Page images

which they enjoy, give the public a right to expect." Secondly, To pre sent to our readers a body of theological learning, to which they may always turn with delight.

Objections, however, have been made to Sermon Reporting, on the ground that it is an invasion of the preacher's property. This we deny, in the most positive and unqualified terms;-the preacher is himself the property of the public, by whom he is supported and rewarded, and to whom he is, in most cases, indebted for his education. If he be devoted and sincere, he will never make the objection, but cheerfully submit to a little additional labour, that he may more extensively and effectually serve religion, and publish far beyond the sound of his voice the truths in which he glories, and for which he is willing to suffer the loss of all things.

The remaining part of our work will be of a more miscellaneous, but we hope not of a less interesting nature. It will comprise:-

I. Essays on BIBLICAL CRITICISM, INTERPRETATION, and ILLUSTRATION; forming a familiar INTRODUCTION to the Study of the ENGLISH Scriptures, with occasional Dissertations, of a popular cast, on the credibility, genuineness, and authority of the Sacred Volume.

[ocr errors]

BIOGRAPHICAL and CRITICAL SKETCHES of the most celebrated preachers.

III. Historical Accounts of modern DISSENTING CHURCHES. IV. ESSAYS on the present state of Morals, Education, and Religion, in all parts of the world, especially in our own country.

V. ILLUSTRATIONS of PROPHECY, with reference to the present and future prospects of the Church of Christ. But this subject will be approached with caution, and be conducted with reverential fear.

VI. Nor will the lighter graces and elegancies of Literature be neglected. Poetry, good poetry, "when the handmaid of piety," will occupy a place in our pages, as also occasional Essays on subjects connected with the literature of the past and the present times.

VII. ANALYTICAL and CRITICAL Sketches of the best of the RELIGIOUS MAGAZINES will be given at the commencement of the month; and, as our limits permit, such new works as are supposed to be of a description interesting to our readers, will be impartially reviewed. VIII. VARIETIES and MISCELLANEOUS ARTICLES.

Such is a brief enumeration of the articles with which we propose to occupy our pages; but although our utmost endeavour shall not be wanting, we cannot be expected at once to attain to a state of perfection: time must be given us to mature our plans, and a little patience exercised towards us at first. We hope, after a while, to present our readers with a Miscellany filled with instructive and agreeable matter; and so to diversify the subjects, as to give something every week that is new, with something that is usefull. We hope we shall be found to improve as we proceed, and we promise our readers, that if success crown our work, every effort will be made, not only to improve and raise its character, but also to to enlarge its size. Gain is not so much our desire as doing good; and we feel assured that the wide circulation of a work which may be read in the family circle, and laid by the side of the Bible, must be the means of carrying into effect our object, which is to diffuse correct principles, and afford a useful occupation to hours which might otherwise be perniciously employed.





At the Fitzroy-rooms, on Sunday Morn

ing, January 25th, 1829.

TEXT, 1 Corinthians, i. part of the 17th verse.The Cross of CHRIST."

WHAT is there, it may be asked, in a cross which can make it the subject of attention and regard, and which can deserve to be set forth in any thing like prominence, exciting the warmest feelings and tenderest emotions of the heart? The cross was an ancient instrument of torture, to which only those were subjected who were ignominious malefactors. The victim was nailed to the wood of which it was composed, by the hands and the feet, and then exhibited to all around as a spectacle of ignominy and shame. The cross was esteemed a special mark of ignominy and disgrace; and well might we be led to suppose, that in no one instance would it ever be calculaed to summon forth the feelings of man to admiration and joy. And yet it is to the cross that we are continually called, as comprising the most precious elements of a religion which has been given to us by the authority of God, and which contains every thing dear to us in our future and eternal state. The author of our religion—JESUS of Nazareth, we are not ashamed to state, was crucified on a tree. We are informed in the Volume of Inspiration, that the Redeemer encountered the enmity of those by whom he was surrounded, that he was arraigned upon a solemn charge, and that his enemies cried, "Away with him, away with him; Crucify him,, crucify him!" He was led to the mount of Calvary, where he was crucified between two theives, and where in agony he expired.

Although by some individuals this may be considered as a mark of disgrace; we are called upon to remember it as involving a theme of interesting grandeur, which shall outlive the joys of time, and endure through eternal ages. This was the topic which furnished the grand theme of the ministry during the period of the apostles, and still is to be remembered by us, as the

[blocks in formation]

It is mentioned here as being the Cross of CHRIST; and that this individual who is now presented to us in connexion with the cross, was not a malefactor, that he was not a person who met with his death as a just consequence of his crimes, we shall not endeavour in an assembly like this to prove. Indeed, the very entertainment of such a proposition as this, would in itself, no doubt, excite shuddering and horror in the minds of those who are present. You are aware that testimony to the Redeemer's innocence was given most distinctly by those persons who took a part in his crucifixion. We are informed with regard to Jesus, that when the people said to Pilate, "Let him be crucified," he said, "Why? what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more saying, Let him be crucified. Then, When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but rather that a tumult was made, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this JUST person; see ye to it." We are informed also, that one of those who were crucified by his side, turned round to the other, and rebuked him for railing, saying, "Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man HATH DONE NOTHING AMISS." A Centurian who was sent by the Roman governor to attend the execution, "glorified God saying, certainly this was a RIGHTEOUS man.'

