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thing in universal history, through eternity. Then a flood of sunlight, such sunlight as gladdens the angels and the new Jerusalem on high, falls on earth’s night, from this sole commemorative ordinance of the Saviour—"This do in remembrance of me." I seek to press home this conviction upon you, that our Lord in fixing on His death, as the theme of commemoration, did fix on that which He knew to be of deepest significance, and fullest of promise to mankind.
The image of the manger, the swaddling bands, and all the humble apparatus of the nativity, might as well have been the symbols selected-or the pillow on the ship's hard boards, ruffled by the insolent breeze and wet with the spray of the storm-or the coat that blind old Bartimæus cast aside when he came rushing to receive his eye-sight at the touch of the Lord-or the image of the stone that strong hands rent away from the closed sepulchre of Lazarus, when a voice, which pierced even the ear of death, and rang out its imperial summons in Hades, rose on the ear of the awe-struck listeners, and he that was dead came forth. But on none of these did our Lord fix the thought of His followers in the deepest hour of communion with them--His deepest hour of communion with man-but on the decease that He should accomplish at Jerusalem. " Luminous as is my life, my death is the true sunlight of the world.” And to this agree all the Scriptures. They seem to me to miss all the deepest words and thoughts of Scripture, who cannot see that all things look on to and flow out of the death of the Lord Jesus. The deepest passages of the Old Testament concern themselves with it. His reign is spoken of as a reign which was to spring out of His death. Isaiah, in the fifty-third chapter, dwells wholly on this burden. Indeed, the testimonies of the Old Testament are thus summed up by an inspired writer (1 Pet. i, 10, 11):-"Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who pro
phesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforeband the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” Nay, the Lord Himself thus condenses them (Luke xxiv, 25-27):-"Then He said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”
It is evident too, from His own words, that He looked forward to His death as something far other than a martyrdom; the simple sealing of the testimony He had borne for God with His blood. To Him it was evidently the condition of His living relation with universal humanity-of the full efflux of His power; it was the lifting of a veil which had hidden Him; the bursting of a dam through which some emanation of His vital force had filtered, but which hindered the breaking forth of the full flood of quickening power which was in Him, on the world. Mark x, 37-40; John xii, 19-33; xiv, 1-7, 19-21, 25-31 ; xvi, 5-16, may be read profitably in this connection. Nor was the thought the Lord's alone, all heaven was charged with it. Moses and Elias, in their glorious forms on the mount of transfiguration,“ spake of the decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.” I thus maintain, from our Lord's whole teaching, that death to Him was more vital than life, that He kuew His dying to be more effectual than His living to the salvation of the world ; and that in ordaining that His followers should show forth His death, He was directing their thoughts and affections to that which was the hidden germ of His and their glory. Paul knew it as the Master knew it, he had learnt it from Him:-"I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily." " That I may know Him,
the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” “ Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
Having established this fact, let us
II. Inquire into its significance with regard to our Lord Himself, and His relation to mankind.
1. Can we see how His death and all to which it led is more vital, and more full of vital influence for man, than His life ? I say His death, and all to which it led. It is not regarded here, and cannot be treated in this connection, in its isolation, as so much suffering, but it is connected with His present and His future ; in showing forth His death, it is not only the departed, but the reigning and coming Saviour whom we commemorate; for in eating the bread and drinking the cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come. I think that in order to get deeper into the truth of this, we must dwell more fully on a fact which I have already glanced at, that the risen Saviour is the true man Christ Jesus; just as the true life of the disciple of the Saviour is the buried life, the life“ hid with Christ in God.” I say the true man Christ Jesus, is the risen man --the man who has destroyed death, and brought life and immortality to light by His Gospel. The flesh of the Lord Jesus, the body made in the likeness of sinful flesh, was the " veil ” of the man. A veil essential to His close personal communion with the flesh-veiled spirit whom we knew as “man,” but a veil still, to be laid aside when the full God-manhood should shine forth, not to man only, but to the whole universe of God. The form painted with such tender touch in the fifty-third of Isaiah, is not the essential form of the Godman, but the form of the suffering God-man-suffering through contact with a state which is not eternal in the universe, which he came to assert to be temporary, and to put finally away. Man
is not essentially a sinful sufferer. The essential man is in God's image. THE SON OF MAN was sinless. God made man upright like himself. The likeness of man, the sinner, which the Lord Christ assumed, was not essential to the God-manhood. It was essential only to the work of redemption which He came to achieve. The completing of that work, when he had once established the connection between Himself and sinful man, had laid hold on man by becoming bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh for a while, demanded the putting off of the vestment which was woeful and tear-stained, not through His sin, but through ours whose burden He bore, and demanded further the putting on the form of a glorified man, and wearing it kinglike on His throne before His Father and all worlds. That, I again insist, is man's true image. The original man was sinless. The ideal man, that is the man who is God's idea of man embodied, is sinless and glorious. His dying was the mighty assertion of this. His life in death, beyond death, was the apocalypse of man. And through life He longed for that apocalypse. He watched and yearned for the day when He should show manhood, not sinless only, but glorious in its purity before man and God; when the fleshly vesture or mask of man, which in His brethren the devil had smirched and flawed, should be put off, and the new man, the Lord from Heaven, should be seen in all His celestial brightness and beauty, in all His Divine might and majesty, as the first fruits of the reedemed world. Resurrection is the destiny of man. Till risen he can never be complete. To rise again he must die. And the Lord died, knowing that death was part of resurrection, and that it was essentially glorious to those on the other side of the veil, though to those on this side it could not but seem sorrowful and dread. How could it be otherwise, when the gate, still closed, hid from every human eye the ineffable brightness of the world of glory that was beyond ? Those who in the infancy
of the world saw the earth for the first time, settling into the barrenness and drearihood of winter, must have made their moan over it as did the disciples over the dead body of their Lord. But we look at it from the side of the spring sunlight and verdure, and to us winter is beautiful, for it bears the promise of the new year.
“ That be far from thee, Lord,” said shortsighted man when he heard the tread of approaching death. “Why seek ye the living among the dead," said the watching angels ; “ He is not here, but risen.” “He was dead, but He is alive again, He liveth for evermore.” The Lord then bids us commemorate His death, because to Him it is a feature of His resurrection; as He would have us die to rise with Him in eternal glory. Hence the triumphant tone of the Apostle (1 Cor. xv, 12, 23.) 6. Ye do show the Lord's death till He come” to proclaim the resurrection of the world.
2. He will have us show forth His death because it is the essential condition of the accomplishment of His purpose for man; because, in a word, that grave was the womb and not the tomb of our eternal life. “He died for our sin ; He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” (Compare Rom. xiv, 8, 9; vi, 1-5; 1 Thess. v, 9-11.) I am not proposing here to enter into any theological discussion as to the necessity of the death of Christ to make atonement for the sins of the world.* I only here insist on the fact of the necessity that He should die for man, “the just for the unjust, to bring us to God," and that His death is our life.
(Rom. v, 5-11.) I believe that there is that in the relation of the death of the Lord Jesus to our life which is unfathomable. Parallel to the mystery of sin is the mystery of redemption. The mystery
The Divine Fatherhood in Relation to the Atonement' (Ward and Co.), I have dwelt on this point fully.
* In a pamphlet on