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faults. Henceforth may we evidence a better spirit, and exhibit wiser conduct! May we live no longer to self, but to God! May we cleave no more to the world, but to the Lord, with purpose of heart! And, being made free from sin, and become the servants of God, may we have our fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."
Remembering, therefore, "the sins of our youth, and our transgressions" of riper years, let us all join in the important prayer, that God would give us repentance unto life; and enable us to be more active, more ardent, more zealous than we have ever been, for the welfare of our souls, the salvation of men, and the advancement of the Redeemer's glory. Amen.
CHRIST A SERVANT.
MARK X. 45.
For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
WHEN a character of distinction appears, it is natural to inquire who he is, and what is his errand. None was ever distinguished as the Lord Jesus Christ, or ever possessed equal eminence. He came into the world, and the design of his coming is clearly stated in the text. Never was there such an instance of self-denial, of humility, of beneficence and usefulness, as this before us.
The former verses are instructive. Two of the Apostles, James and John, said unto Jesus, "Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory." It was a singular request, and evidences much ignorance and much pride. They had very erroneous notions of the glory of Christ, and were blameably ambitious of pre-eminence in his kingdom. "But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said
unto him," with far more confidence than became them, "We can." And Jesus said unto them, "Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized." Here he forwarns them of painful sufferings accordingly, James was the first of the Apostles who suffered martyrdom for Christ; he was put to death by Herod with the sword*. John also, though he survived the rest, and probably died a natural death, yet he endured much hardship and various persecutions; particularly, he was banished, by the Emperor Domitian, to the desolate Isle of Patmos, where he speaks of himself as the "companion" of his brethren "in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ."-It was intimated plainly, that they should suffer much; "but to sit on my right hand, and on my left hand, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared"-or rather, (for the Lord Jesus did not mean to say that this authority was not his,)" not mine to give, save, or except, to them for whom it is prepared."
"And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John."-We hope their displeasure was against the sin of these Apostles, in allowing such ambitious views; and probably there was a feeling of something not altogether so disinterested and proper. They were not pleased at these two seeking preference to them. They might think, What are they better than we? What claim can they have to pre-eminence above us? The pious Henry remarks, "Many seem to have indignation at sin, not because it is sin, but because it toucheth them."
They rise at those sins in others which they allow and indulge in themselves. Only by pride cometh contention;" and, it is observable, we never find any disagreement among the disciples of our Lord but something of pride was at the bottom of it. The displeasure, however, of the ten Apostles against these two gave occasion to a very useful lecture to them all, and which is just as applicable to us: "Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they who are accounted to rule over the Gentiles, exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you; but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister; and whosoever of you will be the chief, shall be servant of all." How instructive is this language! How vastly important the sentiments which it conveys! It utterly forbids every rising of haughty consequence in the disciples of Jesus Christ. "All ye are brethren." It teaches clearly that the dignity of a Christian is not secular authority, and lordly dominion; that it springs not from the power he possesses over others, but from the service he does to them. The true greatness of a Christian chiefly consists in humility, meekness, and condescension; in friendly kindness and active usefulness. And, to enforce all this, the Lord Jesus Christ proposes himself as its grand example: "For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
We shall not state any formal division of the text; but propose briefly to illustrate and improve the several truths it contains, in the order in which they lie.
I. "The Son of Man came NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO."
It is true, we read repeatedly of service done him. There were "certain women, who ministered unto him of their substance* :" but this evidently supposes the poverty of his condition; that as man he was dependent for the supports of life, and for the pittance of earthly comfort which he enjoyed, on the kindness and liberality of friends. We read also that "angels came and ministered unto himt." This was immediately after his severe temptation in the wilderness; and their object was to congratulate him on his victory, and to furnish the supply of his wants. While it proves the exalted dignity of his nature, as Lord of angels, it implies most clearly the deep humiliation to which he stooped, as the Saviour of
The truth expressed in the text is, that to receive homage from creatures was no part of the errand of Christ into our world. He "came not to be ministered unto;" not to be waited upon, attended, and served, as if appearing with princely equipage. He assumed no earthly grandeur; he affected no external pomp; he was not clothed in robes of honour, nor followed with a large retinue of obsequious attendants. Just the reverse. Never was condescension equal to this of the Lord Jesus! His very name imports it" the Son of Man." He stooped to be thus called, in reference to his character as Mediator and his appearance in human flesh, In his true dignity, he is "the Son of God, which is in the bosom of the Father;" "the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person." He is, "over all, God blessed for evert." None was ever so
* Luke viii. 2, 3.
+ Matt. iv. 11.
John i. 18. Heb. i. 3. Rom. ix, 5.