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be crowned with glory and honour : “ Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong ; because he hath poured out his soul unto death : and he was numbered with the transgressors ; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”—Isaiah, liii. 12. It was intended as an insult to him by men ; and there can be no question that it was felt and realised as such by our blessed Lord himself. His sensitive mind was keenly alive to every indignity that was put upon him, and his generous spirit susceptible of pain from every insult. We have a striking proof of this in the manner in which he addressed the officers from the Chief Priests and Scribes, when they came to seize him in the garden :-Are ye come out as against a thief, with swords and with staves for to take me; I was daily with you in the temple, and ye laid no hands upon me.And if his feelings were wounded so at being captured after the manner of a common felon, how must he have felt it when from the cross he looked on the right hand, and on the left, and found himself the companion of thieves ? Now, see how this very ignominy, by which earth and hell combined to heap insult on the Son of God, was overruled for good. What an illustration of the power of the cross is here afforded? Had not Satan instigated men to heap this insult on the Saviour, he would not have lost the thief. But he was forced to feel the power of the cross when that immortal soul was snatched from the very jaws of hell. Yes, in the cross, Jesus not only “ blotted out the handwriting of ordinances which was against us," but, also, “spoiled principalities and powers, and made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”Col. ii. 14, 15. Oh! what a contrast here, between the apparent weakness and helplessness of the sufferer, and the omnipotence of that might in which, stretching out the rod of his grace, he commanded the immortal soul to live! This was the Saviour's sign. How far more glorious this than if he had descended from the cross, in vengeance upon his foes. The power in which he came was saving, not destroying, power, and when on the cross he burst the gates of hell asunder, he manifested that he was the Son of God.

Secondly, I would observe, what an illustration we have in this transaction of the object of his mission—" TO SAVE THAT WHICH WAS LOST.' The character in which he would be received is that of the Saviour of sinners. " It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation,”—a saying on which we may depend, and one which is worthy of universal acceptancethe acceptance not merely of the vile and outcast, but the acceptance of every individual whatsoever. There is no one, whatever his character may be—whatever his position and

credit in society may be, to whom this saying is not suited, that, “ Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." The Jews had no idea of a Saviour of this kind ; they expected one to deliver them from their enemies, because of their goodness, their claims for salvation ; and, therefore, Jesus ever took care to exhibit his real character, the true nature of his mission ; therefore we find him frequently visiting notorious sinners, and conversing with them, to do them good, so that he was accused of being, “The friend of Publicans and sinners.” For just as he could touch the leper, and not contract defilement himself, while he healed the leprosy, so could he visit the sinner and converse with him, and, while uncontaminated himself, could put his sins away. It was in this same spirit, and in the manifestation of this same character, that he was content to be crucified in the company of “malefactors ;” that as they had reviled him for being, while he lived, so might he, in death, prove himself to be “THE FRIEND OF SINNERS.'

Thirdly, we see the sovereignty and efficacy of divine grace. Contemplate these two felons ; to the eye of sense, their cases are exactly parallel to each other, justly condemned for the same crime, most likely partners and comrades in one common offence; both, moreover, up to a certain period manifesting the same obduracy of heart, for the Evangelist St. Matthew tells us,

The thieves, also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.” Both, too, have the same opportunity—both see the Son of God extended on the cross-both listened to the same words at his lips—both heard the same prayer for his murderers, and yet how different their end! The one dies blaspheming the Son of God, the other rejoicing in salvation. How full of instruction this ! In the one we are reminded of the vanity of mere opportunities to convert the soul of man to God, and the folly of protracting repentance to the solemn seasons of sickness and death, as though there were associations connected with such scenes, which cannot but make a serious impression on the heart. We, perhaps, might feel that had we been there—had we seen his majestic bearing as he stood in the presence of the High Priesthad we beheld him when Pontius Pilate brought him forth unto the multitudes, exclaiming, “Behold the man !”—had we witnessed him bearing his cross, and heard his affecting address unto the multitudes which followed him, we could not have resisted the appeal, our hearts must have melted before him. But, ah! “ The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked ;” and if we believe not the testimony of the Gospel, neither would we have been persuaded though we had witnessed it all with our own eyes.

Some, too, protract repentance to the time of sickness or death; in the fond imagination that there is something in affliction, or pain, or danger, which of itself is calculated to influence the mind, and turn the heart to God. But look at the unrepentant felon who feared not God, even in the condemnation of the cross, and learn the vanity of mere affliction or suffering in itself to work repentance and faith.

And what an illustration of the power of grace is presented in the other—the converted thief. We have seen not only his accomplice in crime, but moreover the Scribes and Pharisees, the wise men and rulers of the people, rejecting and blaspheming Jesus, and yet he, a poor felon, believes and repents.

“ Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called : but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise ; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are ; that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”—1 Cor. i. 25-31. But

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