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with us; not indeed by his bodily presence, but by that which is infinitely more important, his spiritual presence with our souls: "I will come unto you," says he, " and SUP with you, and you with me." Nor was this the privilege only of his own immediate Disciples, but of all who shall believe in him through their word: "Lo," says he, "I am with you alway, even to the end of the world."]
1. How earnestly should we desire communion with Christ!
[Did he forget all his approaching sufferings, that he might instruct and comfort his Disciples? O how should we rise above all considerations, whether of pain or pleasure, to enjoy fellowship with him! How should we seek instruction from him as the first and greatest of all blessings! I am far from saying that we should neglect any earthly duty whatever; but we should consider every thing in this world as altogether worthless in comparison of him: joys should be no joys, any further than they will consist with a sense of his love; nor should sorrows be regarded for a moment, if they be endured for his sake, or can be rendered subservient to his glory. To hear his voice, and learn his will, and taste his love, and follow his steps, and secure a participation of his glory, this should be our one desire, our continued labour, our supreme delight.] 2. How delighted should we be with the thoughts of death!
[At death, this whole work of redemption will be fully completed. In Christ it is completed now; in us it will not be fully completed, till all the remains of sin are done away. That will take place at the moment of our release from this mortal body and then we shall keep the feast in a better manner. Our Lord has taught us to expect a renewal of this feast in the realms above: he has told us, that "he will drink of new wine with us in his Father's kingdomi." O what a feast will that be! We need not envy then the beloved Apostle, who at the Last Supper lay in his Saviour's bosom: for we ourselves shall, like Lazarus in Abraham's bosom, recline upon the bosom of our blessed Lord. Should we not then look forward to that time with holy desire, "looking for, and hasting unto, the coming of our Lord?" Should not the language of us all be, "Come Lord Jesus, come quickly?" Let not death, which is to introduce us to such bliss, be formidable in our eyes: but let us be anxious only to be counted worthy of that honour which he has prepared for us, and be "longing to be dissolved, that we may be with Christ."]
i Matt. xxvi. 29.
THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF OUR LORD'S DEATH FORE
Luke xxii. 22. Truly the Son of Man goeth, as it was determineda.
THE doctrine of predestination is very mysterious. If it be so held as to destroy the free agency of man, it must be pernicious and false: but it cannot be denied without denying also the omniscience and immutability of God; nor, if properly understood, is it at all inconsistent with the responsibility of man. If we know not how to reconcile all the difficulties that arise from this doctrine, it is not therefore false. Certain it is that Judas was punished, and that eternally; nor can we doubt but that the Judge of all the earth will do right: yet his sin was among the things which had been fore-ordained. To this effect
St. Peter speaks respecting the Jewish nation at largea: to the same purpose our Lord speaks of Judas in particular.
I. Our Lord's death in general was fore-ordained
No unprejudiced person can entertain a doubt of this truth: there are innumerable proofs of it in the Holy Scriptures.
Our Lord's death was fixed before the foundation of the world
[God foresaw the fall of man from eternity: he from eternity also determined to restore man again to his favour. The mean, by which he resolved to effect it, was the death of his own Son. Hence the Apostle speaks of Christ as "foreordained," &c.]
a Another exordium might be to this effect :-[Persons educated in the Christian religion, take for granted that it is true; whilst yet they know but little how to defend it against the assaults of infidels. But it is desirable that we should all be conversant, in some degree at least, with the evidences of its truth. I will therefore set before you somewhat of the evidence that arises from the accomplishment of prophecy, and especially in reference to the death of Christ as being altogether decreed and determined by God.]
b Mark xiv. 21.
e The text.
c Ps. cxlv. 17.
f 1 Pet. i. 20.
d Acts ii. 23.
It was predicted soon after man had fallen
[God denounced a curse against the serpent. In that denunciation he foretold the destruction of Satan himself: he foretold it as to be effected by the death of Christ".]
It was shadowed forth in a variety of types
[The paschal lamb represented ith: it was prefigured by the daily sacrifices: it was typified by the offerings on the great day of atonement. The serpent in the wilderness was a striking representation of it'.]
It was foretold by all the prophets
[The prophetic writings are full of declarations respecting it. Isaiah seems rather to have composed a history than a prophecy. To quote particular passages is needless. St. Peter mentions it as foretold by all the prophets. Our Lord himself speaks to the same effect"]
A body was prepared him on purpose that he might die
[He freely undertook to suffer in our stead. This was the ground on which a body was provided for him". This reason for his incarnation is often noticed in the Scriptures —.]
