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Chapter XIV.

Showing How Christ, By The Shame And Contempt Which He Endured, And By His Self-Denial, Teaches Us To Despise The Honor And Glory Of The World.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.Isa. 53:3.

The second head of the life of poverty of Christ, is the contempt which he endured from the world. After thou hast read over and seriously considered the lesson of poverty exhibited by the Lord, take also a view of the deep and unaffected humility, which was so eminently seen in his whole life and conduct. Never did he catch at the applause of men; never was he actuated by ambition, or any thirst after temporal honor and greatness: on the contrary, whenever men offered to bestow honors and praises upon him, he refused them, both by word and by deed: never did he accept of any honor from men; nay, not even when “they would take him by force to make him a king.” John 6:15. On the other hand, with what inexpressible humility did he bear all the insults, the reproaches, and calumnies with which his enemies loaded him? He was execrated as a Samaritan, and his miracles were maliciously ascribed to the power of Beelzebub. John 8:48; Matt. 12:24. The sound doctrine which he brought down from heaven, was denounced as blasphemy; and he who taught it, was everywhere insulted by foul and uncharitable censures, and such base lies and slanders as the malice of men could contrive. He was betrayed and sold; he was denied and buffeted; he was spit upon and crowned with thorns; he was derided and scourged; he was smitten, and sentenced to death; he was rejected, and condemned to undergo the ignominious “death of the cross.” Phil. 2:8. He was forsaken by God and men; and, in fine, being stripped of all, was executed in the midst of scandalous malefactors, hanging on the tree like one accursed. Gal. 3:13. He was made the common gazing-stock of all his enemies, and derided by all. 213 His prayers were turned into ridicule; his garments were parted by lot; and at the approach of the very pangs of death, he had nothing wherewith to refresh himself but vinegar mingled with gall. Matt. 27:34. At last, when all was finished, he expired on the cross, amid the reproaches, hatred, and indignation of the world; his body was pierced with a spear, and he made his grave with the wicked. John 19:34; Isa. 53:9. Nay, his enemies continued to fume with rage and malice, even now when he had given up the ghost; and called him a deceiver. Matt. 27:63. Being risen at last from the dead, and triumphing over his enemies; they boldly denied the truth of his resurrection. Thus was the Lord, in the beginning, progress, and end of his ever-blessed life, “despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”

2. In the course of our Lord's life, there is not only displayed to us the abounding treasure of redemption gained by Christ; but it is also most clearly demonstrated, that in this scene of suffering, he is our great teacher and master, our prophet and shepherd, our instructor, light, and constant monitor; that also we, by looking unto him, may learn to despise earthly pomp and greatness; and by closely adhering to him, like true members to their head, “grow up into him in all things” (Ephes. 4:15), being rendered conformable unto his life, “and rooted and grounded in his love.” Ephes. 3:17.

3. But when our lives are contrary to the life of him who is designed to be our Head; when in our actions, words, and endeavors, we do not entirely aim at God's glory, but our own; it is more than evident, that Christ does not live in us, but rather the prince of this world. It is then plain, that we have not yet learned to love Christ, and that we are not yet loose from the various ties of this world; for “whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world” (1 John 5:4); and so of course is not overcome by it. Nor does such a one any longer love the world; for “if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15); and consequently, that of Christ must be absent likewise. For the whole life of Christ teaches us how to die unto the world. Consider then the beginning, together with the progress and conclusion of his life, and remember the profound humility with which he bore the contempt and reproaches of all those that love the world.

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