The Sufferings of Christ

J. N. Darby.
From the "Bible Treasury," 1858-9.
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173 The sufferings of our blessed Lord are too solemn, too holy, a subject to dispose one who feels he owes his all to them, to make them a subject of dispute or controversy. It is my desire to avoid this, yet not so as to let disastrous and fatal error overcome my heart.

I judge, too, that it is much to be desired that the "Bible Treasury" should not be a journal of controversy, but occupy itself with the positive putting forth of truths such as the Church of God requires, and which edify and enlighten it. I am satisfied that in the unwonted movement of mind, the intellectual craving, and that which always accompanies such a movement, the unsettling of the minds of thousands, upon all manner of important questions which exist at present, the most useful and necessary task for a servant of Christ in connection with such a publication is to furnish food to meet the requirements of men's minds with truth, which, by solidly satisfying their awakened desire, may peacefully guard them against being blown about by every wind of doctrine; while holding fast fundamental truth, to give from the divine mind revealed to us in the word what can carry the soul, while steadying it at the same time, really beyond the most venturesome and dangerous flights of human intellectualism. The Christian, through grace, can hope to do this, because he draws not from his own resources, but from the word of God, from divine sources of truth. Such, I am satisfied, ought the "Bible Treasury" to be in order to be useful.

174 I am not unapprized, though happily living out of the reach of most of the religious warfare that is abroad in England, that an attack has been made, without naming them, on persons alleged to hold certain views as to the sufferings of Christ, and that they are declared to be semi-Socinians. I do not think that such an attack deserves an answer — at any rate it does not burden me much; and I do not feel disposed to mix up questions that relate to the sufferings of Christ with so small a matter as personal attacks of the kind. The Wesleyans (whatever the correctness of their views on other points may be) would be surprised to find themselves to be semi-Socinians for such a phrase as this in Bunting's sermon on justification by faith, which I happen to have lying before me: "It is only as a Lamb slain that He takes away our sins." Indeed, the errors, which are said to be renewed and declared to be evil in the passage quoted by the accuser, are blamed because they divide the orthodox. Do they count semi-Socinianism orthodox? But enough and too much.

Multitudes of saints, with perhaps undefined apprehensions of the manner of the application of the sufferings of the blessed Lord to their profit, look at all the sufferings of Christ with an adoring feeling of their infinite value, and believe that all are for themselves, undergone, in love to them, and the means of their blessing. I can only pray God that this feeling may be deepened in them and in myself too. I do not believe one sorrow was wanting to Christ, nor one sigh of His which had not infinite value, nor which is not precious for me, and (blessed be God!) a part of my blessing. He has given Himself for us, and this was a part of that giving, or the fruit of it. We cannot feel it too deeply. The true question lies beyond all this, and is not touched on in the attack I have referred to, which is a additional reason for my not replying to it as such.

175 What I object to and judge to be evil in what is afloat among Christians is not even the doctrine that the sufferings of Christ during His lifetime were vicarious. Even where this is incorrectly stated, I might seek in such a case to make the apprehensions of the mind clearer, where it was needed; but in no case, that I am aware of, should I have an idea of treating it as heretical. On the contrary, the doctrine which I denounce as evil, where it has been carefully developed and justified (and the author of these views is in the good esteem of the writer of the article I refer to) teaches very specifically that the sufferings of the blessed Lord, during His lifetime, were not vicarious; that it is a mistake and an error to hold them so It teaches that they were the consequence of His association by birth with man and with Israel, and that Christ had all the experiences which an unconverted man ought to have. It teaches that Christ was dried up and withered by Jehovah's anger, not vicariously, but by reason of the place He was in This is what I abhor. I do not find the persons so jealous of semi-Socinianism moved to this jealousy by these and the like doctrines, nor others almost equally mischievous, in those they applaud and quote. And this abominable doctrine as to Christ has gone very far. Tracts are published, in which the darkness of unbelief in us, and an inability to pray, are declared to be the partaking of the sufferings of Christ; and that when a Christian doubts of his salvation, this too is the fellowship of Christ's sorrow.

"There were moments," I read, "when Jesus had fears for His ultimate deliverance and safety … He entreated, at least, that a way of escape might be left Him, that He might not be shut in in hopeless despair! Oh, what deep depths we may be led into through our own prayer to know the 'fellowship of his sufferings'; yet who that remembers what joint heirship with Him involves, can expect, or even desire, entire exemption from them? …" That is, in desiring to have part in Christ's sufferings, we may get into despair, or all but. Was this doubting His own deliverance vicarious in Christ? What is it in those who come into it after He has wrought a perfect redemption? Nor is this all. I read, "Jesus knew what it was to be apparently set fast in His onward course, as is strikingly expressed under the figure of miry clay. 'I sink in deep mire [margin, mire of the depth], where there is no standing.' 'Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink.' 'He brought me up also out of the miry clay, out of an horrible pit.' It was no light thing that made Jesus express Himself thus. He knew what it was, by painful experience, to be in such a position. Thus He says in Psalm 38:16-17, 'When my foot slipped (who but knows the difficulty of walking in miry clay without slipping?) they magnify themselves against me, for I am ready to halt.' He would have shrunk back if He could consistently with His Father's will. 'If it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.' What comfort is this for believers when they are ready to halt (set fast)!"

176 What shall I say to such language? I know not with any certainty whose it is. I have understood that they are the statements of a deceased female, whose life and correspondence I have never seen. Wisdom might have corrected and set them right, if this be so, when she was living; but they have been published as tracts for edification by those who have approved of them, and I am entitled to treat them as theirs. Is suffering vicarious when it is our privilege to pass through the same, and doubt of our ultimate deliverance, as Jesus appears to have had fear for His? Did the Lord slip vicariously? No, reader, you have the fruit, and that published by teachers as piety, of the system I denounce. It is largely afloat. It may be more guarded by the theologians, more nakedly stated when a female's feelings are possessed by it; but the doctrine, the root and principle of it, belongs to a whole school of doctrine.* You have some of the ripe fruits here. Christ slipped, "and who but knows the difficulty of walking in miry clay without slipping?"

{*A popular book of piety, the "Night of Weeping," is unequivocally infected with this doctrine.}

I do not charge the whole school with accepting such fruits as these, but I do charge their principles and their doctrine with being the root which bears them. Some who published the tracts and the biography (if what I am informed be correct) must have been brought, by being habituated to this doctrine and the ignorant application of Psalms and other parts of scripture to Christ, to see what was edifying in saying that Christ's foot slipped — He not having succeeded in overcoming the difficulty of not doing so; and that this is a great comfort for believers when they are set fast in the mire — it is to be supposed when they slip too; and this is the fellowship of His sufferings! Seasons of spiritual darkness are an answer to a prayer to know Him, and the fellowship of His sufferings! "and in no case, perhaps, can Christian experience be more fully or minutely traced out, as a real participation in the sufferings of Jesus Christ, the Head of His body."

