Hebrews 5:7
During the days of Jesus' earthly life, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence.
Sermons
The Lesson of LifeCharles KingsleyHebrews 5:7
The Suffering SaviorW. Jones Hebrews 5:7, 8
GethsemaneD. Young Hebrews 5:7-9
Christ's Human Experience the Second Qualification for High Priestly WorkC. New Hebrews 5:7-10
Sacrificial SorrowJ.S. Bright Hebrews 5:7-10
Author of Eternal SalvationG. Lawson.Hebrews 5:7-11
Begging PrayersHenry T. Williams.Hebrews 5:7-11
Christ a LearnerJ. W. Massie, D. D.Hebrews 5:7-11
Christ in the Infirmity of the FleshJohn Owen, D. D.Hebrews 5:7-11
Christ the Author, and Obedience the Condition, of SalvatArchbishop Tillotson.Hebrews 5:7-11
Christ's Experience of ObedienceJ. H. Newman, D. D.Hebrews 5:7-11
Christ's SufferingsE. Deering, B. D.Hebrews 5:7-11
Distractions in PrayerE. B. Pusey, D. D.Hebrews 5:7-11
Eternal Salvation in ChristJ. Cumming, D. D.Hebrews 5:7-11
Faith and WorksJohn Selden.Hebrews 5:7-11
God's ObedienceJ. Spencer.Hebrews 5:7-11
Instructed by SufferingC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 5:7-11
Jesus Christ the Author of Eternal SalvationE. Cooper, M. A.Hebrews 5:7-11
Jesus, the Model of PerfectionR. Newton, D. D.Hebrews 5:7-11
Learning ObedienceT. V. Tymms.Hebrews 5:7-11
Obedience Due to ChristW. Jones, D. D.Hebrews 5:7-11
Our Sympathising High PriestC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 5:7-11
Salvation in ChristW. E. Boardman.Hebrews 5:7-11
Salvation, not CompulsionD. Thomas, D. D.Hebrews 5:7-11
Suffering a Good Teacher of DivinityHebrews 5:7-11
Suffering the School of ObedienceArchdeacon H. E. Manning.Hebrews 5:7-11
Tears a Safety-ValveAlbert Smith.Hebrews 5:7-11
The Benefit Arising to Christ from His Own SufferingsTheological Sketch-BookHebrews 5:7-11
The Education of Sons of GodC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 5:7-11
The Exercise of the Son of God in His AgonyAlex. Shanks.Hebrews 5:7-11
The Grace of TearsHebrews 5:7-11
The Mental Sadness of ChristHomilistHebrews 5:7-11
The Perfect SonL. Adamson, D. D.Hebrews 5:7-11
The Possibility and Necessity of Gospel ObedienceArchbishop Tillotson.Hebrews 5:7-11
The Saviour You NeedC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 5:7-11
The Suffering SonJohn Owen, D. D.Hebrews 5:7-11
Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered, etc. Our text suggests the following observations: -

I. IN THE DAYS OF HIS FLESH OUR LORD ENDURED SEVEREST SUFFERINGS. "The things which he suffered" induced the agonizing prayer, the "strong crying and tears." He bore the common sufferings of our humanity; e.g. hunger, thirst, weariness, etc. He suffered from the cruel ingratitude of men, from the base slanders of his enemies, and from the subtle and sinful solicitations of Satan. His sensitive and holy soul suffered keenly from his contact with so much of sin and sorrow and pain in this world. But the particular reference in the text is to his anguish in Gethsemane. How sore was his sorrow, how terrible his agony, upon that occasion! "He began to be greatly amazed and sore troubled: and he saith, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death."

II. IN HIS SUFFERINGS OUR LORD SOUGHT RELIEF IN PRAYER, "He offered up prayers and supplications," etc. (ver. 7). Notice:

1. The Belong to whom he addressed his prayer. "Unto him that was able to save him from death," i.e. to the great Sovereign of both life and death; "the God in whose hand our breath is," who "giveth to all life and breath and all things,... in whom we live and move and have our being." Our Savior directed his prayer to his Father, saying, "O my Father," etc.

2. The object which he sought in his prayer. This is not mentioned here; but it is in the narrative of the conflict in Gethsemane. "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me." From what did the Savior recoil so shudderingly? Certainly neither from mere death, nor from "the dread of something after death." The pains of dissolution could not have affrighted him, and beyond death there was nothing to dismay or repel him. But death, with all the dread significance and terrible circumstances such as awaited him, he shrank from in intense spiritual pain. This has been forcibly expressed by Dr. Farrar: "It was something far deadlier than death. It was the burden and the mystery of the world's sin which lay heavy on his heart; it was the tasting, in the Divine humanity of a sinless life, the bitter cup which sin had poisoned; it was the bowing of Godhead to endure a stroke to which man's apostasy had lent such frightful possibilities. It was the sense, too, of how virulent, how frightful, must have been the force of evil in the universe of God which could render necessary so infinite a sacrifice. It was the endurance, by the perfectly guiltless, of the worst malice which human hatred could devise; it was to experience, in the bosom of perfect innocence and perfect love, all that was detestable in human ingratitude, all that was pestilent in human hypocrisy, all that was cruel in human rage. It was to brave the last triumph of Satanic spite and fury, uniting against his lonely head all the flaming arrows of Jewish falsity and heathen corruption - the concentrated wrath of the rich and respectable, the yelling fury of the blind and brutal mob. It was to feel that his own, to whom he came, loved darkness rather than light - that the race of the chosen people could be wholly absorbed in one insane repulsion against infinite goodness and purity and love. Through all this he passed in that hour which, with a recoil of sinless horror beyond our capacity to conceive, foretasted a worse bitterness than the worst bitterness of death." This was the cup which he prayed might pass away from him.

3. The intensity with which he urged his prayer. This is indicated

(1) by the fact that two words, which are nearly synonymous, are used to express his prayer. He "offered up prayers and supplications." The conjunction of synonymous words is "a mode of expressing intensity, which is very frequent in the sacred writings."

(2) By his "strong crying." The loud cries were the expression of agonized feeling and of earnest entreaty.

(3) By his "tears." Great natures weep, but not for trifles. Their tears indicate deep emotion. Our Lord's tears in Gethsemane welled up from a "soul exceeding sorrowful," and were significant of a painful fervency of supplication. "Being in an agony he prayed more earnestly," etc. (Luke 22:44).

III. IN ANSWER TO HIS PRAYER OUR LORD OBTAINED SUPPORT IN HIS SUFFERINGS.

1. The nature of the answer to his prayer, Not exemption from the cup, but victory over the dread of it, and support in drinking it. He was fortified for his future sufferings and trials, and sustained in them. "There appeared unto him an angel from heaven, strengthening him." His personal wishes were now lost in the perfect will of his Father. His dread anxieties are gone, and he is divinely calm. His trembling fears have departed, and he is sublimely courageous. Henceforth, even unto the bitter end, he is serene in sternest sufferings, patient under the most irritating provocations, a meek yet majestic Conqueror. Such was the Father's answer to his prayer. And every true prayer which is offered to God is answered by him, though not always by granting the specific requests (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

2. The reason of the answer to his prayer. "And was heard in that he feared;" margin, "for his piety;" Revised Version, "Having been heard for his godly fear;" Alford, "Having been heard by reason of his reverent submission." His pious resignation to the holy will of his Father was the ground upon which his prayer was answered, and the victory was given unto him. "Nevertheless," said he, "not as I will, but as Thou wilt.... O my Father, if this cannot pass away, except I drink it, thy will be done." When we can thus say, "Thy will Be done," we have already an installment of the answer to our prayers, and the fullness of the blessing will not tarry.

IV. BY HIS SUFFERINGS HIS OBEDIENCE TO THE HOLY WILL OF HIS FATHER WAS PERFECTED. "Though he was a Son, yet learned he obedience by," etc. His obedience as a Son was always perfect. His obedience here spoken of is obedience in suffering. As his obedience became more difficult, involving more and more of self-renunciation, and pain ever increasing in severity, he still obeyed, He willed to endure the sharpest, sternest sufferings rather than fail even in the slightest degree in his practical loyalty to the perfect will of his Father. "He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." This obedience he learned, as he proceeded step by step along his painful path, until the lesson was finished and the obedience was consummated on the cress. All Christ's disciples need the discipline of suffering to perfect them in the practice of the Father's will (cf. Matthew 16:24). - W.J.







With strong crying and tears.
I. In the first place we shall illustrate the definition of THE SEASON OF THE AGONY OF THY, SON OF GOD in these words: "The days of His flesh." In general, it may he observed that the application of the term "flesh" to the mystery of His incarnation is remarkable. By the application of this term something more is expressed than the subsistence of our nature in His person.

1. The beginning of these days is at His birth. In His birth the Son of God entered into the infirmities of our flesh, and, for our sakes, exposed Himself not only to sufferings attending ordinary births, but unto hardships peculiar to the circumstances of His own extraordinary birth.

2. These days ended at His resurrection. The human nature subsisting in the person of the Son of God, was the same nature after His resurrection that it had been before His death. But the likeness, or appearance, was different. Before His death it had "the likeness of sinful flesh"; after His resurrection it appeared in the original glory of human nature subsisting still in His person.

3. The number of these days is not exactly known. The Author of revelation is the Judge of what is proper to appear in the witness which He hath testified of His Son, and what is proper to be concealed.

4. These were the days of His sufferings and temptations. At their beginning, the Son of God entered into His sufferings, and suffered every day until their end.

5. Toward the close of these days He suffered an agony. Day after day, all the days of His flesh, He waded deeper and deeper in the ocean of sorrow, and toward the last the waves rose high and broke over Him in the fury and vengeance of the curse.

6. These were the days of His supplication, prayers, and tears.

II. But in regard our text refers unto THE PRAYERS AND SUPPLICATIONS WHICH IN THE CLOSE OF THE DAYS OF HIS FLESH HE OFFERED UP, under His agony, we proceed to the second head of our general method, and shall illustrate these words of the text: "When He had offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto Him who was able to save Him from death."

1. "Offering up prayers and supplications" is the action of the Son of God under His agony in the close of the days of His flesh. In our nature, He is "the High Priest of our profession"; and His suffering and dying for our sins are represented in many texts of Scripture as actions of a priest offering sacrifice, and making atonement and reconciliation for sins.

2. "To Him who was able to save Him from death," is the description of the object unto whom the Son of God, under His agony, in the days of His flesh, offered up prayers and supplications. In our nature, and in that station wherein the Son of God stood, He considered His righteous and holy Father as possessing sovereign power ever Him with respect to life and death, and executing the curse upon Him according to the penalty of the law; He considered Him as able, not to deliver Him from dying-this is not the object of His prayers — but to uphold His suffering nature in conflicting with the pangs and sorrows of death, and to save Him from the mouth of the lion, and from the horns of the unicorn, or from being overcome by the prince of this world who had the power of death; and He considered Him as able to loose the cords and pains of death, and, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, to bring Him again from the dead by a glorious resurrection on the third day.

3. "Strong crying and tears" are expressions of the fervency with which the Son of God, under His agony, in the close of the days of His flesh, offered up prayers and supplications to His righteous Father, who was able to save Him from death.

