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the pen of inspiration? Shall life be thought miserable which furnishes the opportunity of obtaining abodes so glorious? Shall death be feared which opens a passage to a state so happy? Shall eternity be thought long, if it is to be spent in employments so ennobling? Is not that inheritance which is "incorruptible, undefiled, and which fadeth not away," a prize well worth contending for? Be exhorted, then, to "set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth." Earthly objects are vain and vexatious; but, even if they were more satisfying than they are, the single consideration that they are fleeting and transient, and that death will soon dissolve our connexion with them, might prove the ineffable folly of choosing them for our portion. Wilt thou "set thine eyes on that which is not ?" which has no permanent existence-which is a shadow rather than a substance? "Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."
THE CRY OF AGONY ON THE CROSS.
PSALM Xxii. 1.-My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
"ALL scripture is profitable," and therefore it may seem invidious and improper to prefer one part of it to another. But though all scripture is profitable, and entitled therefore to our careful study, and our profound veneration, there are some portions of it which are more instructive than others, and which are entitled therefore to special attention and regard.
It is probable that if we were required to select any one passage in the Old Testament as pre-eminently interesting and important, and as more extraordinary on the whole than any other, we should instantly and unanimously fix on the 53d chapter of the prophecies of Isaiah. To declare Jesus Christ and his salvation is the grand object of divine revelation; and the more closely that any part of scripture is connected with him the greater in general is its value. Now, nowhere in the Jewish scriptures do we meet within the same limits, with as much important information relative to him as in the chapter just mentioned. The account which it gives of his humiliation and sufferings is characterised by such clearness and particularity, that it resembles a history rather than a prophecy. While it describes
the circumstances of his death, it specifies also its causes, its intentions, and its consequences, both with respect to himself and others; and thus it combines the statements of the historian with the illustrations of the commentator-the narrative of the evangelist with the doctrines of the apostle. And, indeed, it would not be easy to select from the writings, either of the evangelist or the apostle, many passages containing within so narrow a space so much information relative to the character and work, the sacrifice and salvation, of that divine person.
Second to the 53d chapter of Isaiah, in point of interest and importance, if second even to it, is the psalm from which the text is taken. Like that remarkable chapter, this psalm contains a luminous account of the rejection of the Messiah, of the iniquitous sentence passed on him, of the cruel and contumelious treatment to which he was subjected, and of the circumstances of his ignominous and agonizing death. It gives the very words in which his enemies would revile him; it states, with respect to his death, two very interesting facts-the one of which is alluded to only in one other prophecy, and that but in general terms; and the other is not mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament. These facts are, that his death was to be by crucifixion, a Roman, not a Jewish punishment; and that, while his raiment was to be divided, one part of it would be disposed of by lot,occurrences which antecedently would have appeared exceedingly improbable." They pierced my hands and my feet. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture." Like the prophet, the psalmist describes not only "the sufferings of Christ, but the glory that followed,"-adverting both to the honours to which he was to be elevated in his own
person, and to the splendid triumphs and the universal diffusion of his religion.
When we read this psalm, then, we do not need to put the question addressed to Philip by the Ethiopian nobleman, "Of whom speaketh the psalmist this: of himself or of some other man?" The introductory exclamation was appropriated by the Saviour while he hung on the cross; several other expressions in the psalm are expressly applied to him in the New Testament; and even if we had not possessed authoritative applications of particular expressions, the internal evidence as to the import and intention of it all, would have precluded all rational doubt on the subject. Many of the predictions are so very remarkable for their minuteness and their improbability, and all of them have been so signally fulfilled in Jesus Christ, that one would suppose it impossible for infidelity itself to doubt that to him it must have been meant to apply. Whether David in this psalm glances obliquely at the occurrences of his own history, as he seems to do in many others of his psalms, may admit of doubt; but it admits of no doubt that he refers directly to that wonderful person who was at once his Son and Lord; and it seems probable that he refers to him solely and exclusively.
If, in this extraordinary portion of scripture, there be one expression more extraordinary than any other, it is the exclamation, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me." It is wonderful that a person of divine majesty and immaculate innocence,-the Son of God, who was the object of the Father's ineffable love, and the Creator of the universe,-should have been subjected to suffering at all: it is still more wonderful that he should have been doomed to endure the tortures of the cross-tortures to which only the
most atrocious criminals were condemned; but the greatest wonder of all is, that when enduring these tortures, in compliance with the Father's will, and to open a way for the accomplishment of the Father's purposes of mercy and love, he should have occasion to utter that most mournful cry-a cry the most distressing that ever ascended to heaven from earth. Take the sacred volume, brethren, and examine every page in it from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation, and you will not find a more remarkable expression than that in the text, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
As it is the grand design of the Lord's Supper to commemorate the Lord's sufferings and death, and as that exclamation directs our thoughts to the most painful part of his sufferings, it presents, of course, a theme of meditation eminently appropriate. What I propose chiefly in discoursing from it, is, first to inquire into its import, and then to advert to some practical inferences which it suggests. The subject is an obscure and difficult, as well as a most important one; and therefore supernatural aid is pre-eminently needed in discussing it. Let it, then, be our mutual prayer, that the Spirit of wisdom and illumination may be granted us, so that I may not "darken counsel by words without knowledge;" nor utter what is unwarranted and unscriptural, or what is curious rather than edifying; but that I" may speak excellent things; and that the opening of my mouth may be right things."
Let us proceed, first, to inquire into the import of this exclamation. And in doing this, let us avail ourselves of some of the lights reflected on it from the narratives of the evangelists. Under this head, I would offer three remarks:
1st, It does not imply that the Saviour now regarded