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influence of it was to extend to the whole race of mankind, it was highly requisite that they, who lived before the offering of the body of Jesus, should have some intimations of this gracious dispensation ; which were accordingly made, not only in that promise to our first parents, “ that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head," but, likewise, by the sacrifice of slain beasts, * as typical and prefigurative of that better sacrifice to be offered up once in the end of the world ;+ that so man, living by sense as well as faith, might have some visible representative of the Lord's death till he came : and that this was the immediate design of the bloody victims offered up presently after the fall, and most probably instituted by divine authority to evince, that, without shedding of blood, there is no remission, may be rightly inferred from those remarkable words of the apostle, where he says,
that “ the blood of sprinklingt (called, in another place, the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ) speaketh better things than that of Abel ;" i. e. than the blood of the sacrifice of Abel,ll which, though more excellent than that of Cain, because offered up in the faith of a Saviour to come, was as much inferior to the offering of Jesus, as the type is to the antitype, or the shadow to the substance.
That the lamb was principally, if not solely, used on this occasion, in the first ages of the world, may, with great probability, be concluded from that passage in the Revelations, “the Lamb of God slain from the
* " Made coats of skins, Gen. iii. 21, i. e. De pellibus bestiarum Dei jussu mactatarum in sacrificiis. Vide Gen, iv. 3, 4, and visi. 20.” Ainsworth.
+ “Cur Christus tunc passus est, non statim post lapsum, 1o. Ut naturæ et legis imbecillitas ad sanandum hominem pate fieret. 2. Ut tot testificationibus prophetiarum et typorum prænunciatus adventus, et passio Christi, credibilior foret.” Estius.
† The blood of sprinkling. “Sic vocatur Christi sanguis, quia sicut veteres illi victimarum sanguine aspergebantur ad carnalem sanctitatem, nempe ut ingredi possent in sanctuarium terrestre, Num. xix. Heb. ix. 13, &c. Ita nos sanguine Christi, vel satisfactione ejus. perducimur ad æternam vitam. Alludit hîc potius ad aspersionem sanguinis illam, Exod. xxiv. 8, quâ vetus illus foedus sancitum est.” See Poole's Synopsis.
|| “ Sacrificium Christi longe efficacious est ad gratiam Dei nobis conciliandam, quam sacrificium animalium Abelis. Sacrificium autem Abelis hic nominat, tamquam primum omnium in Scriptura memoratorum, quod etiam Deus testatus est sibi gratissimum fuisse.” Knatchbull.
foundation of the world ;*" and, likewise, from Isaac's question to his father, Abraham ; « Behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering ?" and it was particularly dignified under the Mosaical covenant in the commemoration of the passover, which was an eminent type of Christ, our passover, I who was sacrificed for us. When, therefore, the great antitype appeared, who came to fulfil the law of darnal ordinances, could bis forerunner have described him more aptly than in the words of the text? “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away
the sin of the world :" for, this signifies that the way into the holiest of all was now made manifest; and, Christ being come a high priest of good things to come, there was of necessity a disannulling of the former commandment|| of gifts and sacrifices, which were a figure for the time then present, and served only as a schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.
Since, then, we are no longer under the law of rites and ceremonies, but under grace and truth, which came by Jesus Christ, it is'incumbent upon us to express our acknowledgements of this gracious dispensation
*“ From the foundation, &c. Agnus dicatur occisus ab origine mundi, non actu, .cui repugnat Heb. ix. 26, sed respectu, 19. Decreti divini, quo sensu Christus præcognitus dicitur ante mundi constitutionem. 20. Promissionis illius, Gen. iii. 15. 3o. Victimarum veterum, quæ erant ipse Agnus sacramentaliter. 4°. Virtutis et efficaciæ istius occisionis, quæ viguit ab origine mundi. Vide Act. xv. 11, 18.” Paræus, &c.
+ “ Mire hoc sauciavit animam Abrahæ. Qui non simul et semel rem totam Isaaco patefecit.” Ainsworth, &c.