III. We proceed to illustrate His ACCEPTANCE, which is affirmed by the apostle in the latter part of our text: "Heard in that He feared."

1. The nature of that fear, which is ascribed to the Son of God under His agony, is to be ascertained. The term used by the apostle, and translated "fear," signifies godly fear, accompanied with weakness and feelings in the present frame of our nature. Impressions of the holiness of His Father, together with sensations of His displeasure, sunk deep into His soul, and affected every member of His body, exciting that fear which is the sum of obedience and the essence of adoration, and which, in His state, was accompanied with infirmities and feelings of flesh and blood. Obedience and adoration were in His prayer; and His agony itself, in one consideration, was suffering affliction, and, in another, subjection to the will and obedience to the commandment of His Father.

2. We shall collect several principles which gave force to the operation of fear in the Son of God under His agony in the days of His flesh.(1) His apprehensions of the glory and majesty of His Father were clear and sublime.(2) His burden was heavy and pressed His suffering nature to the ground.(3) His sensations of the wrath and curse of God were deep and piercing.(4) His temptations were violent and extraordinary.(5) The sorrows of death drew up and stood before Him in battle array. But while His soul was offering for sin, and sorrowing even unto death, every desponding and gloomy apprehension which attacked His faith was resisted and broken, and full assurance of His hope of a resurrection by the glory of the Father held firm unto the end. Thy right hand, triumphant Sufferer, doth ever valiantly!

3. The sense in which the Son of God under His agony, in the days of His flesh, was heard is to be ascertained and illustrated.(1) The prayers and supplications, which in the days of His flesh the Son of God offered up unto Him who was able to save Him from death, were answered.(2) His fatigued and dying nature was strengthened.(3) His sacrifice was accepted; and, in the odour of perfection, came up before His Father with a sweet-smelling savour.(4) His body was raised from the dead and saw no corruption.(5) He was received up into heaven, crowned with glory and honour, and made Captain of salvation, to bring unto glory the multitude of sons.

IV. After illustrating the several parts of our text, SOME APPLICATIONS are proper for reproof, correction, and instruction, unto the peculiar people who are in the fellowship of God's dear Son in the first place; and, in the second, unto the children of disobedience who will not enter into this holy fellowship.

1. "Holy brethren, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession." Consider His infirmities, consider His temptations, consider His conflict, consider His example, consider His acceptance, and consider His divinity.

2. After these considerations which have been addressed unto the peculiar people who are in the fellowship of the mystery of godliness, we would have the children of disobedience to consider the existence and holiness of God; the provocation which they have given Him; the necessity of reconciliation; the access to the benefit of the reconciliation which the merciful and faithful High Priest of our profession made for the sins of the people; and the penal and certain consequences of refusing the benefit of this reconciliation.

(Alex. Shanks.)

Homilist.
I. HIS MIND WAS THE SUBJECT OF INTENSE EMOTIONS.

II. A DREAD OF DEATH SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN ONE OF HIS MOST DISTRESSING EMOTIONS.

III. UNDER THIS MOST INTENSE EMOTION HE SOUGHT RELIEF IN PRAYER.

IV. HIS PRAYERS WERE ANSWERED IN CONSEQUENCE OF HIS PIETY. The dread was taken away and strength given to bear it.

(Homilist.)

Theological Sketch-Book.
I. His CONDUCT UNDER HIS SUFFERINGS. Never were the sufferings of any creature comparable with those of Christ. His bodily sufferings perhaps were less than many of His followers have been called to endure — but those of His soul were infinitely beyond our conception (Psalm 22:14, 15; Matthew 26:38; Luke 22:44). Under them He poured out His heart in prayer unto His heavenly Father. He never lost sight of God as His Father, but addressed Him with the greater earnestness under that endearing title (Mark 14:36). Not that He repented of the work He had undertaken; but only desired such a mitigation of His sufferings as might consist with His Father's glory and the salvation of men. Nor did He desist from prayer till He had obtained His request. Him the Father always heard; nor was an answer now denied Him. Though the cup was not removed, He was not suffered to faint in drinking it. His sufferings indeed could not be dispensed with; but they were amply recompensed by —

II. THE BENEFIT HE DERIVED FROM THEM.

1. Personal. It was necessary for Him, as our High Priest, to experience everything which His people are called to endure in their conflicts with sin and Satan (Hebrews 2:17). Now the difficulty of abiding faithful to God in arduous circumstances is exceeding great. This is a trial which all His people are called to sustain. Though as the Son of God He knew all things in a speculative manner, yet He could not know this experimentally, but by being reduced to a suffering condition. This therefore was one benefit which He derived from His sufferings. He learned by them more tenderly to sympathise with His afflicted people, and more speedily to succour them when imploring His help with strong crying and tears (ver. 18).

2. Official. As the priests were consecrated to their office by the blood of their sacrifices, so was Jesus by His own blood. From that time He had a right to impart salvation.

III. LEARN —

1. What we should do under sufferings, or a dread of God's displeasure. We should not hastily conclude that we are not His children (Hebrews 12:6). We should rather go with humble boldness to God as our Father (Luke 15:17, 18). We should plead His gracious promises (Psalm 51:15).

2. Whither to go for salvation. The Father was "able to save His Son from death." And doubtless He can save us also. But He has exalted His Son to be a Prince and a Saviour (Acts 5:31). To Christ therefore we are to go, and to the Father through Christ (Ephesians 2:18). In this way we shall find Him to be the author of eternal salvation to us (Hebrews 7:25).

3. What is to be our conduct when He has saved us? Jesus died "to purchase to Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works." We must therefore obey Him, and that too as willingly in seasons of severe trial as in times of peace. We must be content to be conformed to the likeness of our Lord and Master. Let us be faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10).

(Theological Sketch-Book.)

I. First, that we may see the suitability of our Lord to deal with us in our cares and sorrows, we shall view Him as A SUPPLIANT.

1. The text begins with a word which reveals His weakness: "Who in the days of His flesh." Our blessed Lord was in such a condition that He pleaded out of weakness with the God who was able to save. When our Lord was compassed with the weakness of flesh He was much in prayer.

2. In the days of His flesh our Divine Lord felt His necessities. The words, "He offered up prayers and supplications," proved that He had many needs. Men do not pray and supplicate unless they have greater need than this world can satisfy. The Saviour offered no petitions by way of mere form; His supplications arose out of an urgent sense of His need of heavenly aid.

3. Further, let us see how like the Son of God was to us in His intensity of prayer. The intensity of His prayer was such that our Lord expressed Himself in "crying and tears." Since from His lips you hear strong crying, and from His eyes you see showers of tears, you may well feel that His is a sympathetic spirit, to whom you may run in the hour of danger, even as the chicks seek the wings of the hen.

4. We have seen our Lord's needs and the intensity of His prayer; now note His understanding in prayer. He prayed " unto Him that was able to save Him from death." The expression is startling; the Saviour prayed to be saved. In His direst woe He prayed thoughtfully, and with a clear apprehension of the character of Him to whom He prayed. It is a great help in devotion to pray intelligently, knowing well the character of God to whom you are speaking. Jesus was about to die, and therefore the aspect under which He viewed the great Father was as " Him that was able to save Him from death." This passage may be read in two ways: it may mean that He would be saved from actually dying if it could be done consistently with the glorifying of the Father; or it may mean that He pleaded to be saved out of death, though He actually descended into it. The word may be rendered either from or out of. The Saviour viewed the great Father as able to preserve Him in death from the power of death, so that He should triumph on the Cross; and also as able to bring Him up again from among the dead.

5. It will further help you if I now call your attention to His fear. I believe our old Bibles give us a correct translation, much better than the Revised Version, although much can be said for the latter, "With strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared." That is to say, He had a fear, a natural and not a sinful fear; and from this fear He was delivered by the strength brought to Him from heaven by the angel. God has implanted in all of us the love of life, and we cannot part from it without a pang: our Lord felt a natural dread of death.

6. But then notice another thing in the text, namely, His success in prayer, which also brings Him near to us. He was heard "in that He feared." O my soul! to think that it should be said of thy Lord that He was heard, even as thou. a poor suppliant, art heard. Yet the cup did not pass from Him, neither was the bitterness thereof in the least abated.

II. Behold our Lord as A SON. His prayers and pleadings were those of a son with a father.

1. The Sonship of our Saviour is well attested. The Lord declared this in the second Psalm: "Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee." Thrice did the voice out of the excellent glory proclaim this truth, and He was "declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." So, when you are put to great grief, do not doubt your sonship.

2. Being a Son, the text goes on to tell us that He had to learn obedience. How near this brings our Lord to us, that He should be a Son and should have to learn! We go to school to Christ and with Christ, and so we feel His fitness to be our compassionate High Priest.

3. Jesus must needs learn by suffering. As swimming is only to be learned in the water, so is obedience only learned by actually doing and suffering the Divine will.

4. The Lord Jesus Christ learned this obedience to perfection.

5. Our Lord learned by suffering mixed with prayer and supplication. His was no unsanctified sorrow, His griefs were baptised in prayer. It cost Him cries and tears to learn the lesson of His sufferings. He never suffered without prayer, nor prayed without suffering.

III. Behold the Lord Jesus as A SAVIOUR.

1. As a Saviour He is perfect. Nothing is lacking in Him in any one point. However difficult your case may seem, He is equal to it. Made perfect by suffering, He is able to meet the intricacies of your trials, and to deliver you in the most complicated emergency.

2. Henceforth He is the author of salvation. Author! How expressive! He is the cause i,f salvation; the originator, the worker, the producer of salvation. Salvation begins with Christ; salvation is carried on by Christ; salvation is completed by Christ. He has finished it, and you cannot sad to it; it only remains for you to receive it.

3. Observe that it is eternal salvation: " the author of eternal salvation." Jesus does not save us to-day and leave us to perish to-morrow; He knows what is in man, and so He has prepared nothing less than eternal salvation for man.

4. Furthermore, inasmuch as He has learned obedience and become a perfect High Priest, His salvation is wide in its range, for it is unto "all them that obey Him."

5. Note, that He is all this for ever, for He is "a priest for ever." If you could have seen Him when He came from Gethsemane, yon think you could have trusted Him. Oh! trust Him to-day, for He is " called of God to be an High Priest after the order of Melchizedec," and that order of Melchizedec is an everlasting and perpetual priesthood. He is able today to plead for you, able to-day to put away your sins.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF HAD A TIME OF INFIRMITY IN THIS WORLD. It is true His infirmities were all sinless, but all troublesome and grievous. By them was He exposed unto all sorts of temptations and sufferings, which are the two springs of all that is evil and dolorous unto our nature. A-d thus it was with Him not a few days, nor a short season only, but during His whole course in this world.

1. It was out of infinite condescension and love unto our souls, that Christ took on Himself this condition (Philippians 2:6-8).

2. As He had other ends herein, for the-e things were indispensably required unto the discharge of the sacerdotal office, so He designed to set us an example, that we should not faint under our infirmities and sufferings on their account (Hebrews 12:2, 3; 1 Peter 4:1).(1) His patience, unconquerable and unmovable in all things that befell Him in the days of His flesh (Isaiah 42:2). Whatever befell Him, He bore it quietly and patiently.(2) His trust in God. By this testimony that it is said of Him, "I wilt put My trust in God," doth our apostle prove that He had the same nature with us, subject to the same weakness and infirmities (Hebrews 2:13). And this we are taught thereby, that there is no management of our human nature, as now beset with infirmities, but by a constant trust in God.(3) His earnest, fervent prayers and supplications, which are here expressed by our apostle, and accommodated unto the days of His flesh.

