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But in this way he was “to be crowned with glory “ and honour.” His sufferings were not opposed to his exaltation ; they led to it; and the apostle,
IV. Reminds us of the MANNER IN WHICH he ob tains his distinction, and is prepared for the discharge of his office-he “ IS MADE PERFECT
SUFFERINGS." The sufferings of the Saviour are described in the gospels with simplicity and grandeur combined. Nothing can add to the solemnity and force of the exhibition ; and if we are not affected with the relation, it shews that our hearts are harder than the rocks, which could not retain their insensibility when “the Lord of life and glory” expired. The subject has often come under your review. Sometimes we have called upon you to consider his sufferings as peculiar and unparalleled ; and you have heard a plaintive Saviour saying, “is it nothing to you, all ye “ that pass by ? behold, and see if there be any sor. “row like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, “ wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of “his fierce anger.” We have sometimes considered his sufferings as foreknown, and led you to imagine what were his feelings while reading the prophecies, or foretelling himself the circumstances of his passion. From your eye futurity is kindly concealed. Could some of you be immediately informed of the troubles through which perhaps one year only will require you to wade, you would be over whelmed in the prospect. But He saw the end from the beginning, and advanced with Judas, and the high priest, and the nails, and the cross, full in view. You have seen that his sufferings
were not the sufferings of an hour or a day ; they were perpetual ; from Bethlehem to Calvary “he was a “ man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” You have seen him suffering in his condition, in his character, in his body, in his soul. This morning you are led to another view of the same interesting subject, the accomplishment which our Saviour derived from them; he was made perfect through sufferings.” It may be exemplified in two respects ; first, by way of discovery ; secondly, by way of qualification.
In perusing history, what characters principally en: gage, and improve us ? Those who have struggled through trying and awful scenes. Read the Scriptures ;
your eyes on Job, and Joseph, on David, and Daniel, and Paul ; were they not all “ made perfect “through sufferings ?" The picture would have no beauty or effect without shades. It is on the rainy cloud, the heavenly bow spreads its variegated tints. The character of the hero is formed, and his laurels are gathered only in the hostile field, among “ the “ confused noise of warriors, and garments rolled “ in blood.” Never was the glory of a prince however illustrious rendered complete, without soine sudden reverse of fortune which tried him ; some heavy calam. ity, under which he had an opportunity to discover his internal resources. That nobility is the truest, which a man derives, not from his pedigree, but from himself ; that excellency is the greatest, which is per. sonal ; that glory is the most estimable, which is fixed in our intellectual and moral attributes ; not that which a man locks up with his cash, or puts by with his ribbon; all these are extrinsical, they are no parts of the “ Christ,
man; they are appendages ; additions suppose deficiencies : he is the most perfect who needs them not. Suppose our Saviour had passed through the world smoothly, attended with all the littleness of riches, and the insignificance of pomp ; how limited would have been his example ! how insipid the narrative of his life! how uninteresting his character ! If there had been any thing of the beautiful, there would have been nothing of the sublime. How does he
appear “ the wisdom of God, and the power of God? As “ crucified.” Where did he spoil“ principalities and
powers, making a shew of them openly, and tri“umphing over them ?” On the “ cross.” To what period does he refer, when he says, “now is the judg
ment of this world, now shall the prince of this 66 world be cast out ?” The hour of his death. This he viewed as the season, in which he was to be
magnified and adored ; “the hour is come, that the Son “ of man should be glorified.” This was the consummation of his unexampled career of excellence : “I “must do wonders to-day and to-morrow, and the " third day I must be perfected.” Here is the finish ; and the wonders and miracles which attended his sufferings, were not to be compared with the principles and virtues, which he displayed in enduring them. Of what in his history did Moses and Elias speak, when they appeared in the transfiguration ; “ They
spake of the decease, which He was to accomplish at “ Jerusalem.” In what does every christian rejoice ? “ God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of “ our ”
Lord Jesus Christ. What is the theme of every minister ?
“ I determined to know nothing, save
“ Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” What is the lan. guage of the glorified above ? “ Worthy is the Lamb 6 that was slain.” Thus the sufferings of the Saviour were the means of displaying the glories of his character, and of procuring for him unbounded and everlasting honours.
We are also to consider Him relatively; for he interposed on our behalf, and having engaged for a particular purpose, whatever qualified him for the execution of it tended to make him perfect. Hence a body was prepared him ; hence the miseries he endured. “ Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh “and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the “ same : that through death he might destroy him that “ had the power of death, that is the devil ; and deliv“ er them, who through fear of death, were all their “ life-time subject to bondage. For verily he took not “ on him the nature of angels; but he took on him "the seed of Abraham. 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.” We shall see more of this,
V. By cxamining the REASONABLENESS and ExpeDIENCY of such a dispensation" IT BECAME HIM.” In proportion to the greatness of a character, will be his conviction of the importance of order ; and the more necessary will it be for him to observe it, because of the number of his relations, the diversity of his coninections, and the influence of his example. Order is essential to virtue and to happiness in creatures ; and God himself is the pattern of it; there is nothing in him like tyranny, he is influenced by reasons; though independent, he is governed by rules; though sovereign, he submits to laws; and only does what "be. “ comes him."
But we are never more liable to presumption and mistake, than when we take upon us to decide what the Supreme Being ought to do; or having laid down a particular system, to suppose he must conform to it, or forfeit his character in the eyes of the universe. Sạch daring language we have sometimes heard; but, Oye judges of the Almighty,“ who hath known the “ mind of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath s
taught him? To whom will ye liken me, or shall I “ be equal with the holy One ?" “ His way is in the
sea, and his path in the great waters, and his foot. steps are not known.”
There is a period approaching, in which our ca pacity for examination will be enlarged; the prejudi. ces which biąs our minds, will be done away, and the plan of divine providence and grace, will be accomplished and explained ; Then the reasons of his proceedings will be as satisfactory to us, as they will prove honourable to him ; Then all that is now dark will be enlightened, all that is now disorderly will be arranged, all that is now detached and scattered will be united in one beautiful whole; and we shall see that nothing was defective, nothing superfluous, nothing insignificant ; every thing was necessary, nothing could be added to it, nothing could be taken from it. But it may be asked, is there no satisfaction to be ob.
. tained before this illustrious period arrives? There is,