At the cross of Calvary, love
and selfishness stood face to face. Here was their crowning manifestation.
Christ had lived only to comfort and bless, and in putting Him to death, Satan
manifested the malignity of his hatred against God. He made it evident that the
real purpose of his rebellion was to dethrone God, and to destroy Him through
whom the love of God was shown.
Under such tuteluge, (how could it be otherwise?) every dispensation
and event was interpreted against God. Signals of reconciliation were hung
out from heaven; treaties were set on foot; but men scowled back defiance,
and exclaimed,"depart from us; we desire not the knowledge of
thy ways." Messenger after messenger was despatched to entreat their
attention, "but they beat up one, stoned another, and killed another."
During the whole tract of time, the principle of human hatred had gone on
growing in intensity, collecting its materials for war, and daily augmenting
in strength, till it had reached so gigantic and threatening a form, that,
if it was to be vanguished by love, and not by power, it was evident that
love must put forth its might in an act unparalleled, unimaginable, and
infinite. Such an act was resolved on. Voices from heaven announced it.
Calvary was selected for the eventful scene.
On the part of God appeared his only-begotten Son, wearing the form of a
human being. Against him came hell and earth: all the nursed and ancient
hatred of the human heart, and all the immemorial enmity which had formed
the atmosphere of hell, were there collected and concentrated against him.
Love and hatred confronted each other. At that
moment, of all the passions and principles in the universe, these two
antagonist powers alone remained. All the diversified sentiments and
emotions of created natures were ranged under, or resolved into, one of
these two principles. And while
the object of the one was to unite its
whole force in a blow which should need no repetiton, to throw all
its accumulated vengeance into one annihilating stroke,
it was the aim of the other, by receiving that stroke, to let the strength of
its foe be exhausted, to vanguish it by submission, to reduce it to a state
of silence and shame at finding its powers and weapons all spent, while yet
the object of its rage stood unimpaired, and even seemed by wounding to