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did, in his life, in this world, endure the greatest
and most dreadful sufferings. His whole life was one : contipued track of the heaviest sufferings of which
human nature is capable. Ifa. liii. 3. 'He is de• fpised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and • acquainted with grief: and we hid, as it were, our • faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed : him not !' This, my brethren, is a'known subject, yet it is the subject which we ought, by faith, to dwell upon this day; and, indeed, the benefit and comfort of believers does not depend on things new and engaging to the fancy, but on the Spirit of God setting home known truths with force and efficacy on the heart. Let me therefore beg your attention to two or three obvious remarks on the sufferings of Christ. 1. His afflictions began early, with his first entrance into the world. No sooner did the man Christ Jesus see the light of this world, but presently did affliction salute him. Immediately after his contemptible birth, did Herod, that bloody tyrant, feek to destroy him; fo that we may allude to that ex. pression, Rev. xii. 4.'-And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, to devour her child as soon as it was born.'
2. His afflictions were constant and perpetual, without interruption. It is recorded, not only by Christians, but even by heathens, who had heard of his life, that he was never observed to laugh, but frequently seen weeping; so that he well accomplighed that prophefy, “A man of sorrows, and acquainted • with grief. It is probable, from several passages in the prophetical writings, that he was of a very tender and sensible frame; and therefore his afflictions had a great and powerful effect upon him. They so deeply touched him, that his body was wasted, and his strength melted and decayed, which is the usual effect of lasting and continued forrow. Ifa. lii. 14. 'As many were astonied at thee; his • visage was so marred more than any man, and his • form more than the fons of men. Pfal. xxii. 14, • 15. I am poured out like water, and all my bones • are out of joint: my heart is like wax, it is melt.ed in the midt of my bowels: my strength is • dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth
to my jaws: and thou hast brought me into the • dust of death.' So that we may also apply to him what Job fays of himself, Job xvi. 8. “And thou
haft filled me with wrinkles, which is a witness a. *gainst me: and my leanness rising up in me, bear.eth witness to my face.
3. His afflictions were of the feverest kind. This I might now you, at large, from the history, by particularizing them all: I only mention four, poverty, reproach, temptation, and sympathy with others. He was so poor, as to depend upon the charity of others for his fubfiftence; and could say, Luke ix. 58. Foxes have holes, and birds of the • air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where * to lay his head.'--Reproach was thrown upon him without measure, and of the worst kind. He was called a glutton and a wine-bibber, a deceiver, a blafphemer, a Samaritan, and one that had a devil. Now, my brethren, all that know any thing of human nature, know that reproach and contempt are
perhaps the hardest to bear of any sufferings to which we are exposed; and the authors of these calumnies were such whose circumstances rendered them most sharp and severe; for they were the Scribes and Pharisees, or the ministers of those times, who ferv. ed in the temple, as the whole history shows, and his own natural relations, as appears from Mark iii. 21. John vii. 3, 4, 5.-Another remarkable affliction our Lord endured, was temptation, and that of the grosselt kind, as is plain from Matth. iv. 3,-11. We are told, he was in all points tempted like as
we are, yet without sin.' What was the precise nature and influence of such temptations on him, we cannot know; only it deserves notice on this particular, that whereas some of the other afflictions he endured, were such as his perfect purity could not but render more tolerable than otherwise they would have been, this on the other hand, was such, that by how much the more pure and holy he was, so much the more distress would he feel on being assaulted with the vile temptations of the devil, and having his horrid and abominable suggestions presented to the fancy.--I only further mention his sufferings, from fympathy with others. The moft excellent and worthy of the human kind are fuch as have the . tendereft feeling of the fufferings of others. Now, since he was a perfect man, fince tenderness seems to have been his ruling character, and his errand into the world a message of love flowing from infinite compaffion as its cause, we must suppose him liable to the feverest sufferings of this kind. I know the hard-hearted, felfish world, will find it difficult
to conceive this as a source of severe suffering, especially fuch as have no regard to any thing beyond this world. But this is not the case with all; for I am certain there are some whose sharpest pangs have been occasioned by the sufferings of others, especially when of a fpiritual kind. To form fome conception of this, let us imagine, what must be the anguish of a pious and affectionate parent, on the death of a wicked child, who apparently trode in the path of the destroyer, and of whom he hath the greatest reason to fear, that he no sooner closed his eyes on the light of this world, than he lifted them up in the torments of hell. Now, as compassion was stronger in none than in the man Christ Jesus, fo none could have fo clear a view of the misery of those who were the objects of it; and therefore, no doubt, this was a source of the deepest affliction to his foul.
4. In the last place, the afflictions of our Lord not only continued, but increased, through his life, till they, at last, issued in an extrordinary conflict with the powers of darkness, and an immediate subjection to the wrath of a fin avenging God. Let it be observed, that though I here mention particularly his enduring the wrath of God, as the last and finishing part of his sufferings, I do not mean to confine his sufferings from the hand of God to this season. Without all question, every part of his humiliation was fatif factory to the divine justice, and contributed to appease the wrath of God. This cup was put to his mouth so soon as he assumed our pature; he contipued to drink of it daily, and was therefore justly
stiled a man of forrows; but, in the close of life, he came to drink off the very bitterest dregs of it. The waves of divine wrath went over him; and he waded still deeper and deeper in this troubled ocean, till he was well nigh overwhelmed. That Christ suffered under the wrath of God in an eminent degree, is manifest both from the prophecies of the Old Testament, and the relation given of the event in the New. Isa. liii. 5, — 10. “But he was wounded for our • transgreffions, he was bruised for our iniquities: • the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and • with his stripes we are healed. All we, like sheep, • have gone astray; we have turned every one to . his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the • iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was * afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought
as a lamb to the flaughter, and as a sheep before • her shearers is dumb, fo he openeth not his mouth, • He was taken from prison and from judgment: and • who shall declare his generation ? for he was cut • off out of the land of the living: for the transgres• Sion of my people was he stricken. And he made
grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his • death, because he had done no violence, neither was any
deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the • Lord to bruise him: he hath put him to grief: • when thou shalt make his foul an offering for fin, • bie shall see his feed, he shall prolong his days, and . the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.' See the relation of his sufferings in the garden, Matth. xxvi. 38, 39. "Then faith he unto them, my soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye