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“contradiction of sinners against Himself.” Let us si look unto Jesus, who for the joy that was set “ before Him endured the cross and despised the “ shame, and is now sat down on the right hand “ of God.” Let us look up to His Spirit for an increase of patience, that we may “endure as "seeing Him that is invisible. "In due time “we shall reap if we faint not.”
If we put those trials of patience to which we are exposed in the balance with those that Christ endured; if we closely contemplate the manner in which He demeaned Himself, and contrast it with the peevishness and fretfulness, the weakness and timidity, the restlessness and discomposure, which we often feel and often manifest; we shall find cause for deep self-abasementin His presence, and shall perceive the wisdom of our church in teaching all her members to pray for grace that they may be enabled to imitate Christ's patience.
In the second part of the petition of our collect we pray that, at length,
be made partakers of Christ's resurrection.”'
There is a two-fold participation of Christ's resurrection which His redeemed enjoy. First, they are raised, by virtue of union with Him, from the death of sin to a life of righteousness. And, secondly, by the power of His resurrection they are raised from the grave to immortal life and glory. Those who offer this prayer are supposed to have felt the former resurrection, and to be waiting for the latter in the exercise of faith
There is a close connection between the twofold petition of our collect. For we must be followers of Christ now, imitators of His humility, patience, and other virtues, if we would have a
founded hope of being partakers of His resurrection hereafter. The wicked, indeed, will rise from their graves; but it will not be by virtue of Christ's resurrection, nor to a participation of His glory. For they will rise “to shame and “ everlasting contempt.'
As another opportunity will soon occur of enlarging on the important subject of the resurrection, we shall dismiss it at present by only observing, that those who are looking up for grace that they may be enabled to “ follow the “ Lamb whithersoever He goeth,” may confidently pray for a participation of His resurrection. For though their bodies must be laid in the grave as that of their Lord was, yet they will remain united to Him when separated from their souls, their whole persons being “mem“ bers of His body, of His flesh, and of His “ bones;” and shall rise again to participate in the glories of His kingdom. “ If we suffer with “ Him, we shall be also glorified together with " Him."
“ This corruptible shall put on incor“ ruption, and this mortal shall put on immor
tality.” And “ therefore, my beloved bre“ thren, be ye steadfast, immovable, always
abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch “as ye know that your labour is not in vain in “the Lord.”
Before we conclude, let us inquire whether we are imitators of Christ, or whether it be our earnest desire to imitate Him. If no such desire prevail in our bosoms, how hypocritical is our use of this collect! For our hearts and lips are at variance when we offer it. If Christ be not our pattern, He is not our Saviour. O let us not deceive ourselves. We are not looking
unto Jesus, and receiving the atonement made by His blood, unless we are fixing our eyes on His example, and earnestly desirous of conformity to Him. For the sight of Christ has a transforming tendency; and all who belold, in the glass of the gospel, “the glory of the “ Lord, are changed into the same image from
glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the « Lord."
Almighty God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross, who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
UR Lord's passion has been commemo
rated in His church, by the appropriation of a particular day for that purpose, from the first age of Christianity, as appears by the testimony of Eusebius.* And surely every institution which tends to remind us of redemption, and to keep alive in our hearts a sense of gratitude for those «innumerable benefits which “ Christ by His precious blood-shedding hath “ obtained to us,” is recommended to our devout regard by the most forcible considerations. That the observance of this and other holy days is a human ordinance, we cannot disprove. But till it be demonstrated that nothing is lawful in the service of God that is not Divinely prescribed, or that there is any impropriety in the means we use for promoting the most important of all concerns, the salvation of our souls, we shall highly value and thankfully comply with the pious requisition of our church.
* Euseb, Hist. Eccl. lib. 2, cap. 17. p. 57. B. Apost, Const. 1. 5. C. 13.
Our collect for this day commemorates the love of our Saviour Christ in His submission to those sufferings which He endured. It intimates the nature of those sufferings, as penal, vicarious, and propitiatory.- It implores Divine regard to those for whom Christ effectually died under the endearing title of the family of God. -And it concludes with an assertion of the subsequent exaltation of Christ to life everlasting and a kingdom that hath no end.
In order that “the exceeding great love of “ our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” may duly be appreciated, it is necessary to reflect on the voluntary nature of His unparalleled sufferings. This therefore our collect notices, by reminding us that He “ was contented to be betrayed, “ and given up into the hands of wicked men, " and to suffer death upon the cross.” Had His passion been the result of necessity, His love to us therein would have been far less apparent. But it was the spontaneous act of His own bosom. The expression of our collect is the same which occurs, Ps. xl. 6, 7, 8, in the translation of Tyndal and Coverdale which we use in our prayer-books. In that passage Christ is the speaker; and addressing Himself to His heavenly Father, He says,
« Sacrifice and meatoffering thou wouldest not: but mine ear hast “ thou opened. Burnt offerings and sacrifice s for sin hast thou not required: then said I, Lo, I come.
In the volume of the book it is « written of me, that I should fulfil thy will, “ () my God: I am content to do it, yea, thy “ law is within my heart." His destination to suffer and die does not destroy the spontaneity. of His sufferings and death ; for that destination was the result of His own gracious proposal,