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Gethsemane; his rejection, his being betrayed by an avowed friend and follower-one who dipped his hand with him in the same dish; denied by his most courageous disciple; led from street to street, and tribunal to tribunal, in pain and in derision; forsaken by his dearest earthly friends, and exclaiming, My God, my God, why hast THOU forsaken me! -surely never were circumstances so calculated to rivet the impression of a dying exclamation as those under which the Saviour of the world exclaimed with his last breath "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." The peculiar observ. ances, also, of the time at which he suffered, were remarkably striking. As no one of the Jewish rites or sacrifices could exhibit all the circumstances of his death, he united the peculiarities of many. He was the victim led without the camp; being driven as an outcast from the gates of the city; and, as if to shew more forcibly the correspondence between the appropriate type of the paschal lamb, and the Anti-type Christ, our Passover, who was slain for us, the very time when he was outstretched upon the altar of the cross was not only the ordinary hour of the evening sacrifice, but the very period when the paschal lamb was being slain according to the injunction of the Levitical Law. Having thus adverted to the circumstances under which our Lord's dying words were uttered, let us inquire, in the second place, what are the impressions which they ought to make upon us.-It is not enough that we gaze upon Him as it were with idle curiosity, as did the multitudes who witnessed his crucifixion; it is not enough even that we weep for his sufferings, or are aroused, like his disciple Peter, to a vehement indignation against his betrayers and murderers. We must bring the subject yet nearer to ourselves. Whence this scene of sorrow? why was that pure and sinless spirit thus breathed out in agony? why should He, who had
never offended, thus bow beneath an unmeasurable load of sorrow? The Scriptures furnish an answer to these inquiries. He died, the Just for the unjust, to bring us nigh unto God: his heavenly Father permitted Him who knew no sin, to be made a sin-offering for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. In this sad spectacle, we strikingly behold the truth of that fundamental doctrine of our faith, the fallen and miserable condition of mankind; for it was to redeem us from this state of wrath, to procure us pardon for the past, and sanctifying grace for the future, that the Saviour thus submitted to bear our sins in his own body upon the tree, in order that, as in Adam all had died, so in Him might all be made alive. Here, also, we witness the righteous displeasure of God against sin; here we read the extent and malignity of our offences, which made such a sacrifice necessary; and here we behold, in unextinguishable characters, the love of the Father, who gave his eternal Son for our transgressions, the grace of the Son, who willingly devoted himself to be the victim for our offences, and the consenting mercy of the Holy Spirit, whose office it is to lead us, as humble penitents, to repose upon this neverfailing Saorifice for pardon and acceptance with God. No words can express the debt of gratitude which we owe to the ever-blessed and undivided Trinity for this stupendous act of mercy; but in a most conspicuous manner should our eye be turned, in devout acknowledgment and humble faith, upon the great Sacrifice himself. Was ever sorrow like unto his sorrow, or ever love like unto his love? Truly, that love was stronger than death. He had power to the last moment to have retracted his arduous undertaking; yet not all the pains of death could overcome his constancy. We find him, in the passage before us, still possessed of such unexhausted energy as to be
Family Sermons.-No. CLX. On Luke xxiii. 46.
able to cry with a loud voice; and still the sovereign disposer of his own immortal spirit. He had but to exert the wish to come down from the cross, in order effectually to reverse the taunt of his enemies, by saving himself, and thus abandoning the perilous task of saving others. But no; we see him, as it were, firmly fixing his soul for one short parting struggle; or rather we may say, for a composed and voluntary committal of his soul to God. His office had been willingly and cheerfully undertaken: He was the arbiter of his own life or death; yet such was his love, such his constancy, that he deliberately drank off the awful cup, drop by drop, to its bitterest dregs: he did not repent of his sacrificial undertaking; he went step by step through the whole of its painful stages; and now, having triumphantly exclaimed "It is finished,"-the effort is over, the work is done: he seals it beyond the possibility of retractation, by allowing the frail tie that bound him to earth to be disunited, and committing his spirit into the hands of his Father; not, as in the case of his servant Stephen, by a humble prayer, but by a confident and authoritative resignation, such as indicated to the last, that the events of both worlds were still under his control.
