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plications, will not be led by such believing views of a dying Saviour, to an entire renunciation of sin, to a holy grief for it, and a determined abandonment of it? The Cross, and the Cross alone, is the chief means of producing godly sorrow. But this will appear more clearly whilst I show,
HII. THE EFFECTS OF THE SPIRIT OF GRACE THUS LEADING THE SINNER TO LOOK BY FAITH TO HIM WHOM HE HAS PIERCED.
The returning Jews, when they shall view by faith their crucified Messiah, will mourn for their national sins in piercing him, and for all their personal transgressions. Their hearts will be penetrated with sorrow and compunction, They will see that they crucified the Lord of glory, and wickedly slew the hope and honour of their nation, their promised King. This mourning will resemble the bitterness of a parent weeping over an only son, or the grief of the Jews in the town of Hadadrimmon over the pious prince Josiah * cut off by an untimely death. It will be a grief which will demand privacy and solitude; and divide every part of each family from the rest, for mourning and lamentation.
In that day shall there be a great mourna
* See 2 Chron. xxxv. 24,
ing in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart and their wives apart, the family of the house of Nathan apart and their wives apart, the family of the house of Levi apart and their wives apart, the family of Shimei apart and their wives apart. All the families that remain, every family apart and their wives apart. Ver. 11-14,
Possibly every circumstance of this predic tion may be fulfilled in the future conversion of the Jews. Certainly the spiritual import of it is accomplished in every true penitent. The effect produced by the influences of the Spirit, as a Spirit of grace and consolation, leading the awakened sinner to view the Saviour whom he has pierced, is a deep and holy lamentation for him *. This characteristic of repentance is
* The person is here changed from the first to the third, They shall look unto me whom they have pierced; they shall mourn for him. In the former words Christ himself is the speaker, as I have already noticed. In the latter, by a change of persons common in the prophecies, the sacred writer speaks in the name of Christ, as other prophets are accustomed to do. A similar change of person is found in Isaiah, liii. 4: Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him, he hath put him to grief; when Thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed-by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many. So, again, in Micah, vii. 19;
put for all the other attendants and consequents of it; for this mourning for the Lord of life will be accompanied with a poignant grief for all our transgressions committed against God, with a holy separation from every sinful habit, and a renewal of the heart, temper, and conduct. But as this entire change will flow from the bitterness we feel for having pierced our divine Saviour, repentance is graphically described by this its first and chief evidence and effect.
This MOURNING FOR SIN will arise from that view of its malignity and hatefulness which the cross of Christ displays. The genuine sorrow of a penitent flows from the believing sight of a pierced Saviour. It is not so much the law as the Gospel which softens and wins the whole heart. The law convinces of sin, but the Cross teaches us to abhor it. The law instructs us in our duty, but it is mercy which wounds and affects the soul for the breach of it. The law shows us the sinfulness of sin, but the Gospel unfolds its ingratitude and baseness. We learn from the law the threatenings of God against transgression; but we discover in a crucified
He will turn again-He will have compassion on us-He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea,
Saviour the actual measure of the punishment we have deserved. The law instructs us in the holiness of God, but the Cross exhibits the most awful display of it. The law discovers our malady and leaves us under the power of it; the grace
of salvation searches the disease still more deeply, and then brings the cure.
Yes, it is the sight of Christ dying for sin which makes us, not only mourn, but BE. IN BITTERNESS on account of it. This mingles gall in
every sinful pleasure; this saddens and confounds the guilty heart; this leads the penitent to abhor himself and repent in dust and ashes ; this turns his inmost soul against all sin; this covers him with shame and confusion of face; this makes him feel that it is an evil and a bitter thing to sin against God; this causes him to remember and be confounded and never open his mouth for shame, when God is pacified towards him for all the things which he has done. These holy compunctions of soul are indeed far less powerful in the first period of a Christian's repentance : but all true penitence has something of this character: and in a further stage of his progress, when the sinner has been for some time under the teaching of the Spirit of grace and supplications, has again and again meditated on the Cross, has fixed his heart with intense interest on the Saviour there, has seen the share he had in his sufferings, and yet the pardon and
reconciliation which flow from them ; it is then that he indeed mourns for him, and
goes out, like Peter, and weeps bitterly.
Then is his sorrow like that of A PARENT FOR A CHILD, OR OF A NATION FOR A WISE AND PIOUS PRINCE. Each of these images is striking. Who knows not the bitterness of a parent when his son, his only son, his first-born, has been suddenly snatched from his embrace? Who has not witnessed the anguish of the mother's heart, her disconsolate and penetrating grief which has refused to be comforted ? Such was the grief of Jacob over the loss of Benjamin, and of David over the death of Absalom. What is there in all the compass of NATURAL sorrow more touching? And amidst public AFFLICTIONS, what can equal the general consternation, when a pious and wise prince has been carried off in the prime of youth by some unlooked-for and premature calamity? Yet is there no private or public affliction which can adequately represent the peculiar poignancy and bitterness of ingenuous repentance. The personal feelings mingle themselves with such as are social and national, when we contemplate the death of Christ. How can we endure ourselves, when we see what we have done to our Lord! Let faith place us near the Cross, and when we view our dying Redeemer, must we not feel our unworthiness and misery, in exposing a person so great, so holy, .