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then be displayed ? and as it respects us with the same fact. In our own the gains of priestcraft, what gains country we have only to look back a could be obtained when the patriarchs few ages, and we see the deluded offered the victims out of their own Druid offering his victim on the saflock? The fact is, there is no way of crificial pile. Reason could not oriaccounting for the origin of sacrifices ginate this, there is something in it but by the appointment of God. I repugnant to reason, and contrary to will refer to the first instance of sa- the best feelings of our hearts : and so crifice contained in the sacred Scrip- far from hoping this would purchase tures. “By faith Abel offered to the favour of the Deity, one might God a more excellent sacrifice than have expected it would have drawn Cain, by which he obtained witness down his wrath. Since reason therethat he was righteous, God testifying fore, could not originate this, nor disof his gifts: and by it he being dead cover the harmony existing between yet speaketh.” Here you perceive the one and the other, there is no Cain and Abel brought their sacri- other way of elucidating this fact than fices—the one was received, the other by the light that is thrown on the pages rejected. Cain brought of the first of inspiration—that it took its rise from fruits of the earth-Abel brought of the sacrifice established by God, and the firstlings of the flock. On what was a symbol of him who was the principle was it that the one was re- Lamb slain. ceived and the other rejected ? The Thirdly, The Lamb was slain inrecognition of the Supreme Being strumentally by the hands of the was the same image — the value of Jews. The sacrifice of the Son of the sacrifices was nearly equal. On God was the deepest, direst tragedy what principle was it, then, that one that was ever acted against a person, was received and the other rejected ? | not merely sustaining the negative Cain came to God as a Deist — Abel character of innocence, but who was as a believer. Cain's was an offering in possession of every virtue. The of gratitude-Abel's was an offering malice of the betrayer, the perfidy of of faith. Cain merely acknowledged the Jews, the rancour of the high the Deity as the moral governor of priest, every diabolical engine that the world—Abel acknowledged him ingenuity could invent was brought a covenant God, who had then dis- to bear upon him; and yet we have closed his purposes, which should be here a most striking illustration of the fully developed by the sacrifice on truth of Scripture.“ He maketh the the cross; “God testifying of bis wrath of man to praise him.” So that gifts that he was righteous.” The while they were giving vent to the victim which Abel offered, presented rancour of their breasts, they were to the delighted eye of his faith, the sa- carrying into effect the mysterious crifice of the cross, once offered, which purposes of redeeming love. For, by the effusion of its guiltless blood Fourthly, I will remind you that should take away the sin of the world. he was slain really by the justice of
To this early appointment of sa- God for the sins of his people. crifice may be traced all the modes Amidst the efforts of men who have of sacrificing which have obtained opposed divine revelation, none have through the world.
That they did been more frequent, nor more disobtain through the world, is' an un- astrous in their consequences, than doubted historical fact: Europe, the endeavour to explain away the Asia, Africa, and America present design of the death of the Son of God. He died, say they, simply as nerve quivered with agony—every a pattern of resignation, and by no part of his system was convulsed means as an atonement for sin.' Why in death ; yet this drew not a single then was a person of such infinite murmur from his lips, while our sins dignity chosen? How can we recon- wrung from his heart that bitter cry cile this view of the subject with his —“ If it be possible let this cup pass previous conduct and his conduct in from me.” his last moments? He had evinced Oh, my brethren, and thou, oh my fortitude such as nothing could bend ; soul, it was our sin that mingled the he had walked on the bosom of the cup of bitterness—our sin nailed him deep, and had. calmed its tempests to the cursed tree-our sin made the into peace: and yet when brought to blackest midnight of despair to kinthe concluding scene of life, this for- dle in bis soul-our sin pierced his titule appears to be gone. Hear you side and brought out blood and water. not that exclamation, Father, if it Come then, and let our eye affect be possible, let this cup pass from our heart: let us look on Him whom me?" Go to the affecting scene of we have pierced while we Calvary—see him bow his head, and III. CELEBRATE HIS PRAISE. “Worexclaim in an agony of grief, “ My thy is the Lamb to receive power," God, my God, why hast thou for- &c. And before I enter upon the subsaken me?" To say that this took ject I will confess it rises before me its rise merely from the pains of na- in all its naked majesty, and I almost ture, and the infinity of human suf- shrink from venturing on the work fering, is to underrate his character of celebrating the Saviour's praise. for fortitude, and place him below We feel disposed to imitate the conthe level of many of his followers duct of the celebrated painter of anwho became candidates for the crown tiquity, who drew a veil over that of martyrdom, and sought death in which his pencil was unable to pourthe way he suffered it. There is only tray, and left the imagination to deone way of giving a solution to lineate that which was not depicted. this moral enigma—that he was slain But if we were to be silent the very for sins not his own—that he was inanimate parts of creation would slain by the justice of God as an start up, and the very stones would cry atonement for the sins of his people, out. I would remind you, however, and that “ he bore our sins and car- of the mode in which the inspired ried our sorrows."