And while this scene is thus eminently calculated to impress us with an awful sense of the weight of our transgressions which made such a sacrifice necessary, and of the unextinguishable love and constancy of the Divine Surety, it should also strengthen our faith, and confirm our hopes. Are we tempted, for example, by specious objections, urged against the Divinity of our blessed Lord? How strikingly does the whole scene of his crucifixion prove him to have been infinitely more than a mere Had he been an impostor, is it likely that he would have sustained his assumed character to the last, in the midst of such acute and
protracted agonies, and with every inducement to retrace his steps? Would he have died praying for his enemies, or have been permitted by Divine Providence to exhibit those marks of supernatural character, which led even a Roman Centurion to exclaim, "Truly, this was the Son of God?" Men are wont to be sincere in the agonies of a cruel and lingering death: yet the Saviour expired without wavering from his testimony, and with his last dying breath confirming that great fundamental truth, that "God was his Father;" thus,
making himself equal with God." And if any thing were necessary to add to the evidence which this scene affords of his Divinity, it would be incidentally supplied by the dying words of St. Stephen, already alluded to; for the last solemn deposit which our Lord placed in the hands of his heavenly Father, and which could be rightly committed to none but the Creator, St. Stephen, a very short time after, implored the Saviour himself to receive; thus affording the testimony of that holy martyr, that the Redeemer, in whose cause he was expiring, was in truth" God over all, blessed for evermore."
Or do we need our faith to be strengthened with regard to a future state, and the immortality of the human soul? Here we behold the incarnate Saviour in the agony of death; his body wounded, bruised, and about to yield up that breath of life which the Creator had breathed into it; yet his soul was unsubdued; and his faith never wavered as to the future existence, the eternal duration, and the never ending blessedness of that pure and untainted spirit which he was about to resign into the hands of his Father. He did not indeed employ that exulting language which we sometimes find issuing from the lips of dying malefactors, who, if they had been spared, would perhaps have fatally proved by a relapse into sin, how little reliance is to be
placed on a hasty repentance, in the prospect of immediate death, and how much more befitting, under such circumstances, is the humble language of the publican, "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner," than the confident expressions of saints and apostles, and martyrs who had long "fought a good fight," before they thus "finished their course with joy!" But though we do not hear from the Saviour any expression of those triumphant feelings with which he has often mercifully favoured his faithful servants in their last moments, and which selfdeceivers have sometimes appro. priated, yet he exhibited a calmness, a confidence, an unshaken certainty as to the future, which ought to strengthen our faith, even more than if he had devoted his expiring moments to a formal statement of his doctrines, and the proofs of their Divine inspiration.
And O that, after His example, we may be enabled in our dying hours to commit our souls in faith and hope to our God and Saviour! And in order that such may be our blessed lot, let us begin from the present moment diligently to make our calling and election sure. Let us repair, in penitence and faith, to his all-sufficient sacrifice; let us earnestly endeavour to do his will, and fulfil his commands; and let us pray for the constant grace of his Holy Spirit for that purpose; remembering always that He died not only to bring us nigh to God by his blood, but also to purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. If called to suffer for his cause, let us imitate the example of his patience; and follow him in the thorny but salutary path of self-denial, taking up our cross daily, and treading in his hallowed footsteps. If such be our character, unspeakably great is our privilege. In all our afflictions, he is afflicted: the spirit which he committed to his Father, is still in heaven, where he forever dwells, touched with the feeling of our infirmities, pleading our cause CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 244.
at the right hand of the Majesty on high, and pouring down upon us the daily influences of his Holy Spirit. We may therefore confidently repose in him; we may look forward with devout joy to the eter nal world as having there a faithful and tried Friend; and we may tread as on the confines of a paradise, where this once crucified but now risen and ascended Conqueror, awaits our arrival. Into his hands, therefore, let us every day and hour habitually commit our immortal spirits, not knowing how soon he may summon us to his heavenly mansion, there to be like him, and to see him as he is; not as on the cross of his humiliation, but in the glory which he had with the Father before all worlds.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. ROM. i. 19, 20, is often triumphantly adduced as affirming the competence of reason, unaided by revelation or any supernatural influence, to discover the grand perfections of the Deity from the works of creation. Now, the persons who appeal to this portion of Scripture as an argument, must admit the Bible to be divinely inspired; but it will be no easy task for them to reconcile the decisive and reiterated announcements of that volume, respecting the being and attributes of God, with their own opinion as to the sufficiency of unassisted reason. Nor will they find it less difficult to account for the fact, supported not merely by the testimony of Scripture, but by the voice of all history, that, in the absence of revelation, even the wisest philosophers have been unable to attain accurate conceptions respecting the charac-. ter of the Supreme Being.
