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more value or interest than those of any other prophet or martyr, if they had been intended merely as an attestation of doctrine or a pattern of virtue. They were indeed intended for these purposes, but they were intended also for a purpose far more momentous. They were designed to satisfy divine justice, and reconcile us to God. "He loved us, and gave himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God."

If light be the appropriate image of knowledge, and purity, and joy; if darkness be the natural emblem of ignorance, and crime, and wretchedness,-the darkness mentioned in the text may well remind us of that guilt in which our race was universally involved, and of that misery and perdition to which we were universally exposed, and in reference to which the scripture uses such terrific images as "chains of darkness," "the blackness of darkness," and "outer darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth." From this misery the Son of God died to deliver us. He was made a curse that we might obtain the blessing. His soul was enveloped for a time in darkness and gloom, in order that we might escape the gloom of the eternal prison, and be raised to the regions of ineffable light and everlasting day.

Such was the design of his sufferings; and the cessation of the darkness indicated that that glorious and benevolent design was accomplished. For three hours the Son of God had suffered in silent anguish; and toward the close of that period he uttered the most mournful cry that ever ascended from earth to heaven. Not many moments elapsed, however, after that cry was uttered, till all his woes were ended. "There was darkness over all the land till the ninth hour;" but when it came, and as the sacred narrative seems to suggest, a little before the Saviour's death, the dark and lurid

clouds began to disperse, the beams of the sun to penetrate through the gloom, and the face of the sky prepared to resume its wonted purity and splendour. And what would these auspicious signs betoken? Who does not recognize in them an intimation of the beneficent and stupendous changes and effects accomplished by the Redeemer's death, an intimation that the wrath of heaven was averted, and the justice of heaven satisfied; that our spiritual enemies were discomfited, our guilt expiated, and our salvation purchased;—an intimation that the dark and shadowy dispensation of Moses was repealed, and that an economy of surpassing light and glory was about to rise on the nations. Of all these things, the retiring darkness and the returning light furnished a cheering prognostic; and, accordingly, the most mournful was quickly succeeded by the most joyful exclamation ever uttered in the world. "When Jesus, therefore, had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."

In applying what has been said, let me ask you, brethren, 1st, What sentiments and feelings do you habitually cherish in reference to the wonderful things of which we have been speaking? What think you of Christ? Do you see in his crucifixion an affecting proof of the awful malignity of human guilt, and of the inexpressible magnitude of divine love? Do you regard his death as a sufficient atonement for sin, and do you rely on it, and on it exclusively, for pardon and salvation? Do you regard the Son of God as the Saviour from sin as well as from misery? and are the views which you entertain of his death such as habitually to impel you to avoid sin and to follow holiness? If so, we are authorised to say that you have been really

enlightened in the knowledge of the truth, and that you are indeed the friends and the disciples of Christ. You have a right to his table; and, therefore, let no perplexing fears prevent you from there commemorating his unparalleled sufferings and his immeasurable love. "Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God." And may He who is the light of the world send out his light and his truth; let him lead us, let him bring us to his holy hill and to his tabernacles. Then will we go to the altar of God, to God our exceeding joy.

2d, This subject teaches us the sentiments with which the ordinance of the Lord's Supper should be observed. It ought to be with emotions of holy joy. Those dark and ominous clouds, which had risen over our sinful world and blackened the whole face of heaven, have been dissipated by the hallowed influences of the Saviour's sacrifice, and the storm of vengeance which impended over us all, is averted from the believing penitent. Should we not rejoice, too, that the eclipse of the Sun of Righteousness is past, that he now fills and gladdens the heavenly world with his rays, and that the Gentile nations are invited to come to his light.

It is not inconsistent with the joy now recommended, that we cherish emotions of grief for those sins which brought the Lord of life to the accursed tree. In the crucifixion and death of the Saviour, we have a most affecting proof of the atrocity and the malignity of sin; and can we then commemorate his death without sentiments of penitence, humility, and godly sorrow? "O that our heads were waters, and our eyes a fountain of tears, that we might weep day and night for

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those sins which brought the Lord of glory to the accursed tree."

3d, This subject shows us the danger of neglecting the gospel remedy. The sacrifice of the cross is a display of the just severity as well as of the tender mercy of God. The hour in which the Saviour suffered was an hour of terror as well as of love. In token of the Almighty's wrath, the face of heaven was clothed with darkness, and the earth trembled in dismay. The great sacrifice then offered has averted that wrath from those who believe and obey the Saviour, but so much the more accumulated and overwhelming must be the pressure with which it will fall on those who reject the overtures of reconciliation. Fearfully ominous as was the darkness attendant on the Saviour's crucifixion, there is a darkness inexpressibly more dreadful, with which we should ever associate it, even that outer darkness into which the ungodly shall be banished, and where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. "If we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries."



2 CORINTHIANS xii. 2. -I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth), such an one caught up to THE


"GODLINESS is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." Religion imparts many comforts and joys even in the present world, so that even now the righteous is happier as well as " more excellent than his neighbour." It must not be imagined, however, that the present life of the saints is a life of untroubled repose, or unmingled enjoyment. On the contrary, it is often a life of care and hardship, of toil and conflict. He is called to maintain an incessant struggle with external temptations; and still greater is the annoyance which he has to endure from those depraved principles which dwell in his own heart, and whose power, though enfeebled and broken, is not annihilated.

In addition to the anxiety and distress originating in these causes, he must expect his full proportion of those multitudinous miseries and afflictions "which flesh is heir to." Poverty may come against him "as one that travelleth, and want as an armed man,"-his good name, "better than precious ointment, or than great riches," may be "wounded by the scourge" of a backbiting tongue; the misconduct and misfortunes of relatives or friends may wring his heart with bitter

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