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fearlessly ourselves—as the last sayings uttered from the cross of suffering ?

It has pleased God, my dear friend, to remove you for awhile away from the busy world into the peace and solitude of the sick chamber. By day and by night He has given you periods of wakefulness, when the thoughts are active, though the body is still. How blessed an opportunity this to visit Calvary ! to stand beneath the cross of Christ, and ponder upon His last sayings! Let us then dwell together, first, on the great proof given in the verse just read to you, of our Saviour's eminently patient, forbearing, pitying, and forgiving spirit. Let us think of it as though we might never again be permitted to mingle with the busy world again. It is extremely dangerous, even in our days of health and strength, to suffer « the sun to go

upon our wrath

against a fellow-creature, lest, in the night, our souls should be required of us, and we should then be found sullied by the sin of implacable resentment. In a time of sickness, the duties of forgiving others, and of seeking their forgiveness for ourselves, must necessarily appear in a much stronger light. May God lead us to discharge this Christian duty the better, as a consequence of our meditations together now!

Whenever you are tempted to fretfulness or impatience, try to think how patient your Saviour must have been to have uttered this brief but beautiful



prayer for His very murderers. We cannot indeed be surprised that this holy patience should have shone forth so much

upon the cross, when we read that “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter: and, as a sheep, before her shearers, is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.”

The Lord Jesus was perfectly holy and consistent from the beginning to the end of His torments; and those torments were surely such as never yet have fallen to the lot of

Think of His omnipotence, of His spotless purity and innocence, and then of the contradiction of sinners He was enduring, while He prayed, * Father, forgive them'! No reviling, no threatening, passed from those holy lips against the raging multitudes below. Had He so willed it, He might, in answer to their taunting challenge, have come down from the cross, and have bidden “ fire descend from heaven to destroy those murderers, and burn up their cities.” But mercy rejoiced over judgment still, though they were fast filling up the measure of their iniquities. But He was meek, because He loved those infuriate throngs, in spite of their crimes. He yearned over them even yet. Oh how does our own littleness appear, when we have allowed our. selves to give vent to angry, bitter words, against those who have offended us, placed in comparison with the Saviour's infinite greatness of mind, as shown by this wonderful patience !

And consider, too, how He pitied and forgavė. The crucifiers were venting against Him every species of bitter irony and malice. They raged against Him like the surges of an angry sea. They “pierced His hands and His feet: they stood staring and looking upon Him: they had plaited a crown of thorns, and, in their dark mockery, had drawn it cruelly over His bleeding brow: they must have seen by His sunken eyes, His pale, haggard look, His constrained attitude on the cross, His feverish thirst, His faintness, His troubled groans—that He was suffering inconceivable torture. And all this time conscience—unless they had lost it for awhile -must have loudly taunted them with the selfevident fact that they were putting One to death in this barbarous manner, who was entirely innocent of the charge brought against Him. Ah ! little did they seem to know that beneath that suffering form lay hidden Immanuel, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the terrible Judge of quick and dead! Already, the “blindness in part had happened to them, that will continue to overcloud their spiritual vision as a nation,” until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Then shall they “look on Him whom they pierced : and mourn for Him as a man mourneth for his firstborn.” Then shall they see some little of the infinite wonder that pervaded this Divine forgiveness.

Oh, to think of the terrible havoc that must have ensued, had Judah's Lion allowed His anger to overcome His pitying love for them and for us! My brother, your wearying sick-room would not then have been as it may be now—an abode wherein you may enjoy happy, peaceful foretastes of a blessed eternity to be spent with Him, and with many probably of those bitter crucifiers, forgiven by Him, when “old things shall have passed away, and all things shall become new.” But He preferred the joy of saving us from the wrath to come, to the exhibition of His sovereign glory and omnipotence against His persecutors. Shall we allow in ourselves an unforgiving spirit any longer ? Shall we not rather henceforth learn of Him, “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth : who when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously” ?

There is a deeply comforting thought connected with the dying Redeemer's prayer for the forgiveness of His murderers, that I would just very briefly touch upon. The Lord Jesus is no less omnipotent in the efficacy of His intercessions, than in all other respects. St. Paul asks, triumphantly, “If God be for us, who can be against us ?” and we know that He is God. Thus, when the Lord Jesus, the Great High Priest, who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, prays for any, though they may be

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the vilest of the vile, they may be sure of their pardon. He would not intercede for those, who He foresaw would be condemned! The day is at hand when God will, of His own free grace, turn away iniquity from Jacob, and remember His people's transgressions no more. In His agony in the garden our Saviour prayed for His disciples in these most remarkable words, which show us that He prays only for those whom He knows the Father will save because of this prayer, those who sin rather through ignorance than wilful presumption : “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine.” And afterwards He added : “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word.

This last-mentioned petition touches your case, if you heartily believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, through the testimony of Holy Scripture, to His glory. Oh may you be comforted, my friend, in these gloomy days of sickness, by the consciousness imparted to you by the Holy Spirit, that you are resting wholly upon the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ and Him crucified all your hopes of salvation. So will you not only seek to forgive and to be forgiven by men--where there have been mutual offences—but yours also ought to be the deep blessedness of feeling, that because you have for

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