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became; we had sinned—He took our sin; “He who knew no sin was made sin ;” not sin in Him, but on Him. And as the Aaronic hand gathered together the sins of sinning Israel, and placed them down on the head of the victim, so “the Lord made to meet on Him the iniquity of us all;" “ He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities." God laid on Him our sin: “ All we like sheep have gone astray ; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Says Jesus, “I came from the peerless glory, down to the stripes, the furrowed back, the bloody sweat, the contumely, the gall and shame, the cross; I bore it all that I might have thee, sinner, as joint-heir of my heritage, as partner of my throne, as joint-possessor with me of the Father's love."
Thus God, in His Gospel, not only saves the sinner, but lifts him from his depths in sin to the heights of glory, from the deepest death to the highest life; not Eden life, not angelic life, but divine life, eternal life." “ This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” Oh! for a pulpit planted, as it were, on some alpine centre of the globe! Oh! for a tongue borrowed from the loftiest eloquence that ever spoke amid the hosts of heaven! Oh! for a love wide as the universe, and a concourse of hearers vast as the family of man, that one might preach to the whole of this fallen planet the unsearchable and the untraceable riches of both the grace and the glory of God.
But there is a further thing in the words I have read -how that Abraham fell short in his conduct. It is said “ THE GOD OF GLORY appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, and said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.” But instead of coming
into the land God showed him, he actually stopped in Charran ! And what made him stop in Charran ? It is said when his father was dead he removed him into this land. Nature hindered him : things around him hindered him. He came only a little way. He had left the country of the Chaldeans, but he had not come into Canaan. He had done much, but not enough. Alas for Abraham ! alas for some of you! For some of you have come a little way; your eyes have been only à little opened ; the world has yet power over you; you are worldly, and religious! and your relations and companions hardly know what to make of you. You say you are for Heaven, but your life shows you to be on easy terms with the world. Poor pilgrim! there is something more wanted—more to be known of death to things here—more seen of the hope of glory, to allure the eye and to overcome nature.
How did God deal with this obstacle—how did He meet it? By death. It was met by death. Abraham's father died, and his pilgrim son was liberated. I can speak personally here; many things which once held me with a tight hand, and which hindered, are now as dead to me. Blessed be God! so we sing
“Rise, my soul, thy God directs thee,
Stranger hands no more impede ;
Strength that has the captive freed.” Ah ! those stranger hands! the hands of the world, of nature, of the flesh, and sin. How they “ impede !"
that I am dead to things I once loved. No one loved the things of the world more than I did. Many people think Christians have no taste; they think they could not hold the pen of a poet, or the pencil of an artist; that they have no eye for a star or rolling billow; that the flowers were not made for them, and that the sweet birds have no carol for them. Morbid, miserable—they say—are we Christians !
I can say
Ah, no! not morbid, not miserable, but natural, are we in our change towards the world, and nature, and things of mere taste.
The world, and man, and the earth itself, wear a new aspect now. Let me illustrate what I mean. I will suppose, for example, that I once had a magnificent set of rooms. I will suppose that one room exceeded every other in beauty. It was decorated with arras and tapestry, interspersed with purple and gold, with every sort of adornment from our own and other lands. I delighted in that room. But one morning. I unexpectedly find lying dead on a sofa-oh! what do I find ? I had but one child, a lovely child. During the night a burglar had entered, and there dead, lying in a pool of her blood, on the sofa, is that child. Alas for my child! She is laid in her coffin-she is buried; but what of that room ? I say I do not care for it; I do not want it; I cannot go into it. Death
: has been there. Not that death makes the sofa one whit less valuable, or lessens one's admiration of the artisan who made it.
This is a faint comparison ; it is not my thought, it is God's thought. God says the heavens in themselves are beautiful, and the earth is beautiful. But because the world has rejected his only Son, and because the world is stained with the blood of His only Son, the heavens are not clean, and the earth is polluted in His sight. And the heavens have to flee away, and the earth has to be purged of its taint-to be burned up! And then free from the least taint will be the new earth and the new heavens. Meanwhile
“When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Spreads o'er His body on the tree;
And all the globe is dead to me.”
Not that nature is not lovely; it is lovely in its ruins, plaintively attractive in its deep groans
" The whole creation groans,
But waits to hear the voice,
And make her wastes rejoice.” As to the world itself-the world that murdered Christ—it is still a Sodom; and because of Christ, whom I now love, I am changed towards it. I do not want the follies of the world, or the pleasures of the world. But I say to every one who will have the world, “ Have it; but do not say you have come out of it.” Abraham to get to Canaan had to get out of the old country. You cannot be out of it when you are still in it! Do not wear our pilgrim livery unless you belong to our company. Do not speak of the God of glory, if you are still serving the god of this world. 6. No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other
; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other.” You must be one thing or the other: there is no midway, no compromise—you must be of the earth, earthy, or of the heavens, heavenly. Ye must be born again.
Thus, when Abraham's' father was dead, Abraham was not the same person, nor was Charran the same place. That one death! it changed the scene entirely. Abraham at once went out on a long emigration ; stranger hands no more impede him; not only so, he walks on and on to the heavenly glory. He is plainly seeking a country. For not only, as said, “ He removed him into the land wherein ye now dwell," but see now how, besides being dead to Charran, Abraham is reminded of his divine calling. He becomes re-awakened. The call of the God of glory is revived in him. And further remark, how bis walk in life comes in here. We must know our full calling, or our life and walk will ever be defective. While Abraham was living as if forgetting that God had called him to
Canaan, he was satisfied with the country in which he tarried. It was not till solemnly awakened by the death of his father, which weaned him from Charran, that he was alive to what God had called him. Dear Christians, this is a practical point for us. If I
a do not see for what Christ has called me, that it is a heavenly calling, my life will not be heavenly. If I forget I am called to be a king, a priest, an heir, how defective my walk. But if I live in the energy of the truth that I am a priest, then shall I seek to stand before Him in all the sacred attire and service of that position. If I see that I am as Christ, how spotless my words, how taintless my affections, my life! But, if I am forgetful of the glorious hope of my calling—that He is coming again to receive me unto Himself that where He is, in His own home, there I may be also, I shall fail to stand adjusted for that coming; practically I shall not be ready for that home.
Death weans, but glory allures. To illustrate the latter: the Queen says, “There is a person whom I want to bring from a foreign land, to occupy an important position; he is to take care of
-the treasures which belonged to the departed prince. Tell him I have thought of him to keep and preserve everything sacred to me of his.” When the messenger has reached him, it may be in some remote part of Europe, or in the far East, and has given him the message, everything around him becomes changed. He leaves his relations, his home and clime; thinks nothing more of the spices of Ceylon; or if born in India, of the golden rivers, or native sands, or Himalayan snows; and if asked to enlist in a foreign army, to serve in the service of some foreign king, he would say, “ Nay, impossible ! my calling is a different calling; I cannot wait.” Or if another said, “ Here are the boundless billows; I want you to command a splendid ship;” “ Nay,” he would say, “ My calling is different." And, believe