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It will be proper here to pause, and review the ground over which we have travelled. I have endeavoured to prove, first, that Jehovah is infinitely just, from the necessity of His nature, His position as moral Governor of the universe, and the assertions of many passages of Scripture. Secondly, that Jesus Christ was perfectly holy; to demonstrate this, I have cited the statement of His intimate friend, the language of His betrayer, the confusion of His numerous enemies, the contradictions of the witnesses, the official act of His judge, the dying words of the thief, the testimony of demons, the deposition of holy angels, and the express declarations of inspiration both prophetic and historic. And, in the third place, I have stated that Jesus Christ suffered and died in fulfilment of the predictions and in accordance with the determination of God; to prove this I have collated many passages from the Old and New Testaments and summed up their evidence. As sume now that these three propositions have been demonstrated, and notice the state of the argument; for here a question rushes upon us with irresistible forcea question with which we dare not trifle-a question which must be answered: Why was Jesus Christ subjected to suffering? Why was Jesus Christ put to death? Was it for sins of His own ? Was He a criminal? Had He broken the laws of nations ? had He transgressed the laws of heaven? It is proven that He was perfectly holy, without guile or stain, crime or sin. He is declared to be so by every species of intelligence, of which the human ear has heard ; He is declared to be so by that God who cannot lie ; nevertheless He is exposed to sufferings the most excruciating, to a death the most ignominious. Mark; not by sudden impulse, not by a hasty deed, but by the determinate, the eternal counsel, the foreknowledge, the design of God; the very Being who attests His innocence so clearly, so repeatedly, so solemnly! The question recurs with awful force,—Why was He put to death ? He in whom that God, who resolved upon His death, “ delighted ;" His " dear Son,” “ His Holy One?” Was it an act of injustice? Impossible ; for it is also demonstrated, that God cannot act unjustly. Here then we behold the unparalleled spectacle of a perfectly holy being subjected through life to unprecedented poverty, odium, calumny, reproach ; delivered to the vengeance of an infuriated mob, deserted and betrayed by professed friends; left alone in the midst of a rabble, to be mocked, tortured, insulted, spit upon ; dragged beyond the walls of Jerusalem, amidst the hootings, hissing, scorn and execrations of its assembled population; nailed to a cross, after being stripped, that He might die the death of a slave; one thief crucified at His right, and another at His left hand; exalted far above them, that the myriads who lined the hill of Calvary, the walls of the city, and every adjacent eminence, might glut their eyes on the appalling sight; railed at in the midst of His indescribable agonies; and in this dreadful state, forsaken by His Father, who loved Him, and by whose eternal determination all these sufferings took place! Here there seems to be an anomaly; here is something without parallel. Innocence suffering at the hand of unerring rectitude. Holiness punished by the holy hand of absolute justice. Imagination is chained, thought is fettered, reason is baffled, at the utterly inexplicable subject. Yes, utterly inexplicable, dark, mysterious, awful; except (for there is one and only one key to the mystery), -except you admit the doctrine of the atonement, the doctrine which I have stated as the motto of this essay. Admit this, and at once the whole subject becomes explicable; the darkness flies before its transcendant brightness; the mystery vanishes, and its awfulness is changed into a flood of glory-glory to the just Ġod, glory to the atoning Jesus ; peace, good will and ultimately glory to man. Deny the atonement, and the blackness of darkness immediately shrouds your troubled spirit ; heaven is dark and frowning in its aspect; futurity is covered with a vail of fearful mystery, on which the soul looks but to shudder, gazes but to shrink within itself; every step you take is one of uncertainty ; where it tends, no one can tell ; whither it may lead, no'angel whispers. Admit the atonement, and Calvary is radiant with a brilliancy which eclipses the noon-day sun; a brighter light than that yielded by a thousand such luminaries, immediately darts from the throne of the Eternal; heaven is covered with an excess of glory, its aspect is beauty, its landscapes adorned with the fruits of unmingled felicity, and its very atmosphere is love ; futurity, possessing everything to attract and nothing to repulse, instead of creating a shudder elicits praise, wins the affections, engages the intellect and delights imaginations; the path to eternity is pointed eousness.”
out by the never-setting “Sun of righteousness," and "glory, honour, immortality and eternal life” are the prizes exhibited to your sanctified ambition. Deny the atonement, and God punishes without cause, Jesus dies without guilt, man perishes without hope. Admit the atonement, and justice and mercy are seen to harmonize in the stroke which the sword of Jehovah inflicts on the substitute of the guilty ; the Redeemer is seen putting away sin by the voluntary sacrifice of Himself; and man is seen escaping the misery and death he deserves, and inheriting a happiness and life, of which in himself he is utterly unworthy. Without the atonement, the Gospel ceases to be good news, God ceases to be love, Jesus ceases to be precious. With the atonement, the Gospel is truly “glad tidings of great joy,” “ God is love,” and Jesus is “ the chief among ten thousand.”
