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patched, no such great notice would have been taken of it, nor would the fact have been so fully proved to the confirmation of our faith, and to the conviction of infidelity: nor would his admirable deportment under affliction have so illustriously shone forth. Another advantage was, that by it the nature of that kingdom, which he intended to erect, was evidently signified; and that it was not such as the carnal people expected. It was also a touchstone to prove the genuine disposition and worth of men, to distinguish those blessed ones, who would not be offended in the scandal of the cross. By it also God's special providence was discovered, and his glory illustrated in the propagation of the gospel : this point enlarged on. ཧོ? V. Lastly, this manner of suffering is very useful in application to our practice; for what virtue will not a serious meditation on the cross be apt to breed and cherish in us? 1. We are hence infinitely obliged, with humble affection and hearty gratitude, to adore each person of the blessed Trinity; God the Father, who thus delivered up his beloved Son for our sakes, even when we were enemies; God the Son, who thus stooped from the dignity and felicity of heaven, to undergo infamy and pain on the cross, that he might redeem us from hell-torments, and re-instate us in the joys of paradise; God the Holy Ghost, who, as he did originally conspire in the wonderful project of our salvation, miraculously conduct our blessed Saviour into his earthly tabernacle, and assist his humanity through the whole course of his life, so also did in this juncture inspire him with charity more than human, and support him to undergo these pains with invincible patience, &c. 2. What surer ground can there of faith in God, what stronger encouragement to hope, than is suggested by this consideration ? If God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us to the suffering of such contumelious affliction, shall he not also with him freely give us all things? 3. It may indeed yield great joy and consolation to us, to contemplate our Lord
on the cross, exercising his immense charity towards us, transacting all the work of our redemption, defeating all the enemies, and overthrowing all the obstacles of our salvation: this point enlarged on. 4. This consideration is most useful to render us very humble and sensible of our weakness, our vileness, and our wretchedness: for how low was that fall from which we could only be raised by such a depression of God's only Son? how abominable the iniquity which demanded such a sacrifice! 5. But farther, while this contemplation breeds sober humility, it should also preserve us from base abjectness of mind; for it evidently demonstrates, that, according to God's infallible judgment, we are still very considerable; that our souls are worthy of high regard for if God had not greatly esteemed us, he would not have endured so much for our sakes. 6. Again, how can we reflect on this event, without extreme displeasure against, and hearty detestation of our sins, which brought such torture and disgrace on our blessed Redeemer? 7. And what in reason can be more powerful in working penitential sorrow and remorse, than reflexion on such horrible effects which our sins produced? 8. If ingenuity will not operate so far, and thereby melt us into contrition, yet surely this consideration must needs affect us with a religious fear. 9. But farther, how can meditation on this event do otherwise than greatly deter us from all wilful disobedience and commission of sin? for how can we determine to violate such engagements; thwart such an example of obedience; abuse such goodness; and disoblige such transcendent charity? 10. This consideration affords also very strong inducements to the practice of charity towards our neighbor; for how can we forbear to love those, towards whom our Saviour bore so tender an affection? &c. 11. Farthermore, what can be more operative than this point towards breeding a disregard of this world, with all its deceitful vanities and mischievous pleasures? This point enlarged on. 12. We are hence instructed and inclined cheer
fully to submit to God's will, and gladly to accept from his hand whatever he disposeth, however grievous and afflictive to our natural will. 13. The willing susception and the cheerful sustenance of the cross, is indeed the express condition, and the peculiar character of our Christianity. 14. Let it be to the Jews a scandal; let it be folly to the Greeks; let this doctrine be scandalous and distasteful to some persons tainted with prejudice; let it be strange and incredible to others blinded by self-deceit; yet to us it must appear grateful and joyous, a faithful proposition worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, in this way of suffering for them. Conclusion.
ON THE PASSION OF OUR BLESSED
PHILIPPIANS, CHAP. II.-VERSE 8.
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
WHEN, in consequence of the original apostacy from God, which did banish us from paradise, and by continued rebellions against him, inevitable to our corrupt and impotent nature; mankind had forfeited the amity of God, (the chief of all goods, the fountain of all happiness,) and had incurred his displeasure; (the greatest of all evils, the foundation of all misery :)
When poor man having deserted his natural Lord and Protector, 'other lords had got dominion over him,' so that he was captivated by the foul, malicious, cruel spirits, and enslaved to his own vain mind, to vile lusts, to wild passions:
When, according to an eternal rule of justice, that sin deserveth punishment, and by an express law, wherein death was enacted to the transgressors of God's command, the root of our stock, and consequently all its branches, stood adjudged to utter destruction:
When, according to St. Paul's expressions, all the world was become guilty before God, (or, subjected to God's judgment:) all men (Jews and Gentiles) were under sin, under condemnation, under the curse; all men were concluded into disobedience, and shut up together (as close prisoners) under
sin; all men had sinned, and come short of the glory of God: death had passed over all, because all had sinned:
When for us, being plunged into so wretched a condition, no visible remedy did appear, no possible redress could be obtained here below: (for what means could we have of recovering God's favor, who were apt perpetually to contract new debts and guilts, but not able to discharge any old scores? What capacity of mind or will had we to entertain mercy, who were no less stubbornly perverse and obdurate in our crimes, than ignorant or infirm? How could we be reconciled unto heaven, who had an innate antipathy to God and goodness? [Sin, according to our natural state, and secluding evangelical grace,' reigning in our mortal bodies, no good thing dwelling in us; there being a predominant law in our members, warring against the law of our mind, and bringing us into captivity to the law of sin;' a main ingredient of our old man, being a carnal mind,' which is enmity to God, and cannot submit to his law;' we being alienated from the life of God by the blindness of our hearts,' and 'enemies in our own minds by wicked works :'] How could we revive to any good hope, who were 'dead in trespasses and sins,' God having withdrawn his quickening spirit? How at least could we for one moment stand upright in God's sight, on the natural terms, excluding all sin, and exacting perfect obedience ?)
When this, I say, was our forlorn and desperate case, then Almighty God, out of his infinite goodness, was pleased to look on us (as he sometime did on Jerusalem, lying polluted in her blood') with an eye of pity and mercy, so as graciously to design a redemption for us out of all that woful distress: and no sooner by his incomprehensible wisdom did he forsee we should lose ourselves, than by his immense grace he did conclude to restore us.
But how could this happy design well be compassed? How, in consistence with the glory, with the justice, with the truth of God, could such enemies be reconciled, such offenders be pardoned, such wretches be saved? Would the omnipotent Majesty, so affronted, design to treat with his rebels immediately, without an intercessor or advocate? Would the sovereign Governor of the world suffer thus notoriously his right to be