by Thomas Manton
The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? JOHN 18:11
THESE words are part of Christ's rebuke to Peter, who, when the high priest's servants came to attack Christ, draweth his sword, and cuts off Malchus' ear, which our Lord first healeth, and then reproveth his disciple for this temerarious action: 'Put up thy sword into the sheath.' He reproveth him, partly because it becometh no private man by opposition to resist authority; but the chief reason was, our Lord would not be hindered in performing the great act of his mediation, his dying for sinners. You shall see in another place, when Peter counselled him against his sufferings, he rebuked him with the same severity that he doth the devil tempting him to idolatry: 'Get thee behind me, Satan,' Mat. 16:23, compared with Mat. 4:10. And here this rash and unseasonable interposition, to save his master by force, is again reproved. In Peter's temerity, take notice of the difference between military valour and christian fortitude. He that faltered and was blown down by the weak blast of a damsel's question hath now the courage with a single sword to venture upon an whole band of men. Military valour is boisterous, and dependeth upon the heat of blood and spirits, and is better for a sudden onset than a deliberate trial; but christian fortitude dependeth on the strength of faith, and lieth in a meek subjection to God, and will enable us to endure the greatest torments rather than encroach upon the conscience of our duty to God. A man of a military forward spirit may outbrave dangers when they are sudden, but faileth or fainteth in weaker trials, that are managed rather in a way of charge and accusation than force. But in Christ's rebuke, take notice of his obedience to God and love to men. Obedience to God: Shall I not suffer patiently, without resisting, what my Father hath determined me to suffer? And love to men; it was the cup which God had given him to drink for the good of his people, and therefore he would by no means decline it.
In the words take notice of—(1.) The notion by which affliction is expressed; it is 'a cup.' (2.) God's ordering of it, 'Which my Father hath given me.' (3.) Christ's submission, 'Shall I not drink it?'
1. For the term or notion whereby Christ's sufferings are expressed, 'a cup.' We read of a threefold cup in scripture—(1.) A cup of tribulation; (2.) A cup of consolation; (3.) A cup of salvation and thanksgiving.
The first of these is often mentioned: Ps. 11:6, 'Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and an horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup.' So the prophet Jeremiah is bidden, chap. 25:15, 'Take the wine-cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations to whom I send thee to drink it.' So Ps. 75:8, 'For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture: and he poureth out the same; but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.' Thus God's dispensations are ordinarily expressed by a cup poured out and given to men to drink. And therefore our Lord Christ himself useth this form of speech, not only here, but elsewhere; as Mat. 26:39, 'Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.' It was a dreadful cup that he was to drink of.
The second cup, the cup of consolation, is spoken of Jer. 16:7, 'Neither shall men give them the cup of consolation to drink for their father or for their mother;' taken from the Jewish custom of sending it to them that mourned, or to condemned persons. The same is spoken of Prov. 31:6, 7, 'Give strong drink to him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts; let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more;' Amos 2:8, 'They drank the wine of the condemned.'
The third was the cup of salvation, spoken of Ps. 116:13, 'I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.' Or the cup of deliverance, used more solemnly in the temple by the priests, or more privately in the family. Sometimes called the drink-offering of praise; and to which the 'cup of blessing,' 1 Cor. 10:16, used in the Lord's supper, hath a great respect; for it was always used with certain expressions of commemoration and praise. The first is plainly here intended, the cup of tribulation, so called because our afflictions are measured out by God, both for quantity and quality, either by his justice or by his wisdom and mercy.
2. God's ordering of it, 'Which my Father hath given me.' Christ mentioneth not the malice of his enemies, but the will of God and his Father. His hand in Christ's sufferings is often asserted in scripture: Isa. 53:10, 'It pleased the Father to bruise him; he hath put him to grief;' Acts 2:23, 'Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain;' Acts 4:28, 'For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.' God did not excite and instigate those wicked wretches to that cruelty which they exercised upon Christ, yet it was predetermined by God for the salvation of mankind.
