« FöregåendeFortsätt »
shall be satisfied: by his knowlege shall my righteous servant justify many:—I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong:') which passages, as they do most exactly suit unto Jesus, and might in a sort constitute a true historical narration of what he did endure, together with the doctrines delivered in the gospel concerning the intents and effects of his sufferings, so that they did, according to the intention of the divine spirit, relate to the Messias, may from several considerations be made apparent; the context and coherence of all this passage with the matters precedent and subsequent, the which plainly do respect the Messias and his times, do argue it: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings' and, ‘Behold, my servant shall deal prudently,’ &c. are passages immediately going before; to which this chapter is knit in way of continuation; and immediately after it doth follow, “Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear,’ &c. being a no less perspicuous than elegant description of the church, enlarged by accession of the Gentiles, which was to be brought to pass by the Messias. The general scope of this whole prophecy enforceth the same conclusion; and the incongruity of this particular prediction to any other person imaginable beside the Messias doth farther evince it: so high are the things ascribed to the suffering person; as that he should “bear the sins of all God's people, and heal them;’ that he should “by his knowlege justify many,’ (or the multitude ;) that “the pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hand' to these grand purposes; that God would “divide him a portion with the great, and that he should divide the spoil with the strong: the magnificency and importance of which sayings (rightly understood and weighed) do well agree with the Messias, but not to any other person, or simple man : whence if the ancient Jews had reason to believe a Messias was to come, (as they with general consent did suppose they had,) they had as much reason to apply this place, as any other, to him, and thence to acknowlege that he was designed to be an eminent sufferer. And indeed divers of the ancient Targumists and most learned Rabbins did expound this place of the one Messias, which was to come; as the Pugio fidei, and other learned writers, do by several express testimonies declare. This place also discovereth the vanity of that figment, devised by some later Jews; who, to evade it, and to oppose Jesus, have affirmed there was to be a double Messias; one who should be much afflicted; another who should greatly prosper; since we may observe that here both great afflictions and glorious performances concurrently are ascribed to the same person. The same things are by parts also clearly foretold in other places of this prophet, and in other prophetical scriptures; by Isaiah again in the chapter immediately preceding, ‘Behold,” saith God there, “my servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high :’ there is God's servant (he, who in way of excellency is such, that is, in the style of this prophet, the Messias) in his real glorious capacity. It followeth concerning his external appearance; ‘His visage was so marred more than any man's, and his form more than the sons of men.” And again, in the 49th chapter; “Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship.” What can be more express and clear, than that it is signified here that the Messias, who should subject the world, with its sovereign powers, to the acknowlegement and veneration of himself, was to be despised by men, to be detested by the Jewish people, to appear in a servile and base condition ? The same prophet doth again, in the 50th chapter, bring him in speaking thus; ‘I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting.’ His offending the Jews, so as thereby to aggravate their sins, and accelerate their punishments, is also thus expressed by the same prophet: “And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” The Prophet Zechariah doth also in several places very roundly express his sufferings, his low condition in those words; • Behold, thy king cometh unto thee; lowly, and riding on an ass;' (that is, pauper, mean and sorry to appearance.) His manner of death in those words: “Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.’ And again; “I will pour on the house of David, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look on me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn,’ &c. The Prophet Daniel also in that place, from which probably the name Messias was taken, and which most expressly mentioneth him, saith, that “after sixtytwo weeks the Messias shall be cut off, but not for himself.” Now from all these passages of Scripture (beside divers others to the same purpose, observable by those whose industry is assisted by divine illumination) we may well conclude with our Lord, "Ortoirw yéyparrat, kal otros éée, it affeivrov Xpwardv‘That thus it was written, and thus (according to the prophet's foreshowing) it was to happen, that the Christ should suffer;’ suffer in a life of penury and disgrace, in a death of sorrow and shame. 3. That it was to fall out thus, might also be well inferred by reasons grounded on the qualities of the Messiah's person, and on the nature of his performances, such as they are described in prophetical Scripture : he was to be really, and plainly to appear, a person of most admirable virtue and goodness; but never (as even Pagan philosophers have observed) was, or can there be any such without undergoing the trial of great affliction. He was to be an universal pattern to men of all sorts (especially to the greatest part of men, that is, to the poor and afflicted) of “all righteousness;’ to exemplify particularly the most difficult pieces of duty; (humility, patience, meekness, charity, self-denial, intire resignation to God's will:) this he should not have had opportunity or advantage of doing, should he have been high, wealthy, splendid, and prosperous in secular matters: he was to exercise great pity and sympathy toward all mankind; toward the doing which it was requisite that he should himself taste and feel the inconveniences, troubles, pains, and sorrows incident to us. He was to advance the repute of spiritual goods and eternal blessings, depressing the value of these corporeal and temporal things, which men do so fondly admire and dote on : the most compendious and effectual way of doing which was by an exemplary neglect or rejection of worldly glories and enjoyments; refusing the honors, profits, and pleasures here, adjoined to a high state. He was by the most kindly, gentle, and peaceable means to erect a spiritual kingdom; by pure force of reason to subdue the hearts and consciences of men to the love and obedience of God; by wise instruction to raise in us the hopes of future recompenses in heaven; to the accomplishment of which purposes temporal glory (working on the carnal apprehensions and affections of men) had rather been prejudicial than conducible. He was to accomplish and manage his great designs by means supernatural and divine, the which would surely become more conspicuous by the visible meanness and impotency of his state. He was also most highly to merit from God, for himself, and for us; (to merit God's high approbation of what he did, God's favor and grace to us;) this he could not perform so well, as by willingly enduring, for God's sake, and in our behalf, the most hard and grievous things. He was, in fine, designed “perfectly to save us,’ and consequently to appease God's wrath, to satisfy divine justice, to expiate our sins; whereto it was requisite that he should undergo what we had deserved, being punished and afflicted for us.
Now that Jesus our Lord did most thoroughly correspond to whatever is in this kind declared by the prophets concerning the Messias, we need not, by minutely relating the known history of his life and death, make out any farther, since the whole matter is palpably notorious, and no adversary can deny it: I shall therefore conclude, that it is a clear and certain truth, which St. Peter in our text affirmeth, that ‘ those things which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.”
Now, “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.” A men.
“Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.’ Amen.
SUMMARY OF SERMON LXXVII.
ACTs, CHAP. II.-VERSE 38.
AMONG the various reasonable grounds and ends of observing festival solemnities, the two principal are these : 1. The occasion which they afford to consider, and to instruct ourselves and others in the mysterious doctrines of our religion. 2. The engaging us seasonably to practise that great duty to God, the remembering and praising him for his great favors and mercies. For these purposes chiefly did God himself appoint the Jewish festivals: instance of the Passover. In compliance with which prudent design the Christian church has recommended to her children the observation of her chief festivals, continuing the time and name, though changing or improving the matter and reason of those ancient ones: farther observations on this point. The sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb, commemorated, as it were, on the anniversary of Christ's passion. The effusion of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost corresponded with the time when the Jews were obliged to rejoice before the Lord, for the harvest newly gathered in, and the earth's good fruits bestowed on them ; and then did God bountifully impart the first-fruits of his holy Spirit: farther observations on this point. The benefit therefore and blessing, which at this time we are bound to commemorate, is in effect the publication and establishment of the Evangelical covenant, the foundation of all