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Jesus of Nazareth, the long expected Messiah, lowly and abject in his birth, destitute and afflicted in his life, the servant of servants, the man of sorrows, the companion of grief, comes to bring salvation to a guilty world. He passes a season of temptation and suffering among men, attests his divine character and mission by mighty signs and wonders; and being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, into the power of men, is by wicked hands, crucified and slain.
Oh unexampled love!
Yes, he was crucified, dead and buried. But (0, the unfathomable mystery of redemption !) his death was our life. In dying he conquered death. He descended into the grave, but it was to triumph over its inexorable dominion, and to lead captivity captive. He was delivered for our offences. He laid down his life. He had power to lay it down and he had power to take it again, but no man can take it from him. He died that we might live, and was raised again for our justification. He proved himself to be the resurrection and the life, and left to his followers the blessed assurance that because he lives they shall live also. And now (such is the efficacy of his sufferings and death,) that whosoever believeth in him, though he be dead yet shall he live, and he that liveth and believeth in him shall never die; thus life and immortality are brought to light. Death is divested of its sting, and the grave of its gloom and terror. And HOPEbright, verdant, amaranthine Hope, fills the believer's soul with foretastes of heavenly blessedness.
The CROSS on which the Son of God offered himself a sacrifice for sin is as the Tree of Life, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations. At its foot, life, light and joy spring up in undecaying verdure and unfading brightness. There is virtue in that CROSS to make the heaviest burden light; to scatter the deepest darkness; to transform the chief of sinners into a child of God, and to fill the chambers of death and the dark caverns of the tomb with the effulgence of heaven.
One of the sublimest conceptions of poetry is contained in that passage of Paradise Lost, which describes the effect produced upon the angelic host by the disclosure of the plan of redemption, and the consummation of Christ's mediatorial work.
The multitude of angels, with a shout
It is a beautiful idea of the poet that the AMARANTH (an emblem of immortality) was, during the brief season of man's innocency, a flower of Eden; and that when for his disobedience, the doom of decay and death was pronounced upon him, and upon the world that was given him for his inhabitancy, that immortal plant was taken back to heaven, its native and appropriate soil.
The sacrifice of our adorable Redeemer has restored to his followers the hope of eternal life; and that hope, fast bound to the cross- -the emblem of atoning mercy, fills the path-way of life with its amaranthine verdure and fragrance, and shall be a token, if not a crown, of victory to the dying believer.
BEAUTIFUL work of my Maker's hand !
your radiant hues I love to look