Obrazy na stronie


To the prophecy here alluded to was added

a sacramental type of the death (not of the a Sermon,

birth, but of the death) of Christ : a sin-offerBY THE Rev. Geo. AYLIFFE Poole, B.A. ing was appointed, and slain, and accepted; Assistant Minister of the Episcopal Chapel of Saint Jolin and this anticipatory rite was continued the Evangelist, Edinburgh.

through all succeeding ages up to the very ISAIAH, liii. 11.

event at which it pointed. But, excepting a “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be mistaken saying of Eve at the birth of Cain, satisfied."

no allusion appears to have been made to the The death of Christ, which, together with its birth of Christ, or to any thing else that consequences, is the subject of the remark- should occur to him in his human nature. able passage from which the text is taken, is, As the sacred narrative becomes more beyond all question, the most important event | minute, and as it gradually assumes the form to us, in itself, and in its issue, that ever did, of a history of a peculiar people, chosen to or ever shall, occur. And, proportionate to

bear an especial relation to Christ, the menits vast importance hath been the notice tion of that divine person, or the allusion to which it hath received from the beginning of him in types, becomes far more frequent and the world ; is, we would hope, the attention express : but still we find the same compathat it now obtains throughout Christendom; rative care taken to keep alive the knowledge and will, we are sure, be the interest with that he was to die for men, rather than that which it shall be celebrated through all the he was to be born, or to rise again, or to ages of eternity

ascend into heaven for them. These, indeed, Prophets and kings, even heathen princes, are not forgotten. His birth is predicted in have afforded subject for inspired prediction a few of the most remarkable and the most or narration ; and their actions have not been express prophecies of holy writ: his resurrecunnoted, nay, their names have not been un- tion is hinted, not obscurely, in some places : pronounced, ages before their appearing : the and his ascension is described with unrivalled very enemies of God have been thus foretold, magnificence by the Psalmist, in a hymn which and their rise and destruction have been may be perhaps, at least, for its grandeur, placed among the signs of the times that are is worthy to be, sung by his attendant saints to be:-- but not one of these has been thus when they enter with him into his kingdom: distinguished for his own sake, but only be

---but the death of Christ is every where and cause of some influence which his existence, always the central point, around which all the or character, or power, or actions, or death, rest is ranged ; and at no time is there wantwas to exert, as an instrument in the hands ing prophecy upon prophecy, type upon type, of the Almighty, upon the state of that sacrament upon sacrament, to maintain the Church which shewed forth, by a thousand expectation of this event, and to manifest its types and shadows, the death of Christ till he paramount importance in the destinies of should come to die ; or of the Church which man, its immense prominence in the counsels doth now shew forth the same death of of Jehovah. Christ, until his coming again in glory. And And when Christ was come, what did he thus are Christ and his death the ultimate speak of most, as well to his disciples, as to scope even of those parts of holy writ which his subjects of a higher kingdom--his death, seem at first sight to refer exclusively to or his ascension and glory? And when he other persons and events. I say Christ and had risen again, and his disciples, full of the his death; for, observe the degree of notice enlightening influence of the Spirit, went which has been given to Christ's death, com

forth to evangelise the world,—which, of all pared with that which has been afforded to the things that they had to say and to write any thing else which relates even to him. of their divine Master, was poured with most True it is that the birth of Christ was foretold frequency and earnestness into the ears of by Jehovah himself to our first parents on

their audience, or filled the largest portion of the very day of their transgression, and in their rolls of inspired narrative ?-which, but the very article of their sentence; but so was

the sacrifice of the death of Christ ? also his death, and that just as clearly as his And in after-ages, when pious men, and birth ; both being foretold in such terms as

wise and holy bishops and fathers, set apart rather asked than precluded farther revela- for themselves and for their flocks appointed tion, yet so as to be received by the guilty times to celebrate the mysteries of our repair, to their instruction, and comfort, and demption, for the instruction and edification hope, that they might live

of the Church and of individuals, what, but “ Both in one faith unanimous; though sad,

the death of Christ, was most prominently, With cause, for evils past, yet much more cheered though all were fitly commemorated ? With meditation on the happy end."

