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the more strange does it appear that he should cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” How different is this language from that of the ancient martyrs! When we read the history of their sufferings, and of their last hours, we cannot but perceive an immense difference between their death and that of Jesus Christ. Their souls appear to have been inaccessible to the most cruel torments, and no complaint issues from their mouth. On the contrary, they esteemed themselves happy to be permitted to suffer for the Redeemer, and were tranquil and joyous in the midst of their pains. To discern the cause of this difference between the martyrs and the Saviour, and at the same time to perceive the nature of the sufferings, which then afflicted Jesus Christ, and produced this expression, attend to the situation in which your Redeemer then was. We had broken the just and holy law of God, and had become exposed to endless punishment, both in soul and in body. Jesus Christ, to deliver us, became our pledge and surety; consented to bear the punishment due to us, and, “ though he knew no sin, was made a sin-offering for us," and " bore our sins in his own body on the cross.” As we had sinned both in body and in soul, both our bodies and our souls were exposed to punishment; Christ, standing in our place, must suffer, therefore, both in his body and his soul. You know his corporeal pains, they have often been described to you; but in vain would

you attempt to conceive those sufferings of his soul, which caused him to utter the words of our text. Although, considered as the Son of God, he was still the object of his paternal love, yet, considered as our surety, bearing the load of our sins, he had all the terrors of the Lord set in array against him; he


was encompassed by the indignation of the Almighty; he experienced agonies which none but a God could inflict, and none but one who had the strength of Deity to support him, could for a moment have sus-. tained; by the woes which entered into his soul, while he hung upon the cross, he counterpoised the eternal damnation of so many millions of mankind. Although as the Son of God, he was assured of the favourable regards of his Father, yet, as Saviour, he was deprived of that joyful sense of the divine presence and consolations which forms the felicity of angels and glorified spirits; and his soul, pressed down by the sins of the world, felt a deprivation of the cheering light of God's favour, and made him cry out in anguish, « My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?"

This exclamation, then, is not the language of the Son of God, considered as such; since the Son of God has never been abandoned by his Father; neither is it the language of a mere martyr, who suffers and dies to seal with his blood the gospel he has preached; but the voice of the “ Lamb without blemish and without spot, slain from the foundation of the world;" the voice of the Saviour, who is experiencing not merely the bitterness of death, not merely the tortures of the cross, but tortures infinitely more severe and overwhelming that were felt in his soul, and that were inseparably connected with the propitiatory sacrifice that he then was offering ; the voice of our Surety, who remained under the frowns of the Judge of the earth, that “the propitious smiles of a reconciled Father might be vouchsafed to his people, to cheer them amidst all the afflictions of a frowning world, to gild their last moments with peace and triumph, and to consum


mate their joys in the eternal sunshine of uncreated bliss in the kingdom of God.”

But it is not sufficient for us to discover the sense of these words, and the reasons that the Saviour had to utter this pathetic lamentation. We must also see what effects it ought to produce in our hearts, what sentiments it ought to excite in our bo

This is our Second division.

1. What tender sympathy and compassion should be excited in our hearts by these sufferings of the Saviour! For do not think that because this death had been predicted and determined in the counsel of God, because it was absolutely necessary for the redemption of the world, that therefore you need not sympathize with the woes of Jesus. If he had been merely a great man, an illustrious prophet, could you without emotion see him nailed to the accursed cross? It is natural to compassionate the miseries of the unhappy. A virtuous heart suffers every time that it sees innocence oppressed, or the pious sacrificed to the hatred or vengeance of the wicked. If, therefore, Jesus Christ were, in your estimation, only a holy man, whom so many virtues ought to have rendered dear to his nation, still his punishment ought to affect you, ought to draw forth those regrets and sympathies which we never refuse to the unhappy. But, my brethren, in what manner will you view this death, when you consider it not merely as the death of a holy man, worthy of a better lot, but as the death of the Son of God; as the death of a brother, of a friend, of the most tender friend that you have ever possessed; as a cruel, accursed death, accompanied with the severest and most bitter griefs; as a death from which he might

in an instant have delivered himself, but which he voluntarily suffered for the sake of you, and to deliver you from misery inconceivable ? Judge of the weight of his sufferings by the bitterness of his cry; judge of it by the magnitude of the supports by which he was sustained, but to which in this moment he appears insensible. Jesus Christ, it is true, is nailed to the cross, exposed to the wrath of God, but he just touches the moment of his deliverance. He has endured, without complaining, the most inhuman and most barbarous treatment, and he now sees the moment approaching, which is to terminate his miseries and crown his labours; he sees the salvation of mankind almost consummated; he sees heaven opened, his throne erected, the angels preparing to attend his triumph. Nevertheless, notwithstanding supports so powerful, he is absorbed by the immensity of his woes; what he is suffering for us upon the cross eclipses from his eyes all the glory with which he is just ready to be crowned; and he cries out, “ My God, my God! why hast thou forsaken me?" What! my brethren, have you

tears and regrets to pay for the death of a child, of a brother, of a friend, who was dear to you? Have you tears to bestow on the recital of the sorrows of an unknown person, of a stranger? And can you, then, contemplate with indifference and without emotion the bitter death of your brother, of your friend, of that adorable Saviour, who has loved you more than his own life?

2. But tears and sympathy are not all that we owe to the Saviour; he demands from us also our love, our gratitude, the unreserved consecration of our hearts to him. And what love, what devotion, can ever equal the love which Jesus Christ manifested in dying for us? Though our heart should be warmed with the most ardent and tender affection; though we should consecrate to him every instant of our lives; though all our desires should be centered in him ; though our whole life, in this world and throughout eternity, should be spent in celebrating his praises, in admiring what he has done and suffered for us; do you think that you would have made an equal return for the love of Jesus ? - Greater love than this hath no man, that a man lay down his life for his friends;" and when you were his enemies, Jesus did not merely lay down his life for you, endured not only the punishment of the cross, but sorrows and agonies a thousand times more bitter than the cross itself. The waves of divine vengeance rolled over his head, and beat upon his soul, to procure for you salvation. What does so much love deserve ? Jesus Christ

himself for us; we must give ourselves to him without reserve. Jesus Christ was for our sakes forsaken of God; we must for his sake renounce our dearest attachments, and have no desire or inclination except to please and obey him. Jesus Christ has loved us more than life; we ought to give him love for love, and entertain for him an affection far superior to our attachment to any earthly object. Oh! what powerful claims has he to our undivided hearts; how dearly has he purchased them! He claims them by the blood which he has shed, by the nails which have pierced his hands and his feet, by the torments which he has suffered, by the severity of those pangs which pressed heavy upon his soul. And will you refuse these hearts which he demands of you, as the only return that he expects for all that he has done and suffered, and which he has so dearly purchased ? Will you continue to give them to the world and its vanities? No, bless


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