« PreviousContinue »
into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us, Heb. ix. 7, &c.
Death, then, has nothing, henceforward, formidable to the Christian. In the tomb of Jesus Christ are dissipated all the terrors which the tomb of nature presents. In the tomb of nature, O sinner, thou beholdest thy frailty, thy subjection to the bondage of corruption : in the tomb of Jesus Christ thou beholdest thy strength and thy deliverance. In the tomb of nature the punishment of sin stares thee in the face: in the tomb of Jesus Christ thou findest the expiation of it.
From the tomb of nature thou hearest the dreadful sentence pronounced against all the posterity of Adam: Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return, Gen, iji. 19. but from the tumb of Jesus Christ issue those accents of consolation : I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, John xi. 25. In the tomb of nature thou readest this universal, this irrevocable doom written: It is appointed unto men once to die, Heb. ix. 27. but in the tomb of Jesus Christ, thy tongue is loosed into this triumphant song
of praise: 0 death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? .... Thanks be to God čoho giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. xv. 55, 57.
All that now remains, is to conclude with a few reflections, by way of recapitulation. My brethren, for some weeks past, there have been traced before your eyes, the successive particulars of the passion and death of the Saviour of the world. You have seen him betrayed, apprehended, arraigned, condemned, and expiring under the most shameful, and the most cruel of all punishments.
Do you comprehend all that is sublime in these truths ? Do you feel, in all its extent, the value of
these benefits? Have you, at least, made the attempt to take the dimensions of the love of God, and to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and hight ; and to know the love of Christ, which passelh knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God, Eph. iii. 18, 19.
Ah ! let us beware, my beloved brethren, that we deceive not ourselves as to this; after so many distinguished tokens of the grace of God, we are going to become the most wretched, or the happiest of all creatures. Our. condition admits not of mediocrity. The two interesting extremes present themselves to view the extreme of justice, and the extreme of mercy. We are going to prove all that is mild and gentle in the peace of God, or all that is tremendous in his indignation; and that blood which we have seen poured out, must be upon our heads either to attract, or to repel the thunder.
His blood be on us, and on our children, Matt. xxvii. 25. This was the imprecation of those barbarous Jews, who with importunity demanded the death of Jesus Christ, and glutted themselves with his sufferings. But it was, in a far different sense, the interior voice of those believing souls, who entered into the design of God, who, by faith, sprinkled themselves with this blood, which was to form the bond of union between heaven and earth.
His blood be on us, and on our children. This is the voice which now resounds from ear to ear, and which must be accomplished on this assembly, in one sense or another. Yes, this blood, shall be upon you, in vengeance and malediction, as it was upon ungrateful Jerusalem, in your families to trouble their peace, in your plans to defeat them, in your establishments to sap them to the founda: VOL. VI,
tion, in your consciences to harrow them up, in your death-bed to darken it with horror and despair, and through all the periods of eternity, demanding the expiation of the crime, of having trampled under foot the blood of the Son of God, and of having crucified afresh the Lord of Glory. Or it will be upon you, yes, this blood will be upon you, to strengthen you under all your infirmities, to preserve you in the hour of temptation, to console you under the pressure of calamity, to speak peace to the troubled conscience, to support you in dying agony, to render your death blessed, and eternity triumphant.
I dwell for a moment on these last ideas, and, under an illusion of charity, I apply them to all those who compose my audience. Happy they, to whom they are applicable of a truth! To have been attentive to the history of the sufferings and death of the Saviour of the world, which, for some time past, has been the great subject of our address, to have traced it through all its successive circumstances, to have felt the necessity, and to have penetrated into the design of the whole ; to have applied to ourselves the lessons which it inculcates, the consolations which it supplies, the hope which it inspires : to deduce, from those grand objects, consequences affecting the conduct of life, tending to promote sanctity of manners, superiority to the world, love to a God so rich in mercy, desire of possessing that in perfection, of which displays so astonishing convey ideas so sublime
After this, to come next Lord's day to the table of Jesus Christ, with the understanding convinced, the heart overflowing, the soul penetrated : to discern, in the bread and the wine of which we are to partake, the symbols of that death, whose memo
rial the church is celebrating: to promise unto God, over those august pledges of his love, to render him love for love, and life for life: to expand the heart in such emotions; to communicate in such a disposition, and to wait for death under such impressions—these are the loftiest objects which man can propose to his meditation. This is the highest point of perfection which we are capable of attaining, in the course of this mortal pilgrimage. This is the purest delight that we can taste in this valley of tears.
I trust, my dearly beloved brethren, that these sublime objects shall not have been presented to you in vain. I trust that so many exhortations will not fall to the ground totally without success. I trust that these first emotions, which it is impossible to withhold from an expiring Saviour, will not be as the early cloud, and as the morning dew, Hos. vi. 4. which appear for a moment, and are dissipated in a moment. I trust they will henceforward engage your heart, your mind, your whole life, and that they will accompany you to the bed of death. I trust, that when this awful period comes, instead of that mortal reluctance, instead of those insupportable forebodings which unrepented guilt inspires, the image of Jesus Christ crucified, present to your eyes; what do I say, of Jesus Christ crucified? Of Jesus Christ raised from the dead, glorious, sitting at the right hand of his Father; of Jesus Christ, presenting continually before his eyes the value of that blood which he shed for the salvation of the human race; of Jesus Christ, extending his arms to receive your departing spirit, that he may bind it up in the bundle of life : I trust that this image will dispel all the terrors of death, and thus prepare you to pass
from the dispensation of grace, to the dispensation
In the dispensation of grace, you have beheld the Son of God invested with the form of a servant ; in the dispensation of glory, you shall behold him arrayed in all splendor and magnificence. In the dispensation of grace, you have beheld the King of Kings attended by an humble train of disciples of but mean appearance : in the dispensation of glory, you shall behold him accompanied by the heavenly hosts, legions of angels and archangels, of the cherubim and of the seraphim.
the dispensation of grace, you have beheld Jesus Christ expiring ignominiously upon a cross : in the dispensation of glory, you shall behold him in the clouds of heaven, judging the quick and the dead. In the dispensation of grace, you have heard the lips of your Saviour thus speaking peace to your soul : Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee : in the dispensation of glory, you shall hear this decision from his mouth : Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, from the foundation of the world, Matt. xxv. 34. May God of his infinite mercy grant it! To him be honor and glory now and
N. B. The next Sermon in the series, that on THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRist, which is the eighth of Vol. II. of Mr. Robinson's selection, may
be read with advantage in this place.