Shall we descend to the experience of individuals ? What, then, is the mystery of satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous godliness by which our attention is most servant justify many; for he shall bear their frequently and most entirely engrossed ? The iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a porincarnation, the doctrine, the grave, the rising, tion with the great, and he shall divide the the ascending with the clouds of heaven, the spoil with the strong ; because he hath poured session at the right hand of the Father of our out his soul unto death : and he was numbered divine Master, -all these are not forgotten; with the transgressors; and he bare the sin but they are for their set times, or for occa- of many, and made intercession for the transsions which excite feelings more entirely har- gressors." monising with them, or when some particular In the ever-blessed Son of the virgin (we truth is to be exemplified, or some particular may suppose the evangelical prophet to dehope to be excited, or some particular bless- clare) was no wrong, either in heart, in word, ing to be realised : but the death of Christ is or in action ; for though, indeed, he took our for all times, and all occasions, and all pur- nature upon him, and was born of a woman, poses: it is the seal of all our blessings; it yet was he without sin, either original or is the point of all our meditations ; it is the actual. Equally before men and before God assurance of all our hopes; it is the pledge was he without guile ; yet was it the will of of all our blessings.

God that he should suffer persecution, afflicAnd in heaven, what was, and is, and shall tion, death, even a judicial sentence and exebe, the song of praise of the redeemed, and cution ; men whom he had never injured, of the elect angels ? Surely it must be of nay, whom he came to save, being permitted the birth of Christ, when he went to assert by God, whose beloved and obedient Son he his right to rule over us; or, perhaps, of his was, to treat him as a malefactor. resurrection, when he was “declared the Son But for what end was this wonderful of God with power;" or, better still, we might power given to sinners to destroy a righteous suppose of his ascension, when he led “ cap- | person ? And what was to be the final tivity captive," and triumphed over every conquest of good, which is ever God's own opponent, and sat down for ever on the cause, in this mysterious occurrence? That throne of his kingdom of glory. But, no: righteous person died, not for himself; his their song is, and shall be, of his · DEATH. soul was made a propitiatory sacrifice, and Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to he became the Lainb of God, which taketh God by thy blood out of every kindred, and away the sins of the world. He did, indeed, tongue, and people, and nation; and hast bear all the sins of all mankind in his own made us unto our God kings and priests; and body, being made sin for us, that we might we shall reign on the earth.” “Worthy is become, through his bloodshedding, perfectly the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, righteous : on him did the Lord lay the iniand riches, and wisdom, and strength, and quities of us all, and from him did he require honour, and glory, and blessing.”

them. And what, my brethren, are the effects of Gracious in all this was the purpose of the death of Christ, which render it worthy Jehovah ; gracious to all mankind, who should of such marked attention throughout every not wilfully reject his mercy, through this age of the world, and even in eternity itself? | very death of the holy and the just One, exOf these effects I shall not now attempt a tended to them ; gracious even to the sufferdetailed account ; for, indeed, this would be to ing Jesus himself, in his human nature and attempt in one discourse to unfold the whole mediatorial character. For he shall see a Christian scheme --- for all Christianity is an seed, a great multitude, of all ages, and effect of Christ's death. But some of those nations, and people, and languages, receiving consequences of that event which are, or pardon, holiness, heaven, through his death. ought to be, visible in the world, and in the And the glory of these, together with their hearts of each, I shall now (praying for the Redeemer, shall have no end : they shall progracious help of the Holy Spirit) endeavour long their days, and the gracious purpose of to describe.

Jehovah towards them shall never fail, nor And this I shall do, first in the words, sleep in its progressive manifestation. and then in a moderately expanded para- For this it was that Jesus poured out his phrase of the latter part of the fifty-third soul in behalf of the transgressors : and this chapter of Isaiah, in which the text occurs. being accomplished, he shall be satisfied. " It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath Great as was his humiliation, his sorrow, his put him to grief: when thou shalt make his suffering; cursed as was his death ; low as soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he lay in the grave, and deep as was his he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of descent into the regions of darkness; he the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall shall yet see, in the consequences of all this, see of the travail of his soul, and shall be sufficient to reward him amply for all his

endurances, and to fill' his soul with exulta- | than this, in indelible characters, on the tion and triumph. For the knowledge of all hearts of every one of us. these his sufferings shall be spread over all " What, then," you may perhaps say, "have nations, and the saving health of God among we, as individuals, to do with those parts of all people; and by this knowledge and grace that prophecy which speak of the diffusive shall many be justified ; shall many, who glories of Messias, and with the splendour of were sinners, receive the pardon of God; his reign? That is, what, except as a matwho were unholy, obtain his sanctifying grace; ter of sentiment, to affect us as we are afwho were advancing through successive gra- fected by the history of some glorious enterdations of evil to eternal death, rise, through prize, in which our nation or our prince was successive stages of virtue and purity, to the gloriously successful, but in which we, ourperfection of life and glory : for Jesus shall selves, had no part; and which has made us bear- -yea, in his own body on the tree, hath neither richer, nor better, nor happier as inborne - the iniquities of us all.

