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shall bow to Jesus:" and, if you will not submit to the sceptre of his grace, he will “ break you in pieces with a rod of iron.” Nor is it a mere nominal submission that will suffice: you must put yourselves willingly and unreservedly “ under his feet," as conscious of your ill desert, and as ready to justify him, if he should " execute upon you the fierceness of his anger.” You must be wholly and altogether his, in every member of your body, and in every faculty of your soul. Ó deceive not yourselves by a feigned or partial submission !
- but “ kiss the Son :” kiss him in token of the ardour of your affection, and of the delight you take in living to his glory. This is your true “wisdom, even though you be kings and judges of the earth u.” He is that “ stone which the builders refused, and which is become the head of the corner:" if you build upon him, you will find him“ a sure foundation;" but if you reject him, " he will fall upon you, and crush you to powdert."]
s Isai. xlv. 23. with Rom. xiv. 11. t Ps. ii. 9. u Ps. ii. 10-12.
x Luke xx. 17, 18.
SUFFERINGS OF THE MESSIAH NECESSARY.
Heb. ii. 10. It became him, for whom are all things, and by
whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
THE Jews expected, that, at the coming of their Messiah, “all things should be subjected to him.” But what kind of a dominion his should be, or how it should be obtained, they knew not. They pleased themselves with the idea of a triumphing Messiah ; but quite overlooked what the prophets had foretold respecting the sufferings by which those triumphs should be accomplished. In a word, they neither knew how great he should be, nor to what a state of degradation he should be reduced. But St. Paul informed them, that, though he was, in his own nature, superior to angels, he should be brought into a condition inferior to them, for the purpose of expiating our guilt, and redeeming a ruined world. And this he declared to be such a dispensation as became the Most High God: “It became him, &c.”
From these words I shall take occasion to shew, 1. The grand peculiarity of the Christian dispen
sation God had determined to bring an innumerable multitude of sons to glory
[He had not dealt so with angels. Of them, not so much as one had been saved: but of men, it was God's purpose to restore many to the relation which they had forfeited as his “sons;" and to the inheritance of “glory,” which they had lost ---]
This he had ordained to accomplish through the intervention of his dear Son
Man could not effect it for himself; nor could all the angels in heaven have effected it. But Christ, being God equal with the Father, was appointed to be “the Captain of our salvation," and to obtain for us what could never be wrought by any other means -]
It was, however, to be effected solely “ through the sufferings” of his Son
[It was not by any exercise of his power that salvation was to be wrought; nor by instructing men how they might save themselves. He must become their Surety and Substitute, and must die in their place and stead -- This is the grand peculiarity of the Gospel: and, if we view not the Gospel in this light, as a redemption wrought by blood, even by the blood of God's only dear Son, we have no just conception of it at all —--]
Not content with a bare assertion, the Apostle states, II. The special reason for this appointment
God being the One Author and end of all, (“ by whom, and for whom, are all things,") might be expected to accomplish this work by a mere arbitrary appointment of his own. But a very different line of conduct “ became him.” If he would save men at all, it was expedient that it should be through the sufferings of his Son. This, I say, “became him;" 1. For the honouring of his law
[The law had been violated: and if its sanctions were not enforced, both it and the Lawgiver himself would be dishonoured. But that could not be: God would not suffer it : and rather than such a stain should be brought on his moral government, he would exact of his only dear Son the debt that was due from us, and inflict on him the curse which our sins had merited. In this way the authority of his law would be fully vindicated, at the time that the transgressors of it were forgiven: yea, by the sufferings of our incarnate God it would be more honoured than if all its penalties had been inflicted on the whole human race. Seeing, then, that such honour would accrue to the law from this marvellous device, it “ became” the Almighty Lawgiver to arrange his dispensations with a view to this great result.] 2. For the displaying of his own perfections
[If man had been forgiven without any atonement made for sin, what should we have known either of the justice or the holiness of God? Holiness imports an hatred of sin; and justice, the dealing with men according to their deserts. But not a trace of these would have been found, if men had not suffered, either in their own persons or their Surety, the penalty due to sin. Even truth itself would have failed; and God's most solemn threatenings been falsified. But no such consequences flow from the exercise of mercy through a suffering Saviour. On the contrary, every perfection of the Deity is the more honoured, because, what it derives not from us, it receives from the Lord Jesus Christ, who, as our Surety, endured all, that justice, or holiness, or truth could possibly require.] 3. For the magnifying of his own grace
[Doubtless it would have been a stupendous act of grace, if man had been forgiven without any atonement made for sin. But, glorious as such a favour would have been, it would have had no glory, by reason of the infinitely richer display of mercy which we have in the Gospel of his Son. Such a mercy, if I may so speak, would have been attended with no sacrifice on the part of God: but by giving his own Son out of his bosom, he has made a sacrifice which no finite intelligence can ever duly appreciate. Hence this is represented as exhibiting, above all other things, " the exceeding riches of his grace; and as commending to us, with unrivalled evidence, the wonders of his love: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and gave his Son to be the propitiation for our sinsa.” But to display this grace was worthy of the Deity; and though, with a view to it, the sacrifice that he must make was great, yet, on the whole, was it such a sacrifice as well “ became him."]
