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Weep with them that weep, and rejoice with them that rejoice." Rom. 12:15. It was Cain that said, "Am I my brother's keeper ?” Blessed Paul was of a contrary temper; "Who is weak, and I am not weak ? Who is offended, and I burn not ?" 2 Cor. 11 : 29. Three things promote sympathy in christians: one is, the Lord's pity for them; he doth, as it were, suffer with them; " in all their afflictions he was afflicted.” Isa. 63:9. Another is, the relation we sustain to God's afflicted people: they are members with us in one body, and the members should have the same care of one another. 1 Cor. 12: 25. The last is, we know not how soon we ourselves may need from others what others now need from us. store him with the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." Gal. 6: 1.
6. Did the world add to the humiliation of Christ by their base and vile usage of him ? Learn hence, that the judgment which the world gives of persons and their worth is little to be regarded. Surely it dispenses its smiles and honors very preposterously and unduly. The saints are styled persons " of whom the world is not worthy,” Heb. 11:38, that is, it does not deserve to have such choice spirits as these are left in it, since it knows not how to use or treat them. It was the complaint of Salvian, above eleven hundred years ago ; " If any of the nobility do but begin to turn to God, presently he loses the honor of nobility! Oh in how little honor is Christ among (so called) christian people, when religion shall make a man ignoble! So that many are compelled to be evil, lest they should be esteemed vile.” And indeed, if the world gives us any help to discover the true worth and excellency of men, it is for the most part by the rule of contraries. Where it fixes its marks of hatred, we may usually find that which deserves our respect and love. It should therefore trouble us the less to be under the slights and disrespect of a blind
world. "I could be even proud of it, (saith Luther,) that I see I have an ill name from the world.” And Jerome " blessed God that counted him worthy to be hated of the world." Labor to stand right in the judgment of God, and trouble not thyself for the rash censures of
7. From the whole of Christ's humiliation in his life, learn to pass through all the troubles of your life with a contented, composed spirit, as Christ your forerunner did. He was persecuted, and bare it meekly; poor, and never murmured; tempted, and never yielded to the temptation ; reviled, and reviled not again. When ye therefore pass through any of these trials, look to Jesus, and consider him. See how he that passed through these things before you, conducted himself in like circumstances; yea, not only beat the way by his pattern and example for you, but hath in every one of those conditions left a blessing behind him, for them that fol. low his steps.
Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ.
CHRIST'S HUMILIATION UNTO DEATH.
HIS FIRST PREPARATIVE ACT.
“ And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world,
and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are” John, 17:11.
We now come to the last and lowest step of Christ's humiliation, his submitting to death, even the death of the cross.
Out of this death springs the life of our souls. In the blood of Christ the believer sees multitudes of inestimable blessings. By this crimson fountain
THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE.
I resolve to sit down: and concerning the death of Christ, I shall take distinctly into consideration the preparations made for it; the nature and quality of it; the deportment and conduct of Jesus when dying; the funeral solemnities with which he was buried; and lastly, the blessed designs and glorious ends of his death.
The preparatives for his death were six. Three on his own part, and three more by his enemies. The preparations made by himself for it were, the solemn recommendation of his friends to his Father; the institution of a commemorative sign, to perpetuate and refresh the memory of his death in the hearts of his people, till he come again; and his pouring out his soul to God by prayer in the garden, which was the posture he chose to be found in when they should apprehend him.
This scripture contains thc first preparative of Christ for death, whereby he sets his house in order, prays for his people, and blesses them before he dies. The love of Christ was ever tender and strong to his people; but the greatest manifestation of it was at parting : especially in the singular supports and grounds of comfort left with them in his last heavenly sermon, chapp. 14, 15, 16, and in pouring out his soul most affectionately to the Father for them in the heavenly prayer, chap. 17. In this prayer he gives them a specimen of his glorious intercession-work, which he was then going to perform in heaven for them. Here his heart overflowed, for he was now leaving them, and going to the Father. The last words of a dying man are valued ; how much more of a dying Saviour! I shall not launch out into the ocean of precious matter contained in this chapter, but take immediately into consideration the words of the text, wherein I find a weighty petition, strongly followed and set home with many mighty arguments.
1. We have here Christ's petition, or request in behalf of his people, not only those who were with him at the time, but all others that then did, or afterwards should believe on him. And the sum of what he here requests for them is, that his Father would keep them through his name.
Keeping implies danger. And there is a double danger contemplated in this request; danger of sin, and danger of ruin and destruction. To both these the people of God are liable in this world. The means of their preservation from both is the name, that is, the power of God. This name of the Lord is that "strong tower to which the righteous run, and are safe.” Prov. 18:10. Alas! it is not your own strength or wisdom that keeps you, but ye are kept by the mighty power of God. This protecting power of God does not, however, exclude our care and diligence, but implies it; therefore it is added,
Ye are kept by the mighty power of God, through faith, unto salvation.” 1 Pet. 1:5. God keeps his people, and yet they are to keep themselves in the love of God, Jude 21, to keep their hearts with all diligence. Prov. 4:23. This is the sum of the petition. 2. The arguments with which he urges
presses this request, are drawn partly from his own condition, "I am no more in the world :" I am going to die; with in a very few hours I shall be separated from them. Partly from their condition: "but these are in the world :" I must leave them in the midst of danger. And partly from the joint interest his Father and himself had in them; "Keep those that thou hast given me:" with several other most prevalent pleas, which, in their proper places, shall be produced and displayed, to illustrate and confirm this precious truth: The fatherly care and tender love of our Lord Jesus
Christ was eminently displayed in the prayer he poured out for his people at his parting with them.
It pertained to the priest and father of the family to bless the rest, especially when he was to be separated from them by death. This was a right in Israel. When good Jacob was grown old, and the time had come that he should be gathered to his fathers, he blessed Joseph, Ephraim, and Manasseh, " saying, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads." Gen. 48: 15, 16. This was a prophetical and patriarchal blessing : not that Jacob could bless as God blesses; he could speak the words of blessing, but he knew the effect, the real blessing itself, depended upon God: he could, as the mouth of God, pronounce blessings, but could not confer them. Thus he blessed his children, as his father Isaac had also blessed him before he died, Gen. 28:3; and all these blessings were delivered in the form of prayer.
Now when Jesus Christ comes to die, he also blesses his children, and therein shows how dear and tender love he has for them : "Having loved his own, which were in the world, he loved them to the end." John, 13:1. The last act of Christ in this world was an act of blessing. Luke, 24: 50, 51.
We will consider the mercies Christ requested of the Father for them; the arguments he used; why he thus pleaded for them when he was to die ; and how all this gives full evidence of Christ's tender care and love to his people.
I. What were those mercies and special favors which Christ begged for his people when he was to die.
1. The mercy of preservation both from sin and danger : :"Keep, through thine own name, those whom thou hast given me :” which is explained, "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” John, 17: 15. We,