G. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) Hallock.

The English pulpit : collection of sermons online

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place in three days ; and, as I stated when I preached to 3'ou last,
one proof of the truth of Scripture is the resurrection of Christ. It
was prophesied of Christ, that God should not leave his soul in hell,
and Christ was not more than three days in the grave, because if he
had been he would have seen corruption. But Lazarus was more than
three days in the grave ; for, when he opened up the wondrous scene
about to be exhibited, the sister of Lazarus said, " Lord, by this time
he stinketh, for he hath been dead four days." But what was that to



CETRIST CRUCIFIED. 127

the Son of God ? He came to the mouth of the grave and said :
" Lazarus, come forth ; " and Lazarus started into life. It was Jesus
of Nazareth that spake the word, and he was mighty in signs and in
deeds.

See his power in feeding the hungry out of a single handful of
bread, which he multiplied ; see him walking on the waters as if a
pavement of adamant were under his feet ; these are some of the mir-
acles, and signs, and wonders, done by Jesus of Nazareth, in the midst
of the people ; and these attested his own character as the Messiah.
The prophecies that went before him intimated that he should perform
miracles ; and, performing such miracles, they also attested his own
character, his infinite beneficence and benevolence. I pass on to
notice,

II. To WHAT THIS Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved op
God, by these miracles, and signs, and wonders, was deliv-
ered ; for the apostle says, " Him being delivered."

Here we may ask, why is it that Peter, who is in general so bold
and perspicuous, does not mention to what circumstances, or to what
condition, Jesus of Nazareth was delivered ? But we shall find an
answer to this by a reference to the idiom of Peter's mother tongue.
Peter was a Jew, and spoke the Hebrew language ; and, according to
the idiom of that language, the words rendered to he delivered^ mean
to be dehvered to death, to be delivered up for God, to be delivered
to martyrdom. It was a common proverb among the Jews, that such
an one was delivered — that is, dehvered to death, delivered to mar-
tyrdom for the truth. Jesus of Nazareth was dehvered to death, to a
death the most extraordinary in its nature, and the most dolorous in
its circumstances, if you consider the place where he died, the persons
amongst whom he died, or the death itself which he endured.

Consider the place where he died. We all hope to die in our own
homes, in our own beds ; the people of God generally are allowed to
die thus. But where did your Lord and Master die ? One of the
historians says, with inimitable and overwhelming emphasis, "They
led him away to Calvary, and there they crucified him." A place pu-
trid with blood and bones — a place, the atmosphere of which was
impregnated with a blasphemous breath. Consider, too, among whom
he died. He was crucified between two thieves, two malefactors ; he
had the middle place assigned him, as though he was worse than either
of them. And, as to the death itself which he endured^ you know
what it was. Crucifixion was the most lingering and painful mode of
death, and it was the most infamous one ; and in the estimation of the



128 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

Jews, it was an accursed death, for, according to their own law, " Cur-
sed is he that hangeth on a tree." There see the head that was
filled with treasures of knowledge sinking lifeless upon his bosom ; see
those hands that mixed the ointment for the eyes of the blind, that
multiplied the loaves for the starving people, that were stretched out
upon the sick and dying, to recover and to serve them ; see those
hands stretched on the accursed tree ; see those feet that were be-
dewed with the tears, and anointed with the ointment of Mary, and
that carried him about on his journies of piety and charity, pierced
with rugged iron ; and the heart that throbbed with love for the human
race, and glowed with zeal for the honor of his Father, pierced with
the cruel spear. " Behold, all ye that pass by, and see if ever was
sorrow like unto his sorrow in the day that the Lord afflicted him in
the fierceness of his anger." What part of his flesh was exempt from
suffering ? He bore our sins in his own body on the tree. What part
of his body was exempt from anguish ? Was it his hands and his
feet ? — they were pierced with nails. Was it his temples ? — they
were punctured with thorns. Was it his back ? — that was lacerated
with scourges. Was it his side ? — that was broken by the hostile
spear. Was it his bones ? — they were all as it were out of joint.
Was it his muscles ? — they were stretched upon the gibbet. Was it
his veins ? — they were deprived of their purple fluid. Was it his
nerves, those canals of feeling, those rivers of sensation ? — they
were wrung with anguish. He bore our sins in his own body on the
tree. And all this, the affliction of his body, was as nothing compared
with the sorrows of his soul. " My soul," said he, when he was de-
livered up, " is exceeding sorrowful." " Now am I sorrowful," said
he, as if he never knew what sorrow was before. Though he had been
a man of sorrows, and a child of grief, and began when he was the
babe of Bethlehem to know the sorrows, though dear to him on our
account, yet, when he came to be delivered up, he said, " Now, now
is my soul exceeding sorrowful." The weight of mental anguish may
be alleviated by two sources ; it may be alleviated by the affectionate
sympathy of relatives and friends, or alleviated by the consolations of
God our heavenly Father.