“ Christus mysticum Pascha, i. e. Agnus Paschalis, ut vox Pascha sæpe sumitur. Sicut sanguine Agni Paschalis allito postibus liberati sunt Israelitæ ab excidio, ita et Christiani per sanguinem Christi aspersum cordibus, i. e. per fidem ex passione Christi conceptam, liberaretur a communi exitio humani generis.” Grotius, &c.
Abrogatio reteris pacti. Quod a novo magis proprie distinguitur, sroans, quam dianums, appellatione ; prius enim illud pactum positum est in ritibus externis. Evangelium autem fædus, sive testamentum (id enim diaInang significat) in iis positum est, quæ Christus pro nobis præstitit, &c." Beza.
§ “ Sensus simplex est, legem veluti pædagogum tam diu durasse, atque impositam fuisse populo, usque dum tempus illud venisset, quo evangelium toti mundo revelatum est. Vide Rom. x. 4.'s Episcopius.“ Lex tam ceremonialis significando et pronunciando, quam moralis infirmitatem hominis arguendo, Christum at scopum spectabat; ad eum tendit, ducit, et vocat.". Tirinus.
in the inost gra tcfut and devout manner. Oh! that men would, therefore, praise the Lord for bis goodness and for this wonderful work to the children of men! Let us take an impartial view of ourselves and then look up to the cross of Christ, and we shall stand amazed to tik that “ God so loved the world* that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Lord, wivat was main, that thou past thus mindful of him, dr the Son of man that thou so regardedst lrim!” That the offended Majesty of heaven should accept any ransom for the sinful captive there was little reason to expect; but, that the Lord should lay on the Son at his bosom tle iniquity of us all, and make his soul an offering for sin, who could have believed such a report, had not a man, sent from God to bear witness of the light, positively declared, “ Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
But, at the same time that we admire and adore the unbounded mercy and goodness of God, ought we not likewise to tremble and shudder at infinite justice! He, that spared not his own Son but delivered him up for us all,|| hath exhibited not only an instance of inexpressible compassion to the sinner, but the most striking proof of his detestation of sin. That, without shedding of blood, there should
* The world, i. e. “Homines quosvis sine disceimine non Judæos tantum, quibuscum fædus habebet aliquod, sed genus humanum. Opponit hoe Christus sententiæ Judæorum, qui totum or. bem distinguebant in Israelem, et nationes mundi, docebant, nationes mundi a Messia non solùm non redimendas, sed vastandas et destruendas, Hieros, Taanith, fol. Ixiv. 1." Lightfoot.
+ “ Only-begotten Son. Suum unigenitum ac proinde naturalem et charissimum. Rom. viii. 32. Non satis erat filium dixisse, nisi addidisset unigenitum. Allusio est ad Gen. xxii. 12.” Grotius, &c.
| Bishop Pearce understands the world here to signify the Lund of Judea; but this restrained sense of the word by no means corresponds with the acknowledgement of the woman of Samaria, that Christ was the Saviour of the world; and that declaration of St John, that he is the propitiation for our sins; (i. e. the Jews;) and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. “ Christus, quâ Deus, äięco, aufert peccatum remittendo ; sed quà Agnus Dei et victim piacularis, de
qua hîc agitur, augue, portat peccatum, portando expiat, expiando aufert, efficitque ut remittatur. Est ergo hîc điqui tum swa, tum bao, Esa. 53.” Lud. de Dieu.
| "Quod in Abrahamo signum fuerat amoris in Deum, Gen. xxii. 12; id in Deo signum benevolentiæ adversus homines." Grotius.
be no remission of sins* is an alarming reflection indeed; but, that no other satisfaction could appease the wrath of God, but the precious blood of his own Son, must give us the most awful idea of divine equity, and shew us, that, had not the deity accepted of the vicarious sufferings of the Saviour, he would have vindicated his honour in the eternal punishment of the sinner.
Let us now turn our eyes from the tremendous majesty of the Father to the infinite condescension of the Son of God, who died for a sinful world. Behold him, either in his life or death, and you will think it almost impossible that he should voluntarily submit to what he certainly did for us and our salvation. At his birth the Prince of Peace had no better accommodations than the beasts of the field ;+ and, at his death, he was numbered with the transgressors. Can we see the Son of God lying in a manger and not be amazed at this unparalleled instance of humility and debasement? Can we behold the Lamb of God, pouring forth his soul, an offering for sin on the cross,|| and not be astonished at this adorable example of love and compassion ? Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends, but Christ died for his enemies,g and suffered the miseries of a despicable life, and the agonies of a painful ignominious death, for sinful rebellious man.
