"And David spake unto the Lord when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, lo! I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done?"2 Sam. xxiv. 17.
My soul! here is a subject of an heart-searching nature opened to thee this evening, in those expostulating words of the man after God's own heart. Summon up all thy faculties to the meditation; and yet, infinitely more than this, seek the teaching of the Holy Ghost, that thou mayest profit by them. The apostle was commissioned by the Holy Ghost to tell the church, that for man's sin the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. The slaughter of every beast, the sacrifice of every lamb, proclaimeth with a louder voice than words can declare, the baleful malignity of human transgression. And if David, when he saw the destroying angel brandishing his dreadful sword over Jerusalem, felt remorse in the recollection of his own sin, and the punishment falling on the harmless sheep; what views ought the contemplation of the unequalled sorrows and sufferings of the Lamb of God to occasion, when it is recollected that "he died the just for the unjust, to bring us to God?" To see sin as exceeding sinful, we may get some idea, from beholding apostate spirits cast out of heaven; or from the curse of Jehovah upon the earth, and all the children of Adam involved in it; the destruction of the old world by water; or the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire; and the everlasting torments of the damned in hell: these form awful views of the dreadful nature of sin, as it appears in the sight of God. But all these are nothing, in comparison to one remaining to be mentioned. Wouldest thou see sin in all its tremendous consequences, thou must go to Golgotha. There behold the Lamb of God, taking away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Here take up the words of David, and ask thine own heart, while confessing that thou hast sinned, and done wickedly, what had this Lamb of God done? But do not stop here. Go on in the contemplation. If "he who knew no sin became sin" if he who in his sacred person "was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heaven, yet became both sin and a curse for his redeemed, that they might be made the righteousness of God in him;" wilt thou not think it the first, the last, the highest, the best, the most momentous of all points, to know whether thou, even thou thyself, art made the righteousness of God in him? Oh! thou holy, blessed, and eternal Spirit! give me to see in the Lord Jesus, my almighty Surety, that in all he did, in all he sustained, and all he suffered, he bore my sins in his own body on the tree, and that not a single sin of omission or commission was left out. Oh! for grace to believe, and to plead, now and for ever, before the throne, that then all mine iniquities and all my trans. gressions, in all my sins, the Lord Jehovah laid (as Aaron typified on the great day of atonement, Lev. xvi. 21.) upon the person of his dear Son! Help me, Lord, with increasing confidence of faith, and holy hope, and ardent joy, thus to view Jesus as my Surety, and thus to answer the account given of it in that blessed scripture: "Surely shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come, and all that are incensed aginst him shall be ashamed. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory."
From the POOR MAN'S MORNING AND EVENING PORTIONS.
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