But let us here cease from the uncertainty of reasoning, and rise to the certainty of revelation. For what is it we are asked to admit? A theory of priestcraft, a dogma of man, a figment of fancy? Blessed be God, no. For what saith the Scriptures, typical, prophetical, declaratory, historical and triumphal ?
1. Typical. “ And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord bath made with you.” “For the life of the flesh is in the blood : and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for yonr souls : for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” “And Moses took the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger, and purified the altar, and poured the blood at the bottom of the altar, and sanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it-(Exodus. xxiv. 8., Lev. viii. 15. and xvii. 11, compared with Hebrews ix).
2. Prophetical. “ He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities : the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes are we healed.” “ The Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.”
in For the transgression of My people was He stricken.” “ Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting rig
“ And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself”—(Isaiah liji. 5, 6,8; Dan. ix, 24-26.)
3. Declaratory. “This is My blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." “I am the bread of life.” “ I am the living bread, which came down from heaven : if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever : and the bread that I will give is My flesh; which I will give for the life of the world”—(Matt. xxvi. 28; John vi. 35, 51).
4. Historical. Jesus our Lord "was delivered for our offences." Christ." died for the ungodly.” Christ “died for us.
.” “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son." Our Lord Jesus Christ," by whom we have now received the atonement.” “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” “He hath made Him to be sin" (or a sin offering) “ for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” The Son of God“ loved me and gave Himself for me." “ God sent forth His Son, to redeem them that were under the law.” “ Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Our Saviour Jesus Christ "gave Himself for us." The Son “ by Himself purged our sins." “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." " Christ also suffered for us ; who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.”
66 Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.”. He“was manifested to take away our sins"--(Rom. iv. 24, 25, and v. 6, 8, 10, 11 ; 2 Cor. v. 19, 21; Gal. ii. 20, and iv. 5 ; 1 Tim. i. 15; Tit. ii. 13, 14; Heb. i. 3, and ix. 28; 1 Pet. ii. 21, 24, and iii. 18; 1 John iii. 5).
5. Triumphal. “Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.” “ Thou art worthy to take the book and to open the seals thereof; for Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood, out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation.” “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour and glory, and blessing." Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. "Salvation to our God, who sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb"-(Rev. i. 5, 6, and v. 9, 12, 13, and vii. 10.
The late Rev. John Dyer had been for many years the active and useful Secretary of the Baptist Missionary Society. His occupations for some months past'seem to have been too much for him; and neglecting timely relaxation, his mind became harassed, and at length completely overthrown. For the last week of his life he was anxiously watched by his family, though his medical attendant did not deem it necessary as yet to advise a keeper. Early, however, in the morning of the twentysecond of July last, while his son (who was his companion in his chamber) slept, he left the room, and was found a few hours afterwards, quite dead, in a tank of water in the cellar.
His remains were interred on the twenty-seventh of July in the vault belonging to the Chapel in Little Wild Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields; and the Rev. Dr. Cox delivered an address upon the occasion, from which we subjoin an extract:
“ It is solemn and awful, but not unprofitable, to meet amidst the shadows of death ; and to-day they gather around us with unusual gloom and depth. The darkest providences are replete with instructive lessons.
“But let us correct our thoughts. There is in reality no darkness in Providence; the darkness is in our conceptions, which are so low and grovelling as to brood like a cloud over us,-a cloud that is impenetrable to our reason, but pervious to faith, which sees beyond it the beamings forth of ineffable brightness and love. It would be an impeachment of the Deity, to say that there was any real intrinsic mystery or complexity in any of His operations, as it would be an absurdity to impute the shadow cast along our path to the sun, and not to the opaqueness of the object.
