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What, then, is the prevailing statement of the world upon this great subject? Some despise the riches of his grace; some make light of the offers of his acceptance; some begin to make excuse, and when the servant of God presses the subject with earnestness to the heart and conscience as of unspeakable importance, we will hear thee again, says the world, on this matter: when we have a convenient season, we will send for thee! But is this the way in which any other subject is received? No! it is but too true, that in all temporal matters there is an inquiring spirit, an activity, a diligent attention, which is rarely to be found in the great concerns of eternity. We can account for this in no other way than by recurring to the sinful, bewildered state of the heart of man. ing eyes, they see not; neither do they understand. The natural man perceiveth
not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him. But when, by the good Spirit of God, men see the value of eternity; when they believe the threatenings and the promises, and are led to count all things but loss for the excel
lency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus their Lord; then the good and gracious Lord, who hath in mercy done all things well, is regarded in a very different way. Then his ministers and his word are valued, then his dying legacy is accepted, then the interests of time and eternity have each their due and proper place, and the man lives no longer to himself, but to Him who died for him and rose again. May the great subject then, as opened to our mind at this most interesting season, be considered as it deserves. May we read and meditate upon the humiliation, the sufferings, and the death of Jesus Christ; may we behold and see whether any sorrow was like unto his sorrow, in the day when the Lord afflicted him; and may these things beget in us a real sorrow for sin; a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness, that we, being his children by adoption and grace, may through his mercy inherit eternal life! Amen!
ISAIAH liii. 6.
The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
THERE are some plain and concise declarations made to us in the word of God, so full of serious import, that we seem to wish to pause for a moment, to consider them before we proceed further in the perusal of the sacred volume. Such is the solemn truth contained in the words of my text. The prophet had been speaking, in the opening of the verse, of the general apostasy of mankind. "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way;" and then observes, "the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
How much is contained in this short sentence! It evidently implies that we all had a load of iniquity which we could not ourselves bear; and that the gracious person described in this extraordinary chapter has taken these iniquities and carried
them away from us. The same person is
said to have borne our griefs, and to have carried our sorrows. Let us, therefore, consider, in the first point of view, and on this sacred day,
1. Who this person was.
2. What he did for us.
3. By whose appointment. Having considered these particulars, we shall be led to examine ourselves, and our duty as springing out of this great and wonderful transaction.
The contents of this astonishing chapter are so clearly prophetical of the work of the Redeemer, that the Jews, not admitting the Messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth, have ever found a great difficulty in determining to whom these circumstances so minute should be applied. The prophet, himself an Israelite, seems aware of the incredulity of those who should in after ages read his pro
phecy, and he is equally sensible that no man, whether Jew or Gentile, can comprehend its meaning without divine assistance, or a revelation from Jehovah. "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ?" It is not necessary for us to perceive that the prophets always themselves saw into futurity, and could comprehend the full accomplishment of their own predictions. It is enough for us to know that they wrote under the guidance of Jehovah. "Holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
In the case before us, Isaiah, justly styled the evangelical prophet, sets forth the sufferings of a person "who was to be despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." He represents all this cruel treatment as endured for us, all this suffering as vicarious, i. e. borne by one person, in the place and for the benefit of another. So that the guilty, the sinful, the profligate, may, upon their repentance, find a friend in this representative fully equal to all their need. There is not a case so desperate but that the person spoken of in this chapter is willing and able to effect de