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Effect done upon themselves, when they faid, His Blood be upon us and upon our Children, he, with his dying Breath, pleaded for them with his heavenly Father: Father; forgive them ; for they know not what they do. Luke xxiii. 34. An Instance of Goodness and Benevolence that cannot be equalled, when we consider the Dignity as well as Innocence of the suffering Person, and the Greatness of the Injuries and Sufferings he endured.
But that which above all deserves to be considered, and which is frequently insisted upon in the facred Writings as the most won-derful Instance of his Benevolence and Love to Mankind, as well as of his Obedience to his heavenly Father, that can possibly be conceived, is that he submitted to all those grievous Sufferings, and to a cruel and ignominious Death, for this End, that he might offer himself a Sacrifice for sinful Men, and might obtain eternal Redemption for them, The Apostle Paul here lays a par^ ticular Stress upon this, when, after having said, Walk in Love, as Christ also hath loved us, he adds, and hath given himself for us an Offering and a Sacrifice to God os a sweet-smelling Savour. To this our Lord Jesus Chrisl himself refers, when he faith, that he would give his FleJh for the Life of the World. John vi. 51. And that be came to give his Life a Ransom, or Price of ReY 3' demption, demption, for many. Matt. xx. 28. And that his Blood was shed for many for the Retniffion of Sins. Matt. xxvi. 2.8. Agreeable to this are those Declarations of the Apostle, that Christ gave his Life a Ransom for all. 1 Tim. ii. 6. And that he died for all, when all were dead, i. e. dead in Trespasses and Sins, and under a Sentence of Condemnation, 2 Cor. v. 14, 15. The Greatness of the Divine Love, as appearing in this Instance, is excellently represented, Rom. v. 6, 7, 8. When we were yet without Strength, in due Time Christ died for the Ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous Man will one die; yet per adventure for a good Man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his Love towards us, in that, while we were yet Sinners, Christ died for us. He loved me, faith St. Paul, and gave himself for me. Gal. ii. 20. The Manner of Expression shews, that the Surrendering himself up to such grievous Sufferings- was Christ's own Act and Deed, not only in Obedience to bis heavenly Father s Will, who would never have forced it upon him. without his own Consent; but from a Principle of the tnojlfree and generous Benevolence towards Mankind: And it is on this Account especially that the Apostle represents the Love of Christ towards us, as a Love that tiaffeth Knowledge. Eph. iii. 10. What an
astonishing Love doth it shew, that so glorious a Person, the Son of God incarnate, the Divine Immanuel, should, for us Men and for our Salvation, submit to such amazing Agonies, and bitter Passions, which had something in them beyond Imagination great and grievous! He should consent to be made Sin for us (as St. Paul most emphatically expresseth it) who knew <no Sin, that we might be made the Righteousness of God in him. 2 Cor. v. 21. And to be made a Curse for us, that he might redeem us from the Curse of God's violated Law. Gal. iii. 13. And to suffer for Sin, the fust for the Unjust, that he might bring us unto God. 1 Pet. iii. 18. This was an Instance of Love beyond all Parallel, and which no Words can sufficiently express. It is the Wonder of Angels, and (hall be the Subject of the everlasting Praises and Acknowledgments of the Blejfed above.
The several Things that have been mentioned plainly shew, that Christ hath exhibited the most illustrious andJhining Example of dijinterested Love, Compiffion, and Benevolence towards Mankind, that ever the World faw: But I would farther observe, that there is another Instance of virtuous Benevolence that hath not been yet distinctly mentioned, and which yet deserves to bs Y 4 taken taken Notice of in our Saviour s CharaSier; and that is the Jpecial Love and Affection he bore to his Country, which, when it is in a due Subordination to an universal Love and Benevolence to Mankind, is an excellent Disposition of Mind. As it was of the Israelites that, according to the FleJh, Christ came; so he all along manifested the hearties Concern for their Welfare. During the Course of his personal Ministry, he applied' himself in a particular Manner to recover the los Sheep os the House of Israel: To them were the srji Offers cf the Gojpel Sal' vation made: He came to his own, those of his own Country and Nation; but his own received him not. John i. 11. And, though he well knew the unjust, the cruel and ignominious Treatment, he was to receive from them, yet the View he had of their impending Misery and Desolation, which they brought upon themselves by their own Obstinacy and Wickedness, made the deepest Impression upon his tender and benevolent Heart: His Concern vented itself by his Tears. At his last Coming to Jerusalem, which was but a few Days before his Paffon, he seemed to be more affected , with the Prospect of the Ruin that was coming upon the Jews, than with his own approaching Sufferings: We are told that, when he was come near, he beheld the City, : . and and wept over it, uttering this pathetical Lamentation, If thou hadfi known, even thou, at leajl in this thy Day, the 'Things that belong unto thy Peace! But now they are hid from thine Ryes. For the Daysshall come upon thee, that thine Enemies Jhall caff a Trench about thee, and compaf thee around, and keep thee in on every Side, and jhall lay thee even with the Ground, and thy Children within thee; and they jhall not leave in thee one Stone upon another, because thou knewejl not the Time of thy Visitation* Luke xix. 41, 42, 43, 44. And, before this, he had expressed his tender Concern for the Jews in the most affecting Manner. Who can, without being sensibly touched, hear him thus expostulating from an Heart grieved for their Obstinacy and approaching Miseries! O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,which killejl the Prophets, and Jlonejl them which are sent unto thee: How often would I have gathered thy Children together, as a Hen doth gather her Brood under her Wings, and ye would not? Behold your House is left unto you desolate. Luke xiii. 34, 35. And he repeated this again, when he came to Jerusalem, a little before his lajl Sufferings, Matt, xxiii. 37, 38.