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which he said to poor sinners when he was upon earth. We think of the cruel treatment he received, the unkind words which were spoken against him, and the hard thoughts which so many had of him, and the evil names they gave him, and how gently he replied, and how patiently he bore all; and how he answered not a word when his enemies accused him, though he might have struck their lying lips dumb; and when they buffeted him, and fixed him with nails to the accursed tree, he might have destroyed them in a moment, for he had power to do it. And then, when we think of Jesus as a Lamb, we call to mind his tenderness, and long-suffering, and love: and how that love is shown now, even towards those who slight him, and despise him. Hear his own gracious and loving words: “ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;" “ Him that cometh unto me I will in nowise cast out," Matt. xi. 28; John vi. 37.
Jesus Christ is also represented as a Lamb in another and a very important respect. Before he came into the world, he was set forth by God himself, in sacrifices; that is, animals, appointed to be slain and offered up, to represent his great sacrifice of himself, when he was offered in the sinner's stead, to die upon the cross.
Among these sacrifices, a lamb was the animal most frequently offered. It was probably a lamb which Abel offered to God, Gen. iv. 4. It was a lamb which the children of Israel were commanded to kill, and whose blood they were to sprinkle upon their door-posts, so that the angel, who was commanded to destroy the first-born of the Egyptians, might pass over them, Exod. xii. 1- 13. A lamb was ordained to be offered, morning and evening, from the time of Moses until the death of Christ, (Numb. xxviii. 3, 4,) when all sacrifices ceased.
And it was in reference to this, that John the Baptist pointed to Jesus, when he first appeared among men, saying, “ Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” John i. 29.
What then can these words mean: “ THE WRATH OF THE LAMB?” It is indeed an awful expression! Oh that the reader, whoever he may be, would give heed to it!
Will you turn to Mark xv. 31, and Luke xxiii. 35 ? See Jesus hanging on the cross. His enemies scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others, himself he cannot save." There was this Lamb of God-nailed to the cross : as man perfectly helpless, in the hands of his enemies: and in this helpless state he continued, until “he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." Yet why could he not save himself? Wondrous reason! that he might save us! As our Surety, he had undertaken the great work of love-to die for the salvation of sinners, and he would
THE WRATH OF THE LAMB.
Now turn to the passage whence the title of this little paper is taken, Rev. vi. 16. Here you read of " the wrath of the Lamb.” In that day all his patience and gentleness will be swallowed up in wrath, tremendous and eternal; his helpless condition will have passed away ; his wrath will be clothed with almighty power : so that “ all the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, shall hide themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and shall say to the mountains and the rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand ?” Yes, fellow-sinner, there is the “ day of the wrath of the Lamb." You shall see him in that day, for “every eye shall see him," Rev. i. 7: but shall you be able to stand ? Turn to 2 Thess. i. 7–9: there read, that “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” Now, if you are unconverted, or, in other words, if you have not beheld the Lamb of God by faith, so as to be saved by him, here in this passage which you have just read is your character drawn to the life; “You know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
"You know not God!” This is startling. “What!" you say, “ Am I a heathen?” Indeed, if you are living“ without God in the world,” there is but little difference between you and a heathen in character; and, inasmuch as your light is greater, so your guilt is greater, and your doom will be heavier than that of the heathen. You may have been well instructed in the Scriptures. You may have had pious parents, and great religious advantages —much knowledge-much understanding of the Bible. Yet, if the truth has not entered your heart; if you have not known Jesus Christ as the way to God; if your life is still unchanged -unrenewed, this is your character; “ You know not God.”
Again,-" that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The gospel. What is it?—The glad tidings of reconciliation and peace for guilty, lost, ruined man, with his offended, yet most gracious God—the proclamation of a free pardon for rebels, through the sufferings and death of God's dear Son—the way by which polluted, defiled sinners can be washed, sanctified, and made meet to serve God here, and to dwell in his glorious presence in heaven for ever. This gospel is everything to you—the only thing which can separate between you and hell : it reveals the one only way to heaven. But remember this gospel is not only
to be read, heard, talked about, but obeyed : it is, “ according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith," Rom. xvi. 26.
Now do you thus “know God, and obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ?" or, does your conscience bear witness that you have lived altogether unmindful of your precious soul, altogether without preparation for eternity ?
