October 17, 2007

Stephen Charnock (1628–1680) on Christ Weeping and Bleeding for the Sins of the World

2. It was our Saviour's practice. As he had the highest love to God, so he must needs have the greatest grief for his dishonour. He sighed in his spirit for the incredulity of that generation, when they asked a sign, after so many had been presented to their eyes: Mark viii. 12, 'He sighed deeply in his spirit.' And the hardness of their hearts at another time raised his grief as well as his indignation, Mark iii. 5. He was sensible of the least dishonour to his Father: Ps. lxix. 9, 'The reproaches of them that reproached thee, fell upon me.' I took them to heart. Christ pleased not himself when his Father was injured; as the apostle descants upon it, when he applies it to Christ, Rom. xv. 3. His soul was more pierced with the wrongs done to God, than the reproaches which were directed against his own person. His grief was inexpressibly greater than can be in any creature, because of the inimitable ardency of his love to God, the nearness of his relation to him, and the unspotted purity of his soul. Christ had a double relation: to man, to God. His compassion to men afflicted him with groans and tears at their bodily distempers; his affection to his Father would make him grieve as much to see him dishonoured, as his love to man made him groan to see man afflicted. This grief for sin was one part of Christ's sacrifice and suffering; for he came to make a full satisfaction to the justice of God by enduring his wrath, to the holiness of God by offering up an infinite sorrow for sin, which it was impossible for a creature to do. We cannot suppose that Christ should only accept the punishment, but not bewail the offence which those sins, had not been acceptable; it had not been agreeable to the purity of his human nature. He wept at Jerusalem's obstinacy, as well as for her misery, and that in the time of his triumph. The loud hosannas could not silence his grief, and stop the expressions of it, Luke xix. 41. It was like sorrow for men's displeasing the holiness of God, it is surely our duty, as his members, to imitate the afflictions of the head. He is unworthy of the name of Christ, who is not afflicted as Christ was, nor can call Christ his master, who doth not imitate his graces, as well as pretend to believe his doctrine; he cannot see that God, who hath distinguished him from the world, dishonoured, his precepts contemned, but he must have his soul overcast with a gloomy cloud. It is our glory to value the things he esteemed, to despise the things he condemned, to rejoice in that wherein he was delighted, and to grieve for that which was the matter of his sorrow and indignation. Thus was he afflicted, though he had a joy in the assurance of his Father's favour, and the assistance of his Father's power. The highest assurance of God's love in particular to us, ought not to hinder the impressions of grief for the dishonour of his name. Did Christ ever look upon the swinish world without melting into pity? Did he bleed for the sins of the world, and shall not we mourn for them?
Stephen Charnock, "A Discourse of Mourning for Other Men's Sins," in The Works of Stephen Charnock (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1997), 5:385–386.


There is no effort to limit the "world" here. Charnock affirms that Christ bled for all those sinners he weeps over.

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