II. A LIFE OF GLORY MAY ENSUE AFTER A LIFE OF INFIRMITY. We see that it hath done so with Jesus Christ. His season of infirmity issued in eternal glory. And nothing but unbelief and sin can hinder ours from doing so also.

III. THE LORD CHRIST IS NO MORE NOW IN A STATE OF WEAKNESS AND TEMPTATION; THE DAYS OF HIS FLESH ARE PAST AND GONE. With His death, ended the days of His flesh. His revival or return unto life, was into absolute, eternal, unchangeable glory.

IV. THE LORD CHRIST FILLED UP EVERY SEASON WITH DUTY, WITH THE PROPER DUTY OF IT. The days of His flesh, were the only season wherein He could offer to God; and He missed it not, He did so accordingly. It is true, in His glorified state, He continually represents in heaven, the offering that He made of Himself on the earth, in an effectual application of it unto the advantage of the elect. But the offering itself was in the days of His flesh. Then was His body capable of pain, His soul of sorrow, His nature of dissolution, all which were necessary unto this duty.

V. THE LORD CHRIST, IN HIS OFFERING UP HIMSELF FOR US, LABOURED AND TRAVAILED IN SOUL, TO BRING THE WEEK UNTO A GOOD AND HOLY ISSUE. A hard labour it was, and as such, it is here expressed. He went through it with fears, sorrows, tears, outcries, prayers, and humble supplications.

1. All the holy, natural affections of His soul were filled, taken up, and extended to the utmost capacity, in acting and suffering.

2. All His graces, the gracious qualifications of His mind and affections were, in a like manner, in the height of their exercise. Both those whose immediate object was God Himself, and those which respected the Church, were all of them excited, drawn forth, arid engaged. As(1) Faith and trust in God. These Himself expresseth, in His greatest trial, as those which He betook Himself unto (Isaiah 50:7, 8; Psalm 22:9, 10; Hebrews 2:13). These graces in Him were now tried to the utmost. All their strength, all their efficacy was exercised and proved.(2) Love to mankind. As this in His Divine nature was the peculiar spring of that infinite condescension, whereby He took our nature on Him, for the work of mediation (Philippians 2:6-8); so it wrought mightily and effectually in His human nature, in the whole course of His obedience, but especially in the offering of Himself unto God for us.(3) Zeal to the glory of God. This was committed unto Him, and concerning this, He took care that it might not miscarry.(4) He was now in the highest exercise of obedience unto God, and that in such a peculiar manner as before He had no occasion for.

3. He did so also with respect to that confluence of calamities, distresses, pains, and miseries, which was upon His whole nature. And that in these consisted no small part of His trials, wherein He underwent and suffered the utmost which human nature is capable to undergo, is evident from the description given of His dolorous sufferings both in prophecy (Psalm 22.; Isaiah 53.) and in the story of what befell Him in the evangelists. And in this manner of His death, there were sundry things concurring.(1) A natural sign of His readiness to embrace all sinners that should come unto Him, His arms being, as it were, stretched out to receive them (Isaiah 45:22, 1).(2) A moral token of His condition, being left as one rejected of all between heaven and earth for a season; but in Himself interposing between heaven and .earth for the justice of God and sins of men, to make reconciliation and peace (Ephesians if. 16, 17).(3) The accomplishment of sundry types; as —(a) Of that of him who was hanged on a tree, as cursed of the Lord (Deuteronomy 21:22).(b) Of the brazen serpent which was lifted up in the wilderness (John 2:14), with respect whereunto He says, that when He is lifted up, He would draw all men to Him (John 12:32).(c) Of the wave-offering, which was moved, shaken, and turned several ways, to declare that the Lord Christ in this offering of Himself, should have respect unto all parts of the world, and all sorts of men (Exodus 29:26).(4) The conflict He had with Satan, and all the powers of darkness, was another part of His travail. And herein He laboured for that victory and success which in the issue He did obtain (Colossians 2:13, 14; Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:18).(5) His inward conflict, in the making His soul an offering for sin, in His apprehensions, and undergoing of the wrath of God due unto sin, hath been already spoken unto, so far as is necessary unto our present purpose.(6) In, and during all these things, there was in His eye continually that unspeakable glory that was set before Him, of being the repairer of the breaches of the creation, the rest,refer of mankind, the captain of salvation unto all that obey Him, the destruction of Satan, with his kingdom of sin and darkness, and in all the great restorer of Divine glory, to the eternal praise of God. Whilst all these things were in the height of their transaction, is it any wonder if the Lord Christ laboured and travailed in soul, according to the description here given of Him?

VI. THE LORD CHRIST, IN THE TIME OF HIS OFFERING AND SUFFERING, CONSIDERING GOD WITH WHOM HE HAD TO DO, AS THE SOVEREIGN LORD OF LIFE AND DEATH, AS THE SUPREME RECTOR AND JUDGE OF ALL, CASTS HIMSELF BEFORE HIM WITH MOST FERVENT PRAYERS FOR DELIVERANCE, FROM THE SENTENCE OF DEATH AND THE CURSE OF THE LAW.

1. HOW great a matter it was, to make peace with God for sinners, to make atonement and reconciliation for sin. This is the life and spirit of our religion, the centre wherein all the lines of it do meet (Philippians 3:8-10 Corinthians if. 2; Galatians 6:14).

2. A sight and sense of the wrath of God due unto sin, will be full of dread and terror for the souls of men, and will put them to a great conflict with wrestling for deliverance.

VII. IN ALL THE PRESSURES THAT WERE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, IN ALL THE DISTRESSES HE HAD TO CONFLICT WITHAL IN HIS SUFFERING, HIS FAITH FOR DELIVERANCE AND SUCCESS WAS FIRM AND UNCONQUERABLE. This was the ground He stood upon in all His prayers and supplications.

VIII. THE SUCCESS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, IN HIS TRIALS, AS OUR HEAD AND SURETY, IS A PLEDGE AND ASSURANCE OF SUCCESS UNTO US IN ALL OUR SPIRITUAL CONFLICTS.

(John Owen, D. D.)

In this one sentence there is more for us to learn than either eye hath seen or ear hath heart or all flesh in this life shall attain unto: it is the depth of the glorious gospel which the angels do desire to behold.

I. We have to learn by the example of our Saviour Christ in this place, THAT IN ALL TEMPTATIONS WE SHOULD APPROACH UNTO OUR GOD, and make our complaints unto Him, who is only able and ready for to help us. In all miseries we are not sunken so deep in sorrow as He that for our sakes made prayers end supplications, with strong cryings and with tears, and was delivered from His fear.

II. The second point that we have here to learn in this example of our Saviour Christ is, TO KNOW UNTO WHOM WE SHOULD MAKE OUR PRAYERS IN THE DAY OF TROUBLE, which the apostle testifieth in these words: that Christ made His prayers unto Him that was able to deliver Him from death. It followeth in the text: with great crying and with tears.

III. Here we have to NOTE, IN WHAT MEASURE OUR SAVIOUR CHRIST WAS AFFLICTED, even so far, that He cried out in the bitterness of His soul. Who hath been ever so full of woe, and who hath been brought so low into the dust of death? His virtues were unspeakable, and righteous above all measure, yet was He accounted among the wicked. And if these were the causes that Christ had to complain, then think not that His cryings were above His sorrow; to see so near unto His heart, even in His own person, innocence blamed, virtue defaced, righteousness trodden down, holiness profaned, love despised, glory contemned, honour reviled, all goodness ashamed, faith oppugned, and life wounded to death; how could He yet abstain from strong crying and tears, when the malice of Satan had gotten so great a conquest? His grief was exceeding to see all virtue and godliness so trodden under feet and Satan to prevail against man, to his everlasting condemnation. No creature could ever bear such a perfect image of a man of sorrow. But the height and depth of all miseries was yet behind: the sin that He hated He must take it upon His own body, and bear the wrath of His Father, that was poured out against it. This is the fulness of all pain that compassed Him round about, which no tongue is able to utter, and no heart can conceive.

IV. But let us now see what the apostle further teacheth us, and while our Saviour Christ is in these great extremities, WHAT FRUIT OF WELL-DOING HE HATH LEARNED BY IT. It followeth, and although He were the Son, yet learned He obedience by the things He suffered. Lo, this was no little profit of all His troubles; He learned thereby, how and what it was to obey His Father; He might have great boldness that His obedience was perfect. The shame of the world, the afflictions of the flesh, the vexations of the mind, the pains of hell, when these could make Him utter no other words but," Father, as Thou wilt, so let it be done," what hope, what faith did He surely build on, that His obedience was precious in the sight of His Father? This example is our instruction. We know then best how we love the Lord, when we feel by experience what we will suffer for His sake. So faint not in your mournings, but endure patiently; you know not the happiness of that which seemeth your misery; let this be the first cause why we should be glad of temptations. Lo, these are the healthful counsels of the Lord toward us, that we should be made like unto His Son Christ in many afflictions, that at the last we might be also like Him in eternal glory. Thus far we have heard two special causes why we ought to rejoice in all temptations: the one, that so we learn true obedience; the other, that by them we be made like unto Christ. The third cause at this time which I will touch, is this: God sendeth us sundry chastisements, and especially that which is most grievous of all other, the anguish of spirit, and affliction of the soul; for this purpose, that we should be warned in time how to turn unto Him and be free from the plague when it cometh. It followeth in the apostle: "And being consecrate, He was made the author of salvation to all them that obey Him."

V. In these words we are taught, WHAT FRUIT AND COMMODITY WE HAVE THROUGH THESE BITTER SUFFERINGS OF OUR SAVIOUR CHRIST, AND ALSO BY WHAT MEANS WE ARE MADE PARTAKERS OF IT. The fruit is eternal salvation, the means to go unto it is obedience. In the first we learn that all promise and hope of life is in Christ alone; He hath alone the words of life, and he that dwelleth not in Him, shall see no life: but the wrath of God abideth on him. Take hold of Christ, and take hold of life; reach forth thine hand to any other thing, and thou reachest unto vanity which cannot help.

(E. Deering, B. D.)

