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Dost thou not see, O wretched sinner, the rigorous severity of God, and his insupportable wrath against the henious, wicked ways of men ? And wilt thou still sport and play with sin as a darling bosom child, when so glorious a person has suffered so much, and laid down his life on account of it? or dost thou vainly imagine that the Son of God suffered himself to be sentenced to die, to be mocked, insulted, buffeted, and spit upon, merely to procure for thee the privilege of sinning with impunity ? Dost thou suppose that this stupendous transaction came to pass that thou mightest have the liberty of doing evil, and going on in trespasses and sins? How vain and groundless is the imagination ! for it has not so much as a shadow of probability on its side. The adorable person, who was crucified for thy sins, teaches thee to draw.another kind of inference from his unspeakable sufferings : For when he was led to his crucifixion, he spoke these memorable and pathetic word: •If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry ? (Luke xxiii. 31.) If God has not spared his only, his beloved Son, when he took on himself the guilt of, and atoned for the sins of others, what rational hopes canst thou entertain that he will spare a degenerate child, who has forfeited his birthright, and is determined to continue in sin? Nay, can such a one expect any indulgence, as perhaps makes a jest of repentance and sanctification, and in the presumptuous depravity of his heart dares ask this impious question, “If I am obliged to lead a life of piety and holiness, what necessity was there of Christ's dying for me? What occasion is there for his imputed merit, if I do not sin, but lead a pious and godly life ?”

Therefore, O sinner, forbear by an obstinate continuance in sin to spit on and mock him, who from a cordial love to thy immortal soul, hath suffered indignities, pain, and death; and who, without any reluctance or contradiction, permitted the sentence of temporal death to be passed on him, in order to deliver

thee from the sentence of eternal death. Wilt thou still take a delight in sin, the expiation of which cost thy Mediator so much pain and sorrow? Behold his sacred face swelled by blows, and covered with blood! Behold his eyes quite sunk and weighed down with agony and want of sleep! Stand a while before this affecting spectacle; and with prayers and tears divell on the consideration, that the Prince of Life was insulted, spit on, struck, and even condemned to die an ignominious death, till thou art made sensible of the heinousness of thy sins, and thy heart is filled with horror at the thought of them. Let it be a matter of unspeakable grief to thee, that thou hast so outraged the Son of God, and as it were insulted the Lord of glory, and given thy vote for the sentence passed on him. Thus, the passion of Christ will lay in thee a true foundation for godly sorrow, and a sincere repentance. For, (again to make use of the pious Luther's words) “This is the proper, natural effect of our Saviour's passion, that it transforms men, as it were, into his likeness ; so that as Christ suffered extreme tortures in soul and body for our sins, we also should, by the consideration of our manifold sins, be tortured in the mind and conscience. This is not the effect of mere words, but of deep reflection and serious detestation of sin. Thus the passion of Christ performs its proper, natural, and effectual operation; it mortifies the old Adam, expels all sinful desires, all delight and confidence in the creatures. Then we are grieved in our consciences, and are displeased with our past sinful lives. But (to proceed in Luther's words) he who finds himself so obdurate and insensible, that Christ's passion works no sạch pious emotions in hiin, ought to fear that he does not turn his thoughts inward on himself, so as to know his own heart. For the only alternative is this, thou must be made conformable to the image and sufferings of Christ either in this life or that which is to come.

At least, these terrors will overwhelm thee on thy death-bed. Thou shalt then shudder and

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tremble, and feel all that Christ suffered on his cross. O dreadful situation for a dying man! Therefore implore God, that he would mollify thy obdurate heart, and grant that thou mayest so meditate on Christ's passion, as to bring forth its happy fruits in thee." Let me intreat you, my dearly beloved, to follow such good advice; and be assured that


will never repent of it.

But we are not to rest here. When we are brought to a knowledge and sense of our sins, by considering the sufferings of Christ, we must again and again detest and abhor them, and again empty the oppressed conscience of them. And Oh, what an encouragement to faith and confidence in God arises from the condemnation of Christ! For behold, O pious soul, which art inwardly terrified at hearing the sentence of death passed on the Son of God; thou who sayest within thyself, If this be done in the green tree, what will become of me a dry and barren trunk? thou who couldest abhor thyself for having insulted the image of the invisible God; thou who wouldest suffer any loss or inconveniency whatever, rather than mock and outrage him afresh by new deliberate sins; Behold, I say, thy Mediator! Thou hast, indeed, deserved the sentence of death; but thy surety, out of his unspeakable love to thee, has appeared in thy stead, and has permitted it to be vicariously passed on himself, that thou mightest enjoy eternal life. He has endured the accusations of false witnesses, that the accuser of thy brethren might be foiled at the Divine tribunal. He was condemned as a blasphemer for acknowledging that he was the Son of God, in order to atone for man's impiety, who endeavoured to make himself a God, and that thou, through faith in his name, mightest be restored to the glorious liberty of the sons of God. He did not hide his face from shame and spitting, that thou mightest with joy lift up thy face before the tribunal of God. The mockeries and insults,

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which he endured, have acquired thee a right to bliss and glory; and the strokes and blows to which he submitted have procured thee an exemption from the buffetings of satan.

Rejoice then and be exceeding glad! Dost thou with a penitent heart believe on the condemned Son of God? then shalt thou not be condemned. He has been judged and sentenced to die, therefore thou shalt not come unto judgment; but shalt pass from death unto life. Thy condemned brother is exalted to the right hand of God, and will one day judge those who have judged him; but as for thee, if thou holdest out to the end in faith and good works, he will set thee on his right hand, and introduce thee into his endless joy and never-fading glory.

Hold out still a little longer in thy conflict against sin, and suffer not deceitful and wicked lusts to have dominion over thee; for, in the condemnation of thy surety, sentence of death was passed also on them. Be not ashamed of thy Saviour's reproach. Rejoice when in following him, thou art thought worthy to suffer insults, mockery, and blows on account of his sacred truth; for he hath sanctified such insults and indignities, and appointed them as honorary marks to distinguish his followers from the rest of the world. Strive to imitate the blessed Jesus in his patience and gentleness, and pray to him, that he would impart to thee that placid, dove-like temper, and calm serenity with which he suffered reproach, and submitted to the most flagrant injustice. Boldly confess him before men, that he may also confess thee before his Father and the holy angels. Love him who has loved thee even unto death, till thou seest him face to face, when thou shalt eternally rejoice, and be transformed into the likeness of him who was once despised and rejected of men, but now shines in the most effulgent glory. VOL. 11


THE PRAYER. O Thou condemned Lamb of God! eternal thanksgiving and praise be ascribed to thee for permitting the sentence of death to be passed on thee, that thou mightest acquire a right to eternal life for those who shall believe in thy name. Bless to all our souls this account of thy condemnation. May the words, He is guilty of death,' be as a thunder-clap in our ears, and strike our careless depraved hearts with a salutary terror, that they may be laid low in the dust, and brought to a godly sorrow and sincere repentance. But grant, that it may also be a balsam of life to all those afflicted and troubled consciences, which carry in them the sentence of death, and make thy cross their refuge. Say unto them, your heart shall live forever. May the whole merit of thy passion be imputed to them, for the remission of their sins; and may they be rendered capable of imitating thy mildness, patience, and submission, and even willingly to take on them thy reproach and thy sufferings. Grant this for the sake of thy holy name. Amen,


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