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of the divine authority of the Holy Scriptures. But although these would form very interesting topics of discussion; and might, with great propriety, be introduced into a sermon on these words; yet, as the thread of the Apostle's argument leads our attention more immediately to the subject-matter of the testimony, than to 'the nature and perfection of the testifier, we shall confine ourselves entirely to this view of the text. Our remarks will be included in the consideration, 1. Of the Spirit's Testimony to the Sufferings of Christ ;
and II. Of his Testimony to the Glory that should follow them.
1. We have to consider the Spirit's Testimony to the Sufferings of Christ. We cannot, with HAMMOND and Whitby, (see their Commentaries on the place,) suppose that these words contain any reference whatever to those sufferings which Christ endures in his members; since they neither form any part of the "salvation" which the Prophets foretold “should come unto us, nor yet any part of the means by which that salvation was secured. And these were the great objects of the prophetic study according to Peter. We therefore understand the text as referring to the personal sufferings of Christ, and particularly to those of them which have been significantly denominated his “ Cross and Passion." Now concerning these we may observe,
1. They were predicted or foretold. The very first mention that is ever made of Christ in the Scriptures, refers to him as one appointed to suffer. For when the great Jehovah was passing sentence on the old serpent for seducing our first parents, he said, “ I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Gen. iii. 15.) But,
2. It was predicted that the sufferings of Christ would be great and overwhelming
He was to suffer much from Men. Of this branch of the Saviour's sufferings the inspired Psalmist speaks in the following language : (Ps. xxii. 6-8, 11-16:) “I am a worm and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 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. Be not far from me, for trouble is near : for there is none to help. Many bulls have encompassed me, strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped on me with their mouths as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst 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. For dogs have compassed me, the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me; they pierced my hands and my feet.” To the same effect does Isaiah express himself, saying, The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair ; I hid not my face from shame and spitting. (Isa. I. 5, 6.) The same Prophet elsewhere predicts that he would be so ill used of men, as scarcely to be knowable to his friends, from the marring and disfiguring of his countenance. “As many were astonished at thee: his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men.” (Isa. lii. 14.)
He was also to suffer much from his Divine Father. For, “it pleased the Lord to bruise him and to put him to grief.” (Isa. liii. io.) In these words we understand the Prophet to say, that it seeined good to the Father greatly to afflict him, and to put him to peculiar grief. For the word which is here translated “bruised," signifies to break a thing all to pieces, to crush it, to pound or bruise it as in a mortar, until it become a perfect pulp. And, as if this were not enough, the Father is represented as citing and commissioning the sword of justice to spend its ravages on his sacred person.
“Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts: Smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered :" (Zech. xiii. 7.) And, what greatly added to his sufferings, converting his whole life into his Cross and Passion was, that they were certainly and constantly placed fully in his view; so that wherever he went, and whatever else engaged his attention, he never lost sight of this circumstance, that he was born to the endurance of these sufferings, and had this bitter cup to drink.
3. The Spirit of Christ did not more expressly predict the existence and severity of his sufferings, than this remarkable circumstance, that they were not to be endured on his own account. “ After threescore and two weeks,” said Daniel, “shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself.” (Dan. ix. 26.) Endured on his own account they could not be, he being emphatically designated “ the Holy One, and the Just.” (Acts iii. 14.) This character perfectly accords with Isaiah's prophetic description of him:“And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.” (Isa. xi. 5.) These were to be the support and the ornament of his character, as for both these purposes
the girdle was used by the ancients. In this passage the Prophet is rather asserting his freedom from the taint of original corruption, than from the stain of personal transgression : and because he was thus pre-eminently pure and just, it was said in reference to him, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that Holy Thing, which shall be born of thee, shall be called The Son of God." (Luke i. 35.) Indeed, so free was the Saviour from any participation of that depravity which is natural to man, as fully to justify the Apostle in saying that he was "holy,” that is to say, perfectly
holy before God; “harmless," completely harmless as it respects
so endured for others, or in such a sense, as those of no other person ever were, then the very same language which the Holy Ghost employs in setting forth the benefits which flow from the death of Christ to the world, might, with the greatest propriety, and ought, in the strictest justice, to be used in speaking of the death of Christian Martyrs. But are they ever spoken of as being “a propitiation through their “ blood ?” Is it ever asserted,