177 A justification of the darkness of unbelief — not the travailing sorrows of love for others, which, however, are here confounded with them, but of darkness and almost despair for oneself, viewed as the fellowship of Christ's sufferings — is beyond all, I avow, that I could ever have imagined the perversion of a misguided mind could have led to. If it was vicarious in Christ, I suppose these doctors must make it so in the Christian now, for it is the fruit of his prayers for fellowship in Christ's sufferings. It is not, they tell us, unbelief, but privilege; not a needed exercise of heart, but a conferred one; not one whose blessing is a needed one for the soul who goes through it — its own humiliation or its discipline. For whom is it undergone? Indeed, in the same tract it is said that Christ is to see of the travail of His soul, and Gethsemane and the cross are specifically referred to. So, it is said, ministers travail in birth for their little children, till Christ be formed within them. And this is circulated as beautiful piety. I do not trust myself to express what I feel. It was said by the leader of this school, referring to Christ, that we need not be surprised if a person going up an ice mountain with a heavy load on his back should slip. This ripens under female feeling into the declaration that He did — a conclusion necessarily drawn from this abuse of the Psalms fairly followed out. And these public teachers go a step farther now, and comfort believers with the thought that Christ actually slipped, His path was so difficult.

But I repeat, it is the just and natural fruit of a school of doctrine admired by very many really Christian people. The tree is known by its fruits.

That Christ suffered every possible sorrow which can come upon man through sin (I do not speak, I need hardly say, of final condemnation); and that all His sorrows were, in one way or other (for they were various), the consequence and fruit of sin, though of His own love too, is most preciously true. That in all my sorrows and temptations and trials, even those which come through my faults and infirmities, I may know that He feels either with or for me, is of infinite value. But to make the infirmities of my faith, my hours of darkness, and unbelieving fears of final failure, the fellowship of His sufferings, and His slipping, a comfort to my soul, is the last excess of spiritual pride and folly.

178 But the principle which has borne this fruit connects itself on one side with the question of the vicariousness of Christ's life, at least by the view taken of it by the school I have in view, because the true character of wrath against sin and atonement is lost sight of. It is this last point which I would desire now to give its just place to, and leave all controversy connected with it pretty much aside, though I shall refer to the opinion of old writers.

We cannot have too deep a sense of the depth of the Lord's suffering in His atoning work, of that which no human word is competent to express (for in human language we express but our own feelings) — what the Lord's drinking the cup of divine wrath was to Him. With this nothing can be mingled and mixed up. Divine wrath against sin, really felt and truly felt in the soul of One who, by His perfect holiness and love to God and sense of God's love in its infinite value, could know what divine wrath was, and what it was to be made sin before God, of One too who was by virtue of His Person, able to sustain it, stands wholly apart and alone. Dreadful as the anticipation of it must have been, as it surely was, it was not that which was anticipated. No simple fact of death, dreadful as it was to the Prince of life, still less any human suffering, real and absolute as His were (and without one eye to pity, one heart to feel with the sufferer), could be put on a level with divine wrath.

Hence, in Psalm 22, the Lord expresses it Himself alone; He refers to the violence and wickedness of man in that Psalm; He refers to His own sense of weakness; and, in the midst of all that, contrasts with it God's being far from Him, as the distinct point of conflict in it, but openly declares that in all sorrow where others had help, God had forsaken Him. Hence, as has been said elsewhere, the fruit of this is unmingled grace, and grace and blessing alone, because it was wrath and suffering from God for sin. Sorrows from man's hand might and will bring judgment, if viewed as the fruit of enmity of will; the forsaking of God when Christ is made sin — who is to be judged for that? No, this stands absolutely and wholly alone, and Christ wholly alone in it. It works atonement, expiation. Can anyone else suffer what works this? Hence Christ puts Himself wholly alone in this Psalm 22 — contrasts Himself with others who are believers. They trusted God and were delivered. He was forsaken. Suffering can go on of the deepest and most poignant kind, distress and anxiety even in respect of sin: sufferings can go on even to death with its terrible power as such over the heart of man — can culminate to the very point where wrath is also found; but all close and reach their limit here; all stop totally and wholly in their nature short of the wrath and forsaking of God. They have their place and character as elements of human sorrow, however extreme; but all give way when this is there. Who could feel sorrow though sorrow was there, when wrath, God's wrath against sin, is there? Not merely bitter consequences on the sinner, even to death, for all that is true — and Christ has trodden that path — but divine wrath as such against sin — this stands alone: woe be to him who does not know it.

179 Hence even in Psalm 69, far, very far, as it goes in the sorrows and sufferings of Christ, and that in connection even with sins known to God, long as may be His cry, and to sense and feeling long unheard; yet the Spirit can introduce others into the same place. I do not say they suffer as much or as deeply — surely not; but they could suffer in the same way, because of the position their own sins have brought them into.* "For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded" (v. 26). Hence judgment is looked for on them. It is not atonement. These sufferings from man bring judicial visitation on man. In Psalm 22 not a trace of associating others, or others being associated, with the Lord in His sorrow. All suffering saints are, as we have seen, contrasted with Him. When the redemption is accomplished by it, when He has been heard from the horns of the unicorn, then indeed He associates His brethren with Him; but it is in deliverance, joy, and peace. Who could make atonement, or bear wrath for its accomplishment, but one? In every other sorrow we can bear a part.

{*I have altered this sentence to make its sense clear. It refers to Christ's entering into the sorrows of the remnant, fully explained elsewhere. It ran, "in the same way in the same position" — Christ having entered into these same sorrows in grace; just as by grace He tasted death.}

180 And this difference between Psalm 22 and Psalm 69 is so marked that in Psalm 69, while dwelling on the sufferings which came upon Christ on His drawing near to death, and giving the cry of deep distress as to state and circumstances as its thesis, instead of presenting to us His being forsaken of God while crying to Him, says, "But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Jehovah, in an acceptable time; O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, and in the truth of thy salvation" (v. 13). Hence, even in the expression of His anguish and sorrow, deep as it was, we have no word like Psalm 22; "but thou hearest not." Now it is impossible that a spiritual mind, one who knows something of the value of divine favour and being able to look to Him, however deep and inward the distress, be it even through sins and failures, can fail to understand the immense and absolute difference of these two states: equally impossible, it is true, yea, blessedly so, to fathom the depth of that which Psalm 22 expresses.

Now it is the sense of the true bearing of wrath — direct wrath from God — when made sin and suffering it, the being, as to the state of His soul, really forsaken of God, and because of sin, so that it was necessary and deserved, though through others, but really undergone — that it is of the very last importance, fundamentally important, to keep quite clear and fast hold of and maintain, and to hold as a clear foundation of everlasting truth. As regards the truth itself, I repeat, no divinely-taught mind, however obscure it may be as to the doctrine of the proper nature and character of Christ's living sufferings — however it may (through feelings) run up the depths of Christ's sorrow into mixing with those sorrows His atoning work — no divinely-taught mind will, as to the positive truth, fail to distinguish from all else the reality of Christ's own soul bearing the direct inflicted wrath of God, and the forsaking of God, which in grace He underwent — will fail to distinguish this from all other sorrow and suffering, however deep, in which He could say, for example, "But as for me, my prayer is unto thee in an acceptable time," in which He did not say, "But thou hearest not." He may find many passages difficult to explain — may be confused by the reasonings of others. He may, as to his feelings, confuse anticipating the cup of wrath and drinking it. We have all, more or less, done this; but when the real bearing of wrath from God, the wrath of God for sin, is before his soul and conscience, he will bow his soul before that solemn work, he will know that Christ stood alone in it: nor will he ever mix it up, for one instant, with sorrow, however deep, in which others could bear a part. In all sorrows of active love, in all brought upon us by the government of God for sin, we — at any rate man — (as for example the Jewish remnant, and, in principle, sinners under the law) can bear a thankful part, or have to bow under it. Reproach may break man's heart; he may stand alone and be forsaken of men; he may cry out of the depths, because of sin; but bear the weight of wrath he knows he could not. He adores when he finds another has done it. But this demands a more orderly exposition.

