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'His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires." — Solomon's Song, v. 14.
" His bowels are as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires." That this is tlie manifest reading of the passage, will be clear by a reference to one or two passages of God's sacred Word. In the fourth verse of this chapter you observe,. "My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my boivels were moved for him." Again in Jeremiah, xxxi. 20, "Is Ephraim niv dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him saith the Lord." And again, in Isaiah, Ixiii. 15, "Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory : where is thy zeal and thy strength, the soundings of thy boivels, and of thy mercies towards me? Are they restrained?" The expression, then, sets forth the tenderness of the compassion of the Redeemer, his boundless, his inconceivable mercy; which is compared to "ivory overlaid with sapphires." Before I proceed to consider the passage, there are two or three remarks that I would desire to make. May we ever esteem it to be our mercy to take mir sentiments from the word, and not take our systems to the word; for if our minds are under this bias, we may, with the Bible in our hands, go further, and further, and further, away from God. That was no unnecess.xry exhortation, " Receive with meekness the engrafted word," and ** As new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." For want of this, we might imagine a person', having some preconceived opinion of God's benignity, or confining his mind to one or two passages, and not reading the word as a whole, but forming his own imagination of the divine benignity, conceiving of God as having actually designed to save every man in the whole world; and, consequently, when he comes to those passages that speak of God's electing love, all his concern is to explain them away. When he comes to such a passage as this, " I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy," his preconceived opinion induces him to put a lever under that passage, and endeavour to undermine it altogether. Thus it is the Socinian, forming an idea of the impossil)ilifcy of there being three that are God, and holding the unity of the Godhead, he reasons from that supposed impossibility, and says, it cannot be so ; having the system formed in the pride of his own heart, and then, forcing the Bible to speak according to his own system. In the same way one might form (do not be offended at the term) a sort of novelist, romantic idea, about the sympathies of Christ; and because we
350 THE SYMPATHY OP CHRIST. form certain notions how this sympathy must act, and because we cannot see how certain effects can follow without certain causes, which we think alone adequate to produce those effects — then we imagine that our Lord, fully to sympathize with us, must have had our own sinful nature. I believe, that though it does not amount to an avowed neologian system, it is, after all, the rational system of the day, that worships talent, and idolizes reason ; and unless you come and lay prostrate some of your hopes, if you are Gods people, God will surely chasten you for these things, as tlie Lord liveth. Oh, for tlie spirit and temper of a little child! 1 can never forget the observation that a dear friend of mine once made, " A greater self-command than ever Alexander had, has that man over his spirit, who takes up his Bible and reads it as a little child." I would now, firxt of all, direct your minds to some few plain observations with re"-ard to oar Lords sympathy, and the tenderness of his compassion , and then secondly, consider the application of it to the tvords of the text. ow, first of all, with regard to OUR Lord's Sympathy. o doubt, it is more especially in the consideration of our Lord's humanity, that all right views of his sympathy can be formed. An angel would not suit us ; what losers should we have been if angels had had to preach to us, if archangels had had the Gospel message to proclaim. We want a man — he must be a man; if he were not a man, we could not look upon him as a brother looks upon a brother. I dare say, that many of you have often found this upon your hearts, causing you to thank God, that in the midst of all you can discern of human infirmity in him that preached — you can thank God that he sent his Son to preach to him the Gospel. We want a man, too, in the weakness of his humanity — one who can feel weariness, and hunger, and thirst, and cold — and one who can feel these things to be a trial. He must be one, too, that could be tempted by Satan. AVe know what use Satan made of his power, and though he tempted him not to the commission of sin, yet he was always labouring to produce it. When our Lord made that exceeding bitter cry, " My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death," he especially refers to its being "the hour and the power of darkness," But, my dear hearers, although it is most manifest to my mind, that we want H man in his weakness ; yet we must have a pure man — or how can he do us any good ? I fully acknowledge, that those who hold what appears to me to be one of the most blasphemous opinions that ever came from the lips of man, (there is no necessity for making a longer preface; this is what I think; this is what God makes me to assert, as being the full conviction of my soul)— yet I acknowledge, that I am far from charging those who speak these things— ;houghtlcssly speak, I would hope, and things to be corrected by after judgment and by after prayer— I am far from charging them, that they hold that in any
