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borious journey, till at Calvary he finished his course upon the cross; insomuch that he could say, at the very time when his public ministry was most frequented and applauded, “ The foxes have holes, and the 56 birds of the air have nests, but the Son ♡of man hath not where to lay his head." But this was not the only, nor even the worst kind of poverty, to which he voluntarily submitted. • He made himself,” that is, he consented to be made, “ of no “ reputation.” For though multitudes occasionally admired and applauded him, yet these were generally persons in the lowest ranks of life. The rich, the learned, and the powerful, among the Jews, were statedly combined to distress him on every fide. They practised every art to defame his character, and to render both his person and his ininistry the objects of popular contempt and hatred : till at length they were permitted to prevail so far, as to get him condemned by a fentence of the supreme court of their own nation, and then adjudged by the Roman governor to the death of a llave; which was executed with every circumstance of indignity and torture that the most inventive malice and cruelty could devise. Thus poor did our Lord become ; not by constraint, or the hand of violence, for that was impossible ; but of his own free choice; as it is written, Philip. ii. 6,
8. “ He who was in the form of God, and
thought it not robbery to be equal with « God, made himself of no reputatio., and “ took upon him the form of a fervant, and
was made in the likeness of men: And
being found in fashion as a man, he hum“ bled himself, and became obedient unto
death, even the death of the cross."
III. But for whose fake did he thus become poor? This is the third particular mentioned in the text; which manifests and commends the riches of his grace.--It was for us the children of men, creatures but of yesterday, whose foundation is in the duft. We are indeed poor in every sense of the expression. Our life is the gift of another, and wholly dependent upon His sovereign pleasure. All the materials for fupporting it lie without ourselves; we
must go abroad in quest of them ; and the fame hand that provides them, can either withdraw them, or put them beyond our reach, or with-hold that blessing which alone can render them effectual for the fuf, tenance of that precarious life we poflefs : “ If he hideth his face, we are troubled ;, if “ he taketh away our breath, we die.”
Thus poor we all are, and necessarily must be, as creatures : but when I add, that we are finners, poverty is too feeble a word to convey the fainteft idea of our forlorn condition. A person may be
poor, and yet uwe nothing to any man: but sin is not merely want; it is positive debt. Again, a man who is both poor and in debt, may be healthy and strong ; so that by diligence and hard labour, he may not only procure the necessaries of life, but even be able in time to do justice to his creditors : but fin is disease as well as debt: it is the sickness of the soul, which wastes its strength, and renders it incapable of doing, nay, disinclined
disinclined to attempt, any thing for the recovery of its health and vigour. Once more, the most infolvent
debtor may, by flight, get beyond the reach of his creditor : but to what place can a finner flee where God is not present ? whose essential goodness is the irreconcileable enemy of fin, and only clothes itself with justice to condemn and punish it. In short, our Lord's description of the Laodiceans, “ wretched, miserable, poor, « blind, and naked,” is the picture of eveFy
child of Adam in his natural state, with the same fatal inscription written over his head, " He knoweth it not." And did he who was rich ;-he whom we had offended; -he who stood in no need of us ;-he who passed by creatures of a superior order, leaving them to inherit the misery they had chosen, and in our punishment, as well as in theirs, might have displayed and glorified the perfection of his own nature ;--did he, I say, for our fakes become poor? How aftonishing this grace !--how impossible to be credited, if he himself had not declared it!
IV. Let us now inquire, in the fourth place, for what end was it that he did this?
It would justly have been deemed an act of uncommon generosity, had he fimply discharged the debt we were unable to pay, that being relieved of that burden, we might be at liberty to earn a scanty subsistence by our future labour and industry. It would have been a higher act of generosity, to raise us at once above poverty, and the fear of want, by supplying us from his own stores with the necessaries of life, “ feeding us, as Agur expressed his wish, “ with food “ convenient for us." But the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ proposed an end still higher than this : He become poor, faith the Apostle, “ that we might be rich ;" that is, possessed of every thing that could render us completely happy. Here it is that grace shines forth in its sweetest and most transcendent glory. But how shall we describe what e eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither « hath it entered into the heart of man tơ “ conceive?” The best assistance I can give jou, is to select from Scripture a few of those passages that speak of the riches which Christ doth at present confer upon
his people; and then leave your own minds to