that “reconciled to God by” their “death ?” Are they ever said to be made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in” them? Is it ever stated, that we have redemption through” their “ blood, the forgiveness of sins ?” Is their "blood" ever represented as “cleansing from all sin ?" Or are we any where taught that we are washed from our sins in" their "blood,” and by them “made Kings and Priests unto God?" Or is it any where maintained, that "we have boldness to enter into the holiest by” their "blood," and through the influence of their merit and mediation to “ draw near to God in full assurance of faith?"-And why not? Wherefore should all this vicarious and sacrificial language be confined to the death of Christ, if the death of Stephen, James, Peter, Paul, and other Martyrs, was endured for us in the very same sense that Christ's was?—Yet we know that this language is never used in speaking of the death of any other person. Unless, therefore, we are disposed to maintain, which God forbid we should, that the God of order and justice has departed from the principles of order and justice in inditing the Sacred Volume, we must allow that the sufferings of the Redeemer were endured for others in such a way as were those of no other being, and in a sense purely vicarious, or substitutional. In proof of this doctrine, we appeal to the current language of the New-Testament. What does it say? Why, that the Father hath" set forth" Christ "to be a propitiation through faith in his blood;” (Rom. iii. 25;)--that “Christ died for the ungodly;" (Rom. v. 6;)—that we are “reconciled to God by his death, and saved by his life;" (Rom. v. 10 ;)—that Christ“ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us;" (Gal. iii. 13;)--that he “suffered the just for the unjust, to bring us to God;" (2 Pet. iii. 18;)—that" himself bare our sins in his own body on the tree;" (1 Pet. ii. 24;)—that he hath “redeemed us unto God by his blood;" (Rev. v. 9;)—and, to sum up all, that it is he that hath “ loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us Kings and Priests unto God.” (Rev. i. 5, 6.) But why do we contine our appeal to the New-Testament? We may boldly say that every part of the OldTestament, particularly every part of the Jewish Ritual, pointed to the sacrificial nature of the sufferings of Christ. And with this view unquestionably it was, that the Apostle said “The Law is our Schoolmaster to bring us to Christ;"_not only shutting us up unto the faith afterward to be revealed, but actually bringing
us to a knowledge of that faith in its general outline. Against this view of the subject, an objector may possibly say, “ If the whole Jewish Law, or even the greater part of it, contained so distinct and steady a reference to the vicarious quality of the sufferings of Christ, how came the Jews to quarrel with the notion of a suffering Messiah, and to put him to death as an impostor?" To this we may reply, their eyes were holden so as that they neither saw the excellency nor even the innocency of Christ, and therefore they concluded that his sufferings were most deservedly inflicted. But it may again be asked, “How came their eyes to be so holden as that they neither could see the excellency nor the innocency of Christ?" To this we answer, that their blindness in the first instance originated in their prejudices. For, having eyes they would not see; and having ears they would not hear; neither would they understand with their hearts. And having so fully and determiminately given themselves up to the government of prepossession, it pleased the Divine Being judicially to deliver them up unto this
Hence that infatuation which would not allow them to be mere abettors of the Saviour's death, but urged them to clamour for his blood, and fearlessly to brave all the direful consequences flowing from the irregularity and iniquity of shedding it. For scarcely had Pilate asserted his freedom from the guilt of that transaction by a most significant action, and warned them of their danger, before they daringly vociferated, “His blood be on us and on our children.” (Matt. xxvii. 5.) But this ought not to surprise us; for,
4. The Spirit of Prophecy foretold that Jesus Christ would experience this usage from his countrymen. The Father addresses him as one “despised by the people” and “abhorred by the nation,” that is, the Jewish nation. (Isa. xlix. 7.) He speaks of him as a person who was not only contemned but rejected of men; (Isa. liii. 3 ;) and rejected, not by the vulgar and the low alone, or by the illiterate and the base, but by the wise and learned; by the very master-builders of the nation ; by the chief Priests and Rulers. Hence, when Peter defended himself before the Jewish council, he boldly said, “The stone which was set at nought of you builders, is become the head of the corner.” Such were the views and feelings which the Jews in general entertained towards Jesus Christ, as to make them imagine that they were rendering a signal service to their nation and their God in seeking the destruction of him and his adherents. And the more effectually to secure this object, they leagued themselves with the Rulers of the Gentiles, exhibiting the strange anomaly of an union of covenantpersons and aliens, believers and unbelievers, saints and sinners, to prevent the establishment of Messiah's interests and kingdom in the world. And from this general and determined opposition, the most complete success was confidently anticipated. “An evil disease, said they, now cleaveth fast unto him ; and now that he