Imágenes de páginas

Their moral influence.

sacrifice; and when he did it, if he did it in the right spirit, he unquestionably felt that his sin had done an injury to the government of God, which he, himself, could not repair. He could not come back to innocence alone. The ceremony must have had a most powerful influence in producing a practical conviction that sin, once committed, could not be recalled by the individual who had committed it, but must involve consequences beyond his control. That is precisely the conviction necessary to enable us to avail ourselves of the redemption of Christ. It is exactly the preparation of heart to lead us to him. We have sinned, and the evil we have done it is out of our power to remedy. We may stop sinning, but the evil influence of our past guilt must be checked by some other agency far more powerful than any penitence of ours. The Jews, then, by coming habitually to the sacrificès of their law, had this feeling thoroughly wrought into all their thoughts. and feelings on the subject of sin and pardon. When they came with sincere penitence to offer the sacrifice required by the law, and with such a feeling as I have described, they were undoubtedly forgiven through the mediation of a far greater sacrifice, which was only represented by the dove or the lamb.

If we thus look at the Jewish history and institutions, and see their spirit and design, we shall see that they all point to Christ. One single object is aimed at in all. After the history is brought down to the return from the captivity, it is suddenly concluded-and why? Because all is now ready for the coming of Christ. There is a chasm of some hundred years, not because the events of that time are less interesting than of the preceding-to the eye of the mere scholar or political historian, they are more so-but because they do not bear at all upon the great event, the redemp tion of mankind by Jesus Christ-to which the whole Bible tends. The nation from which the promised Savior is to come, is followed in its various difficulties and adventures, until it becomes finally established in the country where

Conclusion of the book.

Appropriate language.

There could not

the Messiah is to appear, and then left. be a stronger proof that the Bible has the history of Christ for its great object, or that that object is kept steadily in view.

As we draw toward the development of the drama, however, the story becomes more minute, and the interest increases. The great Redeemer at length appears. We have, from four separate writers, a narrative of his life; we have a simple account of the first efforts to spread the news of salvation through him; we have a few of the writings of some of those who originally received his instructions, and then a revelation of the future-in some respects clear and distinct in the awful pictures of scenes to come which it draws, and in others dark, and as yet unintelligible to us— closes the volume.

There is something deeply sublime in the language with which this final conclusion of the sacred volume is announced. Perhaps it was intended to apply particularly to the book of Revelation itself, but we can scarcely read it without the conviction, that the writer felt that he was bringing to a close a series of communications from heaven which had been making for fifteen hundred years. The great subject of the whole was now fairly presented to mankind. The nature and the effects of sin, the way of salvation, and the future scenes through which we are all to pass, had been described, and he closes with the invitation-O how cordially is it expressed-" And the Spirit and the bride. say, Come, and let him that heareth say, Come; "-that is, spread the invitation far and wide. Let every one that heareth it repeat the sound. "Let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will, let him partake of the water of life freely."

And then he says-and how appropriate for the last language of the Bible!

"I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written

Advent of the Savior.

Its time and place.

The Mediterranean sea

in this book; and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."

Yes, the plan and object of the Bible is single and simple from beginning to end. Amidst all that endless variety which makes it an inexhaustible mine of interest and instruction, the great ultimate design is never lost sight of or forgotten. That design is the redemption of a lost world by the Son of God; a design which is surely great enough for God to announce to his creatures.

There is something interesting in the time and place selected for the advent of the Savior. This earth being a globe, of course has not, that is, its surface has not any geographical centre; but if we take into view its moral and -political condition and history, it has some parts far more suitable to be radiant points from which any extraordinary message from heaven is to be disseminated than others It would be difficult to find a place more suitable for such a purpose than the very country chosen by Jehovah as the scene of the sufferings and death of Christ. Look upon the map, and you find that the land of Canaan is situated upon the eastern coast of the Mediterranean sea; and if you look east, west, north, and south, at the various connections of this spot, you will find that no other on earth will compare with it for the purpose for which it was selected. Egypt and the other regions of Africa on the south, are balanced by Syria and the Caucasian countries on the north. There were the Persian and Assyrian empires on the east, and there were the Grecian and Roman empires on the west. India and China, with their immense multi tudes, are upon one side, and modern France, and England, and Germany, with their vast political power, upon the other. Then look upon the Mediterranean sea,—on the borders of which Canaan lies,-bathing as it does the shores of three quarters of the globe, and bearing upon its bosom almost every ship that sailed for the first five thousand

Interesting associations.

years of the earth's history. Palestine is a most remarkable spot for such a purpose. If no such communication had ever been made from heaven, and the earth had remained in darkness and paganism to the present day, its history having remained, in other respects, the same as it has been; and we had looked over it to find the best station for an embassy from above, Judea would have been the very spot. We should have pointed to the Levant, and said, here is the moral centre of the world. If a missionary from heaven is to be scnt, let him be stationed here.

It is astonishing how much of the interesting history of the human race has had for its scene the shores of the Mediterranean. Egypt is there. There is Greece. Xerxes, Darius, Solomon, Cæsar, Hannibal, knew no extended sea but the Mediterranean. The mighty armies of Persia, and the smaller, but invincible bands of the Grecians, passed its tributaries. Pompey fled across it—the fleets of Rome and Carthage sustained their deadly struggles upon its waters; and, until the discovery of the passage round the Cape of Good Hope, the commerce of the world passed through the ports of the Mediterranean. If we go back to ancient ages, we find the Phenician sailors-the first who ventured upon the unstable element-slowly and fearfully steering their little barks along the shores of this sea; and if we come down to modern times, we see the men of war of every nation proudly ploughing its waves, or riding at anchor in its harbors. There is not a region upon the face of the earth so associated with the recollection of all that is interesting in the history of our race, as the shores of the Mediterranean sea; nor a place more likely to be chosen by the Creator as the spot where he would establish his communication with men, than the land of Judea.

The time selected is as worthy of notice as the place; I mean now, the time of the advent of the Messiah. The world had been the scene of war and bloodshed for many centuries-empire after empire had arisen upon the ruins of the preceding, none however obtaining a very general

Character of God.

Language of nature.

sway; at last the Roman power obtained universal ascendency and all was at peace. A very considerable degree of civilization and knowledge prevailed over a great part. of the then known world; and every thing was favorable to the announcement and rapid spread of a message from heaven, provided that the message itself should come properly authenticated. The message did come, and it was properly authenticated; and the peculiar suitableness of the time and place selected was seen in the very rapid spread of the Gospel over almost half the globe.

There is another topic of internal evidence of the truth of Christianity. The character and administration of God, as exhibited in the Bible, correspond precisely with the same character and administration as exhibited in the light of nature. They both exhibit God as most benevolent in his character, but most decided and efficient in his government. In both, we find him providing most fully for the happiness of his creatures; but in both we see him frowning upon sin with an awful severity of judgment. This is a fundamental point, and it ought to be fully understood. Let us look then at God as he reveals himself in his providence, compared with the views of him which the Bible presents.

See yonder child, beginning life with streams of enjoyment coming in at every sense; he is so formed that every thing he has to do is a source of delight-he has an eye; God has contrived it most ingeniously, to be the means by which pleasure comes in every moment to him—he has an ear, so intricately formed that no anatomist or physiologist has yet been able to understand its mysteries. God has so planned it, that he takes in with delight the sounds which float around him. How many times, and in how mary ways, does he find enjoyment by its instrumentality! The tones of conversation-the evening song of his motherthe hum of the insect-the noise of the storm-the rumbling of distant thunder; - for how many different but

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