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came? The strange requirements, at | first, appear impossible to be fulfilled; but Christ has reconciled-Christ has fulfilled them all. And He whom Jeremiah speaks of as a glorious monarch, is well described by the apostle Paul as having been made sin, or a sin-offering, for us.

Surely, of all prophecies, the fulfilment of such as appear almost incapable of fulfilment is intended thoroughly to awaken the attention of mankind. We cannot expect ever to know a more marvellous truth of Scripture than this reconciliation of seeming contradictions, in the person of the Son of God-at once our King, our High Priest, and our Atonement.

In many of the pious Jews, who looked forward to the coming of Messiah, such words as Jeremiah's would excite the hope of a good and wise ruler, under whose benignant sway the animosity of the tribes would be quelled, and all their enemies subdued. Even Christ's disciples were thus partial in their interpretation of the Scriptures; looking only at the bright spots in the prophetical picture, they always expected Christ to allow His exaltation to a seat of princely honour on earth; and that He would give to each of them corresponding advancement under His dominion. Nor were they unde-fested to mortal eyes, we cannot rightly

ceived, till the Saviour's body lay cold and still in the hollowed rock, near the place where He was crucified. At that time, their hopes, always too earthly, sank even lower still; and it was only after they had lost their Master's bodily presence altogether, that they received, or could receive, their greatest comfort-the true Comforter,-and could understand their Lord's essential glory, with the full meaning of His incarnation and death. Then, at last, they came to remember better His own words, and to comprehend how He who knew no sin, but was righteousness itself, had been made a sin-offering for them, that they might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

(1.) As all the moral attributes of Deity are inseparably related to holiness, so in Christ the eternal love of goodness-holiness-as an ever-active attribute, comes into view when we think of His righteousness. The holy actions of the Son of God, before He appeared on earth, though unrecorded to us, must have been known and celebrated by the angels of God. Although our sin-darkened thoughts cannot be permitted, on earth, to penetrate back, as it were, into the beautiful light and holiness of those ages that preceded the ages of our world, yet are we constrained to believe in the heavenly life of the Son of God, and in His glorious holiness. Before the sunlight struck upon our world, or its widewinding shores were covered with rational creatures-before the sea flowed, or the cloud hovered in the sky-ere yet the foundations of the mountains were laid, or the stars began to shed their scintillating rays across the material universethe holy Son of God had His being in the light of the almighty throne, infinite and unchangeable in His righteousness, and the only-beloved of God. Unless thus we think of the dignity and holiness of Christ, as He existed in the blessedness of heaven, and before He was mani

Let us turn our attention to the nature of His righteousness who is called, "the Lord our Righteousness," and who was made a sin-offering for us.

value what He has done, as the self-sacrificing Friend of sinners. But looking back, as it were, to His former majesty and perfect holiness, we see more clearly the greatness of His effort to save us.

(2.) Nor was the holiness or the righteousness of the Son of God impaired, or lessened in any degree, by His wondrous condescension in taking our nature upon Him, consenting to call us brethren, and yielding to death for our sakes. Suffering and self-denial have no immorality in them, although they may have been made needful by sin. To suffer is not to sin; but all sin necessitates suffering, either bodily or mental, or both. At the same time, penitence, which is a species of suffering, does, under the Christian dispensation, prevent greater suffering. And the earlier the peni. tence, the less will be the suffering to every true follower of Christ. "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be

