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mility of the comparison shows the humility of him who uttered it—the only Son of the Father, the firstborn of every creature, who, if he had so willed it, might have remained alone in that glory which he had from the beginning; but he divested himself of the form of God, and appeared in our sinful mortal body, in order to save us from sin and from death, and obtain for us the freedom of the children of God. The whole life of our Lord, and the silent though stupendous act of the redemption of the world, resembles the history of a little seed of corn.
In the year that had been predicted, God sent his Son, born of a woman;
-a manger at Bethlehem was the only cradle of the child; and his birth was made known to few, besides the shepherds in the fields, Simeon and Hannah in the temple, and the wise men of the East. A question of the latter drew down the first storm on the head of our Redeemer, which caused the murder of the children of Bethlehem and the flight into Egypt. The report of the Messiah's birth now became extinct; though, when Jesus taught in the temple, at the age of twelve, his useful glory dawned for a moment in the presence of a few. Many years passed over, and still nothing remarkable took place—at length stepped forward Jesus of Nazareth, in the humblest of human forms, and announced himself as the long promised anointed one of God ; and proved himself to be a prophet, mighty in word and deed. The people were astonished and wondered at his miracles, but few believed on him,—the high priests and rulers, the mighty and holiest, the most wonderful and the most mysterious of
the learned, hated, slandered, and persecuted him, and then turned the hearts of the people against him; only a small number of faithful disciples, both men and women, remained attached to him. His enemies triumphed, he fell into their hands ; they condemned, crucified, and murdered him. In this manner ended the public history of Jesus of Nazareth.
All this took place in the narrow circle of Judea; a land subdued by the Romans, and despised by the whole world. Romans crucified him whom the Jews had delivered into their hands he died and was buried
- but, lo! his death became the means of his glorification. The mightiest of all events was now finished, the divine work sealed by the hand of God, spread through every land, and the word from the cross penetrated through the world, introducing along with it a new form of things, and a new life, which are as inseparably connected with him that was crucified as the dew with the morning dawn.
• Whom they slew and hanged on a tree : him God raised up
the third day, and shewed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.'-Acts X.39—41.
AFTER the Apostle Peter had interrupted his sermon on the sending and anointing of Jesus Christ and his life and miracles, by referring to himself and his fellowapostles as eye-witnesses he comes to the greatest and
all manifestations, the ground, the resting point, the very corner stone of the Gospel—the crucifixion of our Lord, and his resurrection.
Whom they slew, and hanged on a tree.'—There is great simplicity in those words, which describe so briefly that all-important event, which the four Evangelists have fully and circumstantially related. They certainly describe it as a thing which took place on earth and among men; but the Apostles generally speak of it as a thing done, finished, and perfected in heaven. The four Evangelists, after having described the mighty deeds of the Lord, and the various manifestations of his glory as the Son of God, give a minute account of his shame and ignominy, his sufferings and his death—as the darkest night will sometimes follow the brightest day! The historians of our Lord resemble a mirror, which gives a faithful picture of the surrounding objects -the heart of John, however, does sometimes interrupt his recital; when he is moved by his own description of that glory which perpetually hovered over our Lord even in the midst of his sufferings.
In the beginning of his sermon Peter follows the example of the Evangelists—his words may be rendered thus : Jesus of Nazareth is he, concerning whom God sent his word, from age to age, to the children of Israel; preaching peace through him as Lord of all. The fulfilment of the word of the prophecy began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached and published through the whole land of Judea,-anointed by the Holy Ghost and with power, our Lord went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil;
and in this manner he proved himself, by his actions and doctrine, by his word and miracles, to be the holy one of God. Our Apostle comprehends all in that most significant sentence: ‘For God was with him, and we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews and at Jerusalem ; whom they slew and hanged on a tree.'
Who did this? The children of Israel, to whom he had been promised, whose fathers had looked for him with the most ardent and longing desire,—the men who had seen and admired his divine power and miracles, who had beheld his wisdom and his holiness, his gentleness and humility, his love and benevolencewhose salvation and redemption he had so earnestly desired, and on whom he had heaped his blessings-Him they accused as a blasphemer of God; and, as a rebel and a murderer, they crucified and slew him! And who was he whom they slew? The same Jesus who testified of himself that he is the Son of God, the light of the world, the resurrection and the life, one with the Father, and sent by him for the salvation of the world, the truth of whose words were proved by innumerable deeds of almighty power and love-whom the storm and the waves obeyed,—who made the blind to see, and who recalled the dead to life. He, the holy and righteous One, in whose mouth deceit was never found, whom no man could accuse of sin, he was slain and hanged on a tree. What a difference there is between the words of our Apostle, ' For God was with him,' and the cry of our crucified Lord himself, “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'
How astonishing and incomprehensible, nay even impossible, all this would appear if we had not heard it from our youth upwards, and were as familiar with the cross of Jesus of Nazareth as with the sun in the heavens! But we know that it thus happened, for Peter loudly and openly proclaimed it at Jerusalem, in the very face of his enemies and murderers. Whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. denied the Holy One and the just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of Life.' Acts iii. 13—15.
This is the simple recital of that which took place in Jerusalem and on Golgotha about eighteen hundred years ago; this is the circumstance from which all the Apostles and Evangelists, in their discourses, proceed, and to which they are perpetually recurring. Of this Paul
says, in 1 Cor. ii. 2, 'For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. The crucifixion of our Lord is still crying unto heaven; it is the most ruthless act ever committed by men, and the most terrible proof of the natural guilt of the human heart, as well as the darkest and most mysterious veiling of the hand of God in his government of the world, ‘Him, being delivered by the determinate council and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain ;' Acts ii. 23, -it is the deepest humiliation and forbearance of that being who had, in himself, the power of life and death, but who yet permitted himself to be led as a lamb the slaughter! Yes, even to death on the cross. Is it