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shall not be offended at it! Blessed is he, who, keeping apart from controversies, accepts the truth as it is revealed—who believes, as St. Paul believed, that Jesus Christ is set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood—and who can say, with the same Apostle, in another place—God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world !
And now I turn for a few words to the practical side of this great subject. The doctrine of the cross is no barren doctrine. It is, of all doctrines, the most calculated to influence the believer in his life-most efficacious in winning souls—most full of comfort-most provocative to love and good works.
For, first-see how full it is of comfort-see what it does for a soul that sorrows truly for sin.
Some of you must know what that sorrow is—some of you must have been in that terrible pit, the pit of despair, into which a sense of guilt sometimes plunges the soul-And how did you get out of it? Was it not by laying hold on this great truth, “ Christ died for sinners on the cross,”—was not that it which first lifted you up out of the mire and clay, and set your feet upon the rock, and ordered your goings ?
Indeed I think it was—I have talked with those who had been so smitten, so sunk down under a sense of sin, and they have told me that their deliverance came from this quarter.
Then, brethren, grasp that blessed truth, and never let it slip. You may need it ere long-you ought to need it now. For think how you stand towards God
cast up the account of your sins—your wilful transgression of God's holy law-your sins of intemperance-your sins of tongue-your sins of every sort and kind—what a black cloud rises up between you and heaven! Who shall dispel it? Who shall bring back the light of God's face to shine again upon you? There is only One who is able to do it-hear what St. John says about HimIf any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins !
But the cross has other lessons for us, besides this of comfort-It speaks to every heart of the evil of sinit appeals to every one of us to renounce sin. Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Is it nothing--a thing of no consequence that the holy, innocent Jesus should bear all He bore in being crucified ? Is sin—which could not be wiped out but by His sufferings—sin which crowned His head with thorns—which drove the iron into His soul—which darkened for Him, for a time, His very Father's face-a thing now to be trifled with ? to be made our sport—to be indulged in at each the least soliciting of our corrupt hearts ?
0, surely not! Sin to us must always seem exceeding sinful-something to be renounced, striven against, yea, even, if need be, unto death. Surely we shall feel, that for us to sin wilfully, after we have been redeemed, is, as it were, to crucify our Lord afresh—to renew His bitter grief—to trample upon His cross—to put Him to an open shame! Surely it befits us, who call ourselves by Christ's sacred name, rather ourselves to die daily with Him unto sin—to mortify all our evil and corrupt affections
yea, to share the discipline of our Saviour-to take up the cross, and bear it after Jesus !
And this brings me to one more remark in concluding
We preach Christ crucified to you, brethren—we point to Him on the cross as the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world—we bid you learn from His cruel sufferings the price it cost to redeem your souls.
But is there nothing more? Does the Crucifixion teach us nothing which we may copy and reproduce ourselves ? Assuredly it teaches us much-Christ, even on the cross, carried on His life-long work of teaching the people.
And what are the lessons ? Patience-patience under grief which He suffered wrongfully-forgiveness of injuries—for He prayed, in His torment, for His murderers —thoughtful care and concern for others in the midst of His own sufferings --witness the words, Woman, behold thy son : disciple, behold thy mother—resignation, calm and entire surrender of Himself to God-Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit !
Those are Christ's last lessons to us—His sermon from His cruel cross. Shall we not remember them, and often love to recall them ? Shall we not turn to Christ crucified, as for other weighty purposes, so also for this, for our example ?
And when we go back from that sight-as we now do, each to his own home-shall we not go resolved to practice what we have seen and heard—resolved to exhibit and put out before men, what we can of the mind which was in Christ crucified-resolved-God helping
us—to be henceforth more patient, more humble, more unselfish, more ready to forgive, more resigned to God in all things, more quick to spend and to be spent on behalf of our brethren?
1 CORINTHIANS xv. 20.
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of
them that slept.
The festival of Easter is the festival of the resurrection-it brings before us, as no other day can, that centre truth of our religion, the assurance that in Jesus Christ death is conquered. '
It is not till we have passed the earlier portion of our life on earth, that we feel, in all its force, the comfort of this revelation. While we are yet young, the life to come seems so far off, that we seldom have it in mind. What we then think about, is, the time when we shall be grown up, be men and women, with all the privileges and powers that belong to those conditions. But as we advance in life—as our journey shortens—we begin to think more frequently and more seriously of its close and then it is that this great corner stone of our faith comes to be examined. Then it is that we are not content with merely saying in the words of our Creed—"I