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his combined mercy, and wisdom, and faithfulness. What- knowing that it comes to them on an errand of mercy; that it ever be our lot we will trace it to his appointment, and submit is no less a token of their father's love than the other, and it to his management. Amidst all the vicissitudes of life, we that they have great cause to rejoice even in this their tribuwill comfort our hearts with believing that he rules over us in lation. Reconciled to God, 'walking in the light of his counthe exercise of infinite perfection, that his manifold dealings tenance,' enjoying the consolations of his Spirit, and cheered with us are intended to promote our good, and that if we con- with the hope of his glory, surely they may say without retinue to put our trust in him, he will never leave nor forsake serve, in the very midst of deep and dark adversity, that the us,' till he has placed us beyond the reach of whatever can lines are fallen unto them in pleasant places, and that they harass or distress us. He may put the cup of prosperity in have a goodly heritage.? In this view it may be justly said our hands, and we will drink it with thanksgiving and joy ; (of believers, that “all things are theirs, whether the world, or regarding it as a pledge of his rich beneficence; lifting up our life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are souls in gratitude for his unmerited kindness; living to the theirs; and they are Christ's, and Christ is God's.' praise of him who filleth our mouth with good things, so Now, my friends, if such be our spiritual state, great cause that our youth is renewed like the eagle's;' and feeling every have we to bless the Lord who hath given us counsel.' Not past expression of his benevolence as an argument and a mo- only has he brought us into the valley of vision,' but he has tive for our putting more confidence in him, and rendering enabled us to see with a believing eye the redemption which more obedience to him, and holding more communion with it unfolds. Not only has he conferred upon us those exterhim, in all the time of our sojourning that is yet to come. And nal privileges which we enjoy by the Gospel dispensation, when he presses to our lips the cup of adversity, we will drink but he has taught us to improve them, and by his blessing that also, with patience and resignation; remembering that has rendered them effectual for our good. Not only has he our afflictions are of his ordination or by his permission; sat-made the lines fall to us in pleasant places, and given us a isfied that the heaviest of them will not be allowed to over-goodly heritage, but he has counselled us to value them whelm us, but that all of them are intended or will be over-aright, to set up our everlasting rest in them, and to seek from ruled for our permanent advantage; consoling ourselves with them our best comforts and our brightest happiness. Had the belief that they are the discipline of our heavenly father, we been left to ourselves, his kindness would have been lavand with the hope that they will work out for us an ex- ished on us in vain; and we should have been like many ceeding weight of glory;' and praying and striving that others who, though born in a land of saving light, prefer walkthey may purify and improve us here, and that they maying in the darkness of infidelity and sin. But, taught by his issue in immortal joys hereafter. Our confidence and our re-Spirit we have had our understandings enlightened to see the joicing is this, that the Lord himself will maintain our lot. realities of the Gospel, and our hearts moved to seek after an Whatever good we possess, whatever happiness we enjoy, it interest in the Saviour, and our feet guided into the way of may be taken from us, if the preservation of it be left to our peace and safety. And this being the case, surely we canselves. But, in the hands of him, to whom, as our chosen not fail to give thanks to him by whose grace it is that we portion, we have committed our all, it is perfectly secure. are what we are ;' to cherish towards him the warmest gratiOur enemies, in that case, have no power to deprive us of it, tude of which our souls are susceptible, and to praise him be they ever so numerous, and be they ever so strong. None even while we have a being.' can pluck us out of the hand of God' who is greater than And having been influenced and enabled by him to choose all.'' Nothing shall • ever be able to separate us from his the good part which cannot be taken from us,' we must be love which is in Christ.”. He will maintain whatever he has careful to make a right use of the privilege. Our reins wronght for us; and will keep us by his mighty power must instruct us in the night seasons. We must meditate through faith unto salvation.' And if this be the consequence on what we have done ; and in our times of retirement and of having God for our portion, how blessed are we in having solitude,.commune with our own hearts' on the subject, that made such a choice, and in enjoying such a privilege! And thus we may be more fully instructed in what we have rehow miserable must those be who, by making the world their ceived, and in what we owe to our merciful God; that we portion, have no security in life, no peace at death, no hope may be encouraged to persevere in the choice which we have beyond the grave! While we pity these infatuated mortals, so wisely and happily made; that we may be more thoroughand supplicate the God of all grace in their behalf, let us belly comforted by it amidst the trials and distresses to which careful to hold fast that which we have,' to cleave with still we are subjected ; that we may be furnished with more ani. greater devotedness to God, to set him continually before mating motives to thanksgiving and praise ; that we may us,' and to take him as our guide, our refuge, our consola- learn how needful we are of the continuance of that divine tion, and our exceeding great reward.'
