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THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.-John xv, 25.
THEY that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head," (Psalm lxix, 4,) was the prophetic language of Christ by the mouth of David, and its repetition in the text is its direct application to the Jews. And when you consider his innocent, unassuming, upright life -his forced trial before Pilate—and their cruel persecution of him even to death, you will admit that the prophecy has been painfully fulfilled. Like many other prophecies, it overreaches the first event which it foretold, and meets its further fulfilment in later times. Every nation in Christendom has reared its monument to the truth of the text. We all have been, and many of us now are, living proofs of the fulfilment of this prophecy, and to us its application is direct. We shall not labour to prove that sinners hate Christ. It is a revealed truth. John vii, 7; xv, 18. Nor shall we show the various ways in which this hatred is exhibited; but rather strive to convince you that it is" without a cause."
I. Is there any thing in Christ's character deserving your hatred?
That character is clearly shown us in his written word, and should be carefully studied. We may view it in different lights.
As a private man he was humble and unostentatious. He was obedient to the national and ceremonial law. Witness his payment of tribute, and his baptism. He was kind to his parents. Luke ii, 51; John xix, 26.
As a philanthropist his character is glorious. He beheld the sufferings of a world, considered their cause, and undertook their relief. He showed men the true cause of all evil in the world, sin; and prescribed rules
for every relation in life, obedience to which would remedy all evil. He "went about doing good." He did good even to his enemies; did it unrewarded, unthanked, and at the expense of every comfort.
As a Saviour he loved the world when it was his enemy, died for us when we were unworthy to be saved. This he did disinterestedly, as it could not increase his happiness or glory-at the expense of happiness and glory-through extreme and unearthly suffering. Now consider yourself not an object of this love, but a beholder of its wonderful exhibition, and what is there in it to cause your hatred? Could you hate one of your fellowmen should he exhibit such a love?
As God, you find him the source of wisdom, benevolence, justice, holiness, power. Omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence are terms which convey but a faint idea of his glorious character. Reflect upon his attributes, and what in them can move your hatred? The best of men have loved him as "altogether lovely;" the highest intelligences above are wholly wrapped up in his love. On what attribute do you specially fix your hatred? Is it not his holiness? Why should this cause your hatred? This is the chief, the regulator of them all. Were God unholy, what misrule, what partiality, what misery, would prevail through his dominions! As rational, as moral beings, you ought to love him chiefly for his holiness, the source of all his excellences.
II. Is there any thing in his actions toward you personally which merits your hatred?
You have viewed Christ abstractly, now look at him in connection with yourself. He hath given you every temporal blessing which you enjoy, and hath distinguished you above others. He hath died for you, from pure love
for your good! O! can you hate him for this? He gives you the means of grace, promises of mercy, strivings of
the Spirit, only to make you happy. He intercedes for you before the throne. At what in all this can you complain? Say you he afflicts? You deserve hell; why then complain of afflictions? He sends them to save you from endless wo. Still you hate him! O, causeless hatred!
III. Are his purposes concerning you deserving your
His design in your creation was not to trifle with you, but to make you happy. That design we defeated, and here he might have left us. But he interposed by redemption to bring about the purposes of creation. Heaven he "prepared for you from the foundation of the world." When you shut its gates, he opened them by his blood, and made them easy of access. He designs to raise you to heaven; hence his word and works. There he will give you triumph over all the evils of this present state. You may thwart his design, and abide the doom. You are in sin, and, unrepenting, you must die in sin, and be for ever miserable. The natural consequence of sin is misery, and he will not relieve you. He must punish sin, because it is essentially and eternally wrong. He will banish you from himself, and send you to hell. He must do this; 1. To be impartial in government. All holy beings demand it, and he is pledged to do it. 2. To prevent you from marring the happiness of heaven. You would destroy it all. There is then nothing in his purposes concerning you to merit your hatred. We infer from this subject,
1. The depravity of the human heart. It can find no fault with Christ, and yet it hates him. We hate the benefactor who has died for our happiness. We hate Him whom angels love, and all heaven adores.
2. How great will be the punishment which God will finally inflict! You will be weighed in the scales of
justice. Consider the circumstances, and what must be your doom? I charge you with hating Christ without a cause. They hated me without a cause !” O how dismally will these words fall upon your ears at the last day! They will toll the dirge of your eternal death!
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE MORE TO MY VINEYARD, THAT I HAVE NOT DONE IN IT ?—Isaiah v, 4.
THESE words were addressed to the Jews, whom God had chosen as his people, and favoured with special temporal and spiritual blessings. He had separated them from other nations, had been their Ruler, and had given them his law and prophets. They were a vineyard cultivated by him, but they often brought forth wild grapes— the fruit of sin. Before visiting them with judgments, he made to them this appeal: "O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?" We as a people have been highly favoured with the means of grace, but some of us still bring forth the fruits of sin. To you, sinners, God speaks in the text, and calls upon you to answer the question. If we investigate the subject, we shall find that we must say with David, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight; that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest." Let us then consider what God hath done for our salvation.
I. He has made an atonement for our sins.
By consequence of the fall we are born with sinful
natures, we are spiritually dead, and are exposed to eternal death. Yet no fault can be found with God, for Adam acted knowingly and voluntarily. But God in wisdom and love opened a way of salvation. O, matchless love! What more in an atonement could you ask than is found in this? The remedy is as great as the evil.
1. It was made for all. "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." "As by the offence "As by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” You see it has no limits. 2. Its effects are as extensive as the fall on all who accept its provisions. Temporal death is remedied by the resurrection. "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." We are raised to spiritual lifeto love God-enjoy his favour, &c. We are crowned with eternal life. "The gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord."
3. It was made at an infinite price-even the blood of the Son of God. None other could have made it. What greater atonement could God make?
II. He has given us a revelation.
1. He has taught us our lost condition. No one can look around him without seeing the proof that we are sinners. Why does nature, animate and inanimate, appear our foe? Why is man the foe of his fellow? Why the war within ourselves? In the Bible he has given us the knowledge, full and clear, of our spiritual death,