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V.

SERMON he said, Certainly this was a righteous person; truly this was the Son of God. The Jewish malefactor who was crucified with him, addressed him as a King, and implored his favour. Even the crowd of insensible spectators, who had come forth. as to a common spectacle, and who began with clamours and insults, returned home, smiting their breasts.-Look back on the heroes, the philosophers, the legislators of old. View them in their last moments. Recall every circumstance which distinguished their departure from the world. Where can you find such an assemblage of high virtues, and of great events, as concurred at the death of Christ? Where so many testimonies given to the dignity of the dying person, by earth and by heaven?

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II. THIS was the hour in which Christ
atoned for the sins of mankind, and ac-
complished our eternal redemption. It was
the hour when that great sacrifice was of-
fered
up, the efficacy of which reaches back
to the first transgression of man, and extends
forward to the end of time; the hour when,

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V.

from the cross, as from an high altar, the SERMON
blood was flowing, which washed away the
guilt of the nations.

This awful dispensation of the Al-
mighty contains mysteries which are be-
yond the discovery of man. It is one of
those things into which the Angels desire to
look. What has been revealed to us is,
That the death of Christ was the interpo-
sition of Heaven for preventing the ruin
of human kind. We know, that, under
the government of God, misery is the na-
tural consequence of guilt. After rational
creatures had, by their criminal conduct,
introduced disorder into the Divine king-
dom, there was no ground to believe, that
by their penitence and prayers alone
they could prevent the destruction which
threatened them. The prevalence of pro-
pitiatory sacrifices throughout the earth,
proclaims it to be the general sense of
mankind, that mere repentance was not
of sufficient avail to expiate sin, or to
stop its penal effects. By the constant
allusions which are carried on in the
New Testament to the sacrifices under
the Law, as pre-signifying a great atone-
VOL. I.
I..

ment

V.

SERMON ment made by Christ; and by the strong expressions which are used in describing the effects of his death, the sacred writers show, as plainly as language allows, that there was an efficacy in his sufferings, far beyond that of mere example and instruction. The nature and extent of that efficacy, we are unable, as yet, fully to trace. Part we are capable of beholding; and the wisdom of what we behold, we have reason to adore. We discern in this plan of redemption, the evil of sin strongly exhibited; and the justice of the Divine government awfully exemplified, in Christ suffering for sinners. But let us not imagine, that our present discoveries unfold the whole influence of the death of Christ. It is connected with causes into which we cannot penetrate. It produces consequences too extensive for us to explore. God's thoughts are not as our thoughts. In all things we see only in part; and here, if any where, we see also as through a glass, darkly.

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This, however, is fully manifest, that redemption is one of the most glorious works of the Almighty. If the hour of

V.

the creation of the world was great and SERMON illustrious; that hour, when, from the dark and formless mass, this fair system of nature arose at the Divine command ; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy; no less illustrious is the hour of the restoration of the world; the hour when, from condemnation and misery, it emerged into happiness and peace. With less external majesty it was attended, but is, on that account, the more wonderful, that, under an appearance so simple, such great events were covered.

III. In this hour the long series of prophecies, visions, types, and figures, was accomplished. This was the centre in which they all met: This the point towards which they had tended and verged, throughout the course of so many generations. You behold the Law and the Prophets standing, if we may speak so, at the foot of the cross, and doing homage. You behold Moses and Aaron bearing the ark of the covenant; David and Elijah presenting the oracle of testimony. You behold

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SERMON hold all the priests and sacrifices, all the V. rites and ordinances, all the types and symbols assembled together to receive their consummation. Without the death of Christ, the worship and ceremonies of the Law, would have remained a pompous, but unmeaning institution. In the hour when he was crucified, the book with the seven seals was opened. Every rite assumed its significancy; every prediction met its event; every symbol displayed its correspondence.

The dark, and seemingly ambiguous,, method of conveying important discoveries under figures and emblems, was not peculiar to the sacred books. The spirit of God, in presignifying the death of Christ, adopted that plan, according to which the whole knowledge of those early ages was propagated through the world. Under the veil of mysterious. allusion, all wisdom was then concealed. From the sensible world, images were every-where borrowed, to describe things unseen. More was understood to be meant, than was openly expressed. By enigmatical rites, the Priest communi

cated

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