THE LOVE OF GOD IN THE GIFT OF A SAVIOUR.
John iii. 16. God' so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
These are the words of the Redeemer. They express in the briefest space the substance of the gospel. No public speaker ever possessed the power of condensing the great principles of a system of truth into so narrow a compass as the Lord Jesus; and his instructions abound with instances of this condensation. Such declarations were easily treasured up in the memory, and were, therefore, eminently adapted to the end which he had in view —the instruction and salvation of the mass of mankind. The terms of the text require no particular exposition; and we shall proceed at once to the contemplation of the great truths which in so simple language it embodies. It affirms that the origin of the plan of salvation was the love of God; that that love was of the highest degree— leading him to the gift of his only begotten Son; and that it was of the widest extent—embracing the world. We shall consider these points in their order; and shall thus have before us the outlines of the great system of the gospel. I do not suppose that it will be new to you. I have no truths, and perhaps no illustrations, which you have not often contemplated before. I present a system, however, on which, whether it be to you new or old, your eternal welfare depends; and which every consideration of gratitude, of self-interest, of obligation, and of hope, calls on you to embrace and love.
I. The first proposition is, that the plan of salvation originated in the love of God. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son." This idea, so simple in appearance, is at the basis of all just views of religion, and strikes far into different systems, and will modify or control them. The following remarks, in illustration of it, will convey to you the thoughts which I wish to have impressed on your minds.
The idea that God is a God of love, is not one that is very extensively embraced by mankind. Large classes of mankind suppose that if God were a benevolent being, he would have made a world perfectly happy and pure; and the fact that sin and misery so extensively prevail, is, in their view, wholly at war with such a proposition. To them it furnishes no proof of his goodness that he provides remedies and means of deliverance from these evils, but they ask why was not the evil itself prevented, and why was there a necessity for a remedy? A man is sick, and we tell him that the fact that remedies are provided for the various maladies which afflict the body, is a proof of goodness, and he at once turns upon us in a manner which we cannot well meet, and asks why was not the sickness itself prevented? Why was there need of a remedy? Would not higher benevolence have been evinced had pleurisies, and palsies, and fevers, and consumptions been unknown? Why, he asks, was a system formed ever requiring such a device as that of a remedy; why one that needs mending and repairing; why one that was not perfect without the toil and expense of mitigating evils, and repairing wastes? And this man leaves us, after all that we can say, with the feeling that the proof is very imperfect that God is a God of love; and on such a mind the proposition that he so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, falls with little force. He feels, perhaps, in spite of himself, that back of all this there is something in the divine bosom that is remote from the proper exercise of love, and that a dying and a suffering world is fitted to neutralize all the argument for benevolence which can he drawn from a remedial system.
On another class of minds the same result is produced by a different train of thought; a train of thought that is sometimes countenanced, I fear, by prevalent views in theology. With such minds the supposition is, that the Bible teaches that God is originally a stern and inexorable being; that the attribute of justice is the central and controlling attribute of his character; that in his nature all is dark, repulsive, and cold; that he is indisposed to pardon, unrelenting in his claims, severe in his adjudications, and by nature deaf to the cry of the suffering and the penitent. That sustaining this character, and with these feelings, one more mild and kind than he has consented to become incarnate, and to suffer the unrelenting penalty of the law, in order, as a primary part of his work, to make God kind and forgiving. That whatever inclination to mercy there may be now in the character of God, it is the result of purchase; that he is disposed to bestow only so much pardon as is hought; that towards a part of the human race, as the result of that purchase, he is now mild and benignant, and that towards the unhappy remainder the original sternness of his character is unmitigated, and that even the sufferings of the atonement have not relaxed the rigidity of his justice in regard to them. The feeling is, that God is now a different being from what he was before the atonement was made, and that he has been made mild and forgiving by the sacrifice on the cross. " •"
Now, in opposition to these views, reflecting so much on the character of God, my text teaches that he was originally disposed to show mercy. His benevolence in the plan of salvation lies back of the gift of a Saviour, and prompted to it. It was love on the part of the eternal Father that led him to give his Son to die, no less than love on the part of the Son to come—and the one was no more purchased than the other. The gift of the Saviour was just the expression, or the exponent of that love; and the magnitude of the gift was the measure of the original love of God. As this idea is the essential thought in my text, and as the view which is taken of it will control all our views of the plan of salvation, I may be permitted to ask your attention to a remark or two to illustrate it.
