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ferings, so that we should certainly rather be ambitious than afraid of them. Recollect,
2. The greatness and continuance of his sufferings. That which the apostle speaks here of, his once suffering', hath its truth, taking in all. He suffered once; his whole life was one continued line of suffer. ing, from the manger to the cross; all that lay betwixt was suitable. His estate and entertainment throughout his whole life agreed well with so mean a beginning, and so reproachful an end, of it: forced upon a flight, while he could not go; and living till he appeared in public, in a very mean despised condition, as the carpenter's son ; and, after his best works, paid with envy and revilings, called a winebiber, and a caster out of devils by the prince of devils ; his life often laid in wait and sought for. Art thou mean in thy birth and life, despised, misjudged, and reviled, on all hands ? Look how it was with him, that had more right than thou hast, to better entertainment in the world. Thou wilt not deny this, for it was his own; it was made by him, and he was in it, and it knew him not. Are thy friends harsh to thee? He came unto his own, and his own received him not'. Hast thou a mean cottage, or art thou drawn from it? Hast thou no dwelling, and art thou every way poor and ill accommodated ? He was as poor as thou canst be, and had no where to lay his head', worse provided than the birds and fores. But then, consider to what a height his sufferings rose in the end, that most remarkable piece of them here meant, by his once suffering for sins. If thou shouldst be cut off by a violent death, or in the prime of thy years, mayst thou not look' upon him as going before thee in both these and in so ignominious a way; scourged, buffeted, and spit on; he endured all, he gave his back to the smiters', and then, as the same prophet hath it, He was numbered amongst the transgressors'. When they had used him with all that shame, they hanged him betwixt two thieves, and they 1 John i. 10, 11. • Mat. viii. 20.
t Isa. i. 6. v Isa, liji. ult.
that passed by, wagged their heads, and darted taunts at him, as at a mark fixed to the cross; they scoffed and said, He saved others, himself he cannot save : But, for the joy set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, as the apostle says*.
Thus we see the outside of his sufferings. But the christian is subject to grievous temptations, and sad desertions, that are heavier by far than the sufferings which indeed the apostle speaks of here. Yet even in these this same argument of his holds. For our Saviour is not unacquainted with, nor ignorant of, either of those, though still without sin. And, if any of that had been in any of his sufferings, it had not furthered, but undone all our comfort in him. But tempted he was; he suffered that way too, and the temptations were terrible, as you know. And, was there not some strong conflict when he fell down and prayed in the garden, and sweat drops of blood ? Was there not an awful eclipse, when he cried out on the cross, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? So that, even in these, we may apply this comfort, and stay ourselves or souls on him, and go to him as a compassionate high-priest", For Christ also suffered.
2. Consider the fitness of the example; as the same is every way great, yea greatest, so it is fit, the fittest to take with a christian, to set before him so near a pattern, where he hath so much interest. As the argument is strong in itself, so is it to the new man, the christian man, particularly strongest ; it binds him most; for it is not far fetched, but a home pattern"; as when you persuade men to virtue, by the example of those that they have near relation to. They are his servants, and shall they, or would they, think to be greater than their master, to be exempt from his lot in the world? They are his soldiers, and will they refuse to follow him, and to endure with him ? Suffer hardship (says the apostle to Timothy), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Will not a word * Heb. xii. 2. y Heb. iv. 15, 16. 2 Exemplum domesticum. from him put a vigour in them to go after him, whether upon any march or service, when he calls them friends, Commilitoncs, an appellation used by Julius Cæsar, which wrought so much on his trained bands: yea, he is not ashamed to call them brethren, ånd, will they be ashamed tò share with him, and to be known by their suitable estate to be bis brethren?
* 2 Tim. ii. 3.
3. There is from these sufferings of Christ, such a result of safety and comfort to a christian, that makes them a most effectual encouragement to suffering ; which is this, if he suffered once, that was for sin; so that now, that heavy intolerable suffering for sin being once taken out of a believer's way, it makes all other sufferings light, exceeding Tight, as nothing in their account. He suffered once for sin, so that to them that lay hold on him, this holds sure, that sin is never to be suffered for in the way of strict justice again ; as not by him, so not by them that are in him ; for he suffered for sins once, and it was for their sins, every poor believer's. So now the soul, finding itself rid of that fear, goes cheerfully through all other hazards and sufferings.
