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founded hope of being partakers of His resurrection hereafter. The wicked, indeed, will rise from their graves; but it will not be by virtue of Christ's resurrection, nor to a participation of His glory. For they will rise "to shame and "everlasting contempt."
As another opportunity will soon occur of enlarging on the important subject of the resurrection, we shall dismiss it at present by only observing, that those who are looking up for grace that they may be enabled to "follow the "Lamb whithersoever He goeth," may confidently pray for a participation of His resurrection. For though their bodies must be laid in the grave as that of their Lord was, yet they will remain united to Him when separated from their souls, their whole persons being "mem"bers of His body, of His flesh, and of His "bones;" and shall rise again to participate in the glories of His kingdom. "If we suffer with "Him, we shall be also glorified together with "Him." "This corruptible shall put on incor"ruption, and this mortal shall put on immor"tality." And "therefore, my beloved bre"thren, be ye steadfast, immovable, always "abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch "as ye know that your labour is not in vain in "the Lord."
Before we conclude, let us inquire whether we are imitators of Christ, or whether it be our earnest desire to imitate Him. If no such desire prevail in our bosoms, how hypocritical is our use of this collect! For our hearts and lips are at variance when we offer it. If Christ be not our pattern, He is not our Saviour. O let us not deceive ourselves. We are not looking unto Jesus, and receiving the atonement made by His blood, unless we are fixing our eyes on His example, and earnestly desirous of conformity to Him. For the sight of Christ has a transforming tendency; and all who behold, in the glass of the gospel, "the glory of the "Lord, are changed into the same image from "glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the "Lord."
Almighty God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross, xoho note liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
OUR Lord's passion has been commemorated in His church, by the appropriation of a particular day for that purpose, from the first age of Christianity, as appears by the testimony of Eusebius.* And surely every institution which tends to remind us of redemption, and to keep alive in our hearts a sense of gratitude for those "innumerable benefits which "Christ by His precious blood-shedding hath "obtained to us," is recommended to our devout regard by the most forcible considerations. That the observance of this and other holy days is a human ordinance, we cannot disprove. But till it be demonstrated that nothing is lawful in the service of God that is not Divinely prescribed, or that there is any impropriety in the means we use for promoting the most important of all concerns, the salvation of our souls, we shall highly value and thankfully comply with the pious requisition of our church.
* Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. 2, cap. 17. p. 57. B. Apost, Const. 1. 5. c. 13.
Our collect for this day commemorates the love of our Saviour Christ in His submission to those sufferings which He endured. It intimates the nature of those sufferings, as.penal, vicarious, and propitiatory.—It implores Divine regard to those for whom Christ effectually died under the endearing title of the family of God. —And it concludes with an assertion of the subsequent exaltation of Christ to life'everlasting and a kingdom that hath no end.
In order that "the exceeding great Jove of "our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" may duly be appreciated, it is necessary to reflect on the voluntary nature of His unparalleled sufferings. This therefore our collect notices, by reminding us that He "was contented to be betrayed, "and given up into the hands of wicked men, "and to suffer death upon the cross." Had His passion been the result of necessity, His love to us therein would have been far less apparent. But it was the spontaneous act of His own bosom. The expression of our collect is the same which occurs, Ps. xl. 6, 7, 8, in the translation ofTyndaland Coverdale which we use in our prayer-books. In that passage Christ is the speaker; and addressing Himself to His heavenly Father, He says, "Sacrifice and meat"offering thou wouldest not: but mine ear hast "thou opened. Burnt offerings and sacrifice "for sin hast thou not required: then said I, "Lo, I come. In the volume of the book it is "written of me, that I should fulfil thy will, "O my God: / am content to do it, yea, thy "law is within my heart." His destination to suffer and die does not destroy the spontaneity of His sufferings and death; for that destination, was the result of His own gracious proposal, from which He shrank not till it was carried into full effect. "He was set up" as Mediator "from "everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the "earth was." And even then His "delights "were with the sons of men," anticipating that work of redemption which He had engaged to perform. And though His death, at the time of its infliction, was violent on the part of man; yet, on His own part it was voluntary. For no man could have taken it from Him, if He had not laid it down of Himself. He had power to lay it down, and power to take it again. (John x. 18.) The whole course of His life, from His incarnation to His expiring groan, demonstrates the ardent desire of fulfilling His work which He felt, and affords a beautiful and lively comment on His own declaration, (Luke xii. 50.) '' I have a baptism to be baptized with; and "how am I straitened till it be accomplished!" He was previously and intimately acquainted with every ingredient of the bitter cup which was prepared for Him; and yet He deliberately took it into His hand, and drank it off to the very dregs. He foreknew and foretold the traitorous part which Judas would act 5 yet He kept him in His family. He reproved Petersharply for a hint which he dropped in opposition to the favourite object of His compassionate heart. (Matth. xvi. 23, &c.) During the institution of His supper, in His conversation with His disciples, and in the prayer which He offered, He appears to have been so swallowed up in a concern for the welfare of His disciples and that of their future converts, as to have thought but little of His own approaching passion. Let those chapters of St. John's gospel, wherein an account is given of this matter be