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Whether in will or in deed signifies but little in the eyes of God. It might be said, that Caiaphas had the interest of the nation at heartthus it would seem that the principle is not new which sanctions the death of an innocent man for the public good; Caiaphas appears to have been of that opinion to him the death of our Lord, was a measure of policy, a state proceeding, but it rather deserved the name of a measure of Satan, and the policy of Demons. The cries wrung from millions of victims, sacrificed to this expediency, would reach from earth to heaven, and proclaim more loudly than all that we could advance, the moral degradation of the human race. But we have already shewn that the national safety was in no way implicated, in the faith of the people, and the members of this Council were guided by self-interest, and unbounded rage. What an humiliating truth! Oh Jesus ! thou hast died for such people; thou hast died to raise them from their fallen state; thou hast died to purchase a new life for us.
But how marvellous ! it is this identical death, prophesied by Caiaphas, which procured us salvation and deliverance. Like Balaam, he intended to curse, but pronounced a blessing; he permitted a murder to be committed, and by so doing perfected the great sacrifice of that atonement which has been the redemption of the world, “And this he spake not of himself, but being High Priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation.” Caiaphas being High Priest, president of the Supreme Ecclesiastical Court, his involuntary prophecy necessarily came from above, and was considered of the greatest importance. It had a solemn sound in the ears of all that surrounded him, and will go down to the latest posterity. “ And this spake he not of himself."The impiety of the thought, and the wickedness of the proposal, did originate in him, or rather in the evil spirit, but ob! how great was the wisdom and power of God! Caiaphas imagined he acted according to the dictates of his own will, and that he was serving the cause of the prince of darkness, whereas God made him unconsciously a Prophet of the truth, an Apostle of the glad tidngs of salvation. God could have visited this enemy of our Lord with some of the awful judgments with which he had often punished impiety-he might have caused him to die like Herod, eaten by worms. But no, it pleased the Almighty that even his own enemy should be made available to his glory, and that this blind instrument of Satan should actually announce the plan of mercy which he intended for the redemption of a sinful world—that the words which proceeded from his impure and angry lips, should be a canticle of praise and blessing to succeeding ages. Who could oppose the will of God? The enemies of Christ assembled, and from one of their Council, God ordained the fulfilment of the promises respecting the glorious reign of his Son-their Chief announced to the world the event by which all the powers of darkness will be trodden under foot. God sometimes makes use of his
enemies as instruments of his purpose; he can draw praise from hell itself, and compel the powers of darkness as well as the Angels of Heaven, to cry “ * Glory to God in the highest.”.
Condemn, then, and crucify the Prince of Life, ye wicked Councillors, if his death be the signal of your condemnation, it is round his cross that will be gathered together in one, not that nation only, but all the children of God; there they will meet our Evangelist, and hold converse with him. Jesus died not only for the children of Israel, whose interests this Council professed to have at heart, but for the ransomed of all people, nations, tongues, and tribes, which were made his by the election of his divine grace.
Ye children of God, who are yet scattered abroad and exposed to trials and strifes, consider the intent of him who died for you-he will gather you together, will bring all your thoughts and affections captive to the foot of the Cross, will separate you from the world, gather you into his sheepfold-and oh! what have
you to fear! Listen to the prayer which he sent up to Heaven for you, “+ Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am."
This prayer is granted. There are none even of your enemies who may not in end contribute to your eternal salvation, and give glory to the God who saved you. It is your glorious portion to be gathered
+ St. John xvii. 24.
• Luke ii. 14.
together from your dispersion, and to be united for ever with thechildren of God. Who could pluck you from the hand of the Almighty ? “* For I am persuaded, that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
In delivering these lectures could my feeble voice address some troubled spirit whom Jesus invites to taste of heavenly consolation--could I reach those who in any way oppose the merciful intentions of God towards them, let me anxiously beseech them, even with tears in my eyes, to take pity on themselves, to come while it is yet time to the only source of life, to the Saviour of sinners, the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh! yet a little while, ye immortal spirits, ye will see face to face the Lord of Glory, who will come again, not to weep at the grave of his friend, or lament the folly of those who rejected him, but to exercise justice and judgment: to “ * take vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I exhort you to love Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus, that your love may be perfected when he cometh in the Glory of his Father with the Holy Angels.
But thou only art able, almighty Saviour, to raise us as thou didst Lazarus from the all-devoaring grave, to restore life to our withered bones, to give us a new
heart capable of loving thee, and a new life to devote to thy service. Oh! may thy word resound within us, may our spiritual death and corruption prove no hindrance to our receiving that word “* which calleth those things that be not, as though they were." Oh ! may thy infinite love awaken a sacred flame in our stony hearts, and displace our self-love and corruption. To love thee, oh! merciful Redeemer to love thee with all our minds, with all our souls, with all our strength-this is the object of our lives; the great end for which thou hast given us our existenee, and ransomed us at so great a price. then obtain this end before it be too late ; snatch us from perdition, save us as it were in spite of ourselves-Oh! rather let us love thee with willing hearts, and consecrate our lives, thoughts, and affections to thee. Art thou not the God of all goodness and mercy ? To whom else could we fly? Thou only hast the words of eternal life.
• Romans iv. 17.