“And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulcher.” Matthew 27:6.
MOST glorious Lord God, it is marvelous in our eyes that Thou shouldst become incarnate, that Thy Son should take our flesh upon Him. It surprises us greatly that the Lord of Life should condescend to die, and that the incorruptible One should be laid in the grave. We are full of loving gratitude, we are also full of adoring wonder. When we have stood at the sepulcher and looked into it and thought of Jesus having lain there, when we have seen it open and knew that it was empty, we bless Thy name that even He died and was buried, and magnify Thee that He is risen again from the dead. These great facts concerning our divine Lord are the foundation of our confidence in Him. We bless Thee that they have been attested by such four-fold witness, and yet further that afterwards He appeared alive to so large a number of those who knew Him that the fact of His rising from the dead might never be questioned again. We do not question it, our hearts devoutly believe the fact, but Lord we want by Thy Holy Spirit to know the facts in their living power. We wish that we might have fellowship with our Lord, who is our Head, in all this. Oh that we might know how to die with Him, and to live with Him in newness of life. O God we do rejoice that the old man was crucified with Him. We would daily mortify the flesh with its affections and lusts. We wish to be to the world, to sin, to selfishness as dead and buried men; as dead men, out of mind, so would we be. Oh that no faculty might hear the voice of the charmer when it charms us towards sin! may we be delivered from the mere power to obey the lusts of the flesh and the temptations of the devil. May grace so sanctify us that we may reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. O God we have too much of the ill alive about us. Go on to crucify it: let it die and, painful and lingering though the death may be, may we reckon the thing to be dead, because it is crucified, and never treat it as though it were a living thing to be fed and to have provision made for it but let it die and let it be buried.
May those of us who bear in their body the marks of the Lord Jesus be solemnly concerned that our baptism should be no fiction, but that we should be really baptized into the death of Christ with all the fullness of the deadening power that is about the sacred burial by fellowship with Him.
And, O Lord, give us more and more to have the new life, yea, and to have it more abundantly, for this is one of the objects of His corning. May the new life always rule us, may we walk by its power, may we have strength through its influence, may we be elevated by its energies, may we be indeed entirely subjugated as to our own entire manhood to the control of the Holy Spirit through the newborn lifts. We do pant for this.
We ask especially on this Lord’s Day that we may be in the Spirit and so may be in the fullness of the quickening power. May we do nothing after the dead manner of formality. May there be no dead hymn, nor dead prayer. Lord, give the preacher life. Oh give the hearers life. Oh may this be living worship this morning, the bowing not of heads alone, but of hearts, and the closing not alone of the eyes to things that can be seen, but the closing of the eyelids of the thought to everything worldly.
O Lord, imprison us in the grave of Christ to-day, that within those sacred walls we may find a chamber where our Lord shall manifest Himself to us, as He doth not unto the world.
A spring shut up, a fountain sealed art Thou O Christ to us, and we would be such to Thee; a garden enclosed for our Beloved, wherein He may take His delights. Our soul shall sing for joy, “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine; he feedeth among the lilies.”
Oh! for a day’s release from every care! Now break the bands of our yoke.
And Oh that we could live above care in the week-days too, casting all our care on Him who careth for us, and leaving all in those wise hands that rule the world, and can well rule our mean affairs. To-day, gracious Lord, reproach Thy children and comfort them, also rebuke and reprove as may seem good unto Thee; but Oh, sanctify us for the skies, and prepare us for the place which Thou art preparing for us. The Lord be very mindful of all his sick servants at home, of any that are under depression of spirit, and especially of such as are near to die.
Oh be very gracious to all Thy children under temptation, and if any are. in very sharp trial, and are also conscious of having brought it upon themselves, which makes the trial worse than ever, yet of Thy mercy do Thou let the fullness of the power of Thy grace be manifest in them, that in the ages to come they may, with all saints declare the exceeding riches of Thy power and love in Christ Jesus.
And now, Lord, bless the unconverted that come into this house to-day, or into any other place of worship. Be pleased to save them; let the eternal purpose be fulfilled in many to-day: Oh bring home Thy prodigal children, and let such as are coming home be met by the loving Father, and may such as have come home have a feast of fat things to-day. May elder brethren to-day be made better tempered, be made more into sympathy with the great Father! May there be blessings all round to-day for all of us, and so may we together bless and magnify Thine august and sacred name. O Thou one God of Israel, whom we worship, let others worship whom they may; the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob is our God for ever and ever, and we worship Thee Oh Jehovah Elohim, in the name of Jesus Christ Thine only begotten Son. Amen. SERMON: 1404 (March 24, 1878.)\par SCRIPTURE: Matthew 27:44-61. Mark 15:42-47. Luke 23:50-56. John 19:38-42. Romans 6:1-13. HYMNS: 909, 832, 844.