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They lay the cross upon the ground-they stretch him apon it—they nail him to it-Oh! they care not for his streaming blood, nor his quivering frame; they heed not that sad pitying look, that languid swimming eye! The cross is raised, and with violence forced into the ground--Ah, now he speaks—He prays—but he cannot raise the hand as he was wont to do when he blessed —He prays, “ Father, forgive them ! they know not what they do.” Then, O my Saviour, I will no more doubt thy willingness to forgive even me!
But it is now the sixth hour, even noontide--an unnatural darkness steals over the land, nay, over the earth; for it is said to have made Dionysius the heathen, in a distant land, to exclaim, “Either nature is expiring, or the God of nature is suffering !” All is still silent until the ninth hour, when a loud piercing cry bursts from the agonizing soul of the sufferer, “My God! My God! why hast thou forsaken me?" Here we are lost—in this cry is a fathomless ocean. Are you a child of God ? Then come to the brink of this ocean, and look upon it and tremble—but oh, lift up your eyes streaming with tears of love to Jesus, in that he has not left it for you to go through it! Are you in your sins ? Then as surely as God lives, if you close not with the offer of Jesus in the gospel, it yet remains for you to enter that ocean -nay, to struggle, to buffet, to agonize in it through ETERNITY! Oh how mysterious a cry! Who can ever comprehend it, save He who uttered it! Can angels? Never —they know nothing of being forsaken. Can devils ? Never —they are everlastingly forsaken. Can the damned ? Never
for they shall be eternally forsaken. Can saints in glory? Never-it was for them that Jesus endured to be forsaken. Sinner, arouse thee and tremble ! heaven and hell are at this moment once more balanced before thee; choose, for one other moment of delay may turn the balance, and where wilt thou then be ? An eternity of self-entailed damnation will never reveal to thee what the Son of God suffered in that moment of soul agony for imputed sin, that such as thou now art might be saved. Be persuaded then with the thief in that hour to cry, and to persevere in crying, “ Lord remember me,” though I have reviled, rejected, and trampled upon thee.
But hark-again is the Sufferer about to speak-but ah, how faint, how feeble he seems ! Oh, Heaven, Earth, and Hell, let the Universe itself pause and listen -for it is their incarnate suffering Sovereign speaks, and speaks in the voice of triumph—“ It is finished !" Well may the earth quake, the mountains tremble, and the rocks rend ; the darkness disappear, the sun shine forth, the graves open, and the sleeping dust spring to life; and well may the veil of the temple rend, torn by a mighty unseen hand, from top to bottom, from heaven towards earth--for now is the way to the
presence of God thrown open to the vilest sinner, if he approach through faith in the blood of the Lamb. Come then, O sinner—" It is finished.” The cup of wrath is finished Jesus hath drunk it to the last and bitterest dregs—Come; and you will find when you truly come, that the wrath due to you was thereyet not till then. But is it empty now? No-it is fraught with grace--grace free, boundless and everlasting to SINNERS. It is at this moment stretched out to you—“ Ho, every one that thirsteth,” (Isaiah lv.) “Whosoever will" (Rev. xxi.) let him take it and he that drinks, drinks for eternity. Can you find in your heart to refuse it ? to say to Him who was the man of such sorrows, " At a more convenient time, and when I am inclined, I will accept thy gift.” Remember that there is “ in store wrath against the day of wrath,” (Rom. ii.) that there is still a cup of God's fury; "and the wine is red; it is full of mixture, and he poureth out of the same; but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.” (Psal. Ixxv.) If, poor worm, that cup be put into your hand, eternity cannot hear you say, “It is finished !”
“ And he bowed his head and gave up the ghost !" I have seen through the day, the thunder storm raging and rolling along, and the black clouds pouring forth their floods - have seen the evening become sweet and serene; and have felt the soul filled with a feeling that was neither joy
uor sadness, but a something between them, that was sweet and tranquil. As with that change in nature, 80 with the Lamb of God; the storm of wrath for imputed sin is spent justice is satisfied life is exhausted his last moment is easy and peaceful-he gently bows the head breathes forth his spirit- and the Man of sorrows is without a sorrow!
