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way of knowing myself and shewing my love to God, even to others, by giving obedience to all his commandments.
O Lord, give me grace to perform these resolutions, as one who really believes that thou art acquainted with his most secret thoughts, and seest every thing he acts in this world.
And to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God, I subscribe all the glory, Amen.
Christian Reader, May you not learn the following lessons from this record of Christian experience and unreserved surrender of heart and life unto the Lord.
That there is an openness of heart, and a plainness and simplicity of manner, in the experience expressed and the resolutions recorded, which show that true religion is the same wherever it is found in every age and condition of life.
That vital godliness is something very different from mere sentimentalism. It is not a dreamy evanescent thing, which excites the feelings for a short time and is gone for ever. That it is a rational and practical mattera receiving Christ Jesus the Lord and a walking in him—a principle im. planted and a practice observed—a living in the Spirit and a walking in Him in all holy conversation.
That real religion in Scotland in former days manifested itself not so much in reading books as in studying the Scriptures—in pondering over and praying over the One Book, the Word of God. Not so much in hearing and telling some new thing, as in conversing about old truths, the doctrines, the precepts, and the promises recorded in the oldest of all books, the bible ; and in making practical application of these in self-dedicationin solemn personal covenanting, and in resolutions to exemplify the gospel of Christ in every day life. And that even among the humbler classes in Scotland Christians, both male and female, seem frequently to have written out and signed the resolutions they formed and the personal covenants they entered into in secret before God.
Finally, That we may know in what measure we have experienced and do exemplify this sober, rational, and scriptural — this old-fashioned and practical religion,-let each of us, in the light of the bible, carefully examine our own bistory, and deeply search our own bearts.
CHRIST LIFTED UP.
A SERMON BY THE LATE REV. ROBERT CHALMERS OF HADDINGTON.
PREACHED BEFORE THE COMMUNION, MARCH 1809.
Psalm cx. 7. “ THEREFORE SHALL HE LIFT UP THE HEAD."
It is a certain and a very comfortable truth that Christ died. He actually came into the state of the dead, and continued in it for a time. His body lay a lifeless corpse in the grave, not animated by a living soul, but
in a state of separation from it. This is an undeniable truth, and is the chief ground of the faith and hope of his people. This is the great event wbich we are met this day to commemorate, in the sacrament of the sup. per,—ap event of all others the most wonderful, that “Christ died," that “ the Lord of glory," and " the prince of life,” was “crucified and slain.” And this, however strange it may appear in the eye of carnal man, is the principal foundation of the gloriation of God's saints. 66 God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of Christ.” But they would have no such reason to glory in his having died, had they not also to consider him as having risen from the dead. The grave is only “the place where the Lord lay,” not the place where he is still lying. That glorious person whose body once lay in Joseph's tomb, is now sitting upon God's throne, according to the view that is given of him in this psalm, and particularly in the text before us, “ Therefore shall be lift up the head."
The careful reader will at once see that this psalm refers wholly to Christ. There are some of David's psalms, as well as other passages of scripture, that are to be considered as bearing a two-fold application, a primary application to the type, and an ultimate and special application to the antitype. But that before us can bear no proper application, except to our glorious redeemer. And the Holy Ghost in the scriptures furnishes us with a sufficient key for the opening of it, in the frequent appli. cations that are made of it to him. So Christ himself, in a discourse which be had with the Pharisees, expressly quotes and applies what lies in verse 1st to himself; Matthew xxii. 42-44, “ Saying, what think ye of Christ ? Whose son is be? They say unto him, the son of David. He saith unto them, how then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, the Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.” And verse 4th is frequently applied to him by the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews, and can apply to none else, as particularly, Heb. v. 5, 6. “ So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest ; but he that said unto him, Thou art my son, today have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec.”
In verse first, David, under a supernatural illumination of the Holy Ghost, speaks of what passed in the council of peace between two glorious persons. “ The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand." It is the address of Jehovah, the father, unto his beloved son, the blessed mediator. The psalmist speaks of him with special appropriation and interest, calling him my Lord.