181 There is a double character of suffering besides atoning work, which Christ has entered into and which others can feel: the sufferings arising from active love in the world; and the sorrow arising from the sense of chastenings in respect of sin, and these mixed with the pressure of Satan's power on the soul, and the terror of foreseen wrath. In the former we suffer with Christ as privilege; in the latter we suffer for our folly and under God's hand, but Christ has entered into it.* He sympathizes with us. But all this is distinct from suffering instead of us, so as to save us from the suffering, undergoing God's wrath that we might not. In atonement He suffers for us, in service we suffer with Him: in our distresses about sin and agony of mind He felt with us.

{*I have fully explained this in the introduction, so that I do not add any explanation here nor make any change.}

We shall see that the Lord Himself and the teachings of the gospels clearly distinguish the sufferings of Christ during His ministry here, and His closing sufferings, and these last (even though taking place at the same time) from His atoning work. As soon as the Lord was baptized of John, the Holy Ghost came upon Him and He entered on His public ministry; but as a first and introductory step to it, He was led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. He overcame, the strong man was bound, and He proceeded to spoil his goods; He went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him. Let it be possession, sickness, death: all and every fruit of the power of the enemy disappeared before His word. He went through sorrow — reproach from man, He took their burdens upon Himself. I have no doubt that Christ never healed a sick man without bearing in His spirit and heart the burden of it, as the fruit and power of evil: but all this was the activity of His love. "Himself bare our infirmities and carried our sicknesses." This is said, remark, when He healed them. Bearing our griefs and sorrows, and delivering us from them by power, is not bearing our sin itself under the wrath of God.

182 But further, Satan was not with Him in the way of direct temptation during the course of His ministry. We read in Luke, "And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season." But at the close of His life He could say, "Henceforth I will not talk much with you, for the prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me," etc. Here a distinct change takes place again as to the position of the Lord in respect of the presence of Satan. Hence He could say to those who came from the chief priests afterwards, "But this is your hour and the power of darkness." Previously He had sat daily with them in the temple, and they had laid no hands on Him; but this (terrible word for these unhappy men!) was their hour and the power of darkness. He that had the power of death was busy there with the Lord, nor did He withdraw Himself from the trial. His soul was exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death, and he who had the power of darkness brought it all to bear upon His soul; but even here He could look for His disciples to watch with Him. They could be sifted as wheat, though their only resource (as that hour came on with real power) was to flee, or they entered into the temptation; at least when they knew not the power of the Holy Ghost working in them, for they should follow Christ afterwards, as He told Peter at least. This difference of His own position the Lord marks to them very clearly: "When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now he that hath a purse let him take it, and likewise his scrip, and he that hath no sword let him sell his garment and buy one; for I say unto you that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors, for the things concerning me have an end."

Now all was changed. Before, He had protected them by His divine power, by which He wrought in the world. Now, while His divine Person was ever the same, and His power in itself unchangeable, He was to be rejected and suffer. The glory would come, but first He must suffer many things, and be rejected of that generation. This He taught specially to His disciples from the time of Peter's confession of Him as Son of the living God, from the transfiguration onward, and in His last journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. Not that He was suffering these things then — His hour, we read in John, was not yet come — but He taught them that He must. (See Matt. 16:21; ch. 17:12: "shall suffer," — mellei paschein — and chap. 17:22. Mark 8:13; Luke 9:22.) And it is the more remarkable because it is then He charges His disciples to tell no man He was the Christ, saying, "the Son of man must suffer." He was giving up, practically, His ministry of the circumcision for the truth of God, the witness of Jehovah Messiah,* and about to enter on another, the sufferings of the Son of man. It will be remarked that it is on the suggestion of this title also to His spirit by the coming up of the Greeks, in John 12, that His cross and death rise up at once before His soul. (Compare Psalm 2 and the use made of Psalm 8 by the apostle in Hebrews 2.)

{*This, however, was continued in patience up to His entry into Jerusalem on the ass, when He announces the vineyard was to be taken away from them.}

183 But to return to our immediate point. He tells them that He was about to suffer. We have seen that the prince of this world was to come. Satan entered into Judas, and it was the hour of His enemies and the power of darkness. This He spoke at the time He met the band from the chief priests, at the close of Gethsemane. Here there was a distinctly announced and openly declared change that took place in the character of the Lord's service and suffering — His position. It was not His service as Prince of life, though He ever was this and proved it, spoiling the goods of His vanquished enemy; "the prince of this world cometh." It is the power of darkness, and His undergoing it in agony for our sakes — His soul sorrowful, even unto death — the whole power on His own soul of the enemy, as having the power of death: still this was yet in communion and supplication with His Father about it, and heard of Him. And here we have the most distinct and definite revelation from His own lips, that He was not yet drinking the cup which His Father gave Him to drink. He prays that He might not drink it, that if it were possible the cup might pass from Him, but that if not unless He drank it, His submission to His Father's will was perfect. Here, doubtless, His soul enters in the deepest way into what it was that He had to drink — it was sorrowful, even unto death; but being in an agony (conflict) He prayed more earnestly. He was heard. He did not take the cup from man's hand, nor from Satan's hand, though both were there to press Him down, and all His weakness felt as man; but He goes through the thought of that, and death itself, in heard supplication with Him who was able to save Him from it, and takes the cup in perfect peace, as to man and Satan's power of darkness, from His Father's hand, and offers Himself freely, that none that the Father had given Him might be lost. (See John 18:4-11.) The Father had given Him the cup to drink. He does not draw back from it, but freely offers Himself for us. Had He not done so in blessed obedience, He had only to walk away before His prostrate pursuers, or have demanded legions of angels to free Him from their power. But how should the scriptures have been fulfilled? But on the cross all is finished. God forsakes Him, and all the wrath of God is poured out on Him who knew no sin, but was made sin for us — on One who in His fully-tried life knew no sin. If any there had been, or any had been possible, the time for consciousness of it had been then. Every trial which could have drawn it out, if it had been there to be conscious of, had reached its full height; but the spotless offering on which no yoke had been, He who offered Himself without spot to God, was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. He made His soul an offering for sin, as it is said too in the passage of Isaiah, referred to by the Lord Himself (Luke 22:37) as that which was yet to come, "and he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors, and bare the sins of many.