(1.) We do not suppose that any change has been wrought in the character of God by the plan of salvation, or by the work of the atonement. We do not believe that any change could be produced in his character; we do not believe that it is desirable that there should be. We suppose that God was just as worthy of the love and confidence of his creatures before the atonement was made as he is now, or ever will be; and that every attribute of his character was just as lovely then as it is now. He is no more merciful now than he was from all eternity; and he was no more stern in his character then than he is now, and always will be. The incorrigible and the finally impenitent sinner has no more reason to hope for exemption from deserved wrath now than he had before Christ came; and the angels in heaven gather around him with no more real confidence and love than they did before. The doctrine of the unchangeableness of God is the foundation of all our hopes; nor could the affairs of the universe move on one moment securely, unless it was exactly true that with God there is "no variableness or shadow of turning."
(2.) We suppose that God was originally so full of mercy, and so disposed to pardon sinners, that in order to do it he was willing to stoop to any sacrifice except. that of truth and justice, and that therefore he sent his Son to die. The race was in fact lost and ruined. The world was full of sinners and full of sufferers. But we do not suppose that compassion towards them has been purchased, but that it was originally so great that he was willing to stoop to sacrifice in order to rescue and save them.—A father has a beloved son. He embarks on the ocean in the pursuits of commerce, and falls into the hands of an Algerine pirate. He is chained, and driven to the slave market, and sold, and conveyed over burning sands as a slave, and pines in hopeless bondage. The news of this reaches the ears of the father. What will be his emotions? Will the sufferings of that son make a change in his character? If required, he would gather up his silver, and his gold, and his pearls, and leave his own home, and cross the ocean, and make his way over the burning sands, that he might find out and ransom the captive. But think you he would be a different man now from what he was? Has the captivity of that son made a change in him? No. His sufferings have called out the original tenderness of his bosom, and have merely developed what he was. He so loved that child that the forsaking of his own home, and the perils of the ocean, and the journey over burning sands, were regarded as of no consequence if he could seek out and
save him. These sacrifices and toils would be trifles, if he might again press his lost son to his bosom, and restore him to his desolate home. It is the love—the strong original love in his bosom, that prompts to the sacrifice, and that makes toil and peril welcome. So of God. Such was his original love for man, that he was willing to stoop to any sacrifice to save him; and the gift of a Saviour was the mere expression of that love.
(3.) But now to make this case more analogous to the plan of salvation, and to show more of the real difficulty, suppose the rescue of that child should in some way involve the consequence of doing injustice to others. Suppose it should take the father away from his own family, and expose them to a similar danger. Suppose it should involve the necessity of his acknowledging the right of the captor, or in some way make it necessary to expose his own character to a charge of injustice, or of falsehood—the difficulty in the case would be vastly increased, and the strong love of the father would be more strikingly shown if he should seek to remove this difficulty at the same time that he should save his enslaved son. This was the great work which rendered the plan of salvation so difficult and so glorious. It was not merely to save man, but it was at the same time to save the character, and name, and government of God. It was to show that he was "just," though he "justified the ungodly;" and true, though the sinner should not die. It was to show his sense of the evil of sin, at the same time that he pardoned it; and his truth, at the same time that the threatened penalty was remitted. This could be done only by allowing his son to be treated as if he were a sinner, in order to treat the really guilty as if they were righteous; and so to identify the one with the other, that it might be adjudged that the law was as really satisfied as though they had themselves borne the penalty. It was not merely, therefore, the gift of a Saviour that was the expression of love, it was giving him so as to remove all the obstacles on his part to pardon, and making designed arrangements so as to preserve his own honor untarnished, and to secure the undiminished confidence of the universe.
The essential idea which I have now aimed to exhibit, is, that the love and mercy of God in the plan of salvation lie back of the gift of a Saviour. They are not new attributes which have started up in the divine mind in consequence of the work of redemption. The mercy of God has not been purchased, and the character of God has not been changed. God is the same being now that he always was, and he will always remain unchangeably the same. No new attribute has been created; none has been modified. The gift of a Saviour was just the expression of the original and eternal love of God; and is just one of the overflowing manifestations of benevolence in the divine mind. It is not to make a change in God; it is not to make an inexorable being mild; it is not to make God more lovely than he was. It is true, that in consequence of this, he appears more lovely than he would otherwise have done—since every new development of his character lays the foundation of an increased obligation to love him. But still the essential idea before us is, that he was originally and eternally disposed to show mercy; and that the gift of a Saviour was just the expression of his love. "He so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son."