judged." Suffering checks human transgression, if it does not always purify the human heart. It weakens the power that man has to do wrong, if it does not always dispose him to act uprightly. But over many it has a marvellous power to sweeten the temper, to purify the heart, and to breathe a spirit at once of Christian resignation and Christian zeal over the will. Suffering, then, it is evident, does not of itself make the human character less pure or moral. And we cannot bring ourselves to a proper comprehension of Christ's righteousness, unless we understand that His sufferings and humiliation had no power to change the purity of His holiness. We do not call the philanthropist degraded though he becomes the companion of prisoners, and familiar, in his walks of benevolence, with diseases, and squalor, and wretchedness in all its forms. His condescending, self-forgetting kindness is not surely of itself immoral. The eye of "the world," clouded as it is by sin and pride, will call it a demeaning of himself; but the unworldly will think that such conduct ennobles man or woman, giving a beauty to the character which cannot fade. Although Christ's human flesh was subjected to the attacks of Satan, and to the wants and woes of humanity, yet was He never out of harmony with the divine will. No discontent or murmuring, nothing that could bedim the holiness of His character, appeared in the man Christ Jesus. Satan tried every avenue that was possible to find access to the heart of Christ, and to corrupt His humanity, and at every available moment sought to hinder the establishment of Christ's kingdom, but in vain. Even the needless suffering and mockery that seemed to be heaped upon His holy head on the night in which He was betrayed, and on the day in which He was crucified, by those whom He desired to save, could not invade the meekness of the blessed Redeemer. In the very depth of His humiliation, the bright purity of His nature was unchanged, and we do well to meditate on this; for it is too common a result in the careless beholder of the Saviour of men, to count that a loss of character

which, in every possible point of view, constituted everlasting righteousness and everlasting gain. The most precious jewel on earth might escape from its setting, and be found in ashes or in dust-to outward appearance it might be marred, and its beauty for a time concealed; but while it remained really unchanged, it would be as precious as ever. Its value might not be known by those who found it; but that could not make its absolute value less. It might be sold at a low rate, peradventure for thirty pieces of silver, its value being far more than ten thousand times the sum; yet would not that affect its intrinsic preciousness, or take away from its beauty. And in Christ Jesus there was holiness, undimmed and bright as ever, though, to the world's eye, He had no form, comeliness, or beauty, and though, in the world's memory too, His visage is that of one more marred than any-His form that of a tortured man, of whom the worldling has often heard, but in whom he cannot believe as his King, Priest, and Atone


(3.) Christ's righteousness was rather increased, than lessened, if we might so speak, by all He did, and taught, and suffered on earth. He came to reveal, vindicate, and enhance the holiness and righteousness of God; and it was as the last hours of His life drew nigh, and as the betrayal, the cross, and the sepulchre arrayed themselves before the Redeemer, that He could say: "O righteous Father! the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me." He came to identify himself with men, and to be their substitute as well as friend, in perfectly obeying the will of God, and in offering and making atonement for foul revolt, on their part, against that holy will. He came to increase the righteousness of the universe; and all He did was done in righteousness for this great end. Sin was a stranger to His holy soul; and He desired to make it as strange to the souls of those whom He condescended to call His brethren. He adopted our position on earth, that an everlasting relationship might exist between us and Him, and

that He might make us worthy to be the sons and daughters of God in heaven. Neither would God have pardoned us, nor, verily, should we have had pity on ourselves, had not this Redeemer been provided who has been provided. He identified himself with our nature, in all except its taint of sin. He identified himself with our wants and woes -they became His own-He chose them -yet without our sin. Truly, "He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows." The grievous results of sin the ordinary penalties of God's violated law He the sinless did bear as we have to bear them; but He did more-and it is at this part of the high theme of Christ's righteousness that so many stumble, and fall into confusion and faithlessness; or, undermining one after another the doctrines connected with the atonement, find, at last, their hopes and happiness for ever crushed beneath the wilful ruin.

(4.) Christ was "made a sin-offering for


"He suffered, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us unto God." He was the Lamb of God, on whom our sins were laid. He died for us. His death brought us life.

The central truth in all the circumstances of Christ's incarnation, is the fact of atonement; and all the doctrines of Christianity are as vitally connected with that sublime truth, and it with them, as the blood vessels and capillaries of the body are connected with the heart, and the heart with the circulation and nourishment of the bodily system. The man that explains away, or tries to make light of a truth so great and central as this, is surely an enemy to the Christian religion, and to the peace of his own soul. There is no illustration, almost, provided it does not serve to dishonour the theme, that can too strongly impress on us the fact, not only that Christ was crucified through the malignity of wicked men and of Satan, but that this was permitted in God's wise providence; and that the death of the Holy One, who had identified himself with humanity, and had become the substitute for man, was the only available plan for the reinstatement of His death