writers celebrate the praise of the Here for a moment let us pause, Son of God. They collect the most and reflect. There are those who energetic expressions — heap epithet will only contemplate Christ as an on epithet, and term on term; and example of excellence dying to per- their ardour rising above view, they fect that excellence. But we must can only give vent to their feelings take a different view of it. The nails by the exclamation, Worthy is the that pierced his hands, and the spear Lamb.” that cleft his heart were not half so Firsl. He is worthy of the trust and sharp as the frowns of his father's confidence of his people. His worthicountenance, which for us he bore. ness is founded on the perfection of The vinegar and the gall were not his character and mediatorial work; half so bitter as that cup of trembling for-glorious thought-he combined which he took from his father's hand. in himself all that is awful in the He was rent with wounds - every Godhead, with all that is attractive in
the man. He unites whatever is in- | tion? Jesus, the Lamb, is your friend. visible in power, and touching in Has the storm beaten on your naked goodness, and melting in mercy, and bosom—has wave after wave rolled wonderful in wisdom, and unsullied over your head? Have thy little ones in holiness: and these qualities in been taken from thee? or hast thou the Godhead and in the man are pre- consigned to the tomb the wife of thy sented to the delighted eye of adoring bosom? or hast thou taken thy station gratitude, as at once the God, the at the grave of those whom thou most Surety, and the Friend of man. Were loved? or hast thou wept at the recolhe only man we dare not trust in him, lection of joys which can never refor, “Cursed is man who trusteth in turn ? Art thou bowing thy head man, and maketh fesh his arm.” | like the bulrush to the storm – The Were he only God we dare not ap- | Lamb that was slain is thine unchangproach bim, for a God out of a medi- | ing friend: he is a brother born for adator is a consuming fire. But com-versity-he is the friend that sticketh bining in himself the Godhead and closer than a brother. He combines the humanity, our veneration for all that is powerful to save, with all the one and our confidence in the that is sympathetic to feel. other, compel us to reverence and to looking down into the grave, and into love.
all the realities of eternity? Do you And, I would remind you that we recoil from the prospect of entering have not only to trust him in his cha- on the margin of the eternal world? racter of mediator, but in the perfec-Jesus is thy friend : taking his station tion of his work; for what he is to by thy side, he declares that he is the himself, he is to his people. Delight- resurrection and the life-that he has ful thought! There is not a necessity the keys of hell and of death : opening within the verge of imagination which the door, he bids thee go down, and any in this assembly can possess, but promises that he will raise thee up for which there is an abundant source again. In short, the Saviour, whose in the Lamb that was slain. Are you character we are endeavouring to guilty-stung with remorse for the place before you is worthy of all the past, and trembling with apprehension confidence of his people. In every for the future? Do you see angry situation of life-in health and in omnipotence rising before you and sickness--in liberty and in bondage brandishing his destructive sword ? in prosperity and in adversity-under The Lamb becomes your friend: there very aspect of trouble, and in the is no guilt he cannot pardon, no im- very agonies of death, the Lamb is purity which he cannot cleanse ; and worthy your confidence and your your sins shall, through the ablution love. of his blood, be as though they had Secondly, He is worthy of the adonever been. Does sin gain the vic-ration and praise of the redeemed tory over you, and, under the burden spirits above. We are taught this of an accusing conscience do you drop from the context, in which we find the silent tear? The Lamb is your that the redeemed spirits who stand friend-Jesus has promised “sin shall around the throne join in the same have no dominion over you;" he will song. In fact, the full excellence of supply you with unremitting commu- the Saviour will never be known nor nications of the supernal influences felt till mortality shall be swallowed to resist, and will crown you with up in life. Here the extent of our success. Are you the subjects of afflic- I knowledge beclouds our understand
ing, the remains of indwelling sin “ Around the bloody tree
The wondrous sight to seewe shall see him as he is and know
The Lord of Life expire ; him even as he is known. There the And, had their eyes have known a tear, veil that hangs over our spiritual They would have wept, and dropp'd it
there. vision shall be drawn aside, and the eternal perfections of the Lamb that was slain shall stand open to your
“And when, array'd in light,
He left his dark abode, gaze, and every thing will combine to remind us of our obligations. If
They haste, in rapturous flight, we look back to this vale of tears,
Up to the throne of God; and carry the recollection to the sins They wav'd around their golden wings,
And struck their harps of sweetest strings." from which we have been released ; if we look to the eternity where no sin shall annoy, and where we shall And when the Son of God assumed associate with spirits all holy and the glories of the crown—when they blessed as ourselves,-all behind and beheld him placed again at the right before, and around and within, will hand of God, they saw the attributes combine to call forth the feelings of of Deity shining forth in a radiance rapture, and the songs of eternal praise unimaginable; they saw creation dewill fill the swelling choir, while it veloping itself in ten thousand wonrises in peals such as earth never ders, so as to illustrate the power, heard, such as heaven cannot con- and wisdom, and glory of Jehovah ; tain: “Worthy is the Lamb that was and again they struck their harps and slain.”
