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than God himself. And then that he was man too appears from the next words, And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced. For if he had not been man, be would not have been capable of being pierced by them. And therefore he that spake these words could be no other than Christ himself*."
The view of this crucified Redeemer, which is spoken of in my text, cannot be understood as a bodily sight with the eye of sense, but as a spiritual and rational contemplation of him by the eye of penitence and faith. Thus, in the Prophet Isaiah, the Saviour speaks of faith under a similar figure, Look unto me and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth. Our Lord also, when on earth, said, As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so shall the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Thę Apostle, also, reminds the Galatians, that Jesus Christ had been evidently set forth before their eyes, crucified among them. And he exhorts the Hebrews to consider the Apostle and High Priest of their profession; and to run with putience the race set before them, looking unto Jesus. In all these passages an act of the mind is described which is fixed upon Christ crucified, and
* Bashop Beveridge's Sermons, vol. vi. page 4, edit. 1712.
which brings that affecting object, and places it, as it were, before our view.
And surely there is no object WHICH IN ITSELF SHOULD SO POWERFULLY ATTRACT OUR NOTICE. Go, penitent, to the Garden of Gethsemane and the hill of Calvary, and see if any sorrow was like unto the sorrow of the dying Saviour. View the surrounding multitude. Mark how they mock the holy Sufferer. Observe the blessed Jesus as he is suspended on the accursed tree. Place yourself under the cross with the weeping Mary. The sun is darkened, the rocks are rent, the graves are opened, the vail of the temple is rent in twain. The Son of God expires. At this moment the soldier draws nearThe Saviour is dead already-Still he transpierces him in wanton indignity with his spear. Look, and look again, at the dreadful scene.
But if the very circumstances of the spectacle should fix our attention, still MORE SHOULD WE BE MOVED WHEN WE REFLECT ON THE DI
It is no mere man whom we see suspended on the cross. It is the Lord of glory; it is the Prince of life; it is the King of kings; it is he who was with God and who was God; the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person; God manifest in the flesh. Now, if royalty, ignominiously debased, if incarnate Deity suffering as a malefactor, can move your soul to com
VINE DIGNITY OF THE SUFFERER.
punction, look on this dreadful scene. Be filled with astonishment at the sight. Such a spectacle was never before exhibited. The Son of the Most High suffers, the Author of life dies, the Holy One of God is accursed, Omnipotence bows its head, and gives up the ghost.
But this is not all. You and I, my brethren, HAVE HAD A SHARE IN THIS DEATH. It was not so much the soldier who pierced Christ, as our sins. God laid on him the iniquity of us all. This is the true cause of the Saviour's death. He was delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. If it had not been for our iniquities, the Father would not have delivered him up to the malice of the Jews. So that, though the sin of those Jews is not in the least lessened by this consideration, still we are to regard them, so far as we are , concerned, only as instruments in the hand of Divine Justice. The real primary cause of the Redeemer's sorrows, was sin, our sins, our iniquities. These were the nails, the thorns, the spear which pierced our Lord. He bore our sins in his own body on the tree.
“ In the ordinary course of justice,” observes Bishop Andrews, “ when a party is put to death, we say, and say truly, that the executioner cannot be said to be the cause of his death, or the sheriff by whose commandment he does it, nor yet the judge by whose sentence, nor the jury by whose verdict,
nor the law itself by whose authority it proceeded—sin, and sin only, is the murderer. So it is here. It was the sin of our polluted hands that pierced his hands; the swiftness of our teet to do evil that nailed his feet; the wicked devices of our heads that gored his head; and the wretched desires of our hearts that pierced his heart *." Shall we not then look and look again at the spectacle of a bleeding Saviour? Shall we not behold our dying Lord, and learn what our sins have done? Shall we not go
and stand by his cross, and see the Prince of life first torn with the whip, the scourge, the thorns, the nails; and then pierced to the very heart with the spear? However else we may employ our eyes, we should above all fix them on the cross of Christ; for it was we who by our provocations had a share in the mournful catastrophe. It is there we read the record of our guilt written in his precious blood.
BUT WHAT IF ALL THIS WOE AND SUFFERING SHOULD BE FOR OUR SALVATION! Should not this lead us to regard the scene with still more intense earnestness? The very circumstances, indeed, of the crucifixion, the unspeakable dignity of the sufferer, the share we had in crucifying him, may well draw our eager eyes to the cross; but this, this adds the last touch to the
* See Bishop Andrews's Sermons, p. 333.
affecting picture, that the Saviour willingly endured all this for us—that the very scenes which, so far as we are concerned, were the effect of our crimes, were, by the mysterious counsel of God, the expiation of them. Yes, he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we were healed. He bare our griefs and carried our sorrows. The Cross beheld by faith is the great remedy of sin. “ Christ was weary, that we might rest; he hungered that we might eat the bread, and thirsted that we might drink the water of life. He grieved that we might rejoice, and became miserable to make us happy. He was apprehended that we might escape ; accused that we might be acquitted, and condemned that we might be absolved. He died that we might live, and was crucified by men, that we might be justified before God. In brief, he was made sin for us, that-we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Cor. V. 21 *.
Such is the looking unto Christ of which my text speaks. Need I stop to point out what a powerful means it must be of producing deep repentance? Need I ask whether the heart, already softened by the Spirit of grace and sup
* Bishop Beveridge, ut supra, p. 6.