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the foundation of the world-and to become of no reputation—to humble himself, even to the death of a malefactor to bear the taunts, and triumphs, and insults of his enemies-in meek resignation to his Father's will to bow down his sacred head upon the cross. This, indeed, reduces all human pride and power to nothing.
Another virtue, equally conspicuous in this great transaction, and equally useful and wanting for ourselves, is that of patience under disappointed affection. Do men refuse or pervert our intentions-do they return with resentment what we intended with kindness -are some insensible of our good offices-do they repay with ingratitude or ill usage all attempts to do them good by every turn, and disparage us in the opinion of the world, or try to mortify, and vex, and put us to inconvenience in our affairs, whilst we have given them no provocation, or none that we know ofare others lying in wait to over-reach and impose upon and make a property of our ignorance, to prey upon our easiness of temper-to thrust us by in all the competition of life, to encroach because they perceive our weakness-how is all this to be borne? The Scriptures tell us how. The epistle to the Hebrews has the following passage, "Consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously."
A third just application of the sacrifice and death of Christ is to induce us to crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts: for shall our salvation be in the sight of God himself of such infinite importance and price, that "he spared not his own Son" in carrying on the great business of our redemption; and shall we refuse, for
the same end, to resign pleasures of a few hours' continuance, or keep within bounds those destructive passions, the gratification of which we know will be our bane and perdition-which commonly begin their torment here, and are certain of it hereafter ?
Are we less to consider our redemption, whose final happiness or misery must all depend upon it, than he who undertook it, and who quitted the clouds of happiness to carry it on ? Would you know what is meant by “the flesh with the affections and lusts, which they that are Christ's have crucified?” Saint Paul refers distinctly and circumstantially to all uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulation, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings; but neither is this all. There are pleasures and pursuits which are criminal only in the excess, such as diversions, riches, honours, power: these are called the world; the immoderate love of them is called in Scripture the love of the world. This love in the heart of a Christian is moderated by contemplating on the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, “ by whom the world is crucified unto us, and we unto the world;" that is, so much more affecting considerations present themselves to our thoughts this way, and on this subject, that diversions, riches, and honours lose their charms-their gaudy lustre fades away before such contemplations, and our attention is drawn to the little, nesses of this generation.
But the great inference which the Scriptures continually press upon us from the sufferings of Christ is, that “if Christ so loved us, we ought also to love one another;" and surely with reason : for is it to be endured, that while the shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep, the flock sh e killing and devouring one another; that while we live under the obligation of this stupendous love; while we are indebted to it for the eternal salvation of our souls, we should cast off all kindness and affection towards one another, or towards any ? Christ died that he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad ; that he might unite his followers into one body, firmly connected by the same spirit to the same obedience, to the same regulations, by the same love and mutual affection to one another, that they all might be one, even as we are one. How is this gracious design defeated by our treachery and ill intentions towards one another! How little do we judge one another members of the same household, children of the same parent, washed in the same blood, and saved by the death of one Redeemer, when there is any passion to be gratified by oppressing and vexing each other! But are we sensible, you will say, of our obligation to a Saviour of the world? We acknowledge the infinite debt we owe him ; we allow all gratitude and all love to be most fully due ; how are we to show it? how shall we love Christ, whom we have not seen ? “ Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?” There is but one way in which we are capable of making any return—the way which he himself has been pleased to point out and declare he will accept-“ Forasmuch as ye have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, ye have
, done it unto me." We cannot lay down our lives for him, as he did for us; we cannot pour out our soul a sacrifice for sin--heal human creatures by our stripes, or bear their iniquities; but we can promote peace and good-will, and comfort, and quietness in his family and amongst our brethren. Our influence, it is true, may
be small; it may be little we can do even towards these ends, but we can advance them in our neighbourhood, amongst our acquaintance and our families; and the circle of each man's opportunity, be it great or small, is to him the whole world.
But there is also a second consideration on this matter—that it exalts into dignity and respect; it lifts above insult and contempt the meanest of our fellow Christians : be their outward appearance ever so despicable and forbidding, be their quality what it may, be their age or health ever so infirm, still they are those for whom Christ died. “ Destroy not him,” says Saint Paul, “ by meats (only) for whom Christ died;” much more despise not, insult not, overbear not, trample not on, the lowest of our brethren in Christ. However vile they may seem in our eyes, he scrupled not to lay down his life for such.
Finally : as high and low, rich and poor, wise and ignorant, have all one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, let us all pass the short time of our sojourning here in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet-smelling
We are members one of another, and of Christ; “ wherefore let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking be put away, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you.”
ROM. V. 8.
But God commendeth his love towards us, in that whilst we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
THE veneration and devout affection which we entertain for the memory and person of Jesus Christ can never be too great or too ardent, whether we respect what he has suffered for our sakes, or the benefit we draw from his sufferings. If we regard his sufferings, one plain reflection presents itself: "greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend." It is the last and highest possible instance of affection which a parent could show for a beloved child, or any one can show for the dearest relation of human life. If we look to the benefits which the Author of our redemption hath procured to us, this is manifest, that all favours and all kindnesses are insignificant, compared with those which affect our eternal welfare in another world; because, in proportion as the happiness of a future life is more important to us than any thing we gain or enjoy in this, so whatever helps or promotes our salvation, our attainment of heaven is more precious than any advantage which can be conferred upon us in this life. We may not be sensible of this now (I fear we are not), but we shall be made sensible of it hereafter. The full magnitude and operation of those