respect our Lord was a sinner. That they believe he did not commit the act o. 3in, that it did not come out into action, that this sinful nature in him, was controlled and kept under, so that it did not come out into exercise— all that I acknowledge, and need not make the acknowledgment again. But if our Lord had a sinful nature in the eyes of God's holy law— that law that takes r.ognizance not only of acts but of thoughts— tliat law that takes knowledge not only of what I ilo, but of what I think— that tells me the thought of sinfulless is sin— then I would say, that to hold it, is to hold a most awful delusion. would ask, if there are here any of God's dear children who are tainted with
THE SYMPATHY OF CHRIST. 351 this plague. I would speak to tliein in all affection, and ask, Does it not strike you, in the very first fiice and look of the thing, that you are without any direct proof whatever ? You have your lame inferences ; but, to my mind, the Socinian has a much more spacious inference to prove our Lord's inferiority to the Father. He can come to direct texts, and say, " My Father is greater than I" — '"The Son can do nothing of himself;" he can bring forward these two or three isolated passages, and has something to countenance him in his most awful, Christ-denying error. But you have nu direct proof whatever ; you have not even the shadow of a proof; it is all lame, halting inference. And when you take us to such a passage as this, that because " it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren," and " as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same" — and when you tell us he was made " of the seed of David according to the flesh" — and then endeavour to sustain your position, as logicians say, you beg the question; you do not prove it, you assert it ; you cannot bring forward these as the slightest proof of it ; for was not Adam our father before he fell ? Must it needs be that he should fall in order to become one with us ? ow while there is no testimony of Scripture in favour of tliis opinion, how much positive Scripture there is against it; how much direct testimony of God's word there is against it. When, for instance, in the fourth of the Hebrews, our Lord's sympathy is expressly alluded: " We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities ; but was in all points tempted like as we a.re, i/et ivithout sin;'" it was not said he was in all points liable to sin, but he was in all points tempted to sin. Satan tried hard to tempt him to the committal of sin; but, if we want to know the full meaning of this passage, our Lord tells us — " When Satan cometh, he hath nothing in me." It is not said, "he gains no advantage over me;" here is not a word said about the polluted nature kept down ; but our Lord positively says, " he hath nothing in me." As a child might say, it is like a lever without any ground to rest upon; it is like a screw with only the air to lay hold of; " he has nothing in me to lay hold of."
Then you ask, " But how then was our Lord tempted as we are?" f^P'^as not the holy soul of Adam tempted '? Was it not the holy soul of Adam that was '•empted? Is it needful that man should be a sinner in order that he may be tempted? We have clear testimony of God's word upon this point. " That holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" — " that holy thing," the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost producing that miracle of miracles, a pure thing out of an unclean, a holy thing out of an unholy ; not a new substance, not a new nature, but the nature that first sinned, only sanctified and preserved from all pollution even from its conception. Observe the unreasonableness of it. Persons say. If the Lord Jesus had not *he same nature as I have, how could he sympathize with me? If you knew 'ught of the plague of your own soul, you know that the great hindrance of Christ's sympathy is your sin. Look back and see during the past year, whether you have not to acknowledge amongst the sin of sins, the selfishness of your souls? And what was the cause of this selfishness? It was the sin of your nature. But, dear friends, the argument comes exceedingly short of these two points, because it does not go far enough. They suppose — perhaps some of yo'i that hear me — that in order that our Lord should fully sympathize with us, he should be in all points like as we are. Why, what conception can we form of
352 THE SYMPATHY OP CHRIST. one who is as truly God as tlie Father, and as truly man •'ts you and I are l*oes that not seem to lift liim up to an inconceivable lieiglit above all on conceptions of him? And even as regards the humanity — how is he in al points to sympathize (according to your ideas of sympathy) unless he know* what it is to fall under sin, unless he knows what it is to he assaulted, and thrown down, and wounded, and then restored and brought back, as we arc restored and brought back, and placed on our feet, and mourn over our sins and follies? Do you want such a nature? Then, as you give up the Godhead in the first place, so you give up the humanity in the second ; and vou leave us without a Christ at all. While the doctrine seems so opposed to the current of Scripture, it seems to lay tlie axe at all Gospel truth. It was not the exemption from sinful acts that laid the foundation of the efficacy of the ancient sacrifices ; it was the sinlessness of the nature. It had not a reference to the thing done, but to the spotless nature of the animal. It was to be a perfect animal, it was to be without blemish in any shape whatever ; and if there had been aught of a blemish, the sacrifice had never been accepted. See, then, to what awful lengths this would carrv us. They leave us without the atonement of Christ, they leave us without the righteousness of Christ ; they leave us with a dignified humanitv ; for in order to be consistent they must deny the very Deity of Immanuel. My dear friends, may God keep you from itching ears and vain curiosity. 1
