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is indeed a most affecting thing, that on Him, thus tie pure and invoteut, was laid the burden of all conceivable transgression.
But in opening to you this head of the subject, we desire to shew, not only that Jesus, the just, suffered for the unjust, but that the very righteousness of his character enormously enhanced the amount of his sufferings.
Now, the very purity, and innocence, and blamelessness of the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, caused that there should be a strange incongruity between the nature that he bore, and the region that he inhabited. All was strange and all was alien ; so that whatever he looked upon, and whatsoever he heard, was revolting, and loathsome, and hateful to him. We may conceive this, though it may be in some very small degree. If a man in whose heart the work of sanctification had made the greatest progress, a man who had grown up in the knowledge and in the practice of divine things, a man who should stand forth from the society by which he was encompassed, and whose life should be a daily and prevailing censure on evil practices; if we can conceive of such an one, condemned to the companionship of the most unholy, constrained to have daily and hourly intercourse with the infidel and the blasphemer, who should pour forth from the evil heart words of corruption and defilement; we should readily conceive, that on such an one would be laid a far more dreadful infliction than human malice could otherwise devise : and if such a man were locked up in the dungeon cell, with evil companions such as we have described, death would be a light infliction : all the agony and all the torture that could be laid on the suffering frame-work of flesh, would be light and insignificant compared with the laceration and agony of his spirit. And yet even this does not represent to us the sufferings that came to the pure and holy spirit of Jesus ; just in consequence of this contrast between his own righteous nature, and the unrighteous wherewith he was surrounded : because in ourselves, even when we have made the utmost advancement, even when we have gone the farthest forward in the attainments of the Christian character, there remains so much of the old nature, so inuch of unconquered and unexpelled sin, that we are not so keenly alive as we should otherwise be to the dreadful torment of such intercourse with sin.
Moreover, this purity in the nature of the Lord Jesus which we assert altogether as much in respect of his freedom from original as from actual sin, made him the especial object of unceasing and most malignant attack to Satan. The prince of this world came but he had nothing in Jesus : of the heart of the pure and the holy Jesus it might alone be affirmed, that Satan had no resting-place there. It was a hopeless thing for Satan to drive him from his purpose: it was a hopeless thing for him to bring all his power to bear, all the violence which he could command, or all the alluring enticements that he could bring. It was in vain; the holiness of Jesus never faltered for one single instant; there was no relaxation of principle; there was no pause ; there was no questioning ; there was no doubtfulness. And therefore Satan, knowing that he could not turn Christ aside from his purpose, and that he could not hinder the accomplishment of his work, spent all his malignity, his stored-up hostility, in hindering it: or, irocording to the language of Scripture, in bruising the heel of the secu uf the woman.
And precisely to the same cause must we trace the unchangeable malignity which was manifested against Christ by the Jews amongst whom he dwelt. We do not think there is any thing in the low condition of the Lord : we do not think there is any thing in the circumstance of his being of peasant origin; of his being a man without education, not knowing letters; a man without influence, mingling in the lower spheres of society ; we do not think there is in this enough to account for his rejection by the Jews, when we remember, that he came commanding such powers of miracle,' such stupendous might, that they might well have trusted the destinies of their fallen nation to his direction. But it was that he, the Just, was dwelling in the midst of the unjust : and therefore the very loveliness of his character, the unsullied purity of his life, the zeal and the devotion of his heart, would be the very cause for waking up amongst them deeper and more abiding malignity. And hence it is that in this way was the purity of the nature and the life of Jesus, the great cause of the amount of his sufferings. You will see, that just as this exposed him to greater opposition from his enemies, so did it make him, at the same time, more susceptible. It belongs to high, generous, and noble natures, to care for disgrace. We can easily conceive of one who shall be unjustly condemned to die, and who, with the consciousness of his own innocence, might be content to yield his life. With the lofty contempt which he should feel for the pain and the anguisk of his last hour, he would be content that the body and soul should be parted; he would be content to go to his grave unmurmuringly: but he shrinks from the shame ; he shrinks from being dragged before the vile populace, and, looking around on the sea of faces, to find not one which has not written upon it hatred, and mockery, and scorn. This would be the agony of the death of such an one.
