ri^ht hand of God, far beyond tie teach of pain or sorrow. The sentiments, therefore, proper for us to indulge when we meditate on this important subject, are, an ardent love and affection for Christ, on account of his having submitted to such severe affliction^ for the sake of mankind, and a grateful joy that he h; • overcome death, and sitteth at the right hand of God. All our torrows should be for those sins which expose us, our children, and our country, to the anger of Gob. For these our tears may justly flow, since it was the accumulated sins of the world, of which ours make a part, that required our Lord's submission to such tortures. These will be profitable tears, if they proceed from realpenitence, and are followed bj amendment of life \ for they will recommend us to the compassion of our God and Saviour, and avert those judgments which will fall on us, as well as they did on Jerusalem, if we provoke the Divine vengeance by presumption and infidelity.

Fjorn the manner in which our blessed Lord sub. mitted to his sufferings, we are instructed to bear all the sorrow, pain, and indignity, which may fall to our lot in this world, with patience and resignation to the Divine will; and not to indulge a spirit of hatred against our enemies, but to pray for them: especially as it is possible that those who injure us may do it through ignorance.

The men who nailed Christ to the cross, in all probability knew not -what they did, having been kept in ignorance by their rulers, who had filled their minds with prejudices against him and his doctrine, and his intercession for them prevailed.; for many of those who had a hand in the crucifixion were converted afterwards by the preaching of St. Peter. Our Lord's tenderness to his mother in his dying

moments,

-n -:' • lr f',••; ?>'' fc - r -;. .ct-'J la -i■:! ."V-r moments, teaches us to honour oor parents,, and'to use"

o«r utmost endeavours to pro'vide for their'easewaocL

comfort.; '.'"''.:;•''.'/; [

From our Lord's address to the Father in the ftcfur* of darkness and distress, we are encouraged to,call ppbn God, even when he hides himself from us ;"a'nd from' his /ait words we. learn, what should be the sentiments' of our hearts in the awful hour of deatrT;. namely,' a care for our souls, a resignation of them into the hands. of God, and a joyful hope of a resurrection from the

dead/'; • \t;: :;..;_;':; .;

Since, from the rending of the veil,"w"e are' 'tatiglit' that a.passage is opened for us into' the most" floly Place by our Lord's sacrifice of his bodj on thecross, ret us endeavour to enter it through faith in his blood.

1rhe behaviour. ofthe penitent thief encourages sinners. to seelc the mercy of God through the intercession of Christ, even in their last moments, if their penitence be sincere; whilst the example of the obdurate sinner shews the daager ofdeferring repentance to the end of life*. lio one who lives in an habitual course of sin can possibly tell what his dispOoition may be when the hour of death approaches. Repentance is seldom a sudden thing; for it consists in a change of mind, which cannot, but through the miraculous power of God, take place in an instant; and sinners have no reason to expect miracles for their conversion. It is likely that the judgment of God had had its proper effect on the, inind of the penitent thief, and produced a sorrow for sin, which rendered him an object of Divine compassion; and that the other was a hardened impious wretch, who

* There is amongst the Sermons *f Bishop Sherlock an excellent one on this subject, which every person ought to read who has the least idea that a isaib-bd'repentance will atone for a sinful life.

had*

had, by his presumption and blasphemy, excluded himself from divine grace'.

Before we conclude this section, it will be proper to consider how it was possible for our Lord, in whom the Godhead dwelt, .to feelaiid wrewas a Man.

We must not suppose, from Christ's using the extlamatien, (i My God, my God, why hast thou for* saken me?'* that.his Divine nature was withdrawn; but only that his Divine and human natures, though united, were distinct: so that each retained its separate faWlt^^cii sdvt'suhirdinate toethe Drvirrf NatsRE, as the'ttbdy w the is/i/^-the inferior .nature/ actuated by the intelligence of the superior nature, which the latter had the power to Communicate or to withhold from the former. '.Of this'we may form some idea by what passes? rn ourt.lues. Our bodies act in consequence of the intelligence of our minds; for having no rational'faculties, ovrr.;, bodies1' cannot of themselv'es perform rational ac. Hons. The powers of our are also' limited, so that' f^fy. canrrdt attain Divine knowledge by 'any natural exertions. Our Saviour alone, of all the human race,' demonstrated'that be had' Divine iuowledge, which he repeatedly attributed to the Godhead dwelling in him i from whence we may conclude, that his ml was in its nature the same'as other men's, but informed and actuated] b/'trle'Gfo'BHEAb,, agYeeaily to the Divine will, as circumstances' Yequrre'd. If therefore we suppose the DiVine ' Word to ri'avefproportioned his communications ta the soul, "according to 'the Divine' will, 'without.being subject to be controuled by the inferior nature; we'tany account for 'his 'operatioris being on some' occasions suspended^; at which times (as we may conceive) the' fear'df"being forsaken naturally'arose in our Lord's mind. But we will now read the psalm which contains his dying exclamarfcii, ^as .'that wiH ,serve to-illustrate

the the above conjecture. It was written by the reyal tsaimht, many ages before Christ was born into the world.

SECTION XXXIX.

fART or A PSALM OF DAVID, RELATING TO TBI SUFFERINGS OF THE MESSIAH.

From Pialm xxii.

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

O my God, I cry in the day-time, but thou hearest not; and in the night-season, and am not silent.

But thou art holy, O thoa that inhubitest the praises of Israel.

Our fathers trusted in thee; they trusted, and tiou didst deliver them.

They cried unto thee, and were delivered; they trusted in thes, and were not confounded.

But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. ", A'.'"':<..

AH they that see me, laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,. .-, ; ->z..iZ

He trusted on the Lord, that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

But thou art he that took me out of the womb i thoa didst make me hope, when I was upon my mother's breast.

Be not far from me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help. - . - •:

Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: ray heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my bowels.

My strength is dried up like a potsherd: and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

Forjogs have compassed me, the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.

They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

But be not thou far from me, O Lord; O my strength, haste thee to help me.

Deliver my soul from the sword: my darling from the power of the dog.

Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of unicorns.

I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.

There is one circumstance amongst many others, that strongly points out the Divine original of the SeRirTures, and shews, that they were intended to convey rules for the religious and moral conduct of mankind in general; which is, that every person in all ages of the world, let their disposition or condition in life be what they will, may find many passages in them so suited to themselves, that they appear as if written expressly for their use, though at the same time they are equally well adapted to thousands more. There are, besides, other passages which cannot be so generally applied, but which

seem

« PreviousContinue »