“The temporary aberration of reason is not its extinction, nor is it the extinction of principle and piety; and the form in which affliction and death shall overtake the good man is in the hand of God. The mode of his departure from the present state, cannot affect the great question of his destiny; for that depends not on the outward modification of circumstances, but on the decision of the mind, preparation of character, the working and moulding of great principles. The safety and blessedness of the soul of a believer rests on the foundation which God has laid in Zion. The question is not whether he leaves the world in a calm or a tempest, in the clear sunshine of circumstances, or amidst clouds and mysteries ; on the quiet bed, by the stroke of accident, or in the whirlwind of delusion : the temporary must be separated from the permanent, the unreal dreams of a moment from the realities of truth, the essentials of character, and the power of grace. The question which belongs to the everlasting condition of a man respects his faith in Christ, his love to God, his conformity to truth. "Is it well ?? asks the anxious survivor. And if the report can be, 'He was a penitent, a believer, a servant of God'--the answer is, in defiance of death's worst terrors, Satan's worst temptations, and life's worst forms of mischief• It is well. From the depths of hades, the distant regions of an invisible world, the soft and solacing echo is, ' It is well.'
“Dear brethren, we meet at the grave of a Christian. And is not that “the highest style of man p!' Ought the gloomiest circumstances of mortality to discourage us when we can inscribe such a word on the ashes of departed worth? Shall we suffer death, however fearful, to rob us in our grief of the satisfaction of that thought, and the joy of naming such a name, which is itself a triumph over that formidable foe? In the very face of the king of terrors we utter the glorious epithet, and we exultingly say, O death ! where is thy sting? O grave ! where is thy victory ? A Christian cannot die ; death is not death to him. Its character is changed. It is a passing cloud, a departure, a means of better life.
• Here, then, we leave the ashes--or shall we say the wreck of the mortal frame ? It is, indeed, a wreck; but see how the vessel stranded, and with what result? It is as if a tempest-tossed ship on the ocean should have lost her reckoning, and struck in the dark night upon the shore; but behold, when the morning comes, it appears that the shore is the very land, and the place the very port to which she sailed—the vessel wrecked, but the life within untouched, and amidst ten thousand welcomings, all safe, and well, and happy for ever!
Surviving friendship is often consoled by he details of a dying testimony; but we have more, a living one! The Christian Church at large, the missionary band in particular, in near and distant lands, will feel that a brother and a friend is gone. His life is his monument, and it will outlast the sculptured stone !"
THE PERIL OF A LIFE OF PLEASURE.
REV. J. MORISON, D.D.
CROWN STREET CHAPEL, sono;
WEDNESDAY EVENING, MARCH 17, 1841.
“ For the end of those things is death.”—Romans vi. 21. The subject appointed for discussion this evening is—“The peril of a life of plea sure;" which peril is depicted in the text, in the final catastrophe to which it conducts. The "things” referred to by the apostle, are the direful elements which constitute a life of pleasure; and the end of those things” he declares to be “death."
To exhibit the character and to trace the consequences of a life of pleasure, will be the aim of the following address. And may it please the great and merciful Disposer of men's hearts, so to accompany the message of truth, as to make it the instrument of salvation to some poor wanderer in the paths of folly and vice !
A life of pleasure ! what is it? Is there not some fatal mistake in describing the mode of existence to which we refer, by such a flattering title? Can we bonestly survey the path of pleasure, and follow its votaries into their secret retreats, and then say, with a good conscience, that their life is a life of pleasure? Can that be a life of pleasure, which always disappoints, and which never satisfies? Can that be a life of pleasure, which produces a thousand mortifications, embitters moments of reflection, blights the happiness of social life, and scatters moral pestilence and death all around the sphere of its action ? Surely it is by some grievous misnomer, that such a life has come to be described as a life of pleasure. If man be immortal and accountable—if he must stand before the judgment seat of Christ, to render an account of the deeds done in the body—if his mode of life and actions in this world are to follow him into eternity, and to give a character to his existence through endless years—then surely such a life of pleasure must be utterly unsuitable to the design and object of his creation, as well as to the solemn destiny which hangs over him as a candidate for an immortal state of being.
Do we deny, then, that there is any pleasure in the ways of folly and sin? This would be to assert too much ; and in some respects to contradict the testimony both of Scripture and actual experieuce. There is doubtless a pleasure in sin. But the grand question is-- Is it worthy of our immortal nature ?—is it consonant with true happiness?—is it sufficiently permanent to justify the sacrifice it involves, and the perils to which it exposes?-is it, in one word, the pleasure which is most to be preferred, and which will bear the reflection of a dying hour, and the scrutiny of the judgment day? Let us look at it and see.