3. Christ's submission, 'Shall I not drink it?' If God put a bitter cup into our hands, we must not refuse it, for here we have Christ's example. The meaning is, this bitter passion which the Father hath laid upon me, shall I not suffer it patiently?
Doct. That it is the duty of christians patiently to suffer whatever God hath appointed them to suffer.
The note is plain. I shall discuss it in this method—
1. That in all calamities we should look to God.
2. That it is a great advantage to patience when we can consider him not as an angry judge, but as a gracious father.
3. That it well becometh his people to endure that willingly which he calleth them unto.
I. That in all calamities we should look unto God: Ps. 39:9, 'I was dumb, I opened not my mouth, because thou didst it.' That is the first thing that quieteth the heart, when we see God's hand in all things that befall us. So Hezekiah: Isa. 38:15, 'What shall I say? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it.' If God hath done it, it is time to cease, and say no more; for why should we contend with the Lord? We murmur and repine if we look no higher than second causes; but owning God's hand, we have nothing to reply by way of murmuring or expostulations. So Job, chap. 1:21, 'The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.' He doth not say, Dominus dedit, diabolus abstulit—The Lord hath given, and the devil hath taken away; nor yet, ὁ Χαλδαῖος ἀφείλετο, the Chaldean or Sabean hath taken away; but he owneth God in the providence. Compare the different carriage of David when Nabal slighted him and when Shimei railed on him. The one you have 1 Sam. 25:21, 22, 'Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained to him; but he hath requited me evil for good. So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertaineth to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.' A rash speech, because he only reflected upon the unkindness of Nabal, and meditateth nothing but revenge. The other you have 2 Sam. 16:11, 'Let him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord hath bidden him.' David then considered not the instrument, but the supreme author; he looked not to the stone, but the hand that flung it, to God's providence, who thought good by that means to chastise him. If we mind providence rather than revenge, we must not reflect on the injury done to us, nor the malice of our adversaries, but the will and good pleasure of God. So Joseph: Gen. 1:20, 'As for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant it for good.' So he calmeth his heart, and fortifieth it against all thoughts of revenge against his brethren. In short, there are two sorts of evils and afflictions, such as come immediately from the hand of God, or such injuries and afflictions wherein men are the instruments. Patience hath to do with both, that we may bear afflictions from God without murmuring, and injuries from men without thought of revenge. Such as come immediately from the hand of God are not to be looked upon as chances or casual accidents, but the Lord is to be owned in them, and then we must' humble ourselves under his mighty hand,' 1 Peter 5:6. In injuries from men, we must consider they are also governed by God's providence, and sent by God as well as other evils. Some are patient under an affliction from God, but very impatient under injurious dealing from men; as when a shower of rain falleth from heaven, we bear it quietly, but if one throw a basin of water upon us, we storm, and are vexed at heart. But if we did look through the wrongs of men to God, they would not be so irksome to us, be they injuries in civil commerce, such as oppression, detention of dues, contumelies, reproaches, or persecution for righteousness' sake; see God in all, that you may not fret at it.
Two things we must lay down briefly—
1. That nothing falleth out without God's particular providence: Lam. 3:37, 38, 'Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not? Out of the mouth of the Most High proceedeth not evil and good;' that is, nothing is done here below but by a divine disposal and providence, nothing but what he by his secret wisdom hath pre-ordained and appointed.
