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this means, while we grieve for the fufferings that sin brought upon him, we may still triumph in his power; for he is glorious even in his red apparel, and travels in the greatness of his strength.
I must here observe, that I do not mainly intend, in discoursing on this subject, to establish the truth of our Saviour's divine million, against those who deny it on the above or any other account: this would be too cold and abstracted an argument for our present purpose. What I propose, is chiefly, and directly, designed for heightening the devotion, for quickening the love, and increasing the faith and comfort of believers. However, at the same time, considering the humiliation of Christ, in the light of an objection against his divine commission, from the suggestions of human wisdom, what shall be faid may also be considered as an answer to this objection, and serving to remove the offence of the cross.
1št. Upon this subject, therefore, observe, first, the glory of our Redeemer, in his sufferings, appears from his ready and chearful undertaking of the work of our redemption. There can be little honour to any man in submitting to what he cannot avoid, or doing what he dare not refuse; but the humiliation of Christ was perfectly voluntary, as no constraint could be put upon him. Therefore his original dignity and greatness, is not only, if I may speak fo, preserved unhurt, but improved and heightened by the grace of infinite condescenfion. This circumstance of Christ's readiness to undertake the work of our redemption, is often taken notice of in fcripture. Pfal. xl. 6, 7, 8. ' Sacrifice and offering thou
• didft not desire, mine ears haft thou opened; burnt
offering and sin-offering hast thou not required. • Then said I, Lo I come; in the volume of thy book • it is written of me: I delight to do thy will, O my • God! It is certain, that redemption could not be the work of a creature; and it is also probable, that no created being would have been willing to essay it. Nay, it is thought by many to be the import of the remarkable passage just now cited, which is applied by the apostle Paul to our Saviour, that in the counsels of heaven it was actually proposed to those glorious fpirits that surround the throne of God, and their strength and inclination both were found insufficient. Neither is there any thing improbable in the supposition, that God might discover to them his purpose of mercy, upon a proper mediator interposing, and that none was found willing to subject himself to divine wrath, incurred by rebellious man. If so, then it is not only in one fenfe, but in all senses true, what Christ is reprefented as saying in the 5th verfe of the chapter where my text lies,And I looked, and there was none to help; 6 and I wondered that there was none to uphold:
therefore mine own arm brought falvation unto * me, and my fury it upheld me. This interpretation may be confirmed by something similar to it, recorded, John, vi. 5,6.. When Jesus then lift up • his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, • he faith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread • that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: • for he himself knew what he would do.' There is another passage which gives us nearly the same idea,
viz, of Christ's being only capable of taking the charge of the redeemed and their interests in providence, Rev. v. 2, 3, 4, 5. And I saw a strong angel • proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to
open the book, and to loose the feais thereof? And • Do man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look
thereon. And I wept much because no man was • found worthy to open, and to read the book, nei
ther to look thereon. And one of the elders faith *unto me, Weep not; behold the Lion of the tribe
of Juda, the root of David, hath prevailed to o
pen the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.' How glorious then was the compassion of our Re. deemer, who fo willingly and chearfully subjected himself to that abasement and suffering, to which none could constrain him? Thus he says to himlelf, John, x. 17, 18. Therefore doth my Father love • me, because I lay down my life, that I might take • it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it
down of myself: I have power to lay it down, and • I have power to take it again. This commandment
have I received of my Father. He is not representa ed as meerly consenting, because none else could or would perform the work, and so having it as it were devolved upon him by necessity; not as yielding with reluctance, and overcome by great earneftness and importunity, but saying with readiness and chearfulness, • Lo, I come; in the volume of the book, o it is written of me. I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea thy law is within my heart. There is one circumstance which deserves parti
cular notice, when we are considering the dignity of our Redeemer's undertaking; that he did well and thoroughly understand the difficulty of it, and the weight of that wrath which he submitted to endure. It is not such an evidence of greatness of mind, when a person involves himself in difficulties, and exposes himself to dangers, if he only runs an uncertain rilk of meeting with them, or has but a confused and indistinct apprehension of their nature; but it discovers a peculiar fortitude of spirit to have a clear view of sufferings, and yet composedly and steadily to submit to them for a good end. So true is this maxim, that it seems to be the only thing that renders human life supportable, that all future sufferings are uncertain even in the event, and, at any rate, in their nature but imperfectly known. Now, how does it serve to illustrate the glory of our Redeemer's undertaking, that he had a clear and perfect foreknowledge of every event that was to befal him? He knew the number and malice of the ener mies he had to encounter; and the bitterness of that cup, the dregs of which he was to drink off: Yet steady to his purpose, and conscious of his own power, he went out to the combat as one assured of vic. tory. As he began, so he carried on his work, with the fame undaunted resolution; witness what he says, Luke xii. 50.' But I have a baptism to be bap
tized with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished ! All this, my brethren, is further confirmed, by some passages which are recorded toward the close of his life, when he drew near to the concluding scene of his sufferings. Matth. xvi. 21.
• From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his • disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and • suffer many things of the elders, and chief priests,
and Scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the • third day. — XX. 17, 18, 19. And Jesus going
up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples apart in • the way, and said unto them, Behold we go up to • Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed • unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes, and 6
they shall condemn him to death. And shall deli• ver him to the Gentiles, to mock and to scourge,
and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again. Luke ix. 51. And it came to pass, when the • time was come that he should be received
he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.' To these I shall only add, John xviii, 11. ' Then said Jesus • unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the
which my Father hath given me, shall I not • drink it?' Thus did there appear a glory even in his humiliation, a majesty even in his suffering; and thus did he come forth and travel in the greatness of his strength.
In the ad place, the glory of our Redeemer, in his humiliation, appears from the greatness of those sufferings which he endured. Though, to the eye of fense, a state of suffering is apt to appear contemp-tible; to those who justly view the fufferings of Christ, there will be found far greater evidences of his power. A weak person is crushed by a small weight; but he who is able to endure uncommon sufferings, shows himself to be possessed of uncommon strength. Now, our blessed Lurd and Saviour