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In this fearful state of man, God looked down with pity and compassion upon him, and provided a remedy; this remedy was found in the Son of his love. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. (a) In the likeness of sinful flesh! Good God! how abasing ! How many humiliating circumstances belong to Sinful Alesh! Shame, labour and toil, pain and death are what belong to Sinful flesh; and did our Lord submit to all these likewise ? He did ; and that in the most ignominious manner, in the lowest degree, as the vilest of criminals. Nay, but hear what an apostle says farther; Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the lan being made a CURSE for us ; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. (b) Be astonished, O my soul! nay, be astonished, 0 ye heavens, ye angels, ye morning stars of light! What do ye think: to see your incarnate maker hang a curse, not only accursed, but a curse, in the abstract. What do you think, you heirs of glory! Ye ransomed race, that he in whom all nations are blessed hangs yonder a curse! Lord, what is man? that thou art mindful of him; or the Son of man, that thou shouldest thus
(a) Rom. viii. 4.
(b) Gal. iii. 13.
be mindful of him! O this curse was a poisoned arrow indeed! the iron of which entered into his soul! He made his soul an offering for sins, and suffered the just for the unjust to bring us to God.
5. THE power and dominion of Satan was very great among the children of men. He threw his flaming dart, dipped in hellish hate, at his conqueror. It was permitted him to bruise the heel of him who in the issue should bruise his head. The pride of the arch rebel was very great, as well as his power, and that increased his rage in the highest degree. He knew the Saviour of the world would spoil principalities and powers, as most probably did all the infernal crew, and therefore the underlings of Satan cried out, Art thou come to torment us before the time? I know thee, exclaims one of them, the holy one of God. Many were the conflicts which the captain of our salvation had with the powers of darkness, during his pilgrimage here on earth ; but the grand conflict appears to have been upon the cross. Dreadful was the conflict indeed! Here, I apprehend, all hell was engaged. An awful cloud of darkness overspread the heavens; midnight vailed the glorious face of the sun, while the Sun of righteousness set in blood. But it is the last onset, and the victory is gained. It is finished, exclaims the conqueror! the enemy is routed; hell is put to flight; and a
sinful world is redeemed. Now the heavenly trumpets sound, the accuser of the brethren is cast down; a world of sinners is redeemed, and the deity is glorified.
“ 'Tis finish'd, cry'd the Lamb of God,
“ The gracious Lamb, he dies for me." Thus has the divine shepherd laid down his life for his sheep'; and by his death, life and immortality are brought to light through the gospel. · 11. HAVING considered the object presented to our view, a pierced Christ, I shall now enquire what is implied in looking to him.
1. It implies that we know our disease, our wants and weaknesses; for till that is the case we shall care very little about Christ, or the redemption wrought out by his dying agonies on the cross. They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. He came to seek and to save that which was lost.
BUT we must be sensible of our lost state before we shall enquire about the Saviour of sinners. What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, are the enquiries of millions; nay, and of millions too who profess christianity, who will own in words they are sinners, but are wholly unconcerned about that salvation so dearly purchased
for them; they may assent and consent ; and that is all.
But it is far different with a soul that is truly hungering and thirsting after righteousness. The language of such an one is, As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul is athirst for God, even for the living God. (a)
It may be truly said of such an one, behold, he prayeth. He looks round for help in the creatures; but all is vanity: be tries what his own good works, or resolutions will do; but all are as filthy rags. He tries men and means, but refuge fails on every side. What shall he do? Whither shall he fly? He is driven from every plea ; and while he is looking upon his case as desperate, he hears a voice saying, Look unto me and be saved all yea ends of the earth. (b) I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (c) The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Such precious texts are reviving cordials to poor sin-sick souls, when they are applied by the spirit to the heart of the sinner.
2. This looking, then, implies, some saving knowledge of the cure; and finds there is no other name given under heaven among men whereby a ruined sinner can be saved, but the name of Jesus. The sinner
(a) Ps. xlii, 1, 2.
(b) Isa. xlv. 22.
(c) Matt. ix. 12. views Jesus an able Saviour; believing, as touching his divine nature, that he is over all, God blessed for evermore; and therefore is able to save to the uttermost all them that come to him. He reads with pleasure, that in the days of his flesh he healed all that had need of healing; no disease was too obstinate for him to heal; no devil too hard for him to cast out; even roaring winds and stormy seas were obedient to him. All opposition fell before him. The sinner finds him as willing as he is able to save him. Sometimes his ability has been doubted; this was the foot on which the father of the lunatic child halted. If thou canst do any thing for us help us. He seemed to have no doubt of his willingness ; but, as the dumb devil had been too hard for the disciples, he was afraid it might be too hard even for the master. Some doubted his willingness : here the leper staggered, " If thou wilt; said he, thou canst make me clean," Most likely, he had seen our Lord do many mighty works; but knowing his to be a loathsome disease, few or none would come near him, he did not know whether our Lord would condescend so far or no. But the soul, of whom I am speaking, is like her who had the bloody issue, looks through all opposition; looking at the precious promises, and sweet invitations of the friend of sinners. How can he doubt so long as he hears that charming invitation,