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This is not only to hear the rod, but also him who hath appointed it, Micah vi. 9. If we are grieved for the pain only which these thorns occasion, and seek to get rid of them, without looking duly to the cause that involved us in them, it is a sign they are destitute of that effect which they had upon David and Manasseh,
The thorns of affliction, instead of being a curse, according to their nature, are now made a blessing to the people of the Lord; and are graciously promised to them as preventatives from pursuing their idols to their destruction ;“ Therefore, behold, I will hedge
up thy way with thorns, and make a wall “ that she shall not find her paths : And she “ shall follow after her lovers, but she shall “ not overtake them; and she shall seek
them, but shall not find them. Then shall “she say, I will go and return to my first “ husband, for then was it better with me " than now,” Hos. ii. 6, 7.
But especially those thorns bring to my remembrance that awful event when the powers of earth and hell were let loose against our ever blessed Lord and Saviour
when a crown of thorns, for pain and derision, was plaited for him, and put on his allsacred head by the wicked Jews and Roman soldiers, which, after they had mocked him and spit in his face, (that infinitely sacred and glorious face, before which the earth and heavens fly away, Rev. xx. 11. as unworthy to be looked on by him ;) they smote with a reed, no doubt into his sacred temples; meantime the blood sprang from a thousand pores while they struck him on the head, Matt. xxvii. 31.
Fie upon you, thorns ! you fruit of the cursed ground, Gen. iii. 17, 18. that gave our Lord such excruciating pain ! rather, fie upon the Jews and soldiers who contrived and executed this barbarous torture! But, above all, fie upon my sins, and the sins of an elect world, that were the procuring cause of allthat shame and pain which our ever-blessed Lord and Saviour suffered ; these conceived the barbarous torture, mocked him, his face, and smote the thorns into his temples.
Revenge, revenge, O my soul, all this indignity, cruelty, and pain, which thy sins occasioned to thy dear Saviour, on thy sins, by destroying their life in thee : Yes, O my soul, crucify them which crucified thy Lord, the Lord of glory.
Away with them from thy heart which cried, “
away with this man !” Luke xxij. away
with him, away with him, crucify him !" John xix. 15. Rather do it, O Almighty God, by thy infinite power and grace,
for it is a task too hard for me; yet I am resolved, that through thy grace, which is sufficient, and strength which is made per fect in weakness, 2 Cor. xii. 9. I shall mortify sin daily, crucifying the flesh with the affections and lusts, Gal. v. 24. And should not I and every one do so, seeing that they crucified the Lord of glory? May I so revenge the death of Christ on the life of sin
in my soul !
And are we not bound to do so in baptism, and many of us since by our own yoluntary vows ? and should we harbour as dear friends in our bosoms the stern enemies of Christ ? Should we allow those to live in our hearts, that slew our dear Saviour ! No, whatever others do, may I resolve, Jo
shua-like, to serve the Lord, Joshua xxiv. 15. and to crucify them which cried out,
Crucify him, crucify him!” Luke xxiii. 21. for till this be done fully, they will be pricks in my eyes and thorns in my side, Numbers xxxiii. 55. and vex me while I dwell in the church below,
As fire devours thorns, so let the flame of divine 'love to my dear Lord and Saviour, who hath done and suffered so unspeakably much for me, burn vehemently in my heart, and consume all my sins and lusts ; and may God, to kindle up this fire, shed his love abroad in my soul by the power of the Holy Ghost! Rom. v. 5.
To be sensible of their evil nature and their dreadful consequences, let me often take a view of them in the glass of my Lord and Saviour's sufferings, and so through divine grace, though these Canaanites be not all expelled out of my heart at once, yet they shal} be driven out by little and little, Exod. xxiii. ' 30. till at length they be quite destroyed : for sin, like the plague of leprosy, has got into the walls of the house of our human frame, and hath spread over and corrupted our whole
nature, and though we may and must, through divine grace, be continually scraping and cleansing the house, yet sin will never be finally destroyed, till at last the walls of the house, even of our mortal tabernacle, be thrown down by death, Levit. xiv. 37.---45.
As the man whom the priest saw fully covered over with leprosy was to be pronounced clean, Leviticus xiii. 12, 13. so we can have little or no hope of ever being pronounced clean by the great High Priest of our profession, Heb. iii. 1. till we have seen ourselves, not in part, but altogether, soul and body, defiled and covered with the dreadful leprosy of sin, and have fled to him for cleansing ; if this be done, we may rest assured God the Father will pronounce us clean, in and through the justifying righteousness of Christ Jesus the great High Priest, who hath atoned fully for all such lepers.
every one of us, then, like the leper of old, come to him and say, “ Lord, if thou
wilt, thou canst make me clean;" that he
may say unto each of us as he said unto him, “I will, be thou clean,” Matt. viii. 2. for he is as willing to cleanse us at this