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THE REWARD OF CHRIST'S SUFFERING.
Isaiah liii. 11.-He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.
HEBREWS XII. 2.-Who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross.
DOTH a mother reproach her infant with all the pain which she hath suffered for it? Or, doth she regard it as a sufficient recompense for all? And do not those very sufferings endear the child to the mother? Such are the thoughts that the image of Isaiah suggests.
Look at the heaviness and exceeding sorrow, (Matt. xxvi. 37, 38.) the sore amazement, (Mark xiv. 33.) the agony, (Luke xxii. 44.) the trouble of soul, (John xii. 27.) the " prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears," (Heb. v. 7.) of the suffering Jesus. See Him falling "on his face" (Matt. xxvi. 39.) on the ground," (Mark xiv. 35.) kneeling down and praying, and praying more earnestly, (Luke xxii. 41-44.) and yet praying in vain. See an angel, sent on an unwonted errand from heaven, strengthening his Lord, and yet a sweat as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground, (Luke xxii. 43, 44.) and endeavour to imagine the anguish of that desertion, to Him who had been from eternity in the bosom of the Father; (John i. 18.) and then, O sinner, when thou thinkest, The salvation of My Soul is the satisfying reward for all these sufferings," thou wilt feel that the love of God truly passeth knowledge. (Eph. iii. 19.)
August 10th, 1821.
LEGION CAST OUT.
THREE reasons for our Lord's miracles :
1. In proof of his divinity.
2. Because he had compassion on their bodies, as he had on their souls.
3. As shadows of his spiritual miracles.
Blind, lepers, possessed with devils. Many in the Gospels possessed; all, by nature; though, perhaps, the devil's power over the body has ceased but the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not. (2 Cor. iv. 4.) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air. (Ephes. ii. 2.) And after the sop, Satan entered into him. (John vi. 70, xiii. 27.) What an awful thought! Think of one bodily possessed.
Legion. Most men have some besetting sin. Yet, departure from God-Legion; anger, pride, envy-long time, even from childhood. We make light of the sins of children; we say it is their nature:-yes, and what is that nature? To love God-his day-his worship? No. By nature we are children of wrath.
Let every sin bring us to our own evil heart.
No clothes; no house; among the tombs; cry
ing and cutting himself. The misery of a worldly life: diseases; cares; passions.
Plucked asunder-all broken.
Desires Jesus to depart. How well for us that our God is long-suffering!
In his right mind. (Luke xv. 17.)
Particulars of this man's madness; cutting himself, naked, loathsome, desiring Jesus to depart.
Desired Jesus that he might be with Him. (Philippians i. 23.)
Not suffered: why not? (1.) Work to be done for Him, verses 19, 20. (2.) To be made more and more meet. (Matthew xii. 43.)
THE NEW BIRTH.
NICODEMUS came by night-then grew bolder: Doth our law judge any man before it hear him?— and brought spices for the embalming of Jesus. Our Lord receives him-the smoking flax.
He is always ready to teach, as in the case of Nicodemus; the young man; or, his own ignorant disciples, and sinners, and the poor and miserable.
Comes at once to the main point-Enter into the kingdom of heaven.-New birth.
Nicodemus understands not.
Natural birth-the flesh, verse 6th; fleshly, earthly, or carnal, or worldly. Natural: what is natural to a person? to desire things of this earth as agreeable to the flesh; what is necessary— comfortable-luxury. Whither does this tend?
Self the spring of all. Fruits of the flesh, (Gal. v. 19.) uncleanness, corrupt communication, envyings, strifes, idolatry. This is the tendency, therefore. (Gal. v. 24.) They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts. Crucifixion a painful death.
He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again. Self the spring of all, and rule of all.
New birth. The Spirit. New senses; understanding enlightened-light shined. Why not? Antipathy. But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2 Cor. iv. 3, 4.) What do they see? Sin,-exceeding sinful. Misery-Christ. (Eph. iii. 18, 19.) And to know the love of Christ. Helplessness-And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power. (Eph. i. 19.)
CHRIST THE GOOD SHEPHERD.
JOHN X. 27, 28.-My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
SHEPHERD and sheep, common for Christ and his people. Dwell upon this at length.
Consider the words as they lie and may the great Shepherd of his sheep be with us by his Holy Spirit; causing us to hear his voice, and to follow Him!
My sheep. Believers are the property of Christ. He has bought them for himself; thus He feels greater and dearer interest in them. The Father hath given them to Him, (verse 29, and xvii. 6.) having loved Him for dying for them— (verse 17.) Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life.
Hear my voice.-Eastern shepherds and sheep. Hear Him, and hearken for Him in his providences; and if they will but look to see how his providences lead, they shall find a voice in them. Christ exafted to manage all his people's concerns. Hear Him in his word and gracious promises, brought home by his Holy Spirit. In many a storm, It is I. Oftentimes, when gathered together, Peace be unto you. Often, in looking over evidences, Thy sins be forgiven thee.
Hear my voice-denotes his presence, though they cannot always see Him.
I know them. A comfort to ministers, who cannot always know :-leaves a house unsatisfied, but leaves them to Christ. A comfort to believers, when misrepresented by the world, and when others fall away: (2 Tim. ii. 19.) Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his, &c.
They follow me-1st, In holiness and self-denial. This the difficult thing to bring men to; they take comfort from the promises, receive the doctrine,