II. My second object was to show that the expression of his love was the highest that it possibly could be. This is evidently implied in the text: "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son." In illustrating this point, I would observe—
(1.) That such a gift is the highest conceivable gift among men, and the Saviour evidently means to say that the same thing is true of God. The Bible is as far as possible from representing God as without feeling or emotion. In the Bible he has the attributes of a tender and kind Father; though in our philosophy and our theology, in our hearts and affections, we make him a different being by far from what he is as revealed to be in the Scriptures. Among men he is esteemed to be a cold and distant being; regardless, to a great extent, of the wants and woes of the race; seated in the far-distant heavens, and unconcerned in what occurs among men; stern, and repulsive, and inapproachable, and severe.— But this is not the God of the Bible. There he is represented as a Father. He is tender, compassionate, and kind. He loves his creatures though erring; he seeks their welfare though fallen. He is interested for their good; and he makes sacrifices—sacrifices in some proper sense—for their salvation. It is not trope and metaphor merely, when he speaks of himself as a Father, and as a compassionate God. He loves when he says he loves; pities when he says he pities; compassionates when he says he compassionates; and hates when he says he hates. He is the living and the compassionate God—not a cold creation of the imagination; he is a Father—not the repulsive and distant being dreaded if not hated by the stoic.
Now we have no higher conception of the love of a father than that he should give up his son to die. It is the last offering which he could make; and beyond this there is nothing that we can expect. When a man bids his only son go into the tented field, and expose his life for his country, and with every prospect that he will die for its welfare, it is the highest expression of attachment for that country. Man has no possessions so valuable that he would not give them all to save the life of his son; and when he yields up his son in any cause, he has shown for it the highest love. It is impossible to conceive of a higher expression of love, if it could be done, than for a man on the bench, whose office required him to condemn the guilty to death, to be willing to substitute his own son on the gallows, and bid the murderer go free. When we speak of the love of God to Jesus Christ, and of his sacrifice and self-denial, it is not to be understood as a matter of form or metaphor. It is not the use of words without sense. The love of God to the Redeemer is not the same kind of love which he has to the sun and stars; to the rivers and hills; to diamonds, and gold, and pearls; to the lily and the rose which he has made; or to the angelic hosts around his throne. The love of God for a holy man like Abraham, Isaiah, and Paul, is true and genuine attachment. The love of God to a holy and unfallen angel is real attachment. It is attachment to mind, and heart, and purity—and is not a name. But the love to Christ Jesus is peculiar. No other one sustained the relation to God which he did. No man had been so holy; no angel sustained such a
rank. He was the equal with the Father—yet incarnate; and the love of God to Christ was the love of himself. The Redeemer was the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person; and he alone had joined the divinity with manhood, and expressed in his power, and wisdom, and holiness, the exact image of God. To give him was more than to give an angel—than all angels. It was to God what it would be for man to give up an only son. I know the difficulty of forming an adequate conception of this; but having settled in my mind the full belief that the Bible is true, I do not believe that the representation that there, was real love in the gift of a Saviour is to be frittered away, or that the solemn declarations which abound there expressing the same idea as my text, are unmeaning. See a man sit on the bench of justice. See a prisoner arraigned on a charge of treason. See the solemn and just progress of the trial, until the man stands condemned, and the sentence of the law is about to fall on him. 'He is guilty,' says the judge, 'no man can vindicate him; no man can stay the regular operation of the law but myself. There stands my son—my only son—my hope, my stay. Officer, bind him. Lay him on the hurdle. Drag him to the place of death, and let his quartered body show to the nation that I hate the crime.' If this could be, who would doubt the greatness of the love? When God says that this did exist in his case, who shall doubt that he loved the guilty and the lost?
