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his compassions towards us, that, to wash away our blood, he shed his own. Our deformity was total, and had overspread our whole man: Isa. i. 6. From the sole of the foot even unto the head, there was no sound part in us; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: sores, that did deform us; and sores, that would destroy us. And, oh, the exceeding love of Christ, that he should descend from heaven, to bind up, to cure, to kiss the very sores and ulcers of such loathsome creatures as we are!
(3) We were hateful for our Rebellions: sinning against that very love and mercy, which saves us: affronting and slighting that Redeemer, who offers his blood, his merits, himself, his all, unto us; and is not so much grieved at his own sufferings, as at our rejecting of them.
Nothing in the world sooner provokes love, than contempt: it can weather out any other difficulties; but this breaks its heart. And yet Christ foresaw all the indignities he should undergo, from such froward wretches as we are; how we would first shed his blood, and then trample upon it; provoke his justice, and then despise his mercy and yet he comes to redeem such perverse and obstinate creatures; and is made a curse for us, who have ten thousand times deserved to be accursed. Our Saviour commends his love unto us: John xv. 13. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Yes, O Lord, thou thyself hast had greater love than this; in that thou hast laid down thy life, not for friends only, but for enemies. For whilst we were yet enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son: Rom. v. 10.
Let me add,
(4) One discriminating passage in this love of Christ, which doth exceedingly magnify and enhance it: he was made a curse for us, and not for the fallen angels.
They are creatures of a far greater natural excellency and perfection, than we are; and would, upon their restoration, more mightily have advanced the glory of Christ, than we can : the same price of redemption, which was paid down for us, was in itself abundantly sufficient for their recovery. But, yet, oh, the infinite severity of God! they are for ever excluded from the benefit of redemption; and are reserved in chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day. And we, (such is the infinite love and mercy of our Blessed God) we are redeemed by a price, that doth infinitely exceed and outbid the purchase. And this, doubtless, adds to the eternal anguish of those proud
spirits, that they should be hurled out of heaven for one sin, and condemned to everlasting torments; though they were the light, the beauty, and flower of the creation: and should be so undervalued by God, as not to be thought worth the redeeming, when yet vile man, the scum and dregs of the earth, guilty of innumerable sins against God, is again restored, not only to the same estate from whence he fell, but to the hopes and assurances of an infinitely better. And, therefore, in their extreme horror and rage, we hear them crying out, Mat. viii. 29. "What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? We have nothing to do with thy coming, so as to expect ease and relief. No: thy beloved, though vile, creature man engrosseth all the benefits of thy coming: and that blood of thine, which is more than enough to redeem him, must rather run waste, than be derived to us; and therefore, thy coming is nothing unto us, but only to torment and despite us."
3. The infinite love of Christ, in being made a curse for us, is mightily glorified, if we consider, not only what he was, and who we are; but the several bitter and direful Ingredients, that compounded the Curse, which was laid upon him.
His sufferings were as great and doleful, as the envenomed spite of men and the fiery wrath of God could prepare them. From the one, he suffers scorns, reproaches, stripes, buffetings, and death itself; with all the mockery and contempt, that could be added to them. From the other, he suffers fears, and desertion, and agonies, and terrors; in that excessive measure, which none but himself ever knew, who was a man acquainted with sorrow, and none but himself could bear.
And, shall it not, then, affect and even break our hearts, to think, that every one of us has largely contributed to his sorrows? that we should conspire, with the accursed Jews, to give him gall and vinegar in his passion; and to add more load to his pressures, who was so unmeasurably afflicted and oppressed? Think but what full measures of woe and wrath the sins but of any one of us, who is least guilty and least of all obnoxious to the revenging justice of God, do deserve; how intolerable that hell is, which is due to the most innocent amongst us: and then consider, how infinite and unsufferable all that mixture of wrath must be, which Christ underwent, not for thy sins only, but for all the multiplied offences of the whole world: and you will
find the sum to amount to such an excess of torments, that only an Infinite God could inflict, and only an Infinite God sustain. And, is not all this demonstrative of the highest love? Nothing could be a motive to undergo this wrath, but love. And, therefore, well might the Apostle speak, 1 John iii. 16. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us.
Go, then, O Soul! prostrate thyself before thy Gracious Saviour. Admire and adore that love which thou canst not comprehend: and, in the trances of a holy ecstasy, yield thyself to be swallowed up in the abyss of his divine love, the full measures of which thou canst no more conceive, than thou canst bear that wrath from which it hath delivered thee.
That is the First Use.
ii. IF CHRIST HATH THUS BORNE THE CURSE FOR US, WHY SHOULD WE THINK IT MUCH TO BEAR THE CROSS FOR HIM?
What disingenuity is it, to think anything too much to suffer for that Blessed Redeemer, who thought nothing too much to suffer for us? Art thou mocked and scoffed; or mayst thou hereafter be called forth to severer trials, to imprisonment, banishment, loss of estate, yea, or it may be, to lay down thy life for the testimony of Jesus? and wilt thou stick at this, or think much of it, when it is for the sake of thy Dearest Saviour, who hath, for thy sake, undergone ten thousand times more acute dolours and tortures, than any that the rage of man can inflict upon thee, or thou canst possibly bear? Certainly, thou art altogether unworthy to reap any fruit or benefit by his death, who shalt refuse to follow him in the path he hath traced out for thee by his own blood, although he should require it from thee to bedew it with thine.
iii. Is Christ made a curse for us? then Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith the Lord. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem; say unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand, double for all her sins: Isa. xl. 1, 2. Here is ARUNDANT SATISFACTION MADE TO THE JUSTICE OF GOD, FOR ALL THE TRANSGRESSIONS OF TRUE BELIEVERS. They, by their Surety, have paid to the full, yea, and supererogated in his sufferings.
For God could never have been so completely satisfied, in exacting the penalty from us in our own persons, as now he is
by the punishments laid upon his Own Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. For those very sufferings of thy Saviour, which were an expiation for the sins of the whole world, were all of them tendered to the Father as an expiation for thine; and the full value of his infinite satisfaction belongs all of it entirely unto thee. And, therefore, look upon thy sins as horrid and heinous as thou canst; yet, unless thine in particular have been more than the sins of all the world, unless thine have been more sinful than sin itself can be, know, for thy comfort, that a full atonement is made; and now nothing is expected from thee, but only to accept it, and to walk worthy of it.