The weight of mental anguish, I say, may be alleviated by the sym-
pathies of affectionate friends. When you die, I dare say, your
friends will be with you, and they will shake the pillow under your
head, and they will wipe away the cold, clammy sweat as it forms on
your marble brow, and they will quote the precious promises, and will
pour out the fervent prayer, and they will soothe your anguish, and
render you a thousand nameless offices of tenderness and affection.



CHRIST CRUCIFIED. 129

But how was it with your Savior ? When he died, his disciples for-
sook him and fled ; he was surrounded by grim guards — by hostile
bands.

The weight of our mental anguish is often alleviated, too, hy the
ministry of holy angels. We see not their lovely forms, we hear not
the melody of their voices ; but they are with us in the hour of our
deepest sorrow, and they perform oflGices of affectionate kindness to us
in the moment of our dissolution. They are ministering spirits sent
forth to minister unto them who are heirs of salvation ; and perhaps
the most important part of their ministration is rendered to us just
when life is quivering on the lip, and the immortal spirit is on the con-
fines of eternity. Our Savior had himself, during his life, been min-
istered to by angels ; but, when delivered up to death, the angels af-
forded him no sympathy. thou blessed seraph — thou that didst
fly to him when in the wilderness of temptation ; thou that didst ap-
pear to strengthen him when in the garden of Gethsemane — where
wert thou when he was upon the cross of Calvary ? He drank the
wine-press of his Father's fury alone ; with him was none ; neither
man nor angel could sympathize with him in his suffering.

The weight of mental anguish may be alleviated by the consolations
of our heavenly Father. But Jesus of Nazareth, when delivered up
to death, was without these consolations also. The Father that had
honored his birth by a new star — the Father that had honored his
baptism by the sound of a more than mortal voice from the excellent
glory — the Father that had honored him when he performed the mir-
acles to which I have alluded — the Father, the God of all consola-
tion, the everlasting Father, the God of love — forsook him upon the
cross. " My God (we hear no complaint from him until this, and then
Christ said,) My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ? " And,
at the sound of his voice, and the bowing of his head, nature affright-
ed threw herself into convulsions, the sun hid his face, the rocks rent,
the graves opened, the dead came forth. Jesus of Nazareth was de-
livered up to death, a death the most extraordinary in its nature, and
the most dolorous in its circumstances.

m. I inquire, by whom he was delivered up to this death ?
Atid the text leads our attention to two classes of agents that were
concerned in this act, the one human — the other divine; the one
guilty, the other holy ; the one visible, the other invisible.

I notice, first, the human agents. " Ye men of Israel," said the apos-
tle, " hear these words. Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God
among you, by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by
9



