Thursday, January 20, 2011

the transcendent love of Christ

Christ’s love made Him willing to suffer for us. And for us He has
suffered all miseries that all our sins had deserved and cruelty could
inflict. He who with one word caused the vast fabric of heaven and earth
to start out of nothing, who was King of kings and Lord of lords, who
had heaven for His throne and earth for His footstool, was, out of love
to us, content to take upon Him the form of a servant, and to live in such
a poor condition as He had not a cradle when born, nor a place to lay His
head while He lived, nor a sepulchre to bury Him when He died. He who
was the King of glory, the splendour of whose glory dazzled the eyes of
seraphims, nay, whose glory is above the heavens, was, out of love to us,
willing to be “despised and rejected of men” (Isa. 53. 3); to be accounted
as “a worm, and no man; a reproach of men and despised of the people”
(Psa. 22. 6, 7). He who was adored by the glorious host of heaven, was
the Object of their eternal praises, yea, and “counted it not robbery to be
equal with God,” was, out of love to us, content to be “numbered
amongst transgressors,” to be reviled and slandered as a wine-bibber, a
glutton, a Sabbath-breaker, a blasphemer, a madman, and possessed with
the devil.

He in whose presence was fulness of joy, and from whose smile
spring rivers of pleasures, was, for love of us, willing to become “a Man
of sorrows, acquainted with grief,” yea, and it seems with nothing else;
we never read that He laughed. He whose beauty was the glory of
heaven, the brightness of His Father’s glory, the sight whereof transports
those happy spirits that behold it into an eternal rapture, was, for love to
us, by His suffering so disfigured as He seemed to have no form nor
comeliness in Him, nor beauty that any should desire Him; “He gave His
back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: He
hid not His face from shame and spitting” (Isa. 50. 6).
He in whose sight the heavens are not clean, who was of purer eyes
than to behold iniquity, was, out of love to us, content to “bear our sins
in His body upon the tree,” to be “wounded for our transgressions,” and
to have all our iniquities laid upon Him. This love made God, blessed
for ever, willing to be made a curse, the glorious Redeemer of Israel toTHE LOVE OF CHRIST 107
be sold as a slave, and the Lord of life to die a base, accursed and cruel
And, which is above all, He who was His Father’s love and delight,
who was rejoicing before Him from eternity, and in whom alone His soul
was well pleased, did, out of love to us, bear the unconceivable burden
of His Father’s wrath – that wrath which was the desert of all the sins of
the elect, which would have sunk the whole world into hell, the weight
whereof made His soul heavy unto the death, and was a far greater
torture to Him than ever damned soul felt in hell (if we abstract sin and
eternity from these torments), the burden whereof pressed from Him that
stupendous, bloody sweat and made Him, in the anguish of His
oppressed soul, cry out to heaven, “My God, My God, why hast Thou
forsaken Me?” and cry out to earth, “O! have ye no regard, all ye that
pass by? See if there be any sorrow like My sorrow, wherewith the Lord
has afflicted Me in the day of His fierce wrath.”

No, Lord, there was no sorrow like Thy sorrow, no love like Thy
love. Was it not enough (dearest Saviour) that Thou didst condescend to
pray, and sigh, and weep for us perishing wretches? Wilt Thou also
bleed and die for us? Was it not enough that Thou wast hated, slandered,
blasphemed, buffeted? but Thou wilt also be scourged, nailed, wounded,
crucified. Was it not enough to feel the cruelty of man? Wilt Thou also
undergo the wrath of God? Or if Thy love will count nothing a sufficient
expression of itself, but parting with life, and shedding that precious
blood, yet was it not enough to die once, to suffer one death? Wilt Thou
die twice, and taste both first, and something of the second death, suffer
the pains of death in soul and body?

O the transcendent love of Christ! Heaven and earth are astonished
at it. What tongue can express it? What heart can conceive it? The
tongues, the thoughts of men and angels are far below it. O the height,
and depth, and breadth, and length, of the love of Christ! All the creation
is nonplussed; our thoughts are swallowed up in this depth, and there
must lie till glory elevate them, when we shall have no other employment
but to praise, admire and adore this love of Christ.

David Clarkson