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thou shouldst be filled with amazement, and confess that thou, even thou, deservest to be torn in soul as well as in body by the strokes of Divine justice;-to be finally expelled, bearing thine own sin, from the society of the godly, whom thou hast so often offended by ill-advised words and deeds, and from the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, the general assembly and church of the clect, whose names are written in heaven;-to be divested of all your garments, covered with nothing but shame and disgrace, and made a mocking-stock to men and devils;-to be esteemed a candidate for the cursed cross;-to be treated by all with every species of indignity, and, amidst the pains of death, to receive no refreshing draught, no consolation whatever;-to be constantly surrounded with a band of devils and guarded for eternal torments; -in fine, fully to experience the whole bitterness of every kind of death without end and without intermission. Consider this, mourn, and lament.:
LXIV. It is better for thee, finally, to be inflamed with a holy desire of revenge against thy sins, and to repay them the same severities which they inflicted upon Jesus. Keep under the body of sin, and suffer not the old man to riot in wantonness, or indulge in pride. Expel him from thy house and from thy soul, as an abandoned criminal, and a despicable slave. Divest him of every plea for protection, and nail him to the cross of your Lord, to perish dolefully there; for by virtue of that cross, you ought to "be crucified to the "world, and the world to you." Be assiduous in subduing this monster, and cease not till you have taken
41 Cor. ix. 27. Rom. vi. 12.
r Rom. vi. 6.
"mortified your ample vengeance upon him, having "members which are upon the earth." Happy the man who is so "planted together with Christ in the "likeness of his death, as to be planted together with "him also in the likeness of his resurrection."u
LXV. It is impossible fully to express the great CONSOLATION which arises from the thought of the cross of Christ to those who are thus earnestly engaged in the crucifixion of the flesh. By his STRIPES, O Christian, he has sanctified and sweetened stripes of every sort to thee. Whilst they fell on his blessed body, they were blessed by him. Who art thou, that thou shouldst presume to demand a life exempt from the rod in every shape, since you see that the Son of God himself, who came into the world without sin, did not leave it without suffering. Let it suffice thee, that through Christ the sting of the curse is extracted from thy sorrows, and that "by his stripes thou art heal❝ed."w If it should be thy lot, in common with Apostles, to be beaten with rods for the name of Christ, esteem it a joy and an honour that thou art accounted worthy "to fill up that which is behind of the afflic
tions of Christ in thy flesh."x 17 The memorials of the ancients and all the historical records of the Church, abound with instances of men and women, boys and girls, who, superior to every feeling of pain, smiling and singing, and transported with celestial joy, presented to astonished spectators, not merely their limbs torn with lashes, but even their bones made bare by stripes, and the innermost recesses of their bowels exposed.
Col. iii. 5.
v Heb. xii. 3.
* Acts v. 40.
Col. i. 24.
17 See NOTE XVII.
u Rom. vi. 5.
* 1 Pet. ii. 24.
To what was this owing? The reason is, that, animated by the stripes and cheered by the Spirit of Christ, they felt nothing unpleasant in their sufferings, but on the contrary experienced that the severest strokes were no sooner inflicted by the executioner than cured by the wounds of their Saviour.
LXVI. It conduces also to thy consolation, Christian, that thy Lord, BEARING THE CROSS, was expelled as accursed from Jerusalem by the infuriated Jews. The way was thus prepared for him, that he might come to exhibit the saving blessings of his cross to us who are sinners of the Gentiles, and that he might open an avenue to the heavenly Jerusalem. He is the true Eliakim," the God who will strengthen us, 18 into "whose hand the government is committed, that he "may be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and "to the house of Judah," considered not externally but spiritually. The cross which he bears, is "the key of "David laid upon his shoulder." With this he "shuts" hell, that neither we may be precipitated into that place of torment, nor our sworn enemies break forth from it for our destruction. With this he " opens" for us the gates of his own kingdom; the kingdom of grace here, and the kingdom of glory hereafter. With this, in fine, he opens a treasury abundantly replenished with the riches of the divine munificence, that he may liberally communicate to us," the sure mercies of "David."y
LXVII. He allowed himself to be STRIPPED of his garments, and suspended naked on the cross, that he might cover the shame of thy disgraceful nakedness
y Is. xxii. 20-22. lv. 3.
18 See NOTE XVIII.
contracted by sin;—that he might adorn thee with the fine linen of his own righteousness, clean and white; that he might beautify thee with garments of wrought gold, and deck thee with an ornament of grace composed of the Christian virtues as of so many pearls ;—and that he might present thee thus arrayed to his God and Father, having at the same time expiated the guilt of that extravagant fondness for gaudy apparel, to which, according to the fashion of this world, thou wast formerly addicted.d
LXVIII. Further, the ignominious tree of the CROSS is the height of thy glory, the support of thy weakness, the ladder of paradise, and "the tree of life, which bears "twelve manner of fruits, and yields her fruit every "month, and whose leaves are for the healing of the "nations." Here, the iniquity of the whole earth was removed in one day. Here, liberty worthy of the sons of God was procured. Here, the hand-writing of ordinances which was against us, was torn in pieces, and taken out of the way, and then nailed to the cross. Here," having spoiled principalities and powers, he "made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them "in it." Here, here, the afflicted soul finds that which sweetens the waters of her tribulation, although they seem to flow from the well of Marah itself. In one word, he delivered us from every curse, he loaded us with every kind of blessings, when he was suspended on the tree, and made the curse of God for us.i
LXIX. Add to this, that Christ was surrounded with
* Rev. iii. 18.
b Ps. xlv. 13, 14.
d 1 Pet. ii. 24.
f Zech. iii. 9.
h Exod. xv. 23, 25.
Rev. xix. 8.
e Prov. i. 9. Song iv. 9.
e Rev. xxii. 2.
Col. ii. 14, 15.
Gal. iii. 15.
a GUARD of soldiers, as of so many dogs, that he might obtain cohorts of angels for thy defence, and might himself keep thee, by the guard of his power, through faith, unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time. You are exposed, we admit, to cruel mockings, to numerous indignities, and to the reproaches of virulent tongues, by which it is not unlikely that your resolution may sometimes be shaken, and your faith and hope waver for a season; but behold in Christ, all your trials of this sort foreshown, sanctified, and for your sake overcome. Only let it not seem grievous to thee, to be conformed to Jesus in this as well as in other respects and learn from him to repel and extinguish all such fiery darts by silence, faith, and patience,-relying on the word of God, leaning on that hope which will never make ashamed, and assuring thyself that Christ, who was himself tried in the same manner with thee, will act the part of a "merciful and faithful High
LXX. Consider, in fine, the DEATH of Christ, and see in it, 1st, The expiation of thy sin. For he made "his soul an offering for sin,"m" to finish the trans
gression, to make an end of sin, to make reconcilia"tion for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righte"ousness."n "As it is appointed unto men once to die, so also Christ was once offered to bear," to take upon himself and thus to take away, "the sins of many." o
LXXI. 2dly, See the death of thy death. Death
k 1 Pet. i. 5.
m Is. liii. 10.
j Ps. xxxiv. 7.
1 Heb. ii. 17, 18.
n Dan. ix. 24.
ο 'Εις το πολλῶν ἀνενεγκεῖν ἁμαρτίας, Heb. ix. 27, 28.