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but in other parts he speaks so entirely in the person of the Messiah whom he typified, that we can scarcely apply the words to any other. Nor whilst we assert this are we in any danger of erring; because our blessed Lord himself, and the Evangelists who wrote his life, and St. Paul also, all concur in putting this very construction upon the psalm, and in citing various parts of it as actually accomplished in Christ. "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up"," is applied to Christ on one occasion; and on another, "They hated me without a cause." His general deportment is said to have been predicted in those words, "The reproaches of them that reproached thee, fell on me." At his crucifixion was fulfilled that remarkable prophecy, "They gave me gall for my meat, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink"." Even to Judas who betrayed him is one portion of it applied, "Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein." After such authorities as these, we do not hesitate to interpret our text as referring to the sufferings of Christ, and as describing,
I. Their overwhelming nature
If David, as a type, had many things to suffer, much more had that Saviour whom he typified. We will not however speak of his sufferings during the whole period of his sojourning on earth; but of those only which he endured in the closing scenes of his life, and which seem more particularly referred to in the psalm before us. That we may have a more distinct view of them, we will notice,
1. Those which were previous to his apprehension["He had indeed a fearful prospect before him," a bloody "baptism to be baptized with; and how was he straitened till it should be accomplished!" When the time for its accomplishment drew nigh, his "soul was so troubled, that he knew not what to say." As a man, he felt disposed to deprecate his sufferings, and to be saved from that hour that was fast approaching: but, as our Mediator, he would not recede, because
b John ii. 17.
e John xix. 29.
c John xv. 25.
d Rom. xv. 3.
g Luke xii. 50.
he had come into the world for the express purpose of suffering all that was due to our sinsh. In the garden of Gethsemane his sorrows came yet more heavily upon him, so that he cried, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." On this occasion he cried repeatedly, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from mek!" And such was the agony of his soul, that "he sweat great drops of blood" from every pore of his body'. To this period in particular we may suppose the petitions in our text to refer: for then " he offered up his supplications with strong crying and tears:" and such were the intenseness of his agony, and the ardour of his importunity, that "his throat was dried," " his eyes failed," his whole nature was exhausted, and he needed "an angel to be sent from heaven to strengthen him." It must be remembered, that in all this time no man had approached to hurt him: and therefore we are sure that his sorrows proceeded from "the powers of darkness" who were now let loose upon him, and from the hand of God himself, who now concurred to inflict upon him the curse due to our iniquities', which by a covenant-engagement he had undertaken to sustain.]
2. Those which he sustained during his trial—
[It was no slight aggravation of his troubles that he was betrayed into the hands of his murderers by a kiss from one of his own disciples, and that "one who had eaten bread with him lifted up his heel against him." And when he was seized and bound, he was yet further wounded in his soul by the intemperate zeal of another of his disciples, who, instead of submitting with meekness to the will of God, sought to destroy the adversaries of his Lord". From the garden he was hurried to the palace of the high priest, and, subsequently, from one tribunal to another, only to be treated with all manner of indignities, and to be denied that justice which his judges pretended to administer. How inconceivably painful to his mind must it have been, to be arrayed in mock majesty, to be made an object of profane scoffing, to be smitten, and buffeted, and spit upon, and loaded with all manner of accusations, and all this time not to have so much as one of the many myriads whom he had healed to bear testimony in his favour*; yea, even his own disciples having forsaken him, one indeed ex cepted, whose presence only aggravated his sorrow, by his impious oaths, and pertinacious denial of his Lord. Even a measure that was adopted with a view to preserve his life,
h John xii. 27. with John xii. 23, 32, 33. k Matt. xxvi. 39,44.
n ver. 3.
q Isai. liii. 10.
t John xiii. 18.
1 Luke xxii. 44.
• Luke xxii. 43.
i Matt. xxvi. 37, 38. m Heb. v. 7.
u Matt. xxvi. 51, 52.
P Luke xxii. 53.
became a source of still more aggravated woe. Pilate hoped, that, by scourging him, he should pacify those who sought his life: and, the order being given, "the ploughers ploughed upon his back and made long their furrows":" but "the whole multitude with insatiate fury cried out, Crucify him, crucify him!" and demanded that Barabbas, who was a robber and a murderer, should be preferred before him. Thus was the immaculate Lamb of God condemned to suffer the most cruel and ignominious of all deaths, even the accursed death of the cross.]
