« PreviousContinue »
Darkness prevailed, and the Time of his be'ing offered up
all Things conspired to make his Death bitter and terrifying. In his Life he had chosen Twelve to be his constant Companions, and they at least adhered to him, and willingly partook in his Afflictions: But now one of these BosomFriends conspires his Ruin, and sells him for thirty Pieces of Silver. The rest, though they were guilty of no such Baseness, yet proved no Comfort in his Distress.
As the Danger drew near, our bleffed Lord, who was in all Things tempted like unto us, Sin only excepted, felt the Pangs of Nature at the Approach of Death, and retired to Prayer, the only Support of an afflicted Spirit. In this his Grief he chose Peter, and the Sons of Zebedee, to be his Companions, that they might watch with him in his Sorrow : But even here they forfook him, and, insensible of their Master's Agony, fell asleep. They were foon awakened; but they awoke only to fly, and Christ was left alone. Peter followed, but it was afar off; and he only followed him to deny him. Thus betrayed, and thus forfaken, he is carried to Judgment. When he is filent,
he is reproached with Sullenness: When he fpeaks, he is charged with Blasphemy. Sometimes he is buffeted and spit on; by and by, in cruel Sport, they pay him the mock Honours of a Prince, he is crowned with Thorns, has a Reed put into his Hand, and in Derision he is faluted, Hail, King of the Jews. And that nothing might be wanting to Thew how vile and contemptible he was to the People, the Question was put between him and a Murderer, which should be released; and with one Voice the People answered, Release unto us Barabbas. Thus was he despised and rejected of Men.
Follow him but one Step farther, and you will find him hanging upon the Cross between two common Robbers, groaning under the bitterest Agonies of Death. Nor yet', can all this Misery create in the Lookers on any Pity or Compaffion. See how they shake their Heads, and fay, Come down from the Crofs, Son of God, come down, and we will believe thee. But neither the Pains of the Cross, nor those Pangs which drew from him that Complaint, My God, my God, why haft thou forsaken me, nor all the Malice and Scorn of the Crucifiers could make him one
Moment forget his Love and Tenderness towards them. You hear no Complaint from him, no Appeals made against them to a future Judgment: Instead of this, with latest Breath he pleads their Cause, excuses their Weakness, and begs for their Pardon; Father, forgive them, for they know not what
And here let us close this Scene, and return to ourselves with this Question, What Reward shall I give unto the Lord for all the Benefits that he hath done unto me? Let us also answer for ourselves in the Words of the Psalmist, I will receive the Cup of Salvation, and call upon the Name of the Lord. We have nothing to return but our Love and Obedience, and nothing else is required of us, He hath borne our Griefs, and carried our Sorrows; let us not call for them again by our Iniquities : Let them be buried for ever,, but let us arise to a new Life of Righteousness in Christ Jesus, that when Christ, who is our Life, shall appear, we may also appear with him in Glory.
COLOSSIANS iii. I.
ow much the metaphorical Language of Scripture has been mistaken, and what Errors and Absurdities Men have fallen
into, under Pretence of adhering to the literal Sense, is well known. The Words of the Text are hardly capable of being so abused; for it is not possible to imagine that St. Paul should intend to tell the Colofans, or that the Coloffians should believe him if he did, that they lived no longer in this World, but were, in the literal Sense, Men raised from the
Dead. But, as our State and Condition in this World is often set forth in the Scriptures in metaphorical Language, it has not fared so well in all Parts of it, but Men have sometimes lost Sight of the Metaphor, and raised very absurd Notions from a literal Interpretation, as I shall have Occasion to observe to you in treating upon this Subject.
The Words now read to you are an Inference from what had been before faid, as is evident from the Manner in which they are introduced : If ye then be rifen with Christ. It is plain likewise that they must refer to something which had been said of our Resurrection with, or in Christ: For this Conclufion supposes that Doctrine already laid down and established. To find this Connection, we must look back as far as the Middle of the foregoing Chapter, where the Doctrine referred to in the Text is plainly declared. At the tenth and following Verses thus you
will read: And ye are complete in him, (that is, in Christ Jesus) which is the Head of all Principality and Power. In whom also ye are cire cumcised with the Circumcihon made without Hands, in putting off the Body of the Sins of the Flesh by the Circumcihon of Christ. Buried with him in Baptism, wherein also you are ria