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born of a great and noble family, but was to grow up as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground. Instead of enjoying the honours, riches and pleasures of this world, he was to be oppressed and afflicted, despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He was not to exercise temporal dominion, and hold all the nations of the earth subject to him ; but was to be taken from prison and from judgment, and to be cut off out of the land of the living. The Jews therefore, instead of being offended at Jesus, for his mean birth and humble station, ought to have acknowledged the fulfilment of the predictions concerning him, and to have said, truly, this is the Messiah promised to our fathers. In him all the enigmas and apparent contradictions of the prophets are explained and reconciled. The wonderful works which he performs, the sublime truths which issue from his lips, the meekness and innocence of his conduct, the spiritual dominion which he exercises over the hearts of men, all these declare him to be the WONDERFUL, the COUNSELLOR, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace, of the increase of whose government there shall be no
end ; and who, in a moral sense, shall sit
upe on the throne of David, and
upon dom to order it, and to establish it, with judgment and with justice, from henceforth even
And on the other hand, the abject condition in which he appears, the reproach, persecution and suffering to which he is exposed, clearly announce that he is no other than him whose visage, it was foretold, was to be marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men. The wise and discerning, had Christ appeared in any other than a humble and suffering condition, would have had good reason to consider him as an impostor, whose character and appearance did not correspond with what had been predicted of him in the writings of the prophets.
3. But the propriety of our Saviour's appearing in a humble and suffering state, will be farther evident if we consider him as the authour and teacher of a new religion. His weakness and sufferings demonstrate the intrinsick excellence and divine authority of his doctrines. He could not be an impostor who gained nothing himself by his labours but ignominy and persecution. He was very unlikely to impose upon others; he, whose sit
uation far from cominanding respect was more calculated to create contempt, who had no visible power to enforce his laws and no apparent reward to bestow upon his followers. The heathen religions were invented or taught by princes and emperours, whose authority gained adherents to a system of absurdity and superstition, who allured some by the hope of reward, and terrified others by the fear of punishment, into a belief at which their unbiassed reason revolted. And had our Saviour appeared in all that temporal splendour and authority which the Jews expected, and which the men of this world seem to desire, long ere now would we have been told, that our religion was merely an engine of state, was propagated by force, and believed from necessity, not conviction. Instead of asking, is not this the carpenter's son? Are not these men of the sect of the Nazarenes? This is he, they would have said, whose triumphs filled the world with widows and with orphans; who dragged the unwilling proselytes of his religion captive at the wheels of his chariot, and compelled the world by violence to accept his absurd system of superstition. Would not the inaccessible greatness and tyrannical power of such
a teacher, have given greater and more just cause of offence than the poverty and humility of our Redeemer can now do? Would not the proud minions of the conquerour's court, enriched by the spoils of the poor and the nee. dy, have been more abhorred than the handmaid Mary, and Christ's simple brethren, James and Joses and Simon and Judas were despised? Would not the sword have been a greater stumbling block than the cross, and have been an unequivocal proof that our religion was of man and not of God? The humiliation of our Saviour is thus a proof to mankind in every age of the excellence of his doctrines, of the certainty of their evidence, and that they are not a contrivance of human policy, imposed on men by undue influence.
4. The propriety and necessity of our Saviour's appearing in an humble and suffering state must be still more evident, if we consider him as exhibiting a pattern for the imitation of mankind. He came into the world not only to bear witness unto the truth, and to teach mankind their duty, but also to leave us an example that we might follow his steps. And this example was not to be limited to one class of men, or one condition of life, but was
intended to be universally useful, and fitted to the case of the poor as well as of the rich, and to the dark hour of adversity and suffering as well as to the gayer scenes of prosperity and enjoyment. From this it follows, that, our Saviour's situation in life must be that which is the general lot of humanity. And who is ignorant, that, while a few are favoured with the gifts of fortune and the sunshine of prosperity, the great bulk of mankind, the uncounted millions of the human race, are doomed to perpetual poverty, obscurity and wretchedness? That while a few moments of our life are alloted to enjoyment the greater portion of our days is appropriated to labour and suffering ? Had Jesus Christ appeared in a state of great temporal prosperity, as a prince or an emperour, the history of his life might have dazzled the fancy and attracted the admiration of mankind, but would have been of very limited use as a general pattern of conduct. It would have served for the imitation of the few, the very few, who might be his equals in rank and condition, but what lessons could the poor and the wretched have derived from it? Would his contentment in the midst of plenty calm the anxiety of their