Now, just conceive what was the death of the Saviour. All the indignity that could be possibly conceived was heaped on him; and all the disgrace that might be accumulated on the malefactor, seemed, as it were, to be stored up for his death hour. We sympathize, perhaps, with the physical nature of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ. We may conceive something, though inadequately, of the pain which would result from all those external inflictions of which we read, when every quivering fibre would be made in its acute sensibility, an engine of the greatest bodily distress. But we do not so much sympathize with the disgrace laid on the noble spirit; and remember, that Jesus in his own nature, had all our sensibilities, and all our capacity for suffering, Herein we think the contrast between the character of Christ and the character of all those among whom he mingled, was the cause, in the first place, why the amount of suffering was so greatly increased ; and why, in the next place, he was far more keenly alive to this amount of suffering.
Now we might carry out this argument further, but we pass on, as we proposed, to the second head of our subject, which was to speak of the Cause OP THE ENDURANCE to which the SaviouR WAS CALLED, It was sin that caused all that Christ suffered. There was a mighty controversy between the Creator and his fallen creatures; and sin was the subject of it. There was a wide separation, an interval of untravelled distance, between God and the
inhabitants of this lower world; and sin had interposed this distance: and the world which God formed for the stately dwelling-place, for the accommodation of his sentient and intelligent creatures, had been now made the abode of misery, and the very lodging-place of woe: and sin was the cause of this.
Now, if we wanted to speak prevailingly and convincingly to you concerning the misery which sin has introduced, it would be very easy for us to expatiate on the contrast which there is subsisting between the first creation of God, as a fair and blooming garden, resting beneath the sun-light of his favour, and the world which hath become changed into a howling wilderness. Or we might go yet further back, and tell you how sin came into heaven, and cast the angels down, and changed them into devils, and built up a prison-house where they should be locked in, and forged the fetters wherewith they should be bound, and kindled the flames wherein they should be tormented. But it is not so much of the apparent consequences of sin, whether it be the external, seen on the face of this spoiled creation; or whether it be that which we are carrying about as evidence in our own bosoms. We would not speak so much of the thorn and the brier that have been made to spring up on the surface of the earth: we would not tell you of the cities which sin hath ruined and laid waste; and how it makes eyes to be fountains of tears, and how it breaks hearts, and separates families, and severs the ties of affectionateness and love. We would not tell you how it has peopled the grave, and sent generation after generation to its last resting-place. But if we wanted to tell you what sin has done ; if we wanted to concentrate into one expression all the tremendous amount of what sin has brought, in the way of misery and woe, into the world, we tell you it in this one thing—Christ suffered for sin. Or if we would speak to you of the amount of punishment, of the penalty which sin brings in its train, we might speak of what the Lord hath in store hereafter : we might speak of the worm that never dieth, and the flame that never shall be quenched : we might speak of the awful sentence to be pronounced at the judgment-seat of the Eternal, which shall cause the lips of the scorner to grow white with terror, and shall palsy his heart, and cause his blood to stagnate in his veins. But we tell you yet more tremendously of what sin hath done, when we tell you that Christ died for sin; that the penalty was such that all the bounds of creation might have been sought over, and not one but Jesus found who could bear the tremendous weight of all its accumulated punishment. And therefore when we lead you to the cross of Christ, and when we shew you the throes, and the anguish, and the death of the Incarvate God, we think we are telling you, on the one hand, the most prevailingly and the most convincingly, of the evil of sin, and the danger of sin. And this was the cause why Christ came: it was because sin was raising the yell and the groan throughout this fair creation. But Jesus left it not to perish, and would not permit it to remain in its off-cast condition : he came himself to wrestle with the evil spirit, and to subdue and trample it under his feet. He came, he suffered for us, “ the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God:” that he might establish a reconcilement. There had been a long alienation : God, as it were, had hidden bis face, because he was holy, and could not be approached without holiness; but
Jesus came, and by his own blood-shedding he opened a royal road, along which the sinner of every shade and every hue of guilt might travel forward, even to the borders of God's restored kingdom. Without holiness none can see the Lord: Jesus (and mark this, I pray you) Jesus died for sin, that we
I his people might die unto sin. He not only came to free us from the condemnation of guilt, but he came to set us free moreover from its bondage. He came to open the prison-doors, and to proclaim liberty to the captive: so that they who had been held too long beneath the thraldom of the evil one—those who had been sold unto the basest of all slavery, were now to be emancipated, and were henceforth to enjoy the liberty wherewith Christ makes his people free.