(2.) But no man has ever manifested such love as this. If the opportunity has ever occurred, it has not been embraced; should it occur often, it would not be embraced. Man would shrink from it. In a few instances one man has been willing to sacrifice his life for a friend; and not a few fathers and mothers have been willing to endanger their lives for the welfare of a son or daughter. But the instance has never yet occurred where a man was willing to give his own life, or the life of a child, for an enemy. No monarch on the throne has ever thought of giving the heir to his crown to die for a traitor, or for a rebellious province; and amidst the multitudes of treasons which have occurred, it has never, probably, for one instant crossed the bosom of the offended sovereign to suppose that such a thing was possible; and if it had occurred it would have been at once dismissed as not worth more than a passing thought. No magistrate has ever lived who would have been willing to sentence his own son to the gallows in place of the guilty wretch whom it was his duty to sentence to death. Not an instance has ever occurred in our own country—rich as it is in examples of benignity and kindness—in which a judge on the bench would have been willing to commute a punishment in this manner, if it had been in strict accordance with equity and law; and probably the records of all nations might be searched in vain for such an instance. We know that monarchs often feel, and that magistrates are not destitute of a tender heart, and that the man on the bench, who passes the severe sentence of the law, often does it in tears. The present king of France passes every night to a late hour in carefully examining the cases of those who are condemned to death, and in the silence of the night-watches ponders all the reasons why a pardon should be extended in any case, and often with a heavy heart signs the warrant for death; and Washington wept when his duty constrained him to approve the sentence which doomed the accomplished Andre to the gallows; but would these feelings in either instance, or in any instance, prompt to the surrender of a son—an only son—to the disgrace of the gibbet to save the spy or the traitor? We are saying nothing in disparagement of such men—for they are but men, and not God—when we say that their feelings of compassion have made no approach to such a sacrifice. Their deep emotions; their tears; their genuine sorrow; their unaffected and noble benevolence—though an honor to our nature—have not approached the question whether such a sacrifice was possible or proper; and we may add, it is not to be approached in this world. The nearest approach of which I have ever heard to any thing like this feeling, was in the pathetic wish of David that he had himself been permitted to die in the place of a rebellious and ungrateful son. "O, my son, Absalom! my son, my son Absalom, would God I had died for thee, 0 Absalom, my son, my son!" 2 Kings xviii. 33. Strong was that love which would lead a monarch and a father to be willing to die for such a son; but how far removed still from the love which would lead to the sacrifice of a son for the guilty and the vile!
But" God commendeth his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, in due time Christ died for us. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and gave his Son to die for us." And such a death! It stands by itself—a death of unequalled shame and woes. To be treated as a malefactor; to be rejected and reviled; to take the vacated place of a murderer; to be subjected to lingering torture; to be nailed to a cross— yes, nailed there to hang suspended till death should end the scene; to endure through six long hours the pangs of crucifixion; to endure reproach, and scorn, and contempt, and mockery, even on the cross—a place where, if any where, compassion should be shown, and where mockery should cease; to be willing to endure all this voluntarily, this was the love of Christ.
Every thing about the scene on Calvary fills me with amazement. I cannot understand it; it is all—all so unlike man. The gift of such a Saviour; the patience of the sufferer; the forbearance of God; the fact that no thunder rolls, and no lightnings flash, to strike the crucifiers of his Son in death; the fact that no angelic legion appears to seize and bear him away from the cross; the fact that in that unnatural night no angel of death goes, as through the hosts of Sennacherib, to smite the murderers; the fact that he lingers on, and lingers on—while the blood flows drop by drop, and stains the tree, and his body, and the ground, until life wears away —and he dies! 0, it is wonderful. It stands alone; and / desire to stand alone—to close the eye on all other scenes of love and suffering, and look there till my heart is full, and I learn the height, and depth, and length, and breadth of the love of God. And there, too, I desire to tell my fellow-sinners that this is love—the love which God had for this world. It is not in the glorious sun that rides in the heavens, or the silent and solemn march of the stars at night, that I most see his love; it is not in the running stream, and the landscape, and the songs in the groves; it is not in bird, beast, or dewy morn, or grateful evening mild; it is on Calvary, and in the sufferings there. There all is love—love unknown, unthought of elsewhere; love that fills my eyes with tears, and my heart with overflowing gratitude, and my soul with peace.
O for this love,-let rocks and hills
Their lasting silence break,
And all harmonious human tongues
The Saviour's praises speak.
Yes, we will praise thee, dearest Lord,
Our souls are all on flame;
Hosanna round the spacious earth,
To thine adored name.
Angels, assist our mighty joys,
Strike all your harps of gold;
But when you raise your highest notes,
His love can ne'er be told.
III. I proposed, in the third place, to consider the extent of this love. It was for "the world." This is the idea which I desire to illustrate.
