« AnteriorContinuar »
this awful event was transacting; when the great hour of sacrifice was solemnizing, astonishment seized the world. All nature laboured in expectation, when the eternal life of her children was procuring. An earthquake rent asunder the rocks, and shook the earth from its foundations. The sun, beyond the course of nature, suffered eclipse in the heavens ; unusual darkness, at noon, overspread the nations ; the invisible world, through all its mansions, felt that tremendous hour. The dead arose from the grave. With astonishment the host of heaven looked down. Man alone, for whom these wonders were wrought, man alone was an unconcerned spectator of the event.--Yes, O Christian ! the ransom was paid. Behold the vi&tim led to the sacrifice, patient, uncomplaining, marking the way with his own blood. Who is it they drag like a murderer to Mount Calvary? Who is it they are stretching on a cross, and nailing to the accursed tree ? Prince of life! Lord of glory! Saviour of men! Great High Priest of the world ! we cannot call upon thee to come down from the cross, for thou art now pur. chafing eternal life for us !-- Yes, O Christian ! the ransom was paid. The sacrifice which was offered up, was accepted by God. Jesus, before he bowed upon the cross, cried out, “ It is finished.” As a full confirmation that the merit of his sacrifice was available to purchase everlasting life, he rose from the dead on the third day, and is now ascended up on high, to take poflellion of those heavens he hath purchased for his people, and is now preparing a place for them in those mansions, which are in his Father's house.
In the third place, as the King of the world, he fets before us the path that leads to life eternal.
Having, as a Prophet, opened up a future world to mortal view ; having, as a Priest, purchased life eternal in that future world, as a King he marks out the way by which we may ascend to take pofsession of that eternal life which he hath purchased for us. The gate of heaven is set open, by his blood ; but they alone who walk in the path which he hath appointed shall enter in. You come to these tables, not only to receive instruction from Jesus as a Prophet, not only to profess your faith in him as a Priest, but also to recognise his authority as a Legislator, and to vow obedience to him as a King.
One of his first appearances on earth was in his legislative capacity. One of the first acts of his minil. try was to publish a system of laws for regulating the life of his disciples. Moses is celebrated for having been faithful in his house, and for having ordered every thing in his tabernacle, according to the pattern showed him in the mount. No less faithful in his house was the Prophet like unto Mofes, the Minister of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man. He hath given us the purest and most effective precepts, for the regulation of our life. He hath pointed out our duty in every instance with such clearness, that he that runneth may read. The King of that future world which he hath purchased by his death, hath made the path that leads to it, nor only plain but luminous.
It shall come to pass in those days, faith the Prophet Isaiah, (describing the times of the Messiah), that
the “ eyes of the blind shall be opened, the ears of " the deaf shall be unstopped; the lame shall leap “ as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing. « For in the wilderness shall waters break out, and “ streams in the desert.-And a highway shall be “ there, and it shall be called the way of holiness ; " the unclean shall not pass over it ; but the redeem" ed shall walk there, and wayfaring men, though « fools, shall not err therein.” Such is the perfection of the Christian law; such the purity of those morals which Jesus delivered; such the beauty of the Gospel, as a rule of life, as to have gained the love and admiration of many who have disbelieved its doctrines. But he gave them a still higher lustre by his example. The perfection of the Christian law, the purity of those morals which Jesus delivered, the beauty of the Gospel, as a rule of life, appear no where to such advantage, as in the life of our Lord. There you contemplate holiness, not as a dead let. ter, but as a living form ; substantial, present, speaking to the world. He trode before you the path that leads to heaven. It is pointed out by his precepts; it is marked by his example ; it is consecrated by his blood.
Would you learn what virtue is, would you be in love with virtue, would you practise virtue, contemplate the life of Jesus; study the life of Jesus ; imitate the life of Jesus. He to whom the Jews preferred a robber and a murderer, was fairer in his life than the sons of men, and purer in his heart than the angels of God. That head which they crowned with thorns, was ever intent on benevolent deeds, and ac that very moment of time meditated their good.
Those feet which they bound to the cross, went about on errands of mercy. Those hands which they nailed to the accursed tree, were lifted up in devo. tion to God, or stretched out in beneficence to men. Jesus, through his whole life, marked out the path which leads to the heavens. Walk in that path, Christians! You shall arrive at heaven; and be of that happy number, who are to inhabit the mansions prepared for you, by Him who is “ the resurre&ion w and the life.”
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, por fandeth in the way of finners, nor fitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth be meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season ; his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doth shall prosper.
4. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor finners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous : but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
CHRISTIANS and Brethren! The most critical period of human life is when we set out into the world. Frequently the first step is decisive. The young adventurer, set free from the authority of parents and of guardians, becomes his own master, and follows his own inclination. It is then that he
* A Lecture is a stated part in the MORNING SERVICE of the Church of Scotland, and follows immediately after the first prayer. The minister reads fome passage of Scripture, consisting for the most part of a considerable number of verses; these he succeflively explains, and, where necessary, illustrates them, not only from the context, but both from sacred and profane history. Besides making observations upon each verse, he generally, upon concluding, draws moral inferences from the whole.
It is obvious, that the practice of LECTURING must, on those accounts, not only give scope to the learning of the preacher, and to his talent for bringing many particulars into one or a few points of view; but must tend, at the same time, to make the people more acquainted with the Sacred Scriptures, and to derive, from the experience of past times, very useful instructions with regard to life.