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THE LOVE OF THE LORD JESUS
144 bloody tragedy. They scourge him, dress him in a royal robe, plat a crown of thorns and place a reed or walking staff
, as å mock sceptre, in his hand. With cruelty yet unglutted, they take the staff and strike him on the head to give more exquisite pain by those blows, which might drive the thorns of the crown into his temples and his forehead; and now behold the man, clad in the robe of mock majesty ; his head crowned with thorns, and streaming with blood; his face bruised with blows, his body torn by scourges : was ever love like his love! He is condemned; and now see him carrying his cross, execrated and despised. Dreadful was his path to Calvary, but he reached it at last; yet not to escape from his sorrows, these would only end with his life. Behold him at the fatal spot. See the cross formed, and him extended onit; yet even there he prays, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Listen to the strokes of the hammer that drives the 'nails through his hands and feet. Mark the gushing blood, the shattered bones. See the cross raised from the earth on which it lay, and let down with a jerk into the hole in which it should stand, that this might torture more the tortured body that hung upon it. Through six long hours of inde. scribable misery, behold the Divine Sufferer thus suspended, execrated by earth, insulted by his cruel foes; and even in appearance deserted by heaven, when he uttered that mournful cry, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me! His Father seemingly deserted his best beloved for a time, that he might be able to receive you, a poor sinful wanderer, and make you his for
At length he expired. What a scene folDISPLAYED BY HIS SUFFERINGS & INVITATIONS; 145 lowed! rocks rending, graves opening, midnight darkness at noon-day. Was it an emblem of that everlasting darkness which shall overwhelm an ungodly world! Or would heaven hide the dishonours of its Lord! When he left his throne of glory he knew that all this was to befall him; he knew that he should be treated as if he were the worst of malefactors; he knew that the hand which
“ Formed the skies would bleed for you,
But bleed the balm you want.” And he so loved our wretched and guilty race, that the vicw of all these dreadful scenes prevented not his coming. He came to save; and is able to save unto the uttermost.
§ 9. The love of Christ is displayed by the free and gracious invitations in his word. One or two of these may serve as specimens of many.
He came to seek and save the lost. Let the proud pharisee scorn the penitent publican; but Jesus calls publicans and sinners to himself. Let the self-conceited philosopher look with contempt upon the unlearned and the poor, who disregard his cobweb speculations; but Jesus welcomes the poorest and most ignorant to his arms of mercy. Come," saith he, come unto me,
all that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
“Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” To those who feel the vast weight of their eternal interests, and their own ruined state, how welcome are these promises, and such as these! It is as much as if he had said, “Come unto me. Man may despise you, but I will receive you. Come, all ye who labour for salvation, and who are laden with sins and. Matt. xi. 28.
John, vi. 37.
APPEAL TO THE READER ON HIS
the stupendous love of the dying Saviour! Can 'you offer him too much, who gave up so much for you? Can you love him too much, whose love led him to endure an afflicting life and a tormenting death for you? What an exchange, my youthful friend, has he made with wretched man! He bore our sorrows that we might share his joys. He suffered in the world where we dwell, that we might rejoice in his abode. He took our guilt, that we might partake of his righteousness; groaned, that we might smile; wept, that we might exult; was crowned with thorns, that we might be crowned with glory; endured the bitterest agony, that we might escape
eternal torments; died, that we might live; and came from heaven, that we might go and dwell for ever there. O then, remember, that when he was agonizing in the garden, crowned with thorns, torn with scourges, nailed to the cross, and writhing in misery there, that all this was on your account, and not his own. Can
review bis sufferings, and yet refuse to yield your all to bim? Does love to parents, affection to sisters or brothers, dwell in your heart? and is there no room there for love to a far better friend than a thousand earthly relatives united ? think of the Redeemer's goodness, and yet treat him with neglect? Would any one else do for you what the Lord has done? Would the gay world, that perhaps tempt you to slight him, bear such sufferings for you? It is related of Colonel Gardiner, that at the time of his wonderful conversion, he apprehended that there was before him a visible representation of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross; and he was impressed as if a voice had come to him to this effect:
- OBLIGATIONS TO LOVE THE LORD JESUS. 149 "O sinner, did I suffer this for thee, and are these thy returns !” If you, my young friend, have hitherto neglected religion and the Son of God, would he appear, might he not justly say the same to you? Is this your return for all that love of his which these pages faintly display to you? By ingratitude and neglect will you requite his dying love? Suppose he were to appear before you, and, with compassion in his eyes, and love in his heart, were to look on you, and say, “Young sinner, behold these hands, these bands endured the nails for you; will you, by preferring sin to me, open these wounds again ? Will you undo what I died to perform ? Behold this side, this side was pierced for you ; will you pierce it deeper still by your neglect ? Behold this head, this head was torn by the thorny crown for you ;. will you add fresh pangs to what I then endured, by forgetting him who never forgot you? Did I bear scoffs, the scourge, the cross, slow torture, inward and outward agony, and lingering death for you; and are sin and neglect your returns ? O, what answer could you give to questions like these? Surely tears would start from your eyes, remorse tear your heart, and confusion cover your face. And do you think the blessed Jesus endured the less, or loved the less, because he is not here to tell you the greatness of his sufferings and his love ? It cannot be; and will you then submit to him ? or will
you still harden your heart in ingratitude and neglect ? Perhaps, if you were to declare what has been your past treatment of the gospel and religion, an honest confession would be, “I never thought on the subject.” Alas, what a consession, when a vast eternity is at hand! 150 APPEAL TO THE YOUNG READER, But O, again I ask you, can you, will
thus requite the Saviour of the lost ? Can you look on him afflicted, tormented, suspended between heaven and earth, defiled with blood, and sinking beneath an intolerable load of sorrow; can you look back to Calvary, and continue to treat him thus ? I know the world tempts you to do so; but will you let the world prevail ? Did he leave heaven and the brightest throne in glory to encounter such horrors for you; and will you not give up, what the vain world can offer, for him? Let it do its best; were its riches, pleasures, honours, yours, are these things better than the heaven to which Jesus fain would lead you? He came to save the lost; will you refuse to let him save you ? The graves opened and the rocks rent at his crucifixion ; shall graves open sooner than your heart ? and even rocks be softer? Were you to see a beloved friend ascend a scaffold on your account, then see his lifeless body bleeding, the eyes
“ that loved to look on you" closed in death, and all this for you, and in your place; you could not be unaffected. remind you, that for you your injured Lord bled, and bled not by a sudden, but a lingering death; and can you remain unaffected, because you see not the mournful spectacle, when you know that it was once seen, till heaven, indignant heaven, turned the day to darkness, and hid the bleeding Saviour? Unless you turn to him, as far as you are concerned, all this will be in vain. As to you, it will be in vain that he came from heaven, and became the poor man of sorrows. As to you, it will be in vain that his hands, his feet, his side were pierced, and that he became the sufferer of the cross, the victim of death. O,