« PreviousContinue »
Gethsemane; his rejection, his being never offended, thus bow beneath betrayed by an avowed friend and an upmeasurable load of sorrow? follower-one who dipped his hand The Scriptures furnish an answer with him in the same dish; denied to these inquiries. He died, the Just by his most courageous disciple; led for the unjust, to bring us nigh unto from street to street, and tribunal God: his heavenly Father permitted to tribunal, in pain and in derision; Him who knew no sin, to be made forsaken by his dearest earthly a sin-offering for us, that we might friends, and exclaiming, My God,my be made the righteousness of God God, why hast Thou forsaken me! in Him. In this sad spectacle, we -surely never were circumstances strikingly behold the truth of that so calculated to rivet the imprese fundamental doctrine of our faith, sion of a dying exclamation as ihose the fallen and miserable condition under which the Saviour of the of mankind; for it was to redeem world exclaimed with his last breath us from this state of wrath, to
pro“ Father, into thy bands I commend cure us pardon for the past, and my spirit.” The peculiar obserye sanctifying grace for the future, ances, also, of the time at which he that the Saviour thus submitted to suffered, were remarkably striking. bear our sins in his own body upon As no one of the Jewish rites or the tree, in order that, as in Adam sacrifices could exhibit all the cir. all had died, so in Him might all cumstances of his deatb, he united be made alive. Here, also, we wilthe peculiarities of many. He was ness the righteous displeasure of the victim led without the camp, God against sin; here we read the being driven as an outcast from the extent and malignity of our offences, gates of the city; and, as if to sbew which made such a sacrifice pecesmore forcibly the correspondence sary; and here we bebold, in unexbetween the appropriate type of tinguishable characters, the love of the paschal lamb, and the Anti-type the Father, who gave his eternal Christ, our Passover, who was slain Son for our transgressions,--the for us, the very time when be was grace of the Son, who willingly deoutstretched upon the altar of the voted himself to be the victim for cross was not only the ordinary our offences,-and the consenting bour of the evening sacrifice, but mercy of the Holy Spirit, whose the very period when the pascbal office it is to lead us, as humble pelamb was being slain according to nitents, to repose upon this neverthe injunction of the Levitical Law. failing Sacrifice for pardon and ac
Having thus adverted to the cir- ceptance with God. No words cumstances under which our Lord's can express the debt of gratitude dying words were uttered, let us which we owe to the ever-blessed inquire, in the second place, what and undivided Trinity for this stuare the impressions which they pendous act of mercy; but in a ought to make upon us.--It is not most conspicuous manner should enough that we gaze upon Him as our eye be turned, in devout acit were with idle curiosity, as did knowledgment and humble faith, the multitudes who wilgessed his upon the great Sacrifice himself. crucifixion; it is not enough even Was ever sorrow like unto bis sorthat we weep for his sufferings, or row, or ever love like unto bis love? are aroused, like his disciple Peter, Truly, that love was stronger than to a vehement indignation against death. He had power to the last bis betrayers and murderers. We moment to bave retracted his ardumust bring the subject yet nearer ous undertaking, yet not all the to ourselves. Whence this scene of pains of death could overcome his sorrow? why was that pure and constancy. We find him, iu the sinless spirit thus breathed out in passage before us, still possessed of agony? why should He, who had such unexhausted energy as to be
able to cry with a loud voice; and protracted agonies, and with every still the sovereign disposer of his own inducement to retrace his steps immortal spirit. He had but to ex- Would be have died praying for ert the wish to come down from the his enemies, or have been permitted cross, in order effectually to reverse by Divine Providence to exhibit the launt of his enemies, by saving those marks of supernatural chahimself, and thus abandoning the racter, which led even a Roman perilous task of saving others. But Centurion to exclaim, “ Truly, this no; we see him, as it were, firmly was the Son of God ?” Men are fixing his soul for one short parting wont to be sincere in the agonies of struggle; or rather we may say, a cruel and lingering death : yet for a composed and voluntary com- the Saviour expired witbout wavermittal of his soul to God. His ing from his festimony, and with office had been willingly and cheer- his last dying breath confirming fully undertaken : He was the ar- that great fundamental truth, that biter of his own life or death; yet
