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for them, they will for all this be still prone to forget him. One would think that such a Saviour should ne. ver be a whole hour out of his people's thoughts and affections; that wherever they go, they should carry him with them in their thoughts, desires, and delights; that they should lie down with Christ in their thoughts at night, and when they awake be still with him ; that their very dreams should be sweet visions of Christ, and all their words savor of him. But Oh the baseness of these hearts! Here we live and converse in a world of sensible objects, which, like a company of thieves, rob us of Christ. Alas that it should be so with me, who am under such obligations to love him! Though he be in the highest glory in heaven, he doth not forget us; he hath graven us upon the palms of his hands; we are continually before him. He thinks on us, when we forget him. The whole honor and glory rendered him in heaven by the angels cannot divert his thoughts one moment from
trifle that meets us in the way, is enough to divert our thoughts from him. Why do we not abhor and loathe ourselves for this ? What!" is it a pain, a burden, to carry Christ in our thoughts? As much a burden, if thy heart be spiritual, as a bird is burdened by carrying his own wings. Will such thoughts intrude unseasonably, and thrust Christ out of our minds? For shame, christian, for shame, let not thy heart wanton and wander from Christ after every vanity. Never leave praying and striving, till thou canst say, "My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips; whilst I remember thee on my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches." Psalm 63:5.
2. Hence also we infer that approaches to the Lord's table are heart-melting seasons ; because therein the most affecting representations of Christ are made. As the Gospel offers him to the ear in the most sweet,
affecting sounds of grace; so does his supper to the eye, in the most pleasing visions on this side heaven. There, hearts that will not yield a tear under other ordinances, can pour out floods: "They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and mourn.” Zech. 12 : 10. Yet I dare not affirm that every one whose heart is broken by the believing sight of Christ there, can evi. dence that it is so by a dropping eye. No, we may say of tears, as it is said of love. Cant. 8:7. If some chris. tians would give all the treasures of their houses for them, they cannot be purchased: yet they are truly humbled for sin, and seriously affected with the grace of Christ. For the support of such, I would distinguish, and have them do so also, between what is essential to spiritual sorrow, and what is contingent. Deep displeasure with thyself for sin, hearty resolutions and desires for its complete mortification, these are essential to all spiritual sorrow; but tears are accidental, and in some constitutions rarely found. If thou hast the former, trouble not thyself for want of the latter, though it is a mercy when they kindly and undissembledly flow from a truly broken heart. And surely, to see who it is that thy sins have pierced; how great, how glorious, how wonderful a Person, that was humbled, abased, and brought to the dust, for such a wretched being as thou, cannot but tenderly affect the considering soul.
3. Moreover, hence it is evident that the believing and affectionate remembrance of Christ is most advantageous at all times to the people of God; for it is the immediate end of one of the greatest ordinances that ever Christ appointed to the church. If at any time the heart be dead and hard, this is the likeliest means to dissolve, melt, and quicken it. Look hither, hard heart; hard indeed, if this hammer will not break it. Behold the blood of Jesus.
Art thou easily overcome by temptations to sin ? This is the most powerful restraint: "How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein ?" Rom. 6:2. We are crucified with Christ, what have we to do with sin ? When thy heart is yielding to temptation, think, how can I do this, and crucify the Son of God afresh? As David poured the water brought from the well of Bethlehem on the ground, though he was athirst, for he said, "It is the blood of the men," (that is, they hazarded their lives to fetch it ;) much more should a christian pour out upon the ground, yea, despise and trample un. der foot, the greatest profit or pleasure of sin; saying, Nay, I will have nothing to do with it, I will on no terms touch it, for it is the blood of Christ : it cost blood, infinite, precious blood to expiate it.
Are you afraid your sins are not pardoned, but still stand against you before the Lord ? What more relieving, what more satisfying, than to see the cup of the new testament in the blood of Christ, which is "shed for many, for the remission of sins ?" "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is Christ that died.”
Are you staggered at your sufferings, and the hard things you must endure for Christ in this world ? Doth the flesh shrink from these things, and cry, Spare thyself? What is there more likely to fortify thy spirit with resolution and courage, than such a sight as this? Did Christ meet the wrath of men, and the wrath of God too? Did he stand with unbroken patience and stedfast resolution under such troubles, and shall I shrink for a trifle ? Ah, he did not serve me so! I will arm myself with the like mind. 1 Pet. 4: 2.
Is thy faith staggered at the promises ? Here is what will help thee "against hope to believe in hope, giving glory to God." For this is God's seal added to his covenant, which ratifies and binds all that God hath spoken.
Dost thou idle away precious time, and live unusefully to Christ in thy generation ? What more fit both to convince and cure thee, than such remembrance of Christ as this? Oh when thou considerest thou art not thine own, thy time, thy talents are not thine own, but Christ's: when thou shalt see thou art bought with such a price, and so art strictly obliged to glorify God with thy soul and body, which are his, 1 Cor. 6:20, this will powerfully awaken a dull and sluggish spirit! In a word, what grace is there that this remembrance of Christ cannot quicken? What sin cannot it mortify? What duty cannot it animate ? Oh it is of singular use to the people of God!
4. Though all other things do, yet Christ never can become uninteresting. Here is an ordinance to preserve his remembrance fresh to the end of the world. The beauty of this Rose of Sharon is never lost or withered. He is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. As his body in the grave saw no corruption, so neither can his love, or any of his excellencies. Other beauties have their prime and their fading; but Christ abides eternally. Our delight in creatures is often most at first ac, quaintance; when we come nearer to them, and see more of them, our delight is abated : but the longer you know Christ, and the nearer you come to him, still the more do you see of his glory. Every farther prospect of Christ entertains the mind with a fresh delight. Blessed be God for Jesus Christ.
THIRD PREPARATIVE ACT OF CHRIST FOR HIS OWN DEATH
AGONY IN THE GARDEN.
" And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled
down, and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony, he prayed more carnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of Vlood falling down to the ground.” Inike, 22:41-44.
The hour is now almost come, even that hour of sorrow, of which Christ had so often spoken. Yet a little, a very little while, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. He has affectionately recommended his children to his Father. He has set his house in order, and ordained a memorial of his death to be left with his people. There is but one thing more to do, and then the tragedy begins. He recommended us, he must also recommend himself by prayer to the Father; and when that is done, he is ready.
This last act of Christ's preparation for his own death is contained in this scripture, wherein we have an account of his prayer; of the agony aitending it; and of his relief in that agony, by an angel, that came and comforted him.
In a praying posture he will be found when the enemy comes; he will be taken upon his knees: he was pleading hard with God in prayer, for strength to carry him through this heavy trial, when they came to take him. And this was a very remarkable prayer, both for the solitariness of it, he withdrew about a stone's cast from his dearest intimates; no ear but his Father's must hear