130 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know ; him being deliv-
ered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have
taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain." Yes, it was
the Jews that did it ; their high priest had said it was expedient for
Christ to die ; it was their Pontius Pilate that condemned him ; it was
their Judas that betrayed him ; it was their Herod that mocked him ;
it was their priests that plotted it ; it was their scribes and pharisees
that hailed it ; it was their populace that shouted for it. But let not
the Jews imagine that their guilt is at all diminished by the fact of
the death of Christ being " according to the determinate counsel and
foreknowledge of God : " "him being delivered by the determinate
counsel and foreknowledge of God." Their actions were not at all
influenced by the determinate counsel of Jehovah ; the apostle tells
them they were not : he says, " Ye have done it ; him ye have taken,
and by wicked hands have crucified and slain." Oh, ye detestable,
ye infuriated people ; what could move you to tear, and mar, and
taunt, and crucify, and revile, and slay the Lord of life and glory ?
He healed your sick, cleansed your lepers, gave sight to the blind,
expelled demons from the possessed, he raised your dead — for which
of these things do ye crucify him ? Jerusalem, he ennobled you by
his birth, he distinguished you by his miracles, he enlightened you by
his doctrines, he cherished thee with such aflfectionate regard that his
eyes became fountains of tears. Here is an appeal by the mouth of
the divine Father, " Oh, my people, testify to me what have I done to
thee ? wherein have I wearied thee ? I brought thee from the house
of bondage with my great might ; I made a way through the Eed Sea,
dried it up for the soles of thy feet ; I cast out thy enemies before
thee ; I gave thee manna from the clouds ; I conducted thee by a pil-
lar of fire and cloud ; I brought thee triumphantly forth into the land
of Canaan ; I gave thee houses to live in which thou buildedst not, and
wells to drink of which thou diggedst not, and fields which thou sowedst
not ; I gave to thee David and Solomon for kings ; I raised up judges
among you ; I gave you Moses for a prophet, and Aaron for a priest,
and Miriam for a prophetess — these things have I done. Why do
ye crucify me — which of all these things forms the matter of my ac-
cusation ? " Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets,
and stonest them which are sent unto thee, mayest thou not have been
satisfied with having shed the blood of all the righteous men that have
ever been slain, from the death of Zacharias between the porch and
the altar, without imbruing thy murderous hands in the blood of the
Lord of life and glory ? Oh, ye murderous, infuriated Jerusalem, ye



CHRIST CRUCIFIED. 131

have taken Jesus of Nazareth, and him by wicked hands have ye cru-
cified and slain !

But there is another agency in this transaction ; a Grod appears in
this amazing scene. Lift up the eyes of your mind to the throne of
the heavens, to the Majesty on high, and see God delivering up his
own Son to this accursed death. " Him being delivered by the de-
terminate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken." They
could have had no power at all against the Son of man except it had
been given to them from above ; they could not any of them — neither
Herod, nor Judas, nor Pontius Pilate, nor the priests — none of them
could have had any power at all, if it had not been frt)m God, if it
had not been with the concurrence of the Lord, Jehovah himself;
" him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge
of God."

The death of Christ was not casual, it was not accidental, it was
according to the certain counsels entered into between the Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost, in the abyss of a past eternity ; when as yet
there was darkness, when as yet there were no creatures to be redeem-
ed ; when as yet time had not begun to reign. In these councils that
were held between the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, it was agreed
that one of the persons of the Trinity should become incarnate for
lost human nature ; that one should die for our guilty world. Accord-
ing to these counsels, to the contract formed and entered into, Jesus
of Nazareth was delivered up unto death. See Jehovah deliberating
whether his own Son or man he should spare. To what will you com-
pare this, and whereunto will you liken it ? I know nothing that this
transaction on the part of Jehovah can be compared unto. I know
that Abraham's offering up Isaac is appealed to as something like it ;
but for my part, I can hardly find a shadow of resemblance between
the one transaction and the other. Abraham had his son a gift from
God, God had his Son by ineffable generation ; Abraham owed every
thing he had to God, God owed us nothing ; Abraham could not have
kept Isaac back from God, but not all heaven, or earth, or hell, could
have ravished God's eternal Son from his Father's bosom. Abraham,
in offering up Isaac, performed an act of obedience as well as of high
and generous affection, but God owed nothing to us. Whereunto,
then, will ye liken these doings of the Lord God, and to what will
you compare them ? See Jehovah, in his ancient council, deliberating
with his Son about the future redemption of a future world, and de-
liberating whether his own Son or man he should spare — his own Son,
innocent and holy ; man, polluted and guilty — his own Son, the
brightness of his own glory ; man, the image of the devil — his own



