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guishing parts of his undertaking. To debase his Godhead to the character of a servant, to subinit to the hunble grades of life, to bear the pressure of the wrath of heaven due to sin, to agonize in reeking blood in the garden, to bleed and expire in a painful and most ignominious death on the cross, these were lines of distinc. tion in his suffering, obedience and humiliation, of a marked and superior nature.
Fourthly, Christ's giving up his life in the wonderful manner he did, is the peculiar and distinguishing test of his mediatorship. Not eating the forbidden fruit was the test of Adam's fidelity, and was to have been the foundation of glory and felicity to all his seed ; so the sufferings of Jesus to the death threatened to Adam, was to prove salvation to all his seed. Thus the accomplishment of all undertaken by him, appears in the scriptural declarations. “Who being in the form of God, thought it not 6 robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputa“tion, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made “ in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, "he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the “ death of the cross.” He informs us, “ That he came down " from heaven, not to do his own will, but the will of the Father " that sent hiin.” He laid down his life as his own act and deed, ever offering profound obedience to the Father, who was to be head and principal in the eternal system. “ This he had received
of his father, to lay down his life for the sheep." In his great conflict in the garden of Gethseme, as the cup of sufferings approached his lips, behold his willingness to drink it to the dregs. “ Nevertheless, says he, mot my will, but thine be done.” The design of eternity was, that he should suffer unto death-hence, in all faithfulness, he readily submits to the decree of heaveli. « The cup that my Father hath given me to drink, shall I not “ drink it?" As if he had said, the sufferings and death I engaged to pass through, shall I not undergo with a willing and ebedient heart?" He deemed it his meat and drink to do the wall of « his heavenly Father.” Hence he declares by the Prophet, he turned not away froin any i uominy, contempt, or punishment. “ gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that "plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” Al to all this, the words of our text, with the preceding verse. " sacrilice and olfering, thou didst not desire, mine ears hast “ thou opened ; burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not “ required; then said I, lo I come in the volume of the " book, it is written of ine ; I delight to do thy will, O my God; "yea thy law is within my heart.”.
From all these considerations, it is abundantly evident that Jesus Christ underwent his last sufferings and endured death in express conformity to the eternal stipulation, or agreeably to the covenant of redemption. From hence it likewise appears, that the principal and super-eminent part he performed in this great business, was his last passion, and being obedient unto death. If we attend to his own exercises and declarations when this concluding scene drew on, we shall need no addition al reasons to convince us, that this was the high, distinguishing, and trying part of his duty. He wrestles for strength and support in this mighty conflict, with strong cries and groans. His sweat was great drops of blood falling to the ground. How full of ardor was his prayer, and how much agony and anguish of soul does it express ? “ If it be possible, let this cup pass from me, " nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.” How fully da these things demonstrate, in his own feeling and judgment, that his final sufferings were the greatest trial of his fidelity, and thç most illustrious part of his Mediatorship?
A few reflections will bring this subject to a conclusioni.
First, We are here taught the glory and the beauty of the scripture account, respecting the wonderful device of man's salvation. The foundation of this astonishing work is laid in the cternal Trinity. The Father is represented as sustaining all the
dignity of Godhead ; the Son as passing through all the suffisa ings, and making the atonement necessary ; the Holy Ghost as the applicant of the whole, in the completion of the work.-Hence Christ declares upon all occasions, that he came to do the will of his Father, that his Father sent him, and to glorify God he undertook the business of redemption. Thus he declares in his last prayer, he had glorified his Father on eartlı, and finished the work which he gave him to do. The work of atonement which Christ Jesus performed in his humiliation is represented as the work appointed him of the Father. “ For he sought not “ his own will, but the will of his Father that sent hiin."
