(Kersten, Heidelberg Catechism, Vol.1. part 16) Christ's Mediatorial Suffering Lord's Day 15 Psalter No. 184 st. 1, 2, 3 Read Hosea 2 Psalter No. 243 st. 10, 11, 12 Psalter No. 278 st. 4 Psalter No. 47 st. 3, 4 Beloved! In the 89th Psalm Ethan the Ezrahite sings both of the glory and of the deep humiliation of the anointed favorite of the Lord. David was chosen by God in the place of Saul to be king of Israel and his seed shall be established forever and his throne to all generations. "Therefore the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord, Thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints." No enemy shall stand before the servant of the Lord. They shall all bow down to Him, for the Lord rules the raging of the sea, "When the waves thereof rise Thou stillest them. Thou hast broken Ahab in pieces, as one that is slain; Thou hast scattered thine enemies with Thy strong arm." Saul went in his own strength, and sought his own honour; he was a king but did not know himself as the servant of the Lord. How very different was David, who followed the Lord, obeyed His voice, and gave Him the glory of His victories. With a perfect heart, He walked before the Lord. Notwithstanding His gross sins, he was set as an example to all kings and praised above all others. The Lord was his strength and he glories in Him, saying, "Thou hast a mighty arm; strong is Thy hand, and high is Thy right hand. Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne. Mercy and truth shall go before Thy face." Yet the Lord was angry with David. He was cast off and abhorred. God has been wrath with His anointed. Although God's covenant shall remain firm with him, Ethan complains, "Thou hast made void the covenant of Thy servant, Thou hast profaned his crown by casting it to the ground." What? voided God's covenant? Has the Lord changed? That would contradict His emphatic statement, "I am the Lord, I change not." The salvation of God's elect would waver if the Lord did not remain faithful and immutable. For that very reason, because the Lord does not change, "therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." No, God does not change and His covenant remains firm for ever and ever. But the deep humiliation into which David came because of his sin, the heavy strokes that fell on him and his people, because they had forsaken His law, caused God's servant to complain as he did. It seemed to him as though the Lord had made His covenant void, and had profaned the crown by casting it to the ground. One day the earthly crown of David shall be cast away, one day carnal Israel shall fall away, and yet the Lord remains faithful and His covenant sure. David was but a type, a type of the One anointed by the Father before the foundation of the world. He shall reign forever and His throne shall be as the sun before God. But He shall acquire the rule in a most fearful contest with all the powers of hell, of the world and of sin. He shall be humbled, not for His own sin, for He never had or committed any sin, but for the sins of His people. He shall win and reign for the redemption of all those that are given Him by the Father; the people that bow under His scepter are a blessed people; the people that know the joyful sound. "They shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance. In Thy Name shall they rejoice all the day; and in Thy righteousness shall they be exalted." In Him the covenant is confirmed; the testament is of force after the death of the testator. He is the Anointed of the Father, chosen in eternity, qualified in time to sit upon His throne as conqueror. To that end He had to be cast down into the deepest humiliation, into the depths of death; for God's justice must be satisfied and the head of Satan must be bruised, for "justice and judgment are the habitation of His throne." He took our flesh and blood upon Himself to suffer and die, yea, to submit Himself to the most terrible power of death on the cross, after judicial condemnation. By His suffering and death He has taken away the curse of His people, and the church of God shall sing to Him the doxology at the close of this Psalm: "Blessed be the Lord for ever more. Amen and Amen." That is what the fifteenth Lord's Day of the Heidelberg Catechism explains to us according to the Word of God. Let us then give close attention to that Lord's Day. Lord's Day 15 Q. 37: What dost thou understand by the words, "He suffered"? A. That He, all the time that He lived on earth, but especially at the end of His life, sustained in body and soul, the wrath of God against the sins of all mankind; that so by His passion, as the only propitiatory sacrifice, He might redeem our body and soul from everlasting damnation, and obtain for us the favour of God, righteousness and eternal life. Q. 38: Why did He suffer under Pontius Pilate, as judge? A. That He, being innocent, and yet condemned by a temporal judge might thereby free us from the severe judgment of God to which we were exposed. Q. 39: Is there anything more in His being crucified, than if He had died some other death? A. Yes (there is); for thereby I am assured, that He took on Him the curse which lay upon me; for the death of the cross was accursed of God. This Lord's Day then speaks of mediatorial suffering, and explains 1. What is to be understood by this suffering, 2. Why this suffering occurred under Pontius Pilate, 3. What the crucifixion assures. Our Catechism today does not only speak of the suffering of Christ in itself, but Lord's Day 15 testifies also of the only comfort God's people obtain out of this suffering