interposition which · began the good work in us;' and that “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, 1 we may be stimulated to greater diligence in the duties of have a goodly heritage. This expresses the satisfaction our holy vocation, and to greater earnestness in our applicawhich God's people have with their condition. They may tions for the wisdom and the strength which are necessary to not be able to say so of their temporal circumstances. They our abiding in the love of God, and to our being finally conare not indifferent to the good and evil of which, as inhabit-ducted into his heavenly presence. ants of this world, they are called to partake. And when trouble and destitution assail them, they are not insensible to the affliction; they will not speak of it as if all were going well and prosperously with them, and as if they set no value on the bounties of Providence. They feel the ordinary calamities of life as well as others. They pray to be delivered from
LECTURE VI. them. And when they obtain deliverance, and the candle of the Lord shines upon their head, they acknowledge thel. I have set the Lord always before me : because he is at my right boon with grateful and rejoicing hearts. But then here is the hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and peculiarity of their character, and their situation ; their prin- my glory rejoiceth ; my flesh also shall rest in hope : For thou cipal concern is with their spiritual circumstances. And if wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine these be right and prosperous, they care little about their Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of bodily and external comfort. God being their portion, they life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; ut thy right hand there have nothing left to fear on the one hand, or to desire on the are pleasures for evermore.'--PSALM xvi. 8-END. other. Their souls being safe, and their eternal interests secure, every other care is absorbed in the delightful persuasion In the preceding part of this Psalm, we have considered that no real injury can befal them, in the blessed experience David as speaking solely in his own person, in reference to of the peace which passeth understanding,' in the animat- his own feelings, his own comfort, and his own conduct. We ing hope that is full of immortality. They envy not the are aware, indeed, that by many it is regarded as applicable man of the world his sensual gratifications and carnal mirth. to the Messiah; but of this we see no satisfactory proof, and They are abundantly satisfied with the communications of we are always unwilling, when interpreting Scripture, to inGod's love to them, by which their every want is supplied, dulge unnecessarily in conjecture, or to give a construction to and by which they are filled with the joy that no man taketh the language of the sacred writers which is merely suggested from them.' When a temporal benefit comes to them, they by a particular theory, and which is adopted not so much to receive it, and thank the bountiful giver for this additional express and illustrate the real meaning of the passage, as to token of that grace which has provided so richly for their render it more evangelical and more interesting than it would eternal salvation. And when they are visited with hardships otherwise be. Some have treated the whole book of Psalms and sufferings, they endure the visitation with patience, well as in every the minutest part, more or less prophetical or de
scriptive of the Saviour; whereas it must be evident to every was tortured; bis soul was wrung with anguish; ignominy intelligent reader of them, that they often speak of circum- darkened his departing hour; and while he expired amidst stances, and experience, and character, which cannot be at- the shame and the agony of a cross, he expired under the tached to the Saviour without violating the soundest and most curse of holy and incensed omnipotence. important of those principles on which we are accustomed to It is painful, my friends, to contemplate this; to see true ascertain the import of revelation, and introducing a mode of greatness humiliated so low, and warmest charity so ungratedetermining the mind of the Spirit
, which would put every fully requited, and immaculate innocence plunged into such a thing at the mercy of an ill regulated piety, or of a lively im-depth of affliction. Yet we are not permitted to withdraw or agination. The question is not-may this, by a little exer- turn away our minds from the contemplation, sad and heartcise of fancy, and a little accommodation of fact, and a little rending as it is. As we travel through the word of truth, the straining of phraseology, be made to intimate something con- sufferings of Christ are presented to our observation at every eerning Christ? The question is-does this truly speak of step; they are set before us in all their variety and in all their Christ, and are we justified in taking that view of it, by the aggravations; they are mixed up with the most elevated and context, or by. strict analogy, or by express warrant, or by cheering views that are afforded of his exaltation and his glory. any other legitimate and safe mode of judging in such cases? When, amidst our meditations on his essential dignity and
Now, my friends, it is in deference to the rules and max- blessedness, we might be apt to forget how low he stooped ims implied in this statement that, when expounding the pre- and how much he bore, a glimpse of them is let in upon us as vious portion of this Psalm, we considered it as spoken by exhibited in the stable in Bethlehem, the garden of GethseDavid in reference to himself; and it is in deference to the mane, or the hill of Calvary. The Evangelists and the same rules and maxims that we are to consider the remain- Apostles dwell upon them as the most striking features of der of the Psalm as spoken by him in reference to the Mes- their narrative, and as the most indispensable theme of their siah, of whom he was both a prophet and a type. Not only preaching. And it is to them that the attention of his people may all the passage that we have just read be applied to Christ is specially called, and by them that their devotion is to be without constraint; and not only is there some of it which is principallý kindled, in that ordinance which is appointed to applicable to him alone; but we have New Testament au- be a commemoration of him even to the end of the world. In thority for making such an application. The Apostle Peter, this ordinance he does not require you to remember him as in his first discourse after the effusion of the Spirit on the one whose birth was announced by a multitude of angels; in day of Pentecost, expressly quoted these verses as uttered by whom were hid all the treasures of knowledge and of wisDavid, in exclusive reference to the Redeemer; and, there- dom ;' whose word was implicitly obeyed by the elements of fore, in explaining and illustrating them, we are not only en-nature, and the spirits of darkness; who rescued the victims titled, but hound to keep the Redeemer in our eye as the per- that death was spoiling in the tomb; who was acknowledged son from whom they primarily proceed, and towards whom by 'a voice from the excellent glory;' and at last ascended on they direct our attention.
