« PoprzedniaDalej »
we acknowledge, upon the testimony of the Son, the existence and glory of their union. "I and my Father are "one;" "I am in the Father, and the Father in me;" "Thou, "Father, art in me, and I in thee;” “We are one," One in Godhead, One in love, One in testimony, One in interest, One in operation and design, and yet two distinct persons.
But upon the cross, the Lord our Righteousness used the sacred title "My God," and used it in the sense which is common to him with his brethren. Having assumed their nature, and made himself like them in all things, he used their address, and, in their dialect, cried, "My God, my God." In this sublime and holy address, which the spirit of prophecy had prepared for his cross, he claims interest, and professes trust in the object to whom it is offered.
First, The glorious speaker claims interest in the object unto whom he addresses himself. The Father and the Son were not in opposite nor interfering interests.Glorifying each other in the operations which had been concerted and planned before the world began, was the object of both. "Father, the hour is come, glorify thy "Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee." Interested in each other, the glory of the one did not interfere with the glory of the other. While the Son was suffering the pain and ignominy of the cross, he knew and believed that the Father was glorifying him, and that he was glorifying the Father. On the night before he died, he uttered, in the assurance and joy of faith, these sublime and sacred words: "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God "is glorified in him; and if God be glorified in him, God "shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway "glorify him." This union of interest had been the joy of his heart all the days of his flesh; nor could impressions of it be effaced by the sorrows which he suffered in his agony, nor by the pangs which he endured on the cross. Our conceptions of the glory in it are but low and indistinct, and our expressions concerning it labor under weakness. When we hear of the Father giving to the Son the cup of sorrow and wrath, and of the Son drinking that cup, we are apt to think of variance, or of something that is not becoming God. This is our weakness in the state of childhood. These glorious persons, united in the
godhead, and united in operation, interest, and love, give us assurance of their acting becomingly, and of their complacency in each other. The Father was always well pleased in the Son, and the Son did always those things which pleased the Father. Knowing that the Father was with him, and in him, and that he was with and in the Father, he claimed interest, and, in the days of his sorrow and anguish, cried, "My God, my God.”
Secondly, The glorious Speaker professes trust in the Object unto whom he raised his voice on the cross. In order to prove that "he who sanctifieth and they who are sanc"tified, are all of One," the apostle to the Hebrews quotes these words: "I will put my trust in him." For assistance, acceptance, and reward, the Son of God always trusted in his God and Father; but, upon the tree, when bearing our sins in his own body, it became him not merely to trust, but, with a loud and mighty voice, to profess his trust On every side men despised his person, and ridiculed his trust, saying, "He trusted in God; let him deliver him now if "he will have him; for he said, I am the Son of God;" while he suffered all to pass, continued unmoved in faith, and hope, and patience; and, with a mighty voice, expressed his trust in the language of prophecy. In faith and hope, the Lord our Righteousness did not, and could not fail. Unbelief and despondence had nothing in him; but the contradiction of sinners against himself, which he endured upon the cross, drew on a conflict with temptations to unbelief and despondence; and under the revilings of ungodly men, and the suggestions of evil spirits, his faith and hope in God were tried to the uttermost. In this extremity, "he hath left us an example, that we should follow his "steps." Holding up the shield of faith, he exemplified the method of defence in the christian warfare; trusting, he resisted temptation, and, suffering and dying in the faith, conquered and triumphed.
In the SECOND place, we shall represent the situation in which the Lord our Righteousness found himself when he raised his voice upon the cross, and addressed his holy Father under this sacred title, My God, My God. He found himself "forsaken." By whom? By countrymen-by relations-by disciples. True. By all these he found himself forsaken. But something inconceivably
more grievous is expressed: He found himself forsaken by his God, in whom he, notwithstanding, claimed interest, and professed trust. From his mouth this is a mysterious expression. His relation to the Father could not be dissolved, nor his interest in God forfeited. On the night before his crucifixion, he said to his disciples, "Ye "shall leave me alone, and yet I am not alone, because "the Father is with me;" and the same night, in his prayer, "Thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee.' Upon the cross, the Father was near him, and with him, and in him; and yet upon the cross he says, "Thou hast forsaken me.' He was not mistaken. He could not be mistaken. In the sense which the expression bears in scripture, he was forsaken; and though, in its application to him, it be a mysterious expression, part of the meaning may be understood by the following particulars.
