« ForrigeFortsæt »
as the harbinger of our LORD, when proclaiming the approaching Messiah, informed the people that the kingdom of heaven was at hand.
Secondly, Why is this kingdom of heaven likened unto a merchantman seeking goodly pearls? Because Jesus Christ was sent to seek and to save that which was lost. I am aware that it hath been said, the Redeemer himself is the pearl of great price ! But with all due submission to authorities which I acknowledge highly respectable, I take leave to observe, that the figures selected, as emblematic of the Saviour, possess more intrinsick worth ; Christ is a hiding place, he is a covert from the storm, he is the bread of life which cometh down from heaven, but he is not spoken of as a pearl. It is really astonishing that men who are, humanly speaking, both wise and good, should thus absurdly err; Christ, say they, is the pearl of great price, which the miserable sinner, in his unconverted state, must seek, find and purchase. But with what must this lost, undone sinner purchase this pearl ? Why he must purchase it, purchase Christ Jesus, by parting with his sins, and if he could thus do, his would be the kingdom, the power, and the glory.
Thirdly, But what is this pearl of great pricc? Malachi iii. 17, “They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.” Pearls are the individuals of the human family, and they have been purchased by the great merchantman.
Fourthly, But what is this one pearl of great price ? Certainly the fulness of human nature, which Jesus came to seek. It was in search of this pearl, that he bowed his heavens and came down, and when he had found it, he gave or sold all that he had, and bought it. Yes, he purchased the people with his own blood, he gave his life a ransom for all; he was rich, but for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. How incalculable was the price which Jesus paid for this pearl, We are indeed bought with a firice, all price beyond, and surely it is highly incumbent upon us to glorify God in our bodies, and our spirits, which are indisputably the property of God. We see the value which is set upon the human family, by the price which hath been paid for them, and we ought to rest, in the assurance, that Emmanuel will never willingly lose the purchase of his blood.
The names of the people are engraven upon precious stones, and it should be remembered, that the merchantman seeks the pearls, and not the pearls the merchantman. To him, therefore, belongeth the kingdom, the power, and the glory, worlds without end, Amen, and Amen.
MARK xiv. 21.
First, Our Saviour is denominated the Son of man. Mr. Cruden informs us, that the Redeemer is styled the Son of man in the four evangelists, about eighty times. That the almighty Father is the child born-the son of man-is a most elevating consideration. Jesus Christ a lineal descendant of the family of man ! We have one origin! God or the divine Nature is our common Father.
Secondly, Jesus Christ was not the son of man precisely after the same manner that other individuals are the sons and daughters of men. Enmanuel is styled in the sacred volume, the seed of the woman, the only begotten of the Father. He was without sin. He could not say with the Psalmist, “ In sin did my mother conceive me." produced by the power of the highest, he is called holy, the Son of God. When Jesus Christ is called the Son of man, the spirit teaches us that he is the Son of every man. So saith the prophet Isaiah, ix. 6, “ To us a child is born, to us a son is given.
Thirdly, The Son of man goeth indeed as it is written of him. Where is it so written of the Redeemer? Psalm xxii. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? All they that see me laugh me to scorn, they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted in the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they picrced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my gar
ments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture." Isaiah liij. 3—5,7—11, “ He is despised 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. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth : he is brought as a lamb 10 the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so 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 transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death : because he had done no violence, neither was deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD 10 bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make liis soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolung bis days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his land. 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."
But why was this immaculate, this Omnipotent Being dumb before his accusers ? Why did he not look those rebellious individuals, whom he had commanded into existence, and whose life hung upon his word, into instant death? We are aware that he was perfect in meekness, and that the lowly Jesus had the humility, as well as the innocence of the lamb; this is one rea. son; but this is not all, there is yet another, and more powerful reason. The God-man well knew, that strict justice had arraigned, that strict justice had produced him before the jndgment seat. Although the perfection of the divine nature, all the fulness of the God-head was his, in his individual character, yet he knew that he was the responsible, the accountable head of every man ; that those numerous individuals which constituted the aggregate of the human family, from Adam to his youngest son were members of his mystical body; it was at this dread, this awful moment, that the iniquity of his heels, the complicated iniquity of these wide spreading members, compassed him about, and
it was therefore that he opened not his mouth, it was therefore that he was silent before the judgment seat.
