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through him you may have pardon, peace, and heaven, without money and without price: will you not ask ? *
10. Rest not satisfied without saving faith which gives interest in Christ : remember all men have not faith ; some have a faith but not sincere ; yet it is absolutely necessary, there is no living, no dying without faith. +
I only advert to these things at present, read the rest in this ensuing Treatise.
As for you that have a principle of grace, an interest in Christ, admire the riches of God's grace in him, still say, “ Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift :" | it is the greatest gift that ever came out of the hands of God, or that ever was in the hands of man, without whom all gifts are but giftless gifts. Nothing you have will do you good without him, nothing you do is accepted without him. O admirable grace ! Christ is the covert that shelters you from God's wrath: he is the King's favourite that makes you welcome into the King of Heaven's presence.
he came from heaven to earth ; it is for you that he is gone from earth to heaven, to prepare room and mansions for
you;|| it was for
that he was man, and acts as God. It is worth observing that twice did that excellent word sound from heaven, once at our Lord's baptism, and again at his transfiguration, “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."S Mark it, he doth not say, with whom, as with his person, but in whom ; that is, all that have interest in him, and come to God through him. O happy souls, come when you will, come in whatever condition you may be, and you may find relief and release. Be not discouraged with the splendour of divine and dazzling glory : God appears in the cloud on the mercy-seat, and the mercy-seat is above upon the ark, to secure sinners from the rigour of the law, and then Jehovah will meet sinners and commune with them. I
This is admirable condescension in God, and advancement of a Christian. I may say to you,
Why stand you gazing up unto heaven ?"** Be not idle spectators, but really cultivators of piety; imitate the blessed Jesus in his life, improve his death and resurrection, follow him in your holy meditations and ardent affections, send your prayers and praises after him, and run patiently this race that is set before you, that you may arrive in the celestial Canaan, at the new Jerusalem, the city of the great King, where you shall be “ before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple, and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among you.” * That this may be the result of all our adorations of the true God, through Christ, is the prayer of,
John iv. 10. Isa. lv. l. Rev. iii. 18. + Eph. iii. 17. 2 Thess. iii. 2. Heb. xi. 6. * 2 Cor. ix. 15. ll John xiv. 2. S Matt. ii. 17. xvii. 5. Lev. xvi. 2. Exod. xxv. 21, 22.
** Acts i. 11.
ISAIAH LIII. 12.
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he
shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors, and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
This is an excellent chapter, referring to the blessed Saviour of mankind, giving an account of his birth, outward abject appearance, voluntary humiliation, bitter sufferings, together with the cause thereof, the persons for whom, together with their benefit thereby, his patience under all his sorrows, his violent death, his burial, his innocency, God's pleasure and design in all, the efficacy and blessed fruits of his undertaking, in the conversion and justification of sinners, and the method of free grace in the application of all the work of our blessed Redeemer.
The last is strongly expressed in the verse which I have read, including two considerations :
I. The promise to divide him a portion with the
great, and the spoil with the strong'; however low he might be, he should be highly exalted, lead captivity captive, and give gifts to men, even to the rebellious ;* gifts of grace and glory, privileges which are the fruits of his purchase; and these are not merely free gifts from the Father, but merited by Christ at a dear rate, therefore it is added, “Because he hath poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.”
But here the question is asked, Whether did Christ by his sufferings merit this advancement? In reply I answer :
1. Christ did not merit the personal union of the divine and human natures, or his original perfections, or his happiness with his Father, these were essential to him, he was invested with these before he suffered, and merit must precede reward.
2. Yet we may say that Christ's humiliation was the meritorious cause of his exaltation, so it is said, Phil. ii. 6–9, “He humbled himself—wherefore God also hath highly exalted him.” But still, this must be understood, not so much with respect to his person, as to his church, which is his mystical body, over whom he is head, and which he quickens together with himself, “ raising us up, and making us sit together, in heavenly places in Christ,” Eph. ii. 5, 6. This is a great truth, yet some so understand the text, that these sufferings precede this advancement, not so much by order of causality as of antecedency, considering his exaltation as the consequence of his passion.
But however it is clear from the words :
1. That Jesus Christ must be abased before he was exalted. This is showed by the mouth of all the prophets,
Eph. iv. 8. Psal. Ixviii. 18.
that Christ must suffer, Acts iii. 18. And this was the sum of apostle's preaching, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead, Acts xvii. 3.
2. Christ's sufferings contained a pouring out of his soul unto death.
This refers to the bloody sacrifices under the law, given to Israel, which sacrifices were offered upon the altar, to make an atonement for their souls, Lev. xvii. 11. Thus Christ truly died, [cum ejus evacuarentur venæ, sanguisque fundaretur] when the blood of his veins was shed, especially when the soldier pierced his side, “ and forthwith came there forth blood and water,” John xix. 34. It was an undoubted death, that there might be certain and effectual fruits of his death.
3. Jesus Christ was “ numbered with the transgressors."
He that was best was numbered with the worst; he was reputed a worse person than Barabbas a vile murderer, John xviii. 40. He was crucified betwixt two thieves as the very ringleader of them, so the scripture was fulfiled, “He was numbered with the transgressors,” Mark xv. 27, 28. Yea, he was rejected by most classes of men, he was esteemed most despicable, so that his own received him not.* But 0 let Christ be the more precious in our account, the more vile he became for us, 1 Pet. ii. 7.
4. Christ “ bare the sins of many."
This load was laid on the innocent Jesus, he was made sin for us who knew no sin, 2 Cor. v. 21. He bore the burden which we must have borne, and which would have sunk us into eternal torments; yea, it would have sunk him but that he was the infinite God, and could bear infinite weight, and could satisfy infinite
* Isa. liii. 3. John i. 11.