184 And now, before I go farther, I ask, Is not His death presented in scripture as that by which redemption was wrought — His precious blood as its efficacious means? Have we not redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins? Is it not by the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot? Is it not declared that without shedding of blood there is no remission? Let the reader take Hebrews 9, which I shall allow myself to quote here in full. It is well worth all human authority, be they of what age they may. "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us]. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator; for a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Whereupon neither the first [testament] was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover, he sprinkled likewise with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was, therefore, necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment; so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation" (v. 11-28).

185 Let the reader remark that "without shedding of blood is no remission" — the declaration that He must often have suffered if He was to offer Himself often, as the high priest with the blood of others, but that it was once, in the end of the world, He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." Let him turn to chapter 10, where, in contrast with standing for daily ministrations, "this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down." Was the way into the holiest to be opened? It was through the rent veil, that is to say, His flesh. Indeed, if we examine the value of the death of Christ, what do we find attached to it in scripture?

186 Do I need redemption? We have redemption through His blood, an eternal redemption, for "neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption."

Do I need forgiveness? That redemption which I have through His blood is the forgiveness of sins — yea, without shedding of blood is no remission.

Do I need peace? He has made peace through the blood of His cross.

Do I need reconciliation with God? Though we were sinners, yet now hath He reconciled us by the body of His flesh through death, to present us holy and unblamable, and unreprovable in God's sight. When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son.

Do I desire to be dead to sin and have the flesh crucified with its affections and lusts? I am crucified with Christ. "Knowing this that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed; for in that he died, he died unto sin once, and in that he liveth, he liveth unto God." This is my deliverance also from the charge and burden of the law which has dominion over a man as long as he lives.

Do I feel the need of propitiation? Christ is set forth as a propitiation through faith in His blood. The need of justification? I am justified by His blood.

Would I have a part with Christ? He must die; for except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone; if it die, it brings forth much fruit.

Hence, unto what am I baptized as the public expression of my faith? As many of us as have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into His death; for what indeed has broken down the middle wall of partition and let in the Gentiles, slaying the enmity and reconciling Jew and Gentile in one body to God? The cross. How have we boldness to enter into the holiest? By the blood of Jesus, by that new and living way which He has consecrated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh; for till that was rent, the Holy Ghost signified by it that the way into the holiest was not yet made manifest.

187 Hence it was a lifted up Christ that was the attractive point for all. "If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me."

In the power of what was the great Shepherd of the sheep brought again from the dead? Through the blood of the everlasting covenant.

How was the curse of the law taken away from those who were under it? By Christ's being made a curse for them; as it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.

How are we washed from our sins? He has loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, for His blood cleanseth from all sin.

If I would be delivered from the world, it is by the cross, by which the world is crucified to me, and I unto the world.

If the love of Christ constrains me towards men in the thought of the terror of the Lord, how is it so? Because I thus judge, if One died for all, then were all dead; and they that live should live not to themselves, but to Him who died for them and rose again. Hence the apostle knew no man after the flesh — no, not even Christ. All was a new creation. If I would live in divine power, it is always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may be manifested in my mortal body. If He would institute a special remembrance to call Him to mind, it was a broken body and shed blood. It is not less a Lamb as it were slain that is found in the throne.

All was love, no doubt; but do I want to learn it? Hereby we know it that He laid down His life for us, and that even of God in that He loved us and gave His Son as a propitiation for our sins. It is to the sprinkling of that precious blood of Christ that we are sanctified, and to obedience; and through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once (contrasted with the many Jewish sacrifices) sanctified and perfected for ever, so that there is no more offering for sin; for, having offered one sacrifice for sins, He is set down for ever at the right hand of God.* For He should not offer Himself often, as the high priest entered into the holy place once every year with the blood of others; for then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world; but now once in the end of the world He hath appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself: for as it is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment, so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, and to them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

{*I reject entirely as utterly senseless, what is become somewhat the fashion — the reading it, "one sacrifice for ever." It does not, however, touch our present subject.}

188 Do I desire, therefore, my conscience purged? It is through the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God.* For it is by means of death that there is the redemption of the transgressions which were under the first covenant, and in that view He became Mediator. Indeed, a testament could have no force while the testator lived.

{*Note this, and indeed all these passages, for they shew what is the meaning of Christ's offering Himself to God.}

Do I seek the destruction of the power of Satan? It is through death that He destroyed (the power of) him that had the power of death.

What do I find to be the central object of Christ's coming — the groundwork of His glory as man? We see Him made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour, that He by the grace of God might taste death for every man. And even the purifying and reconciling all things in heaven and earth depends on this (Heb. 9:23; Col. 1:20).

Would He sanctify even the Jewish people to Himself? It must be by His blood, suffering, rejected, without the gate. No remission for us, no privileges of the new covenant for us, nor establishing of it with them, without this blood: redemption is not without it. The living sinner as such cannot be presented to God, nor a living Christ offer that by which the sinner must draw nigh. The veil remains unrent, the conscience unpurged, the propitiation unaccomplished. God forbore with the Old Testament saints, and has shewn His righteousness in doing so now — a righteousness now declared in that propitiatory set forth through faith in Christ's blood. It is alleged, indeed, that He came to do God's will in taking the place of the sacrifices, and that His obedience during life is available in expiation; but we read, "by the which will we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."

189 It is alleged that His living obedience had the same legal character as His death. Is it the same thing, then, to obey the law with unfeigned heart, so as to be perfectly acceptable to God personally, and to bear its curse for others under the wrath and judgment of God? Is it possible that Christians, who know what the need of their own souls as sinners is, can use such reasoning?

Having thus proposed the blessed value of Christ's death from scripture, and leaving it to its own force without comment, allow me to go yet a little farther into the elements and character of His sufferings as available for us, so that we may the more fully appreciate His grace. Man may be looked at morally in three conditions: first, as a sinner under condemnation; secondly, as a saint through grace, partaker of the divine nature, and of the Holy Ghost as his force; and, thirdly, as suffering, though awakened, quickened, and upright in desire, under the exercises of a soul learning, when a sinner, the difference of good and evil under divine government in the presence of God, not fully known in grace and redemption, whose judgment of sin is before his eyes, exposed to all the advantage that Satan can take of him in such a state — such suffering, for example, as is seen in the case of Job. Christ has passed through all these kinds of suffering — only the last, of course, as Himself a perfect being, to learn it for others;* I need not say that He was perfect in all. But what met the first condition, that of a sinner under condemnation, He went through as actually bearing sin, and so enduring wrath vicariously for others, that they never might have it to endure. The second He was truly in Himself, nay, our leader in that path.

