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John xix. 24.
They said therefore among themselves, Let us Jerusalem. not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be.
satisfaction for us, because it is clear he would only suffer that punishment which his own sins had deserved ; and no satisfaction can be made for others, by suffering that which justice requires for our own offences. No ordinary man could raise himself from the dead, or procure that redemption for another, which he could not obtain for himself. Neither could any ordinary man make satisfaction to the violated laws of God by a life of sinless obedience. He only who had power to lay down his life, and take it up again, could procure for man a resurrection, and deliver him from the eternal death his sins had incurred. He alone, who took upon him human nature, that he might set us an example of human virtue, “who knew no sin,” who was perfect and spotless, the Lamb of God, could satisfy the purity of divine justice, or reconcile it with his mercy, and the economy of his government. Throughout the whole system of the divine dispensations, the Father uniformly acts by the ministry of the Son, and the Son by the ministry of the Holy Ghost. Had the divine acceptance been wanting to the oblation of our Lord's body, whatsoever virtue it possessed in itself, it would have been incapable of procuring the pardon of sin, or of redeeming man from its punishment and power. Whatsoever he purchased for us, he purchased of the Father by compact, or agreement (6); and He is now exalted to the right hand of God, to make there his mysterious intercession for the sins of his people.
As the second Adam, the blessed Lord took our humanity; he restored it to its original dignity and innocence, and then made a sacrifice of it upon the cross, as a vicarious atonement for the sins of the first, and through him of all mankind. He was nailed to the accursed tree, the emblem of Adam's transgression, and was crowned with a crown of thorns, the first fruits of his disobedience. The religion which he died to establish was of an internal, spiritual nature. It was a life of holiness and self-sacrifice. It required the crucifixion of the whole animal and inferior nature; and that the motives, and even the thoughts of the heart, should be brought into subjection. It required a new birth, a new life, of which baptism is the beautiful emblem, teaching us, that as infants are washed immediately on their natural birth, so must the children of God, with Christ, be born again through the grave and death of sin, into the spiritual kingdom, by water, and the Spirit. If during the progress of life the animal is allowed to triumph over the spiritual man, then the sin of the first Adam still cleaves to us, and the sacrifice of the second Adam pleads for us in vain. The animal life perishes with the body; the accountable life exists through eternity. If the natural man be spiritualized by the subjugation of the flesh, he becomes pure and holy, the companion of angels; but if he be polluted and degraded by his contagion, he then defiles himself, loses the divine properties of bis first being, and is fitted only for association with devils and evil spirits. To this fearful condition man was reduced by the fall of the first Adam. To revoke this curse, Christ, the second Adam, became our atonement, by the sacrifice of the whole of the offending, but, in him, sinless nature, upon the tree of the cross : demonstrating to all the world, that the sacrifice of self is the way of salvation, and the most acceptable offering that man can render to his Creator.
(b) See also Whitby, and Scott's Christian Life.
Jerusalem. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots: Lukexxiij.34. that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
John xix. 24. which was spoken by the prophet,
Mat.xxvii. 35. a Psal. xxii, which saith, They parted my raiment among John xix. 24.
them, and for my vesture they did cast lots.
And it was the third hour, and they crucified Mark Iv. 25.
MATT. xxvii. part of ver. 35. 35 -and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled— They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
MARK XV. 24. 24 And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take.
Deeply do I pity that blind man, who prefers rather to trust to his own merits, than by faith in the great atonement to hope for salvation through the blood of Christ. Deeply do I feel for him, when he shall be called upon to appear before the judgment seat of a rejected Saviour, with all his imperfections, all his frailties, and all his violations of duty upon his head, to answer in an unknown state of inconceivable glory, before men and angels, for the sins committed in the body; having spurned the sheltering protection of that MAN who is both a covert from the wind, and a refuge from the storm. How can he hope to escape the wrath of God pronounced upon every offender against his holy laws, when his own beloved Son, as our substitute, who alone bore our sins, underwent such dreadful agonies, both in body and soul. He, who has declared himself of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, has also declared, as fully and plainly, and as repeatedly, that " without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins :" and what blood can have been shed for their remission, but the blood of Christ ?
Bishop Watson, in speaking of that arrogant and dogmatical theology, that decrees the rejection of the doctrine of atonement, as inconsistent with the divine attribute of mercy, uses the following just observations :—"We know assuredly that God delighteth not in blood; that he hath no cruelty, no vengeance, no malignity, no infirmity, nor any passion in his nature : but we do not know whether the requisition of an atonement for transgression may not be an emanation of his infinite mercy, rather than a demand of his infinite justice. We do not know whether it may not be the very best means of preserving the innocence and happiness not only of us, but of all other free and intelligent beings. We do not know whether the suffering of an innocent person may not be productive of a degree of good, infinitely surpassing the evil of such sufferance ; nor whether such a quantum of good could by any other means have been produced (c)."
