Page images

So much the better, said he; we shall then fight in the shade. The heroic bravery of this celebrated warrior, all circumstances considered, is not worthy to be compared to the calm insuperable magnanimity and intrepidity displayed by the Meffiah on many memorable occasions. Recollect the message he sent to Herod the king; his ascent to Jerusalem, where he knew he was to endure the moit excruciating sufferings; and the greatness of mind he difplayed when he met thole who were sent to apprehend him, and you may see this scripture remarkably verified. The greater the struggle, the stronger and the longer the contest, the more illustriously displayed are the virtues of the conqueror, and the more glorious the victory.

And I know that I shall not be ashamed. • Shame (faith the proverb) is the promotion of fools ;' this is all the preferment to which they may expect to be advanced. It is added as a contrast to this maxim, “ But the wife shall inherit glory. This remark was eminently verified in Jelus Chriit, who, notwithstanding the utmost efforts of his inveterate enemies to render him odious and contemptible, yet by all their malevolent exertions could never thew cause why he should have been ashamed. He perfectly knew that his glorious.gospel was to triumph over error, and to be published to all nations for the obedience of faith-that his predictions, promises, and threatenings were to be punctually fulfilled ;--and though according to the will of God he was to die by the hands of men, he was thereby to abolish fin and death, to rise triumphant from the dead, and to reign in eternal glory. Justly, there. fore, might he say, I know that I lball not be ashained.-Nor shall they be confounded, who, having obtained help from God, surmount with determi. ned resolution the difficulties that they meet with in the path of duty. Such may boldly fay with God's servant David, · Then thall I not be ashaVOL. III.

* ined demped * Psal. cxix. 6.


• med when I have respect to all thy command-
ments *

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

8 He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together; who is miné adversary? let him come near to me.

The Messiah expresses his firm confidence that he should be honourably acquitted from all the calumnies and injuries with which he was most undefervedly loaded, and boldly defies his adversaries to bring forward any just ground of accusation against him.-He is near that justifieth me, who will not only judge all men by the law written in their hearts, the Jews by the law of Moses, and his elect according to the law of grace; but who will judge me according to the law given me as Mediator, and vindicate his righteous servant from the foul asperfions thrown out against him. He will openly acknowledge that I never said or did any thing that was not perfectly agreeable to the commandment I received from him ; he will bring forth my righteousness as the light, and my judgment as the noon day. This sentiment is explicitly afferted by our Saviour, in the twelfth chapter of the gofpel by John, 49th and goth verses; For I have not spo- ken of myfelf: but the Father which sent me, he

gave me a commandment, what I should say, • and what I fhould fpeak. And I know that his

commandment is life everlasting; whatsoever I • speak, therefore, even as the Father faid unto me, • so I speak. Many heinous crimes were charged against him by his malicious persecutors; many evil furmises were spread abroad concerning him. He was said to be a glutton, a wine biber, a friend of publicans and sinners, a seducer of the people, and poffeffed with a devil. These and other heavy charges the Pharisees and those who joined them brought against him, and at last they had him publicly con

[ocr errors]

demned by their counsel. From these false accusations laid against him, he was confident that the righteous judge of all the earth would absolve him. Accordingly he was fully acquitted by the supreme Judge of the world, who was always near to proted him by his providence from the hostile designs of his enemies, and to impart to him consummate wifdom, amiable goodnels, uncontrollable power, and divine eloquence, by the abundant communications of his Spirit. These transcendent excellencies were manifeft at all times in his conduct, in his discourses, and miracles. In his sufferings and death the most illustrious proofs were exhibited of the divine preLence that ever attended him, which attested his majesty and innocence, and demonstrated that he was indeed the Son of God. Befides, by his resurrection from the dead, and ascension to the right hand of God, with their joyful consequences, he was declared to be the true Messiah, and the Son of God with power. Therefore the whole house * of Israel ought to know afluredly, that God hath * made that same Jefus who was crucified, both Lord • and Chrift *' In this manner did God the Father bear witness to him, and justify him openly before the people.---These words of Jesus Christ which I have now illustrated may be adopted with joy and Triumph by every true Christian. God who juftifies me, (may he say) who delivers from condemnation and wrath, and gracioully accepts of me thro' his beloved Son, is always near to grant what I call upon him for; to preserve and assist, to establish and enrich, to comfort and felicitate. Having the Lord on my side, I will not fear nor be dismayed.

