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not any thing undone, concerning which God will say, Well done."
In Galen's time it was a proverbial expression, when any one would show the impossibillty of a thing, You inay as soon turn'a christian from Christ as do it. A true heart-choice of Christ is without reserves, and what is without reserves will be without repentance. There is an obstinacy of spirit which is our sin But this '18 our glory. In the matters of God, 'saith Luther, I'as. sume this title, Cedo nulli, "I yield to none."
4. Remember when your 'hearts begin to startle at the sufferings and reproaches of Christ, there is an honor. able title affixed to his cross. And as it was upon his, so it will be upon your cross also, if ye suffer for Christ. Moses saw it, which made him esteem the very re
. proaches of Christ above all the treasures of Egypt. Heb. 11 : 26. 'How did the martyrs glory in their sufferings for Christ! calling their chains of iron, chains of gold; and their 'mariacles, bracelets.
It is related of Ludovicus Marsacus, a knight of France, that when he, with other christians of an inferior rank, were 'condemned to die for religion, and the gaoler had bound them with chains, but did not bind him, being a more honorable person than the rest; he was displeased with the omission, and said, "Why do not you honor '
me also with a chain for Christ, and create me a knight of that illustrious order ?”
"To you (saith the apostle) it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe, but also to suffer for his sake.” Phil. 1:29. There is a twofold honor attending the cross of Christ; one in the very sufferings themselves; another, as the reward and fruit of them. To suffer for Christ is a great honor. Yea, an honor peculiar to the saints. The angels glorify Christ by their active, but not by their passive obedience. This is reserved as a special honor for saints."
And as there is honor in being called to suffer on Christ's account; so Christ will confer special honor upon his suffering saints, in the day of their reward; "He that confesseth me before men, him will I also con. fess before my Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 10:32. O sirs, one of these days the Lord will come in the clouds of heaven, with a shout, accompanied with my• riads of angels and ten thousands of his saints, those glittering courtiers of heaven. The heavens and earth shall flame and melt before him; and it shall be very tempestuous round about him; the graves shall open, the sea and earth shall yield up their dead. You shall see him ascending the awful throne of judgment, and all flesh gathered before his face; even multitudes, multitudes that no man can number. And then to be brought forth by Christ befors that great assembly, and there to have an honorabıe mention and remembrance made of your labors and sufferings, your pains, patience, and self-denial, of all your sufferings and losses for Christ; and to hear from his mouth, "Well done, good and faithful servant:" Oh what honor is this! Yet this shall le done to the man that now chooses sufferings for Christ, rather than sin; that esteems his reproach greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.
It is an honor the angels have not. I make no doubt but they would be glad (had they bodies of flesh as we have) to lay their necks on the block for Christ. But this is the saint's peculiar privilege. The apostles went away from the council rejoicing that they were honored to be dishonored for Christ; or, as we translate it, "counted worthy to suffer shame for him.” Acts, 5 : 41. Surely, if there be any "marks of honor," they are such as we receive for Christ's sake. If there be any shame that hath glory in it, it is the reproach of Christ, and the shame you suffer for his name.
5. Did Pilate so assert and defend the honor of Christ.
What doubt can there be of the success of Christ's interest and the prosperity of his cause, when the very enemies thereof are made to serve it? Those people can never be ruined who thrive by their losses; conquer by being conquered ; multiply by being diminished: whose worst enemies are made to do that for them which friends cannot or dare not do. See you a heathen Pilate proclaiming the honor and innocency of Christ; God will not want instruments by whom to honor Christ. If others cannot, his very enemies shall.
6. Did Pilate vindicate Christ in drawing up title to be affixed to his cross? Then God will, sooner or later, vindicate the innocency and integrity of his people, who commit their cause to him. Christ's name was clouded with many reproaches; wounded by the blasphemous tongues of his malicious enemies. He committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously. 1 Pet. 2 : 23; and see how soon God vindicates him. That is sweet and seasonable counsel for us, when our names are clouded with unjust censures,
" Commit thy way unto the Lord ; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noon day.” Psalm 37:5, 6. Joseph was accused of incontinency; David, of treason; Daniel, of disobedience; Elijah, of troubling Israel ; Jeremiah, of revolting; Amos, of preaching against the king; the apostles, of sedition and rebellion. But how did all these honorable names emerge from their reproaches, as the sun from a cloud! God vindicated their honor even in this world. "Slanders (saith one) are but as soap, which though it so. for the present, makes the garment more clean and shining.” Scorn and reproach is but a little cloud, that is soon blown over. But suppose ye are not vindicated in this world, but die with a cloud upon your names; be sure God will clear it up, and that to purpose in the
great day. Then shall the righteous (even in this respect) shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
Be patient, therefore, my brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. The Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." Jude, 14, 15. Then shall they retract their censures, and alter their opinions of the saints. If Christ will be our advocate, we need not fear who are our accusers. If your name, for his sake, be cast out as evil, Christ will deliver it you again in that day whiter than snow.
7. Did Pilate give this title to cast the reproach of his death upon
the Jews and clear himself? How natural is it to men to transfer the fault of their own actions from themselves to others! For when he writes, This is the King of the Jews, he wholly charges them with the crime of crucifying their King: and it is as if he had said, Hereafter let the blame and fault of this action lie wholly upon your heads, who have brought the guilt of his blood upon yourselves and your children. I am clear; you
have extorted it from me. Oh where shall we find the ingenuous spirit, to take home to itself the shame of its own actions, and charge itself freely with its own guilt? It is the character of renewed, gracious hearts, to remember, confess, and freely bewail their own evils, to the glory of God.
THE SOLITARINESS OF CHRIST'S DEATH.
Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is
my felloui, saith the Lord of hosts : smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered : and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones." Zech. 13: 7.
Having noticed the kind of death Christ died, and the vindication of his innocency by the honorable title providentially affixed to his cross, we are now to consider the manner in which he endured the cross; and that was solitarily, meekly, and instructively.
His solitude in suffering is plainly expressed in the scripture now before us. It cannot be doubted but the prophet in this place speaks of Christ, if you consider Matt. 26:31, where you find these words applied to Christ by himself: "Then said Jesus unto them, All ye. shall be offended because of me this night, for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.” Besides, the title God here gives him, "The man that is my fellow,” is too great for any creature in heaven or earth besides Christ. In these words we have,
1. The commission given to the sword by the Lord of hosts, "Awake, O sword, and smite, saith the Lord of hosts.” The Lord of hosts, at whose command all creaturcs exist, who, with a word of his mouth, can command what weapons and instruments of death he please, calls here for the sword; not the rod, gently to chasten, but the sword, to destroy. The strokes and thrusts of the sword are mortal; and he bids it to awake and smite." It is as if the Lord had said, Come forth out of thy scabbard, O sword of justice; thou hast been hid there a long time, now awake and glitter, thou shalt drink royal blood, such as thou never before didst shed.