the clouds to heaven. He does not require you to remember Peter, you know, quoted them when addressing the Jews him at his table as distinguished by these attributes of his on the subject of Christ's resurrection, asserting its reality, character, and these glories of his condition. No; he reand showing them that it was predicted by the Psalmist. quires you to remember him as one who suffered and died. But though that be the main topic which he employed them Eat of this bread, which is a memorial of my broken body; for pressing on the notice and belief of his audience, they drink of this wine, which is a memorial of my shed blood : offer along with this some other topics to our consideration, do this in remembrance of me: thus show my death till I from all which, as connected with him, we may derive many come.' appropriate and salutary instructions. Let us meditate on And well may such an emphasis be laid on the sufferings them for a little; and may the Lord direct and bless our medi- and death of Christ; for this was the instituted method of retations!
demption. He suffered and died that he might take away I. In the first place, this passage reminds us of the suffer- our sins ;? that he might • make reconciliation for iniquities; ings of Christ.
that he might bring in an everlasting righteousness. Such It is clear that the types, the promises, and the predictions was the appointment of God; and unless that appointment had of Christ which we meet with in the Old Testament describe taken effect, in Christ • humbling himself and becoming subhim as a suffering Saviour. We often read of him, indeed, ject to the suffering of death,' as an atoning sacrifice, vain and as one who was to be great and triumphant; and the language unavailing
with respect to us would have been all the other in which his greatness and his triumphs are depicted, is so achievements of his mediatorial enterprise. All his miracles, frequent, so energetic, and so splendid, that the Jews in gen- all his teaching, all his benevolence, all his example, all his eral thought of him, and expected him in that and in no other manifestations of divine excellence and divine perfection, character. But it is impossible to peruse the accounts and would have been utterly lost upon us. The justice of God to look at the representations of him which are set before us being still unsatisfied, and our guilt being still unexpiated, in the records and the ceremonies of the ancient dispensation, we must have continued under the sentence of condemnation, without perceiving that the Saviour whom they pointed out and under the burden of that sentence we must have inevitawas to appear in a state of abasement; to be • bruised and put bly and everlastingly perished. But while the sufferings and to grief,' and to have a 'sorrow like unto no other sorrow.' death of Christ deserve that prominence which is given to In the book of Psalms we have various affecting delineations them in the Gospel record, on account of their necessity to of what he was to endure at the hands both of God and man. the Gospel scheme, their title to it is rendered complete by of this the twenty-second Psalm furnishes a remarkable and the efficacy which attends them for answering their destined striking instance. And even in the passage now before us, purpose.
He has seen of the travail of his soul and he is the same truth is to be found—not indeed in plain and direct satisfied. His obedience unto death has fulfilled all the destatement—but in obvious and necessary inference. When mands of that infinitely holy law which we had transgressed. Christ says here by the mouth of David that he would not He has made peace by the blood of his cross. The perfecbe moved, and that his soul would not be left in hell,' his tions of the divine character are vindicated, and the authority assertions, of course, presuppose that he was to be exposed of the divine administration is maintained; and no barrier, to such trials and distresses as might endanger his stability, therefore, now remains to hinder the divine mercy from pourand that he was to die and descend into the grave; and when ing itself out on the chief of sinners. In consequence of what he commits himself so emphatically to divine interposition Christ endured when he gave himself as a propitiation for for support under the former, and for deliverance from the our sins,' God is at once just, and the justifier of him who latter of these evils, he distinctly intimates that they were of believeth in Jesus.' And he now proclaims from his throne no ordinary magnitude and extent. And the view of him of grace, that “whosoever thus believeth shall never perish, which is thus given through the medium of prophecy, is com- but shall have everlasting life.' pletely realised in his actual history. According to that his- As then the sufferings and death of Christ are held out to tory, he was from his cradle to his grave, a man of sorrows us in Scripture as of such essential importance and such savand acquainted with grief.' He was harassed by the malig- ing virtue, let them be the object of our devout and paramount nity of men; he was assailed by the malice of devils; he regard. Let us recognize in them the means which God has was bereft of the countenance of his heavenly Father. He instituted for our deliverance from sin and misery. Let us was deserted by friends and persecuted by foes. He was place our confidence in their merit for the attainment of salva80 poor that he had not where to lay his head.' He tion and all its blessings. And when we go to the Lord's was so despised that the mighty and the mean equally .hid Table, where they are bronght to our recollection by solemn their faces from him.' He was so forlorn that when • he and significant emblems, let our faith be directed towards came to his own, his own would not receive him.' His body them with peculiar liveliness and power, and let them be rest
ed on by us as the foundation of all our hope, and applied to should it burn towards him by whose compassion it has been as the source of all our joy.
