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fact is, that charity, or love to man in all its extent, being the most eminent of all the evangelical virtues, being that which Christ has made the very badge and discriminating mark of his religion, is here constituted by him the representative of all other virtues; just as faith is, in various passages of scripture, used to denote and represent the whole Christian religion. Nothing is more common than this sort of figure (called a synecdoche) in profane as well as sacred writers; by which a part, an essential and important part, is made to stand for the whole. But that neither charity nor any other single virtue can entitle us to eternal life, is clear from the whole tenor of the New Testament, which every where requires universal holiness of life. We are commanded "to stand perfect and complete in all the will of God;"* to add to our faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity." Here you see that charity makes only one in that large assemblage of virtues, which are required to constitute the Christian character. And so far is it from being true, that any single virtue will give us admission into the kingdom of heaven, that St. James lays down a directly opposite doctrine; namely, that if we do not to the best of our power cultivate every virtue without exception, we shall be objects of punishment, instead of reward. Whosoever," says he, "shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." Nay, even if we endeavour to fulfill all righteousness, yet it is not on that righteousness, but on the merits of our Redeemer, that we must rely for our acceptance with God. For the plain doctrine of scripture is, that it "is the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanseth us from all sin ;" and that "by grace we are saved through faith; and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God." Of this, indeed, no notice is taken in our Saviour's description of the last judgment, and that for a plain reason; because he had not yet finished the gracious work of our redemption. He had not yet offered himself up, upon the cross, as a sacrifice, a propitiation for the sins of the whole world. But after that great act of mercy was performed, it is then the uniform language of the sacred writers, "that we are justified freely by the grace of God, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."||


We must therefore collect the terms of our salvation not

* Col. iv. 12.

‡ 1 John i. 7. Ephes. ii. 8.

† 2 Pet. i. 5.

Rom. iii. 24.

from any one passage of scripture, but from the whole tenor of the sacred writings taken together; and if we judge by this rule, which is the only one that can be securely relied upon, we shall find that nothing less than a sincere and lively faith in Christ, producing in us, as far as the infirmity of our nature will allow, universal holiness of life, can ever make our calling and election sure. But thus much we may certainly collect from our Lord's representation of our final judgment, that charity, or love to man, in the true scriptural sense of that word, is one of the most essential duties of our religion; and that to neglect that virtue, above all others, which our Redeemer and our Judge has selected as the peculiar object of his approbation, and as the representative of all the other evangelical virtues, must be peculiarly dangerous, and render us peculiarly unfit to appear at the last day before the great tribunal of Christ.

How soon we may be summoned there, no one can tell. The final dissolution of this earthly system may be at a great distance; but what is the same thing to every moral and religious purpose, death may be very near. It is at least, even to the youngest of us uncertain, and in whatever state it overtakes us, in that state will judgment find us; for there is no repentance in the grave, and as we die so shall we stand before our Almighty Judge. "Take heed therefore to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come upon all them that dwell on the face of the earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come upon you, and to stand before the Son of man.'

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*Luke xxi. 34-36.



We are now approaching the last sad scene of our Saviour's life, which commences with the 26th chapter, and continues in a progressive accumulation of one misery upon another to the end of St. Matthew's Gospel.

The 26th chapter, which will be the subject of the present Lecture, begins with informing us that two days before the great Feast of the Passover, the chief priests, and the scribes and the elders of the people assembled together unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty and kill him.

Whilst they were thus employed, Jesus himself was in Bethany (a small village near Jerusalem) at the house of a person called Simon, whom he had cured of a leprosy ; and here an incident took place which marks at once the manners of the country and the times, and places in a striking point of view the different characters of the several persons concerned in it.

"As Jesus was sitting at meat in the house above mentioned, there came unto him a woman, having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, to what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, why trouble ye the woman, for she hath wrought a good work upon me? For ye have the poor always with you, but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there also shall this which this woman hath done be told for a memorial of her."

