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[You must expect that your faith and patience will be tried: but you must not give way to fear, or be diverted from your duty by any consideration whatever. There should be in you such a hope, as, like an anchor of the soul, shall keep you steadfast amidst all the storms and tempests with which you may be assailed. By means of this divine principle you should be realizing all the glories of the eternal world; in the view of which, all earthly glories will sink into insignificance, and all earthly trials appear “ light and momentary h.” Survey then the inheritance to which you are begotten : take Pisgah views of the promised land : and then you shall be enabled to say respecting every thing that may occur, “None of these things move me; neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I may but finish my course with joy."] 3. Be humble Christians
[Humility is the root and summit of Christian perfection. If men see you offended and irritated by the unkind usage which you experience, they will say, “Wherein are their principles superior to ours; or their conduct better than ours? They pretend to possess a hope that lifts up their souls in an extraordinary degree: but wherein does it shew itself? and what do they more than others? It is no uncommon thing for persons professing godliness to feel towards their revilers and persecutors the very same contempt and hatred which their persecutors manifest towards them. But this is a proof, that, whatever they may profess of love to Christ, they have never attained “the mind that was in Christ." If you would be Christians indeed, you must resemble Him“ who was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and was dumb before his persecutors, even as a sheep before its shearers is dumb,” and who in the very agonies of crucifixion prayed for his murderers. So must you: you must “shew all meekness towards all men," and be more fearful of dishonouring God, or of casting a stumbling-block before your enemies, by any thing hasty or ill-advised, than of suffering all that the most bitter persecutors can inflict upon you. Thus " letting patience have its perfect work, you will be perfect and entire, wanting nothing'."]
8 Heb. vi. 19.
h 2 Cor. iv. 17, 18.
i Jam. i. 4.
THE NATURE AND ENDS OF CHRIST'S DEATH. 1 Pet. iii. 18. Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just
for the unjust, that he might bring us to God. “ SUFFERINGS, of whatever kind, are not in themselves joyous, but grievous :" nevertheless they may on some occasions become a source of joy and triumph. If, for instance, they be inflicted for righteousness' sake, and we have the testimony of our conscience that we suffer for well-doing, we may then unfeignedly rejoice in them, as on other accounts, so especially because they render us conformable to our Lord and Saviour. This thought was suggested by St. Peter as a rich source of consolation to the persecuted Christians of his day: nor can we have any stronger incentive to patience and diligence in every part of our duty, than the consideration of what Christ has done and suffered for our sake.
The words before us lead us to contemplate, I. The nature of Christ's sufferings
We speak not of their quality, as corporeal, or spiritual, but of their nature as described in the text. They were, 1. Penal
[Some affirm that the sufferings of Christ were only to confirm his doctrine, and to set us an example: but these ends might have been equally answered by the sufferings of his Apostlesa. But they were the punishment of sin : and the wrath of God due to sin, was the bitterest ingredient in them. We had merited the curse and condemnation of the law : and he, to deliver us from it, “became a curse for usb." “ He
a If there was nothing penal in our Lord's sufferings, his example was not near so bright as that of many of his disciples ; since he neither met his sufferings with so much fortitude, nor endured them with such triumphant exultation, as many of his followers have since done. But if they were the penalty due to sin, his apparent inferiority is fully accounted for.
'Gal. iii. 10, 13.
suffered for sins ;" and though his punishment was not precisely the same either in quality or duration, as ours would have been, yet was it equivalent to our demerit, and satisfactory to the justice of an offended God.] 2. Vicarious
[It was not for any sin of his own that Jesus was cut offc: he was " a Lamb without spot or blemish,” as even his enemies, after the strictest scrutiny, were forced to confesse. He died, “ the just for, and in the room of, the unjustf:” the iniquities of all the human race were laid upon him8: he was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities, and the chastisement he endured was to effect our peaceh. He, who was innocent, became a sin-offering for us, that we, who are guilty, might be made righteous in him.] 3. Propitiatory- .
[The death of Christ, like all the sacrifices under the Jewish law, was an atonement for sin. It is continually compared with the Jewish sacrifices in this view k. We say not, that the Father hated us, and needed to have his wrath appeased by the interposition of his Son (for the very gift of Christ was the fruit of the Father's love'); but we say, in concurrence with all the inspired writers, that when it was necessary for the honour of the Divine government that sin should be punished, either in the offender himself or in his surety, Christ became our surety, and by his own death made a true and proper atonement for our sins, and thus effected our reconciliation with Godm. On any other supposition than this, the whole Mosaic ritual was absurd, and the writings of the New Testament are altogether calculated to deceive us.]
