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sistless progress of the tide, or the majestic march of the sun.
But our Lord's onward progress to his destiny was distinguished by ardent desire, as well as invincible resolution. His whole heart was in his work : to accomplish it, was at once his purpose and his passion: “With desire have I desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.--He stedfastly set his face to go up to Jerusalem.” And such was the expression of determination and eagerness which the emotions of his heart gave to the features of his countenance, that his disciples gazed on him with wonder, not unmixed with terror. Not all the agonies of crucifixion-nor the terrors of an assault from the powers of darkness—nor the horrors of divine indignation, could induce him to abandon his resolution. Even in the immediate view of the consummation of his sorrows, when his imagination shrunk back from the awful prospect, the transient wish that he might be saved from the approach- . ing hour, was overpowered by the reflection, that “for this hour he came into the world.”
How are we to account for this invincible determi. nation, this unquenchable desire to suffer? The only satisfactory account of it is to be deduced from the Sa. viour's eagerness—to illustrate the glory of his Father, --to accomplish man's salvation,--and to obtain possession of his promised reward. The illustration of the influence which these principles had in producing the mode of thinking and feeling expressed in the text, would lead us into a wide and interesting field of discussion; but your time forbids me to do. more than to sketch an outline, which you may with advantage fill up in your
retired meditations. Man “had sinned and come short of the glory of God.” The essential lustre of the divine excellencies cannot be impaired, but the manifestation of them to
the intelligent universe, through means of man, was obscured. With the Redeemer, the desire to promote the glory of the Divinity was the first wish of his heart. In the unnatural state into which the moral system had been brought by the sin of man, he perceived, that, by his sufferings and death, all the perfections of the divine character might be harmoniously and most illustriously displayed. Justice might have been glorified in man's destruction ; but then, what would have become of the honours of mercy? Mercy might have been honoured in the unbought pardon of sinners; but what would have become of the rights of justice? The Redeemer saw, that these apparently incompatible advantages might be conjoined, by dispensing forgiveness through the medium of his sacri. fice of himself as the substitute of sinners. searchable depths of divine wisdom, the unmeasurable extent of divine power, the immaculate purity of divine holiness, the inflexible rectitude of divine justice, the exceeding riches of divine mercy, could in no other way be so splendidly and harmoniously displayed, to the everlasting admiration and delight of all the good, and the everlasting shame and confusion of all the bad throughout the intelligent universe, as by his sufferings and death. This was of itself sufficient to make the Saviour resolute, and desirous to suffer. Nothing appeared to him too difficult to be done, too hard to be borne, in order to gain an end so illustrious. He pressed forward ; and this was his prayer, in the immediate prospect of his severest agonies, "Father, glo. rify thy name. Father, glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee."
The sufferings of the Saviour were necessary to procure the salvation of mankind, as well as to illustrate the glory of God. Man was condemned to die, and “' without the shedding of blood there could be no re
mission." We could be redeemed from the curse only by his becoming a curse in our room. We could be healed only by his stripes. Of all this the divine Saviour was aware. Next to the honour of his Father, the salvation of his people was the object nearest his heart. From eternity they had been the object of his sovereign choice, his redeeming love. Urged by the purest benignity, he had bound himself, by voluntary engagements to his Father, to save them, and he was determined, cost what it would, and he well knew how dear it would cost him,) that, not one whom the Father had given him should be lost.
In fine, to the Son, as Mediator, had been made by his Father promises of the highest honours and the · richest felicities, on condition of his finishing the work which was given him to do: A name above every name—a seat on his Father's throne-a crown of unfading honour—the sceptre of the universe-authority unbounded-power uncontrouled, were the rewards held out to him for his labours and sufferings in the cause of God's glory and man's salvation. To this recompense Jesus, in the days of his flesh, looked ea. gerly forward : " For the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, and despised the shame.”
Having thus illustrated the view given by the text, of our Saviour's sufferings, and of his state of mind in the prospect of them, I conclude the discourse with a very few practical reflections.
What a debt of admiration and love, gratitude and obedience, do we owe our Lord Jesus! With what de lightful confidence may the afflicted Christian look to his Saviour for sympathy and relief! He has himself been straitened: “He knows what strong temptations mean, for he has felt the same.” " In that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour those who are tempted. In the days of his flesh he offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears. He can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, for he was in all things tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
“ With boldness, then, may we come to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help us in time of need.”
How safely may we conclude, that he who so vehemently desired, and so resolutely determined, to suffer and die for us, will not leave undone any thing else that may be necessary for our salvation! He who shed his blood for us so cheerfully, will not refuse to exert his grace towards us; nor will he who so readily embrace ed shame, and agony, and death, on our account, decline those honourable and delightful exertions of authority and power, which are requisite to the completion of our happiness.
In fine, my brethren, let us imitate our Redeemer in his unalterable resolution to finish his work. Animated by the exalted principles of regard to the divine honour, the salvation of others, and our own immortal happiness, let us, undismayed by difficulties and dangers, and undiverted by business or pleasure, prosecute the great ends of our Christian calling. Let us be faithful unto the death, that we may obtain the crown of life: “ Looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, and despised the shame, let us run with patience the race set before us." He is set down at the right hand of God; and in due time, we also, if we tread in his footsteps, shall share in his recompense: For this is his faithful promise,-“To him that overcometh will I give to sit with me on my throne, even as I have also overcome, and am set down with my Father upon his throne. Wherefore, my be. loved brethren, be stedfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”