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own body on the tree, *" The sins of the whole world then nailed Jesus to the cross, and all we, 'ns sinners, have pierced him through with many sorrows, sharper than a two-edged sword. And the gracious intention of his being lifted up, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, Joh. iii. 14, which was a type of Christ's death, was, as he himself tells us, that he might draw'all men unto him,t Joh, xii, 32. For there is no other name under heaver, given among men, whereby we must be saved. As, therefore, it was an act of the most adorable mercy, that, for our sakes he became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, so it is a duty of interest, as well as of gratitude, for us to look upon him whom our sins have pierced. And this will be attended with several effects. The first of which is that natural one which is painted out to us in the words following the text; “ And they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born : which implies the very deepest degree of grief and sorrow. And the prophet, by this expression, most probably originally alluded to the conversion of the Jews on the day of Pentecost, when, as we are informed by St Luke, Act ii. 42, there were about three thousand souls added to the church of Christ; amongst whom might be some of those very persons who were inmediately concerned in the crucifixion of Jesus ; for, when
# The expressions in this passage are remarkably emphatical; his own self, “ ipse, i. e. per se; in propria persona, non per alienum sacrificium; sed sui ipsius oblatione; ut simul et sacerdos esset et victima." Gerhardus, &c.
" Dubitandum non est, quin Christus ad crucem suam respiciat, quo sensu vox if Dar et infra reperitur viii. 28, et xii. 33, 34. Impositus est serpens ille os 59, Num. xxi. 8, 9. Illud autem 03 R.S. interpretantur, furcam. Et quod hic in Syriaco est pro intã on, id Kimchi interpretatur
pi, unde est vox noipi, quæ crucem Syris significat.” Grotius. ." Quod hîc dicit Christus, non desunt illius indicia in scriptis veterum R.R. Hlud nnd, deduxisti, Psal. Ixxvii. 20, R. Josua sic.. explicat, ut singulæ literæ vocem integram designent, et m notet 1961, suspensum ; quo nomine Christum hodie vocant Judxi per summain contumeliam. Significat, inquit, Deum dedisse populo suo suspensum pro capite, idque per manus. Mosis et Aharon. Suspensum, i. e. Messiam; qui serpentis zenei typo adumbratus fuit: neque enim alius suspensus erat qui populi Dei caput esse po terat. Deus voluit a Mose et Aharonė attolli atque suspendi serpentem æneum typum Messiæ futuri capitis ecclesiæ.” Capellus.
they had heard St Peter's discourse, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto him and the rest of the apostles, in the language of despair, “ Men and brethren, what shall we de:*". Or to their conversion at the end of the world : for, though blindness in part bath happened unto Israel, † and they now deride a crucified Saviour, the time will come when the veil, wbich is upon their heart, shall be taken away; and, looking up to him whom they have pierced, they shall cry out, in the words of St Peter, “Lord, save us;" or, “ we perish.", But this spirit of grace and supplication, of sorrow and remorse, which has in soine measure been poured out upon the house of Judah, and will be still more so when the fulness of the Gentiles be come in, is not confined to the people of Israel ; but all those who look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith, with truly contrite hearts, he will. not despise. And, when we view him extended on the cross, in the greatest agonies and torture, and see the blood and water issuing forth from his side, the sight must certainly pierce our hearts with mourning and woe; and we shall weep not so much for him, as for our own sins and iniquities, which nailed him to the cross. And this compunction of soul will necessarily be productive of repentance and conversion. For, if we contemplate the sufferings of our Saviour and the real cause of them, and do not utterly forsake our sins, we crucify the Son of God afresh, and again put him to an open shame. But they, that are
* What shall we do? “ Sentient tandem Judæi pretiosum fuisse illum thesaurum quem spreve. rant, et deflebunt excæcationem atque ingratitudinem suam, quòd perverse bellum gesserunt cum Deo et filio ejus, terroremque conciperent ob vindictam ipsis imminentem.” Calvin.
† “ Ex parte, refertur ad Israelem, q. d. Cæcitas obtigit Israeli, non toti, sed ex parte, non tamen exigua, sed multo maxima; non omnibus omnino, sed aliquibus, &c. vel ad tempus, q. d. non semper, quia, postea credent.” Piscator, &c. ". Tam de temporis, quam de populi parte accipi potest.” Episcopius. . . . . . .
. . “Cum divino lumine illustrati evangelii claritatem admiserint Judæi, a litera ad spiritum conversi.” Menochius. “Tunc videbunt quantus sit splendor evangelii olim præfiguratus. Vide Orig. contra Celsum, et Rablinum Israelem, cap. 3.:" Grotius.
lll." Nam qui id faciunt, eo ipso ostendunt, credere se Christum fuisse impostorem, ac proinde dignum cruce omnique ignominia." Grotius, &c.
