Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

miliation and wo for far nobler purposes than to excite a weak and idle pity. Even at the moment when he was advancing to execution, he exhorted those who grieved for him to reflect rather upon themselves; and now that he is in the regions of glory, he cries to us in much louder accents, “ Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves."

” 1. Plant yourselves then at the foot of his cross, and let your sympathy be converted into a holy indignation against those sins in which you have indulged. These were the true executioners of the holy Jesus; these rioted in his agonies, and crushed out his life; these kindled those flames that could be extinguished only by his blood; and will you still practise and love these iniquities ? Ah! dare you still retain them, and suffer them to reign in your hearts, notwithstanding the awful display of God's hatred of them that is given in the tremendous sacrifice of Immanuel ? If “ God spared not his own Son,” will he spare thee, thoughtless sinner, who triflest with the blood of the cross, and cherishest the murderers of Jesus? If sin be not mortified within thee, thou must in thine own person encounter those flames which consumed this precious sacrifice; upon thine own head must descend the thunders which here burst upon the Saviour. Art thou able to endure them? Ah! far better had it been for thee never to have been born, than to fix thy view upon the cross, and yet remain impenitent.

But why, on an occasion which recalls to us the amazing grace of God, and in the presence of that holy table where charity is enthroned and pleads with sinners, do I present considerations to appal and terrify? Let me rather urge you by tender motives; let me hope that you will feel the constraints of love: look to the suffering Jesus, and if you are not destitute of every generous feeling, the mercy that is here displayed, must melt your heart, and cause you to renounce and hate all sin. Say to yourself, Can • my

sins be as dear to me, as the eternal Son was to the Father? And if for me the Father gave his Son to agonies unutterable, shall I esteem it hard at his command to abandon the ways of iniquity? When the Son of God has been so gracious as to lay down his life for me, shall I ungratefully retain those sins which he hated more than all the shame and torture which he endured on their account? Surely, my brethren, if we are not lost to all that is tender, ingenuous, or grateful, reflections of this kind must touch our hearts, and cause us to exclaim with the apostle, “ The love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead ; and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them and rose again.” (2 Cor. v. 14, 15.) “ The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works." (Tit. ii. 11-14.)

2. Mourning penitents! approach to the cross of Jesus, that you may obtain the pardon of your offences, and repose to your agitated consciences. “ Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” From the thunders rolling against you from Sinai, seek an asylum on Calvary at the foot of your expiring Saviour's cross. To the awful denunciation against the sinner, “ Cursed is every one who continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them,” oppose the louder · accents of Jesus, “ It is finished :" the law must be observed, its curse must be executed; but this curse has been borne by me ; justice has dyed its sword in my blood; and your redemption is accomplished.' Say with a holy confidence, • Is it true that my sins are so many and aggravated, that no created power, not even the angel that stands next the throne of the Lord, no humble and continued prayers, no floods of tears, no years of penance, can remove their guilt ? But had I all the sins which are on earth united in my person, still from a bleeding Saviour I could find mercy. Since “ it is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, even the chief of sinners," I will not despair. On his grace I will cast my soul: on his cross I will hang my sins and my fears. “ Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me whole."

3. Children of affliction, look to the suffering Jesus, that you may be comforted in your sorrows, and cheered in your discouragements. “Consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." To the infinite mercy which, as God, your Redeemer possesses, is added that sympathy which arises from a participation of your woes. “Since then you have not an highpriest, who cannot be touched with a feeling of your infirmities, but one who was in all points tempted as you are, yet without sin, go boldly to the throne of grace, that you may obtain mercy and find help in time of need.” Are you exposed to reproach

grace to

and contempt, to the sneers of the ungodly, and the scoffs of the wicked ? Look to Jesus, execrated, derided, and cursed, “ scorned and rejected of men.” Are you

afflicted with inward griefs, with sorrows of soul, with darkness and desertion? Look to him, who, w in the days of his flesh, offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto God;" who exclaimed, “ My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death;” who, in his mysterious dereliction upon the cross, cried, “ My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?” Does the world attempt to terrify you by its violence, or seduce you by its allurements ? On the cross you see Jesus-undauntedly braving its fury, and trampling on its gilded vanities. From the habitation of his holiness he looks down upon you, and says, “ Thus was I oppressed and tempted: and these my children suffer for my sake and not for their own.” Is your reputation slandered by the ungodly? Ah! how much severer were the reproaches that were cast upon the holy Jesus! Are you in a lowly situation in life? Mark the deep abasement of the Redeemer, and bless God for those enjoyments which you possess, and which were denied to him.

Whatever may be your calamities, go to the cross; there you will learn, as did Paul, to rejoice in your sufferings. There

you will learn, as did the first believers, to exult even in tortures and upon racks, to defy the malice and the power of earth and hell.

4. Dying men, look to the expiring Saviour for consolation and direction. Precious as he is at all times, his name is doubly dear on the threshold of eternity. Like him, employ the time that may yet be granted to 'you, in “ finishing the work which

your Father hath given you to do;" like him, employ

[ocr errors]

your last moments for the glory of God, for the consolation and instruction of those around you, in

prayers for your enemies. Then, in your closing hours, you may say, · Father ; by this endearing name I am emboldened to address thee, through the covenant ratified by the blood of thy Son: Father of my Saviour, into thy hands I commit my unworthy spirit : through Jesus I trust thou wilt receive it as thou didst his holy and innocent soul.'

Communicants, when you commemorate the death of Jesus, think then of your own, which is rapidly approaching. Since we know not whether some of us will not be in the eternal world before we have another opportunity of celebrating this sacred festival, let us, while we hold in our hands the consecrated symbols, commit our souls to God, and with faith and fervour supplicate his protection, his grace, the application of the blood of his Son, and the manifes. tation of his love in the last struggles of nature; só that when Jesus shall come as our judge, and cry again with regard to time itself, “ It is finished ;" we may rise with joy from our tombs, and advance with humble confidence to his throne.

It would be delightful to expatiate longer on this subject; it will not be exhausted by eternity itself. But we must pause; for our Beloved calls us to come and put a new seal to our covenant and our hopes. Yes, we will come to begin on earth the business of heaven, to unite our gratitude with the hallelujahs of the redeemed, and to celebrate that Jesus, who lived among men to bless them, who died to redeem them, who reigns to receive and crown them after their departure from earth.

« PoprzedniaDalej »