doomed, but adopted brethren in the favour of God. This atonement was required by God the Father. It was necessary for the vindication of eternal justice in the eyes of sinless angels, and in the eyes of the angels who had sinned, and of the arch-demon by whom man was misled. We do not read in the Scriptures, of redemption as possible for the angels that fell from heaven. If man could have been redeemed without the divine atonement of Christ, why could not they? If man resists, and fights against the provided atonement, will not he, too, become irredeemable, and for ever lost? The aggravated condition of the rebel angels seems to consist in their not only having sinned, and fallen from higher knowledge and dignity than man's, but in their first malevolently seducing, and then thwarting and resisting the redemption of mankind. Whether we think of man's views of God's inviolable law, or of the views which other beings may be supposed to have, (for the Scripture warrants us in saying that the angels desired to look into the wondrous plan for the redemption of sinners,) the holy words which proclaim the reality of the atonement, or are plainly deduced from it, are traceable as by a sunbeam in the Book of God. The Church of God has never lost the truth which Christ's own voice proclaimed: "The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His LIFE & RANSOM for many." No shallow speculator shall ever lessen the power those words have over the hearts of Christians, nor shall any tamper with the sublimity and power of the truth which they tell, without knowing at length the awful guilt of "counting the blood of the covenant, wherewith sanctification is imparted, an unholy thing." The atonement is a truth conveyed in every Christian ordinance well observed. It cannot be plucked from those whom Christ came to save. It is entwined about the heartstrings of humanity; and it is the strongest tie that binds Christian faith and gratitude to the person and character of the man Christ Jesus. Dear is it alike to the pious peasants and princes of the world, to the loftiest and to the lowliest intellects; and every mind

that admits the sublime truth in its power | Christ. Every variety of mind and of is thereby ennobled.

disposition is provided for in the great plan for saving and sanctifying Christians. The subjugation of the worst and wildest wills has been accomplished-the most wayward affections have been commanded-resistance to the most powerful and most insinuating temptations has been carried out, under the Gospel of Christ. All this has been done, and all this is done every day. Are we, my Christian friends, the subjects of such sanctifying power? Whether the thought brings doubt and fear, like the sudden storm-cloud lowering o'er the sun-lit haunts of men, or whether it brings a fainter or clearer hope, like day-dawn suffusing the skies and clouds in the east, it is a subject we ought never to find out of place to us. Courage to entertain such thought is absolutely demanded of us. If there is no proof in our life and conversation as Christians, that a better life has begun in the soul, then there is no proof, either in the sight of man, or in the sight of the Redeemer of men, that we believe in His atoning righteousness, and in its grand results. And, certainly, without the evidence which the better regulation of the thoughts, desires, and actions can afford, no proof that he is really a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ can be given to any of the sons of men. For our own comfort, then, for the comfort of others, for the good of the Church of Christ, by the memories of Christian friends departed, and in gratitude to Him who laid down His life for us, let us betake ourselves to those channels through which alone forgiveness, comfort, and salvation flow. As often as we betake ourselves thither, their strengthening and purifying effects will be seen. The regenerating power of the Holy Spirit cannot but be exercised over those who, instead of resisting, ever eagerly seek the instrumentality wherewith the Spirit most effectually subdues the human heart to the divine will. The prayer of faith, rising in the shadow of home, or of God's holy house, rising continually, must be heard. They that "hunger and thirst after righteousness

Ye who would escape at once the wrath of God and the sirocco breath of sin, seek ye this high altar-like rock of shelter on the level waste. In the shadow of this world-altar ye are safe. Doubt, sin, death, shall have no real dominion over those who find this refuge, who believe in Christ as at once Priest and Sacrifice, Redeemer and Ransom.

