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needed most especially by those who are suffering affliction of some kind or other. The afflicted children of God are encouraged to look up to Him for grace to enable them patiently to endure what He sees fit to lay upon them. And they have set before them as their example the patience of their Lord and Saviour under all His unparalleled sufferings. What we may be called to suffer, is far less than our iniquity deserves ; and to the believer in Christ the sting is taken out of every affliction, since his Surety bore the curse due to sin, and therefore it shall not be visited upon him. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." It is the mourner also who needs consolation. If we mourn because of sin that dwelleth in us, for which we have most reason to mourn, we may be comforted by the consideration that we have not to sorrow, as He did, who endured the wrath of God, that He might deliver us from it. When we meditate on the patience of Christ, it will surely make us patient in suffering the will of God; and patient also in making allowances for the conduct of others towards us. And we shall bless our adorable Redeemer for having condescended to be bereaved of consolation in the hour of His agony, that we might be, comforted with the recollection of what He endured in our stead,
42 Gal. iii. 13.
The apostle prayed that the Roman Christians might receive grace from the God of patience and consolation to conform them to the image of Christ Jesus, in order that they might be likeminded with Him in their endeavours, every one to please his neighbour for his good to edification; since the strong in faith ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and to do all in their power to encourage rather than to dishearten them; and there should be a mutual sympathy among all the members of the mystical body of Christ, and a desire to edify one another, or to build up each other on their most holy faith.43
The object proposed by this love of the brethren was, that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The promotion of the glory of God was that which the apostle had always at heart, that He might be glorified by all His people, with one heart and voice; for this he knew would be for their own happiness. But it is as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ especially, that God is glorified by the children of men; as having, in His love and compassion to our fallen race, given His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." If we are enabled to behold the God of heaven as our reconciled Father
43 Jude 20.
44 John iii. 16.
in Christ Jesus, we shall be disposed to praise and magnify His holy name for His mercy and loving-kindness manifested towards us through His beloved Son our Redeemer. And we shall be ready to imitate the example which our blessed Saviour has left us; according to the exhortation of the apostle, Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. To receive means to show kindness and render assistance to the weak in faith, and to endeavour to strengthen and edify them. We are to do this, remembering the vastness of our obligations to Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. Thus we are to bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.46 We see how the apostle presses the example of Christ upon His people. It is important to observe this, and to implore His grace to conform us to His holy will, and to enable us to seek His glory as our end and aim at all times.
The apostle next speaks of the coming of Christ, and the objects proposed or effected by means of it; which seems to be the reason why this portion of scripture is appointed for this day. Now I say, that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers. He was born under the law," and submitted to its ceremonial rites
45 Gal. ii. 20.
46 Gal. vi. 2.
47 Gal. iv. 4.
and observances, as a proof that He was the promised Seed of Abraham, in whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed. He appeared among the ancient people of God for the truth of God, to show the truth of His word, which cannot lie. It was thus proved that the word of God was the truth. The people of God had looked for the fulfilment of His promises contained in His word. And when the fulness of time was come, it was found that they had not been made in vain; their truth was confirmed by the appearing of the Seed of the woman to bruise the serpent's head. For this purpose it was that He was born in Bethlehem of Judea, and sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.49
But there was a further design of God in the gift of His Son to mankind, which was not developed until His own nation had rejected Him, and put Him to death. Then, after He had risen from the dead, He commanded His apostles to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 50 Our apostle shows the Gentile
Christians that this had been foretold in the Old Testament. The blessings of the salvation of Christ were not to be confined to the Jews, but were to be extended to heathen lands; that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to Thee
48 Gal. iv. 4. 49 Mat. xv. 24. 50 Mark xvi. 15. 51 Ps. xviii. 49.
among the Gentiles, and sing unto Thy name.51 It was Divine mercy which caused the Son of God to come down from heaven, to be the Saviour of lost sinners. And this manifestation of it demands from those to whom it is declared, that they should glorify and praise Him who hath had mercy upon them. That the Gentiles were to be blessed by the coming of Christ the Redeemer, the apostle shows from passages taken from the three different divisions of the scriptures of the Old Testament, the law of Moses, the Psalms, and the prophets. Of Moses he declares, Again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with His people. Of the Psalmist, And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud Him all ye people. 53 Of the prophets, And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and He that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in Him shall the Gentiles trust.54 Here it appears to have been foretold, that when the Gentiles should hear the word of the truth of the gospel, they would receive it with joy; they would praise the Giver of all goodness, and put their trust in Him, and submit themselves to His government; that He might reign over them, to whom of right the dominion belonged.
As our Lord Jesus Christ was to be the hope and confidence of the Gentiles; the apostle prays,
52 Deut. xxxii. 43. 53 Psalm cxvii. 11.
54 Isai. xi. 10.