his Father ;" thus, such was his love, such his con- “making himself equal with God.” stancy, that he deliberately drank And if any thing were necessary off the awful cup, drop by drop, to to add to the evidence which this its bitterest dregs : he did not re- scene affords of his Divinity, it pent of his sacrificial undertaking; would be incidentally supplied by he went step by step through the the dying words of St. Stephen, alwhole of its painful stages; and ready alluded to; for the last sonow, having triumphantly exclaimed lemn deposit which our Lord placed “ It is finished," -- the effort is over, in the hands of his heavenly Father, the work is done: he seals it be- and which could be rightly comyond the possibility of retractation, mitted to none but the Creator, by allowing the frail tie that bound St. Stephen, a very short time after, him to earth to be disunited, and implored the Saviour himself to recommitting bis spirit into the hands ceive ; thus affording the testimony of his Father; not, as in the case of that holy martyr, that the , Reof his servant Stephen, by a bum- deemer, in whose cause he was exble prayer, but by a confident piring, was in truth “ God over and authoritative resigpation, sucb all, blessed for evermore.” as indicated to the last, that the Or do we need our faith to be events of both worlds were still un- strengthened with regard to a fuder his control.
ture state, and the immortality of And while this scene is thus emi- the human soul? Here we bebold nently calculated to impress us
the incarnate Saviour in the agony with an awful sense of the weight of death ; his body wounded, bruisof our transgressions which made ed, and about to yield up that such a sacrifice necessary, and of breath of life which the Creator the unextinguishable love and con- bad breatbed into it; yet bis soul stancy of the Divine Surety, it was unsubdued ; and his faith never should also strengthen our faith, wavered as to the future existence, and confirm our hopes. Are we ibe eternal duration, and the never tempted, for example, by specious ending blessedness of that pure and objections, urged against the Divi- untainted spirit which he was about nity of our blessed Lord ? How to resign into the hands of his Fastrikingly does the wbole scene of ther. He did not indeed employ his crucifixion prove him to have that exulting language which we been infinitely more than a mere sometimes fiud issuing from the lips
Had he been an impostor, of dying malefactors, who, if they is it likely that he would have sus- had been spared, would perbaps tained his assumed character to the have fatally proved by a relapse last, in the midst of such acute and into sid, how little reliance is to be
placed on a hasty repentance, in at the right hand of the Majesty on ihe prospect of immediate death, high, and pouring down upon us and how much more befitting, under the daily iufluences of his Holy such circumstances, is the humble Spirit. We may therefore confilanguage of the publican, “Lord, dently repose in bim; we may look be merciful to me a sinner," than forward with devout joy to the eterthe confident expressions of saints nal world as having there a faithful and apostles, and martyrs who had and tried Friend; and we may tread long “ fought a good fight,” before as on the confines of a paradise, they thus " finished their course where this once crucified but now with joy !" But though we do not risen and ascended Conqueror, hear from the Saviour any exprese awaits our arrival. Into his hands, sion of those triumphant feelings therefore, let us every day and with which he has often mercifully hour habitually commit our immorfavoured bis faithful servants in tal spirits, not knowing how soon their last moments, and which self- he may summon us to his lieavenly deceivers have sometimes appro. mansion, there to be like him, and priated, yet he exhibited a calm- to see him as he is; not as on the ness, a confidence, an unshaken cross of his humiliation, but in the certainty as to the future, which glory which he bad with the Father ought to strengthen our faith, even before all worlds. more than if he had devoted his expiring moments 10 a formal statement of his doctrines, and the To the Editor of the Christian Observer. proofs of their Divine inspiration. Rom. i. 19, 20, is often triumph