132 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

Son, the express image of the Father's person, beloved of all heaven;
man, an atom of dust, a child of earth, an heir of hell, covered over
with the smoke of the bottomless pit, besmeared all over with the lep-
rosy of abominable crimes. See Jehovah deliberating whether his
own Son or man he should spare. How wondrous is it ! How amaz-
ing that such deliberations should be followed by such results ! Hear
the declaration of the apostle on the subject ; hear the oracles of God
telUng us the result of the whole deliberation : " He spared not his
own Son, but freely gave him up for us all." Oh, amazing act of
generosity, of noble interference, of high, unutterable love ; in fact we
have no language at all to express it ; the mind of an angel, as well
as the mind of man, is overwhelmed and confounded ; we must all sit
down together in the attitude of little children ; we can only proclaim,
" 0, the depths, the heights of the knowledge of God, they — they
are past finding out ! " " him being delivered by the determinate
counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked
hands crucified and slain." Although we have no line wherewith we
can fathom this mystery, wherewith we can reach the depths, — no
means of ascertaining the height, and breadth, and length of this
profound mystery, we find no difficulty to see the design of it. This
is the

IV. and last point. The design on account of, and the end
FOR WHICH, Jesus of Nazareth was delivered up to this death
— a death so extraordinary in its nature, and so dolorous

IN ITS circumstances.

He was delivered up for what ? for whom ? Not for his own ini-
quity, for he had none : not for himself, for he was no transgressor.
He was conceived and born in all the beauties of holiness ; from the
manger to the cross, he was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate
from sinners. He could challenge the bitterest of his enemies and
say — " Which of you convinces me of sin ? " And the very cir-
cumstances attendant on his death, illustrated and proclaimed the
fact of the innocency of his life. Pontius Pilate, the judge that pre-
sided, called for water and said, " I will have nothing to do with this
innocent man : I am clear." The wife of the judge had a dream
about the matter, and so did the dream lie upon her spirit, that, unus-
ual as it was to send any message to a judge on the bench, she sent
to him on the bench, and said, " Have thou nothing to do with the blood
of this just man." Judas, the traitor that had betrayed him, that
had bartered him away for thirty pieces of silver, ran in among the
chief priests in a frenzy, flung down the money, and said, " I have



CHRIST CRUCIFIED. 183

sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood." The thief upon the
cross said, " This man hath done nothing amiss." The centurion,
with his hundred of soldiers, planted around the cross to see the cer-
tainty of the fulfilment of the sentence, said ^rs^, to the honor of his
humanity, " This was a righteous man ! " and then exclaimed, to the
honor of his divinity, " Truly, this righteous man was the Son of
God ! " And thus wisdom is justified, not only of her children, but
by her enemies also. The very things that were intended to tarnish
his innocence, were the means of eliciting and estabhshing it ; and
that not before half of the people, but when all the people were gath-
ered together from Dan to Beersheba. So true is it that he was de-
livered not for his own iniquity, for he never had any.

Now, we are only acquainted with the iniquity of angels and men
— with the iniquity of fallen angels, and the iniquity of our own spe-
cies — and the question is narrowed to this : If Jesus were not deliv-
ered for his own iniquity — having none at all — it comes to this : he
was delivered for the iniquity either of angels that sinned, or for our
iniquity. Now, then, for which of the two was it ? Was it for the
iniquity of the angels ? He passed by the angels ; he took not hold
of their nature ; he never was found in fashion as an angel. Oh ! I
love the angels, and I will tell you why I love them ; among a thou-
sand other reasons, I love them for this — that they do not envy man
the grandeur and glory of his being redeemed by the Son of God,
while that part of their own species that are sunk into rebellion, gone
away from God, was not taken hold of by the purposes of Jehovah,
and not taken hold of by the Son of God. When Jesus of Nazareth
was born, the angels sung. What did they sing ? What did they
shout over the plain of Bethlehem ? " Glory to God in the highest "
— and in liell peace ? No ; and because they could not sing in hell
peace, did they refuse to sing on earth peace ? They could not say,
and they did not say, " Good will to devils," to our lost brethren ;
but could say, and they did say, " Good will to man." Jesus of Naz-
areth was " deUvered for our offences, and was raised for our justifi-
cation." He took hold of our nature : " The chastisement of our
peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed." Jesus
Christ, the just, delivered himself up for us, the unjust, that he might
bring us to God. He saw human nature sinking, falling, plunging
into ruin, total and eternal ruin, and he felt for us. Why he felt for
us, rather than for angels that sinned, do not ask me ; I know nothing
about it — I can tell you nothing about the matter. It is enough for
me to know, that he loves me, and loves you, and that he loves all
our apostate race. It is the grandeur of the gospel, it is our gospel,



134 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

that Jesus of Nazareth loved the human race. In spite of its sinking
he came after it, and caught it, and snatched, and Hfted it out of the
ruin that was enclosing it in, and gave it back to God. " He died the
just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God."