Lord.” It is a different word, and literally signifies“ my foundation, my basis on which I rest.” This glorious person, who is to come incarnate, and descending in David's line, was to become “ his son," " to be made of the seed of David according to the flesh,” yet David confesses him bis Lord. “ Jehovah said unto my Lord,” and what was here said unto him, was not, and never can be said unto any other ; “sit thou at my right hand." This contained, Jehovah, the Father's agreement to exalt him to heaven and glory, as God, man, mediator, to secure complete victory over all his enemies. And this could have no relation, no application wbatever to David, the type, or to any of his lineal successors; for although the Lord exalted David highly in taking him from the flocks of sheep, and setting him upon the throne of Israel, yet neither to him, nor No. IX. VOL. I.
to the highest angel above, did he ever say, at any time, “Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”
Downward in the psalm, we have a view of Christ's promised success in the administration of all bis mediatory office, of the prosperity and advancement of his kingdom, and of his triumphing over all the opposition that should be made to it, and in this last verse of the psalm we have a view of him, both in his humble and in his exalted estate. “He shall drink of the brook in the way, thereof shall be lift up the head."
We shall not consume time in narrating the different meanings affixed to the first clause of this verse by different persons. The words are evidently metaphorical. Some view them as a figurative representation of the support that Christ's human nature should have, in going through his course of humiliation on earth. He was to partake of divine supports and refreshments, to prevent the human nature from fainting or sinking down, under the load of suffering he had to bear. And there is no doubt, but that he was in this respect strengtbened and borne up according to what was promised him by Jehovah the father. Some understand it as pointing out that eagerness with which he pursued his victory over his enemies, like a successful warrior who loses no time in taking any more refreshment than what a brook running in the way affords him ; like Jonathan, who tasted of the honey that dropped in the wood when he was in pursuit of the Philistines. But we rather consider this clause as referring to the final sufferings which our Lord had to undergo, and which must be all inflicted upon him, and borne by him to the uttermost, in order to a complete atonement for sin and the redemption of his elect people. It is not unusual in the scriptures, to compare afflictions to waters or floods, and to the waves of the sea, rolling one upon the back of another. Psalm lxxxii. 7 : “ Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves.” The word brook in our version does not indeed convey an idea of any thing distressing or frightful. It means a small, gentle, smoothly flowing stream. But it has been observed that the original word denotes a torrent, or powerful flood of waters, and conveys such an idea as is expressed by the Church. Psalm cxxiv. 4 : “ Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul : then the proud waters had gone over our soul.” The waters of affliction and wrath that run in the way to heaven, and which the glorious surety had to drink up and exhaust, were proud, mighty and tempestuous, so we tind him complaining in another Psalm Ixix. 1, 2. “ Save me, O God, for the waters are come into my soul, I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing ; I am come unto deep waters, where the floods overflow me.”
These waters run, sirs, in our way to heaven, and we would have been all overwhelmed and lost in them for ever, if the great surety of the New Covenant had not engaged to exhaust them, and so open up the way for us to God, through, as it were, the flood. It was with allusion to the very same thing that he said, “ This cup, which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” The cup which we deserved to have had put into our bands, was put into his, and he drank it. Just 80, under another figure, he is here represented as drinking and drying np the mighty torrent of divine wrath that lay in our way to glory.
The meaning is, that he went through the whole of his serving and suffering work on earth, as mediator, or as he himself says elsewhere, “ He finished the work that was given him to do," and then the promise fol. lows in the words of our text, “ Therefore shall be lift up the head." The connection between his humiliation and exaltation here, is the very same as stated by the apostle, Philippians ii. 8: “ And being found in fashion as a man, be humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross : wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name that is above every name.”
