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sician. This was one of those things that made him
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” For the more holy any one is, the more he is grieved and afflicted by the sin of others; and the more tender any man is, the more he is pierced with beholding the miseries that lie upon others. Certainly there was never any heart more holy, or more sensible, tender, and compassionate than Christ's.
VI. That which yet helped to humble him lower, was the ungrateful and most base and unworthy reception given him. He was not received or treated like a Saviour, but as the vilest of men. One would think that when he came from heaven "to give his life a ransom for many,” Matt. 20 : 28; when he was "not sent to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved,” John, 3: 17; when he came to "destroy the works of the devil,” 1 John, 3:8; "to open the prisondoors, and proclaim liberty to the captives,” Isa. 61:1; I say, when such a Saviour arrived, Oh, with what acclamations of joy and demonstrations of thankfulness should he have been received ! One would have thought they should even kiss the ground he trod upon : but instead of this, he was hated. John, 15:18. He was despised by them. Matt. 13:55. So reproached, that he became " the reproach of men.” Ps. 22:6. Accused of working his miracles by the power of the devil. Matt. 12:24. He was trod upon as a worm. Ps. 22:6. They buffeted him, Matt. 26:67; smote him on the head, Matt. 27: 30; arrayed him as a fool, verses 28, 29; spat in his face, verse 30. One of his own followers sold him, another forswore him, and all forsook him in his greatest troubles. All this was a great atasement to the Son of God, who was not thus treated for a day or in one place, but all his days, and in all places. "He endured the contradiction of sinners against himself.” In these particulars I have pointed out to you
something of the humble life Christ lived in the world.
INFERENCE 1. From Christ's humiliation, in submitting to be circumcised, and thereby obliging himself to fulfill the whole law, it follows, that justice itself may set its hand and seal to the acquittance and discharge of believers. Christ hereby obliged himself to pay the utmost demand of the law; to bear that yoke of obedience that never any before him could bear. And as his circumcision obliged him to keep the whole law; so he was most precise and punctual in the observance of it: so exact that the sharp eye of Divine justice cannot espy the least flaw in it; but acknowledges full payment, and stands ready to give the believer a full acquittance; " that God may be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.” Rom. 3:26. Had not Christ been under this obligation, we had never been discharged. Had not his obedience been entire, complete, and perfect, our justification could not have been so. He that hath a precious treasure, will be loth to adventure it in a leaky vessel: wo to the holiest man on earth, if the safety of his precious soul were to be adventured on the ground of the best duty that ever he performed. But Christ's obedience and righteousness is firm and sound; a foundation on which we may safely adventure all.
2. From the early flight of Christ into Egypt, we infer that the greatest innocency and piety cannot exempt from persecution and injury. Who more innocent than Christ? and who more persecuted ? The world is the world still. "I have given them thy word, and the world hath hated them.” John, 17: 14. The adversary lies in wait as a thief for them that carry this treasure; they who are empty of it may sing before him, he never, stops them: but persecution follows piety, as the shadow does the body. "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution.” 2 Tim. 3: 12. Whosoever resolves to live holily, must never expect to live quietly.
All that will live godly, will exhibit holiness in their lives, which convinces and disturbs the consciences of the ungodly. It is this enrages, for there is an enmity and antipathy between them: and this enmity runs in the blood; and it is transmitted with it from generation to generation : "As then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.” Gal. 4:29. Mark, so it was, and so it is still. "Cain's club is still carried up and down crimsoned with the blood of Abel,” said Bucholtzer; but thus it must be, to conform us unto Christ : and Oh that your spirit, as well as your condition, may better harmonize with Christ. He suffered meekly, quietly, and self-denyingly: be ye
like him. Let it not be said of you, as it is of the hypocrite, whose lụsts are only hid, but not mortified by his duties, that he is like a flint, which seems cold; but if you strike him, he is all fiery. To do well, and suffer ill, is Christ-like.
