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ambition, proud madness and frenzy! How dare such meh mention the name of Christ, who look on the imitation of his patience and gentleness as a scandalous meanness of spirit! For, according to their wretched notions of honour, they must account the ever-glorious Son of God himself to have been a mean spirited person; since he patiently put up even with blows and insults, without offering to avenge himself, or to make the least resistance.

Here the Lord of glory, before whom the cherubims themselves veil their effulgent faces, stands with his face bound and covered by way of mockery, and so disfigured with spittle, outrages, and blows, as not to be known. His ears ring with the most prophane blasphemies, the most virulent sarcasms, the bitter-est invectives; and his sacred head, worthy of unperishable crowns and diadems, is struck and buffeted with innumerable blows. But if we could see into the thoughts of his heart, we should stand amazed at the placid tranquillity of his heavenly mind. No thoughts of revenge are harboured there; no invective proceeds from his sacred lips. 'He is as a deaf man that doth not hear, and as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth, and as one in whose mouth are no reproofs,' (Psalm xxxviii. 13, 14.)

All these outrages he receives, not as proceeding from men; but from the just hand of his heavenly Father, as punishments for the immense debt of our sins, which he, who was our surety, had taken on himself to discharge. This was not a patience and magnanimity merely heroical, nor a passive submission of a timorous spirit. On the contrary, it was a most perfect sacrifice to the will of God; and the most absolute willingness to fulfil the scriptures, to drink the cup of sufferings, and to glorify his Father's name. Oh, that this sight of the mocked, insulted, and outraged Jesus may shame our resentful tempers, and mollify the pride and rancour of our obdurate, unrelenting hearts.

VOL. 1.

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APPLICATION.

THUS, my beloved brethren, we have seen the Prince of Life condemned by the Jewish rulers to suffer death. We have heard both the depositions of the false witnesses, and his own glorious confession. We have observed how he was condemned to die, as a blasphemer. Lastly, we have viewed him amidst the cruel mockery, and the inhuman outrages, of the brutal soldiers and servants. Let us, my beloved in the Lord, still dwell a little longer on this affecting spectacle; and draw from it some inferences, in order to induce us,

First, To express a hearty sorrow for our sins, and Secondly, To encourage us to a filial confidence, and a joyful faith in God.

First then, it is to be supposed that Jesus was, in his own person, perfectly innocent and without sin; and consequently did not suffer all these indignities and injurious treatment for any transgressions of his own. For though the sanhedrim or council of the Jews declared him a blasphemer, and accused him of high treason against the majesty of heaven; yet it is evident to every one, that this was the accursed effect of envy and malice, and consequently the charge was void of any real foundation. For what an extravagant inference was that drawn on another occasion by these men who were his judges? namely,

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This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day,' (John ix. 16.) and even opposeth us who have the honour of God so much at heart. he be not of God, he belongs to the devil, and as he belongs to the devil there cannot be a more horrid blasphemy than his pretending to be the Son of God.

But the blessed Jesus was otherwise manifested in the consciences of his enemies; as Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, confessed when he spoke these words to Christ, in the name of them all, Rabbi, or master, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that thou

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doest, except God be with him,' (John iii. 2.) Our blessed Lord might with confidence say, to the face of his most inveterate enemies and malicious slanderers, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye dishonour me,' (John viii. 49.) He could in his filial and affectionate converse with his heavenly Father even say, 'I have glorified thee on earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was,' (John xvii. 4, 5.) Could a blasphemer dare to converse in such language with the omniscient God? And would God have raised from the dead, visibly taken up to heaven, crowned with praise and honour, and placed on his own right hand, a person who had robbed him of his honour, and usurped his prerogative? It is therefore evident that Jesus was innocent; and consequently deserved no sentence of death, no rude mockeries, insults, and blows.

