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them these natural motions of self-love, if they do but earnestly strive against them, and pray to him for more willingness under persecutions and sufferings. Let us therefore not only imitate Simon, in his reluctancy at first to take
after his example, derive strength from the fulness of Christ to overcome that reluctancy. For this man, by seeing the astonishing gentleness of Jesus Christ, who suffered himself to be led like a lamb to the slaughter, overcame the reluctant motions of nature; and afterwards held the reproach of Christ so dear, that by his means his two sons Alexander and Rufus became disciples of Jesus Christ, (Rom. xvi. 13.)
3. To do or suffer any thing for Christ's sake will perpetuate a man's name among the congregations of the saints.
Thus by Simon's bearing our Saviour's cross, his name has been transmitted down to this day ; so that wherever the gospel of Christ is known, mention is made of him. The same effect has the cross with regard to all those who, bear it in the fellowship of Christ, with patience, resignation, and joy. How honourable is it to the memory of a deceased christian, when one can glory, with truth, that he bore the yoke of Christ, and though dead, yet still liveth.This is the blessed and glorious path to true fame, and immortal reputation in the congregation of the saints; whereas all the other false encomiums, and renowned titles, with which the world emblazons the memmory of those who have signalized themselves in its service, at length go out in smoke and stench.
IV. In the last place, we are to consider what our blessed Saviour said as he was led to his crucifixion. Far from being struck dumb with terror and dejection, he performed this painful ignominious walk with a composed presence of mind. Undoubtedly he conversed more in silence with his Heavenly Father, than with men : However, he opened his mouth, and made known the thoughts of his heart to the latter in vem
remarkable words, which are recorded by St. Luke. No murmuring against his Father's decree escaped his lips, nor any imprecations, menacés, or invectives against his enemies; but if he opened his mouth on this occasion, it was to preach repentance. The cross being taken from our blessed Lord, and laid on Simon's shoulders, he made use of this interval of ease for speaking to the women that followed lamenting and bewailing him, and in their persons to the whole Jewish nation, such things as belonged to their peace. Those remarkable words of the blessed Jesus and the meaning of them, will be the subject of the following Consideration.
O FAITHFUL Saviour, praised be thy name, who didst suffer thyself to be led away to death, that we might have entrance into life. We bless thee for sanctifying, in the person of Simon, the bearing of the cross after thee, and taking away the reproach and curse from our cross in bearing it thyself. Make us, we beseech thee, ready and willing to follow thee our leader, wheresoever thou goest. Teach us to set a proper value on the fellowship of thy sufferings, and, in love to bear the burdens of others, that we may fulfil the law of Christ. Grant this for thy name sake, and bless for our edification those circumstances of thy meritorious passion, which we have now considered. Amen.
THE LAST PENITENTIAL SERMON OF THE LORD
HUMILIATION, IN THE YEAR 1725.
preached in his name; for the sake of his infinite love, bless the consideration of this his last penitential sermon to all our hearts ! Amen.
Dearly Beloved in the Lord, PENITENTIAL sermons have ever been in use from the beginning of the world. The first discourse of this kind was preached by God himself in Paradise, when he represented to our first parents, after the fall, their sin and transgression: when he recommended to them a constant enmity against satan and his works, and, at the same time, a lively faith in the promised seed of the woman, (Gen. ii. 9-19.) After this, God was pleased to expostulate with Cain, when he pined with envy and hatred against his brother Abel, in the fol. lowing words which are a kind of penitential sermon:
Why art thou wroth ? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted ? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door,' (Gen. iv. 6, 7.) What was thus begun by God himself, the great pattern of perfection, his faithful servants have continued in all succeeding ages. The devout patriarchs who lived before the deluge, and particularly Enos, Enoch, and Noah, were preachers of repentance and righteousness ; setting forth to the inhabitants of the antedeluvian world their heinous sins, and making known the Divine judgments which should coine upon them.
After the deluge, which, more than any penitential sermon, manifested the wrath of God from heaven against all the wicked ways of men, God began to preach repentance to those who survived, in which he represents that all the thoughts and imaginations of man's heart are evil from his youth; however, for the sake of another person, who was to bear and expiate the sin and curse, he was at the same time pleased graciously to promise, no more to curse the earth, For to destroy it by a new deluge, (Gen. viii, 21.) Since that remarkable ära, God has from time to
time raised up other faithful witnesses, to preach unte men the necessity of repentance and conversion to the living God, and of faith in the promised Messiah. This was the purport of the discourses of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, when, at the altars which they had
in several places, they called upon the name of the Lord,' (Gen. xii. 8.) This was the employment of Moses, Samuel, and all the other prophets. This was the office of John the Baptist and all the apostles, whom we find continually preaching repentance, and forgiveness of sins,' (Luke xxiv. 47. Acts xx. 21.)
But among all the penitential sermons inserted in the holy scriptures, none deserve greater attention than those of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, at the commencement and conclusion of his ministerial office, both on the account of the dignity of the speaker, and the importance of the subject. And as we now propose to consider the last penitential sermon delivered by the great author of our religion, in the days of his humiliation ; let us collect our thoughts, lift up our hearts to God, and pray unto him, that he will be pleased to bless this Consideration to the edification and salvation of our souls.
TIE TEXT.-Luke xxiii. 27-31. "And there followed him a great company of people and of women who also bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning unto them, said, daughters of
rusalem, weep not for me; but for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in which they shall say, blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps that never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, fall on us, and to the hills, cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?'
These words are the last penitential sermon of the Lord Jesus; in which we shall consider,
First, The true sense and meaning of the words.
I. This last penitential sermon of the Son of God was directed to the daughters of Jerusalem, i. e. the women who lived at Jerusalem, or those who, with respect to the Jewish worship, acknowledged it as the holy city, and the mother of them all. These women, amidst a prodigious multitude of people, now accompanied our blessed Lord, to his crucifixion : For the Evangelist observes, that a great multitude of people followed the blessed Jesus when he was led forth to Mount Golgotha; and among these probably were many foreign Jews and proselytes, who were at this time assembled from all parts of the world at Jerusalem, on account of the passover. The Lord Jesus in this instance also submitted to be led to death like any common criminal; it being customary for the people to flock together, when a malefactor is to be carried to his execution. But on such occasions, how few of the spectators reflect, that they have within them the seeds of that depravity which, in these unhappy objects, broke out into such enormous crimes ; or humbly praise God who has preserved them from such sins; or offer up a compassionate prayer for the criminals? Most of them are usually drawn thither, merely to gratify an idle curiosity ; and much the greater part of the multitude, which followed Christ to Golgotha, cannot be supposed to have had any better motive.
But among this concourse of people were also many women, some of whom had followed Jesus from Galilee, and others lived at Jerusalem. The Evangelist observes, that these women bewailed and lamented Jesus as he went along. These words in the original signify, that they not only shed tears, but expressed their grief by loud lamentations, and passionate gestures.
In most of these women, this mourning and bewailing possibly proceeded only from a mere natural com.