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and forgiveness from his oftended Vaker! We well knew that he had wantonly forfeited both soil and body to liis great Creator, and at the same tiine was sensible that it would cost more to redeem his soul dan he was able to pay. For it could not be supposed that the blood of bulls and of goats could take sin ;* or that the Lord would be pleased with thousands of rams, or ten thousand rivers of oil;ť nor could the sinner hope to atone for the sin of his soul by the fruit of his body. I Behold him shrinking under the agony of his wounded conscience, and almost expiring with despair; but where is the sacrifice to pacify the offended Majesty of beaven, and to reconcile God to man? Why, however this was impossible with men, it was possible with God; for, “ Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. ll”
Let us therefore consider more particularly this great mystery of godliness, and see with what propriety the Redeemer of Mankind receives this appellation of the Lamb of God. That the whole world licth in wickedness, and that the human nature is greatly degenerated and depraved, is a truth which universal experience confirms; and we are assured, by the infallible word of God, that the first parents of mankind were the fatal authors of this disorder and confusion in the human frame, as " By one mang sio entered into the world, and death by sin.L”. In what 'manner the esfects of this original sin are derived to
* The blood of bulls, &c. “ Sacrificia vobis prosunt (sacerdotibus et offerentibus) non mihi, nee sa volui quod cibo indigerem," Muis.
+ Thousands of rams, “ Deridet propheta stultitiam hominum qui Deum placari putant ceremoniis et rebus frivolis.” Calvin. Riters of oil. Oleum usitatum in sacris Hebræorum, Lev. ii. 1.
The fruit, &c. “ Fructum ventris meæ, i. e. uxoris meæ, ut Ps. cxxxii. 11. Quod fecit Jephthe." Grotius. “ Dabone filium meum in valle Hinnom comburendum." Tarnovius.
|| " Agnus erat primum et antiquissimum Christi documentum, Apoc. xiii. 8.” Lightfoot. "Tollit perfectissime, et maculam peccati eluendo, et pænam debitam solvendo, atque ita justitiæ divinæ satisfaciendo.” Brugensis.
f" By one man, i. e. “ Adamum, ut patet, 10. Quod hîc in seq. nominatur, et ut primus homo confertur cum secundo, Christo. 20. Quia solus Adam fuit causa propagationis peccati, &c." Pererius.
1 And death by sin. "Mors tum spiritualis et æterna, tum corporalis, tum omnia utriusque consequentia.” Paræus.
the unhappy descendants of Adam is an unnecessary inquiry: it is but too certain, as was the tree so are the branches;* and it docs not become us so much to ask, with Nicodemus, how can these things be? as to learn, with St Paul, who shall deliver us from the body of this death?
Very dreadful indeed would be the sinner's prospect, were his hope of pardon built upon uncovenanted mercy only, for God must be just to himself as well as merciful to his creatures; and for us to imagine that he will overlook the frequent and heinous provocations we give him, without some satisfaction made to his injured majesty, however favourable to us, is an opinion not altogether so agreeable to infinite justice and; equity. Unless, therefore, some expedient can be found out whereby the punishment of the sinner can be commuted for, nothing can be expected but the indignation and wrath of an offended God. Man bimself was utterly unable to make any atonement for guilt; and the very angels themselves stand so much indebted to their bountiful maker, that all the services they can pay will leave them unprofitable servants.t In this great extremity the Son of God himself looks down with an eye of pity and compassion on the forlorn condition of man, and voluntarily engages to satisfy his offended Father, by suffering a punishment adequate to that the sinner deserved. But what punishment could the Divinity suffer? Or how could he, who only is immortal, become a sacrifice for sin ? The method, by which this stupendous instance of mercy was accomplished, St Paul clearly explains in bis epistle to the Philippians, c. ii. 5: " Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, I thought it not rob
* " Peccatum intravit per propagationem; quia filios genuit Adam ad imaginem suam, non Dei.” Paræus.