Such is the pattern which He, who is our pattern, gives us of acceptable effectual prayer. What are our prayers? Heavy, for the most part, and earthly; often we are unwilling to begin them, readily falling in with some plea, why we should not pray now, readily ceasing. And well may we have no pleasure in prayers such as we too often offer. Or of those she really desire to pray, how many have their minds so little controlled at other times, or so thronged with the things of this life, that the thoughts of the world pour in upon them, when they would pray. Step by step, we sunk amid the distractions of the world, and step by step only may we hope that our Father will raise us out of the mire wherein we plunged ourselves. Rut our first step, the very beginning and condition of our restoration, is to unlearn the distractions whereby we have been beset. In seeking to remedy our distractions, our first labour must be to amend ourselves. Such as we are at other times, such will our prayers be. A person cannot be full of cares, and riches, and pleasures, and enjoyments, and vanities of this life, up to the very moment when he falls down at God's footstool, and leave these companions of his other hours behind him, so that they will not thrust themselves in with him into the holy presence. We cannot keep our thoughts disengaged at prayer, if they are through the day engaged; we cannot keep out vain thoughts then, if at other times we yield to them. We must live more to God, if we would pray more to God; we must be less engrossed with the world, if we would not have the world thrust itself in upon our prayers and stifle them. But still further, even when we would serve God, or do our duty in this life, we must see that we do our very duties calmly. There is a religious, as well as a worldly, distraction. We may mix up self in doing duty, as well as when we make self our end. Religious excitement, or excitement about things of religion, may as effectually bar our praying as eagerness about worldly things. We may be engaged about the things of God, yet our mind may all the while centre in these things, not in God. Holy Scripture joins these two together, calmness or sobriety and prayer; " Be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer." Peace is the beginning and end of prayer; its condition and its reward. Resign yourselves, that ye may pray, and God will guard your thoughts, and hold them to Himself. If, also, you would guard against wandering in prater, you must practise yourself in keeping a check upon your thoughts at other times. In this busy age, in which every one would know about everything, and, like the Athenians, our occupation seems to be to know some new thing, and what conveys news is thought the instrument of knowledge, and knowledge of every sort is thought a good, it is not a light matter, but one to which we must take great heed; what we hear, and admit into our minds. Our minds are holy things: they are the temples of God; and so, for His honor's sake who has so hallowed them, we should be on our guard what we allow to enter there. Be not curious about things which concern you not: what happens in the street, or passes by you, or befalls a neighbour, unless charity requires it of you. These things waste the mind more than you can well think. Rather recollect that your concern is not with the world; your home, your hopes, your abiding-place, is not here, but in God; your citizenship is not on earth, but in the heavens; your places here shall shortly know you no more; the earth shall contain no more of you than the dust of your bodies, in keeping for you against the resurrection. Then, on the other hand, as we seek, during the day, to weaken the hold which the world has upon us and our thoughts, so must we by His grace to strengthen our own capacity of turning to God. Away from the world and to God! Commit to Him thoughts, words, and works, to be "ordered by His governance, to do that is righteous in His sight"; to be "begun, continued, and ended" in Him. So when you come to your fuller and more set devotions, you may hope that He, whom you serve continually, will keep you then also, and will vouchsafe Himself to visit you, and be in your thoughts, which you would fain make His, and will shut out the world by filling your thoughts with Himself. It is the infrequency of prayer which makes prayer so difficult. It is not a great effort now and then, which makes the things even of this life easy to us; it is their being the habit of our bodies or our minds. It was by continued exercise which we were not aware of, that our bodies, as children, were strengthened; it was by continued practice that we learnt anything. By continued gazing at far-off objects, the eye sees further than others; by continued practice the hand becomes steadied and obeys the motions of our mind. So and much more must the mind, by continual exercise, be steadied, to fix itself on Him whom it cannot grasp, and look up to Him whom it cannot see. Yea, so much the more exceedingly must it with strong effort fix itself by His grace on Him, because we cannot see Him or approach to Him, but by His revealing Himself and coming down to us, and giving us eyes to see and hearts to comprehend; and this He will do only to the earnest and persevering, and to us severally, as we are such. They then will pray best, who, praying truly, pray oftenest. This, also, is one great blessing of the practice of ejaculatory prayer, that is, prayer which is darted up from the mind in the little intervals which occur, whatever we are doing, Nothing goes on without breaks, to leave us space to turn to God. Amid conversation there is silence; in the busiest life there are moments, if we would mark them, when we must remain idle. We are kept waiting, or we must bear what is wearisome; let prayer take the place of impatience. In preparing for business, let prayer take the place of eagerness; in closing it, of self-satisfaction. Are we weary? be it our refreshment! Are we strong? let us hallow our strength by thanksgiving! The very preparation or close of any business brings with it of necessity a pause, teaching us by this very respite to begin and end with prayer; with prayer beforehand for His help, or at the end thanksgiving to Him who carried us through it, or for pardon for what has been amiss in it. Such are some of the more distant preparations for prayer, such as it should be, fixed and earnest; to strive to make God, not the world, the end of our lives; not to be taken up even with our duties in the world, but amid them to seek Him; to subdue self, and put a restraint upon our senses at other times, that we may have the control over them then; to lift our thoughts to Him at other times, so will they rise more readily then. These are, in their very nature, slowly learnt. Yet as, if wholly learnt, it were heaven itself, so is each step, a step heavenwards. Yet there are many more immediate helps, at the very time of prayer. Neglect nothing which can produce reverence. Pass not at once from the things of this world to prayer, but collect thyself. Think what thou art, what God is; thyself a child, and God thy Father; but also thyself dust and ashes, God, a consuming fire, before whom angels hide their faces: thyself unholy, God holy; thyself a sinner, God thy Judge. Then forget not that of thyself thou canst not pray. We come before Him, as helpless creatures, who need to be taught what to ask for, and knowing, to be enabled to ask, and a-king, to be enabled to persevere to ask. Then watch thyself, what helps or hinders thee to fix thy mind on God. Then as to the words of our prayer: we should beware how we pass hastily over any of our prayers. It is not how much we say, but what we pray, which is of real moment. Then, the best models of prayer consist of brief petitions, as suited to men in need; for when they really feel their need, they use not many words. "Lord, save us, we perish," is the cry of need. And so the petitions of the pattern of all prayer, our Lord's, are very short, but each containing manifold prayers. So are the Psalms in prayer or praise: "Blot out all mine iniquities," "Create in me a new heart," "Cast me not away from Thy presence," "Save me by Thy Name." In this way we may collect our strength and attention for each petition, and so pray on, step by step, through the whole, resting at each step on Him, who alone can carry us to the end, and if, by human frailty, we be distracted, sum up briefly with one strong concentrated effort what we have lost by wandering. In public prayer the case is different. For here, if we wander, the prayers meanwhile go on, and we find that we have lost a portion of our daily bread; that God's Church on earth has been praising with angels and archangels and the Church in heaven, while we have been bringing our sheep and our oxen and our money-changing, the things of this life, into God's presence and the court of heaven. Yet the remedies are the same, and we have even greater helps. The majesty of the place may well awe us with devotion, and will aid us to it, if we waste not its impressiveness by our negligence or frivolity. Come we then calmly to this holy place, not thinking or speaking, up to its very threshold, of things of earth, but as men bent on a great service, where much is at stake; coming to a holy presence, from whom depends our all. Pray we, as we enter it, that God would guard our thoughts and compose oar minds and fix them on Him. Employ we any leisure before the service b, gins, in thought or private prayer; guard we our eyes from straying to those around us; listen we reverently to His holy word; use the pause before each prayer to ask God to enable us to pray this prayer also; and so pray each separate prayer, as far as we can, relying on His gracious aid. Yet we are not to think that by these or any other remedies distraction is to be cured at once. We cannot undo at once the habit, it may be, of years. Distraction will come through weakness, ill-health, fatigue: only pray, guard, strive against it; humble yourselves under it, and for the past negligences, of which it is mostly the sad fruit; rely less upon yourself, cast yourself more upon God, hang more wholly upon Him, and long the more for that blessed time, when the redeemed of the Lord shall serve Him day and night without distraction.

(E. B. Pusey, D. D.)

— A little boy, one of the Sunday-school children in Jamaica, called upon the "missionary and stated that he had lately been very ill, and in his sickness often wished his minister had been present to pray with him. "But Thomas," said the missionary, "I hope you prayed." "Oh yes, sir." "Well, how did you pray?" "Why, sir, I begged."

(Henry T. Williams.)

"Lord Jesus, give me the grace of tears."

( Augustine.)

The safety-valve of the heart when too much pressure is laid on.

(Albert Smith.)Yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.

I. GOD HAS LAID EVEN UPON SORROW THE DESTINY OF FULFILLING HIS PURPOSES OF MERCY. In the beginning, sorrow was the wages of sin, penal and working death; by the law of Christ's redemption, it is become a discipline of cleansing and perfection. To the impenitent, and such as will not obey the truth, it is still, as ever, a dark and crushing penalty; to the contrite and obedient it is as the refiner's fire, keen and searching, purging out the soils, and perfecting the renewal of our spiritual nature. It is the discipline of saints, and the safest, though the austerest, school of sanctity; and that because suffering, or, as we are wont to say, trial, turns our knowledge into reality. There is laid upon us a mighty hand, from whose shadow we cannot flee. All general truths teem with a particular meaning, and speak to us with a piercing emphasis. Equally true this is, also, of all bright and blessed truths: they also are quickened with a living energy. The promises of heaven, and the times of refreshing, and the rest of the saints, and the love of God, and the presence of Christ, which we have so long thought of, and talked about, and felt after, and yet never seemed to grasp — all these likewise become realities. They seem to gather round us, and shed sensible influences of peace upon our suffering hearts; and this is what we mean when we say, "I have long known these things to be true, but now I feel them to be true."

II. And, in the next place, SUFFERINGS SO PUT OUR FAITH ON TRIAL AS TO STRENGTHEN AND CONFIRM IT. They develop what was lying hid in us, unknown even to ourselves. And therefore we often see persons, who have shown no very great tokens of high devotion, come out, under the pressure of trials, into a more elevated bearing. This is especially true of sickness and affliction. Not only are persons of a holy life made to shine with a more radiant brightness, but common Christians, of no note or visibleness, are changed to a saintly character. They wrestle with their trial, as the patriarch with his unknown companion, and will not let it go without a blessing; and thereby the gifts which lie enwrapped in a regenerate nature are unfolded into life and energy.

III. Once more: NOTHING SO LIKENS US TO THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST AS SUFFERING. All that suffer are not therefore saints; alas! far from it, for many suffer without the fruits of sanctity; but all saints at some time, and in some way and measure, have entered into the mystery of suffering. And this throws light on a very perplexing thought in which we sometimes entangle ourselves; I mean, on the wonderful fact that oftentimes the same persons are as visibly marked by sorrows as by sanctity. They seem never to pass out of the shadow of affliction; they seem to be a mark for all the storms and arrows of adversity, the world esteems them to be "stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted"; even religious people are perplexed at their trials. When we see eminently holy persons suddenly bereaved, or suffering sharp bodily anguish, and their trials long drawn out, or multiplied by succession, we often say, How strange and dark is this dispensation! Who would have thought that one so poor, so patient, and resigned, should have been so visited and overwhelmed by strokes? And yet all this shows how shallow and blind our faith is, for we know little even of those we know best; we readily overrate their character, at all events they are far otherwise in the esteem of God than in our judgment; our thoughts are not His thoughts: we set up a poor, dim, depressed standard of perfection and we should miserably defraud even those we love most if it were in our power to mete out their trials by our measures; we little know what God is doing, and how can we know the way? And we often think that the sorrows of the saints are sent for their punishment, when they are sent for their perfection. We forget that Christ suffered, and why; and how He learned obedience, and what that obedience was. He was made "perfect " by sufferings, and that "perfection," whatsoever it be, has an ineffable depth of meaning. It was not only a sacerdotal perfection by consecration to the priesthood of Melchisedec, but something of which that was the formal expression and manifestation of a great spiritual reality, a perfection of holiness, knowledge, obedience, sympathy, and will. And of this perfection, after the measures of a creature, and the proportions of our mere manhood, are the saints made to partake; they are purified, that they may be made perfect.

