Imatges de pÓgina

however, of that overwhelming fear, and how sorely it pressed upon Him, as He endured it, has not passed away, and He will therefore deal gently with His redeemed ones, will spare them excessive fear when their hour of trial comes, and will strengthen them to bear such a portion of fear as He sees good to permit them to suffer.

But not pain only, nor only fear has He endured, but we may say it, if we say it reverently, the sense of guilt He has endured, for our sakes, and by reason of our sins which He bore in His own Body on the Tree. The burden of the sins of the whole world, how heavily it weighed upon Him! This was the cause of His fear: this gave their anguish to His wounds! Speaking of our sins which He had taken upon Him as if they were His own, He says, "Innumerable troubles are come about Me; My sins have taken such hold upon Me that I am not able to look up; yea, they are more in number than the hairs of My head, and My heart hath failed Me." But this heavy burden He had ceased to bear before Joseph laid His Body in the tomb. The sacrifice was finished ere He yielded up the ghost; "a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world;" and by that sacrifice now accomplished He had put away sin. Therefore is He our Refuge, guilty as we are: therefore we find comfort in going to confess all our sins to Him, that He may take away our guilt. But we have, besides, this special consolation: we know that He can have compassion as well as grant forgiveness, because He once bore

5 Psalm xl. 15.

that guilt from which now (in our misery) we beg Him to set us free.

There is a shame in the sense of guilt which sometimes keeps us back from confessing to God, and returning to His mercy. But there is also a misery in guilt which forces us to seek His help. Now I suppose that the shame would be even more acute than it is, if it were not for the misery. If we could realize our wickedness in sinning, without pain almost unbearable, we should be so much ashamed that we should perseveringly hide ourselves from God, as Adam did, for a moment, under the first overwhelming shame of his first sin. If, then, the pain which accompanies a sense of sin is thus a help to overcome the shame which would drive us from God, it ought to be an encouragement to us in our penitence that our Blessed Saviour knows, by having borne our sins, how great that pain is. It is our great comfort to know that He can feel for our misery when we make confession against ourselves, and cry for mercy, because by our fault-our own fault- our exceeding fault-we have sinned against Him. He bore the burden once, but was set free. He can therefore both feel for us when we bear it; and, more, He can set us free.

Let us then, dear brethren, all of us, who are now truly humbling ourselves before Him, let us by faith see Him dead, that we may fear death less. To see Him dead is to know that He would not have us die eternally. The Saviour's death is the sure pledge of life eternal for the saved: not indeed if He had remained dead, but since He is alive again for ever


The Good Shepherd has given His life for the sheep, that they might have life in Him. No sheep of His fold, abiding in His fold, shall ever perish; for He knows His sheep, and is known of them.

Now, almost all that I have said for support against the terror of death in our own case, may also comfort and uphold us under the loss, if it should please God to take them away, of those we love. That which can strengthen us against the fear of death in our own case, may give us a hope for them, should they die, which shall take away the bitterness of grief.

And in this, too, He that was laid in the new tomb can sympathize as well as save. For even when His own most awful death was close at hand, He could so far forget His own sufferings as to care for the comfort of His mother, pitying the grief that she would endure when He was gone; and seeing her, with the disciple whom He loved, standing by the cross, He turned to them, and said, "Woman, behold thy son;" and to the disciple, "Behold thy Mother." "

In conclusion. Let us ever remember, my brethren, that the one great practical preparation for a peaceful death, whether by a long lingering illness, or by a short and sharp one, is to die unto sin in the days of health. When by faith we contemplate our Saviour in the grave, it is not enough that we comfort ourselves with the thought that He has prepared a quiet resting-place, a place of hope for His elect; but we must also remember that as He died for sin, so must we die unto sin. Especially must we hold fast

St. John, xix. 26, 27.

this thought in solemn seasons of humiliation and prayer; remembering the awful sentence so frequently pronounced in Holy Scripture against those who offer sacrifice, or abstinence, or religious observance, to God, without forsaking sin, and giving their whole hearts to the Lord.

Let us ever remember that our offerings can only be accepted through the One great Sacrifice upon the cross. Without this they are utterly worthless. Unless they are in Christ, they are worse than nothing. But they cannot be in Christ, unless we first give ourselves unto Christ. So long as we hold fast to our sins we are apart from Him, and then our worship is an empty form. But in Him, blessed be God, our poor unworthy offerings are acceptable.

Lowly follower of the Lamb, despised in your own eyes, lightly esteemed or neglected by the world, make your offering with a glad heart: humble yourself, fast and pray, confess and mourn with a good hope, for Christ has died, yea, rather, is risen again, who ever sitteth at the right hand of God and maketh intercession for you. Be sure He will not despise your prayers, nor scorn your fears, nor be indifferent to your pain.

Every sigh, every tear, every act of humiliation will be noted in His book, and He will not overlook you, nor forget your heart's offering in that day when He makes up His jewels."

7 Vide Malachi, iii. 17.




1 ST. JOHN, v. 12.

"He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."

THE love of life, and the fear of death, are a ruling principle in all living creatures. The living clings tenaciously to life, and shrinks from death with instinctive dread, because it is the loss of life. Now life, and the consciousness of life, are given to men more abundantly than to other creatures in this visible world. Man's life is the highest life of all the lives we see. (For life rises by degrees, from the lowest vegetable to the noblest of reasonable beings.) And while man alone, of all the beings we know, can contemplate his own life, and appreciate, by reason, its joys and sorrows, its good and evil, its hopes, fears, and wishes, he only can picture vividly to himself the possible dreadful consequences of death, which seem to dissipate life entirely, and by one stroke undo what God the Creator has done.

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