by faith. For the instructor asks, "What dost thou understand by the words "He suffered"? The word "understand" here means the knowledge of faith as the original Latin text clearly shows. With firm hand the instructor keeps to his purpose, that of teaching the purchased church of God concerning the only comfort in life and death May the Lord cause us to understand something of the rich fountain of comfort which lies in the passion of the Lord as we follow the instructor in the description of the grievous suffering, the judicial condemnation, and the cursed death of the cross. How necessary it is to build up the congregation on the rock of pure doctrine which includes the passion and death of the Mediator. Mere assent to that doctrine does not give us the comfort which God's people receive through Christ. To obtain that comfort in truth it is necessary that atonement be wrought for us by Christ, that it be imputed to us by God and that we embrace it by faith. That is just what the Catechism explains to us over and over, and that is why this creed speaks so comfortably to the heart of the spiritual Jerusalem. First then we are told what is meant by the mediatorial suffering of the Lord. This suffering means no less than "that He all the time that He lived on earth, but especially at the end of His life, sustained in body and soul, the wrath of God against the sins of all mankind; that so by His passion, as the only propitiatory sacrifice, He might redeem our body and soul from everlasting damnation, and obtain for us the favour of God, righteousness and eternal life." We have shown you before that He Who suffered was and remained also in and after His incarnation, very God; that He assumed the human nature to His divine Person, and that the suffering which He suffered alone in body and soul, has such an eternal value only because it was suffered by Him, the eternal Son of God. I am merely repeating the testimony of the apostle, Acts 20:28, that God has purchased His church with His own blood, as also the emphatic words of John concerning the blood of the Son, I John 1:7, "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." No creature could merit this righteousness for fallen man. The Son of God, God Himself, alone could do so. This was shown to Daniel in a very imposing manner, "Understand the matter and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity and to bring in everlasting righteousness." (Dan. 9:24). That is of the greatest importance that the Mediator was not only a true, good, sinless man but that the Son of God, God blessed forever, suffered and died in our human nature; that the sinner, as we have discussed in the previous Lord's Day, was reconciled to God by God. This makes Christ precious to every one that believes. Faith not only makes the soul understand what Christ has suffered, but also, and this magnifies the wonder of redemption, Who suffered, namely God's only and natural Son. The soul desires a true knowledge of Him that it may know Him in the power of His death, Him "Who is fairer than the children of men. Grace is poured into His lips." The instructor is now treating His mediatorial suffering. What He suffered He subjected Himself to, out of eternal love to the glorification of God's attributes, according to the Father's pleasure and the salvation of His people. He suffered in the place of His own, namely, "the wrath of God against the sins of all mankind." No, the Catechism does not teach that the blessed Substitute and Mediator bore the wrath of God for all mankind. Christ has not died for all mankind. That is taught by those who hold the doctrine of universal redemption. There is no more abominable doctrine than this. It denies the election of certain persons, known to God, and also the Covenant of Redemption in which the elect alone are given to Christ, for whom He engaged His heart to approach unto God. Moreover, the doctrine of universal redemption counts the blood of Christ an unholy thing. Would He have shed His blood for Cain, for Esau, for Judas? Has Christ then suffered in vain? This abominable doctrine also fails to recognize the work of the Holy Spirit, since the Holy Spirit quickens the dead soul, plants in the soul the true faith that unites with Christ, and thus makes the soul a partaker of that salvation. To mention no more, the doctrine of universal redemption denies man's state of death because it teaches that Christ brought about for all men the possibility of salvation, and that it depends on man's free will whether he will enter the open door of heaven or whether he will refrain. Truly, there is no more abominable doctrine than the one which teaches that Jesus bore the wrath of God for all men. Hence the Catechism does not teach this at all when it states that the Son of God bore the wrath of God against the sins of all mankind. That wrath is indivisible; it cannot be split into a part that rests upon the elect, and a part that falls on the head of the wicked. God's wrath is His holy, indivisible abhorrence of and anger against sin, and especially against the sin of all mankind. That indivisible full wrath of God is poured upon Christ. He bore it all, in order that He might remove it for His elect. That holy, dreadful, eternal wrath was, in the exercise of God's perfect righteousness, poured upon the object of His Father's love. The Mediator bore the full extent of that wrath; the sword has awaked against the Man who is God's Fellow and has smitten that shepherd. Therefore there is such a fulness of righteousness in Christ that it cannot be emptied. Even if all