But you are to observe, that these are not the only affirmations we have of the innocence of the Reedeemer, respecting the charge on the ground of which he suffered; we have also ancther kind of testimony to which referB 2

not as a point of non-essential controversy, but as embodying all that is essential to man's salvation. It is in this re

ence must be made. During the whole period of his life there was no thought or deed of his which could at all sanction the charge, or justify the accusa-spect we are called upon to contemplate tion. He was a Being who passed through the world without a spot; embodying in his own character morality, holiness, and beauty. We are told, therefore, that "He was in all points tempted, like as we are, yet without sin." He was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners:" "He was without blemish and without spot." "He did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth."-Thus we are to regard him as a pure and spotless being.

But farther, with regard to the nature of that Being who is thus presented, as enduring the sufferings of the cross, we remark, that the test of his purity has been furnished under circum


the testimonies to Him "who endured the cross, and despised the shame." John says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God; all things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made." We are told again, that we are to look for the "Glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ." We are told again, "When he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom." And there is one statement which we find made by the apostle, connecting the splendour of his pristine glory with the depth of his subsequent humiliation, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of cross." It is not my intention in reference to this subject, to present to your notice those splendid evidences on record by which we find that the Redeemer assumed the rights and honours of divine worship; I would rather request you to attend to those interesting and solemn facts in connexion with the last passage quoted; namely, the wonderful condescension of the Redeemer in descending from the splendour of glory to the agonies of the cross. You must rememberthat "though he was rich, yet for OUR SAKES he became poor." You must remember that "he took not on him the nature of an

You are to remark, that in the office he bore, and which in his human nature he fulfilled, he was set apart as the anointed; therefore he was called by the names of Christ and Messiah, answering to the descriptions of the prophecies of "Holy men of old, who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost," when they foretold the development of divine mercy, which was to be made in the introduction and establishment of the Gospel. With his human nature were combined the attributes of the Divine Being. HE who died had in his person the attributes of the Godhead; for though "he endured the contradiction of sinners against himself," though "he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," yet we are informed, that he was the eternal immutable Jehovah. We draw aside the veil by which he was surrounded, and then we behold "The Creator who fainteth not, neither is weary;" then we see "God manifest in the flesh." It is utterly impossible, for us to stop short of the principle we have now recognized, and we desire to call upon you to contemplate this truth. We stop not with those persons who look upon the Redeemer as a man who was inspired by God, and nothing more; we stop not with those who speak of him as a Being pre-gels; but he took on him the seed of senting to us an example, and deriving what glory he possessed by impartation. We claim for him proper Divinity, as being one with the eternal and glorious JEHOVAH. We speak upon this subject,

Abraham." Then remember that there was no one trait of his humilation but was submitted to for our welfare,--for our salvation;--and who is there whose mind is not filled with holy astonish

ment and joy at this statement? When the psalmist went abroad at midnight, and looked upon the firmament of heaven, and beheld the sparkling orbs of light, he was amazed at his own insignificance, and he exclaimed, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him, and the Son of Man that thou visitest him?" When we gaze upon the glory of the cross of Christ, is itnot then that we look upon a length and breadth, and height and depth of mercy, which must be left for eternity to unfold? But even now,in the view of that great and glorious Being who gave himself up to the death of the cross, it becomes us to determine that we will glory in nothing "save in the cross of Jesus Christ our Lord." Secondly.-CONSIDER THE GREAT OBJECT FOR WHICH THE SUFFERINGS


Why was the Redeemer suffered to die the death which is so emphatically mentioned? The notions which some individuals have entertained, with regard to the Redeemer's death upon the cross-that it was a mere submission to martyrdom, for testifying the sincerity of his character, and the truth of his doctrines, cannot be maintained. We must look for another explanation, more rational; for if you destroy the doctrine of the Divinity of Christ, his death is no more to me as a sinner, than the prison and the hemlock of Socrates. But let the doctrine of the Divinity stand, and we go on to state, that it gives every evidence that we can want, to confirm the truth of another doctrine; namely, that his death on the cross was a true and perfect sacrifice for sin.