Who will contend with me? Having expressed his firm confidence in the fuccour and protection of Jehovah; the Mesliah proceeds to challenge his enemies to combat with him. Who will presume to strive with me, to call in question either my right or my ability io perform the work I am engaged to

execute? Acts ii. 36.

[ocr errors]

execute? If any are disposed to enquire into the justice of my claim, the truth that I affirm, or the authority by which lact-Let us ftand together, that the matter in dispute may be fully represented, and fairly decided.--Who is mine adversary, that will be fo audacious as bring any charge against me that he can subftantiate; relative to my character, or the important enterprise in which I am embarked, and which I am obliged to execute - Let bim cume neor to me, that I may know with whom I have to do, and that the controversy may be justly determined, and he thall certainly be convinced of the folly and vanity of every hostile attempt that can be made against me. Such was the heroic courage of Jesus Christ, that he was not intimidated by his enemies; he boldly set them at defiance, and, when he judged proper, replied with firinnels and fortitude to all the accusations they brought against him. Nay, such is the happy influence of his invincible magnanimity, that a portion of the noble spirit whereby he was animated hath descended upon his followers, who in language similar to his have gloried in their superiority to every adverse power. Hear the triumphant exclamation of the apostle of the Gentiles, who himself had been accused of being a peftilent fellow, and a mover of sedition, · Who • shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect ? • It is God that justifieth; whọ is he that condem,

neth *?! He challenges all the creatures in the universe to lay any thing to his charge that could deprive him of confidence in God, and an interest in his favour. By this eminent servant of God, who had imbibed the Spirit of his divine master, Christians are taught to repel the unjust accusations of their adversaries, in humble reliance on God their Saviour. If the supreme Legislator and Judge acquit from condemnation, if he gracioully pardon and accept, who and where is he that may presume to counteracł the fentence of the Almighty?

9 Behold * Rom. viii. 33, 34.

9 Behold, the LORD God will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up.

The challenge he had given to his adversaries in the preceding verse, is here renewed by the Messiah, who points out the grounds of his unshaken confidence. The Lord God omnipotent, hath repeated. Jy given me the most explicit assurances of his continual aid and fupport, and therefore I cannot fail to obtain success and viêlory. In firm dependence on his promifed all-sufficient help, I again aik, Who is' be that shall condemn nie, and bring against me a charge of any crime that he can verify, and pronounce upon me a righteous fentence of condemnation.--They all shall wax old, &c. The royal Pfalmift, when celebrating the praises of Jehovah, on account of his immutability and eternity, and expressing his trust in the divine power and faithfulness, employs the same comparison that is here 'ufed, Pfalm cii. 26. “They shall perish, but thou * fhalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a

garment, as a vesture shalt thou change them, . and they shall be changed. At the time appointed by infinite wisdom, after the heavens and the earth have served the purposes for which they were created, they shall be laid alide as an old worn out garment, which hath lost its beauty, firmness, and utility. By the fame allusion, the Messiah represents the feeble decayed state to which his enemies who contended with him Thall be reduced.--The moth shall eat them up. Though a very feeble in. sect almost destitute of substance; yet it quickly consumes the Itrongest garments. In like manner the adversaries of Jesus Christ shall be speedily confumed by the weakest instruments. They may foolishly imagine that they are able to contend with him, whereas the meanett creature that he employs to execute his righteous vengeance, thall


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »