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tant circumstance should be perpetuated by an annual remembrance.
FROM this affecting passage, I shall endeavour
FIRST, to point out the object here presented to our view. ,
SECONDLY, consider what is implied in looking at the object.
THIRDLY, the effect it is here said to have, they shall mourn.
FIRST, then, the amazing object presented to our view; that is, a pierced Christ. But what were the spears which pierced the adorable Son of God?..
1. The first, and prime of all was the spear of original sin. By one man's disobedience many were made sinners; and it could only be by the obedience of one that many could be made righteous. In Adam all died; both naturally and spiritually; so in the second Adam only could they be made alive. Through the offence of one, Judgment came upon all men to condemnation; so through the obedience of one, is the free gift come upon all men to justification. . Here original sin is expiated, and hence the salvation of infants, who have not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression. Sin could not go unpunished; and therefore be took on bim our infirmities, and bore our sins in his own body on the tree. The first transgression brought death into the world and all our woe; and even brought death
upon the Son of God, seeing he made his righteous soul an offering for sin, that with his stripes we might be healed.
2. ACTUAL sin was another spear which pierced the lamb of God. Therefore he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, that through him a ruined sinner might have access to God. I do not apprehend that any of Adam's race will be condemned for Adam's sin; but it is in consequence of Adam's sin that we became actual transgressors; and I judge, had any of us stood in Adam's stead, we should not have managed our cause one whit better than he did; so that I do not think that we can cast a stone at our first parent.
BUT we have sufficient cause to lie humbled in the dust, in that all we, like sheep, have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, but the Lord hath laid on bim the iniquity of us all. Yes, sinner, not only thy innate pride and self will, thy unbelief and carnal mind set their envenomed teeth in the dear Redeemer; but thy swearing, sabbath breaking ; thy luxury and wanton propensities; and all thy disobedience were charged on him, so that thou mayest cry out with the poet,
" "Twere you any sins, my cruel sins,
knew th forfeil one of
HEREIN he gave himself for our sins, and bore them in his own body on the tree that they might be destroyed.
3. THE spear of rigorous justice pierced the bleeding reconciler; this awful attribute, stands engaged for the honour and harmony of all the rest, and puts a check upon mercy itself, without full satisfaction. But where was that satisfaction ? Not among the angels; none of these durst draw the deadly forfeiture upon their heads; they knew the indignation of the Lord was too fierce for them to stand under. Could any of the human race engage in so arduous a task ? Ah! no. One wretched rebel cannot engage to stand surety for another. He therefore looked, but there was none to help; he wondered; but there was none to uphold; therefore his own arm alone brought salvation. Stepping into the sinner's place, and being fully qualified to give satisfaction, the offer was accepted ; and indeed it could not be otherwise, seeing it was stipulated in the eternal council that help should be laid upon him. Nor was he ignorant of the agfulness of the undertaking. He knew that he must drink the cup of his Father's fury, even to the very dregs.
No wonder, that amazenient should seize him when his soul was exceeding heavy and sorrowful even unto death.
" The waves of swelling grief
“ Lay heavy on his soul." To hear the Father say, Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow. (a) I say this must have been a tremendous sound, and might well thrill through every nerve of the man of sorrows. But, still, he goes on, Father, thy will be done! It is enough! the hour is come! He goes on in the fulness of his love, in his fulness of strength. He meets the pointed dart. The shepherd is smitten; but the sheep are spared, delivered from eternal pain. Our all depends upon this ransom, the effects of which are surprising; this ransom on the cross, as from an high altar, as one expresses it, looks back to the first human transgression, and extends forward to the realms of everlasting felicity; where the heavenly arches echo, Worthy is the lamb that was slain to receive glory and honour, riches and praise, world without end.
4. The broken law was a cruel spear, which entered deep into the human soul of our divine ransomer. The holy law of God is a transcript of the deity; and shews the purity of the divine nature; the giving of which was attended with very awful cir
(a) Zech. xiii. 7.
cumstances, which made the mountain shake from whence it was promulgated, and the vast multitude to tremble. Dread. ful are the curses, which are announced against the transgressor; not against the flagrant, the atrocious, scandalous offender only; but against the man who continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them. (a) Who then can be. saved? Verily none by the deeds of the law. For the law is so spiritual and penetrating that it takes cognizance of the very intentions, desires and affections; so that he that looks upon a woman to lust after her, commits adultery, and he that hates his brother is a murderer. Here then every mouth is stopped ; and all the world is become guilty before God.
BUT will not this law be propitious to the penitent, who ceases to do evil and learns to do well? No. Its demands are perfect and uninterrupted obedience ; for the soul that sinneth must assuredly die. It admits of no repentance; makes no allowance for human infirmities; it was given to man while in a high state of perfection, and therefore had abilities to perform its utmost demands. But he sinned, has lost those abilities, and the image of his maker, and therefore became a hopeless, helpless, ruined sinner. ..
(a) Deut. xxvii. 26.
Gal. iii. 10.