« PředchozíPokračovat »
was attended, but is, on that account, the more wonderful, that under an appearance so simple, such great events were covered.
In the hour of Christ's death, the long series of prophecies, visions, types and figures, was accomplished. This was the centre in which they all met; this the point towards which they had tended aud verged, throughout the course of so many generations. You behold the law and the Prophets standing, if we may so speak, at the foot of the cross, and doing "homage. You behold Moses and Aaron bearing the ark of the covenant; David and Elijah presenting the oracle of testimony. You behold all the priests and sacrifices, all the rites and ordinances, all the types and symbols, assembled together to receive their consummation. Without the death of Christ, the worship and ceremonies of the law would have remained a pompous but unmeaning iustitution. In the hour when he was crucified, "the book with the seven seals” was opened. Every rite assumed its significancy; every prediction met its event; every symbol displayed its correspondence.
This was the hour of the abolition of the Law, and the introduction of the Gospel, the hour of terminating the old, and of beginning the new dispensation of religious knowledge and worship thronghout the eatth. Viewed in this light, it forms the most august era which is to be found in the history of mankiod. When Christ was suffering on the cross, we are informed by one of the evangelists that he said, “ ) thirst ;" and that they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it to his mouth. «s. After he bad tasted the vinegar," knowing that all things were now accomplished, and the scripture fulfilled, he said, “ It is finished;" that is, this offered draught of vinegar was the last circumstance predicted by an arcient prophet that remained to be fulfilled. The vision and the prophecy are now sealed: the Mosaic dispensation is closed. * And he bowed his head, and gave up the ghos."-Significantly was the veil of the temple rent in this hour; for the glory then departed from bem tween the cherubims. The legal high priest delivered up his Urim and Thumnim, his breastplate, his robes, and his incense: and Christ stood forth as the great High Priest of all succeeding generations. By that one sacrifice which he now offered, he abolished sacrifices for ever. Altars on which the fire had blazed for ages were now to smoke no more. Victims were no more to bleed. « Not with the
blood of bulls and goats, but with his own blood, he now entered into the Holy Place, there to appear in the presence of God for us.”
This was the hour of association and union to all the worshippers of God. When Christ said, " It is finished," " he threw down the wall of partition which had so long divided the Gentile from the Jew. He gathered into one, all the faithful, out of every kindred and people. He proclaimed the hour to be come, when the knowledge of the true God should be no longer confined to one nation, nor his worship to one temple; but over all the earth, the worshippers of the Father should " serve him in spirit and in truth.” From that hour, they who dwelt in the “uttermost ends of the earth, strangers to the covenant of promise," began to be brought nigh.” In that hour, the light of the gospel downed from afar on the Pritish islands.
This was the ļour of Christ's triumph over all the powers of darkness, the hour in which he overthrew dominions and thrones, “ led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” The contest which the kingdom of darkness had long maintained against the kingdom of light, was now brought to its crisis. The period was come, when “ the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent. For many ages, the most gross superstition had filled the earth. • The glory of the incorruptible God was," every where, except in the Land of Judea, “ changed into images made like to corruptible inay, and to birds, and beasts and creeping things.” The world, which the Almighty created for himself, seemed to have become a temple of idols. Even to vices and passions altars were raised ; and what was entitled Religion, was, in effect, a discipline of impurity. In the midst of this universal darkness, Satan had erected his throne; and the learned and polished, as well as the savage vations, bowed down before him. But at the hour when Christ appeared on the cross, the signal of his defeat was given. His kingdom suddenly departed from bim : the reign of Idolatry passed away: He was “ beheld to fall like lightning from heaven.” In that hour, the foundation of every pagan temple shook; the statue of
false god loltered on its base; the priest fled from his falling shrine; and the heathen oracles became dumb forever.
Death also, the last foe to man, was the victim of this hour. The formidable appearance of the spectre remained, but his durt was taken away : for in the hour when Christ expiated guilt, he disarmed death, by securing the resurrection of the just. When he said to his penitent fellow sufferer, " To day thou shalt be with mein paradise," he announced to all his followers the certainty of heavenly bliss. Hedeclared “ the cherubims' to be dismissed, and the “ flaining sword" to be sheathed, which had been appointed at the fall “ to keep from man the way of the Tree of life.”. Faiut, before this period, had been the hope, indistinct the prospect, which even good men enjoyed of the heavenly kiugdom.-“ Life and immortality were now brought to light.” From the hill of Calvary, the first clear and certain view was given to the world, of the everlasting mansions. Since that hour, they have been the perpetual consolation of the believers in Christ. Under trouble, they soothe their minds; amidst temptations, they support their virtue; and, in their dying moments enable them to say, “ O death! where is thy sling? O grave! where is thy vic
ELOQUENCE OF THE SENATE.