The Bible speaks of those, who are “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God;" but how does it describe the pleasure thus fatally indulged in? It is said to be pleasure only "for a season;" and just for this reason, that it is “the pleasure of sin," or sinful pleasure. Now all sinful pleasure is short lived; it has no character of permanency attached to it. It is like a dream or vision of the night, which, however exciting for the moment, leaves no reality for man in his waking hours. He soon perceives that it was but a dream ; and he onlyawakes to the consciou ness of disappointment and pain—the more miserable, because a vision of imaginary bliss has fitted suddenly across bis mental horizon. Could we be favoured with the united testimony of all the lovers of pleasure,” who have ever flourished in our world, but who now judge of life amidst the realities of eternity, they would with one voice proclaim in our hearing, “ Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” This has been often the experience of the devotees of pleasure, even in this present world. There are thousands, alas! utter strangers to the joys of religion, whohave learned from dire experience, that “the pleasures of sin are but for a season.
They rushed into them with eager purpose, and believed that they should realize their heart's desire; but alas! they found, to their sad cost, that the happiness they sought in the gratification of appetite and passion, was not
realised, and that there was an aching void in the human heart, which none of the pleasures of the world could fill up. Disappointed in one vain and foolish pursuit, they sought after another--and another ; but the result was the same. The heart was still full of bitter emotions, and the conscience did not cease to upbraid the intolerable madness (for such it is) of seeking to be happy in the pursuit of forbidden pleasures.
There are various causes, which operate to prevent the solid happiness of a life of pleasure.
It involves a perpetual assault upon the dictates of conscience. The thoughtless wanderer, who forsakes the guide of his youth, who plunges into the vortex of dissipation, who squanders the property and desolates the hearts of his parents, who mingles in the fellowships of the gay and dissolute, who yields to habits of intemperance, who frequents the dwelling of “ the strange woman, who flattereth with her lips”—has a monitor within, which whispers many a bitter rebuke, and utters many a dark saying as to the future. There is a secret misgiving as to the propriety of the course pursued; there is the constant dread of detection ; there is fear of the consequences to which dissipated habits must ever conduct. The struggle thus ensuing, though hid from the eye of man, is often painful in the extreme, and incompatible in the highest degree with anything like solid enjoyment; and I believe, there is not a dissipated man in the world, that has solid enjoyment. Hence it is, that the sons of pleasure are compared to “the troubled sea, which cannot rest ;” and “there is no peace,” no solid peace,
to the wicked.” Then, again, there are the immediate punishments of a life of pleasure. The privations which arise from its profligate expenditure; the scorn and derision which it brings on its victims; the langour and mortal disease which it often entails; the loss of reputation which it seldom fails to produce. Under God's moral government, it is a wise and merciful arrangement, that sin should become its own punisher; were it not for this, the world would become so impudent in vice, that the virtuous would be unable to exist in it. But oh! how terrible, at times, is the retribution of a life of pleasure, even in this world! Look at the sad wrecks of humanity it has strewed upon life's shore ; and tremble at cultivating a life of pleasure.
Go into yonder hospital, and pass from ward to ward, amidst the emaciated, the dying, and the dead. See youth, and health, and beauty, and character, and life itself--all prostrated; contemplate the scene, till your heart is moved with compassion; and remember, when you have taken the survey, that a life of pleasure has led to the whole. Look into that haunt of misery—that den of impurity and crime—the receptacle of loathsome debauchery and systematic prostitution ; look at those haggard countenances, listen to those horrid imprecations; see the fiendlike appearance
of all the wretched inmates; and recollect, that a life of pleasure has reduced every individual in the squalid group to the awful predicament in which pou find them. Þass into yonder apartment. It is a filthy garret: you may find it near the spot where you are assembled, Not a chair, not a table, not an article of decent furniture is to be found in it. Upon a pallet of straw there lies the feeble, decayed, and almost lifeless form of one, once fair and beautiful—the joy of her mother's heart, the hope of her fond sire; but she has been struck and blighted with the thunderbolt of pleasure. The “evil man and seducer” has crossed her unwary path; one fatal deviation lead to another--and another; and now, she has reached the close of her brief but unhappy career. She is tasting the bitterness of a life of pleasure in its sad fruits. Forsaken by friends, whose hearts she has broken; deserted by the guilty wretch, who perpetrated her ruin ; shunned by the miserable companions of her daily wanderings; she is now breathing her last-the victim of sad reflections, and of sadder prospects. Look at her grief-worn cheek, listen to her pitiable moans, think of the terrible confiict of a guilty and distracted mind--and learn the peril of a life of pleasure.
Go into our prisons; survey every cell, from the condemned one to those which are devoted to petty criminals of various grades; and you will find, with few exceptions, that a life of pleasure has been the fruitful source of the long catalogue of crimes, which you will be called to contemplate, When you hear of an appren