{*Guarded as this statement is by the preceding words, it is what has been especially used against me by Mr. T. Ryan and all his followers, as setting Christ in a false position. But no unprejudiced mind could use it to signify the state Christ was in. It refers on the face of it to the sufferings of Christ because others were in that condition; or Christ would be a sinner under condemnation, and a saint through grace, and He learning when a sinner the difference of good and evil. The last kind of suffering is immediately guarded, only because there was the possibility of misconception. People have confounded His going through the sufferings in His own soul, and being in the state or relationship which occasioned them. He did pass through such sufferings in His spirit; but it was because they belonged to others who were in the state which brought them on, and that He passed through that which makes Him to enter into such. Thus He was upright, feared death and wrath, cried to God with them before Him. What is spoken of is the kind of sufferings, and Jesus' spirit realizing them. If any prefer "realized in His own soul," I have no objection; only Messiah was really cut off. It is what was meant by passing through them, as is evident on the face of the sentence. The whole matter is explained in the introduction.}

190 To the first of these conditions, our being under judgment and condemnation for sin, Christ's death upon the cross is the divine answer in expiation. All that God was in His nature, He was necessarily against sin; for, though He was love, love has no place in wrath against sin, and the withdrawal of the sense of it, consciousness in the soul of the privation of God, is the most dreadful of all sufferings — the most terrible horror to him who knows it: but Christ knew it infinitely. But God's divine majesty, His holiness, His righteousness, His truth, all in their very nature bore against Christ as made sin for us. All that God was, was against sin, and Christ was made sin. No comfort of love enfeebled wrath there. Never was the obedient Christ so precious; but His soul was to be made an offering for sin, and to bear it judicially before God. At the end of the three hours of darkness, this is expressed by the Lord in the words of Psalm 22, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" The result, and that to the end of time, and indeed for an endless eternity of unmingled grace for us, has been already touched on, and I will advert to it again in connection with remarkable facts as to the expressions of the Lord Himself. Here the Lord suffered that not one drop of what He took might remain for us. It had been everlasting misery and ruin for us; His own divine perfection in love went through it without one ray of comfort from God or man. All other sorrows pressed Him onward with accumulating power to this, and merged in it, in that darkness which hid all but the wrath He was enduring from God. Judges had been heartlessly unrighteous, and washed their hands of such a One and His matters; the chief priests, who should intercede for the infirm, cry for cruel death upon the guiltless; the friends on whom His heart ought to have been able to count (and He looked for comforters, and would have had the most favoured of them watch with Him) actually forsake and deny Him: and the unfaithfulness of a friend is bitterer than the assault of an enemy. But all this was the proof of the power of one who exercised unlimited dominion (save so far as grace delivered) over, and had his rights through sin and the power of death over, him whom the Lord came to deliver; and it was his hour and the power of darkness. All he can do he does; but it only led the Lord through conflict, of which I will speak just now, in willing offering of Himself, letting His own go their way, to the last scene, when, deprived of all human comfort, He was to accomplish the work of propitiation, alone with God judging sin — that scene which stands alone, which no eye can fathom (though, blessed be God, we truly know its meaning) but His who knows divine wrath against sin as God alone knows it. Bulls of Bashan were there, dogs with no shame of heart, but only to drive the Sufferer to seek for succour where He was to learn in all its utter depth for us what it was to be forsaken of God — an hour passed for ever with divine and eternal glory for fruit. He even could say, so great was the infinite and truly divine value of that hour and work, "therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again."

191 But, willingly as I expatiate on this blessed yet most solemn subject, I must leave it, and turn to another and brighter, yet to us humbling character of the Lord's sufferings — those which He endured as the Holy One glorifying God, when the reproaches of those that reproached God fell on Him. This went on up to His death. They flowed from His declaring righteousness in the great congregation; from His perfectly manifesting God amongst men, who had no relish for the light, so that for His love He had hatred. I do not enlarge upon this simply because I apprehend it can offer no difficulty to my reader. In our little and imperfect measure we have our share in this kind of suffering. It is our privilege as saints. "To you it is given … not only to believe on him, but to suffer for his sake." "If we suffer with him, we shall reign with him." "To do well, suffer for it, and take it patiently, this is acceptable with God." Quotations could be multiplied to shew how we are thus called to suffer as He suffered, as Paul speaks of his filling up that which is behind of the sufferings of Christ, for His body's sake, the Church. In the measure in which we manifest Christ as He manifested His Father, in our walk and testimony, we shall suffer for it as He suffered, and His consolations will abound — a meat to eat which the flesh knows not of. He could thank His Father when He had most sorrowfully and justly to reproach the world.

192 But I now come to the third character of trial in which man stands, which requires a little more attention — that which is not the fruit of holy witness in the world (though it may in a certain way accompany it), nor the enduring the wrath of God in condemnation, which for us would be everlasting misery, but the fruit of sin under the government of God in this world and connected with the power of Satan in it — that which, as used of God, is the means of our learning the difference between good and evil, whether in terror before the knowledge of redemption, or even by various exercises, though in an altogether different state of soul after we know it (for God continues even then His instructive government, founded on His immutable judgment of good and evil); that which in the way of terror brings righteousness, though not without hope, before us, or, when redemption is known and divine righteousness is our state, ministers to practical holiness of life and judgment, according to the divine nature of which we are made partakers.*

{*This and what follows is another passage. which is attacked. I have noticed the matter in the introduction. Here I have only to urge an earnest study of its force as most important for the soul, separating as far as needed the abstract question of evil in every soul, and the special circumstances of the remnant of Israel. This alters nothing, but may make it clear to the mind.}

If we take the case of the remnant of the Jews in the latter day, we shall more readily understand this, though it is in principle the case of thousands of upright souls under the law, and a principle on which God has acted from the beginning of man's failure. The sentence of death, of sorrow on the woman, were judgments pronounced upon sin, as part of the display of God's government in this world, not in themselves everlasting condemnation and separation from God because of the holiness of His nature. That power of death and its terrors over the mind Satan wields (Heb. 2:14). Here it is that the thought of God's righteous judgment against sin, and the pains of death, and the power of Satan, unite in their pressure upon the soul. So when a soul is convinced of sin, and practically under the law (that is, the requirements of God's righteousness on living man), the judgment of God is feared, the terrors of the Almighty can drink up the spirit. God thus teaches a man what he is, what he is worth in this solemn question between Satan and God — the power of evil and of good. See the case of Job. God sustains man in grace and the sense of integrity, so that he clings to dependence on God, come what will; yet judgment is feared, God's holiness and righteousness pressed on the spirit weighed down with the sense of sin, the power of death as ending nature's hope and leading to judgment is there, and Satan uses it to drive to despair, to destroy faith, and break the spirit of man away from depending on God and believing in His love.

193 Without the atonement, there could be no answer in grace to this state, because we have deserved condemnation; and if new life be there which clings to God, yet this very life gives the sense of God's holiness, which brings judgment on the soul conscious of sin. When the full work of grace in redemption is learnt, the soul obtains a peace only the more solid, and indeed only thereby really solid, that it has passed through these exercises by which sin is known, by which God's judgment of it is before the soul by His own convincing work, and Satan's effort spent and resulting only in bringing us to the answer which atonement gives, and thus his power over us destroyed and gone for ever.

