of his love in the warmest manner: "Christ loved the Church, and gavo "himself for it-loved us, and gave himself for us-loved "me, and gave himself for me."
Thirdly, In suffering the reproaches and indignities of the ungodly, glory appears in the zeal of our Lord Jesus Christ. Zeal for the name and honour of the Father was in him a vigorous principle, which exerted its strength and boldness through his obedience and sufferings, even unto the death of the cross. Some days before he suffered himself to be apprehended, he was heard say, "Father, "glorify thy name;" to which this answer was immediately given by a voice from the throne, "I have both glorified' "it, and will glorify it again." Like a fire in the bones, his zeal burned all day long; and if one of his ancestors according to the flesh was allowed to say, "My zeal hath
"consumed me," much more might he say it in the common hall, where zeal for the glory of his Father, in our salvation, began to flame out vehemently, and ceased not to burn afterward till his life was consumed.
Fourthly, In suffering the indignities and insolences of the wicked, the humility of the Lord Jesus is glorious.— Found in fashion as a man, they treated him not as a man, but trampled on him as a worm. Astonishing humiliation! Jesus, who is worthy to receive honour, and glory, and blessing, made himself of no reputation, humbled himself to be a reproach of men, and to be despised by the people! Astonishing, indeed, when we consider that he humbled himself so low to declare the righteousness of God, in "raising up the poor out of the dust, and lifting up the "beggar" and the criminal "from the dunghill, to set them "among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of "glory." In his humiliation, humility appears amiable, marvellous, and exemplary. He himself urges it as a reason of our submission to his ministry and instruction."Learn of me, for I am lowly in heart." None who submits to his instruction is properly dressed, unless he be clothed with humility, and, by condescending to men of low degree, prove himself to be so. "Better it is to be of "a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil. "with the proud."
Fifthly, In suffering the insolences of brutish men, the meekness of Jesus Christ is glorious. Lowliness, and meekness are the holy beauties of this insulted king; and their union draws upon him the admiration of every loyalhearted subject. Speaking of his own graces and excellencies, he says, "I am meek and lowly in heart." "Mo"ses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth." The meekness of Moses is eminent. The meekness of Christ is perfect. In him this grace shined forth in the perfection of beauty. The testimony of the false witnesses he heard in silence. The rudeness of the wicked, who spit in his face, and buffeted him, and smote him with the palms of their hands, he endured with composure. The derision and pain in the common hall he suffered with boldness and mildness.Nothing defective appeared in his temper, his language,. nor in his behaviour. Our Lord Jesus is excmplary in all, and in all perfect. Megkness in his heart is higher than
the meekness of gracious men, and is the meekness of God-man.
Sixthly, In suffering the insolences and abuses of men, the patience of Jesus Christ is glorious. No hard or unguarded word escaped him under his anguish. The rudest treatment did not ruffle or discompose his mind. "He "suffered, but threatened not;" suffered not with stoical apathy, and sullen and philosophical pride, but with bold tranquility, and reverential, and humble, and holy composure. In all things, excepting sin, made like unto us, he felt the violence done him by the hand of the wicked, and heard the hard speeches uttered by the tongue of the ungodly.. But though both were inconceivably odious and intolerably painful, neither the violence of the one, nor the blasphemy of the other, could break his mind, or fret his patience. Lastly, In suffering, the resignation of the Lord Jesus is glorious. As the hour of suffering approached, a con-flict was felt, a conflict not between sin and grace, but be-tween the weakness of his human nature and the strength. and glory of his grace, while at the same time resignation triumphed "Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I "say? Father, save me from this hour; but for this cause "came I unto this hour." Another conflict was in his agony, when resignation also triumphed. "Father, "if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; never"theless, not my will, but thine be done." The palm, the Scourge, the reed, the thorn, the purple, the spittle, the cross, and the nails, were bitter and painful infusions; yet these, all these dregs he submitted to wring out and drink..
After illustrating these particulars concerning the Sufferer, the indignities which he suffered in the common. hall, and the glory that breaks forth in his suffering them, attention is requested a few minutes longer to some mumentous and interesting observations..
