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Rabbins! guardians of the Jewish church, and jealous of every infringement on the authority of Moses, do
ask supernatural proofs of the Son of man's commission ? Do you demand a sign from heaven ?-Behold, while the object of your scorn is suspended on the tree, “there is darkness over all the land ;" —when his sacred spirit quits the human form it had condescended to wear, the veil of your temple is rent in twain ! The Lord of nature expires, and the earth heaves with convulsive throes ;-the rocks are shivered; the graves disgorge their dead.-Insensible to these wonders, are your hearts still hardened? Do you cry,
“ He saved others, -himself he cannot save;let him come down from the cross and we will believe ?”—He does more — more than break from the nails that held him to the wood-He bursts the bonds that chained Him to the house of death!-He does more than resuscitate the yet warm body whose vital functions were scarcely extinct,-He reanimates the cold and stiffened corpse that had lain torpid to the third day.–Stubborn, impenetrable race! omit no possible precaution, to secure your victim in the gripe of death, and frustrate is prophetic word ;-plant your watchful senti
nels—see that an enormous stone is fixed to the mouth of the cave, and seal it with the seal of all your tribes.-Lo! the seal is gone—the stone is rolled away ;-and your own selected band, Roman veterans, inured to scenes of terror,“shake and become as dead men !" Nay, even prior to this last transcendent triumph over death and the grave, the heathen guard attending the execution, though ignorant of your Messiah, and all that “went before concerning Him,” are struck with conviction which you, though versed in prophecy, would not feel -- for, “when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and the things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of GOD."
ON DIVINE JUDGMENTS.
(PREACHED ON MARCH 21, 1832—THE DAY APPOINTED
FOR A GENERAL FAST.)
LUKE, CHAP. XIII. VER. 5.
"I tell you, Nay—but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise
We hear much, in the flowery declamation of the orator, and the fictitious tales of the novelist, of the sympathy and kindness of the human heart; but I fear that real life affords much more numerous instances, and more abundant proof, of its hardness and indifference. We heed but little the calamities of those, who are not immediately connected with ourselves. The superior classes of society seem to feel very slightly the miseries of their inferiors, and coldly regard their wants and privations as necessarily annexed to their station and calling; while the lower orders are apt to exult in the distress and ruin of those above them, and regard their unlooked-for degradation and fall as a kind of just retribution. By men of this disposition, whose minds are naturally narrow, and rendered still more contracted by superstition, every unforeseen calamity is construed into a judgment, and every direful accident, out of the common course of things, is suspected to be a visitation from Heaven.
Against this uncharitable temper our blessed Master cautions his followers, when informed of the miserable fate of certain Galileans, who, being suspected by Pilate of sedition, had been slain at the altar while in the act of sacrifice—“Suppose
that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay--but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Thus reminding his hearers, , that they were never to consider any extraordinary and overwhelming catastrophe as an instance of divine vengeance on the particular sufferers; but to be timely warned themselves to repent of all their offences, and amend their lives; lest as swift and terrible a fate should overtake them, in the midst of their iniquities.
That punishment, inevitable punishment, will fall on the incorrigibly wicked, in some period of their existence, can never be doubted by any reasonable creature, who believes that mankind are under the government of a just and righteous God. Nature, conscience, tradition, revelation, confirm and prove it, beyond all controversy. But it has pleased the great Author and Ruler of all, to establish, in this globe at least, general laws, and to conduct the course of all things here below by a chain and tissue of causes and effects, the one invariably introducing the other ; except in cases where His divine wisdom may see it fit to interpose. Thus both good and evil are often produced by what are called natural means, that is to say, by the operation of those properties and powers which God primarily imparted to material instruments and intelligent agents. Yet, all creatures being under the inspection of His searching eye, and all events subject to the control of His overruling hand, whatever takes place throughout this immense universe, though not by an immediate act of His omnipotence, must, at least, be by His permission and concurrence. Whatever exists, however endowed, is but the agent and minister of His will. All material forms and ani