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to reason, but against which reason has no title to repine.
The gospel does not tell us that Jesus Christ, considered as nailed to a cross, as suffering, as dying, is worthy of adoration, but in virtue of his intimate union with Deity, that he is an object of adoration to men and to angels. This is a mystery inaccessible to reason, but against it reason has not a title to reclaim. · The gospel does not tell us that man, a being so mean, vile, grovelling, could have merited this prodigy of love; but that God has derived it from himself, as an independent source, and that he considers it as essential to his glory, to acknowledge no other foundation of his benefits, but the misery of those to whom he is pleased to communicate thein. This is a mystery inaccessible to reason, but against which reason has not a title to reclaim.
6. There remains only one idea more, under which we wish to represent the death of the Saviour of the world. It is the triumph of Jesus Christ ov r death, and the consolation of the dying believer. Death may be considered in three points of view. (1.) It throws us into the darkness of gloomy night. (2.) It summons us to appear before a tremendous tribunal. (3.) It strips us of our dearest possessions. Jesus Christ expires on the cross, triumphs over death, in these three several respects.
But it would be necessary to possess the art of renewing your attention, in order successfully to undertake the task of pressing these ideas upon your minds, for they are more than sufficient to furnish matter for a complete new discourse.
I must confine myself, at present, to one consideration, founded on the rending of the veil of the temple, mentioned in the text. We have already pointed it out as a token of the vengeance of heaven against the Jewish nation. It may likewise be considered in another point of view, conformably to the decision of St. Paul, and to the ideas of the Jews. That people looked on their temple as a figure of the universe. We have, on this subject, passages. expressly to the purpose, in Philo and Josephus. All that was on the outside of the most holy place, represented, to them, nature and the elements. The scarlet colour of the sanctuary represented fire. The hyacinthine represented the air. The seven branches of the candlestick represented the seven planets. The twelve cakes of shew-bread represented the signs of the Zodiac, and the twelve months of the year. But they said, that the most holy place had been set apart for God : that the Propitiatory was his throne, that the cherubims were his chariot.*
On this principle, the veil, which separated the holy place from the Holy of Holies, was an irnage of the obstacles which interposed between the creature and the heavenly habitation, in which God resides. This veil is rent asuinder at the death of Jesus Christ; these obstacles are removed ; access into the abode of the blessed is opened to us: and this is the spirit of the ceremonial observance prescribed in the Levitical worship : Into the second went the High Priest alone, once every year, not wilhout blood, saith St. Paul, in his epistle to the Hebrews; “ The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing : but Christ being come, an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, by his own blood, entered into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us,” Heb. ix. 7, &c.
* Consult Joseph. Antiq. Lib. III. cap. 5. & Phil. de Vita Mosis, Lib. III. page 667, & Co
Death, then, has nothing, henceforward, formidable to the Christian. In the tomb of Jesus Christ are dissipated all the terrors which the tomb of nature presents. In the tomb of nature, O sinner, thou beholdest thy frailty, thy subjection to the bondage of corruption : in the tomb of Jesus Christ thou beholdest thy strength and thy deliverance. In the tomb of nature the punishment of sin stares thee in the face : in the tomb of Jesus Christ thou findest the expiation of it. From the tomb of nature thou hearest the dreadful sentence pronounced against all the posterity of Adam: Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return, Gen. iii. 19. but from the tomb of Jesus Christ issue those accents of consolation : “I am the resurrection, and the life ; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live," John xi. 25. In the tomb of nature tlou readest this universal, this irrevocable doom written : “It is appointed unto men once to die,” Heb. ix. 27. but in the tomb of Jesus Christ, thy tongue is loosed into this triumphant song of praise : “O death, where is thy sting ? O grave, where is thy victory?....
Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. xv. 55, 57.
All that now remains is to conclude with a few reflections by way of recapitulation. My brethren, for some weeks past, there have been traced before your eyes, the successive particulars of the passion and death of the Saviour of the world. You have seen him betrayed, apprehended, arraigned, condemned, and expiring under the most shameful, and the most cruel of all punishinents.
Do you comprehend all that is sublime in these truths ? Do you feel, in all its extent, the value of these benefits? Have you, at least, made the attempt to take the dimensions of the love of God, and “ to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height: and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God ?” Eph. iii. 18, 19.
Ah ! let us beware, my beloved brethren, that we deceive not ourselves as to this; after so many distinguished tokens of the grace of God, we are going to become the most wretched, or the happiest, of all creatures. Our condition admits not of mediocrity. The two interesting extremes present themselves to view,—the extreme of justice, and the extreme of mercy. We are going to prove all that is mild and gentle in the peace of God, or all that is tremendous in his indignation ; and that blood which we have seen poured out, must be upon our heads either to attract or to repel, the thunder.
His blood be on us, and on our children, Matt. xxvii. 25. This was the imprecation of those barbarous Jews, who with importunity demanded the death of Jesus Christ, and glutted themselves with his sufferings. But it was, in a far different sense, the interior voice of those believing souls, who entered into the design of God, who by faith, sprinkled themselves with this blood, which was to form the bond of union between heaven and earth.
His blood be on us, and on our children. This is the voice which now resounds from ear to ear, and which must be accomplished on this assembly, in one sense or another. Yes, this blood shall be upon you, in vengeance and malediction, as it was upon ungrateful Jerusalem, in your families to trouble their peace, in your plans to defeat them, in your establishinents to sap them to the foundation, in your consciences to harrow them
your death-bed to darken it with horror and despair, and through all the periods of eternity, demanding the expiation of the crime, of having trampled under foot the blood of the Son of God, and of having crucified afresh the Lord of glory. Or it will be upon you, yes this blood will be upon you, to strengthen you under all your infirmities, to preserve you in the hour of temptation, to console you under the pressure of calamity to speak peace to the troubled conscience, to support you in dying agony, to render your death blessed, and eternity triumphant.
I dwell for a moment on these last ideas, and under an illusion of charity, I apply them to all those who
compose my audience. Happy they, to whom