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"Built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself

being the chief corner-stone."




“And the people stood beholding.”Luke xxiii. 35. HITHERTO we have taken individual participators in the transactions of Calvary, as specimens of the manner in which the Cross of Christ detects, discriminates, and influences human character and conduct. We have seen that Cross, in the instance of the two malefactors, winning one man to penitence and trust, while it hardens the unbelief, and exasperates the enmity of another. Pilate and the centurion have shown us how often strong convictions wrought by the Cross prove ineffectual, fail to fulfil the hopes they had awakened. In Nicodemus and Joseph we have found an illustration of the power of the Cross to strengthen thec ourage, and break down the reserve, of secret disciples, and bring them to open avowal of their attachment to Jesus. We might easily have found other cases as illustrative and instructive as those that have been adduced. We might bave learned from the conduct of the disciples and the women, how the Cross becomes a test of the strength and quality of our love to Christ; or, from the dealings of the scribes and Pharisees in regard to the resurrection, how easily men can resist the clearest evidence in favour of unpalatable truth, how often infidelity is the offspring of a perverse and rebellious heart, rather than of an honestly perplexed understanding. But we choose a subject for our closing sketch, wider in its range than any of these, but not less personal in its application. We take the people who gathered in groups, or crowded in nearer or more distant masses, round the crucified Saviour, as representatives of the spiritual attitude of numbers, for whom no fitter designation can be found than that of " lookers-on at the Cross of Christ.”

If we could have moved about among the multitude gathered upon Calvary, looked into their faces, watched their actions, and listened to

their talk, we should doubtless have found them evincing very different degrees and kinds of interest in the scene which had brought them to that place, and whose central attraction held the crowd together. Some, with eager eyes fixed upon the dying Jesus, would be heard discussing the character of the Sufferer, the reason and righteousness of the sentence under which He suffered, and the truth or falsehood of the pretensions by which that sentence had been provoked. Some, impressed by the majestic deportment of the Redeemer, and the mysterious incidents which attended upon His death, would seem to have caught a dim glimpse of the spiritual meaning of the spectacle they beheld. To others, it would be evident that the whole was just a spectacle, a mere show, gazed at with a morbid curiosity heightened in some measure by the fame and character of Him who was being put to death. While others yet again would prove, by their careless mirth, or their eager pushing of some petty trade, that they had followed that crowd as they would have followed a crowd gathered for any other purpose, in the spirit of idle pastime, or with a shrewd and selfish eye to those opportunties of gain which the assembling of a multitude always atfords. Those who have frequented the public executions, now so happily abolished in this country, tell us that one of the ghastliest elements in those scenes of horror was the manifold exhibition of human earelessness, cruelty, and greed, which was given by the mob around the scaffold, even at the very erisis of the tragedy which was enacting before their eves. And when we remember that, to the bulk of the people of Jerusalem, the crucifixion of Christ was just a publie execution, with some special cireumstances to quicken the zest with which men wen forth to stare at it, it is no extravagant supposition that the same loathsome features of our fallen nature showed themselves after the like fashions, even in the awful shadow of the Cross itself.

It would be altogether an exaggeration to pretend that among those hearers of the gospel whom we have styled “lookers-on at the Cross, there are to be found classes exactly corresponding to those into whic we have divided the spectators of the actual crucifixion of our Lord Such a parallel would have more of fancy in it than of truth. Yet th parallel Lolds good thus far: that this general designation comprehend persons occupving very different relative positions, intellectually, an even spiritually, towards the Cross of Christ; some standing compar tively near to it, within the reach and power of its attraction, an others standing further and further away, till some of them may ! said to be scareely within sight of it at all. There are many, f example, to whom the plan ot redemption is & subject of deep an eager intellectual interest, who canvass with keenest zest differer theories of the atonement, denouncing this and vindicating that, wi all the ardour and even rancour of theological partisanship, while ya they have never looked to that atonement as the means of their ow salvation; much as it a shipwrecked mariner should critieise the coi struction of the life-beat that came to save him from death, instead leaping into it; or as if a dying patient should discuss medical theori

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