David Harsha, "The Crucifixion"
How full of mercy is the Redeemer of mankind;
in His own death saving the dying malefactor!
While nailed to the accursed tree, enduring the
most indescribable suffering both of body and soul,
He turns His gracious eye to the penitent thief, and
addresses to him these cheering words, "I assure
you, today you will be with Me in paradise." Luke 23:43
What more animating words could have been spoken
by the Savior to one whose past life was stained with
sin, and who was now punished for his transgression, and
about to appear before the Judge of heaven and earth!
Today you shall pass with Me through the gates of Paradise.
Today you shall drink wine with Me in My Father's
kingdom, and eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life,
which grows in the midst of Paradise.
Today you shall enjoy the most blissful and intimate
communion with Me in those heavenly mansions which
are irradiated by the glory of God and the Lamb.
Wondrous grace indeed!
How glorious the transition to that poor
dying thief, reclaimed by sovereign grace!
Little did he think, when that last morning of his
life dawned, that the day of his wretched execution
was to end in such happiness; that the storm of
angry elements of the morning would be changed
into so blessed an evening's calm.
Conceive of the rapid and glorious change!
In the morning nailed to the cruel cross;
in the evening wearing a golden crown!
In the morning cast out as too vile for earth;
in the evening welcomed into the highest heaven!
In the morning blaspheming a dying Savior;
in the evening with that Savior in Paradise!
In the morning pierced with sorrows more
bitter than the nails in his hands and feet;
in the evening ceasing from care and pain,
and enjoying a peaceful rest!
In the morning surrounded by angry foes,
in whose curses he joined; in the evening
received among angels and the spirits of the
just, joining in the chorus of the redeemed!
In the morning on earth;
in the evening in heaven!
In the morning on the borders of hell;
in the evening caught up to Paradise.
How marvelous, how matchless, the richness of Divine grace!
Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin!
Precious fountain of redeeming blood!
How many thousands, once as vile as the dying thief,
have since washed their robes in this blood of the Lamb;
thousands who are now with Christ in Paradise. Yes,
with Christ beholding His surpassing glory; now tasting
of the immortal fruit of the Tree of Life; now standing
before the throne, and joining in all the sweet, and
melodious, and transporting songs of the heavenly temple!