shed his own blood: as Zippora said to Moses: "Ab bloody husband hast thou been to me." So may Christ say to his Church: A bloody spouse hast thou been to me, that my blood must be shed for thee: "Had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;" that is, they would not have crucified God. He that was crucified, was the glorious Lord God. "You" denied the Holy One, and killed the Prince of life." Here is the matter, unless the Prince of life had been killed, thou couldst not have life. This the apostle sets down as the ground of all, before he comes to the particularities of his humiliation; and sets down who it was who was thus humbled: he whom the "heaven of heavens could not contain," he must descend into the lowermost parts of the earth; that is a descent indeed. His humiliation appears in this, that he who was thus high became a man; "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." In this humiliation consider, I say, these two points.

1. The person who was humbled.

2. The degrees of his humiliation. Some things have regard to the whole course of his life, others to the conclusion or period of his life. All his life from his incarnation to his passion, was a continual thread of humiliation from his cradle to his cross, from his womb to his tomb: so here is set down the humbled life of our blessed Saviour. For I would not have you think his humiliation consisted only in coming to the cross, when they so mercilessly handled him: it cost him more than so: as sinners have the curse of God on them in their life, as well as an accursed death. Though the heat came at the end of the tragedy, yet his whole life was a continual suffering. Consider the degrees of it.

1. He made himself of no reputation, ikévwσev έavròv, he emptied himself. It was the second person in the

b Exod. chap. 4. ver. 25.

c 1 Cor. chap. 2. ver. 8.

Trinity that thus humbled, and emptied himself (not in his divine nature, but his assumed,) of all his transcendent endowments.

Consider the particulars of it, he took on him the form of a servant; was not this a great humiliation? That the second person in the Trinity should stoop so low as to take on him the nature of one, who is not worth the looking on? That he should take dust and ashes upon him. God's greatness is thus expressed: "Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, who humbleth himself to behold the things in heaven, and in the earth: What humiliation is that? Compare these two humiliations together. It is an humiliation, to cast but his eye upon the heavens, to look upon the most glorious of all his works, to look upon the angels, but what is man that thou so regardest him? That thou shouldst not only look upon him, but take him up, and make him an inmate under thine own roof? This is a greater abasement, but here is a further degree, Christ during the time of his pilgrimage was content to deprive himself of his glory, that he now enjoys. By reason of his hypostatical union with the Godhead, he deserves all honour and glory; "When he brought his first begotten into the world, he said, And let all the angels worship him." Every knee bows to him that is thus highly exalted. We see Christ crowned with glory and honour, all dominion and power being made subject unto him, yet he for thirty-three years and a half was content to be exiled from his father's court. Glorify thou me with the glory I had with thee before the world was;" which is expounded in the Proverbs, where the wisdom of God was shewn before the world was framed. "Then I was by him as one brought up with him, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;" this was the work, before the foundation of the world, which God was doing, the Father was glorifying the Son, and the Son was glorifying the Father. The


e Psalm 113. ver. 5.

John, chap. 17. ver. 5.

f Heb. chap. 1. ver. 6.
h Prov. chap. 8. ver. 30.

Father took infinite delight in the Son, and the Son took infinite delight in the Father, and the Holy Ghost in them both. To be deprived of such a sight, and such a glory as this, and for thy sake to be banished from that high court, where not to enjoy that fulness of joy, was an emptying of himself: yet all this he did for thee.

2. He minded not his own things; if he had, he might have presently sat at God's right hand, where is fulness of joy for evermore: but his bowels yearned on us, and he took upon him the form of a servant, and was found in shape of a man, that is, as an ordinary man: we know what the nature of servitude is. Every man naturally desires liberty, but Christ that he might make thee free, was content to be bound as an apprentice, and endure a servile estate. Christ both in respect of God and man took on him the form of a servant.