kindled! And how resolutely and stedfastly should it be II. In the second place, the passage under review, affirms expressed in spite of all the sacrifices which it may cost the constancy and the cheerfulness with which Christ was to us, and of all the troubles and trials in which it may involve bear his sorrows and to become obedient to the death of the us! cross. •I shall not be moved ;' and my heart is glad, and And while we admire the character of Christ, and cherish my glory,' that is, my tongue, rejoiceth.
gratitude and love to him on account of the constaney and So said David personating the Messiah ; and all this was cheerfulness with which he bore our griefs and carried our realised in the Messiah's actual deportment. In order to se- sorrows,' let him be in this respect the object of our close cure our belief and dependance on his mediatorial work, it is and habitual imitation. As his disciples we have much evil perhaps enough for us to know that he finished it; that he to meet with before we enter into rest;' bodily pain, worldly did not stop short in the midst of it, but that he brought it to disappointments, mental distress, spritual trials, a thousand a successful termination ; that he was rewarded for its accom- things to harass and afflict us in our journey through this plishment; and that it is meritorious to procure for all who vale of tears. Now let us be like our divine Master, and let trust in it for forgiveness, and acceptance, and eternal life. But none of these things move us. Let us bear our cross' that we may cherish those sentiments towards Christ which with patience. Let us be more than patient: let our "heart it becomes us to entertain, we must take a nearer view of that be glad and our tongue rejoice' in tribulation. Let us take temper with which he bore the heavy load of suffering which pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in persecutions, in was laid on him for the purpose of working out our re-distresses with which we may be visited for our attachdemption. He foresaw every pang that it was requisite for ment to his Gospel, or our activity in the cause of Christian him to endure in order to save sinners, and yet he scrupled benevolence. And let us look well to · Jesus the author and not to undertake the arduous task, and engaged in it with the finisher of our faith, as he is held out to us in the Holy alacrity and zeal. As he proceeded to execute its duties, he Scriptures, giving himself to a degree of suffering and to a met with numerous dificulties, and dangers, and distresses : kind of death, infinitely more awful than what we can ever but he shrunk from none of them; he encountered them all be called to endure, that we may catch some portion of that with undaunted firmness; he rose superior to them in every lofty spirit which his severest woes were unable to subdue, aspect that they assumed, and in every combination in which and that we may go back into the world, better prepared to they assailed him. He never retreated from one scene of trial sustain the burdens of life, and to triumph over the fears and on which he was called to enter. He never was heard to ut- the agonies of death. ter a complaint under the multiplied privations which continu- III. Let us now consider in the third and last place, what ally harassed him. He stedfastly set his face to go up to it was, according to the language of the Psalmist, that supJerusalen,' where he knew that nothing awaited him but in-ported and cheered our Saviour in the midst of his sufferings. justice, and cruelty, and death. He rebuked his disciples And, first, he tells us that he • set the Lord always before when they thought it foul scorn that he should submit to the him.' He set the Lord always before him as the great obwrongs which he calmly foretold. He exposed himself to theject of his regard; to whom his utmost devotedness was due, traitor's artifices, when he might have defeated them and and in whose dispensations it was at once his honour, his escaped. He was in such agony that it extorted from him duty, and his happiness to acquiesce. To his will he in every prayers for deliverance, yet with the same breath he declared thing submissively bowed. To his character he paid the his entire acquiescence in all the sorrows to which he was unlimited homage which perfect and uncreated excellence doomed by the decree of heaven. He allowed his enemies deserved. To his glory he felt that every affection of the to carry him away to judgment, and to procure his condem- heart, and every action of the life should be uniformly subnation, and to cover him with reproach, and to suspend him servient. And thus setting the Lord before him, he was preon the accursed tree, though with one frown he could have vented from yielding to those claims of self love