Do you ask, my brethren, what was the cause of all those inhuman outrages committed against the Son of God? My answer is: Alas! for your sins and mine he was smitten and afflicted. Nay Christ himself answers you in the words of the prophet: Thou hast made me to serve with thy sins; thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities,' (Isaiah xliii. 24.)

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As for the cause of his being sentenced as a blasphemer for making himself the Son of God, it is to be sought for in the fall of our first parents, of which we have all been partakers. Man, in the state of innocence, was his Creator's beloved child; but instead of being satisfied with that glorious privilege, he was. for mounting higher; he was for attaining to the summit of Divine perfection, and being equal to God himself, the great author of his being. Seduced by satan he, with the most impious arrogance, sought to deprive his Creator of the honour and pre-eminence due to him, to ascend his exalted throne, and to seat himself there as an equal with God. But he thereby

became like the devil, at whose instigation he fell, and rendered himself obnoxious to temporal and eternal death.

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Now for the atonement of these horrid sins, committed by the human race, the true and essential Son of God, who accounted it not robbery to be equal with God,' was not only to empty himself of his Divine glory; but also to suffer himself to be sentenced to death, as a blasphemer who deified himself. And this he did to expiate our presumption in endeavouring to make ourselves as gods by knowing good and evil, and again to acquire for us the glorious liberty of being the sons of God. How many thousands presumptuously pretend to be the children of God, and would fain be accounted such by others, who are utter strangers to the purity and holiness required in the gospel? To atone for this sin, if such men sincerely repent of their presumptuous arrogance and spiritual pride, the only Son of God was in this afflictive manner to satisfy God's offended justice, and not only to suffer his real Godhead, which he held of the Father by eternal generation, to be reviled; but likewise to permit the glorious character of his Divine Sonship to be ridiculed and reviled; nay, he suffered this indignity from the meanest slaves, on whom he himself had bestowed life, and breath, and power to insult him.

Therefore when we see, with the eye of faith, our dear Redeemer standing before the tribunal of the wicked, insulted and beaten by the licentious servants, and his awful and benign countenance covered with their loathsome spittle; we are not to suppose that all we have to do is to pity our suffering Saviour; to bewail him with lamentations and tears; and to express our indignation against the servants and soldiers, who thus treated him, by curses and execrations. For though they so horribly sinned against the Son of God, yet were they only the instruments to inflict those indignities, which our sins brought on him; for they

laid on him the iniquities of us all, and he was bruised for our transgressions. By our sins, we all assisted at this infernal carnival. By our sins, we also mocked and struck the Prince of Life, and, as it were, spit in the face of him, who is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person. Our sins were present, and consequently shared in the impious rage and violence, which these miscreants committed against the innocent Lamb of God.

Alas, my beloved brethren, did we rightly consider this, it would be impossible, that we should walk so carelesly and find such delight in sin! "Supposing, a malefactor (to borrow the words of Luther, who makes this comparison, in his sermon on the sufferings of Christ,) was to be executed for murdering the son of a prince, or king, and in the mean time, thou, ( sinner, wert carelesly singing and revelling till thou wert seized by the officers of justice, and convicted of having aided the assassin as an accomplice to perpetrate the murder: With what agonizing terrors wouldest thou be filled, especially if thy conscience likewise flew in thy face, and confirmed the accusation? With much more violent convulsions ought thy guilty mind to be agitated, when thou art reflecting on the sufferings of Christ. For the wicked Jews, were the servants of thy sins, and thou in reality art he, who by his sins hath put to death and crucified the Son of God." But alas! what will be done to the sinner, since God's beloved Son has been thus rigorously treated? He experienced no clemency, or alle viation of his sufferings. As he had taken on himself the enormous guilt of our blasphemies, our haughtiness and presumption, our sensuality and depravation, and allowed that they should be imputed to him, as our security; he was looked on and treated no otherwise, than if he himself had committed these and the like sins, and consequently the innocent Jesus suffered the punishment of them, instead of the guilty.

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