dividuals; and which we may hear of, and Neither shall there be any limit to his do- that with pleasure, day after day, without minion, nor any end to his greatness, nor becoming more loyal and more patriotic ?" any measure of his effulgence. “ Nations I see, my brethren, as well as you, the differshall come to his light, and kings to the ence between such a sentiment of national brightness of his rising; and all the king- pride, and the possession of a character such doms of the world shall become the king- as would sustain a nation's glories. I admit doms of God and of his Christ:" peoples shall the possibility, and even probability, that the be divided for his prey; he shall spoil prin- most pusillanimous may warm at the recital cipalities and powers; and all shall see his of glorious and perilous adventures; and that triumph, when he shall make a show of them he who would betray his country to-morrow openly. Like lightning shall Satan fail from for a bribe, may applaud, to-day, with no heaven; and the temples in which he has faint voice, the virtues of a patriot; or boast, deluded mortals upon earth shall afford him with real gratulation, the blessings and the no refuge; but in chains of darkness shall splendour of a peaceful and well-governed he be reserved, until the judgment of per- state. I will admit this ; and would even petual burnings shall be executed upon him. suffer the coward, and the heartless, and the The hearts of men shall be subdued; and selfish, to rejoice still, and to be warmedl every thought that exalteth itself against and excited at the recital of glorious deeds Jesus (erewhile the persecuted and the and virtuous counsels; and to declaim and murdered) shall be brought down; the looks exult at the splendour and prosperity which of the proud shall be brought low; and all they dared not defend, and blush not to benations shall see it, and shall be confounded; tray: I would permit all this, so long as the and all faces shall gather blackness ; and the situation of such persons involved no duties Lord alone shall be exalted, and shall reign which their weakness or villany would prefor ever and ever.

vent their performing ; and conferred no inAnd all this glory shall the man Christ fluence which their baseness and venality Jesus receive, because he poured out his could employ to evil purposes. soul unto death, condescending, for purposes But without a rebuke I would hear none of mercy, to be numbered even with trans- profess ajoy in the glories of Christ's kingdom, gressors; yea, to bear the curse of trans- who has not, in his own bosom, the graces gressors, both as that curse was blasphe- and the virtues, in the wider diftiision of mously imputed by men, and as it was which those glories are discerned ; nor to righteously exacted by God. For herein exult in the safety of the army and polity of he bore the sin of many, and ascended to the his saints, who does not personally partake hcaven of heavens, with his own blood upon of that safety, through faith in his Rehis breast, in token of a completed atone- deemer. In the army and the kingdom of ment; and there, in the presence of God, Christ, it is not circumstances and positions once for all, made intercession for sinners; that give importance to a character which and was heard by Jehovah, who had ap- would otherwise be unimportant. The traipointed all these things as means of re- tor to his Lord is a traitor to his own perdiconciliation with a fallen world, and of the tion, though he involve the spiritual interest salvation and glorification of all who would of no other being in his fall; and in the eyes by faith present the death of Christ as of God, the kingdom of heaven, which is their sacrifice, and live to his honour and composed of individuals, is as much augglory.

mented or diminished by the standing or All this, my brethren, and more than this, falling of one individual, as hy the standing is involved in the words of the prophet : or falling of another, however different in and all this should be written, and more our eyes their apparent situation. Christ

