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as to his essence, which fills, and must for ever fill, the universe, which He hath made and upholds ; but the removal of his favour, which may be eternal; as from the fallen angels, who were once high in his love, and in the glory that resulted from it, but who are now finally and hopelessly abandoned : or temporary; as He sometimes removes the sense and manifestation of his favour ; and seems to look upon the objects of his dearest love, as if they were strangers, although his affection towards them is, like his own nature, unchangeably the same.
It has been observed, that this latter desertion is justly distinguished, from its various ends and designs, into probationary, cautionary, chastening, and penal. Probationary desertions happen for proof and trial of the sincerity of grace, within the soul of a child of God. Cautionary desertions are meant to render sin an object of terror and hatred, when the mind
may have begun to look towards it, and to dwell upon its commission without horror, perhaps with even some degree of complacency, (as the Israelites turned back in their hearts towards Egypt;) by shewing the darkness and misery, that will beset the Christian, if he follow the leadings of that “ evil heart of unbelief which departeth from the living God.” Chastening desertions are the rods, wherewith our heavenly Father scourges the wandering members of his household, to shew them, and they who have felt such removals of the light of his countenance have sadly learned the lesson, and mourned over the instruction in dust and ashes,)“ that it is an evil and a bitter thing to forsake the Lord.” Penal desertions are those inflicted, as the just reward of sin. Of this sort was the desertion of Christ ;-a part, and an especial part, of that curse which God had pronounced against iniquity; and which, in the counsels of eternal love for man's redemption, He undertook to endure. In this sense, as the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all, can we understand the bold, and, until it be rightly considered, the hyperbolical assertion of Luther, that the Lord Jesus was indeed the chief of sinners. And truly, if the guilt of sin be measured by its visitation, He was so, through God's imputation of sin to Him as man's representative. “Is it nothing then to you, all ye
that pass by?” Hear the Lord Jesus, as it were, speaking in the person of deserted and forsaken Zion; “Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me, in the day of His fierce anger ?
Come then with me : and may the Spirit of understanding and love be among us, while we consider, ,
I. THE AWFUL IMPORT OF THIS AMA
II. SOME PRACTICAL INFERENCES DE
DUCIBLE FROM IT.
I. The words were assuredly spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ, in his human nature ;--that body, wherewith the Father had provided Him, being united with the Deity, the essential Godhead of his own dear Son, the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, -thus made capable of doing the will of God, as the righteousness of sinners; and of suffering the penalty of God's law, as their full and everlasting atonement for guilt ;anointed with the oil of gladness above all His fellows; supported and upheld by the indwelling divinity, raised from the dead, and exalted to the right hand of the throne of God, in order that He might continue his priestly office by the work of intercession; and from the abodes of his glory where He shall remain, until the restitution of all things, to see of the travail of his soul in the salvation of men, and in them, and with them to be abundantly and everlastingly satisfied. What was the nature of that dreadful desertion, of which He so affectingly besought, as it were, a reason from his Father ;-at which angels stood amazed, when they heard the cry, and which must have caused sadness, even in heaven itself, if the voice of sorrow can be heard there, when its glory was thus eclipsed, and its blessedness and joy thus sunk in sorrow, and gloom, and darkness? We are not to understand the separation of the Godhead from this human nature; and the manhood of Christ to be thus widowed of all that gave it happiness and glory: for that union is everlasting; and if it could cease, where would be the security that his people, one essentially with Him, would not also, in Him, be forsaken for ever of God, and left to the miseries of their own nature, without Him in the world ; and consequently, without every thing, for which a believer's soul should pant and pray ? Neither was our Lord deprived of his Father's affection. God had borne it towards Him from everlasting. He had declared it,