" Well, then, here comes in the old, withered, good-for-nothing ob-
jection of the Socinians, who are fain to tell us that this is a very
strange procedure — this is a most unaccountable thing to say, that
Jesus, the innocent and holy, should suffer for the guilty and unholy.
They tell us it is an unjust thing that the innocent should suffer and
atone for the guilty ; but then I ask them, why did he suffer, for what
did he suffer, if it was not to atone for the guilty ? There was some
end to be answered by the suffering of the cross. When a holy being
so distinguished endured such suffering, there must have been some
end in view. Why, then, I ask, did he suffer ? 0, they say, he suf-
fered to give us an example of suffering, to give us an example of mag-
nanimity, to give us a model of patience under suffering. And they
' talk about justice ; they bring an accusation of forming a monstrous
doctrine, when I say Jesus Christ died to atone for a guilty world, —
and they say he died for a reason not a millionth part so good ! If
there is injustice in his dying to save a world from the curse of God,
there is a million times more monstrous injustice in his dying merely
to teach us how to suffer. He died by his own consent. He was de
livered up, the text indeed says, by the determinate counsel of God,
and by the wicked hands or hearts of the Jews, and he was deUvered
up as much by his own will, by his own consent, as he was either by
the determinate counsel of the Father, or the wicked hands and hearts
of the Jews. what a lovely victim is Christ, not unwillingly drag-
ged to the altar, not unwillingly pressed upon the altar : oh no ! What
bound him to the cross ? Was it the nails ? If he had never been
fastened by any thing but nails, he had never been fastened at all. It
was love that bound him to the cross ; it was love that carried him to
the cross ; it was love to us that led him to go to the high altar ; and
It was love to us that fastened him to that altar.

Oh, for this love of Christ — this love of God ! There it is ; I am
fast ; you must ask me no more. If you ask me why Jesus died for
you, I can only say because he loved you. If you ask me why he
loved you rather than angels, I can give no answer at all ; I am lost in
•an ocean of love — I can go no lower — I do not want to go higher or
deeper ; — it is love.

" Oh, for this love let rocks and hills
Their lasting silence break :
And all harmonious human tongues
The Savior's praises speak."



CHRIST CRUCIFIED. 135

I am anxious, before I close the subject, to have the matter brought
home to jour consciences, and to know how jou stand affected to this
great subject, to know whether or not you have believed on this cruci-
fied Savior to the salvation of your souls. It is not enough to hear of
this Savior, and of this salvation ; it is not enough to hear of this cru-
cifixion, and the love that prompted it ; there must be a personal ap-
propriation of the benefit of the death of Christ, and the blood that
was poured out on mount Calvary — ■■ the blood that was shed there
must be poured out on our hearts — must be applied here — the blood
that was shed eighteen hundred years ago must be sprinkled on our
hearts now, to-night, this hour, this moment. " His blood be on you
and your children," may it be sprinkled on all, to wash away your sins,
to justify your persons, to sanctify your natures. Oh, if the blood of
the Lamb shall be found upon you at your dying day, at the day of
judgment, happy are ye ; " happy the people that is in such a case,"
You remember reading of the case of the children of Israel, of the
sprinkling of the blood of the paschal lamb upon the door-posts of the
houses in Egypt. Why was that blood sprinkled on the door-posts ?
You say it was to distinguish the houses of the Israelites from the
houses of the Egyptians. What, could not the omniscience of Jeho-
vah distinguish between the houses of Israel and the houses of Egypt
without a visible mark being upon the dooi-s of the one to identify it ?
As I take it, the true, the grand reason, why the blood of the paschal
lamb was sprinkled upon the door-posts of the houses of Israel, was to
teach you, and your children, and your children's children to the latest
generation of those that shall accompany you to the throne of God,
that the atonement of Christ must be applied by faith, that the blood



Online LibraryG. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) HallockThe English pulpit : collection of sermons → online text (page 15 of 45)