But though the answer to, and deliverance from, this state is the full and perfect redemption wrought by Christ, by which we are wholly taken out of the state in which we stood accused and liable to judgment, and transferred into the position of the Second Adam before God, of Him who is now gone to His Father and our Father, His God and our God, there is positive and direct grace in the exercise itself. For, beside this deliverance and salvation by which our miserable case is met, there is a real learning of the difference of good and evil before God — learned, I admit, more blessedly when redemption is known, and we are in possession of perfect good in grace, so that evil is thus judged, and we are delivered from its deceits; but still, profitably learned in the knowledge of our wretchedness, guilt, sin, powerlessness against evil even when we would what is good, and the solemnity of the question involved in the salvation of the soul, where the claims and power of Satan through sin in which we have listened to and subjected ourselves to him, and the righteous nature and title of God are brought to issue in a soul, subject to sin on one side, and quickened to own God's title and delight in His nature and so judge its own evil on the other, and that in the presence of the righteous judgment of God.

194 Now, before obtaining the peace acquired by the knowledge of redemption, Christ sustains, encourages, relieves by times, the soul in this state, but not so as to hinder its learning this deep and solemn lesson which has its fruit in eternity; nor so as to prevent its finding its only resource in the redemption He has accomplished.

But in the case of the remnant of Israel in the latter days, we find these exercises of heart and spirit gone through in circumstances where the government of God is historically developed as to a people sinful under law, yet renewed and quickened of God, so that the desires and consciousness of uprightness are there. The circumstances are, with more complete development, the continuation of those in which the Jews were in the time of our Lord: only that Antichrist is manifested, the body of the people are given up to unbelief and the unbridled influence of Satan — seven devils, worse than the old spirit of idolatry, but along with it, are entered into them. In a word, it is the time of Satan's power, the power of darkness, of the oppression of the Gentiles, of the same Roman beast. In the midst of this the remnant find themselves, on the one side, conscious of the nation's guilt under the law, and of their filling up of their sins, so that wrath was come upon them, the just vengeance of God; yet they feel this because they are renewed and quickened; and the Jehovah they have sinned against is their only hope. Yet how difficult to trust God for help in difficulties in which we find ourselves under His hand by our sinning against Him! Without atonement, they could not be dealt with in grace. The goat of atonement had been offered, so that God could deal with them about their sins for their good, sustain their faith, yet make them feel the weight of their sins, and the darkness they had brought themselves into; and, at the same time, say, "Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness and seeth no light? let him trust in the name of Jehovah, and stay himself on his God." But the true Aaron had not come forth, so that Israel's sins should be, in administrative application, sent away on the scape-goat into the land not inhabited.

195 Now here the judgment of God against them, the sense of guilt under a broken law and national unfaithfulness, the full power of Satan and the darkness it brings — all rest on the spirit of the people: yet, though smitten in the place of dragons, there is integrity of heart, earnest desires after the law, and after God Himself and His worship, and trust in Him as their only resource. Thus the full judgment of evil is wrought in them, in hope of goodness and mercy prophetically revealed.

Who is to furnish thoughts, feelings, faith, hope, which can be known to be acceptable and a sustaining ground of faith, till they look on Him whom they have pierced and find peace? The answer to this question, as well as the groundwork of atonement, is found in Christ. All this exercise Christ entered into so as to be able to help them: "This poor man cried" — "God hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted," and that, when* He had been really forsaken of God, the real ground of hope for the people. When He was on this earth, the power of Gentile evil, with no fear of God before their eyes, was there; the apostate wickedness of the priestly rulers of Israel who would have no king but Caesar, and who called for the blood of their King to be on them and their children — the power of Satan and darkness was there; the judgment of God standing out in all its truthfulness and terror, not one godly man left; the guilt of Israel under a broken law and a rejected Jehovah and King — of the Anointed as of the Lord — pressed upon the spirit of any intelligent saint, if such there were, as in the last days.

{*This is, perhaps, obscure through its brevity. The meaning is "the answer came, the proof He was not abhorred nor despised; when, etc.}

It was not now, in these last scenes of Christ's life, the manifestation of the Lord in grace to Israel, the revelation of the Father's name to the few given to Jesus out of the world, but the endurance of Israel's own case* under the government of Jehovah when guilty and rejecting their own mercies, yet with the sense a holy soul, wrapped up in Israel's blessings, would have of such a state before the judgment of God;** not made a curse and drinking the cup, but the sense of it under God's government and Satan's power. Here good and evil were fully entered into and proved by the Lord. That is, I He must undergo the whole power of evil, not as in judgment, but as trial. Was Satan using death and darkness, sorrow and terror, with God's judgment sanctioning the pressure of it on the soul — men but His instruments to add to the grief, be they friends or foes? Was Israel's sin and rejection of good come to its height? Was all this used by Satan against the soul of Christ to stay Him in the path? But was He to enter into the temptation which thus pressed on Him and give way; or, trusting God, was He to go on in the path of obedience, and drink the cup itself in obedience to God His Father? In the synoptical gospels we have the trial; in John, the full and blessed answer. He passes through the trial with God, does not take what death imports from Satan's hand, so to speak, nor stop in His path; but, while going perfectly through it as the power of darkness, receives the cup itself (instead of drinking from it under Satan's terror) from His Father's hand and gives Himself freely up in love and obedience to expiate the sin under God's hand and wrath, which Satan had in vain wielded to deter Him from it.

{*If this create any difficulty, it may be changed into "passing in heart and spirit through, and enduring the sorrow of Israel's own case and of the effect of His own being the head of promise to that people and now to be cut off and have nothing, of Israel's case, that is, as under the," etc.}

{**This may be changed to "besides, though not yet made a curse nor drinking the cup, the sense of it under God's government and Satan's power. Here good and evil were fully entered into and proved of the Lord, Himself perfect in the good, and perfectly tried by and apprehending the evil. That is, He must," etc. I do not think myself these corrections and additions add anything, to the instruction contained in the passage, to a rightly disposed mind. They make it laborious and heavy; but if needed, be it so.}

196 The power of evil as trial was broken entirely, and Satan's power of darkness annulled for us. Man might be made to pass through it under the government of God, to learn what he was, what sin is, what the power of evil in which he had been lying is; but the sympathy and sustaining grace of Christ can support him through it, suggest the right thoughts and feelings under it, and be found a resource in every pressure, I so that faith should not fail, however sore that pressure may be. Atonement was needed for this, but the sympathy and consolations of Christ in the trial are what sustain and encourage the hearts of the remnant through their various trials down to the lowest depths of sorrow. If it be asked how they can profit by it, not having any direct knowledge of or faith in Christ, I reply, It is exactly what is furnished in the most admirable detail in the Psalms, where every part of their external sorrow and internal distress is expressed and entered into, the dreadful weight of a broken law, the power of adversaries without conscience, the temptation and pressure of the adversary, with the thoughts and feelings whether of distress or faith, are given a voice to by divine grace, with the witness that He who in all their afflictions was afflicted, and the angel whose presence succoured them, has not forgotten them in their deepest distress;* but, as the poor man, has passed through it for them, and can comfort them under it, putting His seal upon the holy desires He has awakened in them, with the certainty of a divine answer, and that even by that Son of man, the branch which God made strong for Himself. Hence it is that these Psalms, besides the personal piety which is found in them, have been the comfort of distressed souls who were under the law, and not yet knowing the fulness of redemption, for such will be the state of the remnant.