1.Speech of the Earl of Chesterfield, in the House of
Lords, February 22, 1740, on the Pension Bill. MY LORDS,
IT is now so late, and so much has been said in favour of the motion for the second reading of the Pension Bill, by Lords inuch abler than I am, that I shalt detain you but a very short while with what I have to say upon the subject. It has been said by a nobte Duke, that this bill can be looked on only as å bill for preventing a grievance thaç is foreseen, and not as a bill for remedying a grievance that is already felt; because it is not asserted, nor so much as insinuated in the preamble of the bill, that any corrupt practices are now made use of, for gaining an undue influence over the other House. My Lords, this was the very reason for bringing in the bill. They could not assert, that any such practices are now made use of, without a proof; and the means for coming at this proof, is what they want, and what they propose to get by this bill. They suspect there are such practices, but they cannot prove it. The crime is of such a secret nature, that it can very seldom be proved by witnesses, and therefore they want to put it to the trial, at least, of being proved by the oath of one of the parties; which is a method often taken in cases that can admit of no other proof. This is, therefore, no argument of the grievance not being felt; for a man may, very sensibly, feel a grievance, and yet may not be able to prove it.
That there is a suspicion of some such practices being now made use of, or that they will soon be made use of, the many remonstrances from all parts of the united kingdoms are a sufficient proof. That this suspicion bas ciept into the other House, their having so frequently sent up this bill is a manifest deinonstration, and a strong argument for its being necessary to have some such bill passed into a law. The other House must be allowed to be betterjudges of what passes, or must pass, within their own walls, than we can pretend to be. It is evident, they suspect that corrupt practices have beeu, or scon may be, made use of, for gaining an undue influence over some of their measures : and they have calculated this bill for curing the evil, if it is felt, for preventing it, if it is only foreseen. That any such practices have been actually made use of, or are now made use of, is what I shall not pretend to affirin : but I am sure I shall not affirm the coutrary.. If any
such aje made use of, I will, with confidence, vindicate his Majesty. I am sure be knows nothing of them. I am sure he will disdain to suffer them: but I cannot pass such a complia ment
upon his ministers, nor upon any set of ininisters that ever was, or ever will be, in this nation; and, therefore, I think I canuot more faithfulls, more effectually, serve his present Majesty, as well as his successors, than by putting it out of the power of ministers to gain any corrupt influence over either Blouse of Parliament. Such an attempt may be necessary for the security of the minister; but must always be inconsistent with, the security of his master : and the more necessary it is for the minister's security, the more inconsistent it will always be with the king's, and the more dangerous to the liberties of the nation.
To pretend, my Lords, that this bill diminishes, or any way encronches upon the prerogative, is something very strange. What prerogative, my Lords ? Has the crown a prerogative to bribe, to infringe the law, by sending its pensioners into the other House? To say so, is destroying the credit, the authority of the crown, under the pretence of supporting its prerogative. If his Majesty knew that
any man received a pension from him, or any thing like a pension, and yet kept his seat in the other House, he would himself declare it, or withdraw his pension, because he knows it is against law. This bill, therefore, no way diminishes or encroaches upon the prerogative of the crown, which can never be exercised but for the public good. It diminishes only the prerogative usurped by ministers, which is dever exercised but for its destruction. The crown may still reward merit in the proper way, that is, openly. The bill is intended, and can operate only against clandestine rewarde, or gratuities given by ministers. These are scandalous, and never were, nor will be, given but for scandalous services.
It is very remarkable, my Lords, it is even diverting, to see such a squeamishness about perjury upon this occasion, amongst those, who, upon other occasions, have invented and enacted multitudes of oaths, to be taken by men who are under great temptations, from their private interest, to be guilty of perjury, is not this the case of almost every oath that relates to the collection of the public revenue, or to the exercise of any office? Is not this perjury one of the chief objections made by the dissenters against the Test and Corporation Act ? Aod shall we show a less concern for the preservation of our constitution, than for the preservation of our church? The reverend bench should be cautious of making use of this argument? for if they will not allow us ap oath for the preservation of the former, it will induce many people to think, they ought not to be allowed an oath. for the preservation of the latter.
By this time, I hope, my Lords, all the inconveniences pretended to arise from this hill have vanished; and therefore I shall consider some of the arguments brought to show that it is not necessary. Here I must observe, that most of the arguments made use of for this purpose, are equally strong for a repeal of the laws we have already in being against admitting pensioners to sit and vote in the other House. If it be impossible to suppose, that a gentleman of great estate and ancient family can, by a pension, be inAgenced to do what he ought not to do; and if we must suppose, that none but such gentlemen can ever get into the other House, I am sure ihe laws for preventing pensioners from having seats in that House are quite unnecessary, and ought to be repealed. Therefore, if these arguments prevail with your Lordships to put a negative upon