(Archdeacon H. E. Manning.)

"Though He was a Son, He learned." Though a Son, i.e., though He was so exalted a being, not a mere servant like the angels, but One whom the angels worship. Not a servant like Moses or like Aaron, but the Son by whom God made the worlds, yet even He had something to learn, and learned it in the days of His flesh. There is a mystery here, yet if we are content to inquire instead of speculate we shall find sufficient answer. There is light in the word " obedience." He learned not the art and wisdom of commanding, this belonged to His Eternal Nature. But obedience is an art which belongs of right to lower ranks of being. The Highest cannot, as the Highest, obey, for there is no authority above His own. Obedience may be taught from a throne, but it cannot be learned by one who occupies it. Thus, even the Son of God might learn obedience if He saw fit to empty Himself of Divine prerogative and take upon Him the form of a servant, wearing our human nature and accepting our duties and temptations. Therefore because obedience is so foreign to the Divine nature, it is a thing which the Son of God could learn by becoming incarnate, and could only learn by stooping to share our discipline and bear the Divine will as a yoke instead of wield it as a sceptre. Viewing the Sonship of Christ under another aspect, it might have been thought that a perfect Son would have needed no more teaching, and that when found in fashion as man, His filial spirit, His perfect readiness to obey would have sufficed. But this is denied. Having become a servant, having come down under the yoke of commandments, it is insisted that the Son went right through the actual course of human discipline, evading nothing, missing nothing, until He crowned His obedience by submission, even unto death. Though a Son He learnt obedience by suffering. Could He not learn it otherwise? We know that suffering is needful in our case because our spirits are so faulty, because we are so prone to err and go astray. But a Son, a perfect Son I surely such an One having no share in our defects might have learnt obedience without pain! Can we be wrong in such a view? Perhaps not. If a faultless Son began life in a faultless world; if He were born into a sinless family, or were created in a paradise where no fall had taken place, He might possibly have learned obedience by a painless and unfailing life of conformity to the Father's will. But whatever might have been possible in heaven or in paradise, painless obedience was not possible in the moral wilderness. In a world where sin abounded Christ had constantly to choose between affliction and iniquity. Without using miraculous powers to screen Himself from the natural consequences of His actions, He was obliged to suffer. The suffering was at once the measure and test of His obedience, and thus it was He passed through pain to perfectness as a learner in the school of human life. This must be so, yet still our hearts cry out in pity for One so holy and true — surely it was not needful for Him to suffer so much! Could not the Father have spared His well-beloved Son such extreme agonies while obedience was being learned? The answer is clear. This might have been possible under some circumstances. An easier life might have been laid out for Jesus as it is laid out for most of us. He might have lived obediently in the midst of plenty. Why then should the Father be pleased to set His well-beloved Son such agonising tasks, why be pleased to bruise and put to grief the Son who always did His will? That is a question which admits of many answers. It is one which none but the Father Himself can answer altogether, yet part of His answer shines before us here. The Son of God came not to learn obedience for Himself, but for our sakes. He came not merely to become perfect As a man before God who reads the heart, but to be visibly perfect before men who can only read actions. He came to be made thus visibly perfect not only as a man, but as a Saviour and as the Author of obedience in us. Look at a few reasons why death, the death of the Cross, was needful to this end. Christ came to set us an example. He came to do much more than this, but that was one great object of His incarnation. But if He had stopped short of obedience unto death, He would have left no example how we ought to act when shut up to the dilemma of being obliged to either sin or die. Christ came to magnify Divine law, to make it venerable in our sight, and to declare the entire rightness of God's will. While God's will appoints us a path of flowers, and while duty brings honour and reward, gratitude and trust are easy. But when duty runs straight into a Red Sea! When it leads to a fiery furnace! When the soul, intent on doing right, finds itself alone, misunderstood, and persecuted, then is the time when the enemy finds a listening ear for his slander, "God is careless," "God is cruel," "God is unfaithful to those who are most faithful to Himself." Where then would be the value of Christ's testimony to the goodness of God's will when most in danger of being doubted, if He Himself had been spared this terrible temptation? "Be thou faithful unto death"; we can hear that from Christ. Christ came to reveal the Divine sympathy with us in all our afflictions, but that revelation would have been very partial if destitute of any kindly light to shed on dying eyes. We are not all called to martyrdom, hut we have all to die. But where could we have seen the sympathy of Christ with ourselves as mortal, if He had left the world by a private door of rapture? Wherefore to be our sympathetic Friend in the dark valley, Jesus was obedient even unto death. Christ came to preach the forgiveness of sins, to declare the righteousness of God in the act of forgiveness, to commend the love of God to all men, including the very chief of sinners and the most malignant of His foes; and in all these things He must have failed had His obedience stopped short of death. Wherefore Jesus was obedient unto death. Christ came to bring life and immortality to light, and for this end it was needful He should die and rise again. The mere continuance of His life would have had no revelation of a future life to us. But an emptied grave visibly spoils death, breaks the bars of Hades, preaches resurrection to us, who have to die, and reveals Jesus as the first-fruits of them that slept. Wherefore that He might be the Author of an eternal salvation and bring life end immortality to light, the Son was obedient unto death.

(T. V. Tymms.)

I. THE DIVINE EXALTATION OF THE CHARACTER OF HIM WHO IS THE REDEEMER OF MEN, A Son. "Though He were a Son," "The Son of God," as in the previous context. We understand this expression as in the first place presenting the Redeemer in the nature, and with the attributes of Deity.

II. His GRACIOUS CONDESCENSION. "Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience," &c. Here we behold the Son of God, He who was infinite in excellency and in working, condescending to become a learner, placing Himself in circumstances in which He might receive instruction. No doubt the Spirit of God that was in Him taught Him better than the scribe, or priest, or ruler, or parent could; but the child Jesus, growing up to manhood, learned, received the wisdom, the counsel, the instruction that is from God. But, "though He were a Son," He learned something more than knowledge. He learned how to obey. What affections were involved in obedience! What satisfaction resulted to the obedient mind! What intimate and fervent communion existed between Him that was obeyed and Him that did obey! But the lowliest condescension that we mark is, that He learned obedience by suffering. There are many who are willing to obey, and who find pleasure in obedience, when there is only joy, when there is the reward of obedience; but to go through the deep flood, to pass under the dark cloud, to penetrate the fiery furnace, and to endure all that could be heaped in the shape of sorrows, and woes, and to do this that He might "learn obedience" — this was Christ's condescension. Ah! but He suffered more than this. "The contradiction of sinners against Himself" He suffered. He "learned obedience" by suffering ingratitude from those to whom He showed mercy. He suffered contumely and reproach, He entered into our sorrows. He Himself "took our griefs and carried our sorrows." Still farther, and even more painful, was His humiliation. We know what it is to be convinced of sin; we know what it is to be overwhelmed with shame for sin. I know that Jesus knew no sin; but oh, in this I see the poignancy of His grief, when all our sins were made to meet on Him. And He was "made perfect" — He condescended to be made perfect "by the things which He suffered," that He should be a perfectly righteous person in the midst of the most trying circumstances — that He should love even unto death, though death was heaped upon Him for His love.

III. THE END TO BE ACCOMPLISHED BY HIS HUMILIATION. "That He might become the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him." How much there is in those words! There would have been no salvation for guilty men if Jesus had not come to die. It is in Christ's excellencies originally; it is in Christ as the perfect Saviour that we can alone have confidence towards God. He is the author of salvation, inasmuch as He has "taken away sin by the sacrifice of Himself"; He is the author of salvation, inasmuch as He has endured the curse of the broken law, and delivered us from the sentence of condemnation; He is the author of salvation, inasmuch as He has received from His Father the promised Spirit, by which poor guilty sinners are regenerated, and faith wrought in them, to trust in Jesus and His finished work; He is the author of salvation, inasmuch as He has gone to heaven to carry on the work, and He ever lives to make intercession for His people, and is " able to save to the very uttermost all that come unto God by Him." He is the author of salvation, for it is the gospel that produces the happy change, that translates from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light and glory. But it is "eternal salvation." It is a salvation that, having been begun, will never be interrupted; it is a salvation that will be unto the end; it is a salvation that will be found, in its consummation, in the presence of God, where "there is fulness of joy," and at His right hand, where "there are pleasures for evermore." "Unto all them that obey Him." You will mark what the obedience is which Christ requires. If He be a Son, He has authority. In His character of Son He is "set at the right hand of the Majesty on high." Now, to obey Christ is to fulfil that which He has enjoined: in the first place, to accept of Him as He is offered; in the next place, to come to Him as He invites; in the third place, to trust in Him as He warrants; in the fourth place, to plead His finished work, and to seek the enjoyment of forgiveness through His continual intercession. Bowing to His sceptre, taking up His cross, uniting ourselves to His people, giving ourselves, first to the Lord, and then to one another, according to His will. All those that thus obey Him have the assurance that He is "the author of eternal salvation unto them." Not by works of righteousness that they have done, but they are saved for His sake, and the work is wrought in them for His glory, and they are obedient to Him, having been "made willing in the day of His power."

(J. W. Massie, D. D.)

I. INFINITE LOVE PREVAILED WITH THE SON OF GOD, TO LAY ASIDE THE PRIVILEGE OF HIS INFINITE DIGNITY, THAT HE MIGHT SUFFER FOR US AND OUR REDEMPTION. "Although He was a Son, yet He learned," &c.

1. The name of "Son" carrieth with it infinite dignity, as our apostle proves at large (Hebrews 1:3, 4, &c.).

2. He voluntarily laid aside the consideration, advantage, and exercise of it, that He might suffer for us. This our apostle fully expresseth (Philippians 2:5-8). Concerning which we must observe, that the Son of God could not absolutely and really part with His eternal glory. Whatever He did, He was the Son of God, and God still. But He is said to empty Himself of His Divine glory —

(1)With respect to the infinite condescension of His person.

(2)With respect to the manifestations of it in this world.

II. IN HIS SUFFERINGS, AND NOTWITHSTANDING THEM ALL, THE LORD CHRIST WAS THE SON STILL, THE SON OF GOD. He was so both as to real relation and as to suitable affection. He had in them all the state of a Son, and the love of a Son.

III. A PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE OF OBEDIENCE TO GOD IN SOME CASES WILL COST US DEAR. We cannot learn it but through the suffering of those things which will assuredly befall us on the account thereof. So was it with the Lord Christ. I intend not here the difficulties we meet withal in mortifying the internal lusts and corruptions of nature, for these had no place in the example here proposed to us. Those only are respected which come on us from without. And it is an especial kind of obedience also, namely, that which holds some conformity to the obedience of Christ, that is intended. Wherefore —

1. It must be singular; it must have somewhat in it, that may, in an especial manner, turn the eyes of others towards it.

2. It is required that this obedience be universal. Sufferings will attend it. They that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. For this kind of obedience will be observed in the world. It cannot escape observation, because it is singular" and it provokes the world, because it will admit of no compliance with it. And where the world is first awakened and then enraged, suffering of one kind or another will ensue. If it do not bite and tear, it will bark and rage.

