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reverse of fortune, and struggling for a time under some grievous calamity. The observation is just.. Men arc made for suffering as well as for action. Many faculties of our frame ; the most respectable attributes of the mind, as well as the most amiable qualities of the heart; carry a manifest reference to a, state of adversity, to the dangers which we are destined to combat, and the distresses we are appointed to bear. Had the Greeks consulted their own writers, they would have given them proper information, on this head. To approve a man thoroughly virtuous, said one of their sages, he must be tortured, lie must be bound, he must be scourged, and having, suffered all evils, must be empaled or crucified.
Who are the personages in history that we admire the most? Those who have suffered some signal-distress, and from a host of evils have come forth conquerors. If we look into civil history, need I call up to your remembrance the patriots of Greece, the heroes of Rome; the wise, the great, and the good of every age, who grew illustrious as they grew distressed, and in the darkest hour of adversity shone out with unwonted and meridian splendour. If we look into sacred history, we shall find, that the good and holy men, who are there pointed out as patterns to the world, like the Captain of their salvation, were made perfect through suffering. The most illustrious names that are recorded in the book of life, the patriarchs of the ancient world, the prophets of the Jewish state, the martyrs of the Christian church, are witnesses on record of this-important truth, that the most honourable laurels are gathered in the vale of . tears, and that the crown of glory sits brightest on the brows of those who have gained it with their blood. Jesus of Nazareth, too, was appointed to learn obedience by the things that he suffered. All the virtues of adversity shone forth in his life. The patience that acquiesces with cheerfulness, in all the appointments of Providence, the magnanimity which triumphs over an enemy by forgiveness, the charity which prays for its persecutors, are striking and conspicuous parts or' his character. But we injure hismerit as a sufferer, if we consider it only as break" ins: out in single and occasional acts of virtue. His sufferings themselves, his condescending to become a victim for the sins of men, and to die for the happiness of the world, is an infinite exertion of benevolence that admits of no comparison, that is transcendent and meritorious. The consideration of this, more than the circumstances of his departure, more than the rocks which were rent, than the sun whichwas darkened, than the dead which arose, had we been present at the scene, should have made us cry out with the centurion, " Surety this man was the "Son of God."
In the third place, If we consider our Saviour as a priest, who was to make an atonement for the sins of men, the expediency of his making this atonement by sufferings and death, will be manifest. It is one of the doctrines revealed in the New Testament, that the Son of God was the Creator of the world. As therefore he was our immediate Creator, and as his design in our creation was defeated by sin, there was an evident propriety that he himself should interpose in our behalf, and retrieve the affairs of a world which he had created with his own hands. But it is* evident, at first sight, that redemption is a greater work than creation; that it requires a more powerful exertion to recover a world lying in wickedness, to happiness and virtue, than to create it at first in a state of innocence. In the work of redemption, therefore, it was expedient, that there should be a brighter display of the divine perfections, and a greater exertion of benevolence than was exhibited in the work of creation. Now, if God, without a satisfaction by sufferings, and by a mere act of indemnity, had blotted out the sins of the world, such a display of the divine attributes would not have been given : But by the Son of God's appearing in our nature, and suffering the punishment which was due to our sins, a Scene is presented, on which the angels desire to loofc; This, in the language of Scripture; was the glory that excclleth; here the Almighty made bare his holy arm, and gave testimony to the nations what was iri the power of a God to effectuate. Hereby all the perfections of the divine nature were glorified. That immaculate purity, which cannot look upon sin, and that astonishing love which could not behold the ruin pf the sinrierj were awfully displayed. The majesty .of the divine government was sustained, and the: rigour of the law was fulfilled; justice was satisfied; mercy without restraint, and without measure; flowed upon the children of men. In short, more glory redounded to God; and greater benevolence was made manifest to men, than when the morning star* fsung together at the birth of nature; and all the sons1 of God shouted for joy*
In the lust place, If we consider our Saviour in that state of* glory to which he is now ascended, the propriety of his being made perfect by sufferings wilt more fully appear. Because he humbled himself; and became obedient unto death, therefore hath God highly exalted him, hath given him a name above every name, and committed to him all power \n heaven and in earth. By the appointment of Providence, suffering fiath ever been the path to honour.Ought not Christ, therefore, also, to have suffered, and to enter into his glory? As, upon earth, he submitted to the lowest degree of abasement, and appeared in the form of a servant, he is now in heaven (exalted to the.highest pinnacle of honour, and ap.pcars in the form of God. As, in his state of humiliation he was poor, and, had not where to lay his head, he is now the Lord of nature, and inherits the treasures of heaven and of earth. Instead of the mock title of King of the Jews, which they wrote upon his .cross., he is now in very deed the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. Instead of the crovjrn of thorns which pierced and wounded his blessed head, he 15 now for ever encircled with a crown of glory.
What dignity does it reflect upon all our race, that one who wears our likeness, who is not ashamed to call us brethren, now sits upon the throne of Nature, now holds in his hand the sceptre of Providence, and exercises uncontrolled dominion over the visible and invisible worlds! What abundant consolation will it administer to Christians in all their afflictions, what openings of joy will it let down into the vale of tears, .^when.we recollect that, the Governor of the world is a God who partakes of our own nature, who, jn the days of his humanity, had a fellow-feeling of all our wants; who, like ourselves, was, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; who, by consequence, will be more apt to sympathize with his fellow sufferers, and to send relief tp those sorrows of which he himself bore a part I
Galatiahs vi. H,
God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
[Preached at the celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.]
rY ways are not as your ways, and my thoughts 'are not as your thoughts," said the Lord to the Old Testament church. And never, surely, did the Eternal Wisdom so disappoint the expectations, and blast the hopes of men, as by the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Had men been consulted concerning the state in which it was most proper for the Messiah to appear, they would have introduced him into the world with all the circumstances of external
1)omp and splendour; they would have put into his land the sceptre of dominion over the nations, and subjected to his kingdom all the people of the earth, from the rising to the setting of the sun. A Messiah whose glory should not stiike the senses, whose kingdom was not to be of this world, who was to be made perfect through sufferings, who was to triumph by humiliation, who was to become victorious by a shameful death, and in whose humiliation, and sufferings, and cross, the world was to glory; that was an idea which never presented itself to their minds, and which, if it had presented itself, would have been immediately rejected, as having no form nor comeliness, for which it could have been desired: yet, such was the method contrived by Infinite^ Wisdom to accomplish the redemption of the world. One great