Page images

sufferings. We shall consider them distinctly, and show how both these meeting upon him in their fulness and extremity, must drink up his spirits, and make him cry, "I thirst."

I. His corporeal and more external sufferings were exceedingly great, acute, and extreme ; for they were sharp, universal, continual, and unrelieved by any inward comfort.

1. They were sharp sufferings; his body was racked in those parts where sense more eminently dwellsmin the hands and feet; "They pierced my hands and my fect.” Ps. 22:16. Now Christ, by reason of his exact and excellent temper of body, had doubtless more quick, tender, and delicate senses than other men. Sense is, in some, more delicate and tender, and in others dull and blunt, according to the temperament and vivacity of the body and spirits; but in none as it was in Christ, whose body neither sin nor sickness had any way enfeebled or dulled.

2. His pains also wore universal, not affecting one, but

every part; they seized every member; from head to foot, no member was free from torture : for, as his head was wounded with thorns, his back with bloody lashes, his hands and feet with nails, so every other part was stretched and distended beyond its natural length, by hanging upon that cruel engine of torment, the cross. And as every member, so every particular sense was afflicted.

3. These universal pains were continual, not by fits, but without any intermission. He had not a moment's ease by the cessation of pain ; wave came upon wave, one grief upon another, till all God's waves and billows had gone over him. To be in extremity of pain, and that without a moment's intermission, will quickly overcome the stoutest nature in the world. 4. His pains were altogether unrelieved. If a man

[ocr errors]

have sweet comforts flowing into his soul from God, they allay the pains of the body : this made the martyrs shout amidst the flames. Yes, even inferior comforts and delights of the mind will greatly relieve the oppressed body. But now Christ had no relief this way; not a drop of comfort came from heaven into his soul : but, on the contrary, his soul was filled up with grief; 80 that instead of relieving, it increased unspeakably the burden of the outward man. For,

II. Let us consider these inward sufferings of his soul, how great they were, and how quickly they spent his natural strength, and turned his moisture into the drought of summer.

1. His soul felt the wrath of an angry God, which was terribly impressed upon it. The wrath of a king is as the roaring of a lion; but what is that to the wrath of God? "Who can stand before his indignation ? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger ? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him." Nahum, 1:6. Had not the strength that supported Christ been greater than that of rocks, this wrath had overwhelmed and ground him to powder.

2. And as it was the wrath of God that lay upon his soul, so it was the pure wrath of God, without


alloy or mixture : not one drop of comfort came from heaven or earth ; all the ingredients in his cup were bitter: "For God spared not his own Son.” Rom. 8:32. Had Christ been abated or spared, we had not.

3. Yea, all the wrath of God was poured out upon him, even to the last drop; so that there is not one drop reserved for his redeemed to feel. Christ's cup was deep and large, it contained all the fury and wrath of an infinite God! and yet he drank it up: he bore it all.

III. It is evident that such extreme sufferings, meeting upon him, must exhaust his inmost spirits, and make him cry, "I thirst.” For let us consider,

1. What mere external pains and outward afflictions can do. These prey upon and consume our spirits. So David complains, "When thou with rebukes correctest man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away as a moth;” Ps. 39:11; that is, as a moth frets and consumes the most strong and well-wrought garment without any noise, so afflictions waste and wear out the strongest bodies. They make the firmest constitution like a decayed garment: they shrivel and dry up the most vigorous and flourishing body, and make it like a bottle in the smoke. Ps. 119:83.

2. Consider what mere internal troubles of the soul can do upon the strongest body; they spend its strength and devour the spirits. So Solomon speaks, Prov. 17: 22, "A broken spirit drieth the bones,” that is, it consumes the very marrow with which they are moistened. So Psa. 32: 3, 4, "My bones waxed old, through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy on me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer." What a spectacle of pity did Francis Spira become, merely through the anguish of his spirit! A spirit sharpened with such troubles, like a keen knife, cuts through the sheath. Certainly, whoever hath had any acquaintance with trouble of soul, knows, by sad experience, how, like an internal flame, it seeds and preys upon the very spirits, so that the strongest stoop and sink under it. But,

3. When outward bodily pains meet with inward spiritual troubles, and both in extremity come in one day, how soon must the firmest body fail and waste away! Now strength fails apace, and nature must sink under the load. The soul and body sympathize with each other under trouble, and mutually relieve each other. If the body be sick and full of pain, the spirit supports, cheers, and relieves it by reason and resolution all that it can ; and if the spirit be afflicted, the body sympathi

[ocr errors]

zes and helps to bear up the spirit: but if the one be overladen with strong pains, more than it can bear, and calls for aid from the other; and the other be oppressed with intolerable anguish, and cries out under a burden greater than it can bear, so that it can contribute no help, but instead thereof, adds to the burden, which before could not be borne ; then nature must fail, and the friendly union between soul and body suffer a dissolution by such an extraordinary pressure. So it was with Christ, when outward and inward sorrows met in one day in their extremity upon him. Hence the bitter cry, "I thirst.”

INFERENCE 1. How horrid a thing is sin! How great is that evil of evils, which deserves that all this should be inflicted and suffered for its expiation! The sufferings of Christ for sin give us the true account and fullest representation of its evil. Oh then, let not thy vain heart slight sin, as if it were but a small thing! If ever God show thee the face of sin in this glass, thou wilt say, there is no other such horrid representation to be made to man. Fools make a mock at sin, but wise men tremble at it.

2. How afflictive and intolerable are inward troubles ! Did Christ complain so sadly under them, and cry, "I thirst ?” Surely then they are not so light as some regard them. If they so scorched the very heart of Christ, preyed upon his very spirits, and turned his moisture into the drought of summer, they should not be slighted, as they are by some. The Lord Jesus was fitted to bear and suffer as strong troubles as ever befell the nature of man, and he did bear all other troubles with admirable patience; but when it came to this, when the flames of God's wrath scorched his soul, then he cries, " I thirst."

David's heart was, for courage, as the heart of a lion; but when God exercised him with inward troubles for sin, then he roars out under the anguish of it: "I am

the con

feeble, and sore broken; I have roared, by reason of the
disquietness of my heart. My heart panteth, my strength
faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it is also gone
from me.” Psa. 38:8, 10. "A wounded spirit who can
bear ?" Many have declared that all the torments in the
world are nothing to the wrath of God upon
science. What is the worm that never dies but the
sting of a guilty conscience? This worm feeds upon
and gnaws the vital, most sensible part of man ; and
is the principal part of hell's horror. In bodily pains,
a man may be relieved by proper medicines; here no.
thing but "the blood of sprinkling" relieves. In out-
ward pains, the body may be supported by the resolu.
tion and courage of the mind; here the mind itself is
wounded. Oh let none despise these troubles, they are
most intolerable!

3. How dreadful a place is hell, where this cry is heard for ever, "I thirst!” There the wrath of the great and terrible God flames upon the damned for ever,

in which they thirst, and none relieves them. If Christ complained, "I thirst,” when he had conflicted but a few hours with the wrath of God; what is the state of those who are to grapple with it for ever? When mil. lions of years are gone, ten thousand millions more are coming on. There is an everlasting thirst in hell, and it admits of no relief. Think of this, ye that now add drunkenness to thirst, who wallow in all sensual pleasures, and drown nature in excess of luxury. Remem. ber what Dives said in Luke, 16:24 ; " And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." If thirst in the extremity of it be now so insufferable, what is that thirst which is infinitely beyond this in measure, and never shall be relieved ? Say not it is hard that God should deal thus with his poor creatures. You


« PreviousContinue »