« PreviousContinue »
God, peace with man, peace with our own conscience, peace from turbulent passions and disquieting thoughts; peace in life, peace in death, peace throughout eternity; all springing from the love of God in Christ Jesus. God grant that we may know more and more of this love of Christ, which passeth knowledge !
HEBREWS, chap. i. We are apt to think, that if we had lived when the interpositions of Providence were more visible, faith would have been a far more easy matter than it is at the present time. Could we, like the patriarchs, hold converse with angels, it were no great difficulty to raise our minds to heavenly objects. If we could converse with God, as Abraham did, we should, with a like faith, be able to sacrifice whatsoever might be most dear to us. But here we certainly form a wrong judgment; for the apostle, in the chapter now before us, evidently places our situation and privileges far above those of the saints who lived under the old dispensation. They, indeed, worshipped the same God, acknowledged the same Saviour, and believed the same truths; yet they saw but darkly what we see clearly. To them God spake by the prophets; but to us he hath spoken by his Son; by Him whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds. And consider the essential dignity of Him, by whom God hath spoken to us. He is the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His
person; who “ for us men, and for our salva
tion, came down from heaven,” and became incarnate; took upon him a frail mortal body, like unto ours, liable to all the sufferings and ills of mortality, as far as they could be felt independently of sin. For three-and-thirty years he bore our griefs, and carried our sorrows; at the end of which time He voluntarily, that is, without any degree of compulsion, submitted Himself to the painful death of the cross, that He might make us the children of God, and exalt us to everlasting life. And still the same gracious work is going on; in a glorious body he now appears in the presence of God for us; in heaven he now ever pleads his merits in our behalf, and continually maketh intercession for us. And shall we, then, think our state less happy than that of former ages, when God himself, by the eternal Son of his love, offers salvation to us? when God offers us a salvation which He hath Himself purchased; and oh! with what a price—with his own blood ! Yes, it is the blood of the Son of God which was shed for you, by which you are redeemed. You cannot reject this salvation, but at the peril of your souls: there is no other salvation; there is no other name under heaven given amongst men whereby we can be saved. Now God waits to be gracious; now he offers you life and immortality: refuse not his merciful offers !
HEBREWS, chap. ii. This is a chapter full of consolation to the people of God. We here see Jesus, the eternal Son of God, made a little lower
than the angels, for the suffering of death: we see him veiled in a human form,-not merely that he might die for us, although this undoubtedly was the great design of his incarnation, and without this we could have had no hope of salvation; yet, I say,
it was not merely for this; but it was likewise that He might experience, in His own person, all the sufferings to which His people are liable ; it was that he might suffer with us, therefore he suffered for us. It is true that God, even if He had not become incarnate, would have been acquainted with all our troubles, and could have relieved them; yet He could not have experimentally known them, He could not have felt them ; for the Divine nature is impassible. But Jesus, having been made in all things like unto His brethren, sin only excepted, cannot but be touched with a feeling of their infirmities; He cannot but sympathize with them in all their sorrows. Consider how many and various were His sufferings : from His lowly birth-place in the manger to His cruel death upon the cross, trouble was His constant portion ; He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. We might have expected, that whenever God should condescend to visit his fallen creatures, it would be in the form of a mighty prince, attended by all the magnificence of royalty; but no, it was not so. Jesus, our incarnate God, was born of humble
parents ; a stable was his birth-place; He, who fills heaven and earth, had not where to lay His head. He was tried by every sort of suffering; tempted by Satan; despised and rejected
of men; forsaken, for a moment, of God. The prophet Isaiah, speaking of Him, uses these astonishing words; Him whom man despiseth; Him whom the nation abhorreth. (chap. xlix. ver. 7.) Contempt and abhorrence are perhaps amongst the greatest trials to which we are subject. Many a person would endure pain and sorrow, and yet sink under the contempt of men and the abhorrence of the world; yet our Redeemer freely submitted to both for our sakes. He was content, for us, to be esteemed a worm, and no man; a very scorn of men, and the outcast of the people. There is no suffering you can be called upon to endure, but your Lord, (who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin,) has suffered it before you, and therefore both can and will sympathize with you. Sin He was perfectly free from ; His pure and holy nature admitted not of the least stain ; but every other evil he felt to the utmost. He felt the loss of friends : we see Him weeping at the tomb of Lazarus: in His heaviest trials all His disciples forsook Him and fled. Are you called upon to endure sorrows of this sort ? Remember Him who has most keenly felt the same, in the same human nature, and who is able and willing to support and comfort you in all. Are you under contempt? Well; your redeeming God was the scorn and contempt of men. Are you tried by fierce temptations? He was in all points tempted like as we are. Does the thought of death alarm you? My soul, said your suffering Lord, is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. Are you visited with that heaviest of trials, the withdrawing of the sense of the Divine Presence ? Remember your blessed Saviour Himself, in the midst of His deepest sufferings, while hanging on the cross for you, put forth this agonizing cry, My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? Thus you see, that in whatsoever trials may befal you, you have at all times an almighty sympathizing Friend, ready and willing to comfort you; one who, in his own person, experienced the utmost extremity of every human pain; who having once, for you, borne all your griefs and carried all your sorrows, will now hear them with you ; teaching you to rejoice, even in the bitterest afflictions, in this blessed assurance, that if we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him.