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be born, whose name was the Mighty God. This was the miracle which, first of all, the redemption of the Church required, and this was the miracle which, first of all, his omnipotent love for her achieved. « Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ ! thou art the Everlasting Son of the Father ! Yet, when thou tookest

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thee to deliver man, thou didst not abhor the virgin's womb,”-nor, having worn from everlasting the form of God, didst thou despise the nature of a man,-the form of a servant,the likeness of a sinner. Oh ! after this, what change of circumstances among created natures deserves the name of condescension ! Applaud as they deserve the glorious instances of condescending kindness which the history of earth and heaven presents, when nobles have bowed themselves to lowliest offices of love, and angels have deigned to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation !" But surely all that heaven or earth can show in this kind of glorious hath no glory, “ by reason of the glory that excelleth," when we turn to the spectacle of Godhead wedded to humanity,--the Heir of the universethe Lord of eternity-for the love he bears his chosen, stooping to become “our brother and our flesh,"

« Spouse of the worm, and brother of the clay."

But this, you know, was not the whole of the humiliation to which he gave himself for her; it was all but prelude this and preparation. The Immortal took humanity, because humanity was mortal, because its assumption made him capable of dying. “For the suffering of death, he was made lower than the angels ;” and not till he had passed triumphant through this last and fiercest ordeal was the trial of his love to be complete. The Church which he had undertaken to redeem, stood, as we have seen, a doomed and guilty criminal before the bar of Eternal Righteousness. Each individual human being comprehended under that collective name had forfeited his life, and more than that, his immortality, to the inviolable law of God's eternal government,“ The wages of sin is death." And though it be most true that Jehovah had and could have no delight in the infliction of this awful penalty on its own account,-though he hath sworn by his holiness that he hath no pleasure in the death of him that dieth ; yet there are ruling principles of rectitude and truth in his eternal nature, to which the dictates even of Divine compassion must give way, and there are rights belonging to the universe he governs, suspended on the maintenance of order and of law, to which the mere feelings of individual creatures, whose rights by their own act had been extinguished, must be held subordinate,--principles these and rights which could permit the escape of individual transgressors only on one condition, and that in the combination of existing circumstances which never had met before, and never will meet again throughout eternity, to render such a procedure wise and safe ; that some one, qualified alike by willingness and by ability, should assume the transgressor's place, and, in that place, should pay

“ The rigid satisfaction, death for death."

יו

This, then, is the character and the position in which the Incarnate Word appeared, when, prompted by his own mysterious love, he gave himself for his Church,--he delivered himself up to the death for us all. And to what death ?-Oh! my brethren, ye make but a feeble representation of the love he showed his chosen Church by giving himself for her, when ye merely say he died, and tell not how he died. Whensoever we call to mind that for her “ he became obedient unto death," let us never forget to add, with the apostle, “ even the death of the cross," — a death which of all that man's ingenious cruelty has devised to be the portion of the basest of criminals, taken from among the vilest of men, was darkened by the cloud of deepest ignominy, and armed with the pangs of bitterest agony,-a death deserving, as the great Roman orator has well expressed himself, to be for ever banished from the eyes, and ears, and very imagination of mankind, and a death, be it remembered, which, as endured by Jesus, had all its physical tortures sharpened and inflamed, by the inward strife and unimaginable anguish that rent his righteous soul. For then it was that the Demon, seizing with malignant sagacity the moment when the energies of his great antagonist were most fully engaged with the task of strong and difficult endurance, directed his last and fiercest onset against the already occupied and overloaded humanity of Jesus. “ The prince of this world cometh,” exclaimed the Holy Sufferer, in prospect of that hour ; “ now is your hour and the power of darkness.” Nor was this, you know, the only aggravation of the cross to him who, for the love of his espoused Church, became obedient to that ghastly punishment. Superadded to the scorn and cruelty of man,—to the malignant might and subtlety of hell, he had then to wrestle with the curse of God; and who, O Lord Jehovah, “ who knoweth the power of thy wrath ?” The sense of a world's imputed guilt fell heavily upon his soul,and the awful conviction that he was then regarded, the agonizing feeling that he was then treated by the Father, as if all that imputed guilt were his.Oh! who shall wonder that, to a soul like his, so tremblingly alive and sensitive through all its moral nature, accustomed to bask eternally in the unclouded radiance of his Father's smile, the sense of God's displeasure was the bitterest ingredient in all the cup of wo! that the strange eclipse which, over Mount Calvary, veiled the shuddering heavens, was but the shadow of that more ghastly gloom, which enveloped his dissolving nature, when, for one mysterious moment, “ the man Christ Jesus” experienced the condition of a creature abandoned by his God,-beheld, as it were, the light of the universe put out,—and, under the strange, unimagined chill that fell upon his freezing spirit, shrieked out, in his astonishment, “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?" This, then, is that to which the Saviour «

gave himself,”—an expression, in illustration of which it is still farther to be observed, that it indicates the perfect spontaneity or voluntariness of his sacrifice. “ He gave himself” of his own unconstrained and sovereign choice. It is quite plain, that to render such a sacrifice as Jesus offered at all consistent with the honour of Jehovah's character and government, the absolute consent and perfect willingness of the sufferer was requisite. It has been appropriately remarked in reference to this subject, that, in the times of sacrifice, it was reckoned a circumstance of evil omen if a victim went unwillingly to the altar; and very plain it is, were the supposition at all allowable, that, if the Lamb of God had suffered reluctantly, all the moral grandeur and worth of the atonement would have vanished. The infliction of the suffering due to the guilty upon the innocent would have been an act of infinitely higher injustice than the acquittal of the criminals without atonement at all. That nothing of all this, however, was the case with the sacrifice of the anointed Saviour

VOL. II.

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