網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

Holiness, take heed to be separate from the world, and to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit. While we come before His Presence with joy and thanksgiving, let us partake of His Supper with a godly sorrow, with the bitter herbs of repentance and humiliation for past sins ; carefully departing from all iniquity, and avoiding even the touch, which is defiling, of every dead thing,' of the dead in sin and their dead works, that we may not be cut off from our people, nor be unfit for participation in this Holy Feast. Let us put away all leaven out of our houses; purge out the leaven of malice, wickedness, and hypocrisy; and drawing near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, let us eat and drink of our LORD's Passover with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Let us eat it as ‘in one house," as children of one family and household, knit together in the unity of brotherly love. Let us eat it with our loins girded, our shoes on our feet, and our staves in our hands, hasting as strangers and pilgrims out of this sinful world on our heavenward journey, and ready to serve the LORD by the way with the best sacrifices we have. And finally, after we have fed upon this holy banquet, that we may be fulfilled with Christ, His grace and heavenly benediction, let us for these mercies unspeakable lift up our hearts, and give thanks unto the LORD; and as Christ and His disciples after the Paschal Feast sang a hymn of Thanksgiving to God, so let us as often as we meet together to serve God in His Holy Church, "offer Him continually through Christ the sacrifice of praise,' that is, the fruit of our lips which give thanks to His name.5

G. M. C.

8 Exod. xii. 46.

i Num. ix. 6.
• Exod. xii. 11.

1 Cor. v.

8. Heb. xii, 15.

SERMON XXXIX.

HUMAN INIQUITY LAID ON CHRIST.

Good Friday.

ISAIAH LIII. 6.

THE LORD HATH LAID ON HIM THE' INIQUITY OF US ALL.

THE conflict from which God the REDEEMER rested in the tomb on the seventh day of the present most holy week, was on this day, the preparation of that high Paschal Sabbath, brought to its last adorable consummation. The Cross of Christ is the object now before us: that Cross which is the symbol of all Christianity—the badge which distinguishes it from any other system, whether belonging to previous imperfect dispensations of truth, or to the devices of opposing falsehood: the Cross which was to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness, to men abandoned to carnal principles of judgment an object destitute alike of conviction or of desirableness,—but to all who are divinely enlightened, Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of Godi.

This hidden Wisdom of God, as it is termed by the Apostle—the Wisdom which none of the princes of this word knew, or they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory—is what this day's mystery sets expressly before us. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth; and having called their various occupants successively into being,-- on this day of the week, the sixth and last of Creation, He formed the noblest of His terrestrial works: “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.” Such was the first Good Friday of creation. But when that image of God was marred and defaced, and Adam with his posterity were involved in the fearful penalties of sin, it was a more arduous work than that of the first creation, to reform the high nature that had been corrupted. For this purpose God hath visited us, as the Psalmist expresses it'; but in a stronger manner than at first. His allcreating Word, the co-essential image of His substance, has taken our humanity into union with His own eternal GODHEAD—and in the flesh and nature of man has endured the worst form of that death which is the penalty of sin. This is that “wisdom of God in the mystery,” which has extracted from what is most abhorrent to nature the means of its recovery and peace, educing strength from weakness and blessing from the curse from ignominy, glory—and from death, immortality.

11 Cor. i. 22, 23; ii. 7, 8.

This was the object presented by the Prophetic SPIRIT to the mind of Isaiah, when seven centuries before the event, he wrote the wonderful chapter to which my text belongs; a chapter which to us Christians, familiar as we are with the history in which its strongest circumstances are made plain, appears almost like a retrospection of the past rather than an anticipation of the then distant future. At the close of the preceding chapter he had before him the spectacle of the coming Messiah, the “servant of God,” in a most eminent sense, who came to fulfil as no other had fulfilled the work of His FATHER in this lower world, now marred beyond example in form and features, yet exalted to an eminence whence HE sprinkles many nations; the kings of the remote Gentiles regarding Him with mute amazement, and receiving from this transformed and mysterious Instructor, lessons which they treasure up with earnest and reverent attention." But when from a scene thus wonderful and unexpected, but which future ages were to verify, of heathen kings bowing their sceptres to a Jew, and a Jew represented with a badge of ignominy, as their LORD and Teacher, and Saviour; the prophet turns his glance to his own favoured nation, an emotion of sorrow and surprise at the contrast seems to occupy him entirely; and placing himself in the midst of the events he is predicting, he changes suddenly the future for the present form of expression. Who,” he says, “hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed” in the person of this exalted yet disfigured teacher ? In silence and obscurity has this sacred stock from the root of Jesse grown up in the chosen soil of Israel; no outward glory marking Him out as the royal Branch long promised and still expected by them; the marks they look for in the coming heir of David's throne appear not in Him.

* Psalm viii. 4, 5, 6; Heb. 6--14.

“ He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief:” and then personating the whole nation of

1 Isa. lii. 13, 14, 15.

[ocr errors]

VOL. II.

F

SERIES II.

the Jews, the prophet continues, “We hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not." Yet a 'truth which was discerned by the faithful remnant of Israel beams forth in the words following: “Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; though we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted,”-smitten, like Gehazi or Uzziah of old, with plagues for their own impieties and demerits. And it is then most distinctly declared respecting this guiltless sufferer, that “He was wounded for our transgressions, HE was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace,”—that by which our peace was effeeted,

-"was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

On these last words I would now dwell, though there is much in the verses that follow that might well occupy us in reference to the subject of this sacred day; the meek silence of the Sufferer amidst the sanguinary enemies—His grave appointed with the wicked in whose company He suffered, but actually laid with the rich when He had tasted death, all preparatory of the triumph which was to follow His rising again from tha tomb when He should be exalted before God, and as a conqueror dividing the spoil should behold an extended generation of children on the earth whom His knowledge should justify and save.? It is to one part only of the prophet's declaration that I would now direct attention; and that is the infliction on this sinless Sufferer of the consequences of human sin, when on His head, as

1 Isa. liii. 7-12.

« 上一頁繼續 »