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for the subject of another discourse. Allow me now only to observe, that since the sufferings of our Lord, appear to form so essential a part of the wondrous scheme of our redemption, God forbid, that we should ever be ashamed of them! Rather, like Paul of Tarsus, let us learn to glory in them. Nay, impressed with so deep a sense of their value and importance, let us also, like this wise and pious Apostle, learn to glory in nothing else.
SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST.
HEB. 2. 10.
Second Sermon on this text.
The low and suffering state of the Messiah was, doubtless, the earliest objection which was brought against his religion. He laid claim to the character of the Son of God and the King of the Jews, but he lived in the form of a servant, and was crucified like a slave. To those, therefore, who were incapable of reconciling a humble appearance with a great design, this was a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence. Why “ did not Christ, (say they,) appear in the
power and the majesty of the Father?
Would not this have comported better with
our conceptions of the dignity, both of “ God and of him? Would not a Saviour of “ a noble descent, and with a suitable re“ tinue, have commanded more confidence “ and respect, and been of greater advan“ tage to the world: than one who was “ cloathed with poverty, oppressed with
sorrow, borne down with affliction, and
seemingly every way more miserable him“ self, than the unhappy creatures whom he " came to redeem.” Such were the imaginations of an evil, and an adulterous generation. But their foolish hearts were darkened. They erred, not discerning the wis: dom of heaven. For that very humble and afflicted state, against which they were so much prejudiced, was really the fittest and the most proper one in which the Messiah could have appeared. None could have been more suitable, either to the
perfections of God, or the circumstances of
This the inspired apostle affirms, to the Hebrews, in the words of my text. “For “ it became him, (says, he,) for whom are all
things, and by whom are all things, in bring“ing many sons into glory, to make the cap
- tain of their salvation perfect through suf
ferings.” Thisassertion, which has always appeared so paradoxical to the prejudiced and unbelieving part of mankind, we proposed, in a former discourse, to elucidate and confirm. And for this purpose we were to shew, that the humble, suffering state of Christ was expedient,
First, To put beyond suspicion the truth of his mission.
Secondly, To exhibit him as a perfect pattern of virtue to his followers.
Thirdly, To make him a proper propitiation for our sins.
FOURTHLY, To make room for his bringing more fully to light a future state of immortality and glory.
And, Lastly, To give us full assurance that he knows, and sympathises with our frailties, and our sorrows, and will therefore mercifully intercede with the Father in our behalf.
The three first of these we have already endeavoured to illustrate.
We have shewn, that the humble, afflicted condition of Jesus, placed beyond suspicion the truth of his mission, because it afforded men of all ranks an opportunity of freely examining his pretensions, and demonstrated to them that he entertained none of those worldly, ambitious views, by which impostors are usually impelled. In a particular manner, it evinced that he was really the divine person whom he pretended to be, by the triumphant glory and success which his religion so soon obtained. For the weaker and more pitiful our Saviour was in the eyes of the world, the more manifestly did the power which attended him appear to be of God. We said, in the second place,—That his sufferings were expedient to render him a perfect pattern of virtue and of excellence. Had his life not been diversified with sorrow, we should not have considered him as a man of the same nature with ourselves, and therefore, could not have viewed his life as a proper model for us to follow. Besides, there would have been many virtues, such as patience, fortitude, and