On an à priori view of the question, therefore, it appears to me improbable that the sentiment alluded to should be conveyed in the passage which is quoted in its support. A careful investigation of the sense and bearing of that passage, will
Those persons are therefore inex-, cusable, who, though destitute of a written revelation, do not act according to that knowledge of God which was communicated at the creation; and which, ever since that period, would have been brought to immediate remembrance, as well as retained more firmly, in case the visible works of creation and providence had been properly considered." (vosμeva.)
perhaps confirm this presumption. The Apostle is shewing the guilt of all mankind, both Jews and Gentiles; and from this he deduces the necessity of the Redeemer's sacrifice and righteousness, as the only medium of justification before God. In reference to the Gentiles, he begins to speak more particularly at the 18th verse: "For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness." These persons are here declared to have some knowledge of the truth, but to hold this knowledge in unrighteousness; that is, to neglect acting up to the measure of light which they possess. To explain this circumstance more largely, and to justify the Divine wrath which it occasioned, the Apostle proceeds to state, that with the distinctive attri. butes of the nature of God, namely his eternal power and Godhead, these Gentiles had already been made familiar by the Almighty himself, who has impressed on all his operations very legible marks of his character. These marks have been visible ever since the creation of the world, when an express revelation of the divine nature and perfections was no doubt afforded to our first parents. This seems to me to be the idea conveyed by the expression, аTO KTLOEWS Kоaμs: as if the Apostle had said, "Ever since the time when a direct revelation was made of the attributes of God, the works of creation and providence * have been perpetual indications and memorials of those attributes.
The above interpretation appears to me entitled to consideration, as affording, if correct, a satisfactory solution of a passage which has often been quoted with an air of confidence, in the defence of opinions apparently repugnant both to Scripture and fact.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. PERHAPS the following brief account of Mount Calvary, taken from Calmet's Dictionary and Maundrell's Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, may prove satisfactory to your correspondent QUERENS.
• It is the opinion of Schleusner, that to the words τοις ποιήμασι, rendered in our version the things which are made,' a more extensive signification is to be an nexed than that of the works of creation. "Latissime autem patet hoc loco formula τa muara Oes, ita, ut non solum opera creationis, quæ vulgo dicuntur, sed etiam omnes visibiles operationes divinas in rerum naturâ complectatur. Ps. cxliii. 5." Vide Schleusneri Lexi. con, in Ποίημα.
"Calvary or Golgotha: a little mountain to the north of Mount Sion went by this name, probably by reason of the similitude it bore to the figure of a skull or man's head," &c. &c.-Calmet.
"The church of the Holy Sepulchre," says Maundrell, " is founded upon Mount Calvary, which is a small eminency or hill upon the greater Mount of Moriah. It was anciently appropriated to the execution of malefactors, and therefore shut out of the walls of the city, as an execrable and polluted place. But since it was made the altar on which was offered up the precious and all-sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, it has recovered itself from infamy, and has been always reverenced and resorted to with such devotion by all Christians, that it has attracted the city round about it, and stands now in the midst of Jerusalem; a great part of the hill of Sion being shut out of the walls, to make room
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. YOUR correspondent QUERENS may find it difficult to obtain the precise information he wishes; for, though Calvary is currently denominated "a mount," it is not socalled in Scripture; and it cannot perhaps be absolutely proved that the mount near Jerusalem, long consecrated by tradition as the site of the crucifixion, is the exact scene of that awful event. The suppositions of travellers and pilgrims, however probable, are not conclusive evidence. At the same time they deserve some degree of weight; and as to the general fact of Calvary having been a mountain (probably an eminence on Mount Moriab), it has been so long and generally admitted, that I make no doubt the belief has originated in decisive testimony, though Quærens or myself may not have the means of retracing it. Perhaps some of your learned contributors can inform us by what ancient Jewish or Christian writers the spot of the crucifixion is called
"a mount;" a single passage to that effect from any writer of the first two or three centuries, or earlier, would fully settle the point.
Biblical scholars have also differed as to the origin of the Hebrew name Golgotha, to which the term Calvary corresponds; some supposing that it derives that appellation from its resembling the figure of a skull; others from the bones and skulls of malefactors being buried on the spot; and others from its being a place for the decollation of criminals. Happily, amidst the uncertainty that may attend many points of philological or antiquarian research, we are left in no doubt as to any essential circumstance in the evangelic history; so that whatever controversy may be raised respecting the exact site of Calvary, there can be none respecting the all-important fact, that there the incarnate Saviour offered a full,perfect,and sufficient oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world; and that all who come unto God by him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Truths like this only shine the brighter, from the obscurity which hangs around many points of merely curious and learned detail. God has made it necessary for us all to believe the Gospel, and to obey its injunctions; and these are plainly revealed: on less important topics the Scriptures are often silent or obscure.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. IN defence of Lord Byron's "Cain" it was lately urged, among other arguments, in the High Court of Chancery, that Milton, whose veneration for Christianity is unquestionable, has put language into the lips of Satan which it was contended would
justify the exceptionable passages in the poem then under adjudication. The Lord Chancellor is stated to have remarked in substance,in reply to this argument, that from a perfect recollection of the contents of Paradise Lost, having perused it very recently, he could undertake to assert that there was nothing in