Meditation for Sunday, March 3.

He that is surety for a stranger shall smart (be sore broken)for it: and he that hateth suretyship is sure. Prov. 11:15.

This repeated warning against suretyship (Chap. 6:1-5) is intended to inculcate considerateness; not to excuse selfishness, or to dry up the sources of helpful sympathy. It must not be for a stranger, whose character and responsibilities are unknown to us. For such incautious kindness, too often done to the injury of our family, we shall smart, if not be sore broken. To hate such engagements is therefore our prudent security.

But one exception we can never forget. The blessed Jesus, from his free grace–unsought, unasked (Philip. 2:6-8) became surety-– not for a friend (in which case we should have had no interest), but for a stranger. He became One with us in nature, that he might be One with us in law. He took our place under the curse of the broken law. (Gal. 3:13.) He put his soul to the fullest extent in our soul’s place; and then made our nature pay the debt, which all the angels of heaven could never have discharged. Oh! this was a smart indeed. Yea–sore broken was he under the stroke of his Father’s hand. The Upholder of the universe was prostrate in the dust; his own creature strengthening his sinking frame., (Luke 22:43.) Had he hated suretyship, he would have been sure; (for what could have disturbed his self-existent happiness?) but we should have perished. Glory to his name! Though from all eternity he knew the bitterness of the smart, instead of hating, he “rejoiced and delighted” in his work. (Ps. 40:6-8.) His was no rash engagement. For it was the arrangement of the everlasting covenant. (1 Pet. 1:20.) Every way it was lawful. There was an infinite treasure to discharge the liabilities. The claims of justice were fully satisfied. (Rom. 3:26.) Sin was as thoroughly punished, as it was thoroughly pardoned. There was no injury, but rather direct benefit to the family of God. (Eph. 1:10. Col. 1:20.) What then remains for us, but to fall down before this grace, and to spend our days, as we shall spend our eternity, in adoring this wondrous manifestation of Divine glory! (Rev. 1:5, 6)

Charles Bridges

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