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THE EFFECTS OF OUR LORD'S PASSION.
ISAIAH, LIII, 11. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall
be satisfied. There is no subject so stupendous, and yet so consolatory, as the death and passion of our divine Lord. It is the leading fact of Christianity; and the doctrine connected with it is the joy of every true penitent. References to it perpetually occur, whatever topic of faith or practice we may discuss. But it is necessary frequently to contemplate the sufferings of Christ as a distinct question, and to consider in one view the surprising effects which they are calculated to produce. This is the subject presented to us in those words of the Prophet, in which God the Father is represented as engaging to the Messiah, that, When his soul should be made an offering for sin, he should see his seed, he should prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hand;
and then, in my text, that he should see of the travail of his soul, and should be satisfied.
The subject, therefore, presented for our consideration is, the Passion of Christ; in meditating upon which, let us notice both The sufferings of our Lord; and The satisfaction which he feels at viewing the effect of them,
The passion of Christ comprehends all that he endured upon earth, and particularly in the last scenes of his public ministry. It includes the sufferings of his body and of his mind. But the Scriptures sometimes speak more directly of the agony of his soul. This is the case in
Whatever were the pains which our Lord bore in his body, they were only faint pictures of those of his mind. The outward part indeed of his afflictions is most apparent, and might seem to be the most affecting ; but it is the inward part which was really the most severe and unutterable. All trouble that presses on the mind' is of itself by far more overwhelming than any thing which regards the body. The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity : but a wounded spirit who can bear? To the sufa ferings of the Redeemer's soul let us then especially attend.
These sufferings were CONTINUAL. His pas
sion was not a severe, but momentary, conflict, with no considerable previous sorrow or difficulty. It was a mighty struggle at the close of a whole life of woe. From the manger to the cross our Lord was acquainted with grief. He endured the contradiction of sinners against himself. His ministry was rejected, his person was despised, his miracles were ascribed to the influence of Satan, his doctrine was perverted and his Father blasphemed. Often he was grieved because of the hardness of the people's heart. He wept at the approaching destruction of Jerusalem; and even his own disciples were not unfrequently, from their slowness of heart, an occasion of sorrow. Now, if the soul of righteous Lot was vexed at seeing and hearing the conversation of the wicked; and if the royal Prophet exclaimed, O that I had wings like a dove, for then would I flee away and be at rest! what must the perfectly holy Jesus have felt through the course of his ministry! For grief like this, perpetually recurring, even though it should not be in itself severe, is yet by its continuance unspeakably painful. To judge, then, of the extent of our Saviour's sufferings, we must remember that they were constant and uninterrupted.
But they were also EXTREME. No mind can conceive, no tongue express, what that meek and holy Redeemer suffered; especially in his last bitter passion. His soul was made an offer. ing for sin.
“ Infinite justice passed sentence, and infinite power put it in execution *." He was poured out like water, and all his bones were out of joint, his soul also in the midst of his body was even like melting wax.
Then was the prophetic prediction fulfilled, Awake, Osword, against my shepherd, against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts. O direful moment! O unspeakable anguish! See the Son of the Most High prostrate in the garden of Gethsemane! His soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death.
Thrice he entreats his Father, if it be possible, that the cup may pass from him. He is sore amazed. His soul is troubled. He is in an agony. His sweat is, as it were, great drops of blood falling on the ground. An angel descends to strengthen him. O extremity of woe! Is this the holy Saviour; this the Lord of glory; this the incarnate Deity?
But follow the sacred victim. From the garden he is led to be betrayed, buffeted, mocked, spit upon, blindfolded, dragged from one judgment-seat to another, devoted by the multitude to crucifixion. The sentence of death is extorted. He is condemned. Behold bim as he stoops under the burden of the cross which he is compelled to carry. And now he arrives at Calvary. His hands and feet are nail. ed to the accursed tree; his head is crowned with thorns. In this pitiable state behold the King of heaven and earth! In speechless agony he hangs upon the cross. At last even his heavenly Father withdraws from him, and forsakes him. The darkness which surrounded the cross was but an emblem of the sufferer's soul. Who can speak the mysteries of the scene? All the other sorrows of his passion are not to be compared with the dereliction which he now endured. How bitter the pang of separation from God is, can be best told by those who most ardently love him. His presence is life. It has made apostles sing praises in prison, and martyrs triumph at the stake. What then must the Son of God have now felt, whose love to his Father was perfect, and whose union with him was inexpressibly intimate! Of no other part of his passion did the Saviour utter a complaint; not of his sụfferings in the garden, or at the bar of Pilate, or when nailed to the cross; not under the insults of the Jews; not of the thorns, the nails, the vinegar, the gall; not of the flight of his disciples. But when his heavenly Father withdrew the communications of his presence, he exclaimed in the depth of his anguish, Eli, Eli, lama sabacthani, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? They
* Dr. South,