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inviting him, and thus, possesses means of grace which the thief, crucified with our Lord, did not enjoy, until he suffered with his Saviour. We have in him indeed, a glorious pattern of that mighty and amazing transformation, which the free riches of almighty grace can effect upon the soul of a sinner, under circumstances the most unpromising, and in the very hour of death: bụt then it hath been well said, that it is
a pattern without a promise.” God hath given no engagement, no assurance, no hint, that He will continue to act thus. How tremendous a folly therefore, must it be to neglect salvation, in its passing hour of mercy, by neglecting its inviting author, as though repentance might be commanded, by us, to ourselves; or, as though the Holy Ghost were compelled, amidst the distractions of a dying hour, to apply the blood of sprinkling to our hearts, and make us complete in Christ. Most assuredly, if we have only a minute to live, and we have grace given, whereby to embrace
Christ by faith, our eternal life is sécurefor that promise stands unchangeably the same, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” But woe to him who refuses Christ now, and plunges himself into the soul-appalling hazard of dying in his sins. The monuments of mercy were never set up in Scripture, to be encouragements of presumption. True it is, that God in Christ can easily forgive sin. Glory be to the all-sufficient sacrifice, that made it easy to Him; consistently with his justice. But it doth not therefore follow, that he who lives a sinner, and an infidel, shall die in the full possession of that forgiveness. God's extraordinary acts are meant peculiarly to magnify his glory ; but were not intended as the rule of man, who has a rule in Scripture, which warns him against delay, and a voice there, which cries, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” He who puts off his repentance, and will not seek for pardon by the blood of Christ, until the very last, in reliance
this example of the sovereignty of mercy, whereby God signally glorified the death of his dear Son, turns that to his poison, which God intended for the immediate food of his soul, unto its immediate salvation. He acts just as a man would act, who should forsake the bridge, that would carry him over Jordan, and go through its depths to his drowning ; expecting a miracle to dry it up, because it was once dried up, before the children of Israel, at God's command, and by a manifestation of God's love and power to his ancient people.
JESUS LIFTING UP HIS SOUL IN PRAYER
TO A WITHDRAWING GOD.
MATTHEW XXVII. 46.
AND ABOUT THE VINTH HOUR, JESUS CRIED WITH A LOUD VOICE, SAYING, ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI ? THAT IS TO SAY, MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME 3
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God:” but the Holy Ghost seems, in an especial manner, to have directed the attention of the Christian world to this awful cry, the fourth which the Lord of glory uttered on the cross, by recording it in that mixture of Hebrew and Syriac, in which it was spoken ; that so, the very words which fell from the lips of Christ,
LIFTING UP HIS SOUL IN PRAYER.
might be preserved, to show the deep and dreadful agony of soul, whereby they must have been forced from Him. And most assuredly we take a very erroneous, a very imperfect, and a very unworthy view of the vicarious agony of the Lamb of God, in offering Himself to the Father, if we consider them to have consisted, either merely, or 'mainly, in an outward and bodily passion. “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity, but a wounded spirit who can bear?”
The intensity of our Lord's agony on the cross, as well as in Gethsemane, arose from the oppressive and overpowering sense of the justice of Almighty God, against those iniquities, of which He bare the atonement, in his own body, on the tree: and they were such, as nothing could have rendered tolerable, except that infinite sufficiency, whether for acting or suffering, which the perfect union of the Godhead with his humanity provided. Divine desertion, generally considered, is God withdrawing Himself, not