." Quamvis nonnullæ mundationes legales sine sanguine fierent, nulla tamen ad remissionem peccatorum instituta erat ceremonia, quæ sanguinis effusionem non exigeret. Hinc optime colligitur, in nova lege non fieri veram peccatorum remissionem sine sanguine Christi.” Estius.
+ Than the beasts of the field. Reclinavit eum in stabulo, Qaton dicitur Busacior, vel innovatio, stabulum ubi jumenta stant. In stabulo habitabant, ibi virgo peperit, ibi infans positus." Mal. donat, &c.
With the transgressors. “ Totum illud Esaiæ vaticinium, c. liii. 12, in se implendum Christus prædixerat, Luc. c. xxii. 37. Et inter duos latrones pendens pro tertio habitus est. Jesus in me." dio, ut latronum antesignanus et princeps; id quod Judæorum consilium erat.” Brugensis, &c.
M “ Nullum sacrificium Deo potest esse gratius quàm ubi idem est et sacerdos et victima. Acce. dit, quod in nullo sacrificio perfectior obedientia ; et fructus ejus, salus humani generis.” Grotius.
When he was upon the cross he prayed for his murderers; “ Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do:" thereby fulfilling that part of the prediction of Isai. c. liii. 12, and made intercession for the transgressors. Which Grotius himself acknowledges in Luke, xxiii. 34; and yet interprets this verse and the whole chapter in Isai. of Jeremiah, the prophet. But, as Calovius
But, alas! do not we too frequently hear the cross of Christ vilitied and traduced, and the blasphemous sinner railing against his suffering Saviour? nay, do not even the disciples of the blessed Jesus often shew too little regard and reverence to the author of cternal salvation? Would the sinner reflect, that it was for his sake that this man of sorrows was thus smitten, stricken of God, and afflicted, he would sorely lament those sins and iniquities which nailed the Son of God to the cross, and put him to an open shame. Weep not for me," said the holy Jesus, just before his passion, “ but
weep for yourselves and your chilHow can men contemplate this great mystery of godliness, a suffering Saviour, without the deepest compunction of soul? How can they look upon him whom their own sins have pierced, † without great sorrow of licart? Can you doubt the reality of his sufferings? Behold the man; view his hands and his feet torn with nails, his side streaming with blood, and you will need no other conviction of the humanity of Christ. Do you doubt the merits of
Saviour? Behold the God. Go and hear those things which the disciples of John will tell
you; “ The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up.” But, if you
think these partial witnesses, ask the centurion at the cross who this Jesus of Nazareth was, and he will answer; Truly this man was the Son of God.||"
observes, “ Mirandum profectò, Grotium in tanta luce cæcutire; nihil hîc nisi meræ detorsiones sine alla probatione, ac si dictaturam exerceret Grotius in Sacra Oracula. Nam si ob qualemcunque historiæ convenientiam prophetias applicare, et quæ non quadrant ita torquere, fas esset, cereus nasus foret S. Scriptura.”
Respicit Christus morem hominum de suis, quam de alienis, 'malis magis dolentium; q.d. si calamitates quæ vobis impendent videretis, non vacaret vobis lachrymas mihi impendere." Grotius.
ť “ Novo peccato dant novam causam crucis et mortis Christi, ita ut, si prior redemptio non satis esset, cogerent eum rursus pati crucis supplicium.” Estius, &c.
“ Cur non asserte respondet se Christum esse? Homines incredulos non verbis convincere voluit, sed factis; quod certius erat testimonium et calumniæ minus obnoxium. Hic enim miraculorum finis erat, ut declararent Jesuin esse verum Messiam, Joh. v. 36, &c.” Brugensis, &c.
11 " Agnoscit eum esse Messiam, quem pro filio Dei agnoverunt ipsi Judæi, ex 1 Par. xvii. 15, Ps. ii, 12, and lxxxix. 26, 27, ex quibus centurio id audiverat.” Lightfoot.