First, God delivered him into the hand of the wicked. The term 'forsaken,' is early and repeatedly used to express the affliction of the people of God when he delivered them to the will and power of their enemies. In the days of the Judges, Gideon says, "Now the Lord hath forsaken "us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites." Under the reign of Rehoboam, Shemaiah says, "Thus "saith the Lord, Ye have forsaken me, and therefore have "I also left you in the hand of Shishak." And in the prophecy of Jeremiah, that holy man saith, by the word of the Lord, "I have forsaken mine house; I have left mine her"itage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into "the hands of her enemies." Upon the cross, the Lord our Righteousness did not invent new terms to express the sorrow and anguish of his soul. Delivered, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, into the hand of the ungodly, he used the term which prophecy had prepared, and which custom had rendered familiar; and the bold metaphors in the prophecy, compared with the facts in the history, are expositions of the term. "Bulls "have compassed me, strong Bulls of Bashan have beset "me round. Dogs have compassed me; the assembly of "the wicked have inclosed me." Round the cross we behold gestures, and hear speeches which correspond to these metaphors. Bulls roared and pushed with their horns; dogs barked, and raised horrid noises on every side; passengers, wagging their heads and shooting out
their lips, reviled him; and chief priests, and scribes, and elders, mocking and laughing him to scorn, cried, "He "saved others, himself he cannot save."
Secondly, God exposed him to the temptations of fallen spirits. Fiery darts, thrown from every side, entered into his holy soul, and pierced it with vexation and anguish. In bruising the head of the serpent, his own heel was bruised, and every sense and every faculty of his human nature felt the shock of horrid suggestions and temptations. The chief of these abominable spirits had tempted him forty days in the wilderness, but the grand attack was upon the cross, where the enemy drew together a numerous body of auxiliaries. "If thou be the Son of "God, command that these stones be made bread. If "thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down. If thou "wilt fall down and worship me, the kingdoms and glory "of the world shall be thine," is the derisive and blasphemous language which that unclean spirit spewed out in the desert; and, "If thou be the Son of God, come down "from the cross," is the abusive and scornful language which he put into the mouth of his speakers on Calvary. In this manner was the Son of God reviled by these abominable spirits, and by their speakers and agents, while there appeared no deliverer nor comforter. But, though wounded by the speeches of men, "If thou be the Son of "God, If thou be the King Israel," which, like the words, "Where is thy God?" were a sword in his bones; he endured all, resisted all, defeated all, triumphed over all.
Thirdly, God withheld sensible testimonies of complacency in his sufferings. Upon the banks of Jordan, where the Lord our Righteousness had been baptised, the Father honoured him with a sensible testimony of complacency in his undertaking, proclaiming, with his glori ous voice, these words: "This is my beloved Son, in "whom I am well pleased." On the top of the mountain where he had been transfigured, the same glorious testimony is repeated: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I Mam well pleased; hear ye him." After entering Jerusalem in the humble grandeur of the king of Zion, and when his soul began to be troubled, his prayer, "Father, "glorify thy name," had been answered with a voice from the throne, which, in the sound of thunder, pronounced these words: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it
"again." In the garden, where he had been in an agony, a servant of the throne appeared and strengthened him. But upon the tree, every sensible testimony was withheld. Heaven was silent, and earth was darkened. His titles, Son of God and King of Israel, were derided by devils, and reviled by men-and Heaven kept silence. "O my God, I cry unto thee in the day-time, and thou "hearest not; and in the night-season, and am not silent." The time of the crucifixion was both day-time and nighttime, being a day of darkness and gloominess, of clouds and thick darkness. The Sun of Righteousness wading through blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke, his figure and representative, the natural sun, laid aside the likeness and ornaments of a bridegroom, and, at mid-day, put himself into the deepest mourning.
Fourthly, God bruised his soul under the weight of his wrath. By the immediate hand of his Father, the Lord our Righteousness was wounded and put to grief. Arrow after arrow was shot, until the quiver was exhausted, the curse executed, and the law of works said, 'It is enough, stay now thine hand.' The delicacy which professes itself to be shocked at the wrath of the Father kindling on his beloved Son, is none of the virtuous feelings of Christianity. Wrath is the punishment of sin denounced by the Lawgiver; and the person whom he made to be sin, and upon whom he laid our iniquities, behoved to suffer that wrath, which is the punishment of these iniquities. Observing in scripture the words "Being made a curse "for us," and not daring to pronounce them, under an apprehension of their being shocking to delicacy, men have supposed that the words "Enduring the cross," give their full meaning. But "made a curse," and "enduring the "cross," are not convertible propositions. Curse and cross are different terms, and the one cannot be the substitute of the other. For the sake of Christ, several martyrs have finished their testimony upon crosses; but the text cannot be produced which says, nor which warrants us to say, that in their crucifixion these were made a curse. To be made a curse, is to be devoted to death, not merely as the separation of soul and body by the power of our Creator, but as the punishment of sin by his wrath and vengeance as our Lawgiver. Under this consideration, the Son of God in our nature, in our stead, and under our