(c) Two Apologies, &c. pp. 466, 167.
the Passengers, the Chief Priests, and the Malefactors. MATT. xxvii. 39–45. MARK XV. 29-33. LUKE xxiii.
35, 36, 37.
rulers also with them derided him, saying, He
And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to
And saying, If thou be the King of the Jews,
And they that passed by reviled him,
saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and
Save thyself, and come down from the cross.
Mark xv. 30.
Mat, xxvii, 40.
cross. Mat. xxvii.41.
Wisd. ii. 16,
Likewise also the Chief Priests mocking him,
with the Scribes and elders, said, Mark xv. 31. among themselves, He saved others; himself he
cannot save. Mat. xxvii.42. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come
down from the cross, and we will believe him. Mat. xxvii, 43. e He trusted in God ; let him deliver him now, e Ps. xxii. 8.
if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of
Let Christ, the King of Israel, descend now
The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.
Mark xv. 32.
MATT. xxvii. part of ver. 39, 40. and 42. 39 -wagging their heads
40 -And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself.—
42 He saved others; himself he cannot save.
MARK XV. part of ver. 29. 31. 29 And they that passed by31 Likewise also the Chief Priests mocking said—with the Scribes
Christ, when dying as a Man, asserts his Divinity in his Answer
to the Penitent Thief ».
LUKE xxiii. 39–44. And one of the malefactors which were hanged Lukeztü.S9. railed on him, saying, If thou be the Christ, save thyself, and us.
26 Our Lord, at the time when he made the gracious promise to the criminal on the cross, was reduced to the lowest state of degradation and contempt. He was deserted by all but his beloved disciple, his mother, and two other holy women, who were standing by the cross, the weeping and agonized spectators of his sufferings. His disciples had forsaken him and Aed. The assembled multitude of his enemies and persecutors embittered every pang, by their cruel and exulting mockeries. The Evangelists mention all kinds and classes of people, as if for the purpose of demonstrating the universal rejection of our Lord by the Jewish nation. The people stood beholding—and the rulers with them, deriding—the soldiers mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegarthe passers by reviled him, and railed on him--the chief priests mocked him, with the scribes and elders—even the very thief on the cross reviled him, and joined in the common mockery. At this moment of general insult and rejection, the penitent thief alone declared his belief in the innocence of the holy Jesus, and made a public confession of his faith in the divine sufferer.
Our Lord's answer to the penitent thief fully declared that, although in his human form he was faint and dying, enduring the extreme of pain and torture, he was the Lord of the invisible world, and still retained his divine attribute, the power of forgiving sins. The assembled people loudly and unanimously demanded of him to prove his former pretensions by a miracle. They called upon him to come down from the cross to save himself, and they would believe him.
They seemed to consider this as a fair challenge. They supposed it impossible that any one, who possessed the power, would not use it under such trying circumstances. They therefore required him to release his body from torture, from the nails, and the wood, and come among them. But, ever consistent with himself, and faithful to the duties of his divine mission, instead of complying with their wishes, which were confined to temporal objects, he shewed the nature of his kingdom by the promise of salvation to a repentant soul. The Jews had frequently threatened to kill Christ, because he asserted his power to forgive sin. “Who can forgive sins," they exclaimed, " but God alone;" and therefore, according to their own acknowledgment and belief, he still persevered in his divine claims ; and at the point of death proclaimed that their long promised God was before them, obscured in the form of a man.
The forgiveness of the penitent thief may be considered as revealing to us that God's mercy may be extended to the last moments of life ; but we have no reason whatever to presume that it shall be so with any of us. No human being can ever again be placed in the same situation as this criminal. We cannot be called upon to follow our Saviour to Calvary, to witness his dying agonies ; to hear the
But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Jerusalem. Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation ?
And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds : but this man hath done no
thing amiss. Luke xxiii.42. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me
when thou comest into thy kingdom. Lukexxiii.43. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto
thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.
Christ commends his Mother to the care of John.
JOHN xix, 25, 26, 27.
ther, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of
Or, Clopas. John xix. 26. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the
disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith
Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mo-
John xix, 27.
The Death of Christ, and its attendant Circumstances. MATT. xxvii. 45, 52, 54–57. MARK XV. 33–42.
LUKE xxiii. 44–50. JOHN xix. 28-38. Mark xv. 33. And when the sixth hour was come, Lukexxiii.44. there was a darkness over all the tearth until the + Or, land.
ninth hour. Lukexxii1.45. And the sun was darkened,
bitter tauntings of the rabble, and, in the midst of derision and suffering, to de clare our faith in a crucified Saviour. When Christ shall again become visible to man, He will be seen in his glory, and all the holy angels with him. Let no man therefore be guilty of delaying repentance, with the hope of eventual salvation, because the penitent thief was forgiven at the last. The account of the pardoned criminal is related by one Evangelist only, as if the Holy Spirit foresaw the perversion of the passage. “One instance only,” to use the language of a celebrated divine,“ of the acceptance of a dying repentance is recorded ; one, that none might despair, and only one, that none might presume."