« PreviousContinue »
ces on sinning men and angels. How dreadful, then, must have been his mental agonies, when he groaned in Gethsemane and bled on Calvary! This, this accounts for his deep groans, and his speechless agony: This explains these otherwise most mysterious words, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!" His understanding was clear and unclouded. He knew the full extent of the demerit of sin, with which he was charged: He surveyed it in all its fearful dimensions, in all its terrifying aspects. He saw the dark cloud big with the thunderbolts of divine indignation, he perceived it ready to discharge its thousand deaths on his devoted person : He knew the fearful power of the wrath of Jehovah : yet he meekly bowed his anointed head to the eternal decree—the bolt descended, and the Man, Jehovah's fellow, sunk down into the dust of death. But he thus exhausted the contents of the wrath. ful cloud ; it has evanished from the sky; and on those for whom he died, the light of divine favour shines for ever with mild, unclouded radiance. It is fi. nished, Christians ! all is finished that was necessary to complete your déliverance: Your sins are expiated, your salvation is secured; and this bread and this
сир are the testimonies, that "in Christ ye have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, accord ing to the riches of divine grace.”
Communicants ! the malignity of sin, and the severity of the Saviour's sufferings, mutually illustrate each other. In the malignity of sin ye have seen the severity of the Saviour's sufferings ; now, in the intensity of the Saviour's sufferings, contemplate the malignity
of human transgressions. Though “ fools make a mock at sin,” to the reflecting mind innumerable and palpable proofs present themselves, “that it is an evil and a bitter thing." The malignity of moral evil is written in legible characters on the ills of life,-sick ness, disease, and pain--pestilence, famine, and war disappointment, sorrow, and remorse in the agonies of dissolution, and the torments of hell. But he who would wish to see sin in all the hatefulness of its nature, the ruinousness of his tendencies, and the horror of its dea serts, must take up the position which ye now occupy, and turn the eye of the mind to an incarnate, suffering, dying Saviour--to Bethlehem, to Gethsemane, and to Calvary.
Behold him who is the Brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person ; who is in the form of God, and God over all blessed for ever, clothed in human nature, and leading the life of a man of sorrows and acquainted with griefs! Behold the Lord of angels insulted by men, and tempted by the devil! Behold the Son of God, deserted of his Fa. ther, hanging on a cross, shut out from all sensible communications of divine assistance, and suffering the most dreadful effects of his indignation, while nature shudders at the sight, and the sun hides his face from beholding a scene so horrible! And then say, Christians, if it is a light thing to violate the obligations of the divine law, and to contemn the authority of the God of heaven ?
Is sin, then, so malignant in its nature, and so tremendous in its consequences ? Did it expose our gienerous Lord, our dear Redeemer, to so much degrada tion and distress so much bodily anguish and mental agony?
And shall not ye, Christians, regard it with amixed emotion of terror and detestation? shall it not be your first desire, and your most assiduous labour, to discard it from your conduct, and to exterminate it from your hearts? Are you not afraid of its power, sick of its tyranny, and anxious, above all things, to be delivered from its influence? In the sufferings of Christ ye have not only the completest evidence of the detestable and fatal nature of sin, but of the certainty of your being ultimately delivered from its power. These severe sufferings of the incarnate Son of God “finished transgression, made an end of sin, and brought in an everlasting righteousness.” They did more; “they condemned sin in the flesh, which the law could never have done; so that the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” If you have a right to the station which you now occupy, you are already delivered from the thraldom of sin: 6 Your old man is crucified with Christ, that the body of sin may be de stroyed, that ye may no longer serve sin. Reckon then yourselves dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin, then, reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield your members to sin, as the instruments of unrighteousness, but yield yourselves unto God, as those who are alive from the dead ; and your members to God, as the instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under the law, but under grace."
It is likely, that some of you feel it difficult to be lieve in this legal security from the power of sin, while
you feel so much of its active influence within you. But trace the evil to its source, and you will find, that it flows from a want of due confidence in the divine promise. Improve this ordinance, as a means of strengthening your faith in the sanctifying as well as the expiatory efficacy of the Saviour's atone
you will find it a most powerful instrument for subduing the corrupt principle in all its various forms. You have seen, as it were with your eyes, the new covenant ratified in the blood of the Redeemer ; and are there not in this covenant, promises of deliver. ance from the depraving influence, as well as the con demning power of iniquity ? Trust in the Lord for
Live by the faith of the Son of God, and your lives will be at once lives of holiness and of peace, honourable to your Saviour, and edifying to his people: “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” In his strength “give all diligence to add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly. kindness, and to brotherly-kindness charity; for if these things be in you and abound, they shall make you that ye
shall be neither idle nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Be strong, and let not your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded *.”
* Eph. vi. 10; 2 Pet. i. 528; 2 Chron. xv. 7.
THE CHRISTIAN SALVATION:
How much owest thou to my Lord?” is a question which in your case, Christians, is not very easily answered. You owe him much, but how much language cannot express, nor imagination conceive. All the blessings of the Christian salvation are the fruits of his bounty; and these blessings are infinitely numerous, and every one of them inconceivably valuable: “They could not have been gotten for gold, neither could sil. ver have been weighed for their price: they cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx and the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal them: their exchange shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral or of pearls, for their price is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal them, neither shall they be valued with pure gold.” The power of the highest angel, though employed through all eternity on the subject, could not collect all the items, nor sum up the mighty aggregate of your debt to my Lord:-Yet is the labour by no means undelightful or unprofitable, to exercise our feeble powers in this species of spiritual arithmetic; for, though we never can estimate the ex