The soul, perplexed about that question, finds no relief in all other enjoyments ; all propositions of lower comforts are unsavoury and troublesome to it. Tell it of peace and prosperity ; say, however the world go, you shall have ease and pleasure, and you shall be honoured and esteemed by all ; yea, though you could make a man sure of these, yet, if his conscience be working and stirred about the matter of his sin, and the wrath of God, which is tied close to sin, he will wonder at your impertinency, in that you speak so far from the purpose. Say what you will of these, he still asks, "What do you mean by this ? those things answer not me. Do you think I can find comfort in them, so long as my sin is unpardoned, and there is a sentence of eternal death stand. ing above my head. I feel even an impress of somewhat of that hot indignation ; some flashes of it, fly
b Heb. ii. 11.
ing and lighting upon the face of my soul, and how can I take pleasure in these things you speak of? And though I should be senseless, and feel nothing of this all my life, yet how soon shall I have done with it, and the delights that reach no further? and then to have everlasting burnings, eternity of wrath to enter to; how can I be satisfied with that estate?” All you offer a man in this posture is, as if
you should set dainty, fare, and bring music with it, to a man lying almost pressed to death under great weights, and you bid him eat and be mercy, but lift not off his pressure ; you do but mock the man and add to his misery ; on the other side, he that hath got but a view of his Christ, and reads his own pardon in Christ's sufferings, can rejoice in this, in the midst of all other sufferings, and look on death without apprehension, yea, with gladness, for the sting is out : Christ hath made all pleasant to him by this one thing, that he suffered once for sins. Christ hath perfumed the cross, and the graye, and made all sweet. The pardoned man finds himself light, skips and leaps, and, through Christ strengthening him, he can encounter with any trouble. If you think to shut up his spirit within outward sufferings, he is now, as Sampson in his strength, able to carry away on his back the gates with which you would inclose him ; yea, can submit
patiently to the Lord's hand in any correction.
" Thou hast forgiven my sin, therefore, deal with me as thou wilt, all is well.' For the improvement of what has been said,
1. Learn to consider more deeply, and esteem more highly, of Christ, and his suffering, to silence our grumbling at our petty light crosses; for so they are in comparison of his. Will not the great odds of his perfect innocency, and of the nature and measure of his sufferings ; will not the sense of the redemption of our souls from death by his death; will none of these, nor all of them, argue us into more thankfulness and love to him, and patience in our trials? Why will we then be called
christians? It is impossible to be fretful and malecontent with the Lord's dealing with us in any kind, till first we have forgot how he dealt with his dearest Son for our sakes. But these things are not weighed by the most: we hear and speak of them, but our hearts receive not the impressions of them ; therefore we repine against our Lord and Father, and drown a hundred great blessings in any little trouble that befals us.
2. Seek surer interest in Christ and his suffering than the most either have attained, or are aspiring to, otherwise all that is suffered here will afford thee no ease nor comfort in any kind of suffering. No, though thou suffer, for a good cause, even for his cause, still this will be an extraneous foreign thing to thee? and to tell thee of his sufferings, will work no otherwise' with thee than some other common story. And as in the day of peace thou regardest it no more, so in the day of thy trouble thou shalt receive no more comfort from it. Other things which you esteemed shall have no comfort to speak to you; though you pursue them with words (as Solomon
poor man's friends) yet they shall be wanting to you“. And then you will surely find how happy it were to have this to turn you to, that the Lord Jesus suffered for sins, and for yours, and therefore hath made it a light and comfortable business to you to undergo momentary passing sufferings.
Days of trial will come; do you not see they are on us already? Be persuaded, therefore, to turn your eyes and desires more towards Christ. This is the thing we would still press; the support and happiness of your souls lie on it. But you will not believe it. Oh, that you knew the comforts and sweetness of Christ! Oh, that one would speak that knew more of them! Were you once but entered into this knowledge of him, and the virtue of his sufc Enimvero non sentient sua, qui illius vulnera intuentur. Bern. Cant. Serm. 61.
d Prov. xix. 7.
says of the