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his blood must be shed with respect to believers, or, which is most absurd, and never to be imagined, shed as water upon the ground, and totally cast away: so that you see by all this, it was for our sakes, as the text speaks, that he sanctified himself. And now we may say, "Lord, the condemnation was thine, that the justification might be mine; the agony thine, that the victory might be mine; the pain was thine, and the ease is mine; the stripes thine, and the healing balm issuing from them mine; the vinegar and gall were thine, that the honey and sweet might be mine; the curse was thine, that the blessing might be mine; the crown of thorns was thine, that the crown of glory might be mine; the death was thine, the life purchased by it mine; thou paidst the price that I might enjoy the inheritance."
INFERENCE 1. If Jesus Christ wholly set himself apart for believers, how reasonable is it that believers should consecrate and set themselves apart wholly for Christ! Is he all for us, and shall we be nothing for him? What he was, he was for you. Whatever he did, was done for you; and all that he suffered, was suffered for you. Oh then, "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, present your bodies," that is, your whole selves, "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." Rom. 12: 1. As your good was Christ's end, so let his glory be your end. Let Christ be the "end of your conversation." Heb. 13: 7. Oh, that all who profess faith in Christ, could subscribe cordially to that profession, "None of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself; but whether we live, we live to the Lord; and whether we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's." Rom. 14:8. This is to be a christian indeed. What is a christian, but a holy dedicated thing to the Lord? And what greater evidence can there be, that Christ set
himself apart for you, than your setting yourself apart for him?
This is the marriage covenant, "Thou shalt be for me, and not for another; so will I be for thee." Hos. 3:3. Ah, what a life is the life of a christian; Christ all for you, and you all for him. Blessed exchange! "Soul," saith Christ, "all I have is thine." "Lord," saith the soul, "and all I have is thine." "Soul," saith Christ, "my person is wonderful, but what I am, I am for thee: my life was spent in labor and travail, but it was for thee." "And, Lord," saith the believer, "my person is vile, and not worth thy accepting; but such as it is, it is thine; my soul, with all and every faculty; my body, and every member of it; my gifts, time, and all my talents, are thine."
And see that as Christ bequeathed and made over himself to you, so ye, in like manner, bestow and make over yourself to him. He lived not, neither died for himself, but you. Oh that you, in like manner, would down with self, and exalt Christ in the room of it. "Wo, wo is me," saith one, "that the holy profession of Christ is made a showy garment by many to bring home a vain fame; and Christ is made to serve men's ends. This is to heat an oven with a king's robes. Except men martyr and slay the body of sin, in holy selfdenial, they shall never be Christ's martyrs and faithful witnesses. Oh if I could be master of that house-idol, myself, mine own, mine own wit, will, credit, and ease, how blessed were I! We have need to be redeemed from ourselves, as much as from the devil and the world. Learn to put out yourselves, and to put in Christ for yourselves. I should make a good bargain, and give old for new, if I could turn out self, and substitute Christ my Lord in place of myself; to say, 'Not I, but Christ; not my will, but Christ's; not my ease, not my lusts, not my credit, but Christ, Christ.'-O wretched
idol, myself, when shall I see thee wholly expelled, and Christ wholly put in thy room?"
He set himself apart for you, believers, and no others; no, not for angels, but for you. Will ye also set yourselves apart peculiarly for Christ? be his and no other's? Let not Christ and the world share and divide your hearts between them: let not the world come in and say, Half mine. You will never fulfil your obligations to Christ, nor answer this grace, till you can say, as Psa. 73: 25, "whom have I in heaven but thee? and on earth there is none that I desire in comparison of thee." "None but Christ, none but Christ," is a proper motto for a christian.