believe Satan has been glad to see some merely going that they might hear; and the spirit of delusion was given, and now they are as certain that the lie is a truth, as they were once certain that the lie was a lie, and the truth was a truth. It is a dangerous thing to trifle with God's word. The man who enters a place of worship from mere curiosity, has need to go to school to learn to redeem the time. If you can find in your vocabulary a list of things unimportant, I cannot find them in God's word. When you enter a pLice of worship, you have need to pray to be kept from the corruptions of the preacher, and from the cor. ruptioDS of your own soul. Truly our Lord's sympathies are tender sympathies. They arc hid from the eyes of the world ; they are within; but they are most tender. All the figures that could be adopted, have been adopted, to signify the tenderness of the Saviour's compassion. Observe, secondly, that the Compassions of our Lord are here compared TO Ivory overlaid with Sapphires, There are three or four points of view in which I would regard the subject, praying that God would come and fill our souls with substance, with reality. In the first j)lace, it is a compassion such as ive have not met with before. *' His cheeks are as a bed of spices, iis sweet flowers ; his lips are lilies, dropping Rweet-smelling myrrh." It is compared to ivory, lasting and durable. Dear friends, wc have come to the end of another vear. Wiiat changes the world has experienced during that \e^T ; what changes have there been in the Church , what changes in God's saints ; what changes in our circumstances ; what changes in our own selves; and yet, here is one sweet and blessed truth, that amidst all flie changes we have experienced from within and from without, the love of Christ has not changed. Do you ask me, is there any use in this truth ? Most undoubtedly there is. Do men abuse it? I think I never pass a week without hearing some manifest abuse of that truth ; and this, so far from being any argument against the truth, onlv assures ns, that the better a truth is, the more
THl! SYMPATHY OP CHRIST. 353 Satan tries to abuse it ; the more excellent any thing is, the more he tempts to the abuse of it. The unchangeable love of God towards his people, is the very sheet anchor of their souls' confidence. To imagine that because I change he changes, that he ebbs and flows according to my ebb and flow, is one of the most mournful creeds that can distress the conscience, harass the soul, and bring ;t into utter bondage. And yet to suppose, that God looks on me at all times M'ith equal compassion — whetlier I am walking in his ways, pursuing after his laws, whether I am looking for dependence to liis blessed Spirit, or wliether I am careless, and go away after vanity: to suppose that at all times, God manifests the same love for me, is, I think a perversion of God's sacred word. There
are various exhibiticms of that love, just as the moon waneth, and waxeth, and fiideth ; but the love itself is like the sun, immutable and eternal. It is a sweet remembrance, in looking back on the past year, to retrace the unchangeable love of God towards us. Who is it that has kept us? Who is it that has provided for us? Who is it that lias restored us? Who is it, when the hands have hung down, and the knees hare been feeble — who is it, when all real diligence has seemed to make to itself wings and fly away^who is it has brought up the poor soul, and led it again in the paths of righteousness? AVho is it has oiled the wheels, and made them run swiftly in the ways of God's commands? Oh, my dear friends, I know of nothing so humiliating as the remembrance of God's mercy. The doctrines of grace are abused, but grace itself is never abused. ever was a sermon preached where the doctrines of grace were brought forward, but they were abused by some who heard them ; but " the grace of God that bringeth salvation," teacheth a man "to live soberly, and righteously, and godly, in this present world." IMy brother, in looking back on the years that are past, is there any thing that so melts thy heart, so wins thee to the Saviour, as the remembrance of his unchangeable mercy towards thee ? Friends have changed, but God has not changed. Thy poor heart has often been out of tune ; but he has come and wound it up again, and put sweet melody into thy heart, and led thee to praise and bless the God of thy salvation. Remark, secondly, f/ie chnrdcter of this ivory is, that it is bright. 