2. That cross issues and punishments, as well as benefits and prosperous successes, come all of God: Isa. 45:7, 'I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil: I, the Lord, do all these things.' All evils of punishment come from God, as well as the blessings of providence; and without this principle we could neither be thankful for the one nor humble under the other. We look upon it as a piece of atheism and irreligiousness if we be not thankful for benefits; it is as great an evil if we be not humble under punishments. We count him a profane man that should thank his dungcart for his good crop; and doth not he as much deny providence that in all his afflictions looketh only to instruments, and not to the hand of God? that rageth against men, but doth not take notice of the will of his heavenly Father? It is very notable, Jonah 4:6, 7, that God first prepared a gourd to shelter Jonah from the scorching heat of the sun, and then prepared a worm that smote the gourd, and deprived him of that comfort and benefit. He that gave us the delight in any natural comfort doth also take it from us. The same hand must be owned in giving and taking, or else we shall not prevent atheism. He that created the gourd created the worm; and he that governed the gourd, and made it a refreshing shadow from the heat of the sun, he governed the worm to eat out the root and life of the gourd. As Christ here saith, not the Jews or pharisees provided this bitter cup for him, but the Father. Œcumenius, an ancient Greek writer on the scripture, in his comment on the Acts of the Apostles, telleth us that once a great plague invaded the city of Athens, and miserably desolated it, which also other histories testify; the citizens being almost consumed, ran to the image of Jupiter with sacrifices, vows, and prayers, to save them from the pestilence, but Jupiter could not do it; then to Saturn, Mercury, Neptune, and other gods, but still in vain, for the plague daily increased, and was more mortal and deadly. And when this was considered in the court of the Areopagites, a wise man among them said, Without doubt these gods known to us did not send this pestilence, because upon our prayers and supplications to them they cannot take it away; there may be some other god unknown to us who sent it, and who alone can cause it to cease, therefore he is to be sought unto, an altar erected to him, and sacrifices and intercessions offered to him, to take away this plague from us. And this writer thinketh that this was the original of that altar which Paul saw with this inscription, 'To the unknown God,' Acts 17:23. I have brought this account to show you that all evil is sent by God, and his hand must be acknowledged in it, or else religion will fall to the ground. When the disciples were terrified in a great storm, Christ cometh walking upon the waters, and telleth them, 'Be of good cheer, it is I; be not afraid,' Mark 6:50. They thought it was a spectre, but Christ saith, 'It is I.' In short, the author of all the annoyances and afflictions that befalleth us in this life is God, their end is repentance, their cause is sin; and this well thought of will silence all our murmurings.
II. That it is a great advantage to patience when we can consider him not as an angry judge, but as a gracious father. The cup which Christ drank off was very bitter, and yet he saith, 'The cup which my Father hath given me.' Now every one cannot apply this comfort, for many are not so much as in a visible relation to God, and others that visibly live in his family yet are not owned and acknowledged by him as his dear children, rather counted bastards than sons, as the apostle speaketh, Heb. 12:7, 8, 'If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisements, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.' Not legitimate, but degenerate children. Others have a special relation to God, such as is between father and children: 2 Cor. 6:18, 'I will be unto you a Father, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.' These have an interest in his dearest love, and a right to his choicest benefits; and they shall know it by his fatherly dealing with them. Now to such this comfort properly belongeth; for though God may punish and afflict others, yet he cannot be said to chastise them as a father, but as an angry judge he doth punish them for their offences and rebellions. Therefore, if you would apply this comfort, you must clear up your interest, enter into covenant with him, and sincerely believe in Christ, and devote yourselves to him, that he may be your God and Father. But because being and seeing are two things, and many that are the children of God may not know themselves to be so, therefore I shall—(1.) State this matter; (2.) Show what an advantage it is to patience.
First, I shall state this matter in these considerations—
1. God is a father by creation or adoption.
[1.] In a more general respect by creation, as Adam is called 'the son of God,' Luke 3:38. So Mal. 2:10, 'Have we not all one Father? hath not one God created us?' God is more our Father than our natural parents are; they concur to our beings but instrumentally, but God originally. It is God that formeth us in the womb; we are his workmanship, not our parents', both as to body and soul. As to the body: Ps. 119:73, 'Thy hands have made me and fashioned me.' They know not whether the child be male or female, beautiful or deformed; they cannot tell the number of the bones, muscles, veins, and arteries, which God hath framed in such a curious and exact order. But for the soul, which is the better part of man, that is of his immediate creation; therefore God is called, 'The Father of spirits,' Heb. 12:9. They do not run in the channel of carnal generation or fleshly descent. In this general sense, by virtue of creation, God is the Father of all men, good and bad; which though it give God a title to our love, service, and honour, yet it giveth us no interest in his special benefits, or the fruits of his fatherly love; it moveth God not to stir up all his wrath against them, yet not to bestow saving grace, his favour and image, upon them.