IV. SUFFERINGS UNDERGONE ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD ARE HIGHLY INSTRUCTIVE. Even Christ Himself learned by the things which He suffered, and much more may we who have so much more to learn. God designs our sufferings to this end, and to this end He blesseth them.

V. IN ALL THESE THINGS, BOTH AS TO SUFFERING, AND LEARNING, OR PROFITING THEREBY, WE HAVE A GREAT EXAMPLE IN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. AS such is He proposed unto us in all His course of obedience, especially in His sufferings (1 Peter 2:2). For He would leave nothing undone which was any way needful, that His great work of sanctifying and saving His church to the utmost might be perfect.

VI. THE LOVE OF GOD TOWARDS ANY, THE RELATION OF ANY UNTO GOD, HINDERS NOT BUT THAT THEY MAY UNDERGO GREAT SUFFERINGS AND TRIALS. The Lord Christ did so, "although He were a Son." And this instance irrefragably confirms our position. For the love of God to Jesus Christ was singular and supereminent. And yet His sufferings and trials were singular also. And in the whole course of the Scripture we may observe that the nearer any have been unto God, the greater have been their trials. For —

1. There is not in such trials and exercises an) thing that is absolutely evil, but they are all such as may be rendered good, useful, honourable to the sufferers.

2. The love of God and the gracious emanations of it can, and do, abundantly compensate the temporary evils which any do undergo according to His will.

3. The glory of God, which is the end designed unto, and which shall infallibly ensue upon all the sufferings of the people of God, and that so much the greater as any of them, on any account, are nearer than others unto Him, is such a good unto them which suffer, as that their sufferings neither are, nor are esteemed by them to be evil.

(John Owen, D. D.)

I. SONSHIP DOES NOT EXEMPT FROM SUFFERING.

1. Not even Jesus, as a Son, escaped suffering.

2. No honour put upon sons of God will exempt them from suffering.

3. No holiness of character, nor completeness of obedience, can exempt the children of God from the school of suffering.

4. No prayer of God's sons, however earnest, will remove every thorn in the flesh from them.

5. No love in God's child, however fervent, will prevent his being tried.

II. SUFFERING DOES NOT MAR SONSHIP. The case of our Lord is set forth as a model for all the sons of God.

1. His poverty did not disprove His Sonship (Luke 2:12).

2. His temptations did not shake His Sonship (Matthew 4:3).

3. His endurance of slander did not jeopardise it (John 10:36).

4. His fear and sorrow did not put it in dispute (Matthew 26:39).

5. His desertion by men did not invalidate it (John 16:32).

6. His bring forsaken of God did not alter it (Luke 23:46).

7. His death cast no doubt thereon (Mark 15:39). He rose again, and thus proved His Father's pleasure in Him (John 20:17).

III. OBEDIENCE HAS TO BE LEARNED EVEN BY SONS.

1. It must be learned experimentally.

2. It must be learned by suffering.

3. It must be learned for use in earth and in heaven.

(1)On earth by sympathy with others.

(2)In heaven by perfect praise to God growing out of experience.

IV. SUFFERING HAS A PECULIAR POWER TO TEACH TRUE SONS. It is a better tutor than all else, because —

1. It touches the man's self; his hone, his flesh, his heart.

2. It tests his graces, and sweeps away those shams which are not proofs of obedience, but pretences of self-will.

3. It goes to the root, and tests the truth of our new nature. It shows whether repentance, faith, prayer, &c., are mere importations, or home-grown fruits.

4. It tests our endurance, and makes us see how far we are established in the obedience which we think we possess. Can we say, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him"?

(1)The anxious question — Am I a son?

(2)The aspiring desire — Let me learn obedience.

(3)The accepted discipline — I submit to suffer.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I bear my willing witness that I owe more to the fire, and the hammer, and the file, than to anything else in my Lord's workshop. I sometimes question whether I have ever learned anything except through the rod. When my school-room is darkened, I see most.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

A minister was recovering from a danger, bus illness, when one of his friends addressed him thus, "Sir, though God seems to be bringing you up from the gates of death, yet it will be a long time before you will sufficiently retrieve your strength, and regain vigour enough of mind to preach as usual." The good man answered, "You are mistaken, my friend: for this six weeks' illness has taught me more divinity than all my past studies and all my ten years' ministry put together."

Obedience belongs to a servant, but accordance, concurrence, co-operation, are the characteristics of a son. In His eternal union with God there was no distinction of will and work between Him and His Father; as the Father's life was the Son's life, and the Father's glory the Son's also, so the Son was the very Word and Wisdom of the Father, His Power and Co-equal Minister in all things, the same and not the same as He Himself. But in the days of His flesh, when He had humbled Himself to "the form of a servant," taking on Himself a separate will and a separate work, and the toil and sufferings incident to a creature, then what had been mere concurrence became obedience. This, then, is the force of the words, "Though He was a Son, yet had He experience of obedience." He took on Him a lower nature, and wrought in it towards a Will higher and more perfect than it. Further, "He learned obedience amid suffering," and therefore amid temptation. Before He came on earth He was infinitely above joy and grief, fear and anger, pain and heaviness; but afterwards all these properties and many more were His as fully as they are ours. Before He came on earth He had hut the perfections of God, but afterwards He had also the virtues of a creature, such as faith, meekness, self-denial. Before He came on earth He could not be tempted of evil, but afterwards He had a man's heart, a man's tears, and a man's wants and infirmities. His Divine nature indeed pervaded His manhood, so that every deed and word of His in the flesh savoured of eternity and infinity; but, on the other hand, from the time He was born of the Virgin Mary, He had a natural fear or danger, a natural shrinking from pain, though ever subject to the ruling influence of that Holy and Eternal Essence which was in Him. Thus He possessed at once a double assemblage of attributes, Divine and human. Still He was all-powerful, though in the form of a servant; still He was all-knowing, though seemingly ignorant; still incapable of temptation, though exposed to it.

(J. H. Newman, D. D.)

Made perfect.
I. THE PERFECTION OF THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST. Of the manner of His life before He assumed the office of a public teacher we know almost nothing, except that He was not addicted to studious retirement, nor to the acquisition of human science, which have been employed by teachers of false religions to dazzle the ignorant; but that, living in the common intercourse of society. He laboured in the occupation of His reputed father, increasing in mind as in stature. When He appeared as the Messenger of Heaven He was already complete in the graces which His high character demanded, and that knowledge which was requisite for a teacher of righteousness. His pure life is the best illustration of His moral precepts. His doctrines were, literally, tidings of joy, for He disclosed the mercy and grace of the Divine nature towards penitent offenders, which all the efforts of the human understanding could never perfectly ascertain. He disclosed the high destination of man; He brought life and immortality clearly to light through His gospel. His precepts, also, were good tidings; He spake wholesome words, prescribing a doctrine according to godliness; His aim was to purify the heart and mind, and to teach us to live soberly, righteously, and godly, to qualify us for the glory and immortality which He had unfolded. In His temper and manners Christ exhibited a perfect model of all that can adorn and dignify human nature; "He did no sin, nor was guile found in His mouth." But it was not innocence nor purity only that were found in His character; the highest virtues of our nature were peculiarly His; He exhibited a life, not only of strict justice, but of overflowing benignity and mercy, of the most tender compassion, and the most ardent piety. These virtues were so mingled, tempered, and contrasted, as to render the whole assemblage delightful, graceful, and perfect. the whole life of Christ was a pattern of the sanctity and beauty which He portrayed in His discourses. Christ was perfect in His manner of communicating and enjoining His instructions; He spake with authority, yet with an admirable modesty and simplicity, beautifully calculated to inform and to impress the mind and the heart; He inculcates the most important lessons with simplicity and plainness adapted to human capacity; preferring use to the glare of ornament, no quaint play of words weakens the force of His emphatic language; all is chaste and pore alike — full of energy and of grace. Considered, then, even as a man, the character of Christ is perfect — nowhere can we find another so resplendent and so pleasing — so amiable and so venerable — one which presents so much for our admiration and our love; its beauties are peculiar, its awful greatness and dignity are relieved by the most concilating tenderness. "Christ was made perfect." This expression, besides the meaning in which we have hitherto taken it, has a special reference to the subject which is described in this chapter; that subject is the priesthood and the sacrifice of Christ. Christ was made perfect by possessing the natural qualifications of the High Priest. He was able to have compassion on the ignorant, the sinning, the weak, and the afflicted, because He Himself was compassed with infirmity. In proof of this the apostle appeals to facts well known in the days of His flesh. He offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears. If sympathy arises from the experience of suffering, and fellowship in affliction, we may well rely on the fellow feeling of the High Priest, who was made perfect through suffering. whether, then, we view Christ as a teacher of righteousness, or as a High Priest of good things to come, the perfection of His nature is evident.

II. THE COMPLETE SALVATION OF WHICH HE IS THE AUTHOR.

III. THE CHARACTER OF THOSE TO WHOM THIS SALVATION IS IMPARTED. When we consider the high benefits procured for us by Christ, our hearts are naturally animated with the most grateful affection; and the natural expression of that affection is obedience to the will of our benefactor. That a good and ingenuous mind naturally dictates as our right conduct on such occasions is the very conduct which our Redeemer requires — that we may be made meet to be partakers of ,he blessings He hath purchased.

1. What you have heard now affords a most delightful subject of contemplation. What can be more pleasant to the human mind than to consider the mercy of our Heavenly Father, who hath sent His Son into the world to save us — the unsullied purity of the Redeemer's character — the glorious privileges which He has conferred on this state of being, and the unfading joys He hath promised in the world to come?

2. It affords a subject of devout gratitude. What can warm the heart with lively and pious affection more than the display of that love of God, who sent His Son to die for us while we were yet sinners?

3. It affords a subject for watchful attention. While the pardon of sin has been purchased by Christ, and the hope of heaven offered to our view, we are not released from the obligations to duty.

(L. Adamson, D. D.)

I. In the first place, we see the perfection of Jesus as our Saviour — in the PERFECT EXAMPLE He sets us. He is an example not of one point of character only, but of every point. And He is perfect in them all. He never failed in any of them. A young man had a situation as clerk in a mercantile house in one of our large cities. In writing home to his mother one day he said, "I have been connected in business, at different times, with a number of merchants, all of them members of Christian churches; but I must say that Mr. Johnson, with whom I am now employed, is the best of them all, in the way in which be governs himself by his religion, in all his business affairs. I take great pleasure in watching how faithfully he does this. I must say of him that he is a Christian all over." It was a great honour to this good merchant that one of his clerks should feel obliged to speak thus of him. Now let us remember these last two illustrations; and let us all try to follow the example which Jesus sets us, in such a way that we may be Christians in little things — and Christians all over.

II. Jesus is a perfect Saviour, in the second place, because He gives us PERFECT HELP. There are three things about Jesus which make Him a perfect Helper.

1. He is — a near helper. Many persons, when they are in need of help, can think of their friends at home, who would be glad to help them. But they are far away, and it is impossible for them to do anything in the way of helping. But how different it is with Jesus! He is in every place. He is always near. "He is a God" — a helper — "at hand, and not afar off." And this is one thing that makes Him a perfect Helper.

