Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

And the weaker we are in ourselves, the more is his'strength perfected in our weakness]

INFER

1. How earnestly should parents labour to bring their children to Christ!

[Parents are apt to neglect their children under the idea that their minds are not sufficiently expanded to receive divine knowledge

But we read of many who were sanctified from their earliest infancy

We are expressly told that "of such is the kingdom of heaven's

The instance now before us is sufficient to encourage our exertions

[ocr errors]

Happy will the parents be whose children are so educated→ And happy will those children be who in their early years

are thus devoted to the Lord

Let religious parents in particular make a conscience of this dutyt

And trust in God for the accomplishment of that blessed promise"-]

2. How inexcusable shall we be, if we do not praise and glorify Christ!

[The children had to oppose the example and authority of the priests

Nor did they see much of the true character of our Lord and Saviour

Yet they praised and adored him with all their powersBut we see Jesus risen from the dead, and exalted to his throne of glory

We know him to be indeed the Saviour of the world

We too are exhorted and urged by every kind of motive to serve him

How culpable then must we be, if we neglect to honour him!

How will those children rise up in judgment against us and

condemn us!

Let us contemplate more the gracious acts that he has done

Let us reflect on the interest we have, or hope to have, in his salvation

And let us raise our hearts and voices to him in grateful adorations-]

92. Cor. xii. 9. Baptist, &c.

Samuel, Abijah, Josiah, Timothy, John the
Eph. vi. 4. a Prov. xxii. 6.

t

• Mark x. 14.

CLXXXII. CHRIST REWARDED FOR HIS SERVICES.

Isai. lii. 13. Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.

IN the writings of Moses, the enjoyment of the land of Canaan was held forth as the great incentive to obedience; and spiritual blessings were but obscurely intimated. But in the prophetic writings, the greatest of temporal blessings were promised rather as pledges of infinitely richer benefits which they typically represented: and frequently the very language in which they were promised, clearly shewed, that their mystical sense was, in fact, the most literal. Sometimes, as in the prophecy before us, the inspired writer entirely loses sight of all temporal considerations, and is wholly wrapt up in the contemplation of that spiritual kingdom, which the Messiah was in due season to erect. From the redemption of the Jews out of their captivity in Babylon, he goes on to speak of a more glorious redemption to be effected for all the nations of the world from the dominion of sin and Satan, of death and hell. The means of its accomplishment are described at large from this verse to the end of the following chapter. The Messiah, by whom it was to be effected, is set forth in all that variety of character which he was to assume, and in those diversified states of humiliation and glory which he was to pass through, in order to fulfil the work assigned him. That a passage so decisive for the establishment of Christianity should be wrested by the Jews, and be applied to any one rather than to Christ, is nothing more than what might be expected. But so harsh and incongruous are their interpretations, that they need only to be stated, and the absurdity of them immediately appears. Besides, the numerous applications of this prophecy to Christ, which occur in the New Testament, leave us no room to doubt respecting its true import. The portion, which now demands our attention, declares to us, first, his success in his work, and secondly, his advancement after it.

I. His success in his work.

The office which Christ sustained was that of a "serVOL. II ૨૧

vant." He was to do his Father's will, to seek his Father's glory, and to advance the interests of his Father's kingdom. On this account the scriptures frequently speak of him as a servant; "Behold my servant whom I uphold;" "by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;" "I will bring forth my servant the Branch. """ Our Lord himself also often speaks of himself under this character: "I have not spoken of myself, says he, but the Father who sent me, he gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak." In above thirty other passages in St. John's gospel he represents himself as sent by the Father, and as receiving a commandment from him. We must not, however, conceive from hence that he is only a creature; for though in his official capacity he was inferior to the Father, in his own nature he was equal to the Father, as St. Paul tells us; "He was in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant.”