Fourthly, The Redeemer saith, Woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed. Woe, says the celebrated lexicographer, Johnson, is grief, sorrow, misery, calamity. And, permit me to ask, is not woe the portion of every child of Adam ? Psalm cxx. 5, “Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar." Isaiah vi. 5, “ Then said I, woe is me! For I am undone ; because I am a man of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Corinthians ix. 16, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel.”
But there are different degrees of sorrow; the soul is sometimes pierced by anguish, and the heart hath been broken by calamity. The sorrows now under contemplation, experienced by Judas Iscariot, were of the deepest dye. Woe was indeed unto that man! Perhaps his sorrows were only surpassed by the sorrows of him whom he impiously betrayed into the hands of his enemies.
Fifthly, Good were it for that man if he had never been born. It cannot be denied that these were the words of him, who spake as never man spake, and all whose words were words of truth, as well as grace. Hence it is concluded, and upon a cursory view, with some shadow of reason, that Jesus Christ could not be the Saviour of this sinner, and if he be not the Saviour of this sinner, consequently he is not the Saviour of all men. But the spirit of truth proclaimed, and still proclaims Jesus Christ the Saviour of all men, and this declaration is found upon the lips of all God's holy prophets ever since the world began. Are then the testimonies of God contradictory? By no means, a house divided against itself cannot stand. We confess that had there been no possibility of the ultimate felicity of Judas, if he had never been born, we should have been at a loss to reconcile this affirmation of the head of every man, of the Redeemer of the world, with other testimonies, although, even then we should have had full confidence that there was no yea and nay, no contradiction in sacred writ. But we boldly assert, that Judas Iscariot might have been a subject of redemption, might have entered into possession of complete felicity without being born,
and if so, it would unquestionably have been good for him if he had never been born. Could he have been made a denizen of heaven, without being born, what darts of agony had missed his soul.
Is it not clear from the manner of our Saviour's expression, that Judas might have had an existence without being born into this state of suffering? It would have been good for that man if he had never been born, then he might have been a human being, a man without being born? Nay more, he might have possesed good, for it would have been good, or good were it for that man, if he had never been born ; a non-en-'y is neither susceptible of good nor evil.
We repeat then, Judas Iscariot might have been saved, although he had never been born. Job iii. 3, “Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. Why did I not give up the Ghost? Why was not my birth prevented ?” Jeremiah xv. “Cursed be the day wherein I was born : let not the day wherein my mother bear me, be blessed. Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee; making him very glad. Because he slew me not from the womb; or that my mother might have been my grave." But, although both Job and Jeremiah! thus spake, they knew that their Redeemer lived; they knew that in the righteousness of the Lord they were owned, saved, and blessed. Yet, for the purpose of avoiding the ills of lise, they deeply, if not unwarrantably lament, that they had not yielded up the Ghost, and thus attained the port of blessedness ere ever they became tenants of pain, subjects of sin, and consequent sorrow. Had Judas Iscariot given up the Ghost before he was ushered into this state of being, he also might have been blest and happy; he would have been exempted_froin those agonizing sufferings, those scenes of sorrow, which were so great as to make him choose strangling rather than life. But we have seen, and experience teacheth us, that sufferings, lamentation and woe, are the lot of humanity; and although the lip of truth pronounced upon this unhappy man a peculiar woe, while we see this denunciation fulfilled, we cannot but look for the accomplishment of the rich promises of the gospel, which, considering the source from whence they proceed, indubitably guarantee salvation to every son and daughter of Adam. Well, then our Saviour, the Saviour of