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who will come to be glorified in his saints, | fied by faith, we have peace with God, and to be admired in all them that believe, through our Lord Jesus Christ ; by whom will be as much glorified and admired in a also we have access by faith into this grace peasant as in a monarch, provided that their wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the characters be as equal as their earthly posi- glory of God." tions are unequal. And he who ruleth And let us ask ourselves, brethren,--at the preme in the affairs of men, and determines time when Christ shall come in luis glory, and the lot of each, will judge us, not according all the holy angels with him ; when he shall to the splendour of our actions, any more say (I mean not in words--for I presume not than according to the splendour of our situ- to look behind the veil which is drawn before ation; and if the character, the' vital prin- the details of the last great scene ; but when, ciple, the spiritual life was in us, which with the loud and appalling voice of circumwould have made us greatly virtuous in situ- stances, he shall say) to every nation and ations which give opportunity for the display people, to every Church and communion, ot' brilliant virtues, we shall stand together yea, to every individual soul, “ For your sins with the greatly virtuous, being rewarded, was I humbled, persecuted, despised, buffeted, , not according to the occasions which were spit upon, scourged, mocked, and crucified ; withheld, but according to the characters and when thus I suffered, it was the chastisewhich were given to us.

ment of your peace that was upon me ; and I With the individual it is every thing, that looked to see of the effects of my sufferings he himself, according to his opportunity, ex- in your salvation, in your repentance, in your emplifies the virtues that he admires, and love, in your obedience, in your glory: but possesses the privileges that he boasts. When where is the travail of my soul? Why are the wrath of God had gone out against the there so many myriads of myriads before me, rebellious Israelites in the desert, and thou- who have never yet received one of these sands were falling before the plague ; and spiritual blessings; and who remain still to when Aaron took a censer, and stood between be reduced to obedience -an obedience no the dead and the living, to make an atone- longer of love and of joy, but of force, of ment for them,--some might have occupied fear, and of horror ?" themselves (as some most certainly would To such a question some may say, “ Lord, have occupied themselves, had the deliver- we lived aliens by our birth from the Church ance been a spiritual and future, instead of a in which these things were preached plainly, temporal and present deliverance) in boasting or in types represented; and never heard of the privileges of a nation, whom God thus ihy name, and never knew that thou shouldst visited in mercy, in the midst of judgment, save us, or how we should seek thy salvainstead of hastening for their lives to that tion." And it is not past presumption, that part of the camp which was before Aaron. such an appeal may be heard, as not wholly Such persons would have been cut off in the unavailing in remission of sins of ignorance. midst of their rejoicing and boasting -a meet Some may say, “ Lord, obscurely were those reward for their folly and infatuation! And things that thou hast done and suffered what, then, will be the meet reward of the shadowed forth to us; we understood not folly and infatuation of those, who in their the meaning of the prophecies ; and while we own persons deny the power, or slight the brought sacrifices, as the law required, we mercies, of God in Christ, while they magnify saw not in the type the shadow of the Antihis titles as a conqueror, and profess to type. We see our fault; we seek that rejoice in his office as a Saviour and Inter- remission from thy mercy, which thy justice, cessor ?

in its unmitigated severity, might withhold. No, brethren; every consequence of Christ's And it is within the compass of possible surdeath is a subject of individual feeling and mise, that these too may be judged as having experience; and as such it must be received, received little. Others may say, "O Lord, before its influence in the world in general, thou knowest our weakness, and what it is to and through distant ages, can afford occa- suffer thou canst tell. Thy name was preached sions of holy exultation. And as the justifi- to us, and we recognised the voice of truth ; cation of men is the fruit of Christ's death, but the fires were gleaming around, and the and satisfies his soul for all his travail and cries of martyrs were heard from amidst the sufferings ; so it is the justification of him- flames; and the frequent roar of the wild self as an individual, which is the proper beasts told of another victim to their fury ; effect, for which each should look, from the and the sword was wet with the blood of thy death of Christ. And having obtained this, saints ; and the air was tainted with their he may indeed rejoice; and his rejoicing need crucified bodies: but, alas, that we thought not be limited by the contemplation of his not how much better it had been to endure, own individual blessings; for," being justi- as fearing Him who is invisible, than to seek to save our lives at the expense of all that from the parochial divisions to which they are severally could make eternity endurable !" I dare not

attached, --and so covering every nook where it is assert it, but mercy may plead for such as wanted, that a law or a regulation, public or private, these. Once again : some may come reeking shall penetrate. And, accordingly, it is difficult to with the blood of sacrifices to an idol-god, or

frame an act of parliament for any improvement whatthemselves bearing the wound of the priest's

ever in our internal economy, without some appeal murderous knife; and may say, “Lo! our