And therefore when we tell you of these things ; when we speak of pardon, when we speak of holiness, what is it but to bring before you the cross of the Saviour that died for you? To preach the Gospel is, in other words, to preach the death of Christ. If we would speak of peace to the rebel, of pardon to the apostate, of liberty to the captive, the binding up of the wounds that sin hath inflicted; it is only just so far as we preach Christ crucified. If there be one sweet and precious promise in the whole Bible to the believer, it belongs to him only just so far as Jesus hath written it upon him in crimson characters; only just so far as Jesus hath sealed it with his own blood. If there be any thing for us of sparing mercy—if there be any thing of lovely or of gracious, that hath escaped the fall, it is only because of the interposition of Jesus' blood. If there be any hope for the future; if there be any aspirations of the Spirit after God and after eternal blessedness; and if there ever breathe upon our wearied spirits the airs from the land of the redeemed; and if we ever seem to catch the melodiousness of heavenly harpings—it is because Jesus by his own bloodshedding, hath opened mercy's gate, and presented the way whereby heaven may be reached. If I go to the young convert, if I go to one on whose conscience the conviction of sin has been bound, I dare not speak of aught but the blood of Jesus. Such an one-might look to the past, but it would be a weary waste, affording not one green spot where he might rest for his soul's comfort. He might look to the future; and there should seem to be only the bursting and the overwhelming tide of divine indignation. But I may tell him of Christ; I may tell him of his precious Gospel, as the ark in which his soul may be shut in and be safe, when the storm shall burst upon the ruined world. Or do I go to the dying bed of one of God's own people, one established in the faith, who has long walked with his Maker, who has been doing his work upon earth, and serving his precious Saviour? I dare not speak to such an one a word of comfort to be derived from his own doings: I dare not tell him, even my grey-headed brother or father, of what God hath enabled him to effect, as the ground of his dying dependance. But even such an one would I remind aye, till his pulse should quicken, and his heart should beat with anticipated blessedness—that Jesus had died for him; and that the out-poured blood of the Saviour, which had been his soul's comfort, through many a day of trial, conflict, and weariness, and temptation, shall be his rest and his hope even when he is departing. And this, when he shall stand before the judgment-seat, He shall be able to plead, and not one word shall he say of his own doings ;
but as he casts his golden crown which Jesus hath given him before his feet, he will render praise, and honour, and glory, and thanksgiving to the Lamb who died for him.
Finally, brethren, if I wished to give comfort to the mother, mourning for her dear babe whom God hath taken from her in its earliest infancy, and as she looked on her coffined little one, she was inclined to shed a mother's tears for her tender babe, this is the only ground of consolation that I would offer her—that Jesus has died for your child; it has been washed in its Saviour's blood; and a very tender God hath taken the little one away ere it lived to commit the sin of rejecting Christ. And, therefore, whensoever as Christian people, holding intercourse with each other, or whensoever in our intercourse as minister and people, these things come before us, we find in the outpoured blood of Jesus, the only ground for our consolation and hope.
Now for the comfort of one's own soul, one would be glad on such a day as this, here to leave our subject; one would be glad to close the consideration of such a matter as this with the consolations that belong to the people of the Lord. But I dare not believe concerning you, in the wildest imagination of my heart, I dare not believe concerning you, that you are all the people of Jesus Christ : I dare not so forget the distinction which the Bible establishes, as to confound you all because you come to the house of God in one single indiscriminate mass. am bound to think concerning you—and I think it with all thankfulness—that some are the servants of Jesus Christ, that some are indeed the sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty: though others there are over whom I cannot but mourn in spirit, and to whom I must now speak a word of affectionate exhortation. I am bound to deal faithfully with your souls; and I dare not take that bread which belongeth to the children, and deal it forth to the strangers who have not come within the compass of the family of God. And, therefore, I say to you, (and methinks it is a most solemn warning,) that these very things, which are for the comfort and assurance of the believer, will be the very ground of the final condemnation of those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ. It will not be that you sinned against the light of nature: it will not be that you rejected the evidence of your own reason : but it will be that Jesus shed his blood; it will be that Jesus sent his Gospel to be preached to you, and that you disregarded it, that you trampled it under foot, and closed your understandings and your hearts against the entrance of that Gospel. And af the great day of account, the witness for the condemnation of Christendom will be fetched in from the garden of Christ's agony, and from the inount whereon his cross was planted : and Jesus himself—the kind, the loving, and the precious Saviour-will himself appear as the awful witness ; and be will testify concerning those who disbelieved and rejected him, “ I came to them, and I laid down my life for them, and I offered them mercy; and I sent the pleadings of my compassion ; and they heard me not. I bore for them thirty-three years of sufferings~1, the Just, in the midst of the unjust; for them I endured three hours of mental anguish, ere I yielded up the ghost. And they would not serve me, but they served mine enemy, who made them no such offers, and who had nought to tempt them with, who could not tell them of eternal life: but for the