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"Oh! how I hate those lusts of mine
That crucified my God;
Fast to the fatal wood !
" Yes, my Redeemer, they shall die.
My heart has so decreed ;
That made my Saviour bleed.
" Whilst, with a melting, broken heart,
My murdered Lord I view,
And slay the murderers too."
III. Such are the grounds on which the statement of the apostle rests. Let us now, in the third place, gather up the instruction to be derived from it. "Knowing this,” that a believer's old man is crucified with Christ, we may learn several very important things.
1. In the first place, here is supplied to us a critical test of our character. Here is something which will enable us to answer the question,-Are we Christians indeed ?
In name we are all Christians ; but, of course, we are all too well informed to attach any importance to this circumstance. The essential matter, and it is a widely different matter, is to be a Christian indeed. Perhaps we think we believe in Jesus, and hope that we have peace with God through his blood ; but even this is a matter which should be put to the test, inasmuch as faith is to be known by its fruits. And our subject supplies a test in all respects apt and conclusive. If you are a believer in Christ, dear reader, your old man, your former self, is, as he was, crucified. Is this a fact? Have you any conscious? ness of a new life within you, of a set of cherished affections, impulses, and habits, widely different from your old ones, and in practical antagonism to them? Have new-born holy affections and purposes entered into resolute conflict with pour old man, and asserted a practical supremacy? Is your old man, in a word, rucified; not only placed under immediate restraint, but in a course of gradual xhaustion, and in a way to die? Is it your aim, your purpose, your hope, that le shall die?
There ought to be no difficulty in answering these questions. They do not elate to anything recondite or obscure. Such matters as these must lie upon he surface of your consciousness, and be immediately open to a careful inquiry.
et me entreat you to make the inquiry both carefully and faithfully, for it is of bfinite importance to have a correct answer. If your old man is not crucified, ou have no true faith in Jesus : you know nothing of the reality of religion.
In such circumstances, dear reader, it is plainly necessary that you should lestir yourself; for, if you live and die without religion, you are lost for ever. But what will you do? Will you set about the correction of your unholy assions and evil habits ? Alas! to what end? and by what means? There Heing no new man within you, the crucifixion of the old man will be impossible, ad all your present purposes will speedily be frustrated. No. Rather come as
poor helpless sinner to Jesus, who is able to save to the uttermost. Faith in lis name will, in the first instance, give you peace with God; and then it will reate in you that holy power of love to Christ before which every sin hall droop and die. The new man brought into being, the old will soon be
rucified. ... 2. In the second place, the statement of the apostle supplies to us a satis. actory solution of some of the perplexities of Christian experience.
Often is it the lamentation of the believer in Jesus, " The good that I would I do not, but the evil that I would not that I do." His desires and purposes of piety are but very imperfectly fulfilled; they seem to be strangely thwarted by
some adverse power within him. He could sometimes fancy that he is more like two persons than one, and these two at perpetual strife. And in some sense it is so. Morally he is not one, but two persons. The affections, impulses, and habits of his unconverted state constitute one person, and those of his converted state constitute another; and these are contrary the one to the other, so that he canpot, without opposition, do the things that he would. The facts being thus understood, however, the whole case is explained, and there is no longer any mystery. The inward strife is no proof of the absence of religion, but rather of its presence, if to such effect it is carried on that the “old man is crucified.” It would be a much more fatal sign if all within were peace.
3. In the third place, the statement of the apostle supplies us with an in. structive practical view of the Christian's life. He is (if we may be allowed the expression) an executioner; a person employed in conducting a process of crucifixion, and this process is accomplished upon himself. He is habitually crucifying his old man.
What a life of sadness and of pain! In part this is true; and it is not to be supposed that any process fairly, even by a figure, to be called crucifixion, can be carried on without pain : but, as it is a pain which is necessary and inevitable on the one hand, so, on the other, it is a pain not unassociated with a Christian's highest pleasures. The process, indeed, whatever may be the suffering occasioned by it, is essential to his happiness. Love to Jesus cannot tolerate the presence of his murderers; and never is a Christian's communion with his Lord so sweet as when the crucifixion of the old man goes on most vigorously.
