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was meant, in general, by coming to him, when he was on earth--that is, believing on him. This he himself explained by aying, as in John vi. 35, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”
Come then and welcome. “ The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth, say, Come. And let him that is athirst, come: and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”—“ Whosoever believeth shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”—“ Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren, that through this man," (the Lord Jesus Christ,) " is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins : and by him all that believe are justified from all things,” (even from those) “ from which ye could not have been justified by the law of Moses. Beware, therefore, lest that some upon you which is spoken of in the prophets, Behold, ye despisers,” (ye procrastinators too,) and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which you shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.”
Let the reader, then, instantly renounce all confidence in himself, which on the one hand, tends to keep him from the Saviour; and all attempts to establish a righteousness of his own, which are both sinful and fruitless : and let him, on the other hand, trifle no longer with the important concerns of eternity ; but duly impressed with a sense of his guilt, which requires a sacrifice of infinite value to atone for it, and of his danger, which admits of no delay, let him instantly flee for refuge to the hope set before him in the gospel, believing in Jesus as the beloved Son of God, in whom Jehovah is well pleased.
Let him do so now, not BY AND BY—To-day hear the voice of mercy. To-night may be to the reader the night of death-To-morrow, for him the day of judgment. “ Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
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“ Here I'll sit, for ever viewing
Mercy's streams in streams of blood ;
Plead and claim my peace with God!"
Once more night is o'er the plains of Judea; and the sweet garden of Gethsemane, at the foot of the mount of Olivet, is veiled by the deepening gloom. Let us now enter that garden, for thither has Jesus with his disciples gone; after he had for the last time put the cup of wine into their hands, and said, “ Do this in remembrance of me.” See, in one place there lie eight securely slumbering; and a little farther on three more also heavy with sleep. But where is the twelfth? That false friend is even now bargaining to betray his Divine Master into the hands of his enemies for thirty pieces of silver--and engaging for that worthless price to lead a band of ruffians to seize Him whom his open enemies dare not touch. And where is He that was the glorious head of the twelve ? Behold One about a stone-cast farther off-and behold, He is exceeding heavy in soul, and sorrowful even unto death! He casts himself on the ground, and in an agony cries out, “Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me-nevertheless not my will, but thine be done !” He arises, but still he is sad- very sad. Again he casts himself upon the ground, and prays in like manneragain, as before, he arises heavy and sorrowful. An angel of glory now appears to strengthen him—but strengthens him for greater suffering; for now the third time he casts himself on the ground, and whilst he again prays in an agony, his very blood falls in great drops to the earth.
O Earth, Earth ! this is the blood of Him who once denounced a curse against thee for man's sake for man's sake he now endures the curse ; and these drops may be to thee an earnest that
thou too shalt be “ delivered from the bondage of that ourse into the glorious liberty of the children of God !” (Rom. viii. 21.) He arises and returns to his friends, his only friends ; but heedless of his sufferings, they are fast asleep. -Oh the keen anguish of the words, “Could ye not watch with me one hour ?" But hark! the tumult of Judas' ruffian band is heard approaching very near-Jesus goeth to meet them-He stands forth full in the glare of their lanterns and torches--they are confused ; He saith, “I am He"-and they fall to the ground; for it was He that once said, there be light," and there was light-that gave the word, and an hundred and fourscore and five thousand of the Assyrian host lay at once lifeless on the ground. The courage of hell was in Judas' breast, for Satan was there; and the deadened feeling, the seared conscience, were his too, for he was a hypocrite. He therefore betrayed the Son of man with a kiss; and this signal being given, the multitude lay hold of Jesus, and drag him like a thief or a murderer, before the Jewish council. There, “as a lamb led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearers," so is He dumb; they falsely accuse him, “yet He openeth not his mouth;" but when they adjure him by the living God to declare who he is, Ile declares himself the “ Christ,” the “Son of God," the “ Judge of the world.” Happy for them had they then believed in Him as “ the Lamb of God,” ere they be compelled to stand before Him as the Lion of the tribe of Judah !" Oh how shall they then tremble, if they repented not! You and I shall stand before Him; shall we also tremble? “ He that trusteth in the Lord shall never be confounded.” Have you put your heart's trust in Jesus? They now condemn him for blasphemy; they spit on him, and buffet him ; they blindfold and strike Him, and then in mockery say, “Prophesy who did that?'
Morning is come—and that sun is arisen which shall not set until he witness a scene, than which, time when it passes into eternity cannot tell of one more awful or sorrowful. Jesus is now dragged before the tribunal of Pilate, there to
endure more sorrows. He that said, " Render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's,” is vehemently and falsely accused of sedition - yet he stands before his accusers, meek as a lamb. He is sent to Herod's court-here too he is accused, and by Herod's men of war he is mocked and buffeted, yet he “suffered not his voice to be heard.” To Pilate he is again returned ; and now earth and hell combine to do their worst. They strip him and put on him in derision a scarlet robe; they plait thorns and cruelly force them upon his head for a kingly crown ; they put into his hand a reed for a royal sceptre; they bow the knee to him and say, “ Hail, King of the Jews!" My dear reader, pause for one moment and consider whether you may not daily be in the habit of thus mocking Jesus by bending the knee to him, who reads in your heart that you care nothing for him. “ Without faith it is impossible to please him," (Heb. xi.) If you pray not in true faith, you sin—you mock the agonies of Jesus. Remember who hath said, “I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear,” (Isaiah xlv.) This must be fulfilled ; if you bend not with a contrite spirit, you shall yet bend in the bitter agony of despair.
But insult and mockery are not enough; the multitudes now lay hold of him with loud cries of “ Away with him, away with him !-Crucify him, crucify him !--His blood be upon us and our children !” He is first scourged, till his flesh is torn and his blood trickles down-and then a heavy cross is laid upon him to carry to the place of execution. But worn out with the sufferings of the last awful night and morning, He is unable to carry it—He sinks under its weight. They lay it upon another, and now reach Golgotha. When I remember that this was Jesus the Divine, the Holy One, how can my pen go further! Why is not each word blotted with a tear? Oh! this hard heart that cannot, will not feel -to think that He was enduring all this for the sin which I can heedlessly indulge !