'J'here is a purity in the love of Christ. Christ loves his people, but he loves not their sins ; he loves their persons, but he loves not their follies ; he has his rod for them. We are sometimes expecting heavy judgments in the way of affliction — sometimes expecting deep trials from the loss of*friends, the loss of property, the loss of health, the loss of children ; we forget the loss occasioned by having an itching ear; a vain, idle curiosity, that can take up t!ie Bible, and speculate, and speculate, and draw out a hair-drawn system, and mistake it for truth. IMy dear friends, I would that you would desire nearer and closer walking with God; and then, I think, you will be conscious there is a heavy chastening in this. You take up your Bible, but you find not God in it; you pray to him, but your souls enjoy it not; you hear his word preached, but you profit not by it ; you converse with God's saints, but you cannot find their communion to be sweet; walking in darkness, and seeing no light, and yet kept to trust in the name of the Lord. Oh, what a miracle of grace is it ; what a wonder-working power of the Eternal Spirit of truth : the ivory is bright The Lord .losus loves not the carelessness of his saints. I do, from my soul, believe that earthly-mindedness is swallowing up the heart's blood of numbers ; I will not say tliat it will touch their life ; but 1 will say, they are thrusting the great business of life into a corner; they neglect God to the close of the day; vol. I. 2 a
354 THE SYMPATHY OP CHRIST. ami then, when their hearts arc jaded, and their spirits woru out, they give themselves to God, instead of giving themselves to him first. He has his furnace fur his gold ; he has his athans to go and say, '• 'I'hou art the man.'' I'erhaps thou art brought here to-night for me to be a athan to thee; and I mav come to thy conscience, whether thou wilt or not — I niay come up to the secret caverns of thy heart ; and God may speak to thee, and force thee to confess, " I am that heartless walker ; I am walking at this great distance from God ; and this is my state, and has been my state for weeks and months that are gone." May God give thee grace to see, that the love of Ckrist to his people, is a pure and holy love. He loves his people, but he loves not their sins ; he loves not their half-heartedness, he loves not their loitering behind, he loves not their weak faith, nor their being satisfied with little things; but he loves to see them mount up, as on the wings of eagles. Oh, how we should pray, "Lord, we believe — help thou our unbelief." Remark, thirdly, the character of this love is a costly love. The love of Christ cost him much; it cost him a life of suffering, and a death of agony; it cost him liis couch watered with his own tears ; it cost hiui bitterness, and anguish, and grief unutterable. There is not a blessing that comes to us, though it comes without money and without price, but it cost the Son of God a groan. Sweet and holy thought! Deep and humiliating thought! VVliat! Does it come to me without money ? Does it come to nie without price ? And yet did it cost 'I'hee thy heart's blood, and cause Thee to exclaim, " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Happy will that soul be, that finds every mercy that comes to him perfumed with the blood of Immanuel, that takes the bread that he eats, and the water that he drinks, and the raiment that he puts on ; ill the sweet solace of friends, all the communion of the saints, all the reading of t!ie word, all delight in God, and all his prospects for a coming eternity; and finds them all fragrant with the precious blood of a crucified Immanuel. The promises are sweet indeed, but they are sweeter because they come through Christ ; tliey are doubly sweet, because they have all the incense of his merit, and all the fragrancy of his heart in them. There is a point I would not omit, and that is, this ivory is overlaid with sapjihires. The love of Christ is oftentimes to us a mystery. We do not forget ewton's hymn ; I suppose many of us are learning it out in the school of Christ. We expected once to walk happily with God in the way of simple faith, we thought at one time that we should put our foot upon the neck of our enemies, and find it an easy thing to walk in the strait and narrow path. We M ent to the Lord with fervency of desire, with great expectation, and we asked liim to subdue sin in us. Did that fail ? ever ; God's ears are ever open to hear, and every prayer is filed in heaven's chancery, and never, never can be registered
in vain. But hotv has the Lord answered it? Why, just by contraries; in the way we had not expected it, in tlie way we least desired it, in the way most mortifying to our pride. I suppose many of the saints of God may truly say, " If there be away of getting mv bread wliich I dislike the most, God gives it to me: if there were any cross which I would m ish to he spared from, God gives me that cross." Thou thoughtest, it may be, that God would make tliee most useful, that he would make use of thy tongue, and thy head, and thy prudeme, and thv courage ; and the Lord puts thee to tlie rear rank, and seems to make Jiothing of tiiec — perhaps takes some one that tliou didst think a hall-wicked man, and makes hini a greater blessing than thou art ; so that thou standesi
THE SYMPATHY OF CHRIST. 355 amazed sometimes at thy own littleness, wondering at his greatness. God brings thy greatness to tlie dust ; and why ? 