Would you, my dear reader, die like Jesus? Oh then live on Jesus—be one with Him--then His life will be yours - and His death also you shall die - a death of peace, and a death of life. Turn from your sins, and give yourself up to God as a lost sinner, and he will pledge himself in covenant to you as a redeemed sinner, thus, “ I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” This shall be your song in the hour of death—“Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, yet will I fear none ill, for Thou art with me, and thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me,” (Psal. xxiii.)
“ I come, I come at thy command,
Oh shield me in the last alarms !
I bow before thee in the dust;
I look for mercy at thy throne.” Our tale of sorrow is ended. He peacefully rested in his grave till the morning of the third day: then as he had by his Cross vanquished sin and Satan, so in his RESURRECTION he triumphed over death and the grave. “O Death, where was then thy sting-0 Grave, where was then thy victory!"
After forty days he ascended, “ leading captivity captive;" and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. And there he will remain until that last awful morning when
you and I shall spring up from the bed of death, and shall either rejoice or tremble to see Him whom we have both pierced, descending in a glory, the sight whereof would now destroy us—sitting on the great white throne; opening the awful books in which shall be found written every thought,
word, or deed of yours or mine—when the skies being rent asunder like a scroll, there shall be nothing to veil the dazzling glories of heaven from our sight—when the bottomless lake of fire and brimstone shall be seen blazing fearfully before us—when the voice of Omnipotence, that never spake in vain, shall be addressed to his faithful ones, COME, YE BLESSED," but to the unbelieving crowded upon the left, “ DEPART, YE CURSED !”-Are you, my dear reader, afraid of that awful day? afraid thus to meet
God ?" Then behold ! mercy once more (and it may be for the last time to you,) points from the glorious Judge to the suffering Jesusfrom the great white throne to the bloody cross-- from the archangel's trump to the dying accents, “ It is finished !”– from the voice of the seven thunders, “ Time is no more,” to the sweet silver voice of the gospel, “ Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation !" Turn then, oh turn, when mercy bids you—she will not, cannot always speak. Turn to Jesus give not “ sleep to your eyes, neither slumber to your eyelids," until you know that you believe in Him with all your heart. You have pierced Him, a thousand times pierced him, yet will he say, “Father forgive him :" beseech him by the cup of wrath that he drank, by his blood, by his love, by his mercy, by his truth, by his sworn faithfulness—and beseech God in him to have mercy on a poor, polluted, and helpless worm - on a miserable heavy laden and worn-out sinner-take with you words and say, “ I will not, I cannot leave Thee : though thou shouldst slay me, yet must I look to Theemto whom else can I go but unto Thee, O Thou FRIEND OF SINNERS ?"
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« Know ye not that the friendship of this world is enmity against God ?”
“ What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ?"
Upon this subject a question naturally arises, What is the actual sense in which we should understand the phrase “ The World,” the love of which is condemned in the Bible, and with which we are cautioned against encouraging all friendship, or adherence to its allurements and customs?
It is evident that neither our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST or his apostles could intend to warn men from that intercourse with the world which is necessary towards fulfilling the relative and social duties of life, or from labouring in their respective vocations“ to provide things honest in the sight of all men;" for these are strictly enforced and enjoined throughout the gospel. Neither can the term “ The World,” mean the whole race of beings now alive on the face of the earth; since, were this view the allowed interpretation, the inference necessarily drawn would be in favour of monastic seclusion and misanthropic habits, against which the whole tenor of the Scriptures testifies. Nor can the phrase by any means apply to those persons guilty of the more glaring and gross crimes, inasmuch as “ The World" is not made up of murderers, adulterers, thieves, and infidels : these, we hope, form but a comparatively small portion of the multitude that do evil; and it would be equally absurd to suppose that it means the created universe, which in itself, though beautiful in all its component parts, is, nevertheless, intended for ultimate destruction. We must, therefore, seek further for the real scriptural meaning of the phrase, and should be careful to take with us in our search a sincere and hearty desire of ascertaining the truth, however it may militate against our private feeling or preconceived notions or opinions. The importance of the inquiry cannot but be conceded by all where so much and such constant warning is given concerning it. In all disputed points connected with religion, it is advisable to keep as much as possible to Scripture itself—to the law and to the testimony. Scripture is ever the best interpreter of its own doctrines ; and human nature is too liable to err, and too apt to be warped by prejudice, to be admitted as a safe guide. Our Lord says, and his word is infallible, "My kingdom