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"to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by "them who heard him; God also bearing them wit"ness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers mira"cl and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own "will." Amen.
THE DEATH OF THE SON OF GOD.
MATTHEW Xxvii. 50.
Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice,
"THE voice of the Lord is full of majesty." When he published the law, and caused his glorious voice to be heard out of the midst of the fire, the earth melted, the mountains quaked, the rocks rent, and every hearer trembled, Moses himself not excepted.
If the voice of the Lord on Sinai, when he published the law, was terribly glorious, much more glorious and terrible is his voice on Calvary, when he fulfilled, magnified, and made the law honourable. There the God of glory thundered, and shook the adjacent hills. Here the Lion of the tribe of Judah roared; and, in the greatness of his strength, dissolved the gates of hell. His voice on the cross is not the groan of a wounded and despairing sufferer, but the shout of a victorious and triumphant conqueror, whose dying voice rent the vail of the temple, shook the walls of Jerusalem, crushed the powers of darkness, and caused every ear to tingle, excepting the ears of his murderers,-the priests, elders and Jews. "Jesus, "when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up "the ghost."
By the commandment of the Lord Jesus, his death is to be remembered in the church to the end of the world; and, in obedience to his commandment, we are assembled together this day. To inform To inform our understandings, to strengthen our faith, to elevate our affections, and to prepare us for this action of obedience, we purpose to set before you some considerations-concerning him who died -concerning his death-concerning the glorious testimonies which immediately celebrated his death; and then, by
some inferences and exhortations, we shall apply these considerations, for disposing us to glorify him in the solemn action which is to follow. May the Holy Spirit, who directed his death, and the testimonies which celebrated it, to be recorded, by speaking and hearing, prepare us all for the communion of the body, and the communion of the blood of Christ.
The object whom we are called to consider is not an ordinary person. In him the ancient patriarchs believed, to him the holy prophets gave witness, and of him the great apostles have spoken and written excellent things.From the testimony of patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, he appears to be the Son of God and the son of man, made in the likeness of sinful flesh. These considerations are interesting, and, in commemorating his death, necessary to enliven our faith, our hope, and our joy.
The person who yielded up the ghost on the cross is the Son of God. How he is the Son of God, we are not able to explain; but, that he is the Son of God, is a truth which scripture reveals, and which, upon the testimony of scripture we acknowledge and receive. To this divine title, claimed by himself, are characters prefixed, which both assert the truth and display the glory of his Sonship. "The "only begotten of the Father," "his beloved Son," "his "dear Son," "his own Son," are singular expressions, which appear in several passages of scripture, and which raise his Sonship infinitely above the sonship of angels and men: "For unto which of the angels said he at any time, "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And a"gain, I will be to him a Father and he shall be to me a "Son: And again, when he bringeth in the first-begotten "into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God "worship him.”* In these texts, which reveal the truth and display the glory of his Sonship, behold, as in a mirror, the everlasting and unspeakable love of God in sending him into the world; "God so loved the world, that he "gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in "him should not perish, but have everlasting life."+ "In "this was manifested the love of God towards us, because "that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that
*Heb. i. 5, 6.
*John iii. 16.
"we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we "loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be "the propitiation for our sins.”*
In another consideration, the person, who, upon the cross, yielded up the ghost, is the son of man. Between the title Son of God and son of man the distance is unmeasureable; but in his glorious person, and in no other person, divine or human, do these titles meet together, and form a mystery of godliness which is our admiration in time, and will be our joy and glory through eternity. The Son of God is the Son of man, and the Son of man is the Son of God. Upon this great mystery let every thought be collected, and every eye fixed. To reason it is incomprehensible, and, by the pride and corruption of rea-son, it is denied, ridiculed, and exploded. Unto faith it is revealed; and, upon the truth and authority of the Revealer, by faith believed, and accompanied with joy unspeakable and full of glory.. Believers, behold a new thing which the Lord hath created in the earth, a thing to which nothing amongst his works is equal, nor even comparable! "God sent forth his Son, made of a woman.' Who hath seen, who hath heard such a thing? "The word "was made flesh." He who fills immensity was conceived in the womb. He, by whom all things were created, was born in a stable. He, who bound the ocean with a swaddling-band, was wrapped in swaddling-clothes. He whom all the angels were commanded to worship, lay in a manger. He whose goings forth were of old, from everlasting, became an infant, and a child of time. He who was in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, made himself of no reputation, took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and, being found in fashion as a man, he bumbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
But we must not overlook another extraordinary cir cumstance in this great mystery of godliness: "God "sending his own Son in the likeness of sinfui flesh." The human nature of the Son of God was a holy. thing. By the power of the Spirit of holiness he was conceived in the womb. In the beauty of holiness ha
*1 John iv. 9, 10.
was born in the stable. In the perfection of holiness he lived; and in the perfection of holiness suffered and died. But in his spotless and holy human nature, there was the likeness, or the appearance, of sinful flesh. Of a sinful woman he was made. Among a race of sinners he was brought up and educated. From his youth he was acquainted with sorrow and grief, and through his life exposed to labours,. necessities, reproaches, temptations, and persecutions. With sinners he conversed, and by sinners he was accused, condemned, and crucified. These circumstances of infirmity and misery are consequences of sin; and, in the humiliation of the Son of God, formed a likeness, or appearance, of sinful flesh. How rich is his grace, how great is his love, how marvellous is his condescension and humility! He who knew no sin was made sin; and, substituting himself for sin, the Lord laid upon him the sins of many, and for these wounded, and bruised, and put him to death by the hands of sinners.
After these considerations of the Person, we proceed to some considerations concerning his death, which is expressed in the text by the words yielded up the Ghost. Death is the consequence and punishment of sin, and in dying sinners are passive sufferers. In virtue of an appointment, according to the curse of the law, their life is taken from them; and in the day of death, having no power to retain the spirit, they must give it up. But the death of the Son of God is both passive suffering and active obedience. Before the foundation of the world, it was the object of purpose and covenant among the glori ous Persons of the Godhead; and from the entrance of sin to the day on which he died, there were sensible prefigurations of it, as there have been from that day, and will be to the last day, sensible commemorations of it in the face of the world. It appears to have been one great object of the administration of grace in every age, to direct the eyes of the world to Calvary, where the Son of God was crucified in the likeness of sinful flesh; and to fix the faith and hope of the church-upon his death. The death of this glorious and singular Person is not a common event in the history of the world, like the fall of a prince, a hero, or a legislator. Unto us it comes under the con