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Christ descended to these lowly men, and to these humble circumstances, from the throne of the heavens. Shall not we, then, be willing to let ourselves down from the side, or even the summit, of our mole-hill, to visit our fellow-emmets at the bottom? How small the descent at the utmost? How silly, how base, how contradictory to common sense, the pride, which refuses to make it ?
Often, very often, the men, whom we despise as greatly beneath us, are better, wiser, and more excellent in the sight of God, than ourselves. Always we are odious to him, and contemptible in the eye of Reason, for this very pride. Let every proud man, then, feel, that for this very character, which he so fondly cherishes, he is hateful in the sight of God, and justly contemptible in that of men; that the character, which he despises, is the very character in which Christ chose to appear; and that the men, whom he treats with abuse and insolence, are of that very class, out of which Christ selected his friends and Apostles. SERMON XLIII.
COVENANT OF REDEMPTION.
Isaiah liii. 10-12.
When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his
seed; he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous Servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong ; because he hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
one' ** If his soul shall make a propitiatory sacrifice, he shall see a seed,
which shall prolong their days; and the gracious purpose of Jehovah shall prosper in his hands. Of the travail of his soul he shall see (the fruit) and be satisfied: by the knowledge of him shall my Servant justify many; for the punishment of their iniquities he shall bear. Therefore will I distribute to him the many for his portion; and the mighty people shall he share for his spoil : because he poured out his Soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors : and he bare the sin of many; and made intercession for the transgressors."
In the first chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul declares, that God hath chosen us in Christ, before the foundation of the world; having predestinated us to the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ, to himself ; according to the good pleasure of his will ; to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved.
The manner, in which this transaction took place, and in which the purposes of it were accomplished, is recorded in the text. The Person, who speaks in the text, is unquestionably God the Father; as is evident from the fact, that he calls Christ in the 11th verse my Servant. The Context, as you well know, is an eminent and remarkable prophecy concerning the birth, life, and sufferings of Christ; and has been acknowledged as such, so far as my information extends, by both the Jewish and Christian churches universally, in every age, since it was written. Al. most the whole of it is occupied by an account of his humiliation and sufferings, described with such a degree of minuteness, and exactness as to wear the appearance rather of a history, than of a prophecy.
In the text, a covenant is made, on the part of the Speaker, with the Person of whom he speaks ; or, on the part of God the Father, with the Son. In the tenth verse, the first of the text, it is proposed, conditionally, in the following terms. When thou shalt make his Soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed; he shall prolong his days; and the pleasure of the LORD shall
prosper in his hand. In the translation of Bishop Lowth, which differs from the common one only by being more correct and explicit, it is, “ If his soul shall make a propitiatory sacrifice, he shall see a seed which shall prolong their days; and the gracious purpose of Jehovah shall prosper in his hands.” The difference lies, principally, in the se
. cond clause, “ He shall see a seed, which shall prolong their
It could not, I think, with propriety be promised, as a reward to Christ for his sufferings, that, in any sense, he should prolong his own days; but with the most perfect propriety, that he should see a seed, which, in a sense hereafter to be explained, should prolong THEIR days. The days of Him, who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending, could not in any sense be prolonged in consequence of his sufferings, or of any other possible event. The word his, supplied by the Translators, is supplied errone.
ously: since in the present translation it presents a meaning, which plainly cannot be admitted. The justice of these remarks will be further evident from the repetition of the same covenant in the eleventh verse. He shall see of the travail of his Soul ; that is, as explained by Lowth, “ Of the travail of his Soul he shall see the fruit and be satisfied;" By his knowledge, or as Lowth more correctly renders it, “ By the knowledge of him, shall my Servant justify many." The justification of the many, here spoken of, connected with its consequences, is the very reward, promised in the preceding verse, in the words, He shall see a seed, which shall prolong their days : and here the reward, promised, is no other, than the justification and consequent eternal life of those, who should become interested in his death.
Still further is this interpretation evinced to be just by the repetition of the promise in the twelfth verse; or third of the text; Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall diride the spoil with the strong ; because he hath poured out his soul unto death; or, as more happily rendered by Bishop Lowth, Therefore I will distribute to him the many for his portion ; and the mighty people shall he share for his spoil, because he poured out his soul unto death. It is not true, that Christ has a portion divided to him with the great, or a spoil divided to him with the strong. He Irod the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with him. Nor is there any one to share with him the reward of bis sufferings: but he was alone in the sufferings, and the reward, alike. Accordingly, in the Septuagint this passage is rendered, “For this cause shall he receive many for his inheritance, and shall share spoils of the strong.'
Finally, the same thing is abundantly evinced in Psalm Ixxxix; where, also, the same covenant is recorded. Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.
And again, His seed also will I make lo endure for ever, and his throne as the days of Heaven. It is to be observed, that in all these passages the reward, promised to Christ, consists in giving persons to him; as seed; the many; the mighty people. These are undoubtedly no other than the general assembly and church of the first born; styled elsewhere the children of God; little children; sons and VOL U.
daughters. They are his own people; those, in whom he has a peculiar property ; persons justified, who in this manner have become his portion; his spoil; his seed. The reward of his sufferings, here promised, is to consist of these. . It is not, however, to consist in the persons only, but in their circumstances also. It is not promised, merely, that they shall be given to him as a possession, but that they shall be given to him in a peculiar manner; attended with one circumstance, at least, which in the eye of the Promiser was considered, as materially important to the nature of the gift. He shall see a seed, which shall prolong their days : or, as in the corresponding passage, shall endure for ever. The meaning of this phraseology is to be sought in the use of it, in parallel passages, found in the Scriptures. In the 15th Psalm, David inquires, LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle ? who shall dwell in thy holy hill ? and immediately answers, He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteous
In the 49th Psalm and 12th verse, he says of the wicked, That, being in honour, they abide not, but are like the beasts that perish. In the 125th Psalm and ist verse, he says, They thai trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed,
. but abideth for ever. In John 10th and 15th, our Saviour saith to his disciples, If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. In 1st of John 2d and 17th, it is said, And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. In Psalm 1020 and 28th, it is said, The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.
We are now prepared to settle the meaning of the phrase under consideration. To prolong their days, To endure for ever, is to abide in the tabernacle of God, in his holy hill, in the heavens ; to abide in the love of Christ, as he abides in his Father's love, for ever ; to abide, when the World has passed away, and the lust thereof : to be established before God, or in his presence.
In a word, it is to dwell for ever in heaven, amid the enjoyments of a happy immortality. This is what the Scriptures consider as abiding, enduring, and being established; whenever this language is applied to men. In opposition to this, the wicked are said to be cut off,