3. Such as are full of grace and holiness may be destitute of earthly comforts. What an overflowing fulness of grace was there in Christ! and yet how low did his outward comforts sometimes fall! And as it fared with, him, so did it with many others now in glory, whilst they were on their way. "Even to this present hour, we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place.” 1 Cor. 4:11. Their souls were richly clothed with robes of righteousness, their bodies naked or meanly clad. Their souls fed on hidden manna, their bodies were hungry. Let us be content (saith Luther) with our hard fare; for do we not feast with angels upon the bread of life ? Remember, when wants pinch hard, that these fix no mark of God's hatred upon you. He hath dealt no worse with you than he did with his own Son. Nay, which of you is not better accommodated than Christ was? If you be hungry or thirsty, you have some refreshments; you have beds to
lie on: the Son of man had not where to lay his head. And remember you are going to a plentiful country, where all your wants will be supplied ; "poor in the world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which God hath promised.” James, 2 : 5. The meanness of your present will add to the lustre of your future condition.
4. Those in whom Satan has no interest, may have most trouble from him in this world ; "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." John, 14: 30. Where he knows he cannot be a conqueror, he will not cease to be a troubler. This bold and daring spirit ventured to assault Christ himself; for doubtless he was filled with envy at the sight of him, and would do what he could, though to no purpose, to obstruct his blessed design. And it was the wisdom and love of Christ to admit him to come as near him as might be, and
all his darts upon him; that by this experience he might himself be filled with pity to succor them that are tempted. And as he set on Christ, so much more will he attack us; and but too oft comes off a conqueror. Sometimes he shoots the fiery darts of blasphemous thoughts; and divers rules are prescribed in this case to relieve poor distressed ones. But the best rule, doubtless, is that of the apostle, "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” Eph. 6:16. Act your faith, my friends, upon your tempted Saviour, who passed through temptations before you: and particularly exercise faith on three things in Christ's temptations :
Believingly consider how great variety of temptations were tried upon Christ; and of what a horrid blasphemous nature that was, Fall down and worship me.” Also that Christ came off perfect conqueror in the day of his trial, beat Satan out of the field. And more,
believe that the benefits of those his victories and conquests are for you, and that for your sakes he permit
ted the tempter to come so near him. Hebrews, 2: 18.
If you say, " True, Christ was tempted as well as I; but there is a vast difference between his temptations and mine; for the prince of this world came, and found nothing in him. John, 14:30. He was not internally defiled, though externally assaulted; but I am defiled by temptations as well as troubled.” To this I answer, True, it is so, and must be so;
for had Christ been internally defiled, he had not been a fit Mediator for you; nor could you
have had any benefit, either by his temptations or sufferings. But he being tempted, and yet still escaping the defilement of sin, has not only satisfied for the sins you commit when tempted, but also got an experimental sense of the misery of your condition, which is in him (though now in glory) as a spring of pity and tender compassion to you. Remember, poor tempted christian, " the God of peace shall shortly tread Satan under thy feet.” Rom. 16:20. Thou shalt set thy foot on the neck of that enemy Meanwhile, till thou be out of his reach, let me advise thee to go to Jesus Christ, and open the matter to him; tell him how that base spirit falls upon thee, yea, sets upon thee, even in his presence : entreat him to rebuke and command him off: beg him to consider thy case, and say, Lord, dost thou remember how thy own heart was once grieved, though not defiled, by his assaults ? I have grief and guilt together upon me. Ah Lord, I expect pity and help from thee; thou knowest the heart of a stranger, the heart of a poor and tempted one. This will give wonderful relief in this case. O try it!
5. Was Christ yet more humbled by his own sympathy with others in their distresses? Hence we learn that a compassionate spirit, towards such as labor under burdens of sin or affliction, is Christ-like, and truly excellent: this was the Spirit of Christ: Oh be like him! Put on, as the elect of God, bowels of mercy. Col. 3: 12.