It is evident, however, that, if a Christian's life be such, it can by no means be one of indolence or inattention. If our former self is to be effectually crucified, it is plain that it must be in the perpetual exercise of watchfulness, self-control, and self-denial. Without these the old man may, every now and then, peradventure, come down from the cross, and “play strange antics before high heaven." Never, Christian, should your watchful eye be closed, nor the band of restraint be relaxed. Your eye should not spare, nor your heart pity, although the crucified one be yourself in its dearest form. Let the love of Christ constrain you. View your corruptions always in the light of his cross. Set your sins before your eyes as those who crucified your Lord, and take on them the grateful revenge for which love, ever newly kindled, cannot but nerve you. I
4. In the last place, the statement of the apostle suggests to us a blessed and animating hope.
For it, through grace, our old man is now crucified, he will some time expire. The process of crucifixion, however slow it may be, is not one of suffering merely, but one of death, wbich comes at last no less surely than if it came suddenly. Such, thanks be to God ! shall the end of the crucifixion of our old man be. Even while we tarry upon earth we trust to witness his declining strength, and his perceptible approaches to death ; but with our dying breath his life finally and for ever expires. O blessed thought! This forced com panionship with the murderers of our beloved Lord is not to last for ever. Non more of it beyond the grave! None of it in glory! Jesus alone shall dwell in our hearts there, greeted evermore by hallowed and ardent affections all his own! Olet us not fail in carrying on a process, however laborious, or however painful, which is to have an issue so delightful !
THE PILGRIMAGE AND BENEDICTION OF LOVE.
BY THE REV. 8. cox.
Mark xvi. 6, 7,
THESE verses record a scene which hillside." A month or two ago, and every transpired at this spring season of the thing was still and cold, bound in the Fear, and suggest thoughts appropriate fetters of death, covered with its shroud of to the time. Whaterer doubts may obscure snow. And now, life is coming back to other chronologieal facts in the life of our the dead world. It cannot be holden. Lord, there is no doubt that he died on Mighty tides are stirring and rushing the eve of the Passover, and rose again on through its every vein. It is rising, rising the morning after the Paschal Sabbath. from the tomb, clothing itself in its green Centuries ago, at sunrise on the morning waving robes, adorning itself with grace of what we now call Easter Sunday, certain and beauty. And this annual miracle, for women, distraught with grief, went to the miracle it is, reminds you of the miracle sepulchre to find an angel in the place once for all; this annual resurrection where Jesus had lain, and to hear from speaks to you, if only you have ears to hear, him that the Lord had risen from the of that resurrection on which all the hopes dead.
of faith depend. You are not permitted to It was not by chance or accident that forget it. Natural symbolisms greet you Jesus died when he did. It was not in on every hand. Year by year, spring caprice that he rose again on the third day. weaves its garlands round the empty tomb; All was afore-appointed-ordained by Him while mountains and all hills, fruitful sin whose hands are all our times. The trees and all cedars, fields and all gardens, redeeming Passover of the Jews pointed creeping things and flying fowl, sing that through two thousand years to the season old song-old but ever new,-" The Lord in which our Passover should be offered is risen! The Lord is risen!” This is up. And even we can see a Divine pro. the song which the opening leaves whisper priety in the selection of the time. The to each other as they unfold in their first resurrection of the Lord Jesus synchronises greenness, which the swallows twitter as - falls in the same season-with the resur they come sweeping back, glad heralds rection of the natural world ; the Creating of the summer gladness,—which the larks Christ rose from his grave at the time in sing as they rise, carrying their praise to which the creation over which he is Lord the gates of heaven. This is the song of and King rises from its winter grave. Just the whole glad springtide, "The Lord is when the earth is bursting from its risen! The Lord is risen!" Shull not we, bondage to Death, he came forth, beau. who rose in him, we who shall in very deed Ciful and victorious, from a sepulchre which rise at his coming, we who, in that great and could not hold him. In the sepulchre, and final spring tide in which the whole heavens un the garden in which it stood, the same, and earth are to become new, shall not we Divine process was taking place--new and be glorified together with him and them more glorious life coming forth from the shall not we take our part in this song of Fery bosom of death; the natural sym gladness, this song of deliverance ? Let us bolism and the spiritual reality casting but listen to it; let us but remember the Cross lights on each other, making each scene in the garden and the sepulchre ; let other infinitely more significant and beau us but anticipate that better springtime in ciful.