1st, The harmony between the predictions of prophets, and the relations of Evanvelists, concerning the sufferings of Christ, is obvious and striking. The prophets foretel that he would be reproached, despised, rejected, and that he would be afflicted, wounded, bruised, put to grief, and cut off out of the land of the living. The Evangelists relate that he was betrayed, denied, accused, condemned; that he was scourged, mocked, crowned with thorns, and
spitted on; and that he was disowned, forsaken, led to Calvary, nailed to a tree, and crucified between two thieves. This harmony, between the predictions of the former and the relations of the latter, is a proof that both wrote by the inspiration of God, and that the Messiah of the prophets, and the Christ of the evangelists, is the same deliverer and saviour. But though there is harmony and agreement in facts, variation and diversity may be observed in the colouring of these facts. Prophets raise their style, collect the boldest metaphors, and delight in uncommon turns of expression. Evangelists relate the facts in plain and simple words, neither colouring their diction with metaphor, nor swelling and heightening it with ornaments of any kind. In the twenty-second Psalm, where the sufferings of our Saviour are prophetically described, the sacred writer heightens the description with the indignant imagery of bulls and dogs, and lions and unicorns. In the gospels where his sufferings are related, the holy writers, with the bold and indignant descriptions in the prophecy before them, tell the naked fact, and give the world the offices and names of men, priests, elders, and scribes; Herod, Pilate and the band of soldiers.
2dly, In his person and office, the Lord Jesus is inconceivably glorious. "Brightness of Glory," is one of his distinguishing titles. Men, the eyes of whose understandings had been opened by the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, behold, with unspeakable satisfaction, its lustre and majesty through the veil of flesh and the cloud of infamy which sat over him in his humiliation. Isaiah saw the glory of the only begotten of the Father, before he was made flesh; after he was made flesh, the disciples beheld it; at the sealing up of vision and prophecy, it was manifested to John in Patmos; and all believers see now, as in a glass, Jesus crowned with glory and honBefore the world was, he had glory with the Father; in the world he occasionally manifested his glory; and after he left the world, glory followed his sufferings and death, which transcends our power of description, and rises infinitely above the elevation of our conceptions. Part of his glory may, however, by the scripture be seen as in a glass, and that we will improve, till we shall, according to his prayer, behold the whole face to face. In the glory of his person, God-man, Christ is the face of God to us, and
the mirror in which the light of the knowledge of the glo ry of every attribute shines. In the glory of his person, God-man, Christ is the foundation on which the purpose of the will of God laid the building of mercy and salvation, fastening the corner-stones of it in him by an everlasting covenant. In the glory of his person, God-man, Christ is the object in which the several lines of revelation are centered, and the treasury in which all spiritual blessings are laid up and kept in store. In the glory of his person, God-man, Christ is the rock on which the church is founded, and the head to which every member in particular is united. In the glory of his person, God-man, Christ is the principle of the gracious qualities of believers, and the medium of the operations of these qualities in their fellow ship with God. In the glory of his person, God-man, Christ is the new and living way by which we draw near to God in worship, and come with boldness to his throne: Once more, In the glory of his person, God-man, Christ is the glory of our strength, in performing the duties of obedience, the high-priest who presents these to God, and the advocate who solicits and obtains their acceptance.
3dly, The grand design of revelation is to manifest the glory of Christ in his person, God-man. This may be observed both in the Old Testament and in the New. In several Psalms, and in many prophecies, you will observe the holy men raising the style, and collecting the boldest metaphors, to impress on the mind of the world just and lofty conceptions of the power and majesty of our Lord Jesus Christ. You will observe the same grand design pursued in the several Epistles written under the New Testament. The reproach and shame which covered him in his humiliation being removed, the apostles set forth his personal and official excellencies in words which the Holy Ghost suggested, and filled the earth with the light of the knowledge of his glory. In their writings, as in a glass, we now behold beauty instead of ashes, glory in the place of shame, and majesty where meanness had seated itself. The head that was crowned with thorns is crowned with glory and honor, and beautified with a rainbow; the right hand, that held a reed, holds. the sceptre of righteousness and a rod of iron; the face, that was defiled with spittle, is clearer than the light of heaven, and brighter than the sun; the body, that was covered with scarlet, is clothed with a