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body of his flesh through death; to present you holy, and unblameable, and unreproveable in his sight.' "He gave himself for us, that he might “redeem us from all iniquity, and purify us unto "himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”” Thus will the Lamb of God continue to take away the sin of believers all over the world, till there be no remains of it left; and till the whole company shall be "presented faultless before the presence of "his glory with exceeding joy.""
III. Then we consider the call to "Behold the "Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the "world."
I shall not confine myself to the exact import of the words, as spoken by John; but refer likewise to several other scriptures of a similar nature. "There is no God else beside me, a just God and "a Saviour;-look unto me and be ye saved, all "the ends of the earth.4” "As Moses lifted up
"the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the "Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever be"lieveth in him should not perish, but have eter"nal life."" "Looking unto Jesus, the Author "and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy set be"fore him endured the cross, despising the shame; "and is set down at the right hand of the throne
"of God." The Baptist may be supposed to have addressed his disciples to this effect: want pardon of your sins, and deliverance from the power and pollution of iniquity: "Behold" then "the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin "of the world." He alone can confer these blessings; apply to him, become his disciples, rely on him entirely, and follow implicitly his directions; thus you will be saved, and be made instrumental to the salvation of your fellow sinners.'
But we may understand the call in a more comprehensive sense, as an exhortation to meditate seriously and frequently on the great doctrines thus revealed; to behold and contemplate the person and redemption of Christ with fixed attention and humble faith. He seems to address us from the cross, and to say, "Is it nothing to you, all ye pass by? Behold, and see, if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me; wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in "the day of his fierce anger." Let us then turn our thoughts from all other subjects, and with believing application to ourselves, contemplate the interesting scene, which we this day comme
We cannot well enter on such meditations, without adverting to the language of the sacred writers, concerning the essential and eternal Deity of
Christ, One with the Father, the Creator and Upholder of all worlds, the Object of universal worship and adoration. We consider this glorious Person coming in the flesh to be the Saviour of the world, to seek and save the lost, from mere love and compassion to deservedly perishing sinners. The spotless purity of his human nature; the perfection of his obedience to the divine law; the depth of his voluntary humiliation; the poverty and contempt, and the contradiction of sinners, which he endured through life, demand our most serious attention. He effected not his gracious purposes in our behalf, as a Monarch or a Conqueror; he taught not as a Philosopher or a Moralist: "but he took upon him the form of a ser66 vant," and " gave his life a ransom for many."
We should, however, especially contemplate the variety and intenseness of his sufferings, in the closing scene of his humiliation: the excruciating pain he endured, from the scourge, the thorns, and the nails, and when hanging on the accursed tree; with the anguish of mind he felt when agonizing in the garden, and when on the cross he exclaimed, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" It is very important for us to reflect on what the Redeemer suffered from men; from the base treachery of Judas, the unfaithfulness of Peter, the cowardice of the disciples; the cruel injustice of Caiaphas, the scribes, priests, council, and even their servants; from the contempt and indignity
put upon him by Herod and his men of war; the cruelty and scorn of Pilate's soldiers; the lingering tortures of the cross, the ingratitude of the insulting multitude, and the revilings even of the malefactors. We should recollect likewise, that this was the hour and power of darkness: and what gloomy imaginations, and detested thoughts might be presented to the mind of Christ, by the subtle and energetick influence of evil spirits, may be best conceived by those who "are not ignorant of their devices." "He suffered, being tempted, "that he might be able to succour them that are
tempted:" and the assaults of Satan in the desert may convince us, that he would do his utmost, when permitted, to bruise the heel of Him, who came to crush his head and destroy his works.
But we are also taught, that "it pleased the "LORD to bruise him, and to put him to grief: "and to make his soul an offering for sin." "Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and
against the Man that is my Fellow, saith the "Lord of Hosts; smite the Shepherd."" "He
spared not his own Son, but delivered him up "for us all." And when we compare our Lord's agony in the garden, and his exclamation on the cross, with the conduct of his own disciples under the severest tortures: we must be convinced that his cup was embittered inconceivably more than
1 Zech. xiii. 7.
theirs, and that consolations and supports were vouchsafed them, of which he was wholly left destitute.--We cannot explain this subject.-We may be certain, that remorse of conscience, despair, and the prevalence of hateful passions, which will eternally increase the misery of condemned sinners, could have no place in the mind of the holy Jesus: but whatever pain, shame, wrath, curse, agony, or misery, he could possibly endure; whatever the justice of God, the honour of the law, and the instruction of the universe in the evil and desert of sin, required; all this the Redeemer suffered, till he could say with his expiring breath, "It is finished."
It should likewise be remembered, that our Lord most willingly submitted to all these sufferings, from love to our souls and regard to the glory of God. No man had power to take away his life: the prince of this world had no part in him; no personal transgression exposed him to the sentence of death; but " but love, that passeth knowledge," moved him to give himself a propitiatory Sacrifice for our sins! The meekness, patience, and persevering fortitude, with which our Lord suffered, should not pass unnoticed. "He was brought as "a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his "shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth," "Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an exam"ple that ye should follow his steps; who, when