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This was free love to undeserving, to ill-deserving singers : preo veotiog love ; not that we loved him, but that he loved us. Just as an image in the glass, faith Ficious, that is imprioted there by the face looking into it; the image does not look back upon the face, except the face look forward upon the image; and in that the image does seem to see the face, it is nothing else but that the face does see the image. O the inexpressible glory of the love of God in Chrift!
3. Though God had given several fad marks of his justice before, both upon the angels that fell, clapping upon them the chajos of darknefs ; in the overthrow of Sodom and the neighbouring citics, turning them to alhes, as you may read in Jude, ver. 6, 7. yet never was the exactoess and severity of justice fo manifested before, nor ever shall be any more, as it was at the death of Christ. Christ did not only satisfy it fully, but he also honoured it highly, making that attribute which was once a bar, now to be a bottom of our peace, Rom. iii. 25. Never did such a person as Chrilt stand at the bar of justice before : the blood of God was poured out to appease and satisfy it. Wheo Chrift fuffered, he did both give and take fatisfaction ; he gave it to the justice of God io dying; he took it, io feeing justice so ho. noured in his death.
Secondly, Another delightful prospect Chrift had of the fruit of his sufferings, was the recovery and salvation of all the elect by his death ; and though his sufferings were exceeding bitter, yet such fruit of them as this was exceeding fweet : upon this account he assumed his name Jesus, Matth. i. 21. yea, and his humau Dature also, Gal. iv. 4, 5. Souls are of great value in his eyes; one foul is of more worth in his account than all the world, Mark viii. 36. What a pleasure then must it be to him, to save so many fouls from the everlasting wrath of the great and terrible God! Add to this,
Thirdly, The glory, which would redoued to him from his redeemed ones to all eternity; for it will be the everlasting pleafaot employment of the saints in heaven, to be ascribing glory, praise, and honour, to the Redeemer : " To him that loved us, “ and washed us from our fins in his own blood, and hath made “ us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory "" and dominion for ever aod ever,” Rev. 1, 5, 6. The im provement of all this will be in a word or two.
Uje 1. for conviction. This truth then, in the first place, may convince, shame, and humble the very best of Christiaos, who fiod so little delight in the most easy, sweet, and spiritual duties of obedience, when Chrift undertook and went through the most difficult task for them with such chearfulness and readiness.“ Lo, I come, thy “ law is in my heart, I delight to do thy will ;” and yet the work he lo applied himself to, was a work full of difficulty, attended with reproach and shame, as well as aoguish aod pain.
Did Chrift find pleasure in abasement and torment, in fuffering and dying for me, and can I find no pleasure in praying, hearing, meditating, and enjoying the sweet duties of communion with him? Did he come fo chearfully to die for me, and do I go fo dead-heartedly to prayers and facraments, to enjoy fellowship with him? Was it a pleasure to him to thed his blood, and is it done to me to apply it, and reap the benefits of it? Oh, Lord, what an heart have I? How unsuitable is this frame of heart to the nature of God, whose essential excellencies make him the supreme delight, the sweet repose, solace, and rest of fouls ! Pfal. xvi. 11. · How unsuitable to the principles of regeneration and holiness, purposely planted in the soul, to make spiritual performances a pleasure to it!
How posuitable to the future expected fate of glory, which brings the fanctified soul to a sweet complacential rest and fatisfaction in God! In a word, how unsuitable is this temper of spirit to the heart of Jesus Christ! O, methinks I hear Christ thus expostulating with me this day :
Is this thy zeal and delight in the duties of obedience? Is it rather the awe of conscience than the plealure of communion that brings thee to this duty ? Doth thy hard heart. Need lo many arguments to persuade it, even to the sweetest, easielt, and most pleasant duties in religion. Well, I did not love thee at that rate ; my heart readily echoed to the Father's call, to die for thee, to drink the very dregs of the cup of trembling for thee : “ I come, I come, I delight to do thy will, thy law is in " the midst of
2. Use, of exhortation. If it be so, how great a motive have the people of God before them, to make them apply themselves with all chearfulness and readiness of mind to all the duties of active and passive obedience ! O, let there be no more grusiblings, lazy excufes, Thiftings of daty, or dead-hearted and lifless performances of them, after such an example as this. Be ready to do the will of God; yea, be ye also ready to suffer it. Let the fame mind be in you, which also was in Christ Jesus. The more pleasure and delight you find in doing or (uffering the will of God, the
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more of Christ's fpirit is in you, and the more of his image is upon you. Are not all holy duties expressed in fcripture by the saints walking with God? Gen. xvii. 1. And is not this an angelical life? Can it be a burden to the ear to hear sweet ravilhing strains of melody; or to the eye, to behold variety of pleafant and lively colours; or to the palate, to relish the delicious sweetness of meats and drinks?
Oh, reader, were thy heart more spiritual, more deeply fanctified, and heavenly, it would be no more pain to thee to pray, þear, or'meditate on the things of God, than it is to a bird to carry and use his own wings;
or to a man, to eat the most pleafant food when he is an hungry; "I have rejoiced, (faith David) e in the way of thy commandments, as much as in all riches," Psal. cxix. 14.