or other in it to the services of the clergy: services religion was no careless, no indifferent ser

which they never undertook to discharge, but which,

when required of them, they discharge cheerfully, vice; we were in bondage, and how did we

under a feeling that, whilst the nation, without any long for a redemption ! And when some

distinction of creed, maintains a church establishcame to us with tidings of a salvation which

ment of which they are the ministers, they owe to the we might share, though the death had been

nation, without any distinction of creed, whatever serborne by another, how did our hearts beat

vices their favourable position in society enables them with joy! The messengers of such tidings

to afford. Thus, if the government is called upon to were to us as ambassadors from God; but

meet any emergency, any national visitation or disthey came not alone, their companions too

tress, the clergy are the organs of which it avails itself called themselves Christians, and we looked

to act upon the prudence, the energies, the benevoat their lives, and found them polluted with lence of the people. If the government has occasion every crime ; we saw into their hearts, and

to ascertain the life, the identity, the character, the we heard their words, and there was malice, conduct of persons who have claims upon it, say soldiers and calumny, and fraud, and blasphemy. or sailors, it resorts to the clergy for its information, Our children fell beneath their murderous as the readiest and most trustworthy it can procure. hands, and our possessions were torn from If the government has need of any statistical details, us, and our kingdom was no longer our own,

such as may conduce to the public welfare, the clergy and our very persons were fettered and en- are the quarter to which it chiefly looks for satisfacslaved. And with such men were we to tory intelligence. If, again, in private life, friendly bend at one altar, and obey one Lord, and societies have need of certificates of the bonú fide sicklook for one heaven?” Shall such an appeal

ness of their members on their application for relief, be heard at the bar of eternal justice? I

the signature of the clergyman is that they insist on. say not that it shall be heard ; but if it be

If the soldier or the sailor has any communication on not, what availing plea shall we make, if we

his part to make to the War-Office or the Admiralty, be found among the outcasts from God's

it is to the clergyman that he repairs for assistance and grace, because we died outcasts from Christ's

advice. If a poor man falls under any family disaster,

his limb broken, his pig dead, it is to the clergyman that kingdom?

he goes for a testimony to the truth of his tale and the Brethren, judge yourselves. Ye have the

fairness of his fame, and that testimony secures to knowledge of God set before you in a thou

him the help of the district in which he lives. If the sand different ways : ye have his word and thrifty cottager wants his little earnings deposited in sacraments-ye have his ministers—the pro- the savings-bank, to the clergyman he confides it, to mise of his Spirit: ye have no obscure types negotiate the matter for him. If he desires to have to interpret : ye fear no persecutions : ye his frugal will made, that the trifle he possesses may know the fallacy of every attempt to malign be secured to the parties whom he loves best, it is the the Gospel of Christ, through his unworthy clergyman that he solicits to draw it out. These are servants. What, then, shall you say for but a mere sample of the little services of a hundred yourselves, if Christ see not in you, every kinds which the clergyman renders to the country at one of you, of the travail of his soul? If, large, as a free gift, quite independently of his minishaving Christ manifestly crucified before you, terial duties, and without any reference whatever to ye yet count his cross a stumbling-block or creed, sect, or sentiment; so that none but the clergy foolishness, and reject his proffered mercy,

themselves, or those who happen to be under their and refuse your demanded allegiance ?

roof for a season, and witness the numberless calls of this sort that are made on them, know how very large

a portion of their time is occupied in such vocations VALUE OF A NATIONAL CHURCH AND as these; and none but they, whilst they are so enCLERGY.

gaged, can feel the full injustice of the hard measure

which is dealt out to them in these days by that very It is a great public convenience, independently of the

public for whose welfare they are spending themselves question of religious instruction, to have in a nation a body of individuals of the station, class, and character

in unostentatious, but most effectual, toil. Yet their of the clergy-safe men, upon the whole, to trust--in

capacity to do all this, and the justice of expecting it

at their hands, arise entirely avd altogether out of telligent from their education--pledged to good behaviour from their profession--known in their several

their being ministers of a national Church ; and sure districts from their functions--at hand from the ne

we are that such good offices to the nation at large cessity of fixed residence-universal in their presence

are far more than a set-off against the payment of rates,

which in turn are exacted from the nation at large, • From the Quarterly Review.

the only pecuniary support the nation lends to the

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