[2.] More especially, and in a more comfortable sense, there is a more peculiar sort of men to whom God is a Father by adoption, and they are his dear children. This title is not by nature, but by grace; the foundation of it was laid in the election of God: Eph. 1:5, 'Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according, to the good pleasure of his will.' But before this decree could be executed and take place, the redemption of Christ was necessary; for we read, Gal. 4:4, 5, 'When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.' Sin needed to be expiated by the Son of God in our nature before God would bestow this honour upon any of mankind; Christ was to take a mother upon earth, that we might have a Father in heaven: 'Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage,' Heb. 2:14, 15. And besides, this grace is applied to us by the Spirit, who by his effectual operation bringeth us into a state of love and sonship. As a Father by creation, he giveth us our natural endowments; as a Father by adoption, he giveth us the supernatural grace of the Spirit, to sanctify and change our hearts; for regeneration and adoption always go together: John 1:12, 13, 'But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name; which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, 'but of God.' And by the new nature put into us we are brought into this new state and relation: Gal. 4:6, 'And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.' The soul that was shy of God then inclineth to him as our Lord, that we may honour, love, and obey him, and as our happiness, that we may seek after him, and live in communion with him. And lastly, the act on our part, that we may be received into the number of God's children, is an owning and acknowledging Christ to all the ends and purposes for which God hath appointed him; if we really entertain him as sent by God to be our Lord and Saviour, we are advanced to this dignity: John 1:12, 'To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.' This of the privilege.
2. You having received this grace, it is your duty to get it evidenced, that you may maintain a comfortable sense of your adoption. It is evidenced by the dwelling and working of the Holy Spirit in you: Rom. 8:16, 'The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.' He witnesseth objectively and effectively, per modum argumenti, and per modum efficientis causœ—by way of argument, and by way of causal efficiency. Objectively, if I have the Spirit of God framing my heart to love, and honour, and fear, and obey him, and delight in communion with him, surely I am a child of God; for where these are, sincere love to God prevaileth: 1 John 4:13, 'Hereby know we that we dwell in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.' There he speaketh of love to God, and so for honour; it is else but an empty title: Mal. 1:6, 'If I then be a father, where is mine honour? If I be a master, where is my fear?' So for fear or childlike reverence, that we dare not offend him: Ps. 103:13, 'As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.' His children, and those that fear him, are equivalent expressions: 1 Peter 1:17, 'If ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.' I illustrate by that, Jer. 35:6, 'And they said, We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye nor your sons, for ever.' So for obedience: 1 Peter 1:14, 'As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance;' Eph. 5:1, 'Be ye followers of God, as dear children.' So for delighting in communion with him: Rom. 8:15, 'For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father;' Gal. 4:6, 'And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father.' This is most felt in prayer: Zech. 12:10, 'I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and supplications;' Rom. 8:26, 'Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered;' Jude 20, 'But ye, beloved, building up yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.' Here we have the nearest familiarity with God whilst we dwell in the flesh, and our souls are carried to God as light bodies move upward. This is the matter of the evidence, but the Spirit giveth a sight or sense of this; if he be not grieved and ill-treated, but his sanctifying motions be obeyed, he sheddeth abroad the love of God in our hearts, and filleth us with much joy and peace.
