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sacrificing victim-delighting to accomplish the painful task-rejoicing to bear the penalty of our sins, to endure the bitterness of our curse. Oh! how does familiarity with these things deaden our miserable hearts, that we can think of them unmoved! Men and brethren, “Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price.” Realise the magnitude of this price—the innocence and dignity of the victim, his readiness to suffer, the preciousness of his blood, the intensity of his agony, and, remember, ye are redeemed. Your spirit is not your own, your bodies are not your own, your time, your health, your wealth are not your own ; in your prosperity and in your adversity, in your joy and in your sorrow, in your sickness and in
health, in your life and in your death, "ye are not, your own,” but his “who loved us,
HIMSELF FOR US.
LECTURE V I.
FRIDAY, APRIL 6.
THE SAVIOUR ON THE CROSS.
FROM THE XINTH HOUR TO HIS DEATH.
“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar : and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished."-John, xix. 28-30.
“ And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit : and having said thus, he gave up the ghost."-LUKE, xxiii. 46.
TAESE passages present to us, what may be considered as a distinct period in the history of the cross—a chapter containing its own peculiar characteristics. The darkness has now rolled away from the heart of the sufferer, and simultaneously from the face of heaven ; His agony has found expression in the mysterious cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!'-and but a short interval still remains to close the scene ; but it is an interval of the greatest interest and importance.
We might have supposed that all would have terminated with that cry which closed the period of darkness—that then a mortal wound was given which had ended at once his suffering and his life : and so it would have been, had Jesus been other than he was. But he had “ life in himself," and, therefore, “power to lay down his life.” No man could take it from him. He would lay it down of himself. He had power to lay it down, and power to take it again. So that, while he was, in one view, put to death—murdered by human sin; in another view, he did, “By the eternal spirit, offer himself without spot to God.” Therefore the clouds rolled away—the sun burst forth in splendour-the light of his Father's countenance shone again upon his soul; and for a brief interval, perhaps but a few seconds, he is presented to us, triumphant over pain and sorrow -no longer suffering--not at the hands of man, for, having endured his Father's chastisement, he was beyond the reach of human malice-not from God, for he had drained that cup of wrath even to the dregs. His thoughts and feelings are those of the mighty conqueror, rising victorious over all his foes ; or rather of the great High Priest, conscious of the acceptance of his sacrifice.
It was not the Father's will that his beloved Son should go down to the grave in darkness. Perhaps it would not have been consistent with his character, or for the glory of his name. It would not, certainly, have been for the honour of his work. It would have appeared as though his faith had failed him, and that he was over
But he proved the contrary. He manifested the permanence of his faith—that after all which had been inflicted on him by man, and more than that, after all which had been laid upon him by God himself, He had not apostatised ; He had persevered in faith even to the end. His very cry indeed, though one of anguish, was, also, one of faith ; for he manifested that he still could claim God as his own God, when he said, “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me !” And, accordingly, we find him, in the calm tranquillity of a mind on which the horror of thick darkness no longer brooded, alive to every, even the most minute particular of his Father's will, and careful that nothing should be left undone.
“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished.” The essence of the curse had been endured. Nothing now mained but the separation of his body and spirit. The cord which bound him to pain and suffering, was about to be snapped for ever. “ Jesus knowing that all things were accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst." And then, while some were bringing vinegar, in derision of His thirst, and others, mocking his bitter cry, said, “Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him,” He exclaimed with a loud voice, that showed all his energies were unimpaired, that proved he had life in himself although
slain, “ IT IS FINISHED!”-and then, while yet his words were re-echoed by the trembling earth, and rending rocks-while consternation was gathering on the countenances of his murderers as they stood around his cross- -He bowed his anointed head, and said, “ Father”. not now,
My God;" he spoke not now as a servant, but with the filial cry of Abba, Father
-“ Father, into thy hand I commend my spirit.” And when he had so said, he yielded up the ghost.
In considering, then, this chapter of the story, I propose to dwell particularly upon the words, “ It is finished ;” as we shall find that in examining the import of this cry, we shall necessarily be led into an examination of the whole.
What, then, is the meaning of these words?
1st. I think it refers to the fulfilment of all the prophecies respecting his cross ; and to this meaning the context directs us :-“ After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar : and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.”—John, xix. 28, 29. It was immediately after he had said, “I thirst,” and had received the vinegar, that he said, “ It is finished,” implying that all things written concerning him were now fulfilled. This is an