Christ's work as a servant was, to reveal the Father's will to mankind, to make atonement for their sins, and to reduce them to a state of holy obedience; or, in other words, to execute the offices of a prophet, a priest, and a king, in compliance with the Father's appointment, and in subserviency to his honour. Now that he delivered his doctrines in the capacity of a servant, is evident from his own repeated confessions; "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me:" "Whatsoever I speak, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” It was also in obedience to his Father's will that he offered himself a sacrifice for sin. Our Lord himself says, Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life that I might take it again: no man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again: this commandment have I received of the Father" and St. Paul also says, that "being found in fashion as a man, he became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Thus also in

a Isai. xlii. 1. and liii. 11. and Zech. iii. 8.
e Phil. ii. 6, 7. d John vii. 16. and xii. 50.
f Phil. ii. 8.

[blocks in formation]

the manifold exercises of his regal power, whether he cured diseases, rectified abuses, or forgave sins, he acted by an authority delegated to him for that purpose. When, at the very beginning of his ministry he took the sacred volume into his hands to read out of it to the people in the synagogue, he selected this passage, which fully declared to them by what authority he acted; "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted:" and at another time he told his disciples, that "the Father had appointed unto him a kingdom." Thus plain is it, that whether he executed the office of a prophet, priest, or king, he acted in the capacity of a servant.

In the whole of his work he prospered. The text says, "My servant shall deal prudently;" but in the margin of the Bible it is put," shall prosper." This rendering of the word seems rather better to agree with the context, and with that expression in the following chapter, "the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand." The very same word also is used in reference to Christ by Jeremiah, where our translators have given this sense to it; "I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper." Let us view this servant of Jehoyah in the various offices he performed, and we shall see that he prospered in them all. Was he teaching the people? behold, what wonderful things he brought to light; things, which from eternity had been hidden in the bosom of the Father! How did the clouds of ignorance and superstition vanish before him! the corrupt glosses, with which the Jewish doctors had obscured the law, were refuted: the truths of God were established on the firmest basis; the most subtle objectors were put to silence; the most ignorant were instructed in the deepest mysteries; and all, with such condescension, such ease, such wisdom, and such authority, that his very enemies were constrained to say, "Never man spake like this man.' Was he setting up his kingdom? he rejected with disdain the pomp of earthly monarchs, and laid the foundations

""

[merged small][ocr errors]

of his throne in the hearts of his people. Nor did he bring any into subjection by outward force: a single word was sufficient to subdue the stoutest heart. If he said to Matthew, "Follow me," not all the wealth of kingdoms could detain the willing captive. If he said, "Come down, Zaccheus," behold, a covetous extortioner is instantly transformed into a benevolent and obedient servant. Whomsoever he would, he called: and such was the constraining power of his voice, that, without hesitation, they left all that they had, and followed him. And though he commanded his subjects to make no account even of their own lives when standing in competition with his will, and promised them nothing but poverty and persecution in this world, yet they all delighted in his law, and gloried in the cross for his sake. So entirely did they yield up themselves to him, that opposition served but to rivet their affections to him, and to confirm them in their determination to live and die in his service. Did he expiate his people's sins? behold, there was not any thing, wanting either to complete his obedience, or to fill up the measure of his sufferings. He fulfilled all righteousness, even though by so doing he made himself appear to be a sinner like unto us: he not only was circumcised by his parents, but voluntarily submitted to the ordinance of baptism, as though he had needed it for the washing away of his own iniquities. Nor was there any kind of suffering which he did not endure, that he might fully expiate our guilt by bearing in our stead all that our sins had merited.

But must we confine our views of his success to past or future times? Are there not many living witnesses of his power and grace? Is he not teaching some amongst us by his good Spirit, and "revealing unto babes the things that are hidden from the wise and prudent?" Do not many of us also experience the virtue of his blood, and reap the fruits of his continual intercession? Is not his almighty arm yet stretched out to deliver us from our spiritual enemies, and to bring our hearts into captivity to his will? Wherever there is one who is brought out of darkness into marvellous light, one who enjoys peace with God through the blood of sprinkling and whose corruptions are mortified through the influence of divine

« AnteriorContinua »