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them, but they have not grieved ; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return !"
- Neither means, nor even miracles, will avail, when God leaves a man to himself. Persons often think, that a dreadful event will do what ordinances have failed to accomplish. But we have known many who have been stripped, and reduced; and yet their minds have not been humbled before God. They have resembled fractions of ice, or stone; broken, but not changed; each piece retaining the coldness and hardness of the mass. They think that a spectre would be much more efficacious than a preacher-Vain hope! If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither would they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.
O thou God of all grace, fulfil in my experience the promise—“A new heart, also, will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
APRIL 3.-“Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their
John xviii. 8.
HERE we see the Saviour's readiness to suffer. He makes not the least attempt to escape from the hands of his enemies; but tells them a second time that he was the victim they sought after ; and yielded himself up to be bound, and led away with
out murmuring or complaint. This willingness was magnified-by the greatness of his sufferings his knowledge of all he was to endure-his deserving it not, but bearing it for others—and his power
of estere we uld not rehended a
Here we see his tenderness towards his disciples. He would not have them die or suffer; or at present, even be apprehended and alarmed. They were unable to bear it: they could not follow him now. He has the same heart still, and from this instance of his conduct, we may conclude—That he will suffer no affliction to befal his disciples unless for some wise and useful purpose—That he will sympathize with them in their suffering—That he will afford them support and comfort and in due time wipe away all their tears.
Here also we see his authority and dominion over their adversaries. We are mistaken if we suppose that he presented a request, when he said, If ye seek me, let these go their way. A request would have been nothing in the present state of their minds, and provided, as they were, with officers and an armed band of Roman soldiers. It was in the nature and force of a command. It was an absolute injunction. “I will not surrender unless these are allowed to depart. You shall not touch a hair of their head.” Accordingly they make not the least objection, and suffer them to retire unmolested.
This was in character with his whole history. In his penury he always displayed his riches; in his deepest abasement he emitted rays of his glory
-The manhood was seen ; but it was, so to speak, deified humanity. What majesty was combined with the humiliations of his birth—and of his death! Does he here submit? It is a conqueror, demanding his own terms, and obtaining them.
And did not this serve to enhance the sin of his disciples in denying and forsaking him? They
them a passporage and come to stand by human do
were overcome by the fear of man. But what had they to fear? Did they not heré see that their enemies were under his control; and could do nothing without his permission? Did he not here obtain for them a passport, insuring their escape and safety? Yet they have not courage and confidence enough to declare themselves on his side, and to stand by him. .
And do we not resemble them? How often do we shrink back from the avowal of our principles, or turn aside from the performance of some trying duty? And wherefore? We also yield to the fear of man that bringeth a snare. Yet what can man do unto us? or what can devils do ? Satan could not sift Peter, nor touch an article of Job's estate, till leave was granted him. Our foes are all chained ; and the extent of their reach is determined by the pleasure of him who loved us well enough to die for us. If he careth for us, it is enough.
When shall we realize this, and go on our way rejoicing · If he says to events, Let that man succeed in his calling; opposition and difficulties are nothing-he gets forward : the blessing of the Lord maketh rich. If he says to sickness, Touch not that individual; the pestilence may walk in darkness, and the destruction rage at noon-day: a thousand may fall at his right side, and ten thousand at his right hand-it shall not come nigh him. If he has any thing more for us to do or suffer, though life be holden by a rotten thread, that thread is more than cable we are immortal till our change come.
“Hast thou not given thy word
“ To save my soul from death?
“I'll go and come,
“ Nor fear to die,
- "Till from on high
APRIL 4.—“ Christ died for us.”
Rom. v. 8.
So have many. All those who have paid their lives to the injured laws of their country have died for us; and if we derive not improvement from it, the fault is our own. The world drowned in the Deluge, perished for us. The Jews, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness, suffered, as the Apostle tells us, as ensamples and admonitions to us. We have buried friends and relations; but
“For us they languish, and for us they die.” That husband of her youth; that wife of his bosom ; that child of their love—have been removed, to wean their hearts from earth, and to shew how frail they are.—But are we going to rank the death of Christ with such deaths as these? We would rather class it with that of an Apostle: "If I be offered," says Paul to the Philippians, “upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you.” This was noble. But was Paul crucified for us?
- No," It is Christ that died”—His death is peculiar and pre-eminent-infinitely peculiar and preeminent. This was indicated by the prodigies that attended it. But on these we shall not enlarge. Neither shall we dwell on the many touching circumstances of his death. Such a tragical representation may be derived from the history, as would draw tears from every eye, while the heart may be unaffected with, and the mind even uninformed of, the grand design of his death. What was this?
Some tell us, that it was to confirm the truth of his doctrine, by the testimony of his blood; and to suffer, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps. Now this is true; and we believe it as fully as those who will go no further : but the question is, whether this be the whole, or the principal part of the design. We appeal to the Scriptures—There we learn, that He died for us, as an VOL. I.
expiation of our guilt, and to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. There we see, that He died for us as a sacrifice, a ransom, a substitute that He redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us—that He once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us unto God.
- Exclude this, and the language of the Bible becomes perfectly embarrassing and unintelligible. Exclude this, and what becomes of the legal sacrifices ? They were shadows without a substance : they prefigured nothing—for there is no relation between them and his death, as he was a martyr, and an example: but there is a full conformity between them and his death, as he was an atonement. Exclude this, and how are his sufferings to be accounted for at all ?-for he did not die for the sins of others, and he had none of his own. Where, then, is the God of judgment? That be far from Him, to do after this manner; to slay the righteous with the wicked. So far the Jews reasoned well: they rejected him, for they considered him stricken, smit ten of God, and afflicted. And so he was : but " he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities : the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Exclude this, and with what can we meet the conscience, burdened with guilt? With what can we answer the inquiry, How shall I come before the Lord ? With what shall we wipe the tear of godly grief? But we have boldness to enter into the holiest, by the blood of Jesus. Surely he hath borne our grief, and carried our sorrow. His death was an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet-smelling savour. The all-sufficiency, and the acceptableness, were evinced, by his discharge from the grave, and his being