3. If this be faithfully done, and there be no other reason to break our confidence, the bare affliction, or the greatness and grievousness of your afflictions, should not; for these sharp afflictions are not only consistent with this relation, as the instance of Christ showeth, but also it is an act of his fatherly love and discipline. The exhortation speaketh to us as children: Heb. 12:5–8, 'Ye have forgotten the exhortation that speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him; for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? but if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.' God's children must look to be chastened; neither must our Father's hand be slighted, nor must we faint under it. It is an act of love and kindness to us, that he will not suffer us to go on in our sins. God seemeth to cast off them whom he leaveth to their own hearts' lusts: Hosea 4:17, 'Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone.' But he loveth whom he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. The rod of correction will not wholly be laid aside while God's children are in the flesh. In heaven, where there are no dangers, there is no use of it any more, because then we are fully and perfectly sanctified, but here you must be content to submit to the discipline of the family. Certainly you must not question his love because something falleth out contrary to your desires. God is a Father when he frowneth and when he smileth; he is the God of the valleys as well as of the hills and mountains; his love doth not alter with our condition, the comfort of adoption is for such a time.
4. Because of our imperfection both in holiness and comfort, we must submit to the authority of a father, when we cannot see our interest in his special fatherly love. Alas! most are so ill settled in the peace and comfort of the gospel, that every notable affliction reviveth our guilty fears; as the Sareptan said to Elijah when her child died, 'Art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?' 1 Kings 17:18. She looked upon that sad providence as a judgment for her sins; so it is if God awakeneth in us a spirit of bondage. Besides, there is none of us but may justify God, that he is not needlessly severe; yea, some have so sinned, that though they be not filii iræ, children of wrath, yet they are filii sub ira, children under wrath; though they need no regeneration or conversion, yet they have grieved the good Spirit of God by walking inordinately, therefore their business is to submit to the authority of God, justly correcting and punishing them for sins: Micah 7:9, 'I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him.' And by unfeigned repentance to renew their claim, and promise greater loyalty and fidelity for the future: Jer. 3:19, 'Thou shalt call me, My father, and shalt not turn away from me.' They must get their wounds healed, make up the breach between God and them, sue out their pardon in the name of Christ, and get a renewed grant of it, and a sense of their adoption.
5. If hitherto you have been quite strangers to God, such providences may be an occasion to begin the relation before they are over, as they are helps to repentance and recovery. Upon the serious working of your souls, the Lord may be found as a father, and admit you into his family. It is said, 'The Lord loveth whom he chasteneth,' Heb. 12:6. There is a twofold love in God—the love of benevolence, and the love of complacency; the one while we are sinners, the other after he hath made us amiable. Some God chooseth in the fire or furnace of affliction: Isa. 48:10, 'Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.' The hot furnace is God's workhouse; the most excellent vessels of honour are formed there; Manasseh, Paul, the jailer in the Acts; when the prodigal began to be in want, he thought of returning to his father, Luke 15:17–19. If our ears be opened to discipline, we can own God in the humbling, though not the comfortable way: 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.' Many that were never serious before are brought to bethink themselves in their afflictions: 1 Kings 8:47, 48, 'Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplications unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness; and so return unto thee with all their heart and with all their soul.' The doors of God's family are always open to believing penitents, and it is a fatherly providence at last.
Secondly, What an advantage is it to patience and submission to God.
1. God's fatherly relation showeth his love to us; and so we know that by all his chastisements he doth but seek our spiritual and eternal good: Heb. 12:9, 10, 'We have had fathers of our flesh, which corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live? for they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure, but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.' Children, though they take it ill to be beaten by others, yet they take it patiently when beaten for their faults by their parents, who, under God, are the cause of their being and maintenance, and ever in correcting seek their good; much more should we submit to our heavenly Father. Earthly parents may err, wanting wisdom, or being blinded with passion, and so their chastisements are arbitrary and irregular; but there is more of compassion than passion in God's rod; all cometh from purest love, and is regulated by perfect wisdom, and tendeth to the highest end, even our holiness and happiness.
