Page images

“ minded, having the same love, being of one “ accord, of one mind.” He then proceeds to recommend to them the duty of humility, by setting before them the example of Christ, who, being God, emptied and debased himself by taking our nature upon him, “and being found “ in fashion as a man, humbled himself, and

became obedient unto death, even the death “ of the cross.” In return for which he tells us, “God hath highly exalted him, and given " him a name, which is above every name; “ that at the name of Jesus every knee should “ bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, " and things under the earth; and that every “ tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is “ Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

These words then obviously lead us to the consideration, first, of our Saviour's humiliation, and, secondly, of his exaltation.

In his humiliation, the two most considerable circumstances are, first, that he, being God, was found in fashion as a man; and, secondly, that he became obedient.unto death, even the death of the cross. " He was found in fashion as a “ man :??--he, was subject to all the infirmities of frail and mortal nature, sin only excepted. He hungered, he thirsted, he shed tears; his


soul was exceedingly sorrowful, 'he felt bitter agonies, he sweat drops of blood a little before his death. Was not this indeed to humble himself? Could there be greater' humility than for God to become man, and to be born of a woman; for the Creator to become a creature; for Him that was the maker of all things to be himself made on the earth? This is surely such humility as cannot be 'paralleled ! This is such a mystery as cannot sufficiently be admired ! “ I will no longer wonder,” said one, “at the " frame of the world, or the course of the sun " and moon, though these are most wonderful: i but I will wonder that the Lord should de«« scend into the womb of a virgin, and the Omnipotent should cry in a cradle.” Let then this great mystery fill our hearts with wonder, and our tongues with praise. Let us join in the grateful exultation of the holy vrgin; “ My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spi“ rit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” And, whilst our mouths are filled with his praises, let our hearts also be filled with his virtues. Let us tearn of Christ, who was thus meek and lowly. He debased himself for us, though he was a God; then let not us, who are sinful dust and ashes, exalt ourselves above our brethren. Let us' not think more highly of ourselves than we


ought to think, but think soberly ; in lowliness of mind esteeming others better than ourselves.

And, lastly, since Christ was in all things made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining unto God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people; let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. For Christ, having borne our griefs, and been partakers of our infirmities, knows how to pity us; he knows whereof we are made, and remembers that we are but dust; having suffered himself, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

But, secondly, Christ not only thus humbled himself in life by becoming man, but he also farther humbled himself by dying for us, by becoming obedient to death, even the death of the cross. —And surely this was the greatest act of humility and condescension since the foundation of the world! He humbled himself to exalt us; he was obedient to death for our disobedience: he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, he was debased for our pride. And in this marvellous act the wise dom and justice of God were equally manifest :


[ocr errors]

the just is reputed unjust, that the unjust inight be made just: the innocent is condemned, that the condemned might become innocent: the conqueror is in bonds to unloose the captive: the physician takes the bitter potion to cure the patient: the judge is executed to save the criminal.

[ocr errors]

Thus the Beloved of his Father drank of the dregs of the phials of wrath for our sakes : the Bread of Life hungered for our gluttony : the Fountain of Grace' thirsted for our intemperance: the Word of God became dumb for our crying sins: innocence was condemned for our guilt: the King of Glory endured shame for our-shameful lives: the Lord of Life was put to death for our heinous and deadly offences. And yet, whilst the rocks rent at his passion, the sun withdrew his beams, the heavens mourned, and the earth shook, man only remained unmoved and insensible, for whose sake he suffered all these things.

• But let not us be like the stubborn and unrelenting Jews of old. Reflect on thy sins, 0 guilty offender, and be filled with sorrow and remorse for them. It was these that caused all his bitter and excruciating torments. Without these, neither could Judas have betrayed him,




[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

not the high priests accused him; neither could the people have mocked, nor Pilate have condemned him. These were the thorns, the whips, the spear and nails that pierced and wounded his soul. And shall Christ smart for thy sins, and wilt not thou be sorry for them thyself? Wilt thou hy impenitence reject the offers of his mercy? Wilt thou refuse to accept his kindness, when breathless he looks down from the cross, and bids thee live? Canst thou forbear to melt, when thou seest the redemption of thy' sins thus dearly bought with his wounds, and streaming with his blood ?-If thou wilt not feel for these things, the very rocks which rent, and the graves which opened at his crucifixion, shall one day rise up in judgment against thee, and condeinn thy hardened and impenitent heart. i

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

- Let us farther be thankful to God for this in, estimable blessing. Christ has shewn, we see, the greatest love that can be in dying for us : for greater love can no man shew than to lay down his life for his friend: but Christ had greater love than this, for he laid down his life for his enemies. Therefore should every one that looks for an interest in this great blessing, say with holy David, “ Praise thou the Lord, "" O my soul, and all that is within me praise ,“ his holy name! Praise the Lord, O my soul

$6 and

« EelmineJätka »