which might sunk them all in the gult of perdition, He might have come otherwise have proved too powerful for him to resist. He down from the cross, as the multitude impiously challenged could not have declined his sufferings at first, or prematurely him to do, and erected on their ruin that cause which they ceased to bear them, without opposing the divine will, which were attempting to destroy, yet he patiently endured its an- he had with authority as well as in wiedom appointed them; guish, magnanimously despised its shame, and struggled on without affronting the divine character whose brightest attrithrough all its mysterious and unspeakable terrors, till he butes they were intended to display; and without obstructing could say in the accents of victory, It is finished.' Nor was the divine glory, which was to be manifested equally in their it mere constancy that he exercised in those dark and trying fitness and their effects. And the boundless piety of Christ, circumstances through which he passed. It was moreover being not only hostile to all such regardlessness of what was with feelings of pleasure and exultation that he travelled due to God, but ambitious of every thing by which he could along the path of sorrow, and trode the wine press' of the be honoured or in which he could be obeyed, made him at Father's wrath. He was not only contented, but he rejoiced once patient and delighted to bear the whole weight of afflicto suffer as a surety for guilty men. His humiliation, and all tion that was laid upon him, for accomplishing God's purthe hardships and miseries which it implied, were the ap- poses of mercy to our fallen race. pointments of God's will. He was well aware that every Now let us also “set the Lord always before us. When we arrow of affliction which pierced him, from the beginning to are visited with affliction of whatever kind, and in whatever the conclusion of his mediatorial labours upon earth, got its degree, let us remember that it does not spring out of the direction, and its power, and its bitterness from the hand of ground,' and that it must not be considered and treated as an his heavenly Father: and yet all along, even when they drunk evil which has no connection with what is good in its origin deepest into his soul, he looked up and said, “To do thy will, or in its issue. We should recollect that it proceeds, either I take delight, O my God!'
directly or indirectly, from the hand of that great Being who Such was the constancy and such was the cheerfulness manages all our lot; that it indicates the wisdom, the mercy, with which our blessed Saviour bore his sufferings. And and the faithfulness of his dealings with us, and that if it be surely we cannot but admire the character in which this ex- allowed to have its perfect work,' it will in its final results cellence was so conspicuously displayed. And if our regards reflect honour on his administration, and redound to the adshould be proportioned to the extent and energy of the virtues vantage and happiness of our souls. And recollecting these which excite them, what must be our admiration of the cha- things, let us submit, without murmuring, to all the hardracter of Christ, when we think of the number, and poignancy, ships of our condition, and even count it all joy when we and duration of his sorrows, and remember that he persevered fall into divers trials, and tribulations. under their pressure with a constancy which never wavered In the next place, our Saviour tells us that he was supported for a moment, and with a cheerfulness which found its hap- and cheered in the midst of his sufferings, by the assurance that piest exercise in the season of his deepest adversity! God was .at his right hand.' He was not in a forlorn and help
But to our admiration of his unequalled magnanimity, we less state-unprotected against the assaults of his foes-unsusmust add the more valuable tribute of our gratitude: for it tained under the weight of his calamities—abandoned to the was in love to our souls that his engagement to suffer and to feebleness of human wisdorn and human strength, and left to die had its origin; and it was by that love to our souls that resources as uncertain as they were inadequate in the time he was animated to fulfil his generous engagement, with the of his need.' Had this been the case, and had he known it, unbending fortitude and the unaffected gladness which he his heart would have sunk into despondency, the work of reexhibited throughout the whole course of his endurance. demption would have failed in his hands, and we should have And if we ought to love him because he has so loved us, o had no suffering obedience-no atoning death, on which to how deep-seated should our affection be! How ardently rely for acceptance. But far different was his situation.