This exaltation is spoken of in the text by his “ lifting up the head.” The final and complete overthrow of an enemy is expressed by his being unable to lift up the head again. Thus it was said of the Midianites, when they were subdued before the Children of Israel in the days of Gideon, that they “ lifted up their head no more.” (Judges viii. 28.) The lifting up of the head denotes restoration from a state of sorrow, depression, or subjection to an enemy. Thus the Psalmist expressing his gratitude to God for the deliverance he had wrought him, says, Psalm iii. 3: “But thou O Lord, art a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter up of my head ;” and confiding in God for deliverance, he says, Psalm xxvii. 6: “And now shall my head be lifted above mine enemies, round about me;" and it is said Jeremiah lii. 31, that “the King of Babylon lifted up the head of Jehoiachim, king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison, and set his throne above the thrones of the kings that were with him in Babylon." In like manner after our Lord drank the torrent in the way, after he had finished his whole course of humiliation and suffering on earth, his “ head was lifted up.” “ He was taken from prison and from judgment, and exalted to a state of inconceivable glory and triumph. The Psalmist David had to speak of it in his day as a future event, a thing that would be, but we have now to consider it with the highest satisfaction and assurance, as an event that has already taken place. “ He drank of the brook in the way, and he hath lifted up the head."
In speaking a little upon this subject, we may,-
1. That Christ's head was once bowed down. This is evidently supposed, in his having “ lifted it up." Having come in the human nature to act in the room and stead of a number of guilty and condemned sinners, he must of necessity be brought into a very low state. He must not only be “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” through the whole course of an afflicted life, but his bead must at last be bowed down under the stroke of death. Hence, John xix. 30, “ when Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said it is finished : and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."
In order that the redemption of sinners might be attained, this glorious person who undertook to be their Redeemer, must “ be brought to the dust of death.” The fulfilment of the designs of grace, according to the
New Covenant, made this absolutely necessary. God's gracious design was to save a number of lost sinners, in the way of baving " their transgressions finished,” and “ an end made of their sins, reconciliation for their iniquity, and everlasting righteousness brought in." But it was impos. sible that these ends could be gained unless “the Messiah be cut off," and his head bowed down in death. Without this, the sin that was imputed to him could not be atoned for.
Or, if he “suffered for our sins” so as to “ bring us to God," he must of necessity be “ put to death in the flesh.” God the Father, acting as a righteous and incensed judge, demanded the full infliction of the sentence of the law curse upon him, and this, among other penal evils, included death ; and therefore be must actually die. His head must be bowed down and laid low in the grave; and all this he voluntary submitted to, as is implied in bis “ bowing the head.” His love to his elect sheep, as well as bis concern for his Father's glory, led him to do so, as otherwise they could not be redeemed from death. John x. 11, “ I am the good shepherd, and the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep."
2. That Cbrist finished that great work which was preparatory to his exaltation. His having “ lifted up the head,” supposes his having gone through all the deeps, and performed all the works of his humbled estate. He did not, he could not have lifted up the head in a state of glorious exaltation, if he had not previously gone through all the course of service and suffering that was allotted to him. So much is evident from that prayer and supplication which he offered up to his holy Father, John xvii. 4 and 5: “ I have glorified thee on earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do, and now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” When he spake these words his work was not actually and completely finished, but it was drawing near to a close, as it was to be finished the very next day. And he was so determined to go through with it, and was so certain that he would bring it all to a successful and satisfactory termination, that he speaks of it as if already quite over. “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” It was finished in his “ lowering the head and giving up the ghost.” Thus law and justice got all that could be demanded from him, as a satisfaction for the sins of his people. The penalty of death was contained in the law.curse, and this being the case, he not only suffered his head to be wounded and pierced with a crown of thorns, but he bowed it down under the sentence of the law-curse, and “ gave his life a ransom for many." Though be was the eternal and beloved son of the Father, yet justice could not, and did not allow the least abatement in the exaction of the sentence against him as a public surety. He was brought as low, and his head laid as low as justice could ask or require of him.
3. That Christ actually rose from the dead. This was the first step of his exaltation, and is primarily meant in the text. When he died he “ bowed the head ;" when he rose, he “ lifted it up” again. Since he finished his great work of meritorious mediation in his death, it was impossible be should continue under the power of death but for a time. He foresaw and foretold this, that “ he should rise again from the dead on the third day.” By the spirit of prophecy we find him addressing the