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the right? We know, for instance, from consciousness, that outward actions, which often appear good to others and have apparently a good tendency, spring from motives that conscience cannot approve—and we know the reverse. We know also, that overt actions, both good and bad, amount to very little, compared with what their authors would do if they had the capacity and the means. Moreover, we instinctively associate the intention or motive of a man with his actions. We condemn the actions of some and laud those of others, simply because of the character of the intention which we suppose prompted their performance. The same with our own conduct. Our consciences approve not of any act we put forth because it seems good to others, but simply because it was intended as good by ourselves.* If the whole world condemn our conduct, conscience will smile upon us, if the motives which have controlled us be pure. But should our actions, on the contrary, awake the hosannahs of the age, our consciences will damn us if they have not sprung from motives in accordance with our convictions of the true, the beautiful, and the good.
Secondly: This method of judging character urges the most vigorous discipline of the heart. The productions depend upon the soil, the streams upon the fountain. Look well therefore to the soil ; keep the fountain pure. “Keep thy heart with all diligence,” &c. The parts which the actor on the open stage performs with such striking effect before the gaze of applauding thousands, he has, many times before, acted over and over again in solitude. So with overt crimes. Those deeds of atrocity that shock for a time the feelings of a whole age, the perpetrator has acted several times before, in the hidden regions of his own foul heart. Be earnest then in the culture of the heart. Let life's unremitting prayer be :-“Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Thirdly: This method of judging character suggests unexpected revelations on the day of judgment. All men
* Dr. Wayland's Moral Science, Section III.
will appear in new and strange lights then. We are told that we are to give an account of all things done “in the body. Whether this little preposition was intended to express the idea we are attaching to it or not, the idea itself is undeniably true. What we have done by the body is trifling indeed, compared with what we have done in it. All that each man has done in his body will be revealed in the eternal sunlight of retribution. What is the history of your conduct ?— The mere catalogue of your outward muscular deeds ? I tell you nay, it includes the unexpressed wishes, the inarticulate longings, the unwrought purposes of the heart. And what is the record of your outward life to this? What ?—What is one short verse of the Bible to the great thousand-chaptered book itself? It is for all, on that great unsealed book, that you will have to answer when you are called to give an account of all the things done in the body. Great Heavens! What revelations there will be at the day of judgment !
Another aspect in which I shall look upon this language is :
II. AS INDICATING THE ENORMITIES WHICH CORRUPT MEN
In the history of this world which teems with crimes, the crucifixion of Christ stands forth with pre-eminent enormity. Political tyrannies under which empires have groaned, through the round of many centuries ; Religious superstition and Priestcraft with their bloody inquisitions, their torturing racks, and fires of martyrdom ; War-hell's chief offspring, which has desolated the fairest portions of the globe, dyed oceans with blood, and hurled millions into eternity-all these are an aggregation of crimes whose enormity no finite intellect can estimate. But great as they are, are they to be compared with the crucifixion? No ! sooner compare atoms in the sunbeam to the cloud-capped mountains that block out the great sun itself. Every sinful passion you can conceive of was brought out and worked to its utmost tension to accomplish this crucifixion. I may say
that cross which gracious Heaven designed to bear
the guilt of the world, required all the guilt of the world to erect.
Now, our point is that this crowning crime, corrupt humanity everywhere is capable of perpetrating. In illustration of this I make two remarks :
First : That the feelings which effected the crucifixion we may find everywhere in the hearts of depraved men. They pulsate in the bosoms of the men and women around us.
Let Who were the instigators of the crucifixion ? “The Chief Priests and the Pharisees," moved the nation to the deed. What was the feeling that stimulated them ? It is said that Pilate, who condemned Him, knew that they delivered Jesus to him from “envy." They were envious of His growing popularity, and grew malignant as they saw the people turning away their attention from them to Him. The resurrection of Lazarus from the dead seemed first to call out this feeling into practical determination. Then from that day forth “ they took counsel together for to put Him to death.”
Is not envy prevalent now ? Merchant envies merchant, statesman envies statesman, sect envies sect, even preacher envies preacher, and author envies author. This passion burns everywhere. The infernal fire which flamed in the breasts of these Chief Priests and Pharisees, smoulders with more or less intensity in the breasts of all. Who betrayed Him? It was Judas! But what prompted him to do so ? Was it any unkind feeling towards Christ ? Was it malice ? The overwhelming distress he experienced when he heard that Christ was delivered to be crucified unmistakably shows that it was no malign impulse which inspired his treacherous deed. No, it was simply love of money.