Omnipotence befriended him. The arm of Jehovah wassing him to continue in the grave, he would show him the stretched out for his stay and his deliverance. His enemies path of life;' he would make the darksome valley a way along might be numerous and strong, but there was one to help which he would conduct him to immortality; and, -raising him mightier than them all. His perplexities might be great, him from the dead, would give him glory,'—would receive but they were nothing to the scan of unerring wisdom. His him into his heavenly presence as a triumphant Redeemer, anguish might be bitter and severe, but his bitterest and se- and exalt him to his right hand, that in the fulness of eververest anguish must have given way to the consolations of lasting bliss he might reap the reward of his meritorious sufdivinity. His trials might be round about him, and within ferings, and his victorious decease. Christ had this prospect him, and press close and hard upon his inmost soul; but continually in his view. He was well aware that he should there was nearer to him still than these could be, that God speedily rest from his labours' and sorrows, and that his who has the nniverse at his command, and is pledged to rest would be glorious.' It was for the joy set before him preserve his chosen from all that would injure and over-that he endured the cross and despised the shame.' And whelm them. All this the Saviour knew. He knew that knowing that when he committed his spirit into the hands of Deity was thus present with him, and thus engaged in his his heavenly Father, who would keep what he had thus combehalf. He confided in the great truth as one which would be mitted to him, and that his body would come forth from the realized in every exigency of his case. And fully convinced tomb unhurt by the power of corruption, and that thus raised that he had only to trust and pray, in order to experience, in again and justified in the spirit' by his resurrection, he would richest abundance, the aid that would uphold him, and the be straightway glorified with the glory which he had with comfort that would cheer him, and the interposition that the Father before the world was;' anticipating such a splendid would deliver him in all his times of danger and of need, he and felicitous result as this, he was resigned in suffering, and • feared no evil that could possibly befal him, at any stage he was brave in death, beyond all that the generations of men of his perilous undertaking. His dangers might be imminent, have ever witnessed, or will ever be able to exhibit. and his prospects dark, and his sorrows multiplied and great, But though we can never equal the fortitude with which but he cast himself on the protection of the Almighty, whose our Saviour suffered and died, we may humbly imitate him in servant he was, and whose work he was doing; and he re- this as in other departments of his exalted character. And, Joiced in the sense of present safety, and in the hope of indeed, it is our duty to study this resemblance to him, and ultimate triumph.
to strive after it, under the influence of the same motives by Such was our Saviour's strong hold in the day of trouble;' which he was actuated. These motives, it is true, we have let it also be ours. If we be followers of him, God is at our not in that high style and commanding power in which they right hand, as he was at his, and we may warrantably exer- presented themselves to his mind. Still, however, they form cise the same reliance, and take to ourselves the same en- a part of our Christian privileges, and it becomes us to fix our couragement which sustained and animated bim along the regards upon them, and to surrender ourselves freely to all the path of suffering. God is always beside us to observe our effects which they are calculated to produce on our sentiments circumstances, to listen to onr petitions, to guide us through and conduct. If we are united to Christ by faith, and if we our difficulties, to soothe us in our distresses, to rescue us are studying to be holy as he who hath called us is holy;' out of the hand of our adversaries, and to keep us from falling then we shall be partakers of Christ's resurrection, of Christ's away in the hour of temptation from our own sted fastness.' joy, of Christ's glory. Our bodies, indeed, must moulder into Is not he possessed of every attribute to which we would their kindred earth, and a long period may elapse before they appeal for comfort and for preservation? Has he not pro-are recalled from their dreary abode. But the doctrine is true mised to put forth these attributes in our behalf as often as and stable, that as Christ has risen we shall rise also—that our situation requires their exercise ? Does not the infinite there is life and immortality' for us beyond the gravethat perfection of his nature insure the fulfilment of that gracious there awaits us, in celestial companionship with him who is promise in all its extent? And does not the experience of the resurrection and the life,' a .fulness of joy, and pleasures our Redeemer, who showed what we might expect, as well as for evermore.' And with this scene of restoration and of hapexemplified what we ought to do, afford us a practical and piness before us, why should we grudge to suffer, and why satisfactory demonstration of the faithfulness with which our should we be afraid to die? Our sufferings may be severe and heavenly Father will communicate to us all that he has protracted, but we suffer along with Christ, and suffering pataught us to pray and hope for in the course of our pilgrim- tiently along with him, we shall also reign with him in heaage? Let us then confide in him without hesitation or re-ven; and as his sufferings merited the recompense which he serve. Let us bear upon our minds continually the lively received in his resurrection from the dead, and his exaltation persuasion that wherever we are, and whatever we suffer, he to the right hand of the majesty on high, so our sufferings is present with us in the character of our guide, our comforter, shall be so sanctified as to qualify us for being children of and our protector. Let us ask, according to our necessities, the resurrection, and heirs of the kingdom' which he has that we may receive what he is both able and willing to be secured for all his faithful followers. Death may come upon stow for their relief. Let us lean upon him in the exercise us unexpectedly, and may come in his most forbidding form ; of a faith which looks perpetually to his word, and doubts as and the terrors of his coming may be more awful and agolittle of its veracity as of its kindness. And when the multitude nising than our fearful imaginations had ever conceived; but or the severity of our trials would lead us to despond, let us Christ also died, and · by his death overcame death,' spoiled think of the conduct and the consolations of Christ, and re- him of his destroying power, and is pledged to make every monstrate with ourselves for not cherishing the confidence by believer a sharer in his dear bought victory, and in his wellwhich he was held up, and say: Why art thou cast down, 0 earned triumph. And living to the Lord, and dying in the iny soul, and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou Lord,' the grave, dark and noisome as it is, is consecrated as in God for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my a resting place to our mortal bodies 'till the times of restitucountenance and my God.'
