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faileth me.” Oh! yes ; this was the secret of the darkness which enveloped him ; man might despise, and reject, and crucify, and upbraid him ; and he was afflicted at being so used by man, because he loved him, and he grieved for man's own sake ; but it was little, after all, that men could do-nothing, absolutely nothing, in comparison to the agony he suffered in realising - what?-Oh! believer, hear it, and let the recollection of it abide with you, and move you always to a holy watchfulness against the first approach of sin—IN REALISING OUR SIN.
2nd. But this was not all; he endured not only the assumption, but, also, the imputation of our sins.
As it is written, " The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” There is, of course, here a mystery unfathomable; we cannot understand how this imputation could have been made to him; and if we cannot comprehend the manner, much less can we attempt to understand the measure of the infliction. But this we certainly know, that he was considered, and treated, as a sinner ; yea, “He who knew no sin was made sin for us.” So complete, so real, was his substitution for us, he was counted not only as a sinner, but as sin itself, " that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”-2 Cor. V. 21. That father on whose smile he lived, whose will he always delighted to do, whose law was in his heart; He laid on him (oh! wondrous thought)
iniquity of us all.”
“ All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned, every one to his own way !” Various as the human countenance, so various the character of man, and so manifold is human sin, each of us wandering in a way peculiar to himself, but all of us away from God; and all these varieties of transgression, sin in all its endless ramifications, laid to the account of the holy Jesus! Did he not feel this imputation? Hear his own expressive and affecting words :- :-“O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath : neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore.
There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head; as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.”—Psalm xxxviii. 1-4. In the former Psalm (the 40th) be takes our iniquities to himself; in this he bears them—"a heavy burden” laid upon him by the hand of God.
3rd. But, further, as he assumed them, and bore the imputation of them, he must also endure the penalty. Oh! marvellous fact !stupendous mystery! The Father who delighted in him—"well pleased for his righteousness sake”—who took pleasure, as it were, in repeating, again and again, “ This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”-raises his chastening hand, and outstretches the rod of
his indignation over him. “It pleased the Lord to bruise him, He hath put him to grief.” If angelic intelligences were spectators of this transaction, if they really comprehended its real character, what a thrill of holy awe must have penetrated their hearts! How must they have adored the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! The Lord of life and glory, Jehovah's fellow, was made a curse for
He drank of the wine of the wrath of God which is poured out without mixture in the cup of his indignation, that we being redeemed “ from the curse of the law,” called “ to inherit blessing,” might drink of the river of the water of life, the stream whereof makes glad the city of our God.
These were some of the raging elements which rocked his mighty soul in tempest. This was that darkness which brooded over him, and cast its shadow on the face of nature round about. For three long hours it wrapped its gloomy folds around his heart, until his feelings at last found vent in the affecting cry,
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken
Let us now pause to consider two or three practical reflections; and
1st. What a view we have of the enormity of sin ! How can we measure it ? No line can fathom it save one, and that is, THE CROSS. We may search
up and down, but we shall find
nothing high enough, and deep enough, except that wondrous tree on which the Son of God was made a curse. But there we have an adequate measurement, if, by the grace of God, we have wisdom to make use of it. Oh ! let us ponder on its frightful enormity, as represented here, and learn to abominate it, not merely on account of its consequences, but in itself, because it crucified the Saviour.
2nd. How fearful a view we get of the position of the unbelieving sinner before God!" Do I address any such to-day? I would say to such, contemplate, I beseech, the darkness which shrouded the mighty heart of Jesus, and wrapped the face of nature round about in midnight gloom, and learn the position in which you stand. If it was necessary that He should suffer thus-if it “pleased the Lord to bruise him, to put him to grief," oh! what must be your doom if you continue in unbelief, and therefore uninterested in his atonement! I say, what must be your doom, for there is a moral necessity which requires it. "If it be possible,” He said, “let this cup pass from me;" and if it had been possible, consistently with the character of God, He would not have been constrained to drink it. Remember this !An eternal necessity, founded on the very character of God himself, imperatively demands the banishment of every unpardoned sinner into "outer darkness, where is weeping, and wailing,
and gnashing of teeth.” And what length of duration can suffice for you to render compensation to eternal Justice? Three hours broke the Saviour's heart-how many hours will be required of you? It is a comparison between the finite and the infinite.
3rd. But, once more: What a manifestation have we here of the tender mercies of our God~ his love to us poor sinners ! He laid our sin upon his own beloved Son-on him who was “in the bosom of the Father.” How dear unto the mind of God must not that object have been which he was content to attain at such a sacrifice. Let even a human parent say, What object would be sufficient to induce him to make this sacrifice ?—to give up even a froward and undutiful child, much less a child of blessing, whose filial devotedness reciprocated a parent's solicitude and love? Oh! who would not say
that ten thousand worlds, that life itself were purchased dearly at such a sacrifice ? What, then, must have been the love of God to sinners! How must he have desired their salvation ! “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." Oh! that there were such an heart in us that we cordially receive the wondrous truth exhibited in the cross of Jesus, and there only adequately expressed, that GOD IS LOVE.
Consider, too, the willingness of the self