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hope, which is both the subject of my text, and the object presented to us in the holy sacrament of the supper: God spared not his own Son, but delivered him us all.
Amazing words! The God in whom we live and move,--the Father of our spirits, and the former of our bodies ;—who possessed an eternity of happiness and glory before we began to exist, and can neither be en. riched by our services, nor impoverished by the want of them :-He whose goodness we had abused by the vil. est ingratitude; whose omnipotence we have defied by the most insolent rebellion ;-even that God wbo “spared not the angels that sinned, but hath reserved them in everlasting chains, under darkness, to the judgment of the great day,” vouchsafed to pity and to spare the children of men: Nay, to make way for the exercise of this distinguishing mercy, he spared not his own Son, the Lord of angels, the creator of worlds; but, having substituted him in our place, clothed him with our nature, and “ laid upon him the iniquities of us all,” he delivered him up to contempt and persecution, to agony and torture, to death and the grave: and all this for our benefit, to redeem us from everlasting misery, and to reinstate us in that happiness and glory we had forfeited. These are the marvellous doings of the Lord, which the Apostle here celebrates with gratitude and wonder, as the grounds of our faith, and hope, and joy.
But that our thoughts may not wander in too wide a field, let us at present confine them to the following particulars: 1st. The dignity of the sufferer; 2dly. The sufferings he endured; and 3dly. The persons for whom, and the ends for which, he was delivered to these sufferings. In each of these we shall discover a convincing
proof of the love of God, a certain pledge of every necessary blessing
1st. Let us consider the dignity of the sufferer. God, saith the Apostle, spared not his Son ;-bis own,—bis proper Son; “ the brightness of his glory, and the ex. press image of his person;" not a son by creation, adoption, or grace, but his “begotten Son," of the same es. sence with himself, and equal to him in power and in glory. Angels are called the sons of God; “but unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?” Nay, Christ is styled the “only begotten Son" of God; a title of
peculiar significancy, importing, that he is not only infinitely great in himself, but likewise infinitely dear to the Fa. ther. Yet this is the person whom God sent to save us; and surely, if the love of the giver is to be measured by the worth and value of the gift, we may justly say of God's love to us, that“ it passeth knowledge.” How loth was Jacob, a fond and indulgent parent to all his children, how loth was he to send Benjamin down to Egypt, even when his own life, and the preservation of his whole family, seemed to depend upon it? yet Benjamin was not his only son; Jacob had many other children besides: but, behold! the great, the independent JEHOVAH, who would not suffer Abraham to offer up bis Isaac, but provided and accepted a ram in his place, gives his own, his only Son, to be a sacrifice for us. Here the object is so high, that contemplation cannot reach it; so bright and dazzling, that it overpowers the sight: we can only say with David, “ This is not the manner of men, Lord God ;” and must with reverence adore what we shall never be able fully to comprehend.
2dly. From the dignity of the sufferer, let us proceed to consider the sufferings he endured. Two words are
employed by the Apostle to convey to our minds a suitable apprehension both of their greatness and variety. God spared him not, but delivered him up. He spared him not; that is, he neither excused him from suffering, nor spared him while he suffered; he not only put the bitter cup into bis hand, but kept it there till he bad drunk up the dregs of it. With what awful severity' did he stir up bis justice! “ Awake, O sword! against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow.”— “ It pleased the Lord to bruise him," saith the evangelical prophet, “ and to put him to grief.” He would not abate one tear, ope groan, one drop of blood, any circumstance either of ignominy or pain, that was necessary to demonstrate the evil of sin, and to expiate that guilt which Christ, as our Surety, had appropriated to himself. Thus God spared not his own Son; nay, instead of sparing him, the Apostle adds,
He delivered him up. But he doth not say to whom, or to what; because Christ was delivered into so many hands, abandoned or given up to such a variety of sufferings, that a minute detail of them would have obliged him to recite the whole bistory of his life; for in every period of it “ he was oppressed and afflicted ;" from his birth to his death “ he was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” He was delivered first into the virgin's womb; for even then, O Christians! did his passion begin; there was that temple framed, which afterwards, by wicked hands, was pulled down on mount Calvary; there that body was prepared, which was scourged, and bruised, and nailed to an ignominious and accursed tree. And being thus made flesh, and brought forth into the world, what was his after life but a repeated delivery of him to poverty, to reproach, to temptation, to persecution :-Such was the pomp, these
were the harbingers which introduced him to the cross, and accompanied him to the grave. “ Deliver me not," said David, “ into the hands of mine enemies;" and his prayer was heard : But what David obtained was withheld from David's Son and Lord; for Christ was delivered into the bands of his enemies: He was delivered to Judas, who betrayed him; to the chief priests and rulers, who insulted and reviled bim; to Herod and his men of war, who set him at nought; to Pilate, who condemned him; to the Roman soldiers, who crucified him: -Nay, more, he was delivered to such a sense of divine wrath, that wrath which was due to the sins of men, as, in the prophetic language of David, “ withered his heart like
grass, and burnt up his bones like a hearth.” Sin is the sting of death, but the wrath of God is the sting of sin. When that seizes upon an awakened conscience, Oh! what a dark and disconsolate night doth it draw over the sinner's mind! or, rather, what a hell doth it kindle in his bosom! Yet it doth not, it cannot, appear in its full horror to us; as we see not all the malignity of sin, so neither can we see all the wrath that is due to it: but Christ had a full view of both in their utmost ex. tent; and though he could not despair, for that indeed was impossible, yet the agony he felt was greater by far than any despairing sinner is capable of feeling, who bears only his own burden; whereas he lay pressed under the guilt of a whole world. It were impious to say, that the holy martyrs were more patient than their Lord; yet which of all that noble army ever uttered such disconsolate language as he did? Their torture was their triumph, their sufferings a recreation: Whereas the Son of God cries out in agony, "Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say?” -“ My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?" Whence these sad and mourn
ful complaints? Did they proceed from any defect of magnanimity and fortitude ? No, my brethren; it was the perfection of his mind that seemingly enfeebled him: the boundless extent of his understanding, which comprehended the full dimensions of sin and of wrath, was the sole cause of his deep and unparalleled distress. It was not the shame nor the torment of the cross that af. dicted him; the thieves who suffered with him endured the same; but his soul, if I may be allowed the expression, was crucified more than his body: his heart had sharper nails to pierce it than his hands or his feet: in his body he felt the rage and cruelty of his murderers; but in his soul he felt sufferings of a more exquisite nature. Then he bore the griefs, and carried the sorrows of all his people; then he felt not the sins only, but the wounds also, of every broken heart, the torments of his martyrs, the reproaches of his saints, the poverty, distresses, and persecutions, wbich any, which all of them, have felt or shall feel, till the last trumpet shall sound, and he shall come again in his glory. Thus God spared not his own Son; to these inconceivable sufferings was the Lord of life delivered. But for whom, and for what ends, did the Son of God suffer? This was the
3d Thing I proposed to consider. And after what hath been already suggested, it is unnecessary that I should spend much time upon this head. It is evident that Cbrist did not suffer on his own account: “ He was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separated from sinners.' “ He did no sin, neither was guile found in his lips," He suffered in the room of guilty man; he was delivered for us, saith the apostle, not only for our benefit, but in our place: “He was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” He suffered, the just for the unjust, that he might