2. He is — able to help. It sometimes happens that though our friends are near us in our trouble, yet they are not able to help us. But it is not so with Jesus. Nothing is impressible with Him. His ability to help is perfect. St. Paul tells us that — "He is able to save," and to helps" unto the uttermost." "He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think."

3. He is willing to help. As one of our beautiful collects says, "He is more ready to hear than we to pray, and is wont to give more than either we desire or deserve."

III. But, in the third place, He is a perfect Saviour, because He prepares for His people a PERFECT HOME in heaven. He will make their bodies perfect, after the pattern of His own glorious body, as it appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration. He will make their souls perfect. They will be entirely free from sin for ever. He will put them in a perfect home.

(R. Newton, D. D.)

The author of eternal salvation.
In what respects is He called "the author of eternal salvation"? I answer, He is ,he author of it, first in this sense, He rendered it possible for the justice, the holiness, and the truth of God, to bestow salvation on whom these attributes could not bestow it, and would not suffer it to be bestowed on other terms — that is, inconsistently with the glory and the honour of God. He could not save but by suffering; He could not ransom us at a less price than His death; and rather than see a world perish, He would not save Himself from being perfected by suffering, that we might be saved from irretrievable perdition. Again, He is the author of salvation in this sense, that He bestows it. He is exalted, "a Prince and a Saviour to give repentance and remission of sins." Moreover, Christ is the sole author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him. He says to you, "Take all the benefit, and the only tribute I exact is a tribute which honours me and does not impoverish you — the tribute of praise and thanksgiving;" in heart, in lip, in life. Having seen the exclusiveness of His work, and the exclusiveness of His jurisdiction and of His claims to the glory and honour, let us now inquire what salvation is, and what salvation means. He is the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him. His greatest glory is, not that He made the universe, nor yet that He rules the universe, but that He has redeemed a lost world; lost, not by His oversight, but by our sin; and by His Cross has brought it back to Himself a redeemed, a reinstated, and a renovated orb. What is this salvation which is so precious? It is a twofold thing, very easily explained and understood. Two great calamities have struck us from the Fall; namely, that we have lost a right to heaven by having justly forfeited it, and that if we had the right we have lost all fitness for it and desire for it by having become polluted, unholy, impure, corrupt. What will be to us salvation must be a provision that will put us right in both respects. The gospel does so, or rather our great High Priest does so. He gives us, first of all, by His sacrifice, His death, a recovery from the curse which we had earned; and by His obedience or righteousness, imputed to us, He entitles us to the inheritance which we had forfeited; and by the gift of His Holy Spirit, "whom," He says, "I will send unto you,"! It regenerates our hearts, gives us new tastes, new sympathies, new thoughts, new life — in short, a new nature. And then one single epithet bestowed upon this salvation marks its character; it is "eternal salvation." Now Adam's standing was not eternal; it was liable to forfeiture. But our recovered standing in heaven is eternal, and never liable to any forfeiture. Having seen this, let me notice, in the next place, the character of them for whom it is provided. He became by His consecration the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him. First, I observe here there is no national monopoly. It is not said to the Jews, and not to the Gentiles, but it is "to all them that obey Him." In other words, Christianity is not the peculiarity of an age, not the monopoly of a nation, nor the restriction of a sect; it is not only offered to the election, but it is for all them that obey Him. But, you ask, in the next place, and very justly, What do you mean by obeying? My answer is, that the word "obey" is not the just expression. The Greek word means, first, "to listen," "to hear," "to hearken"; secondly, to submit to, to acquiesce; and thirdly, not its strict meaning, but its intrinsic meaning, to obey, or render obedience to. Salvation is not like a gleam of sunshine that falls upon the evil and the good, but something that is given only to them that intelligently accept it, submit to it — receive it just as Christ reveals it to them. The patient only that takes the prescription makes a step towards recovery from his illness. In order to be benefited by the gospel you must take it just as it is offered, not upon your own terms, but upon the terms of the offerer, and thus alone do you receive eternal salvation.

(J. Cumming, D. D.)

I. THE UNDOUBTED WILLINGNESS OF JESUS CHRIST TO SAVE. "Being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation." Now, if we find that He was willing to undergo the process which made Him completely fit for the office of a Saviour, we may certainly conclude that He is willing enough to exercise the qualifications which He has obtained.

II. THE PERFECT FITNESS OF THE SAVIOUR FOR HIS WORK. We will view the fitness both Godward and manward.

1. View it Godward. Sinner, if any one is to deal with God for you so as to avail on your behalf, he must be one of God's choosing, for "no man taketh this honour upon himself, but he that was called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made as high priest, but He that said unto Him, Thou art My Son, to-day have I begotten Thee." What God appoints it must be safe for us to accept. In order that Jesus Christ, being appointed, should be fit for His office, it was necessary that He should become man. Surely it is the sin of sins if we reject a Saviour who has made such a stoop in order to be perfectly qualified to save. "Being found in fashion as a man," it was necessary towards God that Jesus should fulfil the law, and work out a perfect obedience. The High Priest who is to intercede for us must wear upon his forehead "Holiness unto the Lord"; and truly such a High Priest we have, for Jesus is "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners." Nor was this all towards God. The High Priest who should save us must be able to offer a sufficient sacrifice, efficacious to make atonement, so as to vindicate eternal justice and make an end of sin.

2. Christ Jesus, as our High Priest, needed to be perfected manward. O sinner, consider His perfections as they concern yourself. That He might save us He must have power to pardon, and to renew our hearts; these He has to the full, for all power is given unto Him in heaven and in earth; He both gives repentance and remission. There is one delightful thing in Christ's perfect qualification to save, namely, that He "ever liveth to make intercession for us." If Jesus Christ were dead and had left us the boon of salvation that we might freely help ourselves to it, we should have much to praise Him for; but He is not dead, He is alive. He left us a legacy, but many a legacy is left which never gets to the legatee: lo, the great Maker of the will is alive to carry out His own intentions. He died, and so made the legacy good; He rose again and lives to see that none shall rob any one of His beloved of the portion He has left. What think you of Christ pleading in heaven? Have you ever estimated the power of that plea?

III. THE HIGH POSITION WHICH OUR LORD JESUS TAKES IN REFERENCE TO SALVATION. According to the text, "He became the author of eternal salvation." He is the designer, creator, worker, and cause of salvation.

IV. THE REMARKABLE CHARACTER OF THE SALVATION WHICH CHRIST HAS WROUGHT OUT. He is the author of eternal salvation. Oh, how I love that word "eternal"! "Eternal salvation!"

1. It is an eternal salvation as opposed to every other kind of deliverance.

2. It is eternal salvation in this sense, that it rescues from eternal condemnation and everlasting punishment.

3. It is eternal salvation as opposed to the risk of falling away and perishing.

4. It will ripen into eternal bliss.

V. THE PERSONS CONCERNED IN THIS SALVATION. "TO all them that obey Him." The word "obey" signifies "obedience upon hearing," and this indicates faith. To obey Christ is in its very essence to trust Him; and we might read our text as if it said, "The author of eternal salvation to all them that believe in Him." If you would be saved your first act of obedience must be to trust Jesus wholly, simply, heartily, and alone. Recline your soul wholly on Jesus and you are saved now.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE OFFICE OF CHRIST, "He is the author of eternal salvation." He has undertaken to give back to us a title to heaven and a fitness for it. He has undertaken to save us from the dominion of sin, from the power of the devil, from the pains of hell. He has undertaken to make us the children of God, and heirs of eternal glory.

II. His FITNESS FOR DISCHARGING THIS OFFICE.

1. He was appointed of God to be our High Priest. This appointment was absolutely necessary to make Him duly fitted for the discharge of His office. Without it we could have had no certainty that God would accept His mediation.

2. He had wherewith to offer for the sins of the people. He was able "to make reconciliation for iniquity"; to offer such a sacrifice for sin as would take it away; and to deliver sinners from the punishment due to them by taking it upon Himself. Thus was "the Captain of our salvation made perfect through suffering."

3. Christ is able effectually to intercede for His people. First, in that "He ever liveth to make intercession for us." Secondly, in that He has something available to plead in our behalf, even the infinite merits of His own sufferings.

4. He is not only a priest, but a king. "The government is upon His shoulders." Whatever happens in nature and in providence is under His control. The gift of the Spirit it-elf is at His disposal. He is " King of kings, and Lord of lords"; and "shall reign" as Mediator, "till He hath put all enemies under His feet."

III. THE PERSONS TO WHOM THE BENEFIT OF HIS MEDIATION WILL REACH. Christ "died for all." He "tasted death for every man." His mediation is sufficient for all. All are invited to share the benefits of it. Christ is "the author of eternal salvation to all them," but to them only "who obey Him." This obedience has respect to His whole mediatorial office. Those who would be saved by Him must obey Him as their Priest and as their King. As their Priest they must humbly trust in His sacrifice and intercession, and place all their spiritual concerns in His hands. As their King they must submit to His government, and keep His commandments.

(E. Cooper, M. A.)

ion: —

I. How AND BY WHAT MEANS CHRIST IS THE AUTHOR OF OUR SALVATION; and this is contained in these words, "Being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation"; that is, having finished His course, which was accomplished in His last sufferings; and having received the reward of them, being exalted at the right hand of God, "He became the author of eternal salvation" to us; so that, by all He did and suffered for us, in the days of His flesh, and in the state of His humiliation, and by all that He still continues to do for us now that He is in heaven at the right hand of God; He hath effected and brought about the great work of our salvation.

1. By the holiness and purity of His doctrine, whereby we are perfectly instructed in the will of God and our duty, and powerfully excited and persuaded to the practice of it.

2. The example of our Saviour's life is likewise another excellent means to this end. The law lays an obligation upon us; but a pattern gives life and encouragement, and renders our duty more easy, and practicable, and familiar to us; for here we see obedience to the Divine law practised in our own nature, and performed by a man like ourselves, "in all things like unto us, sin only excepted."

3. He is "the author of eternal salvation," as He hath purchased it for us, by the "merit of His obedience and sufferings," by which He hath obtained eternal redemption for us; not only deliverance from the wrath to come, but eternal life and happiness.

4. Christ is said to be the author of our salvation, in respect of His powerful and perpetual intercession for us at the right hand of God. And this seems to be more especially intimated and intended, in that expression here in the text, that "being made perfect He became the author of eternal salvation to them that obey Him."

II. WHAT OBEDIENCE THE GOSPEL REQUIRES AS A CONDITION, AND IS PLEASED TO ACCEPT AS A QUALIFICATION, IN THOSE WHO HOPE FOR ETERNAL SALVATION.

1. Negatively. It is not a mere outward profession of the Christian religion, and owning of Christ for our Lord and lawgiver, that will be accepted in this case.

2. Positively. That which God requires as a condition and will accept as a qualification, in those who hope for eternal life, is faith in Christ and a sincere and universal obedience to the precepts of His holy gospel.

