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Beelzebub, the prince of devils. If again employed in his Father's business, to seek and to save that which was lost, he converses with publicans and sinners, in order to reclaim them, he is immediately reviled as
a' glutton and wine bibber, a “ friend of publicans and sinners." This was the treatment the blessed Jesus met with from his first entrance into the world. And in what manner did he behave himself under the load of so much malice and ingratitude ? How did he endure all this contradiction of sinners ? Composed and undisturbed, answering all their reflections in a calm and mild language, still maintaining his charitable intentions of doing good to them that want it, and patiently submitting to every difficulty that attended him in the whole course of his duty ; neither reviling, when he was reviled, nor threatening, when he suffered, but committing himself to him that judgeth righteously, whose will and pleasure it was, that he should be the most perfect pattern of patience and resignation.
This was the behaviour of the blessed Jesus, this the "temper of mind, with which he bore the perverseness and ingratitude of the people in the course of his ministry; considering it as the whole business, nay rather the joy and pleasure of his life, to do the will of his Father, and to finish his work.
But if we attend him to the last scene of his afflictions, and consider the several circumstances that preceded and accompanied his death and passion, we may observe, that as never sorrow was like unto his sorrow, so never was there any patience and submission like that, which under so severe a trial, under the greatest pain and extremity of suffering, could still express itself in terms of the most perfect resignation, “ Not my will, but
thine, be done.”
After a life exposed to various indignities, the malice of his enemies at last proceeded to execute their final cruelty upon him. He was accordingly apprehended as a thief and a malefactor, was betrayed Ꭱ Ꮞ
by by one disciple, deserted by all, accused by false witnesses, and condemned with qut crime, insulted by the most insolent expressions of scorn and contempt, scourged as a despised slave, thought worthier of death than the most notorious robber and murderer, and at last led to suffer the death of the cross ; a death the most cruel and ignominious that could possibly be contrived for the vilest malefactors, And even whilst he was in the greatest extremity of pain, whilst he continued in that torturing suspension which prolonged the misery and pain of dying, to increase his torment, they gave him gall and vinegar to drink, and barbarously reviled him ; whilst he expired in agonies, amidst the blasphemies and reproaches of his enemies.
And what then was his behaviour in this his last extremity ? Oppressed and afflicted, he opened not his mouth, neither murmured nor complained at what he suffered, nor at those by whom he suffered; but gave up the ghost, praying for his murderers. Not that he was insensible
of his sufferings, or was unmoved with pain and trouble: No: in his nature he was as capable of suffering as any man ever was, had as quick and tender a sense of the miseries both of himself and others: He could weep over a sinful and devoted city : He could mingle his tears with a family of sorrow at the grave of Lazarus : But then, at the same time, he had a patience peculiar to himself, a constancy and firmness of mind, which supported him in the severest trials, and a perfect submission to the will of his Father. And hereby he became a proper and a most instructive example to all the sons and daughters of affliction, by setting before us a pattern of patience and resignation suited to the weakness and tenderness of mankind, in that he was exquisitely sensible of his sufferings, and yet bore them decently, expressing a great sense of pain without the least sign of impatience.
Come hither then, thou child of affliction, and in the multitude of thy sorrows, learn comfort from this great example :
Thou that art always complaining, always murmuring at the dispensations of Providence, as if the hand of God was unreasonably severe towards thee, and thy affictions were of so grievous à nature, as tvere never the lot of any but thyself. Look unto Jesus and consider his sufferings, and from thence smooth all thy passions, calm thy resentment against divine Providence, and resolve to submit patiently and chearfully to the severest of its dispensations.
Art thou attacked in thy reputatior, and made the object of reproach and censure? Perhaps thou deservest it: or if thou dost not, why shouldest thou complain, and think thyself so very hardly dealt with, when thou considerest that he, who was perfectly innocent and unblameable in all the several parts of his conduct, was loaded with all the calumny that envy and malice could invent, and yet opened not his mouth in the least complaint, or shewed the least mark of an angry resentment?