And as to sufferings for Christ, they should not be grievous to Christians, that know how chearfully Christ came from the borom of the Father to die for them. What have we to leave or lose, in comparison with him? What are our sufferings to Christ's ? Alas, there is no compare; there was more bitteröess. in one drop of his sufferings, than in a sea of ours.
To conclude, Your delight and readiness in the paths of Ce bcdience, is the very measure of your fanctification. ?
Μ Ε Ρ Ι Τ Α Τ Ι Ο Ν,
U PON Zech. xii. part of ver. 10. And they fall look upon me, whom they have pierced; and they fall mourn for bim, as one
mourneth for his only fon; and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for bis first-born.
HIS promise is confessed to have a special respect to the in the apostle's days, Acts ii. 37. yet that was but a specimen or handsel, of what shall be, when the body of that nation shall be called:
But yet it cannot be denied, that all Christiaos find the same piercing forrows, and woundiog fense of fio, when God awakens them by convictions, and brings them to see the evil of fin, and
she grace of Christ, that is here expressed concerning them af their conversion.
The words present us with three very remarkable particulars in evangelical repentance; viz.
Firk, The spring and priociple of it.
first, The spring and principle of repentance, expressed in thele words, They Iball look upon me, whom they have pierced. This looking upon Christ, is an act of faith; for so it is described iọ seçipture, Joho vi. 40. If. xlv. 22. and it respects Christ crucified, as its proper object : Yea, and that by them, not only as their progenitors involved them in that guilt, by en tajling it on them, but as their owa fins were the meritorious cause of his death and sufferings; they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced
Secondly, The effects and fruits of such an aspect of faith upon Christ, is here also noted; They fall mourn, and be in bitterness.: i. c. it shall melt and thaw them into godly for row; it shall break their hard and ftong hearts to pieces: The eye of faith (hall affect their hearts. For indeed, evangelical sorrows are hearty and undissembled tears, dropping out of the
Thirdly, and lastly, The depth and, meafure of their forrow is here likewise noted. And it is compared with the greatest and most
. piercing forrows men are acquainted with in this world, even the sorrow of a teoder-hearted Father, mouro, ing over a dead son, yea, an only son, and his first-bord; thag which, no earthly forrow is more penetrating and sharp; Jer. vi. 26. Hence the note will be, Doct. That the sufferings of Chrif are exceeding powerful, to.
melt believers hearts into godly forrow. The eye of faith is a precious eye; and according to its. va. rious aspects upon Christ, it produceth various effects upon the hearts of men. Eying Christ as our complete righteousaess; so it pacifies and quiets the heart : Eying him as our pattero ; so it directs and regulates our actions : Eying him as a sacrifice offered up to divide justice for our fios; so it powerfully thaws. the heart, and melts the affections.
By meltings, I do not only uoderstand tears; as if they only, were expressive of all spiritual sorrow: For it is possible, the waters of sorrow may run decp in the heart, when the eye cannot yield a drop.
There be two things, ia repentance; trouble and tears. The
ège of faith.
first is essential, the last contingent. The first flows from the influence of faith upon the soul; the last much depends upon the temper and constitution of the body. It is a mercy, when our tears cao flow from an heart filled with sorrow for sin, and love to Christ; yet it often falls out, that there is an heavy heart, where the eyes are dry. But that there is efficacy in faith to melt the heart, by lookiog upon the sufferings of Christ for fin, is undoubted : And how it becomes so powerful an instrument to this end, I will thew you in the following particulars,
First, Faith eyes the dignity of the person of Christ, who was pierced for us; how excellent and glorious a perfoo he is. In the captivity, it was for a lamentation, that “prioces were “ haoged up by the hands, and the faces of elders were not " honoured,” Lam. V. 12. We read also the lamentation of David, 2 Sam. iii. 38. as he followed Abner's hearse, “A “ prince, and a great man, is fallen in Israel to-day.”
But what was Aboer, and what were the prioces of Israel to the Son of God ? Lo, here, by faith, the believer sees the Prince of the kings of the earth, the only begotten of the Fa. ther, equal to God, in Dature and dignity, He, whom all the angels worship, hanging dead upon the cursed tree. Faith sees royal blood, the blood of God, poured out by the sword of justice, for fatisfaction and reconciliation; and this cannot but deeply affect the believing foul.
Secondly, Faith represents the severity of divine justice to Jesus Christ, and the extremity of his sufferings; and this fight is a melting fight.
The apostle tells us, Gal. iii. 13. he was made x«lepec, a corfe and execration for us. It relates to the kind and manper. of his death upon the cross, which was the death of a Nave; fervile fupplicium : A freeman was privileged from that punishment. It looks upon, apd well considers the fad plight and condition Christ was in, in the days of his humiliation for us. It is said of him, Matth. xxvi. 28. He was spraumos, undequaquc triftis, forrounded with griefs; exactly answerable to his name, Isa. liii. 3. a man of forrows. Let him look which way he would, outward or inward, upward or downward, to friends or enemies; he could behold nothing but sorrow, and what might increase his misery. Another evangelif faith, he was More amazed ; Mark xiv. 33. Exbaueßigas: It ootes such a conIternation, as makes the hair of the head stand upright; Horripilatio. A third tells us, his foul was troubled, Joho xii. 27:
yuxcn us Tal copiesloc, unde tartarus, a word from whence hell is