Christ's in heart and mind,* will crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts; and, having his cross constantly in view, will die unto sin and live unto righteousness. +
Another effect of our looking upon him, whom we have pierced, will be, that, unless we are void of all sense of gratitude, we shall love him as he loved us, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem les from all iniquity, and wash us from our sins in his own blood. And St Paul had so strong a sense of our obligation to love him, who first loved us, that he declares, in the most peremptory manner, 1 Cor. xvi. 22. “ If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ let him be anathema, maran-atha.|| The point of the spear serves instead of a key (as St Bernard expresses himself) to let us see through his wounds his very bowels, the bowels of tender love and kind compassion, that would for us endure to be so cruelly treated. If affection ought to be mutual and reciprocal, “ Who,” or “ what, shall separate us from the love of Christ.g” Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
: The love of Christ comprehends in it also the unfeigned love of the brethren; and it is an express injunction, that, as he laid down his life for us, we ought, if it be required, to lay down our lives for the brethren. And, as perfect love casteth out fear, looking upon Jesus whom we have pierced, we shall be animated, in the next place, in all the
* li, qui sunt Christi carnem constrictam tenent, viresque ejus, ad peccandum scilicet, confringunt; sicut homo cruci affixus constringitur, frangitur, et cum sanguine vires ei abscedunt.” Grotius, &c.
+ “Non sufficit a malis abstinere, sed danda et virtutibus Christianis opera.” Estius.
* " Hæc ablutio, ut et redemptio, non est metaphorica, (ut Grotius supponit,) sed vera, per solutionem veri aútae sanguine proprio facta." Harmonia Apocal.
:|| Maran-atha. “Non verisimile est, Judaicam hanc fuisse excommunicationis formulam, quæ apud Judæos quidem omnino non habetur. Præstat ergò Maran-atha interpretari, Dominus noster venit, scilicet, ad sumendas pænas de Judæorum gente ob exosum Christum, &c. de quo adventu Scriptura S. et magna et terrifica loquitur, &c." Lightfoot, &c. $ " Interrogatio est vehementer negans." Camerarius.
“Si Christus ita nos dilexit, ut sanguinem pro nobis funderet, æquum etiam est ut nos pro ejus amore supplicia omnia perferamus, et debemus pro fratribus animás ponere.” Ribera, &c.
persecutions and tribulations which may befall us, to “ run withi pa. tience the race that is set before us," having this confidence,, that, if so be we suffer witli him and for him, we shall be also glorificd together.* When we consider what contradiction of sinners he endured against himself; that, “When he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but, for the joy that was set before him, (of redeeming us from the curse of the law,) endured the cross, des. pising the shanie;" can we be weary, and faint in our minds, under the severest trials of our faith? Thomas, having put his fingers into the print of the nails, and thrust his hand into his side, bursts forth into this emphatical and pathetical exclamation, “ My Lord and my God:” which extorted from the blessed Jesus this mild rebuke; “ Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” And, when we have this testimony of the incredulous apostle corroborated by the declaration of the centurion at the cross, “ Truly this man was the Son of God,!" surely we cannot want any farther confirmation of our faith, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, and that nothing shall be impossible to them that believe in him to whom all things are possible.
Being thus then rooted and grounded in faith and love, by the death and sufferings of Christ, a pious and frequent meditation upon them will inspire us with a lively hope of a blessed immortality. For Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, that unto them that look for him and to him, he might appear the second time, without sin, unto
• "Si constanti patientia adversa omnia toleremus, sicut Christus fecit. Bene adjicit conditionem, quia nativitas salutaris non aecepta, sed custodita vivificat, ut ait Cyprianus. Vide Matt. X. 33.” Grotius. † “ Quippe qui ex imbecillitate, non ex malitia, peccavit." Brugensis.
"Agnoscit eum esse Messiam, quem pro filio Dei agnoverunt ipsi Judæi, ex 1 Par. xvii. 13, Ps. ii. 12; ex quibus centuriu id audiverit.” Lightfoot, Macknight, &c. “ Et exinde inferamus hunc centurionem proselytum fuisse." Mackn.
salvation.* And what would not he do for us, that for us would suffer all this? Or, rather, what could not he do for us, when we see him, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God; whence he will assuredly come again in power and great glory; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him. “ Looking," thén, “ for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ,+" let us glory in the cross of Christ, and die unto sin as he died for it; so shall we live for ever with the Lord. In the mean time, let us, sorrowing after a godly sort, complete our repentance, perfect our love, increase our faith, and confirm our hope by frequently partaking, at the Lord's Supper, of the bread and wine which he himself instituted as sacred memorials of his precious body broken, and his precious blood shed, on the cross; always remembering that interesting admonition of his, “ Except ye eat the flesh of the son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you; but whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last d
* The second time, &c. “Non, ut prius, cum peccato totius mundi sibi imputato." Gerhar. dus.. * t The great God and our Saviour, &c. " Deum filium. Ut Græci et Latini patres summo consensu accipiunt, excepto Ambrosio. Huic sententiæ favet, 19. Græci sermonis constructio, të Otõ nal owrñgos, non sees të ourăgos, quod ostendit utrumque prædicatum ad idem subjectum referri debere. 2o. Quòd nomen émiparsias nusquam in N. T. nisi uni filio tribuitur. Illud autem, et salvatoris, ad humanam Christi naturam pertinet." Beza, Estius, &c. “ But Hawtrey observés that this should be the construction, of our great God and Saviour, See also Granville Sharpe, &c.