Page images

knocks at the door of your hearts, asking for admission. He appears in the array of Calvary-the humiliation of Gethsemane-the weakness of Bethlehem. He seems covered with blood, and wounds, and filled with infirmities; apparent, even notwithstanding that glory which encircles Him at the right hand. The reason is, He has taken your nature upon Him. He died for you. "He was wounded for your transgressions, he was bruised for your iniquities."* All the circumstances of His birth, life, death, and resurrection press upon your view, because they are detailed in the sacred page, and frequently spoken of in your hearing. You almost forget that He has been "by the right hand of God exalted:"+-that, indeed, in the depth of his Humiliation, He never laid aside His Divinity:-that, like the sun through a fleecy cloud, the Godhead continually broke upon the view, through the mantle of humanity: but then you will not be enabled to forget. Your attention will be drawn-will be rivetted. Every faculty shall wake to the honour of the Redeemer, for all the praises of Heaven shall accompany Him in His downward way, and the celestial crowns shall sparkle round all the canopy of glory. For a footstool He shall have the burning world. An awful Justice shall be manifest in His counte

*Is. liii. 5. Acts. ii. 33.

nance, rendered more terrible by that beaming mercy which will smile upon the penitent.

Then, if it appear that you have "trodden under foot the son of God, and counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing,"*—then, if it appear that you have denied Him-" before men,"t-that you have refused to have Him to "reign over"‡ you, there will not be found in all the universe a refuge. His every moment of humiliation, His every wound, His every tear of anguish, His every night of watching and of prayer, His every means of grace vouchsafed for your acceptance-even Heaven itself, in jealousy for His honour-will plead like trumpets double tongued against you. Oh you know that, even in the little world of men, true greatness is mild, is meek, is tender; it accommodates, and invites, and soothes; it is condescending, and it appears lovely; but when, for the safety of society, it rouses to action-for the deliverance of the oppressed, or the administration of Justice, it puts forth its power, it is steady and firm, it goes with redoubled might to its object.

We can not measure our God:-we can not even shadow forth His greatness: but thus we may try, in our poor feeble way, to judge a little of the contrast Christ will present, when, on

*Heb. x. 29. Matt. x. 33. Luke xix. 27.

a race incorrigible, He pronounces sentence. Do not please yourselves with an idea of His mercy then. It is the declaration of the Eternal, that all who on that day are found among the despisers must perish.


Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.-Phil. ii. 6, 7.

The great difficulty attending our reception of the truth of the Gospel is, that our hearts are opposed to the Divine holiness it illustrates, and the perfect purity it demands: but there is a minor difficulty, springing originally from the same source, but having some connexion with the weakness of our minds. We are overpowered by the excessive brightness of God's character. The eye of our souls becoming dazzled, we wilfully close it. It is very easy for us to convince varselves that we are sinners, and that the Justice of God must be angry with us; but, though we wish to be forgiven, and hope the Most Merciful will forgive in some way, we find the revelation of the Gospel so much above

find it commanded by the Almighty. And the grand reason for that command, so utterly be yond the research of our thoughts, is also revealed, and made to recommend itself as beautifully proper. The whole system of sacrifice, we are told, was intended to herald the incarnate Redeemer. Whenever the Lamb fell be. neath the knife of the priest, it proclaimed the "Lamb of God which taketh away the the sins of the world." Whenever blood flowed, it declared without shedding of blood there is no remission." The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head-was enigmatical; sacrifice, while it served to perpetuate the promise, gave an emblematic representation of the manner of its fulfilment. Satan bruising the heel of the seed of the woman, was kept in view by the death which the victim experienced; and the seed of the woman crushing the head of Satan, by the favorable acceptance of the sacrifice. Christ, even at the altar of Abel, taught the martyred saint to repose upon Him as a full atonement; while, at the same time, by rejecting the sacrifice of Cain, he showed that without shedding of blood there was no salvation.

The great truth taught by sacrifice was made more and more manifest, until, at length, Isaiah uncovered it fully to the view of all. In the 53d chapter of his prophecy, he exhibits the

Saviour on the very cross; shows His bleeding throbbing flesh, raises Him to view, as, by eminence, the sacrifice, and says, "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with His stripes we are healed. The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."

The Jews were so sensible of all these things, that, though the pride of their hearts clung to the idea of a conquering and ruling Messiah,which indeed they had reason to expect, from the predictions made use of in heralding the Divinity of the Redeemer, they were constrained to confess He was appointed to suffer. So full, so strong, so clear was the language of the prophets, they were obliged to acknowledge, as Paul charged home upon them, that Christ must needs have suffered.*

In the Epistle to the Hebrews, Paul unfolds the subject in such manner that he who runs may read. He shows that the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin, but were appointed to shadow forth the blood of Christ. He reasons out of the ancient scriptures; applies the whole ceremonial to the Lamb of God; and shows, even to demonstration, that all the

* Acts xvii. 3. Unable to deny that the Messiah was foretold as a man of sorrows, the Jews invented the notion of two Mes. siahs; one to suffer, and the other to reign.

« PreviousContinue »