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LECTURE XXVIII.

THE SCHEME OF REDEMPTION ACCOMPLISHED.

JOHN xix. 30.

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30. “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is

finished : and He bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” It is finished. Much that we know, and much more that is too mysterious to be known, is contained in this word. That has been finished which was predicted at the first, that the serpent should "bruise the heel" of the woman's seed, as the seed should “bruise the serpent's head.” This was done : the prince of darkness had had his hour, and now his dominion was broken, his power weakened, his works destroyed."

That was finished which had been prefigured in the law, by the rite of the passover, by the daily sacrifices, by the various purifications, by the office of the high priest, by all the types of that sacrifice for sin which Christ had now once offered : and “ by that one offering had perfected for ever them that are sanctified."

That was finished which Isaiah had prophesied, (liii. 7, 8,) speaking beforehand of the sufferings of Christ. “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth : He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare his generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living : for the transgression of my people was He stricken.

That was finished which Christ had engaged for when He undertook the work of redemption: all the will and counsel of God. He had “ made his soul an offering for sin ; He had borne the sin of many:" He

1 John iii. 8. 2 Heb. x. 14.

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had endured the Father's wrath, He had submitted to the curse, He had drunk the cup of suffering to the dregs. All this had been completely finished ; and nothing now remained but to return to the bosom of the Father. But Jesus showed, even to the end, that He had “power to lay down his life;" that He “ laid it down of himself, and no man took it from him.” For He waited till the last prophecy had been fulfilled, and He had tasted of the vinegar which they offered him. He waited till He was able to say, It is finished. And then He added, " Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and He bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.'

All had been completed which the Son was to perform in the work of man's redemption. Let no man doubt that the Father's part shall also be completed. Christ once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” And God, who“ so loved the world, that He sent his only begotten Son,” that He might thus suffer: God is not unrighteous to refuse the ransom which has been paid, or to reject those who come to Him through the blood of the everlasting covenant. Christ could say, It is finished. And as the conditions have been finished, so likewise shall the covenant be fulfilled. “ He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied : by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many: because He hath poured out his soul unto death : and He was numbered with the transgressors : and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

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3 Isa. liii. 11, 12.

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LECTURE XXIX.

ANGELS DECLARE TO THE WOMEN ASSEMBLED AT THE TOMB OF

JESUS, THAT HE IS RISEN.

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LUKE xxiv. 1-12. (Matt. xxviii. 1–8. Mark xvi. 1–8. John xx. 1–10.) 1. “ Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning,

they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had pre

pared, and certain others with them.” The death of Jesus had so completely dismayed his followers, that the assurance which He had given them of his resurrection seems to have vanished from their minds. He had often, and in many different ways, repeated to them the truth, that He “must be killed, and the third day rise again.”

h.” He had spoken of it in the way of figure, saying to the Jews,“ Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up;" when “He spake of the temple of his body.' He had affirmed it plainly; for, going up to Jerusalem, (Matt. xx. 17,) He “ took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem ; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify Him : and the third day He shall rise again.” He had appealed to this event as the great proof of his truth; saying, (Matt. xii. 39,) “ An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas : for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” And his enemies had been less forgetful than his friends. For after the body had been laid in the tomb, (Matt. xxvii. 63,) the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate, saying, “Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command, therefore, that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal Him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from

1 John ii. 19.

the dead."

His disciples, however, thought of nothing less. They resigned themselves to disappointment and sorrow, and had no other desire than that of paying the last tribute to his lifeless body. The women which came with him from Galilee followed, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day, according to the commandment : and now, very early in the morning of the third day, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared. We even know the subject on which they were communing as they approached the place. They were not saying to one another, “ Now we shall see the fulfilment of prophecy, and the truth of our Master's words :" but they were doubting together, “Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre ? For it was very great." This difficulty was soon removed : but it only cleared the way to fresh astonishment. 2. “ And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. 3. “ And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4. “ And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout,

behold, two men stood by them in shining garments : 5. “ And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth,

they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead ? 6. “ He is not here, but is risen: remember how He spake unto you

when He was yet in Galilee, 7. “ Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful

men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8. “ And they remembered his words, 9. “And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the

eleven, and to all the rest.

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2 Mark xyi. 3.

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10. “ It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of

James, and other women that were with them, which told these things

unto the Apostles. 11. " And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed

them not. 12. “ Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping

down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.”

So slowly is the mind reconciled to truths which oppose our preconceived ideas! To Peter and the rest, the death of Jesus was a new and unexpected thing: they could not receive it, or reason upon it. So likewise his resurrection. The resurrection of the body made no part of their religious expectations. An actual example, it seems, like this, was needed, to conquer incredulity, and establish the assurance that all men shall rise again with their bodies.

God saw fit to send his angels, and dispel the doubts of the disciples. They said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen ; remember how He spake unto you.

It was indeed great ignorance of all that Jesus was, and of all that had been foretold concerning Him, to seek among the dead for Him, the living God. He could not lie imprisoned in the tomb, who was in the beginning with God, and was God :" “ who has life in Himself, and quickeneth whom He will.” The prophecy concerning Him must be fulfilled,—“Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.".

Therefore the angels might justly rebuke these disconsolate inourners, and say, Why seek ye the living among the dead ?

Have

you been so slow to discover the character, so slow to perceive the power of your divine Master, so dull to comprehend his words, as to think that He who gave life, is not also able to resume it at his will ? He is not here, but is risen : your own eyes shall have the proof of it, before He ascends above to that place where ye must hereafter seek Him, on the

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