Page images

all depend? What had become of Christ's seed and his portion, if he had made no offering for sin, if he had not poured out his soul unto death? On what account could the Holy Spirit have been given, to fit men for heaven, if Christ, by his blood, had not removed the curse, and obtained eternal redemption for us? What joy in God, what peace in ourselves, what rejoicing in Christ, what hope of glory, could we have had, if Christ had not put away sin by the sacrifice of himself? In short, take away a crucified Christ, election would be fruitless, redemption a nullity, justification and adoption but a fancy, yea, the whole Gospel but a mere fable.


CHRIST was then led forth to be crucified. What an awful scene! He hangs, like a malefactor, between two thieves! For a while, his enemies gloat upon their victim with cruel delight; they taunt and mock him, and glory in his sufferings. The agonies of the victim become more and more awful; darkness covers the earth; and it only clears away to reveal the catastrophe. He utters the piercing exclamation, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Then there is a short pause; then the hour is come; then the tragedy closes. "Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up the ghost."

HE DIED! This fact combines in it all that is interesting in the past, the present, and the future. HE DIED! This involves alike the interests of time and of eternity. HE DIED! This fact is not to be regarded as an event of a private or limited nature. We are to look at the proximate and immediate causes of it, and to regard all that is connected with it; and

thus we shall find in it all that is imposing, interesting,

and sublime.

J. Parsons.


THE doctrine of the atonement is not only a truth, but THE truth: it is not essentially a part of the Gospel, it is THE Gospel. To preach the cross, to preach Christ crucified, to preach the atonement, and to preach the Gospel, is precisely the same. In all the ordinances of religion; in all the promises and precepts of the Gospel; in the experience of the saints militant on earth, and the saints triumphant in heaven; THE ATONEMENT is all in all. We are redeemed through the blood of atonement; we are pardoned through the blood of atonement; we are sanctified by the blood of atonement. Jesus suffered that he might atone. We cast down our enemies and triumph through his blood; and if ever we join the company of the redeemed above, our robes must be "washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb."

W. Thorpe.

THE two great ends of public justice are, the glory of God, in connexion with the general good of his creatures. It is essentially necessary, to the attainment of these ends, that the authority of the government of God should be supported, in all its extent, as inviolably sacred. That one jot, or one tittle should in no wise pass from the law; that no sin of any kind, or in any degree, should appear as venial: that if any sinner is pardoned, it should be in such a way that, while it displays the divine mercy, shall at the same

time testify the divine abhorrence of his sins. All this is gloriously effected in the Gospel, by means of the atonement; by the substitution of a voluntary surety, even of him whose name is Emmanuel, to bear the curse of the law in the room of the guilty: in his substitution we see displayed, in a manner unutterably affecting and awful, the holy purity of the divine nature; for no testimony can be conceived more expressive of infinite abhorrence of sin, than the sufferings and death of the Son of God. Here too we behold the immutable justice of the divine government inflicting the righteous penalty of a violated law. It is to be considered as a fixed principle of the divine government, that sin must be punished; that if the sinner is pardoned, it must be in a way that marks and punishes the evil of his offence. This is effected by substitution, and as far as we can judge, could not be effected in any other way. In inflicting the sentence against transgression, on the voluntary and all-sufficient surety, Jehovah, while he clears the sinner, does not clear his sins; although clothed with the thunders of vindictive justice against transgression, he wears, to the transgressor, the smile of reconciliation and of peace; he dispenses the blessing of mercy from the throne of his holiness; and while exercising grace to the guilty, he appears in the character, equally lovely and venerable of

"The sinner's friend,
And sin's eternal foe."

In this way, then, all the ends of public justice are fully answered. The law retains its complete unmitigated perfection-is magnified and made honourable; the dignity and authority of government are maintained, and even elevated; all the perfections of Deity are gloriously illustrated, and exhibited in sublime

harmony, while the riches of mercy are displayed for the encouragement of sinners to return to God. The solemn lesson is at the same time taught by a most convincing example, that rebellion cannot be persisted in with impunity, and motives are thus addressed to the fear of evil, as well as to the desire of good. Such a view of the Divine Being is presented on the cross, as is precisely calculated to inspire, (and to maintain too with a power which will increase in influence the more closely and seriously the view is contemplated,) the two great principles of an holy life-the love and the fear of God, filial attachment, freedom and confidence, combined with humble reverence and dread.

Dr. Wardlaw.

LET us suppose some poor debtor, owing a considerable sum, and for want of payment cast into prison; a generous friend, pitying his condition, discharges the whole debt, and releases him from confinement; and not this only, but bestows upon him splendid apparel, with thousands of silver and gold; introduces him to court, and recommends him to the royal favour; procures his advancement to the highest honours, and puts him in possession of the grandest preferments. Where now is the disgrace of his imprisonment, and where are the distresses of his insolvent state?

Such is the case with regard to us sinners, and our most gracious Redeemer. He has paid inconceivably more than we either did or could possibly owe. Being God, the true God, the infinite and eternal God, his payment exceeds our debt, as much as the waters of the great deep exceed the small drop of a bucket. Doubt not, therefore, poor sinner, that fliest for refuge to this all-glorious Saviour: doubt not, but thy sins, though more virulent than all plagues, are done away;

and death, though he be the king of terrors, is abolished; this abolished, and those done away, before such an ocean of grace and merit, even as a spark of fire is extinguished, when plunged into the abysses of the sea.



AN evidence of the wisdom of God in the cross of Christ, is that the doctrine of it is designed especially to counteract the very sin by which man originally fell. Man fell by pride, he is restored in a way of humility. He fell by self dependance, he is saved by self renunciation. We lost ourselves by a vain desire after wisdom, we return to God by the foolishness of the cross. As we sinned by presumptuous curiosity, the wisdom of God humbles us at the very root of the tree of knowledge, and compels us to renounce the pride of our understanding, and submit to faith. Every thing connected with the cross of Christ, opposes the reigning evil of our fallen hearts. Human wisdom receives not this doctrine. Human pride comprehends nothing of it. Repentance begins in humility; faith moves in its proper atmosphere, claiming nothing but from the undeserved mercy of God: prayer is the breathing of humility; justification is a free gift; salvation is of grace; holy obedience is the fruit of submission; every step, every act, every duty, every feeling of a Christian, all his humility. Sin has changed the way to happiness. In the first, God wished to draw men to a knowledge of himself, by the use of their reason, and the consideration of the wisdom

« PreviousContinue »