united in singing “Worthy is the Thirdly; He is worthy the adora- Lamb.” tion of the purest intelligences of the Fourthly; He is worthy of the final unirerse. The angels are given into conquest of the world. To this he is the hands of Christ for the spiritual entitled as the reward of his mediabenefit of his church. When Jesus, torial work. The path of suffering the Lord of angels, descended into was the road to honour, and from the this fallen world, there was an angelic cross he stepped into the mediatorial choir which announced the glad ti-government of the world; for, bedings to the shepherds: “Peace on cause he “humbled himself and beearth and good will to men.” They came obedient unto death, therefore became his attendants through every God hath highly exalted him, and scene of his mournful history; they given him a name which is above ministered to him in the desert, ga- every name, that at the name of thered round him in the path of woe, Jesus every knee should bow, and and, ignorant, perhaps, of the design every tongue confess that he is Lord, of his mission, wondered when and to the glory of God the Father.” We where and how this mystic scene see, yet, not all things put under him, would end. Their attendance in- but looking down the vale of time we creased as he approached the termi- contemplate the prospect which the nation of his course. They supported pencil of heaven, dipped in the cohis head as he agonized in the gar- lours of its own rainbow, can alone den of Gethsamane ; they clustered describe. The dominion of the glory around him as he hung upon the of the Lamb shall be continued and cross :
ever increasing: the renown of his deeds shall flow down the tide of. of his excellencies has been, you must time and be prolonged in ceaseless discover that if you have no estimarapture, even after this world shall tion for him, it is a fearful indication have been doomed to destruction. that there is a spiritual blindness
And is there a heart this morning, clouding your faculties, and an awful that will refuse to strike a chord in this obduracy in your heart. I require unearthly choir ? Is there a bosom so no other proof of the deep seated deinsensible that the excellencies of pravity of the soul, than to ascertain the Saviour have no attraction? I that it is destitute of love to Christ; ask you, and pray that you may ask and I require no more decided proof yourselves, What think you of Christ? of your being in a state of safety than Tell me what you think of him, and by your disclosing such spiritual enI will tell you what he thinks of you; livening views as will compel you to tell me what you think of him, and I unite in the exclamation on which we will tell you what you think of the have been meditating, Worthy is world, of sin, of the moral attributes of the Lamb." the Deity, of the value of your souls. Again I recommend you to study
This is the medium tbrough which the character of Christ. If you are you must discover these objects in a guilty, here is pardon; if you are practical light; but if you do it with unholy, here alone is the fountain out a reference to the Lamb, sin will that can cleanse; if you are in affichave no terrors and will awaken no tion, here alone is support: dying, disgust; the attributes of the Deity through him alone can you obtain will present no attractions; your soul eternal life. will lose its value in your own esti- May the Sacred Spirit write on mation, and eternity will be destitute your hearts, and on the tablet of your of all that grand. I beseech you minds, that which has been delivered to lay this to heart; try your charac- in accordance with his will; and his ters by this test. What think you of name shall have the praise for ever Christ? Imperfect as this exhibition and ever.
DELIVERED BY THE REV. EDWARD RICE.
AT THE PHILANTROPIC SOCIETY'S CHAPEL, ON SUNDAY, MARCH 3, 1833.
Hebrews, xi. 20.—“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.” The chapter which contains the par- and falsehood must at all times, and rative of the circumstances here under any circumstances, shock and alluded to by the Apostle, has been offend us. There is, at the same read to us this morning, and may, time, much that is highly interesting, perhaps, have excited some of those in a spiritual point of view, connected revolting feelings which the relation with the subject. I shall, therefore, is calculated to produce. Treachery proceed to endeavour to lay it before