tion,' when he who • lives for evermore, and has the keys of Lastly, our Saviour informs us that he was supported and hell and death,' shall awaken us from our refreshing slumbers, cheered by the hope of a resurrection to life and blessedness. and clothe us in the robe of undecaying beauty, and conduct My flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my us into that region of unclouded light, and spotless purity, soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see and unmingled bliss, where we shall dwell and be happy for corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of life : in thy pre- ever. And, destined to such an award as this, let us not be sence is fulness of joy, at thy right hand are pleasures for cast down by any calamities that can happen to us, or be imevermore,
moderately alarmed by any dangers that can threaten us, This was to be the determination and issue of Christ's suf- either during the time of our sojourning in this evil world, or serings. They were, indeed, to bring him to death, and at the period of our departure from it. Let us cherish habituthat death was to be characterised by all that was frightful ally the hope of that eternal life which God hath promised to and distressing. But he had hope in his death. He knew us, and which he will assuredly bestow upon us. Let us bethat the dominion of the king of terrors was to be destroyed, lieve stedfastly, and act holily, as it becomes those who have and that he was, by returning from the grave, to become the such a "high calling' and such a glorious destination. Let first fruits of them that sleep.' God would not leave his soul our faith and our hope derive new energy from the contemin hell,' that is, would not allow his human spirit to remain plation of Christ's death, by which he at once purchased our in the state of the dead, and would not permit his body, title to immortality, and ratified the charter in which it is which was as free from moral pollution as his soul, and made over to us. And then let us go on our Christian way equally sanctified with it for the work of redemption, to un- rejoicing, trusting in the Lord Jehovah, and looking forward dergo in any measure that process of dissolution wbich must to the glory that is to be revealed.' Thus, we shall be filled pass upon all the sinful posterity of Adam. Instead of suffer- with comfort and exceeding joyful in all our tribulation ;' and
when the hour of our departure comes, we shall take up the is fruitless. The arrow sticks fast within you ; the wound language of triumph and say, "O death, where is thy sting? festers in your very vitals ; and your attempts to heal it, only O grave, where is thy victory ?! Thanks be to God which serve to render it deeper, and severer, and more painful thau giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.'
It is a mercy that conscience is still awake-that it does not cease to remind you of your wickedness—that it is not yet seared into torpid and fatal insensibility. You have reason to bless God that his voice thus speaks to you-that
his spirit thus strives with you—that he does not permit you LECTURE VII.
to enjoy any inward peace, or to find rest to the sole of your
foot, so long as there is within you an impenitent heart, and • Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is cover- an unforgiven soul—that he unweariedly pursues you with
ed. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not his admonitions and his warnings, all destructive as they are iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept of your present comfort, till you have abandoned the unhappy silence, my bones waxed old, through my roaring all the day struggle which you are maintaining with your convictions, long : For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me; my and sought for relief to your troubled mind, where alone that moisture is turned into the drought of summer. I acknow-relief can ever be found. And the more effectually to perledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I suade you to make no hesitation, and to lose no time in besaid, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord ; and thou taking yourselves to this refuge, consider, we beseech you, forgavest the iniquity of my sin. For this shall every one that that the wretchedness which haunts you as transgressors, in is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found : society and in solitude, amidst care and amidst amusement, surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh while it intimates God's willingness that you should flee from unto him. Thou art my hiding-pluce; thou shalt preserve me sin, both as to its power and ils punishment, is but the prefrom trouble ; thou shalt compass me about with songs of de- sage of that unmingled and everlasting wretchedness which liverance.-PSALM xxxiii. 1-7.
awaits you in another world, if you will not listen to him in
this the time of your merciful visitation ; and that to persist PART I.
in keeping silence, while conscience is constraining you every The passage that we have now read presents to our notice, hour and every moment to cry for forgiveness, and to pour some important and interesting particulars. There is first, the forth your penitential acknowledgments at the throne of grace, uncomfortable state of a convinced but still impenitent sinner. and to apply to the divine compassion for that rest from your Secondly, there is the pardon of sin. Thirdly, there is the sins which the divine compassion is so ready to bestow, is to connection between the pardon of sin and the grace of repent- aggravate a thousand fold all the perils and miseries of your ance. Fourthly, there is the happiness of such as have re- condition, and by lulling into apathy that internal monitor, pented and obtained pardon. Fifthly, there is the disposition which now pleads with you so urgently to flee equally from of those who are penitent and pardoned, to engage in the ex- your present anguish, and from the • wrath to come,' is to seercise of prayer:
And, lastly, there is the security of God's cure for yourselves an undisturbed continuance in the path of people in the midst of danger and distress.
