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spiritual salvation typified therein. He saw, at the table, the Lamb of God, who, by his blood, was to take away the sin of the world, and who was prefigured in the paschal lamb. While he ate at this table, his eyes, his faith, and his affection, were fixed on the Redeemer by his side, who was now giving his flesh to be meat indeed, and his blood to be drink indeed, for hungry and thirsty souls.
Such exercises were certainly proper in a disciple, who sat by his Saviour, and ate with him at the same table, in the evening before he gave himself a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
We see then with what meditations and affections we should approach this table now spread before us. This ordinance was instituted in the same evening, when Christ celebrated the last passover with his disciples. It was designed as a memorial of his sufferings. Herein we shew forth his death. We are to attend it in remembrance of him. He sat with his disciples in the first supper. He is now on his throne in the heavens; but his eyes look down on us; his ears are attentive to hear what we speak -what is the voice of our lips, and the language of our hearts. We may here view him as near us. When we take our seats at this table, let us consider, that our Saviour is by our side. Here is his spiritual and gracious presence. Let us sit down, leaning on his bosom. He admits the humble believer near to himself; allows him to speak in his ear -to whisper the complaints and desires of his soul. While we sit by him, let us converse with him, confess to him our sins, lament our unbelief and hardness of heart, seek the supports of his grace, and the pardoning efficacy of his blood. Let our souls go forth toward him in love of his divine excellencies, in thankfulness for his wonderful goodness, and in desires of a nearer conformity to him, and of a clearer interest in his salvation. Under a
humble sense of our sins, and of the imperfection of our best works, let us lean on his bosom; for in him we have righteousness and strength. By thus leaning on him, let us gain a more familiar ac quaintance with him, and grow in our preparation to be received into his bosom in heaven, and to eat bread with him in the kingdom of his Father.
LUKE xxiii. 48.
And all the people, that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts and returned.
How exceedingly changeable were the
affections and sentiments of the Jews with regard to Jesus of Nazareth! In the course of his ministry, they had expressed the highest esteem of him. They had followed him to the remotest corners of the country, to hear his doctrines and see his works. When he entered into Jerusalem on a publick occasion, they received him with loud acclamations. There was a time, when they intended to take him by force and make him their king. But after they perceived, that his kingdom was not of this world, and that their earthly views were likely to be disappointed, their affection soon turned to resentment and hatred. Now they joined in the attempts to de
stroy him, and were instant with loud voices to have him crucified. When the governour declared him innocent, and proposed to release him, they spurned the proposal, and repeated their demand, Crucify him! Crucify him!
Their clamours prevail. He is sentenced to death, and carried to execution. As he hangs on the cross, they feast their eyes, for a time, with the dismal ectacle. They pass by him, wagging their heads, and saying, "Ah! Thou, who destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself, and come down from the cross.' They cast on him a scornful eye, and say, "He saved others; himself he cannot save. Let him save himself, if he is a king."
But soon the scene changes. The sun withdraws his beams, and the heavens, at noon day, are wrapt in darkness; the earth trembles; the rocks are rent asunder; the repositories of the dead are disclosed; and the insulted Saviour, commending his spirit to God, bows his head, and, in exclamations of anguish, expires.-Look on the multitude now -see how they appear.-They, who before had triumphed in his misery, are struck with deep astonishment. One says, << Surely this was a righteous man. Another says, "This is the Son of God." And all the people, who came together to that sight, seeing what had past, smote their breasts and returned. They came to the execution with eager haste, and bitter zeal. They retired slow, silent, and pensive, with downcast looks and labouring thoughts.
Their smiting their breasts indicated some painful sensations within.
1. It expressed their conviction of the innocence and divinity of this wonderful sufferer.
Whatever sentiments they had entertained in the morning, they had now seen enough to extort N
from them an acknowledgment, that this was a righteous man-this was the Son of God.
This character Jesus had openly assumed; and with unwavering constancy he maintained it to the last. Through all his trials he never once dissembled it; nor, in the least degree, departed from it, to prevent danger, or avoid death.
Observe his calmness. Amidst the rudest and most provoking insults, he discovered no malice or resentment toward his enemies; but all his language and behaviour was mild and gentle. When he was reviled, he reviled not again; but committed himself to him who judgeth righteously.
See his benevolence. He attended to the case of his afflicted mother, and commended her to the care of his beloved disciple. He wrought a miracle to heal an enemy wounded in the attempt to seize him. He extended mercy to a malefactor, who was suffering by his side. He implored pardon for those, who were torturing him to death, and urged in their behalf, the only excuse which their case could admit-They know not what they do.
Consider his humble piety. He maintained his confidence in God; called him his God and his Father; and into his hands committed his spirit.
Such distinguished piety; benevolence and constancy, under trials like his, shewed him to be a righteous man-to be more than man.
And heaven itself bare solemn testimony in his favour.
The darkness, which overspread the land, was evidently supernatural. It happened at the full moon, when there could be no natural eclipse of the sun. The total darkness, which, in a natural eclipse, can last but a few minutes, here continued for the space of three hours. At the time of his death, the great curtain of the temple, which sep