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put him upon the acting of his faith. "My God, my God,” are words of faith ; the words of one that wholly depends upon his God: and is it not so with you? Sense of love is gone, sweet sights of God hid in a dark cloud : well, what then ? must thy hands presently hang down, and thy soul give up all its hope? What! is there no faith to relieve in this case ? Yes, yes, and blessed be God for faith. "Who is among you that feareth the Lord, and obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light; let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay himself upon his God." Isaiah, 50: 10.
Christ was deserted a little before the glorious morning of light and joy dawned upon him. It was a little, a very little while, after this sad cry, before he triumphed glo'riously : and so it may be with you ; heaviness may endure for a night, but joy and gladness will come in the morning
But, reader, perhaps you are saying, I fear I am absolutely and finally forsaken. Why so ? Do you find the characters of such a desertion upon your soul? Examine and tell me, whether you find a heart willing to forsake God? Is it indifferent to you whether God ever return again? Is there no mourning, melting, or thirsting after the Lord ? Indeed, if you forsake him, he will cast you off for ever; but can you do so ? Oh, no, let him do 'what he will, I am resolved to wait for him, cleave to him, mourn after him, though I have no present comfort from him, no assurance of my interest in him ; yet will I not exchange my poor weak hopes for all the good in this world.
Again, you say God hath forsaken you, but hath he taken away from your soul all conscientious tenderness of sin, so that now you can sin freely, and without regret ? If so, it is a sad token indeed: tell me, soul, if thou indeed judgest God will never return in loving
kindness to thee any more ; why dost thou not then give thyself over to the pleasures of sin, and draw thy comforts from the creature, since thou canst have no comfort from thy God? Oh, no, I cannot do so; even if I die in darkness and sorrow, I will never do so: my soul is as full of fear and hatred of sin as ever, though cmpty of joy and comfort. Surely these are no tokens of a soul finally abandoned by its God.
4. Did God forsake his own Son upon the cross ? Then the dearest of God's people may, for a time, be forsaken of their God. Think it not strange, when you, that are the children of light, meet with darkness, yea, and walk in it; neither charge God foolishly, nor say he deals hardly with you. You see what befell Jesus Christ, whom his soul delighted in. It is doubtless your concern to expect and prepare for days of darkness. You have heard the doleful cry of Christ, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" You know how it was with Job, David, Heman, Asaph, and many others, the dear servants of God, what heart-melting lamentations they made
upon this account; and are you better than they? Oh, prepare for spiritual troubles; I am sure you do enough every day to involve you in darkness. Now, if at any time this trial befall you, mind these two seasonable admonitions, and lay them up for such a time.
Exercise the faith of adherence, cleave to God, when you
have lost the faith of evidence. When God takes away that, he leaves this: that is necessary to the comfort, this to the life of his people. It is sweet to live with clear views of your interest in Christ; but if they be gone believe and rely on God. Stay yourself on your God when you have no light. Isa. 50: 10. Drop this anchor in the dark, and do not reckon all gone when evidence is gone: never reckon yourselves un. done whilst you can adhere to your God.
Take the right method to recover the sweet light
which you have sinned away from your souls. Do not go about from one to another complaining ; nor yet sit down desponding under your burden. But,
Search diligently after the cause of God's withdrawment: urge him importunately by prayer, to show thee wherefore he contends with thee. Job, 10 : 2. Say, Lord, what evil is it which thou so rebukest ? I beseech thee show me the cause of thine anger: have I grieved thy Spirit in this thing, or in that? Was it my neglect of duty, or my formality in duties? Was I not thankful for the sense of thy love, when it was shed abroad in my heart ? O Lord, why is it thus with me? Humble your
soul before the Lord for every evil you shall be convinced of: tell him, it pierces your heart that you have so displeased him, and that it shall be a caution to you, whilst you live, never to return again to folly: invite him again to your soul, and mourn after the Lord till you have found him. If you seek him, he will be found of you. 2 Chron. 15 : 2.
Wait on in the use of means till Christ return. Oh be not discouraged ; though he tarry, wait you for him; for, blessed are all they that wait for him.
FIFTH SAYING OF CHRIST ON THE CROSS—"I THIRST."
“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that
the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.”—John, 19:28.
These words were spoken by Christ upon
cross, a little before he bowed the head and yielded up the ghost. They are recorded only by the evangelist John.
1. The person complaining is Jesus. This is a clear evidence that it was no common suffering : great and resolute spirits will not otherwise complain.
2. The affliction or suffering of which he complains is thirst. His soul thirsted, in vehement desires and longings, to accomplish and finish the great and difficult work he had undertaken ; and his body thirsted, by reason of those unparalleled agonies it endured. It was the latter, the proper natural thirst here intended, when he said, " I thirst.” Now, "this natural thirst,” of which he complains, " is the raging of the appetite for moist nourishment, arising from the scorching up of the parts of the body for want of moisture.” And, amongst all the pains and afflictions of the body, there can scarcely be named a greater and more intolerable one than extreme thirst. The most mighty and valiant have stooped under it. Samson, after all his conquests and victories,
was sore athirst, and called on the Lord, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant; and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised ?" Judges, 15:18. Hence, Isa. 41: 17, thirst is used to express the most afflicted state : When the poor
and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them ;" that is, when my people are in extreme necessity, under extraordinary pressure and distress, I will be with them, to supply and relieve them. Thirst causes a most painful compression of the heart, when the body, like a sponge, sucks and draws for moisture, and there is none. And this may be occasioned cither by long abstinence from drink, or by the laboring and exhaustion of the spirits under grievous agonies and extreme tortures.
Now, though we find not that Christ had tasted a drop since he sat with his disciples at the table--after that no more refreshment for him in this world-yet
this was not the cause of his raging thirst: it is to be áscribed to the extreme sufferings which he had so long conflicted with, both in his soul and body. These preyed upon him, and drank up his very spirits.
3. The time when he thus complained was " when all things were now accomplished," that is, when all things were even ready to be accomplished in his death ; a little, a very little while before he expired, when the pangs of death began to be strong upon him: and so it was both a sign of death at hand, and of his love to us, which was stronger than death, and would not complain sooner, because he would admit of no relief, nor take the least refreshment until he had done his work:
4. The design and end of his complaint was, "that the Scripture might be fulfilled," that is, that it might appear, for the satisfaction of our faith, that whatsoever had been predicted by the prophets, was exactly accom. plished, even to a circumstance, in him. Now it was foretold of him, "They gave me gall for my meat, and, in my thirst, they gave me vinegar to drink,” Psalm 69:21; and herein it was verified. Hence, Such were the agonies of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross, as drank up his very spirits, and made him cry,
I thirst." "If I should live a thousand years, and every day die à thousand times the same death for Christ that he once died for me, yet all this would be nothing to the sorrows Christ endured in his death.” At this time the Bridegroom Christ might have borrowed the words of his spouse, the church, "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold and see, if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.” Lam. 1:12.
The sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross were twofold, namely, his corporeal, and spiritual