3. Those which were consummated in his death
[From Pilate's bar he was dragged away to execution. Laden with the cross to which he was to be affixed, he sank under the load, which therefore another was compelled to bear to the place of execution. To this he was fastened with nails through his hands and feet; and then was he raised a naked bloody spectacle to all his enemies. Ah! with what taunts was he then assailed, assailed even by the thieves, who on either side of him were suffering the same punishment! One would have thought that in such a situation at least he might become an object of pity: but no pity was found in the hearts of his blood-thirsty enemies: and their professed readiness to assuage his anguish, was only an impious mockery, and a cruel insult: they gave him "gall and vinegar to drink." But the heaviest load which he had to sustain was laid upon him by other hands than those of man, even by the hands of his heavenly Father. Man could only touch his body: the wounds inflicted on his soul proceeded immediately from God, who then "was pleased to bruise him," and to punish in him the iniquities of a ruined world. All his other sufferings he endured with lamb-like silence: but this forced from him that heart-rending complaint, "My God, my God! why hast thou forsaken me?" The darkness which at mid-day, for the space of three hours, veiled the whole land, was a sad emblem of his state, under the agonies of expiring nature, and the wrath of a sin-avenging God. At last, having drunk the very last dregs of that cup which had been put into his hands, he bows his head, and gives up the ghost. Was ever sorrow like unto his sorrow?"]
After this slight sketch of our Redeemer's sufferings, let us proceed to consider,
II. Their vicarious use
It might be said of David under many of his persecutions, that "he restored that which he took not away:" for certainly he exercised forbearance, and forgiveness, and a returning of good to a very extraSee ver. 1. a ver. 21. b Lam. i. 12.
y Ps. cxxix. 3.
ordinary extent. But a greater than David is here. That glorious person whose sufferings we have been contemplating, suffered not for himself, but for us: "He was cut off, but not for himself:"
1. It was not for his own sins
[He was pure and perfect. His very examinations proved that in this respect he was fit to be an offering for the sins of others, "a lamb without blemish, and without spot." As he had before challenged his enemies, "Which of you convinceth me of sin?" so the more they laboured to load him with guilt, the more clear and manifest his innocence appeared. His Judge, his fellow-sufferer, his executioner, all proclaimed him innocent. The reason of his death, and his fitness for it, are stated in few words by his beloved disciple, "He was manifested to take away our sins; and in him was no sin."]
2. It was for the sins of others
[In all that he endured, he was our substitute and surety. We had contracted the debt, which he paid: we had sold our inheritance, which he shed his blood to redeem. This is the account given us throughout the whole Scriptures. His sacrifice was prefigured by all the sacrifices under the Levitical law, which in expiating the sins of those who offered them, and in restoring sinners to the favour of their God, might be said to "restore that which they took not away." But this use of his sufferings is not left to be gathered from types and shadows: it was declared by the prophets in the most express terms. "He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:" yes; "He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and by his stripes we are healed. The Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all." To the same effect speak his Apostles also. St. Paul says, that " He who knew no sin was made sin, that is, a sin-offering for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." And St. Peter tells us, that "He bore our sins in his own body on the tree," and "suffered for sins, the just for (in the room of) the unjusts." This glorious mystery may be not unfitly illustrated by St. Paul's conduct towards the penitent Onesimus. Onesimus had robbed his master Philemon. After his conversion by the ministry of Paul, the Apostle sought to restore him to the love and confidence of his master; and engaged for that end to replace from his own funds the money that Onesimus had stolen: "If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on e Isai. liii. 5, 6.
c Dan. ix. 26.
f 2 Cor. v. 21.
d Isai. liii. 4.
8 1 Pet. ii. 24. and iii. 18.
mine account: I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it." Thus did the Lord Jesus Christ, while yet he was in the bosom of his Father, undertake for us; and thus in due time he "laid down his own life a ransom for us."] What an instructive mystery is this! We SEE in it, 1. The proper ground for faith
[To what, or to whom, shall we look to reconcile us to God? Can we 66 restore what we have taken way?" or will any one else undertake to restore it for us? What compensation can we make for our violations of God's law? What offering can we make, that shall satisfy the claims of divine justice? or what can we do to compensate for the glory of which we have robbed our God? Alas! to make the attempt, or entertain the thought, were vain in the extreme. But Jesus has by his own obedience unto death made full satisfaction for all our sins. Have we poured contempt upon the law? He "has magnified the law, and made it honourable." Have we brought dishonour on our God? He has glorified every one of the divine perfections more, infinitely more, by his obedience unto death, than they ever could have been glorified either by the perfect obedience, or the eternal condemnation, of the whole human racek. He then is worthy to be confided in as a Saviour: he is a sure foundation whereon to build all our hopes for time and for eternity. Hence he says, (and may God give to every one of us grace to comply with the invitation!) "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else'."]
2. The strongest motive for love
[What shall induce us to love the Saviour, if the contemplation of his vicarious sufferings will not? Can we think of "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich";" can we think of this, I say, and not have our souls inflamed with love and gratitude to him? Surely such love must constrain us to admire him, to adore him, to magnify him, to serve him with all our faculties and all our powers. The very stones would cry out against us, if we did not break forth, as it were, in continual hosannas to our adorable Benefactor.] 3. The safest rule for obedience
[We must expect to be, in a greater or less degree, conformed to our Saviour in his sufferings, if ever we would be conformed to him in his glory. From men we must expect persecutions for his sake. From Satan we shall meet with the
h Philem. ver. 18, 19. 1 Isai. xlv. 22.
i Isai. xlii. 21. m 2 Cor. viii. 9.
k John xiii. 31.