« EdellinenJatka »
the body of Christ was separated from the soul at his death, as in the case of all men; that the body was taken to its appropriate resting place, the tomb; and that the soul also was conveyed to the place of departed spirits, to await there the moment of their re-union. Nothing hinders us from a reasonable confidence, that this intermediate place of departed spirits is a place of happiness to the good, and of misery to the wicked, and that between them there is a barrier, which neither are allowed to pass. Thus considered, the place of departed spirits, into which our Lord's human soul descended, would be the same as Abraham's bosom or Paradise, and the Creed becomes consistent, both with his gracious promise to the penitent thief, This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise,' and with the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. It seems to have been the prevailing opinion of the Church, in all ages, that there is an intermediate state of this description provided for the souls of all, where the irreligious find a hell in the gnawing remorse of conscience, in the conviction that the threatenings of God are true, in the hopeless looking back on those lusts of the world and the flesh, which they can no longer gratify, and in the fearful looking forward to the day of Almighty wrath, when their bodies and their souls shall be re-united only to receive the sentence of final condemnation. While, on the other hand, those spirits, who depart from the body in the favor of the Lord, are consigned to an intermediate paradise, or place of happy repose, where they rest from their labors, enjoy the society of all the redeemed, and anticipate, with delighted hope, the dawning of that day, when their glorified bodies shall be raised from the tomb, fitted for immortality, and they shall ascend in them to their proper heaven, there to partake of the fulness of joy, and pleasures at the right hand of God for ever
Seeing, then, my brethren, the glorious majesty of Christ Jesus in his Divine nature-the eternal Son of the eternal Father-seeing the sinless perfection and spotless purity of that humanity which he took to himself as the head of our race-seeing the gracious decree of the Father to deliver up his only Son for our sakes, and the infinite love which prompted our Lord to humble himself, and, in the language of our text, 'to taste death for every man'marking the course through life of him, who was so emphatically a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief'his self-denial—his poverty—his fastings—his watchings— his patient endurance of scorn and derision-his agony of spirit-his torments in the flesh-his voluntary yielding of himself to a false judgment, to a cruel imprisonment, to mockery and insults, to buffetings and stripes, and to the most shameful, lingering, torturing, and accursed death of the cross-we ask you for what end was so stupendous a sacrifice offered? For what end was such agony endured? Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth,'-TO SAVE MAN-to save sinners; to save us, my brethren, even us, from the destruction of the body and the hopeless misery of the soul-from the pangs of eternal remorse and frantic despair-from the severity of God's despised justice, and the vengeance of his insulted love-from infinite wrath and Almighty indignation-from the curse of heaven, and the agonies of hell-from these, and more than all that mortal intellect can imagine, or mortal tongue describe-Jesus, the blessed and the holy Jesus, died to save US. brethren! will any amongst you say, that-so far as you are concerned, at least-he DIed in vain ?
Suffer me, I beseech you as a fellow sharer in all that ought to interest you-suffer me, my beloved friends, to warn you of your danger. We are the children of one com
mon father. The same blood flows in our veins. hopes animate, the same fears depress us. We are travelling together in the same path of life, and the same death awaits us at its close. Whether you or I shall be first called to our account, is of little moment, but it cannot be very long until our flesh, with all the cares and distracting anxieties belonging to it, must be laid low beneath the clods of the valley. The ties which now bind us to the world, shall be dissolved forever—the place that now knows us, shall know us no more. then, while time is yet allowed us, let me supplicate you to hear the warning voice of the Apostle, and hearing, may your souls live. Christ Jesus,' saith he, 'by the grace of God, tasted death for EVERY MAN,' for you, individually,—for each one within my hearing; whether young or old, rich or poor, bond or free, male or female, no matter: these distinctions have no relation to the soul-every soul is equally immortal-every soul is alike precious in his sight. To each particular heart is this message addressed, to each is this salvation offered. Before each singly, life and deathblessing and cursing are placed this day, and an eternity of happiness or of misery depends on your election.
Yes, my fellow sinner, Christ Jesus tasted death for you. Do you doubt his affection for you? Look at him weeping over Jerusalem, that hardened city, which had rejected all his overtures of mercy, and persecuted him even to the cross. Do you question his willingness to save you? Listen to his prayers for his murderers, even at the very moment that they were cruelly insulting his dying agony. Do you fear that you are too late to seek him? Look at the repentant malefactor at his side, who, at the last hour, received the blessed promise, 'this day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.' O then, refuse no longer your compliance
with the invitations of his grace. Quench not the dispositions which his Spirit has excited in your heart. Cast away fears, doubts, and opposing interests. Only seek him with earnest repentance and humble faith, and his grace shall be sufficient for you. He will subdue every obstacle in your path; he will open for you the door that no man shall close; he will be your sacrifice, your peace, your righteousness, your crown, and your salvation.
And you, my Christian brethren, his professed followers, who know that he tasted death for you-how do you show forth the sincerity of your profession? Do you live to him who died for you? Is the world which crucified your master, crucified to you, and are you crucified to the world? Or do you think that his life was all suffering, in order that yours might be all indulgence? Do you think that you can unite Christ with Belial, and worship, at once, both God and mammon? Shall Christ, who has once humbled himself to death for your sins, be crucified afresh by your worldliness, your unhallowed lives, your profane pleasures, and your ungodly example? O my Christian brethren, let not this foul reproach be brought upon the Church which the blessed Jesus purchased at the price of his precious blood. Look unto him constantly. Make the history of his life and sufferings the daily study of yourselves and all around you. Let the rule of every transaction be his sacred will, and bring your own into strict conformity to it. Be his followers, indeed, in watchfulness and prayer, in candor and in truth, in meekness and benevolence, in gentleness and love, in zeal for God and in patient endurance of every allotted trial. So shall you experience the unspeakable blessings of his pardon and his peace, the light of his countenance shall shine upon your path, and you shall go on, rejoicing, from grace to grace, and from glory to glory.
ROMANS IV. 25.
WHO WAS DELIVERED FOR OUR OFFENCES, AND WAS RAISED AGAIN FOR OUR JUSTIFICATION.
These words, my brethren, refer to our Saviour Jesus Christ, and recognize distinctly the doctrine of the atonement, in the delivering of our Lord to death for our offences, and that of our justification, in his resurrection from the dead. Of the subjects here presented to us, however, we shall devote this discourse to the single point of the resurrection, and shall examine it in connexion with that portion of the Creed, in which we profess to believe, that 'on the third day' our Lord 'rose from the dead.' In this branch of our Christian profession, we may consider, first, the fact, secondly, the time, and thirdly, the consequences,
1. With regard to the fact of our blessed Lord's resurrection from the dead, it was declared both by type and prophecy. The type appears in the sacrifice of Isaac, designed to be rendered by the faithful Abraham; for thus the Apostle speaks of this transaction in his Epistle to the Hebrews, By faith,' saith he, 'Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac, accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from whence also he received him in a figure.' From this we may learn that the whole of this interesting transaction was typical and figurative, shadowing forth, by the most affecting emblem, the love of God the Father, who spared not his own Son, but freely