Adam's posterity with all their abominable sins came to that fountain, it would not be diminished by one drop. Christ's righteousness, as our fathers held in opposition to the Remonstrants, is sufficient for the sins of the entire human race. Oh, so often God's children are assaulted with fear that their sins are too great or too manifold; so often the devil points to this or that sin committed, as if there would be no more possibility to be saved. But the instructor, for the comfort of those who are bowed down with the burden of their iniquities, points to the fulness of Christ's righteousness. He has borne the indivisible wrath of God against the sins of the whole human race. Never are the sins too many to be forgiven, even though they are as scarlet and as crimson, the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son cleanses from all sins. However, Christ did not die for all people, He did not take away the wrath of God for all people. The limitation does not lie in sustaining the full wrath of God, but in the good pleasure of the Father, Who has limited the atonement to the elect. "For this was the sovereign counsel, and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of His Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith." (Canons of Dart, Chap. 2 art. 8). Hence there is no atonement for all people, but still God's justice is so completely satisfied that no sin is too great to be forgiven. That gives us so much liberty to preach Christ and Him crucified to each and everyone whoever he may be, and on the other hand it opens the riches of grace for condemnable sinners. If only faith may know Christ as the way of life, salvation for lost sinners becomes so easy. Never can we be sharp enough in cutting off all hope of salvation in Adam, but neither can anyone speak too freely of salvation in Christ. If all the grains of sand were tongues, their voices would be insufficient to sing the praises of Him Who sustained the wrath of God against the sins of all mankind. The instructor continues by saying that Christ sustained that wrath in body and soul. Rome prates that it is unworthy to speak of the soul-suffering of the Mediator. But of Him it is not only said that He bore the sins of His people in His own body on the tree, but also that He Himself cried out, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." With soul and body we have sinned and in both soul and body Christ had to sustain the wrath of God to pacify that wrath and to open the sovereign love and mercy of God. Only thus is there salvation in Him for lost sinners. God's people know something of the burning of the wrath of God, from which there is no escape. They would flee, flee from God, but there is no way out. They are subject to condemnation. But Christ placed Himself in their stead, and in Him they find an escape, an escape for them who come trembling as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria. God's people learn to understand that sin arouses God's wrath; every sin makes us subject to the sentence of death, both as to body and soul. For all those sins there is forgiveness in Him Who bore the full wrath of God in body and soul. True conviction by the Holy Spirit drives us out to Christ, and the lack of that conviction causes us to seek our life outside of Christ. "He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him". Hence how necessary it is to learn to know ourselves as condemnable sinners before God, both in soul and body, so that the suffering of Christ in soul and body might work our redemption by faith. Finally, there is the question, "How long has the Mediator sustained that wrath?" "All the time that He lived on earth," says the instructor. Hence, from the manger to His cross; in His humble birth; in His circumcision on the eighth day; in His flight to Egypt; in His sojourn among the Jews, during which He vexed His soul more than Lot in Sodom; in bearing the enmity and disdain of Israel; in the betrayal of Judah; in the denial of Peter; in all His life, but especially near the end of His life. We think of the suffering of His soul in Gethsemane, when His sweat became as great drops of blood; of the inexpressible suffering on the cross, of His death when with a loud voice He cried, "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit." In the days of His flesh, from His birth to His death He bore the burden of the wrath of God. God's people are purchased at, O, such a great price, not with corruptible things, silver or gold, but with the precious blood of the Son of God. Moreover, in this suffering, all the time He lived on earth is a fountain of comfort for God's people, that He has been tempted in all things yet without sin so that He could help them in all things. He is the fountain opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They are the ransomed of the Lord upon whom the Lord will not be wrath nor will He rebuke them. For Zion is redeemed with judgment. It was the delight of the Father to pour out God's wrath upon Christ. We have already stated in refuting the Socinians who teach that Christ in sustaining the full wrath of God must have become the object of that wrath, that He was and remained His beloved Son, of whom the Father Himself twice proclaimed, "This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased." This testimony the Father gave of Him in the state of His humiliation, and thus He unlocked the incomprehensible mystery of salvation that in Christ's bearing the full, undivided, and eternal wrath of God, the Father took holy delight. Oh, who would not sink away here in