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Three Hours

‘He took on him the form of a servant,’ Phil. 2:7. And such a servant he was, as was not to have been hired amongst all the creatures. They all could not do the work that he did; ‘The government of the whole world is upon his shoulders,’ Isa. 9:6. He easeth his Father of it for the present, and when he hath brought him in infinite revenues of glory, he will at last ‘deliver up the kingdom to him,’ 1 Cor. 15:24, with a greater surplusage than else would have been had out of that begun course of providence taken up at the creation. And if you will not reckon that as part of satisfaction, yet consider the service he did in the priest’s office, wherein God acknowledged him his servant. He despatched more work in those thirty-three years wherein he lived, yea, in those three hours wherein he suffered, than ever was or will be done by all creatures to eternity. It was a good six-days work when the world was made; and he had a principal hand in that, neither hath he been idle since; ‘I and my Father work hitherto,’ says Christ, John 5:17. But that three hours’ work upon the cross, was more than all the other. Eternity will not have more done in it, than virtually was done in those three hours; so as that small space of time was τὸ νῦν æternitatis. As they say of eternity, that it is all time contracted into an instant, so was all time, past, and to come, into those few hours, and the merit of them. For he then made work for the Spirit, and indeed for all the three persons, unto eternity. He then did that which the Spirit is writing out in grace and glory for ever, yea, and all that ever was or will be done towards the saints, was then perfected: ‘He perfected for ever them that are sanctified, by that one offering:’ Heb. 10:12, 14, ‘But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;’ ver. 14, ‘For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.’

— Thomas Goodwin
Works, 5:102–103.

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Excerpts

Jesus’ Murderer

There was a day, as I took my walks abroad, when I came hard by a spot for ever engraved upon my memory, for there I saw this friend my best, my only friend, murdered. I stooped down in sad affright and looked at him. He was basely murdered. I saw that his hands had been pierced with rough iron nails, and his feet had been rent with the same. There was misery in his dead countenance so terrible that I scarcely dared to look upon it. His body was emaciated with hunger, his back was red with bloody scourges, and his brow had a circle of wounds about it: clearly could one see that these had been pierced by thorns. I shuddered, for I had known this friend full well.

He never had a fault; he was the purest of the pure, the holiest of the holy. Who could have injured him? For he never injured any man: all his life long he “went about doing good;” he had healed the sick, he had fed the hungry, he had raised the dead: for which of these works did they kill him? He had never breathed out anything else but love. And as I looked into the poor sorrowful face so full of agony and yet so full of love, I wondered who could have been a wretch so vile us to pierce hands like his.

I said within myself “Where live these traitors? Where can they live? Who are these that could have smitten such an one as this?” Had they murdered an oppressor we might have forgiven them; had they slain one who had indulged in vice or villainy, it might have been his due desert; had it been a murderer and a rebel, or one who had committed sedition, we would have said, “Bury his corpse: justice has at last given him his due.” But when thou wast slain, my best, my only beloved, where lodged the traitors? Let me seize them, and they shall be put to death. If there be torments that I can devise, surely they shall endure them all.

Oh! what jealousy; what revenge I felt! If I might but find these murderers what would I do with them! And as I looked upon that corpse I heard a footstep, and wondered where it was. I listened, and I clearly perceived that the murderer was close at hand. It was dark, and I groped about to find him. I found that somehow or other wherever I put my hand I could not meet with him, for he was nearer to me than my hand would go. At last I put my hand upon my breast. “I have thee now,” said I; for lo! he was in my own heart; the murderer was hiding within my own bosom, dwelling in the recesses of my inmost soul. Ah! then I wept indeed, that I, in the very presence of my murdered Master, should be harbouring the murderer; and I felt myself most guilty while I bowed over his corpse and sung that plaintive hymn:

‘Twere you my sins, my cruel sins,
His chief tormentors were:
Each of my crimes became a nail
And unbelief the spear.

Revenge! revenge! Ye that fear the Lord, and love his name, take vengeance on your sins, and hate all evil.

— Charles H. Spurgeon
The Metropolitan Tabernacle (Banner of Truth Trust, 1876), Ps 97:10.

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Quotes

The Majesty of the Cross

Than this there is no subject more mysterious and yet more sacred in the whole realm of revealed truth. This is the heart of that mystery of the love and wisdom of God, which wrought towards, and made possible the salvation of man. At the commencement of this study I would place on record not idly, and not for the mere sake of doing so, but under the urgency of a great conviction, that I am deeply conscious of approaching things too high, and too profound for any finality of statement. Personally I increasingly shrink from any attempt to speak in detail of the great fact of the Cross. This is not because I am growing away from it, but rather on account of the fact that I am more deeply conscious every day of my need of all it stands for, and as I have pressed closer to its heart, I have become almost overwhelmed with its unfathomable deeps, and its infinite majesty.

—G. C. Morgan