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Lamb slain at the Passover, was intended to exhibit to ancient Israel a crucified Saviour. Of that typical Lamb, Jehovah expressly commanded, "A bone should not be broken." Though the whole of the flesh was to be consumed, yet not a bone was to be injured.* Does not that solemn Jewish sacrifice, point us to Jesus, the "Lamb of God, whose blood is able to cleanse from all sin ;"t and applied by the Spirit, will “ purge the conscience from dead works,
to serve the living and true God."
And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced.— Zechariah xii. 10.
ONE of the soldiers, with a spear, pierced the side of Jesus, and forthwith came thereout blood and water. "He that saw it bare record, and his record is true"‡ And we know that he saith true, that ye might believe, that it is Jesus of whom the scripture saith, they "Shall look on him whom they have pierced." There is another and higher use to be
made of this circumstance. Simple as the fact at first sight may appear, yet it is the strongest proof of the death of Jesus. If only blood had issued from the wound, it would prove comparatively little. But, water was also seen to flow from the side; which was either the small quantity of water inclosed in the pericardium, in which the heart swims, or else the cruor was almost coagulated and separated from the serum. If it is to be attributed to the latter cause, it confirms what the evangelist relates; that Jesus had been some time dead. But, if we place it to the former, it is utterly impossible Jesus could have survived the wound, even if given in perfect health. In either case, it effectually proves his death. Not a reasonable doubt can remain to suppose he was taken alive from the cross. May the act of the soldier, (wanton and cruel as it certainly was,) convince the infidel, that Jesus was not taken from the cross before life was quite extinct; and may he be led to look on him "whom he has pierced, and mourn." Blessed Jesus, may we often meditate on those awful scenes, when the rugged thorn pierced thy sacred temples, the nails thy hands and feet, the spear thy side, and the wrath of God thy soul. And, while we eye thee as the just suffering for the unjust, may we learn to ab
hor sin, which is so hateful in the sight of a pure and Holy God, that the blood of his own well-beloved Son was shed ere it could be pardoned. Is not the view of a suffering Redeemer calculated to raise the Christian's confidence, even in seasons of the deepest affliction?* May he not fearlessly resign his spiritual and temporal concerns, his fondest hopes and most anxious cares, to the guidance and wisdom of him, who so loved him as to die for him? For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."
I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.-Isaiah 1. 3.
ISAIAH, or, as he is generally called, the Evangelical Prophet, (from his writings referring more frequently to the person and offices of Christ, than those of the other prophets,) when speaking of his sufferings declares, that "The heavens shall become black as
*Romans viii. 32. ·
sackcloth of hair." This figurative description was realised at the crucifixion of Jesus. The sun at mid-day was eclipsed, darkness covered the land, from the sixth to the ninth hour, which, by our mode of computing time, was from twelve to three o'clock in the afternoon. The Jews begin their day at six o'clock in the morning. Perhaps it may be thought superstitious weakness, to imagine an eclipse portended some great event? We reply, this was not the result of natural causes. It took place on the day the Jews killed the Passover, which festival they were commanded, and always did observe at the full of the moon; therefore, it is evident, the moon's shadow could not then fall on the sun, for then they were in opposition, or one hundred and eighty degrees apart; besides, a total eclipse of the sun never lasts ten minutes, yet, this was a total eclipse from the sixth to the ninth hour, so that darkness covered, at least the whole land of Judea, for three hours, which is contrary to the laws given by heaven's great architect, to these his works. This extraordinary eclipse is noticed in profane history; Dionysius, at Heliopolis, in Egypt, said of this darkness, "Aut Deus naturæ
* Exodus xii. 2. 6. 18.
patitur, aut mundi machina dissolvitur."-Either the God of nature is suffering, or the machine of the world tumbling into ruin. It was a supernatural event, and designed to show, that when Jesus stood forth as the surety of his people, he felt all the dread punishment due to them. Man, by his rebellion, has not only forfeited all spiritual blessings; but to temporal mercies also he has no claim. When Jesus, as our Head and Representative, bore the curse due to our sins, he was deprived of the cheering rays of heaven's great luminary, which was but a faint resemblance of the withdrawing of the light of God's countenance.* Behold the awful effects of sin, although it was only sin imputed to the Son of God. Yet, the lamp of day withdraws his shining, as if sickening at the sight. Unable to behold the astonishing event, he hides his head, and shrinks back, as if unwilling to shed his beams over a scene so tremendously awful. The event might also be designed to show the darkness of the Mosaic dispensation, which was then for ever to be done away. It was but a shadow of good things to come; but light and immortality are brought to light by the gospel. Jesus, the Son of
* Mark xv. 34.