« PoprzedniaDalej »
manifold and hidden wisdom of God. Distinct apprehensions of this association are helps to refined and elevated adoration. Angels desire to look into the cross, and in this part of the mystery of godliness behold the glory of God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Redeemed men, more nearly interested, magnify it with praise. Recollect this when you come to the table, praise it sitting at it, and do not forget it when you rise and depart. Spiritual and distinct apprehensions of the wonderful association of conflicting principles exerting themselves in the cross of Christ, have a real fitness and tendency, through his spirit, to deepen impressions of the transcendency of the wisdom and love of God, to raise devotion to higher degrees in remembering the death and glory of Christ at his table, to invigorate our zeal and our strength in running the way of his commandments, and to confirm our hope, that by dispensations apparently crossing and counteracting one another, the only wise God will eventually and certainly obtain his great and highest end, "the praise of the glory of "his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the be"loved."
Another Particular which, though the text doth not express, belongs to the views and apprehensions of faith, ought not to be overlooked-the connexion of believers with the Man Christ Jesus whom they crucified, or their interest in his crucifixion. In one of his Epistles, Paul says, "I am crucified with Christ;" in another, "Our old "man is crucified with him;" and in a third, "Being made "conformable to his death." These singular expressions are peculiar to this holy writer; and though natural men imagine them to be absurdities, believers reckon their experience concerned very nearly in their meaning and propriety. The considerations following make this evident:1st, In his crucifixion Christ represented all that were chosen to salvation. No law could have subjected him to crucifixion and death, unless he had represented and stood in the place of men who had deserved to suffer these pains and sorrows. By representation and substitution, Christ and the Elect are one person in law; and in the meaning and construction of the law of works, under which they were held, and under which he was made, they were crucified with him when he was crucified for them and in
their stead. 2dly, When Christ was crucified, something which is in his people was crucified. Paul calls it, "Our "old man," by which is meant sin that dwelleth in us. Crucifying was the kind of death to which Christ subjected himself; and, by crucifying, the death of sin in them is expressed. "Our old man is crucified with him, that the "body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we "should not serve sin." 3dly, Likeness to the crucifying of Christ exists in the fellowship of his sufferings, and the participation of the virtue and effect of his death. To express this, the apostle in one place uses the phrase, "Made conformable to his death;" and in another, "Plant"ed together in the likeness of his death." The action before us will not permit, at this time, a delineation of the likeness. But scripture affirms its existence, and believers have more or less knowledge of it in their experience. 4thly, Interest in the crucifixion of Christ faith apprehends and acknowledges on the testimony of God; and from the crucifixion, stated in the testimony, and apprehended and acknowledged by faith, issues virtue, to "crucify the flesh, with its affections and lusts."
After the instructions and exhortations, which in the body of the discourse have been given believers, with respect to the duty and exercise of this day, before we proceed, we intreat unbelievers to consider and receive the truths which have been illustrated in their hearing, and to apprehend and acknowledge the Lord Jesus for wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Behold the expense at which reconciliation was made for iniquity, and infer from it what must follow if this reconciliation is finally rejected. Without union with Christ, and interest in his obedience and death, you must fall into the hands of the living God, which scripture affirms, and reason will not deny, to be a fearful thing. Though the Lord Jesus died for a select number of mankind, chosen to salvation, the testimony of God exhibits his death to the world, and, without exception, calls the guilty, to whom it is exhibited, to build on it the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began; and on no other foundation can the title to eternal life, and the meetness for inheriting it, rest. "Wherefore thou art inexcu
"sable, O man, whosoever thou art," for rejecting the expedient of reconciliation, devised by the wisdom and love of God, and effected by the death of Christ; and not inexcusable only, but criminal also, in not receiving the record of God concerning it, confirmed by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. Draw not on thyself, O unbeliever, double destruction! Think what thou art treasuring up to thyself! "Believe in the Lord Jesus "Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Amen.
THE SON OF GOD FORSAKEN
MATTHEW xxvii. 46.
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
UPON the night in which the Lord our Righteousness was born, the fields of Bethlehem were highly illu minated. In these fields the angel of the Lord came upon the shepherds, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. That illumination was an illustrious testimony to the infancy of the Son of God in our nature, and prefig ured the illumination of the whole earth with the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in his face.
Upon the day in which the Lord our Righteousness was crucified, the city of Jerusalem and the land of Palestine were deeply overshadowed. At mid-day there was darkness over all the land. That darkness, which came on at the sixth, and lasted until the ninth hour of the day, was an effect of divine power, an intimation of the departure of the glory from the earthly Jerusalem, and an extraordinary call to consider the mystery of the glory of the person who was suffering and dying.
Under every consideration the Lord our Righteousness is mysterious. In his person, in his works, in his sufferings, in his words, in his birth, life, death, resurrection, and glory, there are mysteries which we are not able to comprehend. The words which are our text, and which. he spake on the cross, are deeply mysterious. To hear Zion say, "The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath "forgotten me," is not mysterious. From a society, compassed with infirmity, and disturbed with corruption, we expect to hear desponding and peevish expressions; but to hear the Son of God, in the vigour of his strength and under the eye of his Father, crying, "My God, my
"God, why hast thou forsaken me?" is a mystery which is an object of inquiry and astonishment to confirmed angels, and, to redeemed men, will be an object of contemplation and wonder forever.
These extraordinary words are recorded for our instruction, and though we are not able to comprehend their mystery, we may modestly and humbly inquire into their meaning and use. We shall speak of the title under which the Sufferer addressed the object unto whom he raised his voice-the situation in which he found himself-and the expostulation concerning his situation. Before we proceed, it should be observed, that the Son of God, bearing our sins in his own body on the tree, is the object of faith, and not of imagination. The man of sin paints his image, and bows to a crucifix. This is an invention of imagination. "Who hath required these things at your "hand?" is a demand unto which painters of images and bearers of crucifixes can make no reply. In learning the knowledge of Christ, no assistance is received from imagination. Christ, in the mystery of his sufferings, death, and love, is the object of faith and spiritual understanding; and, with the witness which God hath testified of him before us, we will walk round his cross, and consider the words which he uttered when nailed to this instrument of death.
The title under which the Lord our Righteousness addressed the object unto whom he raised his voice on the cross, is to be considered in the FIRST place. This title is, "My God;" and, to express the intenseness and vehemence of his mind, he doubles it, "My God." Being the Only Begotten of the Father, he could use the sacred title, My Father, in a sense peculiar to himself, as a person of the Godhead. As persons of the Godhead, Father and Son are One, and equal in power and in glory. Thou art my Son, and Thou art my Father, is language in which these glorious and equal persons express to us their union in essence and operation. United in the Godhead, and united in operation and interest, the Father is in the Son, and with the Son, and for the Son; and the Son is in the Father, and with the Father, and for the Father, in a manner which we are not able to comprehend at present. But though we are not able to comprehend the manner,