Yea, all the accomplishments with which Christ was furnished to discharge the business of mediation, are continually spoken of as conferred upon him by the Father. Although he himself was truly God, and in his divine nature co-equal with the Father, yet in the great part he had to act in the redemption of men, he submitted to an inferior character, so that he made himself, as it is said, of no reputation. The human person of Christ, in which he suffered for the sins of mankind, is represented as given him by the Father. Thus he speaks, “ A body hast thou prepared “ me.” It was adjusted in the counsels of heaven, that the pature he should assume, should be without pollution or sin, and should be perfectly adapted to make an atonement. It was a body so constituted, that it might be offered as a real and substantial sacrifice. This body was prepared with a living and rational soul; and on the reasonableness and voluntariness of the sacrifice, its whole virtue and efficacy depended. Therefore, his sufferings have power “ to purge the conscience from dead works.” His human nature had a super-abundant unction of the Holy Spirit that all fullness in him should dwell. The great cause of Christ's undertaking the business of redemption, was, that Jehovah might be glorified, and that it should appear to all intelligences, that the divine government was supported and magnified, while salvation was procured for lost sinners. "I delight to do “thy will, my God; yea, thy law is within my heart."
Secondly, We here learn, that nothing can glorify God in the removal and pardon of sin, but the obedience and blood of Christ. « Behold the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” From hence arises the vehemency of the rejection of all other things for this purpose. “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not “ desire, burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required." The sacrifices and offerings under the law, were all typical of the gospel dispensation, and the great sacrifical atonement which should be made by Jesus Christ. These ancient sacrifices had no virtue in themselves, but the offerer by faith in the great prefigurations, obtained pardon of sin, and peace and comfort in his inind. The church of Israel, as they became carnal, lost their views of the design of these institutions, and began to consider the operation of the sacrifice as sufficient to satisfy for their offene ces therefore, God here, by the mouth of David, declares with abhorrence their utter insufficicncy. “ For the blood of bulls " and of goats, cannot take away sin.” The peculiar virtue of the blood of Christ, is the only thing adequate to this grand accomplishment.
Thus the commands in the New Testament to christians, to pera form good works, are innumerable—but when any begin to depend upon their doings and performances, upon their virtue and merit, for pardon of sin and acceptance with God, with what detestation and sinking condemnation are they with abhorrence rejected? Yea, such conduct is charged with uncommon criminality, as trampling under foot the blood of Christ, setting aside the whole gospel and righteousness of God. If the provided righte cousness of God be despised by sinners, whereon can they found any hope or expectation? Wherefore, the exhortation arising from the doctrine is, that we should renounce oursel:es, and our own righteousness, and look only to the atonement and satisfac
tion for forgiveness, and an admittance into the favor of Goda Would we live; eternally live, let us cleave to Christ, and him crucified, as the only and last anchor of hope. “Then said I, lo “I come in the volume of the book, it is written of me."
Thirdly, Our reflections should tara upon the wonders of the love of Jesus, in the amazing undertaking. Angels fell back with astonishment'; cherubim and seraphim flew from the winepress of divine wrath. In this awful conjuncture of man's guil. ty affairs, behold the Son of God steps forth in the greatness of his strength, as mighty to save.. He proclaims aloud, through heaven and carth, “ My arm shall bring salvation." Was there ever heard such a proclamation of mercy, grace and benevolence, in circumstances so hopeless and forlorn ? ". Lo I come.” How astonishingly great was his readiness to lay aside the divine radicncy of his celestial glory, to stoop to the assumption of the nature of the seed of Abraham, and become obedient unto death, to bring such hell deserving creatures as we are to everlasting life. “ Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid “ down his life for us." This has been such an expression of love, that there has been none like it in all the earth, nor ever will there be such another. “O that we may be able to compie“hend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth « and heigth, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth “ knowledge, that we may be filled with all the fullness of « God.”
O christians, surely you never can sufficiently admire the love of God and Christ Jesus. Ought not your hearts to glow with seraphic affection, while you contemplate the glorious theme? Let your hearts and your whole lives be expended in gratitude and praise. The subject of redeeming love will employ your souls and tongues throughout eternity.
Will not all these considerations induce you to live by faith,