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themselves through the world. Some have a faint misgiving of the truth ; but they strive to drown it in the bustle and tumult of life. Others try to blot out the characters in which their terrible sentence is written, by means of alms and God-service : but alas! they are ineffaceable! A few, and but a few, feel the burden of it weighing down their souls, and cry in piteous accents, “ We are lost! we are lost!” Would to God there were more of the latter class among us ! for it is to them we are commissioned to bear a most blessed and glorious message from the tribunal of Pilate.

Yes, for them the sentence of heavenly justice is remitted: it has disappeared, and is destroyed and annihilated, but not by caprice or partial favour. On the contrary, it has been put into execution, and not one of its terrors omitted ; and yet,-can you comprehend it? —it has been lawfully annulled, and for ever done away with. Hearken to the terrible cry which resounds from before the tribunal of Pilate, “ Crucify him! crucify him!” Listen to the awful words, "He is worthy of death! Away with him! Away with him! Let the blasphemer die!" Fearful and awful do they sound, enough to make us tremble !

And at the same time, to the ear of faith, they are like the musical tones of the harp and lute! In these mystic words is comprehended the condemnation uttered in paradise, proclaimed on Mount Sinai, denounced from Ebal, promulgated by the prophets amongst the people, confirmed by Jesus Christ, and preached by the apostles to the whole world. This sentence of condemnation was pronounced over the pure head of our great Pledge; and the curse which had been uttered against us, now descended


him. He was punished for our sins, and suffered for our misdeeds; for God did not even spare his only beloved Son, but sent him “in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh.” Therefore it is written, “ Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” Therefore our Redeemer said to Pilate, “ Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above.” Therefore the high priest prophesying, said, “It is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish nod." Therefore it is written, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment; so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." Therefore, we may say with Paul, “ Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died.”

II. The day on which the Son of God was condemned to death, was a day of justice and of divine vengeance upon sin, but at the same time a day to console the afflicted. Our history not only describes Jesus as the representative of sinners; but in the most vivid manner depicts the glorious and blessed consequences of his sufferings. Let us now read the twenty-fifth

“ And h4 (Pilate) released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will." Most remarkable scene---surpassing every thing in mighty and important consequences !


Before I explain the wonderful allegory contained in our text, I shall recal to your minds a mysterious sacrificial ceremony

described in the Old Testament. You are aware that yearly on the solemn feast-day, two goats were brought by the people to the highpriest ; after he had made atonement for himself and his household, by the sacrifice of a bull, he took the two first-mentioned animals, and cast lots upon them in the presence of the Lord. The one on which the lot fell, which was inscribed with the name of “Jehovah,” was offered to God; the other, that received the lot on which “ Azazel” was written, was to go free. Thus the first was appointed to be a sin-offering unto the Lord ; and being regarded as laden with the sin and impurity of the second goat, which represented the people, was led to the slaughter-slain--and then carried outside the camp, where it was burned with fire, and its ashes scattered to the winds. When this was done, the goat Azazel, after the high-priest had confessed their misdeeds in the name of the people, was set at liberty, to wander through the fields and woods of the Holy Land, as during the journey from Egypt it had been released in the desert. Now it could pasture where it pleased, and run and enjoy itself wherever it would, for all in the land was at its option. No huntsman might shoot it, no husbandman prevent it feeding on his grounds; for since the first goat had been slain for it, the Azazel was free as long as he lived ; none

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might imprison or injure it: and this was its right for ever.

It seems to me that the meaning of this holy ceremony is clear as day. It signified that One should come, who should take upon himself the sins of the people, be punished in their stead, and suffer death. Sinners would then be delivered from their curse, on account of the satisfaction made for them to Divine Justice ; they would be like the Azazel, free and atoned for, and no longer under a sentence of condem. nation.

This ceremony coincides in a most remarkable manner with the occurrence described in to-day's history; for it finds in it a literal fulfilment, in accordance un, doubtedly with the eternal plan and counsel of God Jesus and Barabbas stand together :-Barabbas, a rebel and a murderer; Jesus, a holy one, accused of crimes which Barabbas has committed. The murderer is a child of the devil; Jesus is the son of the Eternal Father, but it is said of him that he has a devil, and he is treated accordingly. As the lot was cast over the two goats in the temple, so, in like manner, fate of the two prisoners is to be determined by a species of lot,-for, according to custom at the Passover, the people had it in their power to choose which of them should be set at liberty. Pilate now asked them, “ Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus, which is called Christ ?" One of them must be set at liberty, and when once it is determined on,

the choice remains unalterably fixed. As surely as one is set free, the other must suffer death ; and one only


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can be saved, for the people have no right to demand more : at the same time, both cannot be put to death, for, according to law, one must go free. If Jesus be chosen, then woe to the murderer! If, on the contrary, the people demand Barabbas, then, alas for Jesus ! he is lost, and the murderer escapes his rightful doom. Mysterious state of things! How then will the case be decided ? You know already how the lot fell,—the happy lot, the lot of Azazel fell on Barabbas; for the people, as if with one voice, demanded the murderer to be set at liberty! The dark and bloody lot—the lot on which " Jehovah” was inscribed-fell on the bless. ed Jesus, and the Holy One must therefore be sacrificed. A most wonderful exchange now takes place, such as the world never saw ;-the just one finds himself in the circumstances of the criminal, and the criminal is placed in the condition which rightfully belongs to the just. The innocent one suffers, as though on him lay the weight of the murderer's guilt ; and the murderer is treated as though he were spotless and unstained. The chains of the evil-doer are laid upon the blameless ; and liberty is announced to the evil-doer, as if to him belonged the rights of the blameless. The criminal's sentence of death is pronounced over the head of him who is more than angel pure, and the child of wrath thereby receives the right of quitting his prison and going whithersoever he pleases. In short, it is a full and perfect exchange of destiny: the scourges prepared for the rebel lacerate the back of the Son of God. On the cross erected for that child of the devil, there stands the inscription, " Jesus of

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