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understood, to remove the offence of his cross, and to distinguish him from all others who had suffered the same kind of death. The whole creation is at God's command, and ready in any manner that he sees fit, to display his power. The sun in particular has been made his instrument for that end. In the days of Joshua, it suspended its course for the space of a whole day. In the days of Hezekiah, it reversed its natural course, and went backward ten degrees, on the dial of Ahaz. And at the death of Christ, when risen to its meridian height, it veiled its face in darkness. This could not be an eclipse, because the moon at that time, was at the full: and even if it had been an eclipse, it could not have been total for more than a quarter of an hour ; whereas, this continued for three hours. It was manifestly a miraculous darkness, produced by the interposition of the Deity, in confirmation of our religion : that as the three days darkness in Egypt, was a convincing testimony from God to the mission of Moses, so this, might be an incontestible proof of the Messiahship of Christ.
Miracles are a natural argument of a power divine, the creature must ever act in subordination to the crea. tor, who will not suffer the highest order of his creatures to disturb the laws of the universe. If ye believe not me, therefore, says Christ to the incredulous Jews, believe the works. No herb of the field, or native mineral, no chymical preparation, could cure the sick, absent or present, in a moment. No human skill could instantly restore the withered hand, or enable the palsied man, to take up
his bed and walk. No dexterity could complete and finish an organ of siglit, wherein nature had omitted some essential part, or left it ill proportioned, or ill adjusted. No hand but his who rained manna from heaven, could make a few loaves and fishes a sustenance for thousands. If any doubt therefore of Christ's divinity, should still remain upon the reader's mind, let him consider the miracles which our Saviour performed, and the honours which were paid to him by men and angels.
See the winds obeying him, the raging tempests revering his words, the swelling seas subsiding into a calma at his awful command, all manner of diseases vanishing at bis sacred touch, legions of devils departing, and quitting their long possessed habitation at his rebuke, the dead arising at his call, and returning to active life. See him exercising his prophetic power, penetrating into the most distant events, and laying open the secrets of suturity. See him sitting on a throne of mercy, forgiving sins, obliterating our guilt, and sealing a pardon to offending man. See him not only looking into the secrets of the heart, but revealing them with his eye, and discerning them with a glance. See him honoured as God, by the wisest and holiest men on earth, by the inspired writers, and universal church. See him acknowledged at his death, by rending rocks, and opening graves. See him arising from the dead, to shew us that he had achieved the whole design of his coming, ascending up to heaven, filling the throne of unapproachable glory, and worshipped by all the hosts of angels. See the harps of cherubim and seraphim, tuned to celebrate his perfections, and thrones, and dominions, principalities and pow. ers, bowing to their exalted Redeemer, and casting all their crowns at his feet.— See, consider, and weigh all this, and then tell me whether this Jesus can be any other than God, who is over all, blessed for evermore. Is not he God who has the keys of the grave, who holds the sceptre of universal nature, who has the infernal spirits in a chain, and receives the homage of all created beings ? This is a true saying, worthy of all acceptation, and proved beyond all contradiction, that the same Jesus, who came into the world to save sinners, is both Lord and Christ. It is impossible for words to express a more consoling doctrine, and equally impossible for any fact, to receive a more clear, satisfactory, and indispu. table confirmation.
ST. PETER AND THE KEYS.
Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my
church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven. Matt. xvi. 18, 19.
Proper names, in the Hebrew language, were titles rather than names, --words expressive of some peculiar quality, in the persons, to whom they were first given : this was more particularly the case, when a person's name was changed. The new name was always significant: and for the most part, when conferred by divine authority, predictive of some peculiarity in the character, the life, the achievements, or the destiny of the person, on whom it was imposed. Thus when God renewed his covenant with Abram, and engaged to multiply him exceedingly,
the name of this patriarch was changed to Abraham, which name in the Hebrew language signifies; the father of a great multitude : and for a like reason, when one of the apostles, known before by the name of Simon, had made a memorable confession of his masters being the Christ, the Son of the living God, that is, the Redeemer, the Prince of Israel, the Messiah foretold ; our blessed Lord, to give weight and emphasis to this confession, bestows a new name upon him. For he answered and said unto him, “ Blessed art thou Simon Bar Jona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven,” that is, this faith which thou hast now confessed, is not human, contrived by the invention of man, or founded upon his testiomony;
his testiomony; but upon those divine councils and principles, which I was sent from heaven, to reveal to the world, and the mighty and solemn attestations, which God has given to the truth, both of my person and my doctrine ; therefore to express my approbation of thy conduct, for thus publickly and heartily ayowing a sentiment, which is the fundamental article of my religion ; and at the same time, to signify