There are in this little story several circumstances that deserve our notice.

The first is, that the act here mentioned of pouring the ointment on the head of Jesus, though it may appear strange to us, yet was perfectly conformable to the customs of ancient times, not only in Asia, but the more polished parts of Eu

rope. Chaplets of flowers and odoriferous ungue tioned by several classic authors, as in use at th tertainments, both of the Greeks and Romans,

larly among the Jews, the custom of anointing the


to have been almost as common a practice as that of washing the face. For they are mentioned together by our Lord in his direction to his disciples on the subject of fasting. "But thou, when thou fastest anoint thine head, and wash thy face, that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which seeth in secret."*

But there was a much higher purpose to which the effusion of ointment on the head was applied to the Jews. It was by this ceremony that Kings, Priests, and Prophets, were set apart and consecrated to their respective offices. And for this reason it was that our blessed Lord himself, who united in his own person the threefold character of King, Priest, and Prophet, was distinguished by the name of the Messiah, which in the Hebrew language means the anointed. It was therefore with peculiar propriety that this discriminating mark of respect was shown to Jesus by the devout woman here mentioned, though she herself was probably altogether unconscious of that propriety. Jesus however saw at once the piety of her heart, and the purity of her intentions, and with that sweetness of temper, and urbanity of manners which were natural to him, not only accepted her humble offering with complacency, but generously defended her against the illiberal cavils of his fastidious followers. And then he added a promise of that distinguished honour which should perpetuate this meritorious act of her's to all future ages. "Verily I say unto you, that wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this that this woman hath done be told as a memorial of her." This we know was no vain prediction; it has been most literally and punctually fulfilled, and we ourselves are witnesses of its completion at this very moment.

The next remarkable occurrence in this chapter, is the institution of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper by our Saviour, when he was eating the passover with his disciples.

The passover was one of the most solemn and sacred feasts of the Jews. It was so called because it was established in commemoration of the deliverance of the Jews from their bondage in Egypt, at which time the destroying angel, when he put to death the first-born of the Egyptians, passed over the houses of the Israelites, which were all marked with the blood

Matth. vi. 17.

of the lamb that had been killed and eaten the evening before in every Hebrew house, and was therefore called the Paschal Lamb.

This great festival our Saviour observed with his disciples, the evening before he suffered, and with them ate the paschal lamb, which was a prophetic type of himself. For he was the real paschal lamb that was sacrificed for the sins of men. He was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world.*

The lamb without blemish and without spot, as the paschal lamb was ordered to be. There can be no doubt therefore that the paschal lamb of the Jews was meant to be an emblem of our Lord. The slaying of that lamb prefigured the slaying of Christ upon the cross; and as those houses which were sprinkled with the blood of the lamb were passed over by the destroying angel, so they whose souls were sprinkled with the blood of Christ are saved from destruction, and their sins passed over and forgiven for his sake. And it is a very remarkable circumstance, that our Saviour was crucified, and our deliverance from the bondage of sin compleated, in the same month, and on the same day of the month, that the Israelites were delivered from the bondage of Egypt, by their departure from that land. For the Israelites went out of Egypt, and Christ was put to death, on the fifteenth day of the month Nisan.

I have premised thus much respecting the passover and the paschal lamb, because it will throw considerable light on the true nature and meaning of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, which Jesus now instituted, and of which the evangelist gives the following account: "When the even was come, our Lord sat down with the twelve to eat the passover; and as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it: for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." This is the whole of the institution of this sacred rite, by our blessed Lord, as recorded in St. Matthew's Gospel; and nothing can be more evident than that when he brake the bread, and gave it to his disciples, and said, Take, eat, this is my body; he meant to say that the bread was to represent his body, and the breaking of it was to represent the breaking of his body upon the cross. In the same manner when he took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, + Ex. xii. 5.

*Rev. xiii. 8.

+1 Pet. i. 19.

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