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ous men desired to see, but could not; the day for which the earnest expectation of the creature, long oppressed with ignorance, and bewildered in superstition, might be justly said to wait.

V. This was the hour of Christ's triumph over all the powers of darkness; the hour in which he overthrew dominions and thrones, led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. The contest which the kingdom of darkness had long maintained against the kingdom of light, was now brought to its crisis. The period was come, when the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent. For many ages, the most gross superstition had filled the earth. The glory of the incorruptible God was every-where, except in the land of Judæa, changed into images made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and beasts, and creeping things. The world, which the Almighty created for himself, seemed to have become a temple of idols. Even to vices and passions altars were raised; and what was entitled Religion, was in effect a discipline of impurity. In the midst of this universal darkness, Satan had erected bis throne; and the learned and polished, as well as the savage nations, bowed down before him. But at the hour when Christ appeared on the cross, the signal of his defeat was given. His

kingdom suddenly departed from him ; the reign of idolatry passed away: He was beheld to fall like lightning from Heaven. In that hour, the foundation of every Pagan temple shook. The statue of every false God tottered on its base. The Priest fled from his fall, ing shrine ; and the Heathen oracles became dumb for ever.

As on the cross Christ triumphed over Satan, so he overcame his auxiliary the world. Long had it assailed him with its temptations and discouragements. In this hour of severe trial, he surmounted them all. Formerly he had despised the pleasures of the world. He now baffled its terrors. Hence he is justly said to have crucified the world. By his sufferings he ennobled distress; and he darkened the lustre of the pomp and vanities of life. He discovered to his followers the path which leads, through affliction, to glory and to victory; and he imparted to them the same spirit which enabled him to overcome. My kingdom is not of this world. In this world ye shall have tribulation : But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. *

Death also, the last foe of man, was the vic

* John, xvi. 33.

tim of this hour. The formidable appearance of the spectre remained; but his dart was taken away. For, in the hour when Christ expiated guilt, he disarmed Death, by securing the resurrection of the just. When he said to his penitent fellow-sufferer, To-day thou shalt be with me in Paradise, he announced to all his followers the certainty of heavenly bliss. He declared the cherubims to be dismissed, and the flaming sword to be sheathed, which had been appointed, at the fall, to keep from man the way of the tree of life.* Faint, before this period, had been the hope, indistinct the prospect, which even good men enjoyed of the heavenly kingdom. Life and immortality were now brought to light. From the hill of Calvary, the first clear and certain view was given to the world of the everlasting mansions. Since that hour, they have been the perpetual consolation of belierers in Christ. Under trouble, they soothe their minds ; amidst temptation, they support their virtue; and in their dying moments enable them to say, O death! where is thy sting? O grave ! where is thy victory?

VI. This was the hour when our Lord erected that spiritual kingdom which is never to

Gen. iii. 24,


end. How vain are the counsels and designs of men ! How shallow is the policy of the wicked! How short their triumphing! The enemies of Christ imagined, that in this hour they had successfully accomplished their plan for his destruction. They believed, that they had entirely scattered the small party of his followers, and had extinguished his name and his honour for ever. In derision, they addressed him as a King. They clothed him with purple robes ; they crowned him with a crown of thorns; they put a reed into his hand; and, with insulting mockery, bowed the knee before him. Blind and impious men! How little did they know, that the Almighty was at that moment setting him as a King on the hill of Sion; giving him the Heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession! How little did they know that their badges of mock royalty were at that moment converted into the signals of absolute dominion, and the instruments of irresistible power! The reed which they put into his hands became a rod of iron, with which he was to break in pieces his enemies ; a sceptre, with which he was to rule the universe in righteousness.

The cross, which they thought was to stigmatize him with infamy, became the ensign of his renown. Instead of being the reproach of his followers,

it was to be their boast and their glory. The cross was to shine on palaces and churches, throughout the earth. It was to be assumed as the distinction of the most powerful monarchs, and to wave in the banner of victorious armies when the memory of Herod and Pilate should be accursed; when Jerusalem should be reduced to ashes, and the Jews be vagabonds over all the world.

These were the triumphs which commenced at this hour. Our Lord saw them already in their birth; he saw of the travail of his soul, and was satisfied. He beheld the word of God going forth, conquering, and to conquer ;

subduing, to the obedience of his laws, the subduers of the world; carrying light into the regions of darkness, and mildness into the habitations of cruelty. He beheld the Gentiles waiting below the cross, to receive the Gospel. He beheld Ethiopia and the Isles stretching out their hands to God; the desert beginning to rejoice and to blossom as the rose; and the knowledge of the Lord filling the earth, as the waters cover the sea. Well pleased, he said, It is finished. As a conqueror, he retired from the field, reviewing his triumphs: He bowed his head, and gave up the Ghost.From that hour, Christ was no longer a mortal man, but Head over all things to the Church ; the glorious

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