the garden of the Lord; and the voices of The very date of the resurrection fur- thanksgiving, new fervours of hope and wishes cause for gratitude. Go into the gratitude giving them volume and sweetFields at this season of the year, at this ness, will be heard within our hearts. cising springtide of life, and everything will It may conduce to this end, if we look speak to you of the resurrection from the awhile, not at the fact of the resurrection dead. "Life is at work in every emerald | itself, but at its bearing and influence on oud, in the bursting bark of every polished the women to whom it was first of all made bough, in the greening tints of every brown | known. It may be that if we follow Love in its pilgrimage to the sepulchre of the gar 1 of the prophetic word. The angel has to den and mark the benediction it brought | remind them of what Jesus had said while away, we may be stimulated to loving he was yet with them. Nay, even that service and grow hopeful of benediction. does not suffice. Magdalene, at least, after
the angel has spoken, goes wandering about I. THE PILGRIMAGE.
the garden, as one stunned and distraught 1. Let us mark the love of these holy by sorrow, seeking still for the absent bodywomen, and learn its lessons. It is | pursuing her one thought, unable to receive very signal, very striking. They put to any other-till she sees advancing to her shame the men, who not many hours since One whom in the twilight she takes for the professed themselves willing to die rather gardener. Of him she asks, where have than forsake the Son of Man and God. they laid Him ? holding fast her preconThe apostles --even Peter and John-are ception notwithstanding the angelic word still in the upper chamber, shut up for fear “He is risen!”trembling, sorrow-driven, of the Jews. But the Marys and Salome, sorrow-tormented, on the very verge of in- . very early in the morning, at the sunrise, sanity. It is not till Jesus turns and having none to help them, not witting how saith, “Mary," that she can credit the joy . the stone is to be rolled away, come to the that she too can say, “ The Lord is risen." sepulchre. So soon as the Sabbath-law “When Jesus was risen, he appeared will permit, and before they can well see to first to Mary Magdalene." One can see discharge their offices of love, hoping, I why. Mary most needed his appear suppose, by their very weakness to disarm ing. A few hours more of that frantic, the suspicions of the guards, they hasten sorrowful search-that possession by one to the epot where the body of Jesus had thought-making her unconscious of the been laid. The last at the cross are the realities around her, deaf to all words, first at the sepulchre. That explains it all. blind to all inferences, forgetful of all utter They had seen how Christ loved them ; ances which did not confirm her thoughts they had watched the manifestation to its and deepen her sorrow-and reason itself close and consummation. And now they must have given way. Jesus appeared first love Him who had first loved them. It is at to her because she most needed him. the cross that we learn and catch the love And with respect to all these holy of Christ. It is from his death that we women, one has to note that their love, draw motive and impulse for his service. outlived their faith. They had forgotten If we turn away from that, or stand afar Christ's words. They had lost him, and off, we shall not be the first to behold trust in him as the Redeemer of Israel. his glory ; we shall not be foremost in Faith was dead—but not love. The main serving him.