'J'hat lie may lift thee out of the dust, make Clirist thy greatness, and endear himself to thee in all the vastncss of his unutterable love. Oh, my brethren, these sapphires are all in their order, there is not one of them out of place. We often think that God is mistaken; but they are all set and arranged, even as the precious stones in Aaron's breastplate ; and one might say, that as all the saints of God are there borne on his heart, and all are precious, though not all equally sliining and glittering ; so does the compassion of Jesus bear thee up, poor, weak, heartless creature as thou art in all tliv helplessness and nothingness, reaily to say, AVell, I am less than the least ; but sometimes I say. Am I any thing at all ? And yet all tliy care is on his heart, all his compassion is toward thee, from the beginning of the year to the end of it ; not one stone is out of place, but all are arranged by infinite wisdom, and infinite goodness, and infinite faithfulness. There are two or three observations with which I shall conclude. In the first place, there is not/iing like living on the compassions of Christ, on ^lis tender love. There is something so engaging to know that in all my afflictions he is afflicted ; that in all my temptations he has been tempted ; that Satan has never injected one temptation into my soul which he has not thrown on him ; and though there was nothing in him that encouraged Satan, yet Satan tried to cast him down from the top of the temple; he tried to lift him up in self-consequence ; he tried to make him work a miracle for himself; shewing that tliere is not a temptation into which we are thrown, but our Lord has been in it before us. Have you aching bones? Think of the suffering humanity of the Lord. Is the world unkind ? Think of the suffering humanity of the Lord. Did he not feel it ? You may ask, " If he was so divested of all sins, how could he enter into my sins?" How could the pure soul of Adam be tempted? If you will answer me that question, I will answer you the other. May the Lord make us sit down at the feet of Jesus as new-born babes. Blessed posture, blessed name ! — to be a babe, taking the word as milk, and being fed by it. I
believe the day will come when the philosopher must become a babe, otherwise he will never enter the kingdom of heaven. The great end of all is, to live in the enjoyment of the compassions of Christ. What are the two directing truths ? Living by faith — living in obedience. First, living by faith: taking God simply at his word. First of all, receiving Christ as the Saviour of the sinner. Some of you are lagging and lingering outside the ark in forgetfulness of it. You want Christ to be the Saviour of the excellent, and the good, and the pious, and the fruit-bearing, instead of taking Christ as the Saviour of the poor sinner. But if God bring that gleam into your heart, you shall find it shall enlighten the room in which you live, and shed a glory on all the objects around you. The first truth is, receiving Christ as the Saviour of a poor sinner ; and what is the next lesson ? Living by faith on his fulness. I find myself weak, and incapable of thinking a good thought, or speaking a good word, or performing a good deed. Christ has all fulness for the poor, the needy, the empty. When I am weak, then he is strong. JIappy are tliey who are contentedly learning this lesson, to live out of themselves on the inexhaustible fulness of Immanuel. This is the way to enjoy much of the compassions of his heart, to be living by faith on the Son of God. The second truth is, living in obedience. " If any man love me, he will Keep 2 .\ 2
356 THE SYMPATHY OF CHRIST. my words." God give you and me grace to understand tliat trutli. Talk about revivals! if ever the pulpits of London have revivals, if ever the congregations of London have revivals, you will find this truth laid on the hearts and consciences of men, tViat in order to live holily, they must live by faith, receive Christ as a great Saviour, live on hiui in all his fulness, and live to him in the way of Dbedience. For though there is not necessarily a connexion between the obedience and the blessing, any more than there is between the furrow and the good seed, though there is no direct connexion, yet because God has declared that it is so, the mind in that posture is disposed to receive the blessing. There are shoots in some plants (as we see in the laurel) which seem to spring up in two or three weeks, there is such a vitality in them. So, when a soul is brought down, and kept down, brought to a simple reliance in the Saviour, up shoots the laurel, the soul makes a spring upwards toward God. Sometimes, in a few days, there is such an advance in the ways of God, as has not been made in years before. God lay these things on your hearts. Many are crying out, " My leanness, my leanness ;" of whom, if we knew them more, we should say, Ye are Achan, ye are Achan. They would not like us for it, because there is a state of soul in which the wounds are so fretful you cannot touch them : and if I come and touch some of your views, and you do not like it, be assured it proves the necessity of touching them.
Do not let us be surprised if much of the love of Christ should be nearly hid from you by circumstances. You receive a letter — the letter is full of disappointment ; you had expected just the opposite. You liad formed your schemes nicely; you had marked out the track in which you thought to walk; you thought yourself wise enough to read it; but God puts you in a directly opposite course. Some of you have to learn this lesson — " The greatest trial of my life lias been the greatest mercy of it ; I was brought low, and lie fed me." Some of you that are walking in the bitter paths of affliction, who are under heavy trials, and in such deep emergencies that you cannot describe them ; it may be that when you are in heaven you shall say, " Of all things in my life, next to the gift of Jesus Christ, next to the gift of the Holy Spirit, there was this gift of my long and trying troubles." Mav it be a message to us from God to be looking upward and forward to the blessed inheritance of tlie glory that eliall never fade! God grant it, for Christ's sake. Amen. 1. 68 FREE BOOKS http://www.scribd.com/doc/21800308/Free-Christian-Books
2. ALL WRITI GS http://www.scribd.com/glennpease/documents?page=970