From considering the nature of our Lord's sufferings, let us proceed to notice, II. The end of them
His one great design was to bring us to God : 1. To a state of acceptance with him
[We were “enemies to God in our minds by wicked works;" nor could we by any means reconcile ourselves to God: we could not by obedience ; because the law required perfect obedience : which, having once transgressed the law, we could never afterwards pay: nor could we by suffering, because the penalty denounced against sin was eternal, and
c Dan. ix. 26. d 1 Pet. i. 19. e John xviii. 38. and xix. 6. f 'Yep, this imports substitution. See Rom. v. 7. in the Greek. 8 Isai. liii. 6.
Isai. liii. 4. i 2 Cor. v. 21. k Heb. passim.
John iji. 16. m Eph. v. 2. and 1 John ii. 2.
consequently, if once endured by us, could never be remitted. But, when it was impossible for us to restore ourselves to God's favour, we were reconciled to him by Christ's obedience unto death"; and to effect this reconciliation was the very end for which he laid down his lifeo.]
2. To the enjoyment of his presence in this world
[The holy of holies was inaccessible to all except the high-priest; nor could even he enter into it except on the great day of annual expiation P. But at the very instant of our Lord's death, while the Jews were worshipping in the temple, the vail was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, and the most holy place was opened to the view of alla. This was intended to declare, that from henceforth all might have the freest and most intimate access to God". All are now made priests unto Gods; and, in this new and living way, may come to his mercy-seat to behold his glory, and to enjoy his love.]
3. To the possession of his glory in the world to come
[It was not only to save us from condemnation, but to exalt us to everlasting happiness, that Jesus died. The salvation which he procured for us, is a “salvation with eternal gloryu." The robes in which the celestial spirits are arrayed, were washed in his blood*; and all the ransomed hosts unite in ascribing to him the felicity they enjoy y. Nothing short of this could answer the purposes of his love?; and the accomplishment of this was the ultimate end of all he suffered a.] Before we conclude this subject, let us CONTEMPLATE
1. How great is the love of Christ to our fallen race!!
2. How cheerfully should we endure sufferings for his sake!
3. How inexcusable will they be who continue still at a distance from their Godd! n Col. i. 21, 22. Rom. v. 10.
o Eph. ii. 16. p Heb. ix. 7, 8. Matt. xxvii. 50, 51. r Eph. ii. 13, 18. s Rev. i. 6.
Heb, x. 19-22. and xü. 18—24. u 2 Tim. ii. 10. Rev. vii. 14.
y Rev. v. 9, 10, 12. 2. John xvii. 24. a Heb. ii. 9, 10.
o Who would do any thing like this for a fellow-creature ? Rom. v. 7, 8. Neither Moses, Exod. xxxii. 32; nor St. Paul, Rom. ix. 3. thought of any thing like this. See the Discourse on Rom. ix. 1–5.
c Compare ver. 14. with the text, and Heb. xiii. 12, 13. ana Acts v. 41.
d John xv. 22, à fortiori, and Heb. ii. 3.
NOAH'S ARK A TYPE OF Christ. 1 Pet. iii. 21. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth
also now save us. GOD has marked the necessity of holiness no less by the dispensations of his providence than by the declarations of his grace. His destroying of the whole world for their iniquity, evinced as strongly as any thing could, that sin should never go unpunished, and that the righteous only should be saved. In this view St. Peter introduces the mention of that well-attested fact, and declares, that the salvation experienced by Noah in the ark, was typical of that which we experience by Christ, and into which we are brought by our baptism. The text is by no means free from difficulties : to render it as intelligible as we can, we shall consider, I. The typical salvation here referred to
God had determined to overwhelm the world with a deluge
[Though there had been so few generations upon earth, that Noah's own father (Lamech) had been contemporary with Adam for sixty years, and lived till within five years of the flood, so that Noah, and the people of that generation, had, for no less than six hundred years together, received instruction only at second hand from Adam himself, yet had “ all flesh corrupted their way,” insomuch that “God repented that he had made man,” and resolved to destroy him from off the face of the earth.]
But for the preservation of the righteous he instructed Noah to make an ark
[This vessel was not constructed according to man's device, but by the special direction of God himself. To the eyes of man it doubtless seemed an absurd attempt: but “ the foolishness of God is wiser than man;" and the event justified the hopes and expectations of Noah.]
In the mean time he called the people to repentance by the ministry of Noah