adoration. The Father elected His church in eternity in order that He through the depths of the fall in Adam might be perfectly glorified in mercy to her eternal salvation. Mercy could only be glorified in maintaining and executing the demand of justice, which could be done in no other way than that the only-begotten Son of God had to bear God's wrath against sin. In this lay the delight of the Father, glorying in the divine attributes so that the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in the hand of Christ. The church of God lies in the heart of the Father from eternity. and the love wherewith He loved her, and loves her unchangeably is so great that He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him for her unto death, yea, to the death of the cross and poured God's wrath which rested upon her over Him. Thus He made known the riches of His glory to the vessels of mercy, which He had store prepared unto glory. He who by faith may learn something (for who can fathom it?) of the delight of the Father in the pouring out of His wrath upon His beloved Son, must lose himself in adoration and amazement. Faith appropriates Christ, but also leads God's people into the good pleasure of the Father. The sovereign love of God fills them and causes them to embrace Jesus as their Mediator, and to have communion with the Father. Oh, that Abba, Father, that dear Father, Who caused Thy only begotten Son to pass under that eternal wrath to glorify Thy justice, so that Thy mercy might be glorified in my soul and I might be made a vessel to honour. My beloved, I feel myself too poor in words to express the secret of the Lord that is with them that fear Him, but the people that by the ministration of the Holy Spirit are deemed worthy to learn to know the wonders of the salvation of lost children of Adam because of God's sovereign good pleasure, and, negating self entirely, find their foundation in a triune God, shall understand better than it can be expressed in words, "It is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." That good pleasure was glorified in maintaining God's justice when Christ bore and silenced the full wrath of God. I will praise Thee forever because Thou hast done it. Therefore the Lord Jesus had to be condemned to death judicially. The instructor speaks of this judicial condemnation when, in the second place, he explains II why this suffering took place under Pontius Pilate. Pontius Pilate was the temporal judge. He was a man of the world who neither knew nor feared God, but he was the official judge. The Romans administered justice since they had subjugated Israel. Neither Annas, nor Caiaphas could condemn a man to death. If they had that power they would not have turned to Pilate. The Roman governor administered justice and to him the Jews dragged Jesus so that this judge could sentence Him. Even before this the Jews had sought to kill Jesus, when they wanted to cast Him down headlong from the brow of the hill, and wanted to stone Him. Yea, Herod sought to kill Him as a young child in Bethlehem. But He was not to die as an unconscious babe, nor in an insurrection. He had to be condemned to death by a judicial sentence, by the sentence of a judge who administered the highest, that is the Roman law. However much Pilate perverted justice, yet his sentence was a judicial sentence in which God's judgment was passed over Christ, Who stood before the Judge of heaven and earth in the place of His people. No, Christ was not condemned as a martyr, nor, as the Socinians teach, merely as an example for men to follow, but as one who was guilty of death, to pay for the sins of His people and to redeem Zion with judgment. That people also by nature were sentenced by God's judgment, and subject to condemnation, but convicted by the Holy Spirit they are summoned before the judgment seat of God to give an account of their deeds. If the Lord leads them through deeper ways, and places them before His bar, they not only lose all hope they had gleaned from their experience of the love of God and the redemption which is in Christ, but, laden with all their original and actual sin, they stand utterly condemned before God. Here they have no other expectation than to be sentenced to eternal death. Notice that in the justification before the bar of conscience, God cuts His people off from everything. To that bar they do not come robed with all that God has wrought in them and with all the promises received, but only as condemnable sinners in Adam. He who has never lost his life, has never experienced the justification of faith in the confirmation of the Holy Spirit. Therefore the wonder of their acquittal is so inexpressibly great, that it is given in Christ, in Him alone, Who was judicially condemned to death. In Him His chosen church is acquitted and that acquittal is imputed to them judicially with the divine sentence. They do not go of themselves to the Father with the accepted righteousness of Christ, but the Father Who has accepted the righteousness of Christ, acquits them and grants them a right to eternal life, of which the Holy Spirit assures them by testifying that God shall no more be wrath with them, nor rebuke them. Although innocent, Christ was condemned by Pontius Pilate the temporal judge, in order that He might deliver His people from the just judgment of God to which they were subject. His innocence was not only shown when while He was standing before the Sanhedrin, the great Jewish Counsel (no two witnesses could be found who agreed in their accusation), but especially when He stood before Pilate, who