Page images

ther ? His hunger, thirst, weariness, reproach, pain and distress, were all as so many tongues, upon which eloquence, argument and persuasion always fat. To every student of the scriptures, it will at once appear, that our Lord had such needs, felt such wants ; nay, that from the manger 10 the grave, he was mostly, if not wholly, such a man of sorrows and acquainted with griefs. And unless * it could be imagined, that the Father had less concern about his own Son, than about the irrational tribes; it is plain, these manifold neceflities of his came up, as in the most expressive language, before the throne : for inspiration assures us, that God giveth to the beast his food, and to the

young ravens which cry,” Psal. cxlvii. 9. and our Lord himself taught his disciples, that their heavenly Father “ fed the fowls of che air, who “ neither sow, reap, nor gather into bains,” Matth. vi. 26.

When thus humbled, the prayers or cries of the Man Christ were put up on his own behalf. “O, “ my Father (faid he, once, again and again) if “ it be poflible, let this cup pass froin me; but if this cup may not pass from me, except I drink, " it, thy will be done,” Matth. xxvi. 39, 42. " Father, the hour is come ; glorify thy Son, that

thy Son also may glorify thee. O Father, glo

rify me with thine own self ; with the glory. “ which I had with thee, before the world was," John xvii. 1, 5.

6. Be not thou far from me, o " Lord, O my strength, halte thee to help me, " deliver my soul from the sword, my darling from “the power of the dog; fave me from the lions

mouth," Psal. xxii. 19, 20, 21, But though our Lord prayed for himself, his cries, or prayers, were by no means confined to himfelf; for we find bis concern about the promotion of his Father's


glory on earth not only expressed, by teaching his disciples to pray, “ Hallowed be thy name, thy

kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is " in heaven, Matth. vi. 9, 10. and adjoining with them in these petitions; but by an actual, immedi. ate, particular, address to the Father, for that purpofe, by himself, saying, “ Father, glorify thy * name,” John xii. 28. In these prayers, or cries, his apostles and “the men which accompanied with " them, all the time that he went in and out among " them,” had a peculiar (hare. Besides the many prayers put up for them, in the former periods of his humiliation, there is a beautiful cluster of such petitions, in the 17th chapter of John; “ Holy Fa*ther (faid he) keep, through thine own name, " those whom thou hast given me, that they inay “ be one as we are,”, verf. 11. Keep them “ from the evil,” verf. 15. “Sanctify them through “ thy truth," verf. 17. “Father, I will that they " also whom thou hast given me, be with me “ where I am ; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me,” verf. 24. Nor did he only pray for his then disciples, but for all who, in every age of the Christian church, should, by conversion to the faith and hope of the gospel, become such. “Neither pray 1 for these alone (faid

he) but for them also which shall believe on me " through their word,” John xvii. 20. Nay, his prayers were extended to his enemies themselves. In praying for them who should afterwards believe, he, doubtless, prayed for his enemies, all being by nature enemies to him, enmity against him : but he more especially prayed for those who were immediately instrumental in his fufferings and death, at least for such of them as he had gracious designs upon ; and prayed for them, when most perfecuted by them. "Father (faid he, in his last agonies


15 upon the cross) forgive them, for they know not " what they do," Luke xxiii. 34.

The cries or prayers of the Man Christ were vastly different from those of other men, in the innocence and purity of them. Whatever guilt was imputed to him, there was none committed by him. Though, as the representative of sinners, he was, in a legal sense, most guilty ; yet, in a personal abstracted view, he was of all men the most imma. culate and holy. Though, in the language of the apostle, he was "made fin for us,- he knew no

fin,” 2 Cor. V. 21. Whence all his prayers behoved to be of a piece with the distinguishing fanctity of his nature; without the smallest mixture of weakness, guilt or imperfection. Accordingly, as one apostle informs us, that " he knew no sin ;" another allures us, that “ he did no fin,” 2 Pet. i. 22. did no fin in heart, word, or action; no fin in à personal or relational capacity, in a moral or religious regard. Which with no propriety can be said of mere men : for there is not only, " that sinneth not,” i Kings viii. 46. but no " just man, upon earth, that doth good, and sin“ neth not,” Eccl. vii. 20. In the very prayers, and other religious performances of holy men, there is so much guilt, that infinite holiness might justly condemn their persons, and reject their performances, on account of it. For " who can say, "I have my heart clean, I am pare from my fin!" Prov. xx. 9. Nay, “if we say that we have no fin, “ we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us, 1 John i. 8.