{*I have not suggested any alteration here, and the sense is the same everywhere, because I hold the denial of Christ's passing through the sorrow and distress of Israel to be a fatal denial of the truth of His sufferings. The power of Gentile wickedness, of Jewish apostasy, desertion by man, and Satan's power, were really felt by Him as no remnant ever will feel them, and the setting aside all the promises of God as to their then fulfilment in Him come in the flesh, and that brought about by His own being cut off.}

197 Hence, too, we find in them the desire of the judgment of enemies and the execution of vengeance, because it is by that judgment alone that the remnant of the people will be delivered. Hence, too, we find the assurance that the Lord will build up Zion, and the remnant of His people inhabit it, in Psalms, where the sufferings of Christ are entered into in detail. Indeed, we have in the Psalms a complete and perfect history of the remnant in every circumstantial and moral phase of their path, both of Jews and Israel, and the result in blessing with Messiah, together with the way in which Christ has entered into it, these last Psalms being prophetic of Christ personally, though in many we have the remnant also, while all the Psalms are the expression of His spirit. The godly remnant is the first thought in them — their subject — Christ's sympathy is with them. The first Psalm gives us the godly remnant, the subject of God's government; and the second, Messiah, King in Zion, object of His counsel and decree; and after that, all the various experiences which flow from His rejection, up to the glory at the end.

198 I have already shewn that the time in which Christ went through the distress and sorrow, under which the remnant fall through their sin, was not that of those public services by which He was the light of the world revealing to others His Father's name, but when (going again up to Jerusalem for that purpose, and setting His face as a flint for it, and not hiding His face from shame and spitting, His rejection being the ground of Israel's divorce, Isa. 50) He was subject to the fullest exercise of soul, under the power of darkness, in the hour of His rebellious rejecters, who could triumph in His apparent rejection; when all was changed from the time that He sat daily in the temple, and no man laid hands upon Him; when the prince of this world came.

Few, comparatively, of the Psalms apply wholly and exclusively to Christ. The great body of them express the working of His Spirit in the hearts of His tried ones. The difference (even where suffering is the subject between those which are, and those which are not, exclusively applicable to Him) is very evident, and particularly between His sufferings from the hand of God and from the hand of man, even when this was under the visitations of God and the power of the enemy. It is worth while to note these points distinctly.

Psalm 2 refers personally to Christ as Messiah, the Son of God, born in this world; Psalm 8, as Son of man. In Psalm 16 we find Him formally taking His place among the godly remnant, treading the path of life through death up to fulness of joy in resurrection. Psalms 20 and 21 have, in a certain sense, also Christ alone for their subject; Psalm 22 clearly so. Sins are not confessed till Psalm 25. The integrity of heart of the remnant is presented, or Christ Himself. Besides these Psalms, 40, though mainly of Him, is not absolutely so (see verse 5.) In Psalm 45 He is clearly celebrated; Psalm 69 speaks also chiefly but not exclusively of Him (see verse 26.) In Psalm 72 we find Him again as Solomon; Psalms 101, 102 treat also of Him as king in Israel, and as, though cut off, Jehovah the Creator. In Psalm 110 He is exalted to Jehovah's right hand to be priest after the order of Melchizedek. In other Psalms He is introduced, but He is not their personal subject. I do not call to mind others of which He is exclusively or pre-eminently the subject, though it is possible some one may have escaped me; my object is rather to give a certain number of distinct examples than a list of them. As regards the Psalms which speak of His suffering, the marks which distinguish those which speak of His sufferings from man, and those which express His sufferings under the hand of God, are very clear and decisive. Thus Psalm 20, 21, He suffers from the hand of man. The consequence is, Psalm 21 announces judgment on man. So it is in Psalm 69; though other elements are found there. The Psalm treats of the number of those who hate Him without a cause, who gave Him gall for meat, and in His thirst gave Him vinegar to drink; and He desires that their table be a snare to them; that their eyes be darkened, and that God should pour out His indignation upon them. So even in Psalm 31, though it has less of this character, yet it still has this distinctive mark of the looking for judgment on the wicked (v. 17, 18).

199 I have already remarked that in sorrows from human persecution, on account of what is good, His saints can have a part. The pressure of it, in connection with sins, and the desire of vengeance or judgment, finds its accomplishment in the remnant of the Jews in the last day.* In Psalm 102, where, though the enemies are seen, the sorrow of Messiah is traced to God's indignation and wrath, who has lifted Him up as Messiah, and cast Him down, even to the dust of death, no desire for judgment is expressed, but blessing and grace are the result. This is most strikingly displayed in Psalm 22 where the atoning work of the cross is the distinct and definite subject. As soon as the Lord is heard from the horns of the unicorn, His first thought is (as indeed it historically was) to make known all the blessing of His God and Father's name, where in unclouded blessing in righteousness He now stood, to His brethren. Then He praises in the midst of the Church, then in the great congregation — all Israel in the latter day, then the blessing reaches all the ends of the earth in millennial mercies; then the seed afterwards born. To all the world is that He has done this. No trace of judgment from Him who has borne sin and wrath for us, nor from Him who inflicted that wrath on Christ for us, in the counsels of unutterable grace.

{*It is one of the things which characterize the Revelation also as distinct, in its prophetic part, from an address to the Church on its own ground of blessing, and its taking a proper prophetic and not evangelical character, that we find joy over the judgment of Babylon, and in the souls under the altar the desire of vengeance.}

200 Now in Psalm 69 we have the cross also, and not merely the wickedness of man, though that is fully entered into; but the trusting of God and distress under the sense of sins. How is this to be distinguished from the atoning work of Christ? Here the difficulty presents itself fully, but if we wait patiently on the Lord, all difficulties of scripture are inlets to light and blessing. The mark I have noticed as indicating sufferings from man, and other distinguishing ones, are clearly found in this Psalm. Judgment is looked for on the enemies — an absolute and conclusive distinction in the very nature of the suffering; and there is another characteristic already noticed, but to our purpose here. We read, verse 26, "They persecute him whom thou hast smitten and speak to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded." Here we have evidently more than man's persecutions. They take advantage of God's hand upon the sorrowing One to add to His burden and grief. This is not atonement,* but there is sorrow and smiting from God. Hence we find the sense of sins (v. 5), though of course in the case of Christ they were not His own personally, but the nation's (in a certain sense we may say ours, but specially the nation's sin). But we have the clear proof that they are not atoning sufferings;** because, instead of suffering in the place of others; so that they should not have one drop of that cup of wrath to drink, others are associated with the Lord here in them. "They persecute him whom thou hast smitten and speak to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded." When men are wounded too, when Christ is the companion with them — not a substitute for them, then atonement is not wrought nor the wrath of condemnation endured. Yet God has smitten and wounded. It is not merely man that has caused suffering. Man comes in in malice to add to the sorrow.