repeatedly declared, "I find no fault in this man." Even Judas had to cry out, "I have betrayed innocent blood." Also the converted thief testified of His innocence, saying, "Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds, but this man has done nothing amiss." And the centurion glorified God, saying, "Certainly this was a righteous man." He the righteous, was nailed to the cross and has borne the wrath of God to deliver His guilty people from the judgment of eternal death and to restore them into God's favour and communion. What a clear evidence of this was given to us when at Jesus' death the veil was rent from top to bottom. That veil separated the holy place from the holy of holies into which nobody might ever glance. Even when the high priest once a year went into the holy of holies, no priest might be in the holy place and the high priest had to close the veil behind him. Now behold when Christ died, the veil was rent from the top to the bottom. It did not tear because it was old. The rent came from above. God tore the veil. The way to the holy of holies where God has His throne of grace has been opened because Christ being innocent, but condemned by the temporal judge, has satisfied the justice of God and has delivered His people from the judgment of eternal death. He was declared guilty in their place, He bore their guilt and sin, He became Surety for them with the Father, and had taken upon Himself in eternity to bear their punishment and satisfy justice. In Him Zion shall be redeemed with judgment. God's people have deserved death, but receive everlasting life. This is true for all those who have been taken out of the state of death and placed in the state of life, but it is a second grace to receive the assurance thereof, and to obtain the firm foundation that Christ took upon Him the curse which lay upon them. In the twenty-third Lord's Day we hope to discuss this matter some more, but notice that in Christ, God's people are judicially acquitted, and this acquittal of sin takes place in their soul by a judicial sentence. Let us in the third place consider III the benefit the crucifixion assures us. The crucifixion was a Roman punishment. Israel did not crucify people alive. It did happen that the dead body of one who had committed an abominable crime and was executed, was hanged on a tree. By that crucifixion the curse was pronounced upon the condemned person, as Moses spoke in Deut. 21:23, "For he that is hanged is accursed of God." Therefore the dead might not remain all night upon the tree. Before night the dead body had to be removed from the cross so that the curse of the crucified one should not remain upon the whole people. Now Christ was crucified, having become a curse for His people (Gal. 3:13). Already we have heard that He had to be sent to His death by a judicial sentence; moreover He had to die the death of the cross, the accursed death, to remove the curse of the law to which by nature we are subject, from His people. For cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them. That curse rests also upon God's elect, and only by His crucifixion has God taken away that curse. Oh, that gives God's people such distress, when they see themselves under the curse of the law. Flattering words do not help. The soul must be delivered by disarming the law of its curse, and by reconciling the sinner to God. To that end Christ died on the cross, and in His eternal love He humbled Himself to the death of the cross. He has reconciled enemies to God, removed the curse from accursed ones. He is the Savior because He has satisfied the justice of God perfectly. "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Moreover, crucifixion was a painful death. Death raged against Christ with all its power. I need not give you a minute description of the crucifixion to convince you of the terrible pains of such a death. The living body, already scourged, was nailed to the cross. Did not Christ complain in the Psalms, "They pierced My hands and My feet." Resting upon a piece of wood fastened to the cross which increased the pain, and hanging in the hot eastern sun, the crucified person died very slowly with terrible fevers. To hasten their death before night fell, their bones were broken, and since they had forfeited an honorable burial, their remains were hidden under the ground of Golgotha. It was that cursed, painful death the Lord Jesus died, except that His bones were not broken. He gave His life freely and He was with the rich in His death, as we shall hear in the next Lord's Day. He bore the sorrows of His people, and in His pains of soul and body He bore the full wrath of God. He has, says Isaiah, "borne our griefs." O precious Redeemer! He has borne all our griefs, all griefs in life and death, however great they may be; He has borne them all. Yea, He has suffered even more than His people shall ever suffer so that He can comfort and redeem them. If by faith they may look upon His suffering and death, they may sing in their greatest distress, "He will sustain and hold me fast, And give me strength to bear." The crucifixion was also an ignominious death. The one crucified hung naked upon the cross, an object of mockery, a castaway on earth, unworthy of heaven. Into that ignominy the Lord Jesus was willing to descend for those given Him by the Father, who as a group of poor, despised sinners lay cast out in the open field, polluted in their blood. In His crucifixion Christ took away their shame to crown them with honour and glory. Through Him they have become a holy nation, a peculiar people, to