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This we may fee in verses 19, 20. and orher verses of the xxxviii. Pfalm, and the general contents' of the Ixix. and cxix. Psalms; to which the whole liii. chap. of Isaiah should be added as greatly illustrating the subject. Indeed we might fill many pages with quotations both from the Old and New Testament to the same purpose. But from what is already produced or mentioned, being read or considered in connexion, when we view him as confessing the burden of sin lying on him, and complaining of Jehovah's wrath and hot displeasure on account thereof, verfe 1. and onwards of the xxxviii. Pfalm-his numerous enemies seeking after his life, laying snares, speaking mischievous things, and imagining deceits all the day long, verses 12 and 20, to which accusations he as a deaf man heard not, and as a dumb 'man opened not his mouth in reproof, verses 13, 14-when we' view his Lovers and his friends ftand aloof from his fore, and his kinsmen stand afar off, verse 11.-when we consider that he was denied by one of his disciples, betrayed by another, and that all of them forsook him, and fled when we hear him complaining as in Pfalm lxxxvïi. verses 6, 7, 8, 15, 16, 17.
66 Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darknesses, in the deeps. Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou haft. afflicted me with all thy wavesa Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me ; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth. I am afflicted, and ready to die froin my youth up : While I fuffer thy terrors I am distracted. Thy fierce wrath goeth over me, thy terrors have cut me off. They came round about me daily like water, they compassed me about together,”' --we may
fee the reason of all this set forth in the language of the church, “ all we like sheep have gone astray : We have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all?'--and in what Peter says, " who his own self bare our sins in
his own body, &c.”—26 For ye were as sheep going aftray ; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”
Here we may see the reason why Jesus Christ, in the days of his humiliation, takes to himself and confesses the sins of his people ; namely, that he might appear as their surety, suffering the punishment due to their transgressions, that by his stripes they might be healed. Thus he was the good shepherd who gave his life for the sheep, that they might escape or go free from eternal death, and receiving abundance of grace, might have life here, and more abundantly hereafter. He was dealt with as if he had been the only transgressor, when the fword of the Lord was awaked against the man that was his fellow, and he was led as a lamb to to the slaughter; and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.
We may also here further see why he was filent under the false accusations and reproaches of his enemies, not denying the crimes laid to his charge ; namely, that the scripture might be fulfilled which saith, 6 and he was numbered with the tranfgressors, &c."' and his assured confidence that his righteousness would soon be espoused by the righteous Father in railing him from the dead, and exalting him to the highest glory, when he should fee of the travel of his soul, and be satisfied. This is expressed in verfe 15, of the forecited xxxviii. Psalm, “ for in thee, O Lord, do I hope ; thou wilt hear me, O Lord, my God.”
And as his way to glory was through the path of fufferings, so he has left an example to his disciples, that they should walk in his steps. They are chastened of the Lord, that they should not be condemned with the world. For whom the Lord loveth, he chafteneth, and scourgeth every fon whom he receiveth that they might be partakers of his holinefs. And although this chastening includes all the afflictions that befall them in this present evil world ; yet it has ] more efpecial reference to the reproaches and persecutions of their adversaries, as is evident from many passages in the New Testament ; And these passages hold forth the necessity of their being thus chastised in order to refine, purify, strengthen, establish, and settle them, and fit them for eternal glory ;
that a continued scene of patient enduring the contradiction of finners, is the way in which they must be led in order to partake of the consolation that is in Christ, and have foretastes of that joy which is to be revealed at the appearing of Jesus Christ.-See Hebrews xii. 1 to the 11. James i. 2 to the 4. ift of Peter i. 6, 7, and iv. 13, 14. Romans y, 3, 4.5. and viï. 17. 2d of Corinthians i. 4 to the 7. and xii, to,
Thus the disciples of Christ, by the afflictions and persecutions which they endure for his name's fake, being hated by the world, because they are not of the world, do learn to keep close to the word of truth held forth in the gospel, in the full assurance of faith and hone, that he who brought again from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep, will make all things work together for their good, and raise them up at the last day, presenting them faultless before his pres fence with exceeding joy: *
* In further answer to the objection, how can such words as these," before I was amięted I went aftray," be considered as the language of Jesus Chrift? it may be added, that as antieni Israel after the flesh in the manifold instances of their forsaking the true God, and serving other gods, ty pified the Israel of God among all nations, and in all ages, in their vari. ous strayings and pursuits after lying vanities ; lo as it is said of Jehovah with relation to the former when they were brought low for their iniquity in 01der to reduce them to obedience, that “ his foul was grieved for the misery of Israel:" In like 'manner Jesus Christ, when he saw that there was none righteous, no, not one, among the children of men, that darkness had CO. yered the earth, and gross darkness the people, he became greatly afflicted, even to the laying down his life for the sheep, that he might gather together into one fold the children of God that were scattered abroad. We may therefore consider these expressions, "but now have Ikept thy word – seek thy fervant; for I do not forget' thy commandments”-as pleading his own righteousness, and claiming the reward of his obedience unto death, in which his church as being one with himself is included. See Hebrews ii. 9. 10. 1!:
