Imatges de pàgina

however stupified, yet troubled and agitated with guilt. This is the curse which goeth forth over the face of the whole earth, and secretly appals the proudest, and flashes in upon the hardest, through all their steel and adamant, convictions which shake the soul with terror. Nor from this pressure of unpardoned sin has man ever found, nor will man ever find deliverance but by the blood of Christ. Let men affect to despise the Gospel and seek to persecute its ministers and stifle its light; that Gospel has in their bosoms a ministry they cannot resist, a radiance they cannot extinguish; and even while his hands are reeking with persecution, the jailor exclaims, what must I do to be saved. Let men plunge into excesses, and seek in vice and revelry to drown the forebodings within, the fearful looking for of judgment; though they dig into hell, saith the Lord, there will I search them, though they dive into the sea, there will I command the serpent, and it shall bite them; and amidst all his delirious carousals Belshazzar's countenance changes, and the joints of his loins are loosed, and his knees smite one against another at a hand-writing which he cannot read.

In a word, let men seek by mere repentance to atone for guilt, it is in vain. Everywhere the imploring cry is heard, Wherewith shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before the bigh God; shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old; will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil; shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin ‘of my soul? And blood, blood, flowing in every land, altars groaning with victims, hecatombs smoking with gore, lacerating books and torturing pilgrimages, the reddened axles of Juggernaut, and the wail of anguished woman on the Ganges, proclaim the inefficacy of repentance to give peace to the conscience.” The great want of a guilty world is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. To that the fingers of a thousand prophets pointed, and that the smoking victims of a thousand altars typified. From Adam down to the days of the Savior it was held up as the only bope; and from his crucifixion until now it was preached as the only hope; and down till the latest generations of time it will be preached as the only hope. And, blessed be God, from the rude altar which wicked soldiers 1800 years ago planted on Mount Calvary, there floats down a voice, saying, “ Look unto

'Baptist Preacher for 1846, p. 134.

me all ye ends of the earth and be saved !" Out of those cries, and tears, and bloody drops came a blessing which millions sought but never found, and which is now waking up the voice of praise to the ends of the earth, and putting shouts of halleluia into the lips of the dead! And where the knowledge of the Savior's sacrifice has not yet gone, it would not be extravagant to say, the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for its manifestation, and the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together for a deliverance which it alone can effect. Aye, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is “the desire of all nations”_" the pearl of great price.”

Let us secondly, look at the sacrifice of the Savior as a monument of the Divine glory. The heavens, in all their varied beauties and vast and boundless magnificence, proclaim the glory of God. But this far outshines the wonders of the skies. It is to the Lord emphatically for a crown of glory and for a diadem of beauty. In two ways does it exhibit the Divine glory; first by furnishing an imperishable monument of his perfections, and secondly by securing the allegiance and everlasting services and praises of millions of aliens and rebels.

The sacrifice of Christ will be unto the Lord a bright and imperishable monument of his love. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in bim should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Nowhere else did this perfection receive such a complete and tender exemplification. This was love which overlooked the most aggravated causes of alienation and hatred, it prompted to the most astounding humilia. tion and suffering, it described the wide disparity between offended heaven and guilty earth, and looks to the salvation of uncounted multitudes from the death of sin and their exaltation to the sublimities of everlasting life. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us.” Behold, and say, was ever love like this!

It will be to the Lord a monument of his power. The work of creation itself does not display a more wonderful putting forth of his power. A word called a world into existence; but a word could not call it back when it had wandered from its orbit. It re. quired a far more wonderful expedient. I

It will be to the Lord a monument of his justice. The lightnings which blasted rebel angels, and the awful thunders ever rolling in

the prison-house of the damned, speak the language of Jehovah's justice; but the tears—the groans—the dying agonies of the great Redeemer give to this attribute a voice more awful still. If God spared not his own Son when he was found in the room and stead of sinners, if the awful mandate went forth, “Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd;" how deep and eternal must be his abhorrence of sin, and his purpose to punish it? Surely, while the glad notes of salvation are being chaunted on the plains of glory, there will be a voice mingling in the song, and crying to the universe, “ Stand in awe, and sin not.”