(1.) It was for no part of the world considered as elect or chosen, in contradistinction from the non-elect or the reprobate.—I hold to the doctrine of election as a precious doctrine of the Bible, and I have no other hope of the salvation of man than in that doctrine. I preach only because I believe God has a purpose of mercy; and were it not that I believe that he will attend his message with his special grace, and in accordance with an eternal purpose, I should close this Bible and leave this pulpit in despair. But when I look at the work of the atonement, I look at a grand and glorious transaction that lies back, in the order of nature, of the purpose of election, and that in its original applicability is limited by no design of God. It is for the world—' that whosoever believeth may not perish, but have everlasting life.' I see in it a work designed to show the benignity of God; showing how God can be just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth; how he can maintain his truth and yet forgive ; how he can welcome rebels to his favor and yet show that he hates their sins; how he can admit them to the fellowship of angels, and yet not have them revolt at the accession to their number, or lose their confidence in God, as if he were disposed to treat the evil and the good alike. And I love to contemplate it as it stands in its original glory—as it is an emanation of the divine goodness. I love to contemplate it, not in reference to the comparatively narrow question of selfishness, 'who shall or who shall not be saved'; not narrowed down by a reference to a sordid commercial transaction of debt and purchase; but with reference to the display of the divine perfections—the exhibition of the mercy and the goodness of God. So I love to stand on the shore of the ocean, while surge after surge breaks at my feet; and the blue expanse stretches out inimitably before me; and ships ride proudly over the deep, and to contemplate it not with reference to the" question whether it will safely bear a cargo of mine across it or not, but as a glorious exhibition of the power and greatness of God. So I love to stand on some eminence, and look down upon the landscape, and to survey the spreading forests, and the river, and the fields, and the water-falls, and the villages, and the churches, not with the narrow inquiry, 'what is all this worth;' but what a view is there here of the goodness of God, and the greatness of his compassion to the children of men! So I stand at Niagara, and as God "pours" the water "from his hollow hand," and the soul is filled with emotions of unutterable sublimity, I will not ask what is all this worth for a mill-seat, but I will allow the scene to lift my soul up to God; to teach me lessons of his power and greatness, and to show me the littleness of all that man can do. And so I will look on the glorious work of the atonement. I will look at it Back of the question who is, or who is not, to be benefitted by it. I will ask what new manifestation there is in it of the character of God; what is there to elevate the soul; what is there to make me think more highly of the love, the truth, and the justice of my Maker; what is there to expand the soul, and to elevate it above the sordid views and the groveling propensities of this world?
(2.) It was for " the world." It was, therefore, for no rank, or caste among men. It was not for any order of men, favored by blood, or rank, or office, or name. There has been a strong tendency every where to exalt one class of men above another as more honored by birth and by heaven than others. Hence in one land we have the hereditary aristocracy of caste, sanctioned by all the authority of religion, and enforced by all the power derived from the fact that it runs back to the most distant antiquity. In another we have the aristocracy of titled ranks, founded on the claims of some illustrious ancestors, and the transmission of their title to their sons; and this elevates one class in feeling as well as in power above the humbler ranks of mortals. In other lands, where these distinctions are unknown, there is a constant tendency to create some permanent distinctions among the different orders of society, and where it cannot be done under the sanction of religion, or the splendid deeds of an honored ancestry, or by law, to create it by the pride of wealth and family; by the distinction of color and complexion; by the difference of employment or profession; or by a self-created notion of ascendancy in one class above another.
Now, it requires all the power of the truth that God 'Loved The woiiLD'^-the whole world—to subdue and control this pride of rank; that he did not die for nobles marely, or for princes, for the rich or the honored, but that he died for all; that the beggar and the slave had a remembrance in his dying love as well as the monarch on his throne; and that if men are saved, they must be saved as companions in redemption, as they have been in guilt and in exposure to death. They are on a level. It is not redemption that makes them so. They were so before; and redemption only recognises that fact. The same blood flows through their veins. They are tainted by the same original corruption of sin. They are destined to endure the same pangs of sickness and of death, and they will moulder back side by side to dust. God loved the one rank as much as the other—the monarch on the throne as much as the beggar—and no more; the man of wealth as much as the man of poverty—and no more; the man who by his talents can transmit his name to future times, as much as he who dies and is at once forgotten—and no more.
(3.) Finally, it was for the world—the whole world. It was then limited in its design to no color or complexion. Here, too, there is a strong tendency in the mind of man to feel that color and complexion give some preeminence. Men on this found their right to hind, and chain, and task their fellows, and exact their toil with stripes. They kidnap them, and convey them, amidst many terrors, to distant lands. They expose them for sale, as if they belonged to the brute creation. They examine their health, and their strength, and their soundness, as they do the animal that is exposed to sale. They buy them as they do the inferior creation. They disregard the ties of parentage and brotherhood; of blood and of affection, as if they were a trifle or a name. They withhold the Bible, as if they had no immortal nature; and they shut them out from the blessings of the everlasting gospel, as if death was the end of consciousness and.the extinguisher of being.
