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All that will live godly, will exhibit holiness in their lives, which convinces and disturbs the consciences of the ungodly. It is this enrages, for there is an enmity and antipathy between them: and this enmity runs in the blood; and it is transmitted with it from generation to generation: "As then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now." Gal. 4:29. Mark, so it was, and so it is still. "Cain's club is still carried up and down crimsoned with the blood of Abel," said Bucholtzer; but thus it must be, to conform us unto Christ: and Oh that your spirit, as well as your condition, may better harmonize with Christ. He suffered meekly, quietly, and self-denyingly: be ye like him. Let it not be said of you, as it is of the hypocrite, whose lusts are only hid, but not mortified by his duties, that he is like a flint, which seems cold; but if you strike him, he is all fiery. To do well, and suffer ill, is Christ-like.
3. Such as are full of grace and holiness may be destitute of earthly comforts. What an overflowing fulness of grace was there in Christ! and yet how low did his outward comforts sometimes fall! And as it fared with, him, so did it with many others now in glory, whilst they were on their way. "Even to this present hour, we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place." 1 Cor. 4:11. Their souls were richly clothed with robes of righteousness, their bodies naked or meanly clad. Their souls fed on hidden manna, their bodies were hungry. Let us be content (saith Luther) with our hard fare; for do we not feast with angels upon the bread of life? Remember, when wants pinch hard, that these fix no mark of God's hatred upon you. He hath dealt no worse with you than he did with his own Son. Nay, which of you is not better accommodated than Christ was? If you be hungry or thirsty, you have some refreshments; you have beds tc
lie on the Son of man had not where to lay his head. And remember you are going to a plentiful country, where all your wants will be supplied; "poor in the world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which God hath promised." James, 2:5. The meanness of your present will add to the lustre of your future condition.
4. Those in whom Satan has no interest, may have most trouble from him in this world; "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." John, 14: 30. Where he knows he cannot be a conqueror, he will not cease to be a troubler. This bold and daring spirit ventured to assault Christ himself; for doubtless he was filled with envy at the sight of him, and would do what he could, though to no purpose, to obstruct his blessed design. And it was the wisdom and love of Christ to admit him to come as near him as might be, and try all his darts upon him; that by this experience he might himself be filled with pity to succor them that are tempted. And as he set on Christ, so much more will he attack us; and but too oft comes off a conqueror. Sometimes he shoots the fiery darts of blasphemous thoughts; and divers rules are prescribed in this case to relieve poor distressed ones. But the best rule, doubtless, is that of the apostle, "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." Eph. 6:16. Act your faith, my friends, upon your tempted Saviour, who passed through temptations before you: and particularly exercise faith on three things in Christ's temptations:
Believingly consider how great variety of temptations were tried upon Christ; and of what a horrid blasphemous nature that was, "Fall down and worship me." Also that Christ came off perfect conqueror in the day of his trial, beat Satan out of the field. And more, believe that the benefits of those his victories and conquests are for you, and that for your sakes he permit
ted the tempter to come so near him. Hebrews, 2: 18. If you say, "True, Christ was tempted as well as I; but there is a vast difference between his temptations and mine; for the prince of this world came, and found nothing in him. John, 14: 30. He was not internally defiled, though externally assaulted; but I am defiled by temptations as well as troubled."
To this I answer, True, it is so, and must be so; for had Christ been internally defiled, he had not been a fit Mediator for you; nor could you have had any benefit, either by his temptations or sufferings. But he being tempted, and yet still escaping the defilement of sin, has not only satisfied for the sins you commit when tempted, but also got an experimental sense of the misery of your condition, which is in him (though now in glory) as a spring of pity and tender compassion to you. Remember, poor tempted christian, "the God of peace shall shortly tread Satan under thy feet." Rom. 16:20. Thou shalt set thy foot on the neck of that enemy. Meanwhile, till thou be out of his reach, let me advise thee to go to Jesus Christ, and open the matter to him; tell him how that base spirit falls upon thee, yea, sets upon thee, even in his presence: entreat him to rebuke and command him off: beg him to consider thy case, and say, Lord, dost thou remember how thy own heart was once grieved, though not defiled, by his assaults? I have grief and guilt together upon me. Ah Lord, I expect pity and help from thee; thou knowest the heart of a stranger, the heart of a poor and tempted one. This will give wonderful relief in this case. O try it!
5. Was Christ yet more humbled by his own sympathy with others in their distresses? Hence we learn that a compassionate spirit, towards such as labor under burdens of sin or affliction, is Christ-like, and truly excellent: this was the Spirit of Christ: Oh be like him! Put on, as the elect of God, bowels of mercy. Col. 3: 12.
Weep with them that weep, and rejoice with them that rejoice." Rom. 12: 15. It was Cain that said, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Blessed Paul was of a contrary temper; "Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not ?" 2 Cor. 11:29. Three things promote sympathy in christians: one is, the Lord's pity for them; he doth, as it were, suffer with them; " in all their afflictions he was afflicted." Isa. 63:9. Another is, the relation we sustain to God's afflicted people: they are members with us in one body, and the members should have the same care of one another. 1 Cor. 12: 25. The last is, we know not how soon we ourselves may need from others what others now need from us. "Restore him with the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." Gal. 6 : 1.
6. Did the world add to the humiliation of Christ by their base and vile usage of him? Learn hence, that the judgment which the world gives of persons and their worth is little to be regarded. Surely it dispenses its smiles and honors very preposterously and unduly. The saints are styled persons "of whom the world is not worthy," Heb. 11: 38, that is, it does not deserve to have such choice spirits as these are left in it, since it knows not how to use or treat them. It was the complaint of Salvian, above eleven hundred years ago; "If any of the nobility do but begin to turn to God, presently he loses the honor of nobility! Oh in how little honor is Christ among (so called) christian people, when religion shall make a man ignoble! So that many are compelled to be evil, lest they should be esteemed vile." And indeed, if the world gives us any help to discover the true worth and excellency of men, it is for the most part by the rule of contraries. Where it fixes its marks of hatred, we may usually find that which deserves our respect and love. It should therefore trouble us the less to be under the slights and disrespect of a blind
world. "I could be even proud of it, (saith Luther,) that I see I have an ill name from the world." And Jerome "blessed God that counted him worthy to be hated of the world." Labor to stand right in the judgment of God, and trouble not thyself for the rash censures of
7. From the whole of Christ's humiliation in his life, learn to pass through all the troubles of your life with a contented, composed spirit, as Christ your forerunner did. He was persecuted, and bare it meekly; poor, and never murmured; tempted, and never yielded to the temptation; reviled, and reviled not again. When ye therefore pass through any of these trials, look to Jesus, and consider him. See how he that passed through these things before you, conducted himself in like circumstances; yea, not only beat the way by his pattern and example for you, but hath in every one of those conditions left a blessing behind him, for them that follow his steps. Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ.
CHRIST'S HUMILIATION UNTO DEATH.
HIS FIRST PREPARATIVE ACT.
"And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are John, 17:11.
We now come to the last and lowest step of Christ's humiliation, his submitting to death, even the death of the cross. Out of this death springs the life of our souls. In the blood of Christ the believer sees multitudes of inestimable blessings. By this crimson fountain