As I have said, that wherever in the Psalms the righteous man, the godly man, &c. is mentioned in the singular number, Christ is always meant ; it
It may also be observed, that the nation of Israel were chosen out of all nations, to be the peculiar people of God, distinguished with manifold mercies, and extraordinary interpofitions of divine providence in their favour. But as by their history we find, that notwithstanding all the appearances of divine goodness and severity towards them, they were still a disobedient and gainsaying people, they are herein held forth as a sample or resemblance of the whole world of mankind, who are all gone out of the way of righteousness, and are together become filthy, none of them doing good, no, not one. Since therefore there was none among men that could by any means give to God a ransom for the redemption of his foul, it was necessary that the arm of the Lord should be revealed to bring salvation to his elected ones whom he had chosen before the foundation of the world; and to this end it was necessary that the Son of God should become man, and be afflicted through a scene of patient sufferings, fulfilling in the form of a servant the precepts of the law, and pouring out his soul even unto death for the transgreslions of his people. If it be enquired, what does all this fignify in answer to the objection I answer, that in view of this finfal, miserable state of mankind, under the first covenant, notwithstanding all those temporal blessings which men naturally plead for as advantageous in order to obedience, and which the Israelites were under, whose heart was nevertheless not right with God, nor stedfast in his covenant; I say, in this view of the corruption of human nature, Jesus Christ (in whom alone the divine good pleasure refted) having the guilt of his people transferred to him, speaks of his going astray ; that is, that before he was afflicted, his sheep, who are the antitype of Israel, were involved in the same guilt with the rest of mankind. He adds, “but now have I kept thy word.” It was necessary that he should be afflicted not only as the procuring cause of their falvation, but that his obedience might appear perfect; for then only does virtue appear conspicuous when under manifold trials, temptations, and distresses -- thac which is commonly called in the world virtue in high life, being unworthy the name of virtue; for genuine virtue, or stedfast resolution in obedience to the divine will cannot appear, without the trial of sufferings to manifest it. Christ Jesus therefore became a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief all the days of his humiliation, that his obedience being tried thereby, might appear exceeding perfect, or the perfection of obedience; so that he could fay on the cross, when committing his fpirit into the hands of his Father, --IT is FINISHED.
And as it was with the head, so it is with the members of Christ's body the church, who through much tribulation must enter into the kingdom of God. When they are first brought to the knowledge of the gospel, they have a most humbling, painful and afflicting view of themselves on account of their finfulness, and so continue to have all the days of their mortal state, looking on him who was pierced for their fins, they mourn ; while at the same time they are exceeding joyful in Christ Jesus in all their tribulations, because he has kept the word of God, and never turned aside from the divine commandments. The afiliations which they meet with in the course of divine providence, and from the adverfaries of Chriftianity, are many and great; and by those they learn to cease ftraying after lying vanities, and so keep the word of Christ's patience unto the end,
objected, how can Psalm xii. 1. be applied to him,
help, Lord, for the godly man ceaseth?” If this is to be understood of Christ, how is he said to cease?
For answer, it may be illustrated from a passage in Deborah's Song, Judges v. 6, 7. ". The travellers walked through by-ways ; the inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Ifrael”—which I suppose is to shew, that the enemy prevailed so far as to drive the inhabitants from the villages. So when the godly man ceaseth, it is added, “ the faithful fail from among the children of men." The faithful are to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, and to maintain the order Christ has established in his church. While it is thus, their order and the stedfastness of their faith being beheld, Christ is beheld among them.
them. Pfalm " they have seen thy goings, o God, the goings of my God, my · King, in the sanctuary.” Where his voice is heard, there is his kingly power made manifeft. Psalm cx. 3." Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power. Eccl. viii. 4. Where the word of a king is, there is power.” But when, thro' the prevalence of antichrist, the faithful fail from among the children of men, and instead of a contention for the faith, they speak vanity every one to his neighbour, vainly attributing that to creatures which belong to Christ, glorying in men, ascribing those excellencies to them which belong only to him, complimenting them with his characters and titles, raising that veneration and regard to great names which belongs to Christ; then his glory is eclipsed, and men are led to seek that in men esteemed godly, which is to be found only in Christ. Hence in time of distress, or the near view of death, such men are sent for with great anxiety, distress, and confusion of mind, that they may pray with the distressed; which often serves to quiet the minds of the distressed, and their friends about them; while they remain ignorant of the finished work of Christ, (which is the only ground of hope for the guilty before