And Othat, after His example, we antly adduced as affirming the commay be enabled in our dying hours to pelence of reason, unaided by revecommit our souls in faith and hope to lation or any supernatural influence, our God and Saviour! And in order to discover the grand perfections of that such may be our blessed lot, let the Deity from the works of creaus begin from the present moment tion. Now, the persons who apdiligently to make our calling and peal to this portion of Scripture election sure. Let us repair, in peni- as an argument, must admit the lence and faith, to bis all-sufficient Bible to be divinely inspired; but it sacrifice; let us earnesily endea- will be no easy task for them to revour to do his will, and fulfil bis concile the decisive and reiterated commands; and let us pray for the announcenents of that volume, reconstant grace of his Holy Spirit specting the being and attributes of for that purpose ; remembering al- God, with their own opinion as to ways that He died not only to bring the sufficiency of unassisted reason. us nigh to God by his blood, but Nor will they find it less difficult also to purify to himself a peculiar to account for the fact, supported people, zealous of good works. If not merely by the testimony of called to suffer for his cause, let us Scripture, but by the voice of all imitate the example of his patience; history, that, in the absence of reve. and follow him in the thorny but lation, even the wisest philosophers salutary path of self-denial, taking have been unable to atiaiu accurate up our cross daily, and treading in conceptions respecting the characbis hallowed footsteps. If such be ter of the Supreme Being. our character, unspeakably great On an à priori view of the quesis our privilege. Io all our afflictiou, therefore, it appears to me imtions, he is afflicted: the spirit probable that the sentiment alluded which he committed to his Faiber, io should be conveyed in the pasis still in heaven, where he forever sage which is quoted in its support. dwells, touched with the feeling of A careful investigation of the sense our infirmities, pleading our cause and bearing of that passage, will CHRIST. OBSERv. No. 244.
perhaps confirm this presumption. Those persons are therefore inex-, The Apostle is shewing the guilt of cusable, who, though destitute of a all mankind, boib Jews and Gen- written revelation, do not act actiles; and from this he deduces cording to that knowledge of God the necessity of the Redeemer's which was communicated at the sacrifice and righteousness, as the creation; and which, ever since only medium of justification before that period, would have been God. In reference to the Gentiles, brought to immediate rememhe begins to speak more particu- brance, as well as retained more larly at the 18th verse : “For the firmly, in case the visible works of wrath of God is revealed from creation and providence bad been Heaven against all ungodliness properly considered.” (rosjeva.) and uprighteousness of men, who The above interpretation appears hold the truth in unrighteousness." to me entitled to consideration, as These persons are here declared to affording, if correct, a satisfactory have some knowledge of the truth, solution of a passage which has but to hold this knowledge in un- often been quoted with an air of conrighteousness; that is, to neglect act-fidence, in the defence of opinions ing up to the measure of light which apparently repugnant both to Scripthey possess. To explain this cir. ture and fact.
C. cum anice more largely, and to justify the Divine wraih which it occasioned, the Apostle proceeds to To the Editor of the Christian Observer. state, that with the distinctive attri. PERHAPS the following brief acbutes of the pature of God, namely count of Mount Calvary, taken from his eternal power and Godhead, these Calmet's Dictionary and MaundGentiles bad already been made fa. rell's Journey from Aleppo to Jerumiliar by the Almighty himself, who salem, may prove satisfactory to has impressed on all his operations your correspondent QUÆRENS. very legible marks of his character. “Calvary or Golgotha: a little These marks have been visible ever mountain to the north Mount since the creation of the world, Sion went by this name, probably when an express revelation of the by reason of the similitude it bore divine nature and perfections was to the figure of a skull or man's no doubt afforded to our first head,” &c. &c.-Calmet. parents. This seems to me to be “ The church of the Holy Sepulthe idea conveyed by the expres- chre,” says Maundrell, "is founded sion, ato KTLOEWS Kogus: as if the upon Mount Calvary, which is a Apostle had said, “Ever since the small eminency or hill upon the time when a direct revelation was greater Mount of Moriah. It was made of the attributes of God, the anciently appropriated to the exeworks of creation and providence cution of malefactors, and therefore have been perpetual indications shut out of the walls of the city, as and memorials of those attributes. an execrable and polluted place.