If in illustrating this doctrine, we were to regard the object of the Saviour's sufferings, you might gain much information, but I now call upon you to consider the nature of the sufferings themselves and the spirit of the REDEEMER, in their anticipation and infliction.

1. The early and previous anxiety of Christ, with regard to his approaching afflictions, seems to testify that there was something extraordinary in their nature and design. I have no doubt upon my own mind, and I state this as a thing that ought to be remembered, that, except something extraordinary was intended by the sufferings to be endured by the Redeemer, he did not conduct himself in the prospect

of their infliction with a degree of fortitude, and calmness, and patience, at all equal to what may be found both in sacred and profane history; but with a misgiving which leaves us much more to admire in the annals of heroism and philanthropy. What was the meaning of that heart-rending statement, “But I have a baptism to be baptized with (the baptism of his blood) and how am I straitened till it be accomplished"? What was the meaning of that great mental struggle which induced him to exclaim, "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour; but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name"? What was the meaning of that dark and mournful look in the garden of Gethsemane, when he said,

My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death"? and when he went away from his disciples three times, and prayed, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me;" and then being in an agony, 66 'sweat great drops of blood falling to the ground"? What was the meaning of that cry upon the cross," My God, my God, why forsakest thou me?" It was something far more than a mere sense of mournful trouble-something far more than this that infused the bitterness of gall in the cup that he was about to drink. Admit the doctrine of a propitiation for sin; and then, and then only, you have an adequate reason assigned. We look upon the cross as a chosen emblem of the sacrifice, and we state, in the language of the apostle, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." But the nature of these sufferings will appear more distinctly, if you consider,

2. The nature and object of those legal sacrifices which foretold them in the ancient dispensations of time. You are aware that from the earliest periods of the world, victims of the animal creation were selected and offered up, no doubt, in reference to the atonement for sin. Under the law of Moses, these were offered more frequently and in a more impressive manner. For instance, you remember the blood of the lamb of the passover, which was sprinkled upon the door-posts of the children of Israel, as the testimony

made peace through the blood of his cross."-Again, "That the might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby." What means the testimony of the apostle John, "He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world"? But time would fail, my christian brethren, were we to go through the whole of the evidence that might be presented, to prove that the death of the Saviour on the cross was intended as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.

of their redemption, at the time of their deliverance from the destroying angel, as he passed by to smite the first borr of the house of Pharaoh, and which caused him to droop his pinions, and to sheath his sword, and to pass them over. You remember the bullock that was offered by the priest on the day of atonement, as a sacrifice for the sins of himself and of his house; and the blood that was shed for the sins of his people; the blood of both victims being carried by him into the holiest of all, and there sprinkled on the mercy seat, with intercessions for The cross of Christ is an expression redeeming mercy. You remember the equivalent to the atonement of Christ, design of the priestly office, which was which proves effectually the Divinity intended to offer both gifts and sacri- of Christ; and the whole system then fices for the sins of the people. Now stands in all its grandeur both for time these institutions, and indeed the whole and for eternity. It is the atonement œconomy of the law of Moses, were which forms an object worthy of the typical of Jesus Christ. He was spoken advent of the Son of God to the world of as the lamb that was slain as a sacri- in which we dwell. It is the atonefice or sin. He was the Lamb of God, ment which sheds arounds the cross such died to take away the sins of the an infinitude of value. It is the atoneworld. The High Priest entered into ment alone which can open the portals the holiest of all with the blood of bulls of the heavenly court, and the gates of and of goats, to sacrifice for himself immortality. Remove this great docand the people; but "it is not possi-trine of the atonement, and then you ble (says Paul) that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins; wherefore, when he (Christ) cometh into the world, he saith, 'sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then, said I, lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." He was spoken of in the general design of the priestly office; he is said to be the high priest, who has entered into the holy place, not with the blood of others, "but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."

3. In connexion with these statements, let us look at the declarations which are made in the New Testament writings. What means that testimony of the Saviour, "This is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins"? What means the testimony of Paul, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the nches of his grace"?-Again, "Having

pronounce inspiration an error a falsehood of the Most High. Remove the doctrine of the atonement, and then you blight the happiness of the species to which you belong, tearing the foundation stone from the building, the key stone from the arch, the soul from the body, the sun from the firmament. Remove the doctrine of the atonement, and then you put the stamp of indelible misery upon all the prospects of man; you consign his life to ruin, his death to blackness, his judgment to condemnation, his eternity to despair. Let the doctrine of the cross but remain, and though all else be taken away, the soul will be safe and happy for ever.



The cross of Christ is to be regarded as furnishing

1. A wonderful development of the riches of divine love. We are justly accustomed to consider the scheme of redemption by the death of our Lord and Saviour, as involving an exhibition of the entire character of JEHOVAH,

« PreviousContinue »