Page images
PDF
EPUB

fashion you may make of prayer, enter not at all into the spirit of it, know nothing beyond the external performance, skim on the surface of that im. portant duty: What are you? are you young and gay? are you rich and wealthy are you wife and penetrating? are you admired and esteemed ? It matters not, though you had all the beauties, the grandeurs, and the advantages, the creation itself can give ; you are prayerless wretches, graceless persons, Christless souls; you have no interest in the Redeemer's cry, no part in his intercession, and, for any thing appears, shall have no lot in the inheritance of the faints in light. Rouse, awake, up, O sleepers ! arise, shake off these guilty, these deadly, these accursed Numbers; cry, now cry unto God, as a God in Christ, that ye perish not: if not interested in the merit of Im.

anuel's cry, if not followers of him in his prayerful character, you shall not only cry and not be heard, but shall roar under the load of unmendable, unbearable despair, in that place where horTor, everlasting horror and anguish, reigo and dwell.

CH A P. II.

of the Messiah's passive obedience, ar his being in

" the horrible pit and miry clay.”

PRELIMINAR Y.

S a common person, our Lord lived, died,

and rose again; as representing others, he humbled himself; and in the same capacity he was exalted by the Father; fo that believers may look

upon

1

upon him in both points of view, with distinguishing pleasure ; and consider themselves as particularly interested in what he was, did, suffered, enjoyed, and procured, as Man-Mediator. Nor are his sufferings inexpressive of the trials to which his members may be exposed, under which they may groan in the house of their pilgrimage ; for as they all will be made conform to him in his glory, it is no more than reasonable, they should be like him in his low condition.

In these low circumstances, however, our Lord can only be considered as Man-Mediator. Το suppose the contrary, would argue the grosseft blafphemy, the highest impiety ; because, in his divine nature, he neither suffered, nor was capable of it; in that view he was, is, and continues the independent Jehovah, infinitely happy, infinitely removed from every circumstance fubversive of perfection in happiness. None of these passions or connections, which to mortals are the source of their infelicities, are, or can possibly be known by him, who is the immortal, the everlasting God. So that when inspired writers represent him in such humbled circumstances, we must consider him only as the Man Christ Jesus. In which capacity, indeed, though he was absolutely divested of these passions which are the teeming womb of sorrow and distress to mere men; yet his connections were such, as laid him under inevitable obligations to go through the hottest furnace of trial ever mortal trode, and through such a furnace, as no man but himself was ever ca. pable of treading. He was connected with the Law-giver by covenant, and with law-breakers by substitution, and thence exposed, justly exposed, to all the Law-giver could demand, and to all the law-breaker should undergo. The horrible pit and the miry clay are only dif

ferent

[ocr errors]

ferent modes of the fame situation. It is literally a noisy pit, a well, or a bafon ; in which, through the fall of waters, as from a breaking cataract or prominent cascade, there is a mighty noise. In allufion to which the pfalmift said of himself, “ Deep "calleth unto deep, at the noise of thy waterit

spouts; all thy waves and billows are gone over me,

Psal. xlii. 7. And as in the bottom of these caverns there is generally such a collection of mud and gravel, that one's feet has no solid foundation, upon which to rest; though a person literally in such situation was able to bear the danger and inconveniency, arising from the fall and noise of waters about him; he behoved, from the very nature of the things, to perish; from the other circumstance, of the yielding bottom upon which he stood. Thus the Messiah is represented, as saying, I sink in deep mire, where there is no " standing," Pfal. Ixix. 2. Besides, from this striking figure, it would seem, that though the person in such perilous circumstances had a way through which he might make his escape; yet the mire, in which he dipt, was of such an entangling nature, fo tough and congealed, that it held him fast in proportion as it gave way: than which, nothing can exhibite a livelier, more significant picture of our Lord's forlorn circumstances in his human nature upon earth.

[blocks in formation]

A pit into which, among men, criminals are cast, being a place of shame, disgrace and contempt; this figure points out the Redeemer's assumption of

our nature, and his appearing in the likeness of sinful flesh, as, during his humiliation, a state of igDominy and shame. The undertaking was truly B

noble,

noble, generous and divine. But as personating and representing finners; as standing in their lawroom and stead; he appeared in an ignoble point of light. He was considered as if he had himself been a transgressor ; as if in person a law-breaker ; as if not only a finner, but the greatest and grossest of all finners; nay, considered as if all the iniquities of all the ranfomed ones had been accumulated together in his person and character, as Man-Mediator. To this purpose, it was faid of him, by the evangelical prophet, that “ he was numbered “ with the transgressors,” If. liii. 12. and accomplished in him, when he suffered between two sinners, as if more sinful than either, as if a greater transgressor than both. Nay, on this stupenduous doctrine, the apostle says more in one word, than we know language fully to open up.

God (says he) hath made him to be fin for us,” 2 Cor. V. 21. not only made him appear in the likeness and character of a finner ; but, as if all hin had met and concentered in his perfon, he made him fin, fet him in such a point of light, substitute him in the room of such a number of vile finners, that, in that abstracted view, nothing but fin, guilt and obligation to fufferings, punishment and death, appeared. Nor was our Lord only a finner, in way of fubftitution by the Father, and right of requisition by the law; but was accounted such by men, while he tabernacled with them upon earth; nay, was treated by them, as if not only a sinful and worthless man, but as if a messenger detached from the conclave from below. This man is not of “God, (faid they at one time) because he keepeth

not the fabbath day,” John ix. 16. We know, " (faith they, at another) that this man is a fin.

ner,” verf. 24. again, said they, “He hath a devil, " and is mad,” John X. 20. and, at the concluding

scene

scene of his suffering, don't you hear them cry. ing, “Away with him, away with him ?” John xix. 15. as if a nusance, burden and pest to society, as if vile to such degree, that, the earth groaned underneath him. Of this, too, the Redeemer himfelf had such a feeling, such a delicate sense, that the prophet represents him as saying, “I am a

worm, and no man.” Pfalm xxii. 6. accounted a mean, base, grovelling reptile; as is fit for nothing, but to be trampled upon, and trod under foot. How justly, then, is this situation compared to a place of disgrace, as well as distress ?

Such a pit, having floods of water breaking continually in upon it, with impetuous rapidity, rushing down as from an immense precipice, gushing forth, as from a hovering, distended, bursting cataract or water spout; serves, elegantly serves, to point out the terms in which men, sinful men, stand with God; and in which the Man Christ, when doing and suffering in their room, stood with his Father. Sin no sooner entered into the world, men were no sooner in the pit of transgression, than the clouds of wrath began to gather, and to hover above their guilty heads; now and then breaking out in a visible manner, as by the flood on the old world, by fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah, by the Opening earth swallowing up Korah and his unhappy associates. And, as the clouds of wrath, in particular instances, broke out in a visible manner; fo, fince the fall, they have continued to discharge themselves in a real, though insensible way, upon the workers of iniquity, in all these pains and perils, in all that distress and danger, with which a present state is so imbittered; and to discharge themfelves upon the finally impenitent, in the lucceffive damnation of their respective souls. But never did those clouds of wrath gather to such an awful B 2

head,

« PreviousContinue »