But since it was made the altar on • It is the opinion of Schleusner, that to which was offered up the precious the words Tois poinpari, rendered in our and all-sufficient sacrifice for the version • the things which are made, a sins of the whole world, it has more extensive signification is to be an. recovered itself from infamy, and nexed than that of the works of creation. has been always reverenced and “ Latissime autem patet hoc loco for. resorted to with such devotion by mula ta formata Otv, ita, ut non solum all Christians, that it has attracted opera creationis, quæ vulgo dicuntur, sed etiam omnes visibiles operationes the city round about it, and stands divinas in rerum naturâ complectatur. now in the midst of Jerusalem ; a Ps. cxliii. 5." Vide Schleusneri Lexi. great part of the hill of Sion being con, in Полта.
shut out of the walls, to make room
p. 68, &c.
for the admission of Calvary."- "a mount;" a single passage to The superstitious ceremonies ob. that effect from any writer of the served by pilgrims and devotees first two or three centuries, or ever since the destruction by Con- earlier, would fully settle the point. stanline and St. Helena of the sta- Biblical scholars have also diftue of Venus (erected by Hadrian fered as to the origin of the Hebrew out of contempt to the Christians), name Golgotha, to which the term are detailed at length by Maundrell, Calvary corresponds; some suppos
ing that it derives that appellation W.
from its resembling the figure of a
skull; others from the bones and To the Editor of the Christian Observer. skulls of malefactors being buried Your correspondent QUÆRENS on the spot; and others from its may find it difficult to obtain the being a place for the decollation of precise information he wishes ; for, criminals. Happily, amidst the unthough Calvary is currently denomi- certainty that may attend many nated "a mount,” it is not socalled in points of philological or antiquarian Scripture; and it cannot perhaps be research, we are left in no doubt as absolutely proved that the mount to any essential circumstance in the near Jerusalem, long consecrated evangelic history; so that whatever by tradition as the site of the cruci. controversymay be raised respecting fixion, is the exact scene of that the exact site of Calvary, there can awful event. The suppositions of be none respecting the all-important travellers and pilgrims, however fact, that there the incarnate Saprobable, are not conclusive evi- viour offered a full, perfect and suffidence. At the same time they cient oblation and satisfaction for the deserve some degree of weight; sins of the whole world; and that and as to the general fact of Cal- all who come unto God by him vary having been a mountain (pro- shall not perish, but have everbably an eminence on Mount Mo- lasting life. Truths like this only riah), it has been so long and shine the brighter, from the obscugenerally admitted, that I make rity which hangs around many no doubt the belief has ori- points of merely curious and learned ginated iu decisive testimony, detail. God has made it necessary though Quærens or nyself may not for us all to believe the Gospel, and have the means of retracing it. to obey its injunctions; and these Perhaps some of your learned con- are plainly revealed : on less imtributors can inform us by what portant topics the Scriptures are ancient Jewish or Christian writers often silent or obscure. the spot of the crucifixion is called
justify the exceptionable passages in To the Editor of the Christian Observer. the poem then under adjudication. IN desence of Lord Byron's “Cain” The Lord Chancellor is stated to it was lately urged, among other are have remarked in substance,in reply guments, in the High Court of Chan- to this argument, that from a percery, that Milion, whose veneration fect recollection of the contenis of for Christianity is unquestionable, Paradise Lost, baving perused it has put language into the lips of very recently, he could undertake Salan which it was contended would to assert that there was nothing in