Is it not time, then, to come to a point ? Perhaps you may cast your eye over this paper, as you have done over like appeals, or over the pages of your Bible, and lay it down, and think no more of it. Or, perhaps, it may produce a serious thought or two; and you will, as you may have often done before, determine to be more religious. And yet, before to-morrow comes, your “ goodness, like the early dew, will have passed away.” Nothing but the real gospel, believed, loved, obeyed, through the power of the Holy Spirit, will turn your heart fully to God and to heaven. We direct you, therefore, to this Lamb of God. This Lamb, once a sacrifice, is now an Intercessor. He stands “in the midst of the throne, as he had been slain," Rev. v. 6, pointing, as it were, to his woundspleading his sacrifice, in the very presence of God-our Propitiation, our Mediator, our Advocate.
But, should you go on trifling with his love, neglecting his salvation, “ the accepted time, the day of salvation," will have passed away. You will then hear only of “the wrath of the Lamb." His blood will plead no longer. “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries," Heb. x. 26, 27.
It will not be the Lamb in the midst of the throne of mercy, but the Judge on “ the great white throne," from whose face earth and heaven will flee away, and there will be found no place for them, Rev. xx. 11: and " who shall be able to stand ?”
The day of wrath, that dreadful day,
THE FIRST GRAVE. Who has not stood, mournfully, by the side of a new-made grave ? Reader, have not you been there? Then come and visit the first grave — as earth receives to her cold bosom death's first victim, so far as Scripture informs us. What a sight, seen for the first time ! Flowers had withered ; insects had perished; the birds of the air, and the beasts of the field, had devoured their prey; and the dread sentence-" Thou shalt die," had sunk into the heart of our first father. Yet, as time passed on, even out of Eden, guarded by the flaming sword of cherubim, the first transgressors had found mercy. One son was given them, and then another, to share their humiliation, toil, and sorrow, yet with the same promise of a Saviour to encourage them to prayer and faith.
As these two sons grew up they differed much in disposition. They differed, too, in their occupations. But there was a difference still wider; they differed in their religion. The religion of the elder was a religion which overlooked the fall; a religion without contrition, without grace, and without desires for grace; a religion which showed no faith in the promised Redeemer's atoning sacrifice. How common, even among many who call themselves Christians, is a religion which is essentially the same as that of Cain! On the contrary, the religion of Abel was the only religion which makes us feel that we are far from God, urges us to seek his pardon, and teaches how that pardon may be obtained. Abel's was the religion of one who confessed himself
a fallen being, a sinner without excuse, a penitent, a believer of God's gracious promise, a dependant on grace, an expectant of salvation through the “ Seed of the woman,” whose death was foreshadowed by the sacrifice of the firstlings of his own flock.
Cain's religion did not make him happy. How could it, when it did not please God ? How could such a religion, proud, heartless, unbelieving as it was, please God? Abel's religion brought peace to his soul. God accepted it, for the sake of Him to whom his faith looked forward. There are many living now upon the earth-you, reader, perhaps, are one
-whose religion brings the same peace to their souls, through clearer faith in a Saviour who is more fully revealed.
Not only did Cain's religion not make him happy; it actually made him wretched, because he was angry with God for not accepting the unbelieving worship of his unhumbled heart. Nor was this all. He saw that his brother was happy. Yet, instead of " following the steps of the faith” which made his brother happy, he hated him, and slew him! " And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous." His own religious works did not spring from a right motive; while his brother's were according to the will of God, showing his faith in the truth which God revealed, and his reliance on Divine grace.
It is the grave of this first departed worshipper of God by faith in Christ, the Messiah, that your thoughts are now invited to visit. It is a believer's grave; the grave, therefore, of one who is saved, and who has exchanged earth for heaven. What a dreadful form was that in which death, for the first time, seized on man !-violent-sudden-cruel-by an elder brother's hand-for no fault, but for being happy in the way in which the murderer himself might have been equally happy, had he sought it! Yet, shocking as these outward circumstances were, death is not really terrible to one who is “reconciled to God through the death of his Son.” Sudden death is not an event from which a believer needs to shrink, coming on him in the path of duty, in a state of acceptance with God, spiritually prepared for heaven. Nor need he be afraid of cruelty : “ God maketh the wrath of man to praise him;" for he overruled the monstrous wickedness of Cain, to remove Abel, by a sudden surprise, to his eternal rest.
Cain was more miserable than ever after he had shed his brother's blood. Who can paint the horror of his conscience? But he had to account to God, as well as to his own conscience--as every unrepenting sinner will find at last. The farther we attempt to depart from God, from his truth, and from his worship, the deeper do we plunge in guilt, and the greater will be