The sacrifice of Christ will also be to the Lord a monument of his wisdom. How wonderfully it brings together conflicting principles without touching upon the rights or honor of either. How gloriously it dispenses pardon to the criminal, and at the same time authority and grandeur to the law. One has said, “ when man sinned, methinks holy angels struck their harps in plaintive strains, and cried, alas !. he is gone. They had seen the direful effects of sin before--they had seen it seize upon angelic-natures, and thin the ranks of heaven; and when man sinned, doubtless they expected that man would share in a similar doom. How can it be otherwise? Will God cease to be just? Will he suffer the honors of his government to be trampled in the dust? Perish such a thought

It cannot be. Methinks, it is repeated from world to world, it cannot be; and echoed back in dismal strains it cannot be. Then man is lost, forever lost! Amid this consternation, a voice is heard sweeter than the voice of an angel, or the harp of a seraph—it comes from him who is the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of his person. “Lo I come! to do thy will O God! I will take the sinner's place. In my bosom shall the sword of justice be sheathed. I will make the great atonement.' What new mystery is this? Angels stooping from their lofty seats in glory, desire to look into it. And in all parts of the universe the song is sung, O the depths of the riches, both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” 1

But to form a complete estimate of the glory which the Redeemer's sacrifice brings to God, we must also take into the account that

new song” which none could learn but they which are redeemed

as this.

[ocr errors]

'Baker's “Christ the Mediator," p. 23.

from the earth, and which is to be sung before the throne in the midst of heaven's bright orders forever and ever. Surely it brings glory to God in the highest !"

Finally, let us briefly look at the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the great subject of the christian's glory. There have been those in all ages of the christian era who have looked upon the death of Christ more as a thing of contempt than of glorying. It has been singled out as the thing most notoriously prominent in infamy. In the eyes

of many, it was the death of a criminal-of an odious traitor-of a detestable impostor-of a vile slave. The Jews looked upon it as of all things the most cursed. The Gentiles viewed it with thrilling scorn and contempt. Nevertheless, the holy apostles were not ashamed to preach “ Christ and him crucified;" and the cross has ever been the christian's bighest glory.

And the christian glories in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, because it is the great foundation of his hopes. Because the Savior died, be believes that his ten thousand damning sins have been atoned for and forgiven, and that the hallowed smile of his reconciled God beams on him. Because the Savior died, he anticipates death with the glad belief that it is not an eternal sleep, and marches to his tomb with all its damps and horrors, as the place wherein to dress himself for heaven-as the attiring room for corruption to put on incorruption and fit him for the beatific vision. And because the Savior died, he looks forward with transporting hope to the day when he shall be clothed with the unsullied habiliments of glory and join with the glittering throngs of the ransomed in ascribing "Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb."

He glories in the sacrifice of Christ again, because it is the great consideration which urges him to obedience and faithfulness to God. There is a very affecting incident recorded by the great Roman historian connected with the death of Manlius. When the Gauls were threatening to overwhelm the capitol, at night he stood upon its walls and fought hand to hand, until he had repelled them and saved the city. Afterwards he was accused; but the capitol towered in sight of the forum where he was tried, and as he was about to be condemned he stretched out his bands and pointed weeping to that arena of his triumph. At this the people burst into tears, and the judges could not pronounce sentence. Again the trial pro

ceeded, but again in the same way it was defeated; nor could he be convicted until they had removed him to a low spot from which the capitol was invisible. And so, my brethren, while the cross is in view, vainly will earth and sin seek to shake the christian's loyalty and devotion. One look at that bloody monument of a love which alone and when all was dark and lost interposed for our rescue, and all their efforts will be baffled. Low must he sink, and blotted from his heart must be the memory of that deed, before he can become faithless to bis Redeemer or perfidious to his glory. There is a power in the cross which crucifies him unto the world, and crucifies the world unto him-it is the great propelling motive to holiness and love the source of those sweet streams which water the flowery Eden of the church.

Yes, there is glory in the cross. It was a glorious Savior who died upon it. It was a glorious love which led him to die. It was a glorious object to redeem a world. And it is unspeakable glory which it has secured for the righteous. Oh, who would not glory in such an instrument—in such a badge! Who would censure the apostle for that bold and vehement expression, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Wealth he no doubt once had at his command-his learning was vast and his genius mighty-authority, honor and power were within his reach, but he gloried only in the cross. Heaven grant that we may be animated with the same magnanimous spirit!

My direction then is, my hearers, if you wish to find the only sufficient sacrifice ever made for sins, go to the cross of Jesus. There

you will find it flowing with virtue free and exhaustless as the love which provided it. If you wish to have the fullest and most glorious exhibition of the perfections of God, go to the cross of Jesus. There you will find lengths and breadths and depths and heights in the Divine government, and the Divine nature which the universe never previously beheld. If you wish to find a subject in which to repose your confidence and honor without fear of ever coming to shame, go to the cross of Jesus. It is this in which apostles, and martyrs, and reformers gloried, and in which ransomed millions in heaven are this day glorying. And if you wish to find the consideration to melt and move your hard and faithless heart, go to the cross of Jesus. Meditate upon the awful scenes of Calvary, and look at the sufferings of the blessed Son of God to save

« AnteriorContinua »