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into the abyss of blindness, depravity, and guilt. Regard thyself as having forfeited the favour of that merciful Being whose favour is the only source of bliss, as obnoxious to the indignation of that Almighty Sovereign, whose frown awakens misery and despair. Ah! when thou art thus abased by the conviction of thy guilt and wretchedness, thou wilt be able to estimate the full value of those unparalleled sufferings by which the Son of God achieved thy rescue. Yes, “ while we were yet sinners,” in a state of rebellion against the Supreme Majesty of Heaven, of perverse contempt of the goodness of our Almighty Benefactor—while our crimes and impiety called for the arm of divine justice to crush us, the infinite love of God prompted the wonderful purpose of our redemption; and “Christ," the eternal Son, clothed with our nature, “ died for us." The poverty, the scorn, the persecution, the ignominy, the agonies of the cross which overwhelmed him, were the punishments due to our sins they were the price of our redemption. Blessed Jesus, we transgressed the righteous laws of our God, and thou, innocent and guiltless, didst sustain the penalties due to our crimes. We incurred the sentence of divine justice, and thou, the immaculate Lamb, didst sink under its avenging curse. We were enthralled by the chains of the prince of darkness; thou didst sustain the shock of his fiery assaults, to rescue us from his dominion, We were bowed down, the captives of death, the tyrant of our race; thou didst overcome death, and open the gate of everlasting life.
Oh! profound mystery of love, that calls for the deepest adoration, for unceasing and lively gratitude! O my soul, is it possible for thee to contemplate, without emotion, the agonizing sufferings which the Redeemer sustained, in effecting the glorious purpose of his lovethy redemption from guilt, and misery, and death? The heir of guilt and wretchednessshall not the sentiments of holy gratitude be excited to the gracious Redeemer, who, by offering himself the victim to divine justice, expiates thy guilt, and consoles thee with the offers of mercy and pardon? Bound by the chains of sin and death, wilt thou not celebrate, in triumphant strains, the grace of that Almighty Conqueror, who, by the shedding of his blood, hath purchased thy redemption from this degrading bondage? Doomed, through transgression, to sustain the opposing cares, the painful changes of this vale of sorrow, and destitute of the consolatory assurance that, beyond the mansions of the grave, a day of rest and peace shall dawn upon thee-Oh! shall not the jubilee of praise be directed to that divine Saviour, who, having passed through the valley of the shadow of death, hath chased from it the spectres that hold in it their reign, and opened to thee a passage to immortal glory?
Thật thankful remembrance of the death of Christ, with which it is thy duty always to commemorate his love in the holy supper, will be most strongly cherished by frequently considering the state of condemnation and misery from which the Saviour, by his death, redeemed thee; and the exalted blessings which, through his mediation, are conferred upon thee. Accustomed ever to consider the cross of Christ as the fountain whence flow all thy spiritual hopes and consolations, it will be endeared to thee as the pledge of thy salvation; and at the altar thou wilt fix the eye of grateful faith on the Lamb of God, who, by the sufferings and death there commemorated, hath taken away the sin of the world.
Let the awful exhibition of divine justice in that sacrifice which, under lively symbols, is set forth at the altar, impress thec, O my soul, with a sense of the inflexible indignation of God against the impenitent transgressors of his laws. If God withheld not the sword of his justice, though it penetrated the bosom of his beloved Son, clothed, in the person of man, with the sins of the world, will he spare the impenitent sinner who defies the awful display of justice, and contemns the affecting manifestation of divine mercy which the cross affords?
But if thou art deeply penitent for thy offences, and sincerely disposed to renounce and forsake them, approach the altar ; and while thou dost there contemplate the lively memorials of the sufferings and death of thy Lord,
thankfully celebrate the triumphs of his cross by which thy redemption was effected. From the cross, where an all-sufficient victim satisfies the claims of divine justice, beams that mercy which diffuses joy through the troubled spirit. There flows that precious blood which will wash away the stains of sin. In the agonies of the Lord of life, the exactions of divine justice are fulfilled to the uttermost. The righteous Judge of heaven and earth, beholding the authority of his laws, which had been violated, fully vindicated, extends the sceptre of mercy to the penitent offender. Oh! then, my soul, let the altar which conveys to thee the merits and blessings of the cross, ever witness thy humble penitence, thy grateful recollection of that ignominious death, which was the price of thy salvation. And when the sacred elements, received by lively faith, convey to thee the strengthening virtue of the body and blood of Christ, let the ardent expressions of gratitude ascend to that God who, on the throne of mercy, is reconciling the world unto himself to that immaculate Lamb who was slain and offered an all-sufficient victim, to redeem thee by his blood.
The grateful contemplation of the sufferings and death of Christ should also impress on thee that spirit of humility, patience, and universal charity, which the Saviour eminently displayed, and which are the characteristics of his true disciples.
The sufferings of Christ afford a brilliant
attestation of the truth of his doctrines. They present a still higher claim to our gratitude, and become still more endeared to our grateful remembrance, by their infinite efficacy as an all-sufficient expiation of our sins and guilt. And they further demand our grateful recollection, as impressing upon us, in the most powerful and affecting manner, the great and important virtues which will assimilate us to our divine Master-humility, patience, and universal love.
In order to behold a striking exhibition of the meek and lowly spirit of the Christian calling; in order to correct those false ideas of religion, so grateful to corrupt nature, and therefore so generally entertained, which represent its sacred claims as entirely compatible with the gratification of the aspiring, the proud, and the revengeful passions of the heart; in order to contemplate a noble and affecting display of uniform resignation, persect patience, and exalted love, under afllictions the most severe, injuries the most poignant, and persecutions the most implacablewe must contemplate the character of the blessed Jesus, and follow him through his suffering life.“ He grew up as a tender plant and as a root out of the dry ground. He had no form or comeliness; and when we saw him, there was no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. He was oppressed and he was afflict