2. It inferreth great love from us to God again. No owning of God is allowed but the practical owning of him; and therefore none own God as a father but those that love him as a father. Now love God once, and nothing that he doth will be grievous to us; for as love sweeteneth duties, so it sweeteneth providences. It cometh from my Father; that doth not only bespeak reverence or submission (Num. 12:14, 'If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days?') but welcome; anything should be well taken at his hand.
III. It well becometh his people to endure willingly whatever God calleth them unto.
1. From God. His sovereignty and power; he is too great to be questioned: Job 9:12, 'Behold he taketh away, who can hinder him? Who will say unto him, What doest thou?' His justice; he is too just to do us wrong: Job 34:23, 'For he will not lay upon man more than is right, that he should enter into judgment with God.' There is guilt enough in every one to silence us: Ps. 119:137, 'Righteous art thou, O Lord, and upright are thy judgments.' His goodness; he is too good to do us harm; he knoweth how to recompense us: Ps. 119:71, 'It is good for me that I have been afflicted.' Nothing but good can come from him who is goodness and love itself. His wisdom and faithfulness; he will afflict us no more than need requireth, or will exceed our strength: 1 Peter 1:6, 'Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season (if need be) ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations;' 1 Cor. 10:13, 'There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.'
2. With respect to Christ, whose example should be of force to us both for suffering and patience in suffering. For suffering, there is a certain measure of affliction fitted and prepared for Christ and all his followers; the bitter cup goeth round from hand to hand; the whole wave dashed upon Christ, some drops light upon us: Col. 1:24, 'Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for his body's sake, which is the church.' And for patience in suffering: Heb. 12:2, 3, 'Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds;' 1 Peter 2:21, 'Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps;' and ver. 23, 'Who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.' He hath trod the way before us, and his steps drop fatness: Mat. 20:23, 'Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.' There are two things; if any would be nearer in dignity to Christ than others, it is not in reigning, but in suffering with Christ, in drinking Christ's cup; but for preferment in another world, and to have a larger measure of honour, that is given to those for whom it is appointed. We are to prepare for the cross. The other is, the new covenant engageth us hereunto, for there is an allusion to the sacraments. Therefore Christ useth these notions.
Use 1. Showeth what provision the christian religion maketh for patience: Rom. 15:4, 'For whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.' This patience and comfort of the scriptures is a higher thing than what is learnt by the institutions of philosophy. Tam in ipsis falsa erat patientia, quam et falsa sapientia—Cypr. Both their patience and their wisdom is false. The grounds of patience from the christian religion are particular providence, adoption, the example of Christ, the assistance of the Spirit, the desert of sin, the fruit of afflictions, both as to the refining of grace and preparing us for glory: Heb. 12:11, 'Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them that are exercised thereby.'
Use 2. To exhort us to bear whatsoever God shall lay upon us.
1. Seek this grace of God, both the wisdom and the power to calm the spirit: Col. 1:11, 'Strengthened with all might according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness;' James 1:5, 'If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask it of God.' Man's strength is not the strength of bulls; it doth not lie in brutish force, but strength of reason. Our own reason is too feeble to encounter our passions if not assisted by grace; they are not healed by time, but spiritual wisdom: Ps. 94:19, 'In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.'
2. Expostulate with yourselves, and cite all your passions before the tribunal of reason: Ps. 42:5, 'Why art thou cast down, O my soul? why art thou disquieted within me?' God puts Jonah to the question: chap. 4:4, 'Dost thou well to be angry?' So should we argue with ourselves: With whom are you displeased? Is it with God? He doth what he pleaseth; he might cast thee into hell, and art thou angry because of his temporal chastisement? He hath bestowed many mercies upon thee, and shall he not take his seasons to chastise thee? Art thou angry with man? But is not God's hand in it? Hast not thou done so to others? Eccles. 7:22, 'For oftentimes also thy own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.'