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transgression; and was at the point of death. He had then been exhibited as accursed of God by reason of the transgressions which were imputed to Him. And therefore He had fully accomplished the whole will of God, all that was requisite for the redemption of fallen man from the curse of the broken law, and the wrath of God. He had done and suffered all that was required, according to the language of prophecy, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness. And He had done this in order that all who should by Divine grace be led to rely upon His finished work, His complete salvation, might be assured of the forgiveness of their sins for His sake, might partake of the favour of God, might enjoy reconciliation and acceptance with Him as their heavenly Father in Christ Jesus, might be accounted righteous before Him, and might obtain the blessedness which is the portion of those who have the Lord for their God.
These are benefits, the view of which, as bestowed upon mankind by His obedience unto death, might well occasion our blessed Redeemer with His expiring breath to utter this triumphant shout; a shout which caused the earth to tremble, and the graves to open, and the veil of the temple to be rent in the midst. The joy that was set before Him of bringing many sons unto glory, as the purchase of His bloodshedding and death, then filled the Saviour's heart; and He bowed His head in thankfulness that the work of redemption was completed; and yielded up His spirit into the hands of His heavenly Father, from whom He had proceeded forth when He came into our world. This was the will of God which He came upon earth to accomplish ; and respecting which He is represented as saying, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me; in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure ; which are offered by the law. Then said I, Lo, I come, in the volume of the book it is written of Me, to do Thy will, O God; to be the victim appointed for the putting away of sin, which the blood of bulls and goats could not effect.
We are to consider, Lastly, the feelings with which we should contemplate the truly wonderful and deeply solemn subject to which our attention is especially directed on this day. They should be feelings of self-abasement and of gratitude. In the sufferings of Christ we see the evil of sin. It is an evil of such a nature that God will not, and, consistently with the nature of His perfections, cannot pardon it without an adequate atonement. His justice and holiness require that He should not hold the sinner guiltless. The Lawgiver will not suffer His holy law to be transgressed with impunity. In what a dreadful state
prove the human race to be, which drink iniquity like water. If we have the same views of the evil of sin, as the word of God represents Him to have, we shall be deeply humbled before Him on account of our multiplied offences. We shall, as the prophet says, loathe ourselves in our own sight for our iniquities.56 We shall see how vile sin makes us before Him who is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity; so that we shall be ready to exclaim with another prophet, Woe is me, for I am undone ; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.57 As in our flesh dwelleth no good thing, we shall feel how unworthy we are of the regard and favour of Almighty God, that we deserve nothing at His hand but His displeasure; and we shall be disposed to adopt the language of Job, with penitence of heart, Behold, I am vile; I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. 58
And having this right view of ourselves, as evil in nature, and sinful in practice; and feeling our utter inability to help ourselves, or to deliver ourselves from our fallen state; we shall be grateful to Him who condescended to become our Surety, and to suffer in our stead that wrath which we deserved, that curse which Divine Justice had pronounced against the transgressor of the law of God, and which Almighty power was engaged to inflict upon him ; and which will be the eternal portion of all those who die in their sins. We shall be thankful that a way of deliverance is set before us from going into the pit of destruction. We shall praise, with our whole hearts, Him who loved us, and gave Himself for us.
56 Jobxv. 16. 56 Ezek. xxxvi.31. 67 Isaiah vi.5. 58 Job xl. 4,xlii. 6.
We shall express our gratitude with our lips, and in our lives, worshipping, serving, and obeying Him as we ought to do. We shall love Him because He first loved us. Feeling that we have much forgiven, we shall love much; we shall love His Name, we shall love His commands. We shall open our hearts to Him, and cultivate His friendship in secret, earnest, and persevering prayer.
The love of Christ will constrain us to live not to ourselves, but to Him who died for
An irreconcileable hatred of sin will be produced in us. We shall utterly detest it and utterly abhor it, because it is a cursed thing. May these feelings possess our minds as the result of our meditation on the sufferings of Christ our Redeemer. May we be humble, and thankful. May we love Him above all things, and hate all sin; and partaking of the blessings of His great salvation, may we here on earth rejoice in hope of the glory of God, and hereafter praise Him for ever.
THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST.
John xx. 8, 9.
THEN WENT IN ALSO THAT OTHER DISCIPLE,
WHICH CAME FIRST TO THE SEPULCHRE, AND HE SAW AND BELIEVED.
FOR AS YET THEY KNEW NOT THE SCRIPTURE, THAT HE
MUST RISE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD.
The ignorance which prevailed among the disciples of Christ, respecting the character of their Lord and Master, may seem to us strange and unaccountable; because we cannot easily enter into their Jewish prejudices. The nation was expecting a temporal Deliverer in the person of their Messiah ; and as the disciples of Jesus believed Him to be the Person of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write, they were