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The Penitent Thief.

The Penitent Thief.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. GEORGE BURDER.

" AND HE SAID UNTO JESUS, LORD, REMEMBER ME -U'HEN THOU COMEST INTO THY KINGDOM. AND JESUS SAID UNTO HIM, VERILY I SAY UNTO THEE, TO-DAY SHALT THOU BE WITH ME IN PARADISE." Lukk 23 : 42. 43.
BY REV. GEORGE BURDER.

" AND HE SAID UNTO JESUS, LORD, REMEMBER ME -U'HEN THOU COMEST INTO THY KINGDOM. AND JESUS SAID UNTO HIM, VERILY I SAY UNTO THEE, TO-DAY SHALT THOU BE WITH ME IN PARADISE." Lukk 23 : 42. 43.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Mar 28, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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03/28/2014

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THE PENITENT THIEF.
BY REV. GEORGE BURDER.
" AND HE SAID UNTO JESUS, LORD, REMEMBER ME -U'HEN THOU COMEST INTO THY KINGDOM. AND JESUS SAID UNTO HIM, VERILY I SAY UNTO THEE, TO-DAY SHALT THOU BE WITH ME IN PARADISE." Lukk 23 : 42. 43. Who can read these words, or consider the conversion and pardon of the dyin^ thief, without exclaiming in the words of St. Paul, " Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound !" Here is a wonderful instance of divine, free, and sovereign grace abounding towards the chief of sinners : it is recorded for the encouragement of great sinners in every age, that they may take refuge in Christ " who are ready to per-ish ;" and it affords a pleasing proof that " He is able to save to the uttermost, all who come to God by him." Our blessed Lord was crucified with two thieves, and placed between them, that he might be thought the worst of the three. But thus the Scripture was fulfilled : " He was numbered with the transgressors," or criminals. The chief priests, the scribes, the rulers, and the mob, all joined in mocking and deriding him ; not content with beholding his extreme sufferings, they had the cruelty to add insult to his pains. " Come down from the cross," said they, " and we will believe. Thou that didst save others, save thyself;" and
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" save us too," said the thieves : not seriously, but by way of taunt ; for it is written, " The thieves also which were cruci-fied with him, cast the same in his teeth." what an in-stance is this of the savage hardness of the human heart ; how dreadful, that wicked men, dying in their sins, should strive to forget their own agonies, that they might join in abusing and insulting the Son of God ! A state of more des-perate and confirmed wickedness can hardly be conceived. SERMON XXXVII. 387 But behold the grace of God ! One of these men is snatched as a brand from the fire; plucked, as in an instant, out of the very jaws of destruction. An astonishing, perhaps a sudden change is produced. He cries for mercy, and he obtains it. He looks to Jesus, and is saved. From being a hardened sinner, he becomes at once an eminent saint; ob-tains assurance of immediate bliss ; and passes from the cross to glory. Let us now carefully consider the two parts of our text, into which it naturally divides itself: 1. The prayer of the dying malefactor.
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2. The gracious answer of the Saviour. I. In attending to his prayer, consider for a moment the character of the criminal, for a criminal he was ; a malefac-tor, a highwayman, one who belonged to a desperate gang of robbers who infested that country, a set of seditious banditti, who were for shaking oif the Roman yoke, and who lived by rapine and plunder. It is not improbable that he was a mur-derer also, for such men scruple not to kill as well as steal. This is the man who becomes the trophy of sovereign grace. For surely it will be admitted that here was no previous good-ness or worthiness to recommend him to the divine favor. Is it not astonishing to hear such a man as this suing for mercy ? But what cannot grace effect, and that in a mo-ment ! He who in the first creation said, " Let there be light, and there was light," can, in an instant, dart a ray of spirit-ual light into the darkest mind. "Whether any means were employed for the communication of this light or not, we can-not say. Some imagine he was first affected by the strange, total, supernatural darkness, which then suddenly overspread the land — an emblem of the inward darkness which soon involved the sacred soul of our dear Redeemer ; and a dismal presage of the dreadful ignorance and darkness which should cover the Jews, and which has covered them ever since.
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