(5.) The fountain of sanctification, too, is discovered in the sublime shadow of the altar of atonement. Not without having sanctification begun, the while, do the sons and daughters of God receive the truth, that Jesus died for them. "The blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin; " and they that are Christ's have to crucify "the flesh, with its affections and lusts." They are engaged, before they know it, at a price incalculable, and by every tie of reason and affection, to live to Him who, for this end, gave His life. But after they know the real nature of their obligation, how sad, how terrible will it be, if, of all their obligations, this appears the last, the least, the most easily forgotten! The purity of principle, and the increasing rectitude of life, demanded of His followers by the Lord Jesus, is inseparable from a genuine belief in His atoning righteousness, and in the power He has at all times to intercede for and to bless His own. He died, not to secure for any one an immunity to sin, or the prolongation of an impenitent or temporizing state, but to gain emancipation from sin's present power, and sin's ceaseless misery, for all His followers. In one sense, we might enumerate many reasons for the death of our Redeemer; but the central reason, that under which all others are secondary and subordinate, is the atonement. Sanctification, however, gradually increasing spiritual aid, as well as salvation, has been won for us, made sure to us, if we verily believe in Christ as the Gospel reveals Him. And all strength for the Christian life, direction for every step that has to be taken in the way of righteousness-all possible help, mental and spiritual, are prepared, and are daily offered to believers in

shall be filled." It is the will of Christ, and it will be His work, to make them "the righteousness of God in Him."

Every Christian must seek for true consolation and peace in the thought, that all that requires to be done for him will be done, through Christ, unless, by his indifference or obstinacy, he casts contempt on the only means of salvation. Let cold indifference and sinful obstinacy be overcome-and many of us have exhibited them, without knowing, almost, that we did so-and Christ will perform His part.

Ye who have long found peace and rest in Christ, and who have been long leading the life of faith, ye need not our directions or our prayers so much as we need yours. But are some even of you, at times, less faithful, and, through many mental or bodily woes and pains, prompted to wish that the life-long struggle were ended, and that sin and care could wring the heart, and try the strength no more? Be patient! for the time of your deliverance comes ever nearer. Yet a few quiet Sabbath-days-yet a few struggles in Christ's behalf-yet a few efforts to seek His righteousness, and the world and sin shall fall away from your spirit, and leave you free, for ever free, to serve your Saviour and your God. Amen.

"The power of faith often shines the most where the character is materially weak. There is less to intercept or interfere with its workings."--Archdeacon Hare.

CHRISTIAN PARENTS OF THE WORKING CLASSES! I wish you to see clearly, and feel deeply, the importance of your children, so that you may be led to consider with earnest thought how you may best train them up in the way which such beings should go. A working man, especially in a great city, is apt to think that neither he nor his family are of any importance whatever. What is he, or his poor family, to this great thronging, busy, and bustling world? Who cares whether he is ill or well, in joy or sorrow, alive or dead? Of what importance are those children to any human being beyond the walls of his lonely home? The

"A boat may as well get to land without oars, as we to heaven without labour. We cannot have the world without labour, and do we think to have heaven? If a man digs for gravel, much more for gold. Heaven's gate is not like that iron gate which opened to Peter of its own accord. We must win the garland of glory by labour, before we wear it with triumph. God hath enacted this law: That no man shall eat of the tree of paradise but in the sweat of his brow; how, then, dare any censure Christian diligence? How dare they say: 'You take more pains for heaven than needs?' God saith: Strive as in an agony''Fight the good fight of faith;' and they say: "You are too strict;' but whom shall we believe?-An holy God that bids us strive, or a profane atheist that saith we strive too much ?"-Watson.

"What imprudence is it to lay the heaviest load upon the weakest horse! So, to lay the heavy load of repentance on thyself when thou art enfeebled by sickness, the hands shake, the lips quiver, the heart faints. Oh! be wise in time. Now prepare for the kingdom! He who never begins his voyage to heaven but in the storm of death, it is a thousand to one if he doth not suffer an eternal shipwreck."- Watson.


great tide of human life rushes past his door as ignorant and heedless of all that is passing within, as is the tide of ocean of the dwellers on the shore which it laves with its billows! Nevertheless, you and your children, my brother, are of more importance than the tongue can express, or the mind fully comprehend. Let us consider the matter a little with reference to your children.

1. Your children are of great importance to society. It is you who supply our factories with hands, our ships with seamen, our army with soldiers, and our houses with servants. Upon the character of those whom you send forth every

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