“What will ye give me?” was the question. It was a pure matter of cash. If he could have had a larger sum for protecting his Master would he not have done so more readily? He would have stood by the cross to the last moment and fronted with a defiant bearing the wild fury of the mob, had sufficient silver been offered. Is this passion extinct ? Extinct ! Never did it reign and rage more than now. “What will ye give me?” is the great
question. “My time and influence, my mind and muscles," says the Englishman,' are yours for money." who neglects duty for gain, who suppresses a truth, or sacrifices a principle, for interest is a modern Judas. Who condemned Him ? Pilate. Why? Did he believe Him guilty? No! Before the Chief priests, the Rulers, and the people, he repeatedly declared that he “found no fault in him ;” and after he had, contrary to his conviction, pronounced the sentence, he called for a “ basin of water” in the open court, and thus symbolically corroborated his verbal declaration :- -“ I am innocent of the blood of this just person.” No, his conscience declared His innocence. It was the fear of becoming unpopular. He attended to the voice of the populace rather than to the voice of his own conscience. He thought more of popularity than of principle. Does not this sentiment prevail now? Are not the great bulk of mankind governed more by conventioualities than by convictions ?-disposed ever to relinquish what is true for what is popular ? The spirit of Pilate is common. What induced the people to cry out for the deliverance of Barabbas rather than Christ? Did they feel in their consciences that Barabbas was a better man? No. They preferred brute force to moral. Barabbas may be considered the type of the one, Christ of the other. Barabbas was a seditious person, a thief," a murderer," a man of physical daring, violence, and blustering pretence. They yielded to him. Is not this common. “Who,” to use the language of Archer Butler, “are the chosen of our race, whom poetry crowns with its halo of glory, and every young imagination bows to worship? Who but the laurelled Barabbasses of history, the chartered robbers and homicides that stain its pages with blood ?” Remove the conventional discredit from the weaker thief, exalt him to the majesty of the military despot, and who now will not vote for Barabbas ? Let the man who is imprisoned for a petty theft, or condemned to be hanged for one murder, rifle whole cities and lay ten thousand dead upon the battle field, and this Barabbas shall receive the loud plaudits of a whole nation. This brutal feeling in a people is indicative of the lowest moral degeneracy, and is the sure pledge of ruin.
Honour," says Carlyle, “ Barabbas the Robber, thou shalt sell old-clothes through the cities of the world; shalt accumulate sordid moneys, with a curse on every coin of them, and be spit upon for eighteen hundred years. Raise statues to the swollen Gambler as if he were great, sacrifice oblations to the King of Scrip ;—unfortunate mortals, you will dearly pay for it yet. Quiet as Nature's counting-house and scrip-ledgers are, no faintest item is ever blotted out from them, for or against; and to the last doit that account will have to be settled. Rigorous as Destiny ;-she is Destiny. Chancery or Fetter Lane is soft to her, when the day of settlement comes. With her, in the way of abatement, of oblivion, neither gods nor men prevail. • Abatement ? That is not our way of doing business; the time has run out, the debt it appears is due.' Will the laws of gravitation abate' for you
? Gravitation acts at the rate of sixteen feet per second, in spite of all prayers. Were it the crash of a Solar System, or the fall of a Yarmouth herring, all one to gravitation.”
Who were those soldiers that nailed Him to. the cross, that plunged the spear into His side, that wagged their heads and mocked Him? What was the spirit that stimulated them ? A miserable servility towards their superiors. They did it to please their masters. This flunkeyism runs through all classes-one class bowing and cringing to those above them; the class next to the throne the most servile of all. Courtiers with emphasis are they.
Without proceeding further into details, I say that I can find nothing in the breasts of any of those men who were employed in the crucifixion, that I cannot find now in the hearts of the men about me.
Secondly : That similar circumstances would probably lead to a similar development. Let a being appear amongst us similar to Christ, and these existing germs of evil would probably develop themselves in as aggravated a form as they did at the crucifixion. Suppose the son of an humble