« AnteriorContinuar »
that sent me, while it is day, the night cometh when no man can work. My meat and drink is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. (a) And what was that work? The prophet, or rather our Lord himself tells us, The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor : he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and the recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (b) All this he did accomplish; the messengers of John the Baptist being eye witnesses, therefore our Lord dismissed them with this answer, “ Go and shew John again those things which you do hear and see, the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead · are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” (c) Moreover the prophet Daniel says of him, that he should finish transgression, and make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness
to seal up the vision, and prophecy, and to · anoint the most holy. (d).
THE sum of all is, he had to give full satisfaction to injured justice: to magnify
• (a) John iv. 34." (b) Luke iv. 18. ' (c) Matt. si, 5.
. (d) Dan. ix. 24. .
the law and provide for its honour; so that the righteousness of the Lord might be ful filled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. In his spotless life, he was to be the complete pattern; in his doctrine, the true model which we are to imitate, all which he was in the fall sense of the word; he did all his work perfectly, so that the amazed multitude was obliged to exclaim, He hath done all things well.
3. HE conquered his and our enemies. He led captivity captive. He trod' the. wine press alone, and of the people there were none with him; therefore said he,
I will tread them, that is, our enemies, in my anger, and trample them in my fury, and will stair all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. (a) The enemies he had to overcome were sin, satan, and death. The first he had promised to do long before, saying, I will ransom them from the power of the grave: I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plague ; ( grave, I will be thy destruction; repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. (b).
It is true, the bodies of the saints are yet in the dust, except such as rose with our blessed Lord, and therefore are yet the prisoners of death ; but as our Lord, who
(a) Isa. lxiii. 3, 4. (b) Hys. xiii. 14.
had assumed their nature, was risen and ascended, and thereby had overcome, so all his divine seed should assuredly ascend also; the last enemy, which is death, shall be entirely destroyed. Concerning Satan, the original promise is, The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head. (a) And now having spoiled principalities and poners, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it, (b) namely, bis cross.
No sooner had the Lord of glory made his appearance on carth, than satan laid a scheme, in the person of Herod, to destroy him ; but the plot miscarried, and satan and his miserable agent were disappointed; the wisdom of God interposing, so that the wise were taken in their own craftiness. The prince, of hell, then went another way to work ; he was determined to make an open attack in his own person, and chose a proper time, even when our blessed Lord was faint with hunger; and a proper place, even the wilderness, where no man dwelt. Here again he was foiled in every attempt. • He then set his trusty friends, the chief priests, scribes and pharisees to work, and herein they imagined that they had obtained their purpose; and therefore wreaked all their vengeance upon his body, by exposing him to all the pain and ignominy which
they could devise. But still his righteous soul stood collected in all the power of the Godhead, so that satan was still held in defiance, therefore he was resolved to collect all his hellish forces, and make one grand attack upon the cross, and at that critical moment, when the vials of divine indignation against sin fell upon the glorious sufferer. O, what an hour of darkness was that! The sun withdraws from the dreadful combat; , no angel now appears; the adorable sun of righteousness sets in blood; he bears our sins, he carries our sorrows; here upon this high altar, he takes away the sins of the world; gains the compleat victory, over sin, death and hell, and in the language of triumph exclaims, It is finished. Satan is finally foiled, a world of ruined sinners is redeemed, and all the sufferings of the man of sorrows finally ended, : Thus he became the captain of our salvation, and through death destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil : and delivered them who through fear of death were all their lifetime. subject to bondage. Thus he became the conqueror of all his and our enemies; and even we may triumphantly sing, amidst all our tempo tations, trials and difficulties, In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (a)
(a) Rom. viii. 37.
4. HAVING thus done, and suffered all for which he came into this vale of tears, he is set down at the right hand of God, where he ever liveth to make intercession..
There is a peculiar grandeur in the close of Mark's gospel, relative to this very circumstance: So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat at the right hand of God ; (a) confirming the words spoken by the eternal Father long before, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. (b) It was a most effectual way to comfort the mournful disciples when our Lord said, I ascend unto my Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God.
HE farther added, It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away the comforter will not come; but if I de part, I will send him to you.
Two glorious circumstances are inseparably connected with our Lord's ascension ; in which we are deeply interested, namely, his sending the comforter, and his making intercession for us. Here is a blessed chain of events dependent upon each other, laid down by the apostle. He begins the important enquiry, Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth: Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather is risen