1. For him to be God's servant was an humiliation, though for us, it be the greatest honour to be God's servants. St. Paul makes it his prime epithet: "Paul a servant of Jesus Christ." And David calls himself the servant of the Lord: "O Lord I am thy servant, truly I am thy servant." But it was an humiliation for Christ to become God's servant, and to take a nature on him, that he might say: “My father is greater than I; behold my Father and I were one," but now taking on me a human nature, I am become his servant : 66 Beholdi my servant in whom I am well pleased;" by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many. There is much difference in servants. A free servant and a bond servant. A very bondman doth Christ make himself, being man, and accounts it as great an honour as may be, not only to be his father's servant, but his bondman. Can I shew that there is any such humiliation as this? Look on, "Sacrifice and

burnt offerings thou wouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared me;" these words have relation to that of the Psalmist, "Sacrifice and burnt offerings thou didst not

i Isaiah, chap. 53.

k Heb. chap. 10. ver. 5.

desire, but mine ears hast thou opened;" it is in the margin, mine ears hast thou digged, or hast thou bored. The boring of the ear was an expression of everlasting servitude. Another servant that had not yet his ear bored, might be free at the year of redemption, at the seventh year: but if not, his ear was bored that he might be a servant for ever according to that: "Hem that loved his service so well as to have his ear bored, is a servant for evermore. Mine ear Lord hast thou bored, I will be thy servant for ever." Christ took on him the form of such a servant; nay Christ was more than an ordinary slave. He was one bound to an everlasting slavery, for he was the son of an handmaid: now the children of an handmaid were not to go forth at the year of jubilee. "The" wife and her children shall be her masters, and he shall go out by himself:" meaning thus: He that was the son of an handmaid, must be bound. Partus sequitur ventrem. Now that Christ was the son of an handmaid, we have Mary's own confession: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, and he hath looked upon the low estate of his handmaid." Hence David saith, "OP Lord I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid:" I am not only thy servant, but thy bond servant: I am he who was born in thy house and out of thy house I will never go. Thus is Christ a servant in respect of God.

But it is not only thus, he is not only a servant in regard of God, but he took on him the form of a servant in respect of men too. Look what relations are between men, that have superiority, and subjects; Christ, who was born a free child, yet made himself a servant unto man: he had a reputed father, but a true, and a natural mother: from the twelfth year of his age, till the thirtieth, he went with them, and was subject unto them. No apprentice was more subject to his master in his trade, than he was to his reputed father; he kept him close unto his trade. Look on him out of the family, in the commonwealth: he paid

m Exod. chap. 21. ver. 4.

• Luke, chap. 1. ver. 38. 48. 4 Luke, chap. 2. ver. 51.

n Exod. chap. 21.

P Psalm 116. ver. 61.


tribute. He might stand upon his privilege: "Of whom do the kings of the earth exact tribute?" They an"Of strangers: Then are the children free." If the son of a temporary prince be free, how much more shall the Son of God be free? But yet it behoves us to fulfil all righteousness. He would be a subject unto Cæsar, and in recognition of his subjection he would pay tribute, though he fetched it out of the fish's belly. Hence the apostle tells us, "For this cause pay you tribute, to testify your subjection." Neither was Christ only a servant to them who were in some authority, but generally among men he was in the state of a servant. "Thes son

of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." Not to be a master to command, and have others to attend him; but he came to be a servant; see in what esteem he was had. We account a servant in the next degree unto a beast; for liberty is that whereby a man breathes, and a man were better be dead, than have his liberty took from him; and so Christ was not only a bondman in regard of his Father, but in regard of men. In the estimation of men he was vilified for a bondman: and that will appear by the price for which he was sold. It was thirty pieces of silver. To consider what the price was, is a considerable part of his passion. There is a prophecy cited out of Jeremiah in your books, but it is Zachariah; though I have seen some copies which mentioned neither, but only, "according to the words of the prophet;" it is: "Cast' it unto the potter, a goodly piece that I was priced at of them." He speaks it with disdain; "Andt I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord." There is a place parallel to it, which will expound it clearly; "If an ox shall push a man-servant,' or a maid-servant that he die, the owner of the ox shall give to the master of the servant thirty shekels, and the ox-shall be stoned." It was the very price that was paid for a slave: thirty she

Rom. chap. 13.

Matt. chap. 26. ver. 28.

« VorigeDoorgaan »