1. There is a virtual and there is an actual obedience to the laws of God. By an actual obedience I mean the practice of the several graces of Christianity in the course of a holy life; when "out of a good conversation men do show forth their works"; and, by the outward actions of their lives, do give real testimony of their piety, justice, sobriety, humility, meekness, and charity, and all other Christian graces and virtues, as occasion is ministered for the exercise of them. By a virtual obedience I mean a sincere belief of the gospel, of the holiness and equity of its precepts, of the truth of its promises, and the terror of its threatenings, and a true repentance for all our sins. This is obedience in the root and principle; for he who sincerely believes the gospel, and does truly repent of the errors and miscarriages of his life, is firmly resolved to obey the commandments of God, and to walk before Him in holiness and righteousness all the days of his life; so that there is nothing that prevents or hinders this man's actual obedience to the laws of God, in the course of a holy and good life, but only the want of time and opportunity for it.

2. There is a perfect, and there is a sincere obedience. Perfect obedience consists in the exact conformity of our hearts and lives to the law of God, without the least imperfection, and without failing in any point or degree of our duty. And this obedience, as it is not consistent with the frailty of corrupt nature, and the imperfection of our present state, so neither doth God require it of us as a necessary condition of eternal life. We are, indeed, commanded to be "perfect, as our Father which is in heaven is perfect." But the plain meaning of this precept is that we should imitate those Divine perfections of goodness, and mercy, and patience, and purity, and endeavour to be as like God in all these as we can, and be still aspiring after a nearer resemblance of Him, as may be evident to any one who considers the connection and occasion of these words. By a sincere obedience I mean such a conformity of our lives and actions to the law of God, as to the general course and tenor of them, that we do not live in the habitual practice of any known sin, or in the customary neglect of any material or considerable part of our known duty; and that we be not wilfully and deliberately guilty of the single act of notorious sins. And this obedience, even in the best of men, is mixed with great frailty and imperfection; but yet, because it is the utmost that we can do in this state of infirmity and imperfection, the terms of the gospel are so merciful and gracious, as that God is pleased, for the sake of the meritorious obedience and sufferings of our blessed Saviour, to accept this sincere though imperfect obedience, and to reward it with eternal life.

(Archbishop Tillotson.)

1. By salvation is meant deliverance from sin and all the consequences thereof, so as the party saved is made ever happy. There be both bodily and spiritual, temporal and eternal dangers whereunto man by sin is liable; and this salvation is a deliverance from all. There is deliverance as from some evils, and not all; so deliverance only for a time, and not for ever i but this salvation is a total deliverance from all evil, and that for ever. Eternal peace, safety, felicity, is the issue and consequence thereof.

2. This salvation being so noble and glorious an effect, must have some cause, some author and efficient; and this efficient was Christ; yet Christ as perfected and consecrated. For by His blood and purest sacrifice of Himself(1) He satisfied Divine justice and merited this salvation.(2) Being upon His resurrection constituted and made an High Priest and King, and fit to minister and officiate as a priest and reign as king in heaven, He ascends into that glorious temple and palace, and is set at the right hand of God.(3) Being there established, He begins as King to send down the Holy Ghost, reveal the gospel, and by both to work faith in the hearts of men, and qualify them for justification and salvation.(4) When men are once qualified and prepared so as to sue for pardon in His name before the throne of God, He, as Priest, begins His intercession, and by the plea of His own blood for them procures their pardon and eternal salvation; so that, as consecrated and perfect, He becomes the great efficient cause of this salvation, by way of merit, intercession, and actual communication.

3. If it be communicated from and by Him, it must be received in some subject; and if in Him there be an eternal saving virtue, and He exercise it, there must be some subject and persons in whom this saving power shall produce this effect, so as that they shall be saved. And though this power be able to save all, yet only they and all who obey Him shall be saved: efficient causes work most effectually in subjects united and disposed aright. And so it is in this case; for though the mercies of God, merited by Christ, may be so far communicable to all, as that all may become savable, which is a great and universal benefit, yet they arenot actually communicated to all, because all are not obedient. His laws require sincere submission and obedience in renouncing all others, and a total dependence upon Him, and Him alone, n repenting of our sins and believing upon Him. And this sincere faith is the fundamental virtue, and potentially all obedience.

(G. Lawson.)

Having Christ we have salvation also, while without receiving Christ Himself we cannot have the salvation. Having the fountain, we have its issuing streams. Cut off from the fountain the streams will not flow to us, Christ offers Himself to be the Bridegroom of the soul. He offers to endow His bride with all the riches of His own inheritance in the heirship of His Father. Taking Him as oar Bridegroom, and giving ourselves to Him as the bride espouses her husband, with Him we have all He has as well as all He is, while without Him we can have neither. The mistake is that of seeking the salvation instead of seeking the Saviour. Just the same mistake that the affianced would make if she should seek to have the possessions of him to whom she was engaged made over to her from him, without their union in wedlock, instead of accepting his offer of himself, and having the hymeneal bond completed by which he and all he has would become hers.

(W. E. Boardman.)

"Well, then," said a sceptic to me on one occasion, "why is the world not saved?" "My friend," said I, "you misconceive the power required to convert souls." There was a little boy in the room; and I illustrated my meaning by saying, "Suppose I will that that little boy leave the room. There are two ways in which I could give effect to that will. I could take him in my arms, and by superior muscular force remove him; or I could take him on my knee, speak lovingly and persuasively to him in order to induce him to leave the room himself. If I adopted the former, I should merely have removed his body: his volition would be against me, and he would feel that I had done him violence. If I succeed in the latter, I should have influenced his mind; and he himself would use his own limbs, and with a happy smile depart."

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

Unto all them that obey Him.
Let us examine our obedience. Christ wills us to avoid sins that cause His gospel to be ill spoken of, by good works to adorn it, to stop the mouths of the adversaries, &c. Do we so? Doth not drunkenness, covetousness, pride, malice, and uncleanness abound? As they said and promised to Joshua, so let us to Christ — "Whatsoever Thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever Thou sendest us we will go." How must we obey Him?

1. Fully. The young man in the gospel most proudly vaunted that he had kept all the commandments from his youth; let us endeavour that we may say so in truth and sincere heart, and as Zacharias and Elisabeth, "let us walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless."

2. Cheerfully. God loves a cheerful giver. "I was glad," says the Psalm, "when they said, Let us go up into the house of the Lord" (Psalm 122:1).

3. Constantly. A runner hath not the prize till he come to the goal. A tailor hath not his wages till the garment be finished. A traveller hath not his money till he come to his journey's end. Here we are as children (1 Corinthians 13.), growing higher and higher in knowledge, faith, love, obedience, &c.

(W. Jones, D. D.)

I. THE POSSIBILITY OF OUR PERFORMING THIS CONDITION.

1. We are not sufficient of ourselves, and by any power in us, to perform the conditions of the gospel. The grace of God doth clearly appear in the whole business of our salvation: "By grace ye are saved," says the apostle, "and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." Faith is the gift of God, and so is repentance.

2. The grace of God is remedy to assist and enable us to the performance of these conditions; that is, to faith and repentance, and all the purposes of obedience and a holy life; if we be not wanting to ourselves, and do not reject or neglect to make use of that grace which God offers us, and is ready to afford us in a very plentiful manner.

3. What the grace of Go t is ready to enable us to do, if we be not wanting to ourselves, may properly be said to be possible to us, and in some sense in our power,

II. THE NECESSITY OF THIS OBEDIENCE IN ORDER TO OUR OBTAINING OF ETERNAL LIFE AND HAPPINESS. "Christ is the author of eternal salvation to them that obey Him"; that is, to such, and only to such, as live in obedience to the precepts of His holy gospel, to them who frame the general course of their lives according to His laws. Now the necessity of obedience, in order to eternal life and happiness, relies upon these three grounds:

1. The constitution and appointment of God.

2. The general reason of rewards.

3. The particular nature of that reward which God will confer upon us for our obedience.

III. THIS METHOD AND MEANS OF OUR SALVATION IS NO PREJUDICE TO THE LAW OF FAITH, AND TO THE FREE GRACE AND MERCY OF GOD DECLARED IN THE GOSPEL. For so long as these three things are but asserted and secured —

1. That faith is the root and principle of obedience and a holy life, and that without it "it is impossible to please God."

2. That we stand continually in need of the Divine grace and assistance to enable us to perform that obedience which the gospel requires of us, and is pleased to accept in order to eternal life. And —

3. That the forgiveness of our sins, and the reward of eternal life, are founded in the free grace and mercy of God, conferring these blessings upon us, not for the merit of our obedience, but only for the merit and satisfaction of the obedience and sufferings of our blessed Saviour and Redeemer; I say, so long an we assert these things, we give all that the gospel anywhere ascribes to faith, and to the grace of God revealed in the gospel. Inferences:

1. To convince us that an empty profession of the Christian religion, how specious and glorious soever it be, if it be destitute of the fruits of obedience and a holy life, will by no means avail to bring us to heaven.

2. The consideration of what hath been said should stir us up to a thankful acknowledgment of what the author of our salvation hath done for us; and there is great reason for thankfulness whether we consider the greatness of the benefit conferred upon us, or the way and manner in which it was purchased, or the easy and reasonable terms upon which it may be obtained.

3. Here is abundant encouragement given to our obedience; we have the Divine assistance promised to us, to enable us to the performance of the most difficult parts of our duty; we have the Holy Spirit of God to help our infirmities, to excite us to that which is good, and to help and strengthen us in the doing of it. For our further encouragement we are assured of the Divine acceptance in case of our sincere obedience, notwithstanding the manifold failings and imperfections of it, for the sake of the perfect righteousness and obedience and the meritorious sufferings of our blessed Saviour.

4. The consideration of what hath been said upon this argument may s. rye severely to rebuke the groundless presumption of those who rely with so much confidence upon Christ for eternal salvation, without any conscience or care to keep His commandments; as if salvation lay upon His hands, and He knew not how to dispose of it, and were glad of any one that would come and take it off upon any terms. No, "He came to save us from our sins, to redeem us from all iniquity, and to purify to Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."

(Archbishop Tillotson.)

It is reported of the old kings of Peru, that they were won t to use a tassel, or fringe, made of red wool, which they wore upon their heads, and when they sent any governor to rule as viceroy in any part of their country, they delivered unto him one of the threads of their tassel, and, for one of those simple threads, he was as much obeyed as if he had been the king himself — yea, it hath so happened that the king had sent a governor only with this thread to slay men and women of a whole province, without any further commission; for of such power and authority was the king's tassel with them, that they willingly submitted thereunto, even at the sight of one thread of it. Now, it is to be hoped that, if one thread shall be so forcible to draw heathen obedience, there will be no need of cart-ropes to houl on that which is Christian. Exemplary was that obedience of the Romans which was said to have come abroad to all men. And certainly gospel obedience is a grace of much worth, and of great force upon the whole man; for when it is once wrought in the heart, it worketh a conformity to all God's will. Be it for life or death, one word from God will command the whole soul as soon as obedience hath fouled admittance into the heart.

(J. Spencer.)

'Twas an unhappy division that has been made between faith and works. Though in my intellect I may divide them, just as in the candle I know there is both light and heat, but yet put out the candle, and they are both gone; one remains not without the other; so it is betwixt faith and works. Nay, in a right conception tides eat opus: if I believe a thing because I am commanded, that is opus..(John Selden.)

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