It was foreknown and consented to by our Lord himself
[Our Lord often spake of it to his Disciples: it was the subject of his conversation with Moses and Elias". He could have delivered himself from his enemies if he had chosen itt: but it was a season he greatly longed for".]
Hence we may conclude, that though the agents were guilty, as having acted freely, the actions themselves were fore-ordained. But there was not merely a decree respecting our Lord's death in general;
Gen. iii. 15. k Heb. ix. 13, 14.
n Luke xxiv. 25-27.
h 1 Cor. v. 7.
1 John iii. 14. • Ps. xl. 6-8.
i John i. 29. m Acts iii. 17, 18.
P Heb. x. 5-7. The Apostle explains the expression in Ps. xl. 6. "Mine ears hast thou opened," by other words to the same effect, "A body hast thou prepared me." The boring the ear of a servant bound him to his servitude for ever; Exod. xxi. 6. And the preparing of a body for Christ fixed him to his engagements.
a Heb. ii. 9, 14.
Luke xviii. 31-33.
s Luke ix. 31. * He had frequently done so, Luke iv. 29, 30. John viii. 59. and he could easily have done it then, John xviii. 6. Matt. xxvi. 53.
II. Every particular respecting it was determined— It would be endless to enumerate all the predictions respecting Christ, and to compare them with his history; but we will point out a few that relate more immediately to his death:
1. Those that were immediately to precede his death
[It was foretold by whom he was to be betrayed". Our Lord himself applies this prediction to Judas a. The price that should be paid for his blood, together with the disposition of the purchase-money, was accurately foretold". This very sum (the price of a slave) was paid, and afterwards so applied. It was moreover foretold that he should be scourged. This was complied with to prevent his death. He was also destined to be mocked, spit upon, and smitten'. His enemies vented their indignation in this very way -.]
2. Those that were to accompany his death
[It was foretold that he should be nailed to a crossh. The accomplishment of this was very singularly effected'. He was to be crucified with others, malefactors. The fulfilment of this also is particularly noticed1. He was to experience fresh insults here. This was fulfilled in the most literal manner ". He was also to suffer the hidings of his Father's face. David's words were those used by Christ under his dereliction P. He was to have vinegar offered him to drink : he would not resign his breath till this was accomplished'.]
3. Those that were immediately to follow his death
[He was to be pierced. This was fulfilled in a very remarkable mannert; yet he was not to have a bone broken".
y Matthew alone quotes above thirty passages that refer to Christ. z Ps. xli. 9. b Zech. xi. 12, 13.
c Matt. xxvii. 6-10.
e Luke xxiii. 22.
Matt. xxvii. 26―30.
a John xiii. 18.
d Ps. cxxix. 3. and Isai. liii. 5.
f Isai. 1. 6.
h Ps. xxii. 16.
i John xviii. 31, 32. Crucifixion was not a Jewish, but a Roman punishment: yet he was put to death for a crime of which the Roman law would not have taken cognizance.
k Isai. liii. 12.
n Matt. xxvii. 41-43.
4 Ps. Ixix. 21.
s Zech. xii. 10.
u Exod. xii. 46.
This was very unlikely to be fulfilled, seeing
that many of his bones were out of joint, Ps. xxii. 14. and the bones of those who were crucified with him were broken.
This, too, received its accomplishment. The manner in which his clothes were to be disposed of was also foretold. The fulfilling of this strongly marked the overruling hand of God".]
We may say of every the most minute circumstance, as St. Matthew does a
1. How certainly is Jesus the true Messiah!
[Such a variety of circumstances could not have concurred. but from the express determination of Providence. Let us then receive Jesus as the promised Messiah: let us welcome him with acclamations and hosannas: let us depend upon his death as a sure ground of hope ———]
2. How cheerfully may we leave ourselves to God's disposal!
[How were the malice of Satan, the envy of the priests, the treachery of Judas, the cowardice of Pilate, &c. overruled for the effecting of the Divine purposes! Thus may God overrule the most adverse circumstances for our good. Let us then in all states rely on that gracious declaration - -.]
x John xix. 32, 33, 36. a Matt. xxvi. 56.
y Ps. xxii. 18. z John xix. 23, 24. b Rom. viii. 28.
REWARD OF FAITHFULNESS.
Luke xxii. 28-30. Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
AT the close of his life, our blessed Lord was peculiarly engaged in comforting and encouraging his Disciples. This appears particularly in the 14th, 15th, and 16th chapters of St. John's Gospel. But in the passage before us it appears still more remarkably; because he had, at this time, great reason to be displeased with them: and yet he overlooks their offence with the most slight and transient notice; and administers consolation to them, as if they had deserved nothing but applause. Yet we are not to