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will not think so, if you consider to what he exposed his own dear Son, when sin was but imputed to him; and what that man deserves to feel, that hath not only merited hell, but by refusing Christ, the remedy, the hottest place in hell.
4. How should nice and wanton appetites be reproved ! The Son of God wanted a draught of cold water to relieve him, and could not have it. God hath given us a variety of refreshments to relieve us, and we despise them. We have better things than a cup of water to refresh and delight us when we are thirsty, and yet are not pleased. Oh that this complaint of Christ on the cross, "I thirst,” were but believingly considered ; it would make
bless God for what you now despise, and beget contentment in you for the meanest mercies and most common favors. Did the Lord of all things cry, "I thirst," and had nothing in his extremity to comfort him; and dost thou, who hast a thousand times for. feited all temporal as well as spiritual mercies, contemn and slight the common bounties of Providence? What ! despise a cup of water, who deservest nothing but a cup of wrath from the hand of the Lord! Oh lay it to heart, and hence learn contentment with any thing.
5. Did Jesus Christ upon the cross cry, "I thirst ?" Then believers shall never thirst eternally. Their thirst shall be certainly satisfied. So it is promised, "Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.” Matt. 5:6. In heaven they shall depend no more upon the stream, but drink from the overflowing fountain." They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house, and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures: for with thee is the fountain of life, and in thy light shall we see light.” Psalm 36 : 8. There they shall drink and praise, and praise and drink for evermore; all their desires shall be filled with complete satisfaction. Oh how desirable a state is heaven upon this account! and how should we be restless till we come thither, as the thirsty traveler is until he meet the cool, refreshing spring he seeks! This present state is a state of thirsting ; that to come, of refreshment and satisfaction. Some drops in. deed are received from the fountain by faith, but they quench not the believer's thirst ; rather, like water sprinkled on the fire, they make it burn the more : but there the thirsty soul hath enough.
6. Did Christ in the extremity of his sufferings cry, "I thirst ?” Then how great is the love of God to sinners, who for their sakes exposed the Son of his love to such extreme sufferings! Oh the height, length, depth, and breadth of that love which passeth knowledge ! The love of God to Jesus Christ was infinitely beyond all the love we have for our children: and yet, as dearly as he loved him, he was content to expose him to all this, rather than we should perish eternally.
And it should never be forgotten that Jesus Christ was exposed to these extremities of sorrow for sinners, the greatest of sinners, who deserved not one mercy from God. This commends the love of God singularly to us, in that " whilst we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:1. Thus the love of God in Jesus Christ still rises higher and higher in every view of it. Admire, adore, and be transported with the thoughts of this love! Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.
SIXTH SAYING OF CHRIST ON THE CROSS-"IT IS FINISHED."
" When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, it is finished:
and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”- John, 19:30.
"It is finished." This is the sixth remarkable word of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross, uttered as a triumphant shout when he saw the glorious issue of all his sufferings at hand.
It is but one word in the original ; but in that one word is contained the sum of all joy, the very spirit of all divine consolation. The ancient Greeks valued themselves in being able to speak much in little ; "to give a sea of matter in a drop of language.” What they only sought, is here found. " It is finished”-the great work of man's redemption is done ; and therein all the types and prefigurations that shadowed it forth are fulfilled. The completing of redemption is the principal, and the fulfilling of all the types the collateral and secondary sense implied. Yet it must be observed, that when we say Christ finished redemption by his death, the meaning is not that it was by his death alone; for his abode in the grave, resurrection, and ascension, had all their joint influence therein. According, then, to the principal scope of the passage, we observe that, Jesus Christ hath perfected and completely finished the
great work of redemption, committed to him by God the Father. To this great truth the apostle gives full testimony, By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Heb. 10:14. And to the same purpose
"I have glorified thee on the earth ; I have finished the work thou gavest me to do.” John, 17:4.
We shall inquire what this work was; how Christ finished it; and what is the evidence that it is completed.
I. What was the work which Christ finished by his death ?
It was the fulfilling of the whole law of God in our room, and for our redemption, as a sponsor or surety for us. The law is glorious; the holiness of God is engraven or stamped upon every part of it; "From his right hand went a fiery law.” Deut. 33: 2. The jealousy of the Lord watched over every point and tittle of it, for his dreadful and glorious name was upon it; it cursed every one that continued not in all things contained therein. Gal. 3:10. Two things, therefore, were necesBarily required in him that should perfectly fulfil it; perfection in his character, and perfection in his work.
1. Perfection in his character. He that wanted this, could never say,
" It is finished.” Perfect working proceeds from a perfect Being. That he might therefore finish this great work of obedience, and therein the glo. rious design of our redemption; lo! in what shining and perfect holiness was he produced ! " That holy thing that shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.” Luke, 1:35. And indeed "such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." Heb. 7:26. So that the law could have no exception against his person ; nay, it was never so honored as in having such a perfect and excellent per son as Christ stand at its bar and give it due reparation.
2. There must be also a perfection of work and obedience before it could be said, " It is finished.” This was in Christ: he continued in all things written in the law, to do them: he fulfilled all righteousness, as it behoved him to do. Matt. 3 : 15. He did all that was required to be done, and suffered all that was requisite to be suffered: he did and suffered all that was commanded or threatened, in such perfection of obedience, both active and passive, that the pure eye of Divine justice saw no defect in it; and so finished the work his Father gave him to do. This was a necessary, a difficult, and a precious work.
It was necessary in respect to the Father. I do not mean that God was under any necessity, from his na. ture, of redeeming us; for our redemption is an act of the free counsel of God; but when God had once determined to redeem and save poor sinners by Jesus Christ, then it became necessary that the counsel of God should be fulfilled : " To do whatsoever thy hand and counsel had before determined to be done.” Acts, 4 : 28.
It was necessary with respect to Christ, by the precious compact between the Father and him. Therefore it is said by Christ, " Truly the Son of man goeth as it was determined.” Luke, 22 : 22; that is, as it was foreagreed and covenanted. Under the necessity of fulfilling his engagement to the Father, he came into the world ; and being come, he turns not from it. "I must work the works of him that sent me.” John, 9 : 3.
Yea, and it was no, less necessary upon our account that this work should be finished; for, had not Christ finished this work, sin had quickly finished all our lives, comforts, and hopes. Without the finishing of this work, not a son or daughter of Adam could ever have seen the face of God. Therefore it is said, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John, 3: 14, 15.
As it was necessary this work should be finished, so the finishing of it was difficult : it cost many a groan, and many a tear, before Christ could say, " It is finished.” All the angels in heaven were not able, by their united strength, to lift that burden one inch from the ground, which Christ bore upon his shoulders, yea, and bare it away. How heavy a burden this was, appears in some