show forth the praises of Him who purchased them with His blood. In the world they are a despised group. It is Zion whom no man seeketh after. Scorn and contempt, disdain and rejection is the portion of God's chosen ones here on earth. This caused Paul to cry out, "I am crucified unto the world," that is, in the eyes of the world I am as a crucified one, utterly condemned. With the apostle, God's people and servants experience the same contempt. On the other hand they despise the world, the world is crucified unto them, that is, as a crucified one. The more they are filled with the love of God in Christ, the more they despise the world with all that which charms the natural man. The cursed, painful and ignominious death of the Lord has removed the curse, the pain and the ignominy from His people, restored them into God's favour and communion, and granted an opening for the Father's unchanging love, of which we now sing, Psalter No. 278, st. 4. "Unchanging is the love of God From age to age the same, Displayed to all who do His will And reverence His Name." Application Let us now apply to ourselves the instruction we have considered. We have already remarked that the suffering of Christ was substitutionary. He subjected Himself to the judicial sentence of crucifixion only in the stead of the elect, whose Surety He had become. Let us despise with all our heart the doctrine of universal redemption of which we have spoken. The church sinks away with that abominable doctrine. In these days this doctrine not only openly, but also secretly is working its way in. Beloved, hold fast that Christ did not die for all men, and that for our salvation it is absolutely necessary to be grafted into Him by the Holy Spirit, and thus by faith be made a partaker of the fruit of His suffering and of His judicial sentence to the death of the cross. For all men are conceived in sin and born as children of wrath. Without the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit they are neither able nor willing to return to God, to reform the depravity of their nature, nor to dispose themselves to reformation (Canons of Dort. Chap. III & IV, art. 3). We must be born again. God bind upon our hearts the necessity to be reconciled with Him in Christ. No man can be saved by the broken covenant of works. Oh, do set your heart upon the unadulterated truth; consider God's people a happy people, love them. Especially in young people this is often lacking, and many are cold in respect to their eternal welfare. A superficial confession seems to be enough for many, and especially the doctrine that the promises are for all people, causes many to rest in a fancied faith, by which they appropriate these promises. I pray you, do not deceive yourselves. The Lord bind you to His ordinances, and bless His Word to lead you to a discovery of your totally lost state, so that you will be driven to seek refuge in Him Who subjected Himself to the cursed death on the cross in order to save condemnable sinners and to deliver them from the curse. God's people learn to know this by experience. God's work does not go on without us. Let the little ones in grace testify how the Lord prevailed over them and all hope of being saved fell away. Would they be able to rest in their orthodox conception of the true doctrine? Certainly not. Should we build them up in their experience of misery, and of the comforts they received? Is it not necessary to show them that they cannot build upon these things? Oh, do hear what Jesus suffered. In body and soul He bore the full wrath of God. In Him alone can we attain peace with God by faith. Let me then, sorrowing souls, direct you to Him. May you seek to know Him as your Sin-bearer. Many never have stood before God's bar as an accursed one, but acquitted for the sake of Christ, Who became a curse for them. Whence is that lack, notwithstanding the fact that they have seen all their salvation in Christ? They lack the cutting off of their life. People of God, the Lord will not forsake His work. He fulfills the desire of your heart to know God reconciled in the judicial condemnation of your Surety. Oh, when their soul was acquitted, how they sank away in the wonder that Christ had placed Himself in their place before the judgment seat of His Father and they for His sake were freed from guilt and punishment, and received a right to everlasting life. Have you then not cried out, "I will praise Thee forever, for Thou hast done it." They have more gladness in their heart than when the wicked's corn and wine are increased. The Lord make you a partaker of that joy. Not only is God's wrath appeased, but the Father's good pleasure is shown to them, the delight of God in the saving of His people in Christ. Oh, people of God, do seek with real desire to know the great mystery that lies in God's beloved Son's bearing His wrath, so that you may be brought back to the heart of God from which you have withdrawn yourselves in Adam. I would urge you to do so in order that God may be glorified and your soul find rest and peace. If grief and suffering is your portion here, may Christ comfort you with His grievous and cursed death, and cause you to look upon Him, and to expect your help from Him. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and one day in the sight of all your enemies He shall justify you on the clouds of heaven. Let your enemies and your pretended friends tread you underfoot for a while; the Lord revive the love among His people and especially to Him Whom we expect unto salvation. Amen. 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