His prayers or cries differed likeways from those of mere men ; as by them he approached immediately to the Father, without using a mediator. It is an invariable maxim in the system of Christianity, That as “there is one God, and one Mediator be

tween ment evidence

no man

tween God and man,” i Tim. ii. 5. so, that

no man cometh unto the Father but by him," John xiv. 6. whereas our Lord dealt immediately with the divine Majesty in person ; evident from his very defignation of a Mediator, which supposes his dealing immediately with God, the offended, as he dealt immediately with man, the offending party. For a Mediator incapable of approaching both the disagreed parties, could be no Mediator, could effect no proper mediation ; and thence could not, without impropricty, so much as deserve the name. ^ Nor did he only use no Mediator, but he actually needed none. Guilt renders God tremenduous and awful to sinners. Guilt stands as an irrefragable bar between God and man. Guilt not only provokes Jehovah to speak to them in wrath, but makes fingers themselves shy of approaching to him. What the people of Israel faid unto Mofes, the typical Mediator, is the truth respecting every mere man, how soon, and in how far, the infinite distance between God and him is discovered. " And all the people (says the historian) saw the

thunderings, and lightnings, and the noise of " the trumpet, and the mountain smoaking; and " when the people faw it, they removed, and stood " afar of; and they laid unto Moses, Speak. thou “ with us, and we will hear ; but let not God Speak with

us, lest we die ;" Exod. xx. 18, 19, whereas our Lord's righteousness, his personal conformity to the Father, was such, in breadth and length, in kind and degree, that he could, and, with all propriety, did plead the merit of it, as his argument with the Father, in crying to him. “ Let not them (faid he) that wait upon thee, O Lord, God of hosts, be ashamed for my


; “ let not those that seek thee be confounded for my fake, O God of Israel:" and as the argument for acceptance, he added, “Because, for thy " fake, I have born reproach; shame hath cover

ed my face," Pfal. 1xix. 6, 7. “ I have glori"fied thee on earth, (faid he) I have finished the " work which thou gavest me to do;" there is the plea, upon which he founded the following claim :" " And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine

own self, with the glory which I had with thee, « before the world was,” John xvii. 4, 5. He pled, not on the footing of mercy and forbearance in God, but on the footing of righteousness, abfolute, eternal righteousness, in the Divine Nature; as what, disposing and determining Jehovah to render to every one according to their real demerit, behoved to conclude for the answer of his prayers ; evident from his calling him, in that noticeable prayer, “Holy Father,” and again, " Righteous “ Father," John xvii. 11, 25. In this there was nothing presumptuous or premature ; for the Father was well pleased for his righteousness' fake," as consisting in his “magnifying the law, and mak"ing it honourable,” If. xlii. 21. The prayers or cries of Fesus Christ were always such as the Father was well pleased to grant. Other men, saints not excepted, may, through their blindness and imperfection, ask, not only what the Father will not give, but what, should he indulge them in, would be hurtful for them to receive. “ Ye ask (says " the apostle) and ye receive not, because ye alk

amiss," James iv. 3. This is uniformly the case with finners; and, in things respecting a present life, or not essential to falvation, frequently the case with saints themselves. Whereas no desires flowed from the Saviour's heart, no petition dropped from his lips, but what was intirely a transcript of the Father's will, altogether a copy of the divine purpose and pleasure, and an invariable

« PreviousContinue »