Christ Jesus, the wise Teacher, the gentle 2. Ănother lesson we may learn from forgiving Friend,-he is not forgotten. their love is, that Charity is greater than They cling passionately to the poor de faith. Christ had said, "The Son of Man serted tabernacle in which he had dwelt must be crucified, and he shall rise again the among them—the mere symbol and organ third day:" said it more than once-said of his loving presence. "What a cortit in tones so grave and sorrowful, and mentary on St. Paul's words, Nore again so full of impatient yearning desire, abideth faith, hope, charity; these three; that his disciples were startled and amazed. but the greatest of these is charity”! Lore No word of his seems to have struck them may live when faith is dead. Lore bas. more. One would have thought they A true creed has its value. The faith which could never have forgotten it; and least of substantiates the articles of that creed, all when they saw it in part fulfilled. But makes them true and makes them ous, is they did forget it—the women as well as among the chiefest and most potent gaan the men. The crucifixion says nothing to But love is stronger and diviner still. It them of the resurrection, though both had covers a multitude of sins. It atones for been foretold in one breath. They come innumerable errors. Love is of God; nay, through the morning twilight, having no faith is of God, but love is God. Faith is hope. The spices they bear with them God's gift; but love is God's self and subtestify against them. They have come to stance. Faith is the highest merely human embalm a dead friend, not to greet a living | attribute ; but love is not only an attribute Saviour. Even the open sepulchre and of God, it is that in which all his attributes the vacant resting place quicken no memory | inhere. To believe is human; to bore
divine. “He that abideth in love, abideth | been, for what God is even now making in God, and God in him.” Faith is not them, for what God has been and is doing even an attribute of God-you cannot pre for us through them. dicate faith of him ; but God is love. 3. A third lesson to be learned from Faith ie of value to us, therefore, just in these holy women is, that Love includes proportion as it appropriates the love unselfishness and self-sacrifice. which God has and is; just in proportion They had followed Christ in life. But as it helps us to love him with all our heart then he had taught them lessons they could --for he loves us with all his heart; and learn nowhere else. He had wrought our neighbour as our self-for he loves us | miracles; he forgave sing. They thought as he loves himself. So that we must never he would redeem Israel. They may have subordinate our love to our faith-never expected that he would confer upon them
limit or restrain it by our creeds. We honours and rewards. If they ministered - must love God and man as these women of their substance to him, he also ministered loved the God-man. He had seemed to to them; and they may have hoped that disappoint all their fond hopes, to have for all they did, and for all they forsook, raised them up only to cast them down. they would receive a hundredfold. There They had lost faith in him as the Redeemer may have been some taint of selfishness in he professed to be. They had forgotten or their service, as we know there was in that disbelieved his prophetic word. It was all of the Twelve. If there were not, it was very sed, very mysterious. But they held at least open to question and suspicion, fast their love. No man ever spoke like They had followed him even to the cross. him. No one had been so pitiful, so tender, But even on the cross, he claimed to have Bo wise, so great. No one had so widened the keys of life and death, the honours and their minds, so purified and ennobled their royalties of the heavenly kingdom in his hearts. They could not forget what he had gift. It is very possible that to the last been to them. If they must lose faith and they thought he might deliver himself out give up hope, they could never cease to of the hands of his enemies-come down lore. Surely, a beautiful and most neces from the cross to ascend the throne, and sary example. God often disappoints us. load their hearts with benefits. I do not True, it is our fault. We have forgotten say they had these thoughts and hopes, what he said to us, or misinterpreted it albeit the Twelve seem to have had them. into some false pleasant meaning of our Probably they saw further than the Twelve, own. But we are none the less troubled and were moved by purer feelings. But and cast down. None the less we lose faith their motives might have been questioned; and hope. Let us then hold fast by love. suspicion might have attached even to The more we lose, the more closely let us them. And it is very pleasant to find that ding to that, and all will come well. If their unselfishness has been put beyond he disappoint us just now, he has been doubt. For they loved Christ, not in life good, and pitiful, and kind. He has alone, but also in death; they followed him, made us what we are, given us what we not only to the cross, but to the tomb. hare. Let us love him for that, and, by When he lay cold and helpless in the and-bye, faith and hope will come back. sepulchre, or they thought he did, -when, And so with men. We are too apt to with as they conceived it, there was nothing draw or lessen our love for them, because more that he could do,--when all hope had they are not all we could wish, because died away, and faith in him as King and they have disappointed hopes and expecta Saviour lay buried with him in the grave; tions which very possibly we had no right when, therefore, they could expect nothing to forat. So soon as faith or hope disap at his hand, they came to embalm his body pears, so soon as men prove other than we and weep over their departed friend. They thought they would, or unable to give the braved the anger of the Jews; they braved teaching or help we expected to get, we repulse and insult from the Roman lose love too. It should not be thus. We guards, that they might discharge the last are not perfect, that we should wish ministries of love. You cannot suspect all men to be as we are, or as we conceived them of selfishness in that. You can only thera to be. If they have been good to us, bow and wonder before an unselfishness pitiful, helpful, true, let us not forsake which so far transcends your own. theme because they disappoint and perplex Their unselfishness, moreover, rose to L$. Let us love them for what they have the height of sacrifice. They had followed