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ward comforts; yet the time came when God stripped him of all, and made him poor to a proverb, as to all outward comfort; and the venom of his arrows drank up his spirit. Should the Lord deal thus with you, how seasonable and relieving will be the following considerations:
Though the Lord deals thus with you, yet this is no new thing; he hath so dealt with others, yea, with Jesus Christ himself. If these things were done to him that never deserved it for any sin of his own, how little reason have we to complain!
Nay, for this very reason did this befall Jesus Christ, that similar trials might be sanctified to you. For Jesus Christ passed through such a variety of conditions, on purpose that he might take away the curse, and leave a blessing against the time that you should come into them.
Moreover, though inward comforts and outward comforts were both removed from Christ in one day, yet he wanted not support in the absence of both. How relieving a consideration is this! "Behold, (saith he,) the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me." John, 16: 32. Thy God, christian, can in like manner support thee, when all sensible comforts shrink away together from thy soul and body in one day.
9. It deserves a remark, that this forsaken condition of Christ immediately preceded the day of his greatest glory and comfort. The greatest darkness is said to be a little before the dawning of the morning. It was so with Christ, it may be so with thee. It was but a little while, and he had better company than that which for sook him. Act therefore your faith upon this, that the most glorious light usually follows the thickest darkness. The louder your groans are now, the louder your
triumphs will be hereafter. The horror of your present will but add to the lustre of your future state.
THE PATIENCE OF CHRIST'S DEATH.
"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth : he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth." Isaiah, 53: 7.
The chapter containing these words treats wholly of the sufferings of Christ. Hornbeck tells us of a learned Jew, "who ingenuously confessed that this chapter converted him to the christian faith; and such delight he had in it that he read it more than a thousand times." Such is the clearness of this prophecy, that he who penned it is deservedly styled the evangelical prophet. From this verse I shall speak of the grievous sufferings of Christ, and the glorious ornament he put upon them; even the ornament of a meek and patient spirit. He opened not his mouth; but went as a sheep to be shorn, or a lamb to the slaughter. The lamb goes as quiet to the slaughter-house as to the fold. By this lively and lovely similitude the patience of Christ is here expressed to us. Whence we learn that,
Jesus Christ supported the burden of his sufferings with admirable patience and meekness of spirit.
Patience never had a more glorious triumph than it had upon the cross. The meekness and patience of Christ's spirit, amidst injuries and provocations, is excellently set forth in 1 Pet. 2:22, 23. "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when
he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered he threatened not, but committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously."
In this point we have the burden of sufferings and provocations with which Jesus Christ was oppressed; his admirable meekness and patience; and the causes and grounds of the perfect patience he exercised.
I. The burden of sufferings and provocations which Christ supported was very great; for on him met all kinds of trouble at once, and those in their highest degrees and fullest strength: trouble in his soul, which was the soul of his trouble, "He began to be sore amazed and very heavy." Mark, 14:33. The wrath of an infinite God beat him down to the dust. His body was full of pain and exquisite tortures in every part. Not a member or sense but was the seat and subject of torment.
His name suffered the vilest indignities, blasphemies and reproaches that the malignity of Satan and wicked men could utter against it. Contempt was poured upon all his offices. Upon his kingly office, when they crowned him with thorns, arrayed him with purple, bowed the knee with mockery to him, and cried, "Hail, King of the Jews:" his prophetical office, when they blinded him, and then bid him "prophesy who smote him :" his priestly office, when they reviled him on the cross, saying, "He saved others, himself he cannot save." They scourged him, spit in his face, and smote him.
All this, and much more than this, meeting at once upon an innocent and dignified person; one that was greater than all; one that could have crushed all his enemies as a moth; all this borne without the least discomposure of spirit, is the highest triumph of patience ever exhibited to man. It was one of the greatest wonders of that wonderful day.
II. Consider this almighty patience and unparalleled meekness of Christ, supporting such a burden.
Christian patience, or the grace of patience, is an ability to suffer hard and heavy afflictions, according to the will of God. It is a glorious power, that strengthens the suffering soul to bear. It is our passive fortitude: Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness," Col. 1:11; that is, strengthened with the might or power of God himself. God hath several kinds of burdens to impose upon his people. Some heavier, others lighter; some to be carried but a few hours, others many days, others all our days: some more spiritual, bearing upon the soul; some more external, touching the flesh immediately and the spirit by way of sympathy; and sometimes both kinds are laid on together. So they were at this time on Christ. His soul full of the bitter sense and apprehension of the wrath of God: his body filled with tortures: in every member and sense grief took up its lodging. Here was the high. est exercise of patience.
III. Let us inquire into the grounds and reasons of this perfect patience; and you shall find perfect holiness, wisdom, forc-knowledge, faith, heavenly-mindedness, and obedience, at the root of it.
1. This admirable patience and meekness of Christ was the fruit of his perfect holiness. His nature was free from those corruptions that ours groans and labors under. Take the meek Moses, who excelled all others in this grace-let him be tried, and see how "unadvisedly he may speak with his lips." Psalm 106: 33. Take a Job, whose patience is resounded over all the world"ye have heard of the patience of Job," and let him be tried by outward and inward troubles meeting upon him in one day, and even a Job may curse the day wherein he was born. Envy, revenge, discontent, despondence, are weeds naturally springing up in the corrupt soil of our sinful natures. "I saw a little child grow pale with
envy," said Augustin. "The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy." Jam. 4:5. The principle of all these evils being in our nature, they will show themselves in time of trial. Our nature is fretful and passionate. But it was otherwise with Christ. "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me," John, 14:30, no principle of corruption, as an inlet to temptation. Our High Priest was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." Heb. 7:26.
2. The meekness and patience of Christ proceeded from the infinite wisdom with which he was filled. The wiser any man is, the more patient he is. Hence meekness, the fruit, is denominated from patience, the root that bears it, "the meekness of wisdom." Jam. 3: 13. And anger is lodged in folly, its proper cause. "Anger resteth in the bosom of fools." Eccl. 7:9. Seneca would allow no place for passion in a wise man's breast. Wise men ponder, consider, and weigh things deliberately before they suffer their affections and passions to be stirred and enraged. Hence come the constancy and serenity of their spirits. "A man of understanding is of an excellent (or, as the Hebrew is, a cool) spirit." Prov. 17: 27. Wisdom filled the soul of Christ. He is wisdom in the abstract. Prov. 8. In him "are hid all the treasures of wisdom." Col. 2: 3. Hence he was no otherwise moved with the revilings and abuses of his enemies, than a wise physician is with the impertinence of his distempered and crazy patient.
3. His patience flowed also from his fore-knowledge. He had a perfect prospect from eternity of all which befel him. It came not upon him by surprisal. He wondered not as if some strange thing had happened. He foresaw all these things: "And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and chief priests, and scribes, and be killed." Mark, 8: 31. Yea, he had agreed with his