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have such a person as the man Christ Jesus stand before its bar and make reparation to it. This is more than if it had poured out all our blood, and built up its honor upon
the ruins of the whole creation. It is not so much to see all the stars in heaven overcast, as to see one sun eclipsed. The greater Christ was, the greater was his humiliation; and the greater his humiliation was, the more full and complete was his satisfaction; and the more complete his satisfaction, the more perfect and steady is the believer's consolation. If he had not stooped so low, our joy and comfort could not be exalted so high. The depth of the foundation is the strength of the superstructure.
2. Did Christ for our sakes stoop from his majesty, glory, and dignity in heaven, to the mean and contemptible state of a man? What a pattern of self-denial is here presented to christians! What objection or excuses against this duty can remain, after such an example as is here given ? Brethren, let me tell you, the pagan world was never acquainted with such an argument as this to press them to self-denial. Did Christ stoop, and cannot you stoop? did Christ stoop so much, and cannot you stoop the least ? Was he willing to become any thing, a worm, a reproach, a curse; and cannot you bear any abasement ? Does the least slight and neglect poison your heart with discontent, malice, and revenge? Oh, how unlike Christ are you! Hear, and blush in hearing, what your Lord saith in John, 13:14. "If I then, your Lord and Master, wash your feet, ye ought also to wash one another's feet.” The example does not oblige us (as a learned man well observes) to the same individual act, but it obliges us to follow the reason of the example;" that is, after Christ's example, we must be ready to perform the humblest offices of love and service to one another. And indeed to this it obliges most forcibly; for it is as if a master, seeing a proud
servant, that despises his work, as if it were too mean and base, should come and take it out of his hand; and when he has done it should say, Doth your lord and master think it not beneath him to do it, and is it beneath you?
" What more detestable,” says Bernard, "what more unworthy, or what deserves" severer punishment, than for a poor man to magnify himself, after he hath seen the great and high God so humbled as to become a little child ? It is intolerable impudence for a worm to swell with pride, after it hath seen majesty emptying itself; seen one so infinitely above us, stoop so far beneath us.” Ah, how opposite should pride and haughtiness be to the spirit of a christian! I am sure nothing is more so to the spirit of Christ. Your Saviour was lowly, meek, self-denying, and of a most condescending spirit; he looked not at his own things, but yours.
Phil. 2: 4. And does it become you to be proud and selfish? Jerome, in his epistle to Pamachius, a godly young nobleman, advised him to be eyes to the blind, feet to the lame ; yea, saith he, if need be, I would not have you re use to cut wood and draw water for the saints; and what is this to buffeting and spitting, being crowned with thorns, scourging and dying! Yet Christ underwent all this, and that for the ungodly.
3. Did Christ stoop so low as to become a man to save us? Then those that perish under the Gospel, must perish without excuse. What would you have Christ do more ? Lo, he hath laid aside the robes of majesty and glory, put on your own garments of flesh, come down from his throne, and brought salvation home to your own doors. Surely, the lower Christ stooped to save us, the lower those shall sink under wrath that neglect so great salvation. The Lord Jesus is brought low, but the unbeliever would lay him yet lower; he will tread under foot the Son of God. Heb. 10 : 29. For such (as
the apostle there speaks) is reserved something worse than dying without mercy. What pleas and excuses others will make at the judgment-seat, I know not; but one thing is evident, such will be speechless. O poor sinners ! your damnation is just, if you refuse grace brought home by Jesus Christ himself to your very doors. The Lord grant this may not be thy case who readest these lines.
4. Moreover, hence it follows that none doth or can love like Christ: His love to man is matchless. Its freeness, strength, eternity, and immutability, give it a lustre beyond all examples. It was a strong love indeed, that made him lay aside his glory, to be found in fashion as a man, for our salvation. We read of Jonathan's love to David, which passed the love of women; of Jacob's love to Rachel, who for her sake endured the heat of summer and cold of winter ; of David's love to Absalom; of the primitive christians' love, who could die one for another : but neither were they called to such selfdenial as Christ, nor had he such inducements from the object of his love as they had. His love, like himself, is wonderful.
5. Did the Lord Jesus so deeply abase himself for us? What claims has he on us to exalt and honor him, who . for our sakes was so abased! It was a good saying of Bernard, “By how much the viler he was made for me, by so much the dearer he shall be to me.” And oh that all to whom Christ is dear, would study to exalt and honor him in these four ways:
By frequent and delightful speaking of him and for him. When Paul had once mentioned his name, he knows not how to part with it, but repeats it no less than ten times in the compass of ten verses. 1 Cor. 1: 1-10. It was Lambert's motto, "None but Christ, none but Christ.” It is said of Johannes Milius, that after his conversion he was seldom or never observed to men.
tion the name of Jesus but tears would drop from his eyes; so dear was Christ to him. Mr. Fox never denied any beggar that asked alms in Christ's name, or for Jesus' sake. Julius Palmer, when all concluded he was dead, being turned as black as a coal, at last moved his scorched lips, and was heard to say, "Sweet Jesus," and fell asleep.
Plutarch tells us, that when Titus Flaminius had freed the poor Grecians from the bondage with which they had been long ground by their oppressors, and the herald was to proclaim in their audience the articles of peace he had concluded for them, they so pressed upon him, (not being half of them able to hear,) that he was in great danger of losing his life in the press; at last, reading them a second time, when they came to understand distinctly how their case stood, they shouted for joy, crying, Iurng, Eutne, "a Saviour, a Saviour," till the very
with their acclamations. And all that night the poor Grecians, with instruments of music and songs of praise, danced and sung about his tent, extolling him as a god that had delivered them. But surely you have more reason to be exalting the Author of your salvation, who, at a dearer rate, hath freed you from a more dreadful bondage. Oh ye that have escaped the eternal wrath of God, by the humiliation of his Son, extol your great Redeemer, and for ever celebrate his praises !
Honor him by exercising faith in him for whatsoever lies in the promises yet unaccomplished. In this you see the great and most difficult promise fulfilled, " The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head," Gen. 3:15; and seeing that which was most improbable and difficult is fulfilled, even Christ come in the flesh, methinks our unbelief should be removed for ever, and all other promises the more easily believed. It seemed much more improbable and impossible to reason, that
God should become a man, and stoop to the condition of a creature, than that, being a man, he should perform all the good which his incarnation and death procured. Unbelief usually argues from one of these two grounds, Can God do this? or, Will God do it? It is questioning either his power or his will; but after this, let it cease for ever to cavil against either. His power to save should never be questioned by any that know what sufferings and infinite burdens he supported in our nature; and surely his willingness to save should never be put in question by any that consider how low he stooped for our sakes.
Honor him by drawing nigh to God with delight, " through the veil of Christ's flesh.” Heb. 10:20. God hath made this flesh of Christ a veil between the brightness of his glory and us; it serves to rebate the unsupportable glory, and also to give admission to it, as the veil did in the temple. Through this body of flesh, which Christ assumed, are all the outlets of grace
from God to us; and through it, also, must be all our returns to God again. It is made the great medium of our communion with God.
Honor him also by applying yourselves to him, under all temptations, wants, and troubles, of what kind soever, as to one that is tenderly sensible of your case, and most willing and ready to relieve you. Oh remember, this was one of the inducements that persuaded him to take your nature, that he might be furnished abundantly with tender compassion for you, from the sense he should have of your infirmities in his own body : "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest, in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” Heb. 2:17. You know by this argument the Lord pressed the Israelites to be kind to strangers; for (saith he)