guilt, and an uninterrupted passage to the habitations of darkI. First, we have here represented to us the uncomfortable ness and despair. state of those who are convinced of sin but still impenitent. And why should you so perversely remain in the state of • When I kept silence, my bones waxed old ; through my roar- suffering to which conscious unworthiness has reduced you? ing all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy You know that deliverance from the evils by which you are upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. distressed is not to be obtained by the means to which you
This was the sad experience of the Psalmist himself. He have hitherto had recourse. You know that nothing can rehad transgressed God's law. This he both knew and felt; move them but the assurance of a full and free forgiveness and it brought along with it the pangs of remorse. His mind from him whom you have disobeyed, and whose anger you was conscious of having offended the divine majesty—of hav-have incurred. And you know, not only that he is willing to ing incurred the divine displeasure-of having done what ren- grant this forgiveness, but that he has devised and executed dered him liable to the punishment threatened in the divine a plan, the whole purpose of which is 10 accomplish the sallaw. But he did not seek for deliverance from the burden of vation of sinners, and to speak peace to them that are afar guilt by the confession of a contrite heart, and by application off.? Look at this blessing as it is represented to you in the to the mercy of heaven. In both these respects he kept si- Scriptures, that you may be satisfied of its sufficiency to conlence. And the consequence was, that his convictions of the stitute your safety, and to quiet all your alarms. commission, and of the evil, and of the danger of sin, con- II. The Psalmist speaks of it in three ways, • Transgression tinued to harass him as before. He could find no peace. Jis forgiven,' • sin is covered,' the Lord imputeth not iniquity.' Wherever he was, and with whatever he was occupied, the The sinner has his transgression forgiven. Having broken hand of God was heavy upon him. And this compunction of God's law, he has become liable to the punishment which the soul, haunting him continually, disturbing his midnight re- law has denounced, and unless some adequate interposition pose, accompanying him through the active employments of takes place, this awful punishment must be borne by him bethe day, and incessantly troubling him with anxiety and yond the possibility of escape. But when he to whom the alarm, so affected him, that the vigour and freshness of youth prerogative of forgiving the sinner belongs is pleased to exerwere exchanged for the debility and exhaustion of age, and cise that prerogative in his favour, and io pronounce the dehis moisture was turned into the drought of summer. cree of forgiveness, the punishment is wholly remitted, his
Thus was it with the Psalmist; and thus in some measure obligation to suffer it is cancelled, and no power can again will it be with all who attempt to stifle and overpower the bring him into the condemnation out of which he has thus convictions of sin. They may not be sensible of their guilt been authoritatively and judicially released. as he was; they may not feel it so acutely; they may not be More than this, his sin is said to be covered. The substanso much alive to its impression ; and they may not suffer from tial meaning of this expression is the same as that of the preit the same degree of annoyance and misery. But still, if ceding one. It conveys the idea of forgiveness. But along they be really convinced that sin attaches to them, and if they with that it associates another idea which tends to give it adsee in it a forfeiture of God's favour, and if they read in it the ditional force as to its effect on the feelings and comfort of sentence of God's wrath, how can it be that they should escape the sinner. His sin is not, and cannot be concealed from the from the anguish of a wounded spirit,' and not be • filled with eye, nor obliterated from the remembrance of Him who is as the terrors of the Lord ?'
omniscient as he is holy. But having been forgiven, its conWhen I say this, I doubt not that I speak in accordance sequences are as effectually and completely done away with, with what has been actually experienced by some of you now and his condition as free from obnoxiousness to these, as if it hearing me; and, perhaps you are still in the situation which had been literally hidden from the observation of the Althe Psalmist has so pathetically described as his own. The mighty, or beyond the reach of his knowledge. Could we iniquity that you have done presses hard upon your conscience. suppose him not to have seen it or not to have been acquainIn that iniquity you recognise what has exposed you to the ted with it, no anger could of course have been kindled in him, indignation of the Almighty; and the apprehension of his and no penalty inflicted by him on account of it. And not in wrath, justly deserved and awfully threatened, is a perpetual one degree more thoroughly secure would the sinner have source of inquietude and sorrow. You try to forget it in the been in that case from the curse of the law,' than he is, now cares of business, or to charm it away by pleasurable indul- that, though a transgressor in the sight of God, and condemngence, or to drive it off by an effort of the will, or to reason ited by him for his transgression,
the sentence is recalled, and down by the sophistries of a carnal mind. But the endeavour he who passed it says to him, “Thy sins are forgiven thee.'