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trines which, through his suffering life, he had inculcated, thou shouldest acknowledge, in the holy fervours of a faith like that which animated the Centurion beholding at the cross the magnanimity and patience of the crucified Redeemer—"Truly this was the Son of God.”
At the altar, therefore, O my soul, thou art called to commemorate the sufferings and death of a divine Teacher, whose magnanimity, fortitude, and patience, while they claim thy fervent love, gratitude, and homage, are powerfully calculated to confirm and exalt the ardours of thy faith. Contemplate the gross ignorance of all the interesting truths and duties connected with the spiritual welfare, hopes, and destination of man, which envelo, ped the world before this divine Teacher rose in the splendour of celestial truth and knowledge. Contemplate the impious superstition, the cruel rites, the debasing crimes, which overspread the world before this Son of Righteousness, by the lustre of his beams, chased before him the clouds of idolatry, error, and vice. Then turn thy view to the glorious revelation which Christ promulgated, to the splendid lustre which it sheds on all the duties and all the hopes of man, on every religious and moral truth, which can awaken his desires or his fears, which can conduce to his present or eternal welfare. In the revelation of Jesus Christ, the ardent desires of the soul, seeking the path to duty and bliss which a blind and erring reason in vain endeavoured to discover, are fully gratified-the way is tracked out, with luminous lustre, to the throne of God-light and glory burst from the mansions of the tomb. O my soul, adore with lively gratitude and faith the divine Teacher who hath sealed to thee these glorious truths and hopes by the testimony of his blood. While the tears of lively sympathy and sorrow are shed over the sacred memorials, which recall to thy remembrance the unparalleled sufferings of thy blessed Lord, let' the altar be also the hallowed throne where thou dost present the grateful vows of obedience to that divine Teacher who, from the terrors and agonies of the cross, sends forth light, life, and immortality to the world.
THE PRAYER. O MOST merciful God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to be our divine guide and teacher, to lead us from the darkness of ignorance and error into the light of thy truth; grant that the contemplation of his patience, his resolution, his magnanimity and fortitude under the various sufferings which assailed him, while it awakens my lively gratitude, may serve to cherish and confirin my faith in his glorious doctrines. May the ardent, the disinterested, the persevering zoal, which the Saviour displayed in encountering the malicious calumny and persecution with which his relentless enemies repaid him for his benevolent instructions, excite at once my admiration, my gratitude, and steadfast confidence. I bless thee, most holy Jesus, that thou wast not deterred from the prosecution of thy tlivine work of enlightening and restoring fallen
man, by the sufferings and persecutions that assailed thee-by the prospect of the ignominious death which was to close thy infinite labour of love. I bless thee, most holy Jesus, that by the shedding of thy precious blood in attestation of the glorious truths thou didst promulgate, thou hast afforded the highest evidence of thy sincerity, thy disinterested benevolence and zeal. O may I evermore love and serve thee as a divine and beneficent teacher, who, in proclaiming and establishing the glorious revelation of mercy and grace, consulted only our peace, our welfare, our instruction, and everlasting consolation ; and generously sacrificed thy own ease, comfort, happiness, and life. O may the commemoration of thy sufferings and death, in thy holy supper, recall to my awakened feelings the infinite condescensions of thy love, the painful sacrifices, the awful conflicts, which thou didst sustain in the establishment of that dispensation of grace, by which thou hast shed the rays of immortal truth and glory on a blind and perishing world. Receiving, with humble gratitude and faith, the memorials of thy love, may I resolutely and fervently devote myself to thy service. Evermore following the light of thy divine instructions, and regulating my life by thy celestial doctrines and precepts, may I thus evidence the sincerity of my gratitude, my faith, and love; and seek, in some measure, to make amends to thee for the contumely, scorn, and suffering, with which, while on earth, thy benevolent labours were repaid. Othou eternal light of the world, “send forth thy light and truth. Let them lead me, let them bring me to thy holy hillto God, my exceeding joy,” to the blissful fruition of the excellency and glory of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for ever and cver. Amen.
Thankful remembrance of the Death of Christ Charity with all Men.
Thou hast been gratefully contemplating, O my soul, the sufferings and death of Christ, as affording affecting and powerful evidence of the divinity of his mission and the truth of his doctrine.
Turn now thy view to the sufferings and death of Christ as an all-sufficient expiation and atonement for sin.
The sufferings of Christ, considered as the infinite price of the ransom of a guilty world, rise to the highest importance, and claim our profound adoration and love. From the gloom of suffering and sorrow, the virtues of magnanimity, patience, and fortitude, shine forth with the most affecting lustre. Contrasted with the horrors of that hour when, in the agonies of death, aggravated by every painful circumstance of reproach, insult
, and ignominy, our divine Instructor closed his suffering life; how resplendent and endearing appear the mild and submissive patience, the ardent and benignant love which he displayed. Bursting from the cloud of suffering which envelops the cross, the holy Jesus appears clothed with the radiance of divine glory, and with irresistible authority proclaims to the world the everlasting dispensation of grace, and imposes the immutable rules of truth and duty.
But when, with the authority of a divine Instructor, we connect the mercy and power of an almighty Redeemer, the sufferings and death of Christ, which before inspired admiration, gratitude, and confidence, will penetrate us with emotions of the most profound adoration, and will excite the liveliest fervours of love, the most ardent triumphs of faith. A Redeemer, who, in sustaining the penalties of sin, rescues us from its awful condemnation; who, in sinking under the stroke of death, breaks the sceptre of the relentless tyrant ; who, in yielding for a short period to the dominion of the prince and powers of darkness, bursts the chains which they had cast on guilty man; a Redeemer, who, from the cross which was the ignominious scene of the temporary triumphs of his foes, displays the banners of victory, and“ proclaims liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that were bound;" a Redeemer, who thus turns ignominy, suffering, and death, into triumph, victory, and glory, presents a display of divine power, which, while it transcends our feeble comprehensions, should excite the fervours of adoration and love.
Contemplate then, O my soul, the sufferings of Christ, as the price of thy redemption.
View thyself as fallen from that rectitude and glory which distinguished thy primeval state,