Now, it requires all the power of the gospel to break down and annihilate this feeling, and to make us realize that he with a different skin from ours is a brother—a brother in hope as well as in sin. We had one father. We have one nature. We have one God; one Saviour. Beneath that less attractive external form—less attractive to us, but not to God; in that debased, and worn down, and crushed human frame^—crushed by sorrow and by toil—there dwells an immortal spirit that might be pure like an angel; a soul worth all which it cost—and it could cost no more—in redemption; the germ of endless being; the beginning of undying life. It will live on, and live on, when kingdoms shall be forgotten, and when all the proud monuments that have been reared by oppressed and purchased sinews shall have crumbled back to dust. For that oppressed and broken-spirit Christ died. That down-trodden man God loved when he loved the world, and gave his only begotten Son to die. And I love to feel—and will feel;—it makes me love the gospel more, and the Saviour more, that for the red man of the forest Christ died—whether he lingers pensively around his fathers' graves, or heaves a deep-drawn sigh as he looks on the stream where his fathers fished, or the ample plains, where, in the elasticity of savage life, he pursued the game of the forest; or whether forced away by national injustice, and by the violation of compacts, he turns his back sullenly on all those fair lands, and goes with solitary step and slow to the setting sun, brokenhearted, to lie down and die. And I love to feel, and will feel;—it makes me love the gospel more, and the Saviour more—that for the black man of Africa he died— whether sunk in debasement on his native shores—the victim of degrading superstition there; or whether borne a captive across the ocean, and bound down by ignorance and toil in Christian lands. He is a man—an immortal man—a redeemed man—and not a chattel or a thing. Christ died not for chattels and for things; he died for souls; for man ; for immortal minds ; for those who may yet burst every shackle and every bond, and range the world of glory as immortal freemen there.
In conclusion, I might remark, were there time, that the gospel should be preached to all men—to elect and non-elect; to rich and poor; to bond and free. No man has a right to designate ranks . and classes, when he preaches the gospel. He who does not sincerely offer the gospel to all men; who has mental reservations and drawbacks, violates his commission, and dishonors the gospel and its author. "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature," is the command; and this is to rule our preaching, and to govern our lives.
The gospel is to be preached to all classes of -men—to the debased and down-trodden, as well as the free and the elevated. He who makes an arrangement by which any class of men is excluded from the gospel, invades the prerogative of God; prohibits what he commands, and exposes himself to the wrath of the Almighty. Any system of things on earth which prevents the fair promulgation of the gospel, is a violation of the arrangements of heaven, and will, sooner or later, meet with the curse of the Most High. It is itself a curse—a withering, a blighting curse; and on it heaven will never smile.
But chiefly I wished to say to one class of this audience, that all along in life you have, by resisting the gospel, been resisting the expressions of tender love. You know what I mean. When you stand up against a tyrant, you feel that you are right in resisting him. When you draw your sword against an aggressor, you feel that you are right. But how do you feel when you resist the kindness of a father, and slight all the expressions of his love for you? How do you feel when you have broken a mother's heart, and when all the expressions of her love could not keep you from the ways of sin, and she died of grief? 0 then the scene, the fact is changed. There is guilt; and there the heart feels. So you have resisted God. You have disregarded his love. Your life has been little else than a constant resisting of the appeals of his compassion. His love in redemption you have slighted, and his offers of mercy you have shunned. O, the cross, the cross of Christ! 0, the bleeding victim there! 0, the pangs and sorrows of that dark day when he died! How it shows the love of God—his tenderness for man—his desire that he should be saved! And 0, what a rock is the human heart that has no feeling, when God's incarnate Son—the beloved of heaven^hangs there and bleeds; is forsaken; is pale; is exhausted; is convulsed in agony—and dies!
Hearts of stone, relent, relent,
Break, by Jesus' cross subdued;
See his body, mangled—rent,
Covered with a gore of blood;
Sinful soul, what hast thou done!
Murdered Clod's eternal Son!
Yes, our sins have done the deed,
Drove the nails that fixed him there;
Crowned with thorns his sacred head,
Pierced him with a soldier's spear;
Made his soul a sacrifice,
For a sinful world he dies.
Will you let him die in vain?
Still to death pursue your Lord?
Open tear his wounds again, .
Trample on his precious blood?
No! With all my sins I'll part;
Saviour, take my broken heart.