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was held in the mire of the pit, until the time"%«cified by the covenant, for his deliverance from it. The Father's will had a very holding influence upon him; as a motive full of power; a motive, the force whereof no circumstance could breaff. Having laid, "Lo, I come : in the volume the "book it is written of me: I delight w do thy "will, O my God: yea, thy law v within my "heart," Psal. xl. 7, 8. having fesd so, he not only could not, in point of obligation, but would not in point os choice, resile or go back. "The "cup (said he) that the Father hath given me, "shall 1 not drink it," John xviii. 11. and again, "Father, if this cup may not pass from me, ex"ceptT drink it, thy will be done," Matth; xxvi. 42. The honour of his Father's law held him in this miry clay: the requisition of suffering and obtdience, made ky it, was ib supported by divine justice, that it was impofsible, in any consistency, with regard to these, for him to do otherways than abide in that mire, sinking and dangerous as it was, until both should say, It is enough. For "he "came, not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it," Matth. v. 17. not only to fulfil the demands of the law, in way of obedience; but to secure the honour and majesty of it, by suffering what ransomed sinners, through disobedience, would have otherways been subjected unto. The salvation of his people was another circumstance, by which the feet of Christ were held in the mire of the pit. His errand was to seek and save them, as lost sinners, Matth. xviii. 11. Nothing less than doing and suffering, to the whole extent of what the will, law and justice of the Father required, was sufficient to reach that noble, necessary and generous end: and therefore, as he loved them; as he commiserated their situation; as he willed their FecoB 6 very; verpf as his -whole heart was set on their -whole redemption; and as he was determined, that no soul the Father had given him, should be lost; his sticking as well as Jinking in the miry clay, was quite inevitable. His own honour was a crowing circunu'huice, by which our Lord's feet were held sast in tMs clay, while they funk deep into the ir.ire. He had said it, and therefore would not, could not, go tack; he had sworn it, and therefore it was impossible for him to make enquiry: and as in the saith of his doing as he had said, the Father had, for some thousands of years before the fulness of the times, been continually saving sinners, and receiving them to his glory; his fense of honour, and regard to his covenant engagements, were too delicate and strict, to leave the smallest possibility of. his sailing, in the least iotta, of all he had undertaken to do and suffer. Nay, , so much did he enter into the spirit of his work, and kvitp the ends of his humiliation in view, that, until all the prophecies concerning his sufferings Were accomplished, he could not, would not, leave the miry clay ; for when at the very point of death, ready, just ready, to expire, "That the scriptures "might be fulfilled, he iiiid, I thirst," John xix. 28. The scripture to which our Lord then referred, if written in the Ixix psalm and 21 verse, in these words, "They gave me gall for my meat, "and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." Had it not been out of more regard to the fulfilment of the holy scriptures, than to the gall and vinegar, it is certain, the bleeding Lamb had not thus expressed himself; but he knew that this, as well as other prophecies, behoved to take place; and therefore was. held in 'he jnire of the pit, until the homely spunge was presented, and the dreadful potion received; wh.n, in the language of inspiration,
spiration, he could, with respect to all that was written in Moses, the prophets and the psalms, concerning him, say " It is sinished," John xix. 30. To all this it may not improperly be added, that our Lord's future reward, as Man Mediator, had its own influence on keeping him in this^ miry clay, until he had finished the work and warsare to which his approaching reward had a-refpect; "Who (in the words of the apostle) for the joy "that was set before him, endured the cross, des"piling the stiame," Heb. xii. 2. But,
However long a person, literally, in such a pit and mire might live, in the nature of the thing, he behoved to die there; beautifully and signisicantly pointing out the death and burial of Jesus Christ. For, however long he weathered out the storm, it overcame him at last. The waters of wrath rushing down overflowed him; and the miry clay continuing to yield, buried him. The sirst of these, in the sacred page, is expressed by his "giving, or yielding, up the ghost," John xix. 30. The human soul and human body of the heavenly Man were sairly parted. He that went continually about doing good, lay a pale, breathless, and exanimate corpse: his tongue, that spake as never man did, was silenced: hiseyes, that never beheld the needy with indifference, were closed: his hands, so often employed in ofsices of kindness, lo! they sall down all lacerate and torn: his seet, that never sailed to carry him about his Father's business; behold them gored witif blood, and gashed with nails! his sacred temples, see how they bleed from countless pores! while streams of blood bespattering his other members, and staining all his raiments flow from his sacred side! and to deepen the awful tragedy, you cannot but observe, how his murderers turned him out of his
very garments, and made a prey of his clothing. Ah! is this naked, this wounded, this mangled and outcast piece of clay, the very Jesus of Nazareth, so mighty once in word and deed! Yes, my brethren, there and thus he lies, but lies as the covenant representative of lost sinners; nor could it be otherways, since he trode the wine-press of the Father's wrath alone. See, see, the victim salls! the sacrifice slain! the scene of life, as to him, in a suffering capacity, closed! and to crowa the whole, the curtain of the grave, by and by salls! For as he died, so the evangelists assure us he was buried; was decently wrapped up in clean linen, conveyed to Joseph of Arimathea's samily tomb; laid in a new niche of the rock, never before stained with dead bodies; and shut in by a great stone rolled to the mouth of the sepulchre. But, do ye not see these daughters of Jerusalem following the solemn procession, clothed in sable weeds, and di enche d in floods of tears? do ye not hear his mother sobbing out a grief, too big for utterance? while her companions in sorrow, Mary Magdalene, and other great debtors to free grace, can only express their tender feelings by sighs and groans. But hark! what meant that horrid crash, and what yonder universal gloom? The earth shook, my brethren, the rocks rent, and the fun, for a time, hid his sace; all nature appeared in mourning robes, from the siaeth to the ninth hour of the day; and no wonder, when he, who in his divine character, was, is, and continues the God of universal nature, suffered, and suffered unto death.
From the two preceeding sections, true Christians cannot do otherwise than infer the love and
gtace grace of God their Saviour. You see the price of your redemptions the value Jesus Christ put upon your salvation, paying lo much for it; the wrath you were subjected unto, are now delivered from; together with the vastness of that mercy, by which you are secured from such vast wrath. Since you were naturally the children of this wrath; stnce you would still have been exposed to it, if not actually groaning under it, had not the Mediator seasonably interposed; since being under no obligation, arising from sinners themselves, to undertake this labour of love, he might have left the whole apostate samily to wander and perish for ever; and since, while others are lying under the cloud of wrath, you are distinguished by his grace; does it not follow, by the most natural and necessary consequence, that you are bound to view these things, into which angels themselves desire to look, with wonder, joy and gratitude? to aim at expressing your high thoughts of redeeming love, by the exercise of humble praise, firm, believing and siedtast obedience; and at expressing them, by a generous concern for the souls of others, exposed to wrath, and yet insensible of their danger, and unaffected with it. Help them therefore, by your prayers, advice and example; do every thing within your sphere, in a dependence on grace, to draw them from beneath the impending cloud of the wrath of God; or, in the words now under consideration, to draw them out of the horrible pit and miry clay. Nor cease to pray for those, whose province it is to labour in word and doctrine, that thty may be endowed with holy skill, divine sagacity, and blessed success, in their ministerial endeavours, after the recovery of lost sinners.