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the apostle there speaks) is reserved something worse than dying without mercy. What pleas and excuses others will make at the judgment-seat, I know not; but one thing is evident, such will be speechless. O poor sinners! your damnation is just, if you refuse grace brought home by Jesus Christ himself to your very doors. The Lord grant this may not be thy case who readest these lines.
4. Moreover, hence it follows that none doth or can love like Christ: His love to man is matchless. Its freeness, strength, eternity, and immutability, give it a lustre beyond all examples. It was a strong love indeed, that made him lay aside his glory, to be found in fashion as a man, for our salvation. We read of Jonathan's love to David, which passed the love of women; of Jacob's love to Rachel, who for her sake endured the heat of summer and cold of winter; of David's love to Absalom; of the primitive christians' love, who could die one for another but neither were they called to such selfdenial as Christ, nor had he such inducements from the object of his love as they had. His love, like himself, is wonderful.
5. Did the Lord Jesus so deeply abase himself for us? What claims has he on us to exalt and honor him, who for our sakes was so abased! It was a good saying of Bernard, "By how much the viler he was made for me, by so much the dearer he shall be to me." And oh that all to whom Christ is dear, would study to exalt and honor him in these four ways:
By frequent and delightful speaking of him and for him. When Paul had once mentioned his name, he knows not how to part with it, but repeats it no less than ten times in the compass of ten verses. 1 Cor. 1: 1-10. It was Lambert's motto, "None but Christ, none but Christ." It is said of Johannes Milius, that after his conversion he was seldom or never observed to men
tion the name of Jesus but tears would drop from his eyes; so dear was Christ to him. Mr. Fox never denied any beggar that asked alms in Christ's name, or for Jesus' sake. Julius Palmer, when all concluded he was dead, being turned as black as a coal, at last moved his scorched lips, and was heard to say, "Sweet Jesus," and fell asleep.
Plutarch tells us, that when Titus Flaminius had freed the poor Grecians from the bondage with which they had been long ground by their oppressors, and the herald was to proclaim in their audience the articles of peace he had concluded for them, they so pressed upon him, (not being half of them able to hear,) that he was in great danger of losing his life in the press; at last, reading them a second time, when they came to understand distinctly how their case stood, they shouted for joy, crying, Zorng, Zorng, "a Saviour, a Saviour," till Σωτης, Σωτης, the very heavens rung with their acclamations. And all that night the poor Grecians, with instruments of music and songs of praise, danced and sung about his tent, extolling him as a god that had delivered them. But surely you have more reason to be exalting the Author of your salvation, who, at a dearer rate, hath freed you from a more dreadful bondage. Oh ye that have escaped the eternal wrath of God, by the humiliation of his Son, extol your great Redeemer, and for ever celebrate his praises!
Honor him by exercising faith in him for whatsoever lies in the promises yet unaccomplished. In this you see the great and most difficult promise fulfilled, "The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head," Gen. 3:15; and seeing that which was most improbable and difficult is fulfilled, even Christ come in the flesh, methinks our unbelief should be removed for ever, and all other promises the more easily believed. It seemed much more improbable and impossible to reason, that
God should become a man, and stoop to the condition of a creature, than that, being a man, he should perform all the good which his incarnation and death procured. Unbelief usually argues from one of these two grounds, Can God do this? or, Will God do it? It is questioning either his power or his will; but after this, let it cease for ever to cavil against either. His power to save should never be questioned by any that know what sufferings and infinite burdens he supported in our nature; and surely his willingness to save should never be put in question by any that consider how low he stooped for our sakes.
Honor him by drawing nigh to God with delight, "through the veil of Christ's flesh." Heb. 10:20. God hath made this flesh of Christ a veil between the brightness of his glory and us; it serves to rebate the unsupportable glory, and also to give admission to it, as the veil did in the temple. Through this body of flesh, which Christ assumed, are all the outlets of grace from God to us; and through it, also, must be all our returns to God again. It is made the great medium of our communion with God.
Honor him also by applying yourselves to him, under all temptations, wants, and troubles, of what kind soever, as to one that is tenderly sensible of your case, and most willing and ready to relieve you. Oh remember, this was one of the inducements that persuaded him to take your nature, that he might be furnished abundantly with tender compassion for you, from the sense he should have of your infirmities in his own body: "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest, in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." Heb. 2:17. You know by this argument the Lord pressed the Israelites to be kind to strangers; for (saith he)
"you know the heart of a stranger." Exod. 23: 9. Christ, by being in our nature, knows experimentally what are our wants, fears, temptations, and distresses, and so is able to have compassion. Oh let your hearts dwell upon this admirable condescension, till they be filled with it, and your lips say, Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ!
CHRIST'S HUMILIATION-IN HIS LIFE.
"And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Phil. 2:8.
This scripture was considered in the last discourse, and, indeed, can never be enough considered: it holds forth the humble state of the Lord Jesus during the time of his abode on earth. We have seen how he was humbled by his incarnation; we are now to consider how he was humbled in his life: yet expect not that I should give you here an exact history of the life of Christ. The Scriptures speak but little of the private part of his life, and it is not my design to dilate upon all the memorable passages that the evangelists, those faithful narrators of the life of Christ, have preserved for us; but only to notice and improve some more observable particulars in his life, wherein especially he was humbled.
1. The Lord Jesus was humbled in his very infancy, by his circumcision according to the law. For being of the stock of Israel, he was to undergo the ceremonies and submit to the ordinances belonging to that people, and thereby to put an end to them; for so it became him to "fulfil all righteousness." "And when eight days were
accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus." Luke, 2: 21. Hereby the Son of God was greatly humbled, especially in these two respects:
1. In that hereby he obliged himself to keep the whole law, though he was the Law-maker; "For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law." Gal. 5: 3. The apostle's meaning is, he is a debtor in respect to duty, because he that thinks himself bound to keep one part of the ceremonial law, doth thereby bind himself to keep it all; for all the parts are inseparably united. And he that is a debtor in duty to keep the whole law, quickly becomes a debtor as to its penalty, not being able to keep any part of it. Christ therefore coming as our Surety by his circumcision, obliges himself to pay the whole debt of duty by fulfilling all righteousness: and though his obedience to the law was so exact and perfect that he contracted no debt of penalty for any transgression of his own; yet he obliges himself to pay the debt of penalty which he had contracted, by suffering all the pains due to transgressors. This was that intolerable yoke that none were able to bear but Christ. Acts, 15: 10. And it was no small thing in Christ to bind himself to the law, as a subject made under it; for he was the Lawgiver, above all law: and herein the sovereignty of God (one of the choice flowers in the crown of heaven) was obscured and veiled by his subjection.
2. By his circumcision he was represented to the world not only as a subject, but as a sinner; for though he was pure and holy, yet this ordinance passing upon him, seemed to imply as if corruption had indeed been in him, which must be cut off by mortification. For this was the mystery principally intended by circumcision: it served to admonish Abraham, and his seed, of the guiltiness, uncleanness, and corruption of their hearts