He left the highest and best enjoyments, even those in his Father's bosom, to set himself apart for death and suffering for you. Are you ready to leave the bosom of the best and sweetest enjoyments you have in this world, to serve him? If you stand not habitually ready to leave father, mother, wife, children, lands, yea, and life too, to serve him, you are not worthy of him. Matt. 10: 37. He was so wholly given up to your service, that he refused not the worst and hardest part of it, even bleeding, groaning, dying work; his love to you sweetened all this to him. Can you say so too? do you
account the reproaches of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt," as Moses did? Heb. 11:26. He so entirely devoted himself to your work, that he could not be at rest till it was finished: he was so intent upon it, that he "forgot to eat bread." John, 4:31, 32. So it should be with you; his service should be meat and drink to you. He was so wholly given up to your work and service, that he would not suffer himself to be in the least diverted, or taken off from it; and if Peter himself counsel him to favor himself, he shall hear, "Get thee behind me, Satan." Oh happy were it if our hearts were but so engaged for Christ! In Galen's time it was a proverb,
when they would express the impossibility of a thing, "You may as soon take off a christian from Christ."
2. If Christ hath sanctified or consecrated himself for us, what a horrid evil it is, to use Christ or his blood as a common and unsanctified thing. Yet so some do, as the apostle speaks, Heb. 10:29. The apostate is said to "tread under foot the Son of God," and to "count his blood an unholy (or common) thing." But wo to them that do so; they shall be counted worthy of something worse than "dying without mercy," as the apostle there speaks.
And as this is the sin of the apostate, so it is also the sin of all those that without faith approach, and so profane the table of the Lord, unbelievingly and unworthily handling those awful things. Such "eat and drink judg ment to themselves, not discerning the Lord's body." 1 Cor. 11:29. Whereas the body of Christ was a thing of the deepest sanctification that ever God created, sanctified, as the text tells us, to a far more excellent and glorious purpose than ever any creature in heaven or earth was sanctified. It was therefore the great sin of those Corinthians, not to discern it, and not to behave themselves towards it, when they saw and handled the signs of it, as became so holy a thing. And as it was their great sin, so God declared his just indignation against it, in those sore strokes inflicted for it. As they discerned not the Lord's body, so neither did the Lord discern them from others in the judgments that were inflicted. And, as one well observes, God drew the model and platform of their punishment from the structure and proportion of their sin. And truly, if the moral and spiritual seeds and originals of many of our outward afflictions and sicknesses were but duly sifted out, possibly we might find a great part of them in this sin. Oh then, when you draw nigh to God in that ordinance, take heed to sanctify his name, by a spiritual discerning of
this most holy and most deeply sanctified body of the Lord; sanctified beyond all creatures, angels or men, not only in respect of the Spirit which filled him, without measure, with inherent holiness, but also in respect of its dedication to such a service as this, it being set apart by him to such holy, solemn ends and uses.
And let it, for ever, be a warning to such as have lifted up their hands to Christ in a holy profession, that they never lift up their heel against him afterwards by apostasy. The apostate treads on God's dear Son, and God will tread upon him for it. "Thou hast trodden down all that err from thy statutes." Psa. 119 : 118.
3. What a choice pattern of love to saints have we here before us? Calling all that are in Christ to an imitation of him, even to give up ourselves to their service, as Christ did; not in the same kind, for so none can give himself for them, but as we are capable. You see here how his heart was affected towards them, that he would sanctify himself as a sacrifice for them. See to what a height of duty the apostle improves this example of Christ; "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us; and we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren." 1 John, 3:16. Some christians came up fairly to this pattern in primitive times; Priscilla and Aquila laid down their necks for Paul, Rom. 16:4; that is, eminently hazarded their lives for him; and he himself could "rejoice, if he were offered up upon the sacrifice and service of their faith." Phil. 2 17. And in the next times, what was more known, even to the enemies of christianity, than their fervent love one to another? Ecce quam mutuo se diligunt, et mori volunt pro alterutris! See how they love one another, and are willing to die one for another!
But alas! the primitive spirit is almost lost in this degenerate age: instead of laying down life, how few will lay down twelve-pence for them? I remember it is