{*It goes on to that (as stated p. 179, and also in notes to Psalms, and is fully entered into p. 230) in which in another aspect atonement was made. To make death in itself, or mere cutting off, atonement, is ruinous, unless that death be viewed as the expression of wrath from God. It is the secret or unconscious denial of what sin is, and what it deserves — rests in the outside — is infidelity at bottom.}

{**This may be changed into "that His sufferings are not viewed here as atoning suffering."}

Thus we have, along with the suffering from man at the epoch of the crucifixion (the special object of the Psalm), bringing judgment on man, the third character of Christ's sufferings, the suffering* under the government of God,** at the epoch of His final sorrows, in which the remnant will have its part and into which Christ is entered for them, afflicted in all their afflictions. Hence, too, though in most deep waters, overflown, weary of crying, Christ is not forsaken — His prayer is to God in an acceptable time. Deep as is the distress, it has a character wholly and entirely contrasted with atonement, yet it is not the ministry of Jesus in blessing in the enjoyment of the light of His Father's countenance, but the conflict and agony of His soul when the power of darkness is at work.

{*If clearer to any mind, it may be read here "His fully entering into that which comes upon Israel under," etc. The words express the character of the suffering, which Christ most really went through. This also was used as if it made Christ to be in the state to which that suffering belonged. It is this fallacy which has been the wile of Satan to deceive my accusers: that entering into sorrow and suffering implies Christ's being in the state or relationship which gave rise to it (see p. 220.)}

{**After the word "God" may be added, "through full sense of which He passes, and in the effect of whose evil state He has a part in being cut off as Messiah."}

201 Another very striking fact in the path of the blessed Lord which I alluded to, is this: During the whole of His life of service, all through, including Gethsemane, Christ never addresses God by the name of God. He always says, "Father." On the cross we know His words were, "My God, my God." In His life this title would have been out of place — not of course because it did not belong to Him whom He addressed, but because it was not the expression of the unclouded relationship and conscious blessedness of Sonship in which the blessed Lord always stood. On the cross God was dealing with Him about sin, and therefore as God, in His nature, majesty, righteousness, and truth. Here sin was to be dealt with as such by God, and the blessed One expresses according to truth the position in which His holy soul stood. We are permitted in wondrous grace to see Him in such a one. Infinite and wondrous grace it is. But the terms the Lord makes use of mark very clearly and solemnly the difference of the two positions in which the blessed Lord relatively stood.*: Till the cross the Lord walked in the enjoyment of the relationship of a Son with the Father, yea, an only-begotten Son, knowing that the Father heard Him always. On the cross, as we have seen, all that God was against sin, He, made sin, had to feel and meet and endure; but then, returned into the full joy of all that God and His Father was in righteousness, redemption being accomplished, He brings His disciples into the enjoyment and joy of both. "I ascend to my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God."

{*The writer of an article I have alluded to at the beginning of this paper attacks a tract entitled "The Cross," published in Dublin. No one can be answerable but the editor of the Dublin tracts for expressions found in them, because he modifies them to suit his object, which is popular distribution, and he seeks to make them simple and clear; but the critic's note is most unhappy. The tract states that God was with Christ in the communion of perfect complacency up to the time His people's sins were transferred to Him on the cross, but that then all was changed. The critic then exclaims, "What! the Father's complacency in His Son changed!" Such singular pre-occupation hardly needs, as everyone will feel, an answer. The tract says there was the communion of perfect complacency till then; the note says, "What! the complacency changed!" Now I believe that there never was a time when the Father's complacency in the Son was so great as at that solemn moment; but that is not the communion of complacency. "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" is not the enjoyment of communion. The subject precludes my making any remark on so strange a mistake.}

202 When I speak of three characters of the sufferings of Christ, it is not that He did not in detail suffer in a thousand ways; yea, everything was a suffering, His perfectness and love being shewn in enduring. I speak merely of three distinct positions in which, or principles on which, He suffered. Another question arises, connected with these points, as to the active and passive obedience of Christ, as it is called — whether the righteousness of Christ, as obedient under the law, is imputed to us; and then also as to His priesthood. But this I must reserve, if the Lord will, for another paper; it will be time enough then to consider the opinions of men. One thing is certain, that without shedding of blood there is no remission; and it is a singular atonement and vicarious work which had no such effect. There was, we are told, "a sin-bearing life" — that the sufferings of Christ during His life were satisfactory; yet they obtain no remission, for without shedding of blood is no remission. My earnest objection, however, is not against this, but against a doctrine which, on the contrary, declares that these sufferings were not vicarious, but the effect of Christ's being born a man and a Jew, and which makes us consequently partakers of these sufferings under wrath as our privilege. Still, those who insist that Christ's living sufferings were satisfactory, and that all His sufferings wrought the work of redemption, should explain how it is that remission is wholly by something else.

203 Finally, I say, that he who says that Christ — when He said, "I cry in the day-time, and thou hearest not," and when He said, "I know that thou hearest me always," when He said, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" and when He said, "He that sent me is with me; the Father hath not left me alone, for I do always those things that please him" — was in the same position, and accomplishing the same work before God, knows neither the tenor of His life, nor the true power of His death rightly before God. Acceptable He always was; but bearing wrath unheard, and enjoying divine favour, knowing He was always heard, is not the same thing; and he who holds that it is does not yet know what his sins have cost the Lord.

One great root, let me just add, of all this (prevalent evidently in Scotland, and I fear not confined to it, and the true root of Irvingism and semi-Irvingism) is an abuse of scripture language, found, if my memory be not very treacherous, in the "Night of Weeping" — that Christ was made bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. These words have no such application or use in scripture; they are not indeed found there. We, the Church, are bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh, now that He is glorified and the saints united to Him who is on high. The thought is a totally different one and does not refer to His incarnation, but to our union with Him when glorified. As incarnate, He abode alone. But this would lead me to a point I hope to touch on, the Lord willing, in another paper.

I close this paper, already too long, but justified by the importance of the subject, by stating the different characteristic periods of Christ's life as presented by scripture. First, until He was about thirty years old (save His going up to Jerusalem at twelve years old and disputing with the doctors, given doubtless as a part of what He was in person and grace, and to shew that His relationship to the Father did not depend on any extraordinary anointing for office by the Holy Ghost), He remained in the obscurity of a patient and perfect life, awaiting His calling of God. He then associates Himself publicly with the remnant and is baptized by John, and is owned by the Father, sealed and anointed with the Holy Ghost. He thereupon goes up, before His public service, into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. He overcomes and binds the strong man. Satan departs from Him for a season. Subsequently to this He goes about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him — does always such things as please Him — is always heard and knows it. Satan comes back as prince of this world, and having the power of death. At the beginning he had tempted Christ with all that might be hoped to allure Him, physically, spiritually, and by the glory of the world. Christ, having overcome, displayed the power which could deliver man from all the effects of that of Satan. NOW, man's enmity is brought out, and Satan proves Him by the power of death and the terrible consequences of what man was in judgment, what He must go through if He will take up his cause being such. This was at the epoch of His last visit to Jerusalem. Finally, He drinks the cup which He had freely and submissively taken at His Father's hand, and works redemption on the cross for those who believe in Him.