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lay in the bosom of the Father, or, singing in the skies of that same Bethlehem, had bent down to gaze with wonder and admiration on the babe of Mary's breast, regard the spectacle in that hall with greater bewilderment—exclaiming, " Is this the Son of God?"
These twisted thorns formed the crown wherewith "his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals." Nor should we leave that to turn our eyes on another scene, till we have thought with godly sorrow of the sins, and with deep affection of the love, which brought Jesus from heaven to meet such sufferings. In these wounds and blows he took our sins upon him; in these indignities he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Turn now from this cruel mockery to the other scene where he received a different crown, in a different assembly, and from very different hands. The cross is standing vacant and lonely on Calvary—the crowd all dispersed; the tomb is standing empty and open in the garden—the Roman sentinels all withdrawn; and from the vine-covered sides of Olivet a band of men are hastily descending—joy, mingled with amazement, in their looks. With the bearing of those that have a high enterprise before them, they are rushing down the mountain upon the world—a stream of life which is destined to roll on till salvation reaches the ends of the earth. While the disciples come down to the world, Jesus, whom a cloud received from their sight, goes up to heaven; and, corresponding to the custom of those olden days, when the successful champion was carried home in triumph from the field, borne high through applauding throngs on the shields of his companions, our Lord enters into glory, escorted by a host of angels. His battle over, and the great victory won, the conqueror is now to be crowned, throned, installed into the kingdom. Behold the scene as revealed by anticipation to the rapt eyes of Daniel:— "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nationsj and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."
Thus our Lord received the crown from his own Father's hand; and then, it might be said, was the Scripture fulfilled, " He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied." Yet observe, I pray you, that in a sense, he is not satisfied. Is there no satisfying of the greedy grave? None. Death has been feeding its voracious maw these many thousand years; and yet, how does it open that wide black mouth to cry, " Give, give, give!" Nor, in one sense, is there any satisfying of the love of Christ. It is deeper than the grave; and its desires grow with their gratification. Incessantly pleading for more saved ones, Jesus entreats his Father—his cry also, " Give, give." Yes ; he would rather hear one poor sinner pray, than all these angels sing; see one true penitent lying at his feet, than all these brilliant crowns. In glory, where every eye is turned upon himself, his eyes are bent down on earth. I fancy that amid the pomp of state, and splendid enjoyments of the palace, it is little that the sovereign thinks of the poor felon who pines in lonely prison, crushed and terror-stricken, with haggard face and heavy heart, waiting the death to which the law has doomed him; seldom, perhaps, in fancy, does that pallid wretch intrude himself where all wear smiles, or send a hollow groan from his cell to move one thought of pity, or disturb the sparkling flow of royal pleasures. But Jesus does not forget the wretchedness of the lost amid the happiness of the saved. Their miseries are before him; and amid the high hallelujahs of the upper sanctuary, he hearkens to the groans of the prisoner and the cry of the perishing. And, like a mother, whose loving heart is not so much with the children housed at home, as with the fallen, beguiled, and lost one, who is the most in her thoughts, and oftenest mentioned in her prayers, Jesus is thinking now of every poor careless sinner with his lost soul, and the sentence of death hanging over his guilty head. He pities you from his heart. He would save you, would you consent to be saved. And you, who were never honored with an invitation to a palace on earth, you who are never likely to be so honored, you, by whom this world's pettiest monarch would haughtily sweep, nor deem you worthy of the smallest notice, Jesus, bending from his throne, invites to share his glory, and become with him kings and priests unto God.
III. Let us inquire in what character Jesus holds this kingdom.
It is not as God, nor as man, he holds it; but as both God and man, Mediator of the New Covenant, the monarch of a new kingdom. What he was on earth he is still in heaven—God and man for ever.
Our Lord appeared in both these characters by the grave of Lazarus. "Jesus wept." Brief but blessed record! These were precious tears. The passing air kissed them from his cheek, or they were drunk up of the earth, or they glistened but for a little, like dewdrops on some lowly flower; yet assuring us of his sympathy in our hours of sorrow, their memory has been healing balm to many a bleeding heart. Weeping, his bosom rent with groans, he stands revealed— bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh—a brother born for adversity, for the bitter hour of household deaths, to impart strength to the arms that lay the dead in the coffin, or slowly lower them into the tomb. Yet mark how, by the same grave, he stands revealed in another character, with his divine majesty plainly unveiled. To weep for the dead may be weakness, but to raise the dead is power. Like the clear shining after rain, when every tree seems hung with quivering leaves of light, and the heath of the moor sparkles, and gleams, and burns with the changing hues of countless diamonds, see how, after that shower of tears, the sun of Christ's Godhead bursts forth on the scene, and he appears the brightness of his Father's glory. Men have wept with him; but there, where he stands face to face with grim death, let both men and angels worship him. Death cowers before his eye. He puts off the man, and stands out the God ; and the wonder of the dead brought to life is lost in the higher wonder of one who could weep as a man, and yet work as a God.
On the Sea of Galilee also, our Lord appears in both characters. The son of Mary sleeps. His nights have been spent in prayer, and his days in preaching, healing, incessant works of benevolence—he has been teaching us how we also should go about doing good—he has been practically rebuking those whose days are wasted in ease and idleness, or whose evenings, not calm like nature's, but passed amid the whirl of excitement, or in guilty pleasures, sweet slumbers refuse to bless. Now wearied out with labor, the son of Mary sleeps. There is no sleeping draught, no potion of the apothecary that can impart such deep refreshing slumbers as a good conscience and a busy day's good work. Proof of that, stretched on his bare, hard couch, Jesus sleeps—amid the howling of the wind the dash and roar of stormy billows, sleeps as soundly as he ever slept a babe in his mother's arms. He lay down a weary man; but see how he rises at the call of his disciples to do the work of a God. On awaking, he found the elements in the wildest uproar, the waves were chasing each other over the deep, the heavens were sounding their loudest thunders, the lightnings were playing among the clouds, and the winds, let loose, were holding free revelry in the racked tormented air. As I have seen a master, speaking with low and gentle voice, hush the riotous school into instant silence, so Jesus spake. Raising his hand, and addressing the rude storm, he said, " Peace, be still." The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. No sooner, amid the loudest din, does nature catch the well-known sound of her master's voice, than the tumult subsides; in an instant all is quiet; and, with a heave as gentle as an infant's bosom, and all heaven's starry glory mirrored in its crystal depths, the sea of Galilee lies around that boat—a beautiful picture of the happy bosom into which heaven and its peace have descended. "Justified by faith," purchased by the blood of Christ, and blessed with his presence, " we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Now those two natures which our Lord thus revealed