a 1 John iv. 9, 10.
4. For the enabling of his Son to execute every part of his mediatorial office
[There are parts of that office which he could not execute without suffering: As he could not atone for sin without suffering, so neither could he yield obedience to all that the law required of us without suffering. Patience and resignation can only be exercised under suffering: and therefore, " though he was a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which be suffered b." He must also sympathize with his afflicted people: and this also he would have been unable to do, if he had not been experimentally acquainted with sufferings in his own person : but “having suffered through temptations, he is now able to succour them that are tempted :" and we, knowing that "we have one who can be touched with a feeling of our infirmities, are encouraged to come boldly to a throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help us in the time of need d.”] Let me now ask, If such a dispensation “ became
God,” WHAT BECOMES US ? Does God seek to “ bring us, as his sons, to glory?" Let us seek to obtain this great benefit
[Can it be right that Almighty God should take such an interest in us, and we remain indifferent about our own state? Can we by any possibility be advanced to such honour as “sonship" with God, and such happiness as the possession of his “glory,” and shall we not exert ourselves to the utmost of our power? Shall any earthly distinctions stand for a moment in competition with these? --
Has God appointed his own Son to be “the Captain of our salvation ?” Let us seek salvation through Him alone
[Through Christ alone it can ever be attained. He is the sole “ Author" of it; and from him, as the purchase of his blood, and the effect of his grace, it must be received. Let us not, for a moment, cherish a thought of obtaining salvation from any
other source: but let our reliance on him be simple and entire. Let “him be our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification, and our complete redemption."]
Has God seen fit to “perfect his own Son through sufferings ?” Let us be content to be perfected by him in the same way
b Heb. v. 8, 9.
c Heb. ii. 17, 18.
d Heb. iv. 15, 16.
[He has "predestinated his people to be conformed to the image of his Sone :" and this conformity must be in holiness, in sufferings, and in glory. Our blessed Lord has told us, that we must " take up our cross daily, and follow him:" that “ the servant cannot expect to be above his Lord :” and that
we must suffer with him, if ever we would reign with him?.” Let us be content, then, to fill up the measure of sufferings which he has allotted to us; and, if it must be so, “ through much tribulation to enter into his kingdom." Let us be content, do I say ? Rather, let us rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer for his sake,” and account it an honour to be
partakers of his sufferings.” The Israelites, under Joshua, did not gain possession of Canaan without encountering a foe: nor can we, under “ the Captain of our salvation,” become victors without a conflict. But let us war a good warfare,” and “ endure unto the end." So shall we be not sons only, but heirs also, of our heavenly Father, and be made partakers of his glory for evermore.]
e Rom. viii. 29.
f Rom. viii. 17.
THE ENDS OF CHRIST'S INCARNATION. Heb. ii. 14, 15. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers
of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same ; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their life-time subject to bondage.
IS it so indeed, that He who was the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person ; that He who created and upholdeth all things by the word of his power; that He whom all the angels in heaven adore, became a man, and was made in all things like unto us, sin only excepted ? Yes, “He, who was in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, emptied himself of all his glory, and took upon him the form of a servant :” “the mighty God himself was a child born, and a Son given.” And shall God be manifest in the flesh, and we not inquire into the reasons of such a stupendous mystery? Shall we profess to believe