† “ Si angelos Deus examinare velit, et secum comparare, et considerare per sese, exclusis donis
quæ in illos contulit; inveniret eos stolidosque vanos et mancos.” Mercer. 1 “Moon, forma designat essentiam et naturam, et proprietates naturæ; idemque est quod soia et puers. Vox autem Dei in hac phrasi sumi potest personaliter et relate, pro forma patris. Hoc accommodatius, ut sequentia indicant, aqualis Deo." Zanchius, &c. F 2
bery* to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation and took
upon him the form of a serrant, and was made in the likeness of men ;t and, being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
In this short, but clear, sketch of man’s redemption every difficulty is removed and every objection answered. For, what God can do we ought not to dispute, and what he himself assures us he has done we must believe and confess. It was decreed, by the wisdom of divine providence, that, without shedding of blood, there should be no remission of sins,ll and that the atonement for the offence should be made in the same nature which had offended. But, how was this to be completed by the eternal Son of God? “ Behold, I shew you a mystery ;" God was manifest in the flesh. The second person in the ever-blessed Trinity, by a miraculous union, joins the divine to the human nature, and so qualifies himself to be a full, perfect, and sufficient, sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.
The time of this great oblation was deferred, for the wisest reasons, till many ages after the fall, which gave occasion for it. But, as the
• Robbery. “ Deitatem suam, quam publice ostentare potuit, in carne assumptâ celavit, non coactus, ut fures res furto ablalas celare solent, ne convincantur furti, sed sponte, &c.” Brentius.
+ “Similis crat hominibus; non accidentaliter, aut phantastice, sed naturaliter et substantialiter; quomodo omnes homines dicuntur esse similes specie, seu naturâ humanâ.” Tirinus, &c.
Of the cross. “ Mortis genus et ignominiosissimum, et maledictum, Deut. xxi. 23.” Estius. But see the remarks on John, iü. 14, in the next Sermon on Zech. xii. 10.
1 “Quamvis nonnullæ mundationes legales sine sanguine fierent, nulla tamen ad remissionem peccatorum instituta erat ceremonia, quæ sanguinis effusionem non exigeret." Gomarus.
“ Hinc tainen optime colligitur, in nova lege non fieri veram peccatorum remissionem sine sanguine Christi. Et hinc destruitur missæ sacrificium, quod cum incruentum esse fateantur, propitiatorium esse nequit.” Estius, &c.
§ It was foretold by God, from the fall of Adam, that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head; and St Paul, speaking of Christ, declares that he took not on him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham; of whom it was also predicted, that in his secd should all the families of the earth be blessed." Dei filius non angelicam, sed humanam, et quidem (secundum promissionem) ex Abrahami posteritate, Rom. ix. 5, Gal. iii16, naturam assumpsit.” Camer. &c.
I "Supponit (Apostolus; Heb. x. 26, peccata a condito mundo expiata fuisse, idque solo Christi sanguine, cujus vis ad præterita et ad consecuta omnia peccata porrigitur." Beza.
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 faithi, 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,|| 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, ix. 3, 4, and viij. 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 adventas, 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. perducimar ad æternam vitam. Alludit hic potius ad aspersionem sanguinis illam, Exod. xxiv. 8, quâ vetus illus fædus 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, who was sacrificed for us.
When, therefore, the great antitype appeared, who came to fulfil the law of carnal ordinances, could his 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
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 commandments of gifts and sacrifices, which were a figure for the time then present, and served only as a schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.ş
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. iï. 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 saucia vit animam Abrahæ. Qui non simul et semel rem totam Isaaco patefecit.” Ainsworth, &c.
1." Christus mysticum Pascha, i. e. Agnus Paschalis, ut vox Pascha sxpe 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 conimuni exitio humani generis." Grotius, &c.
|| Abrogatio reteris pacti. Quod a novo magis proprie distinguitur, kutoaña, quam doaInxns, appellatione ; prius enim illud pactum positum est in ritibus externis. Evangelium autem fædus, sive testamentum id enim dvadnuns significat) in iis positum est, quæ Christus pro nobis præstitit, &c." Beza.
§ " Sensus simplex est, legem veluti pædagogum tam diu durasse, atque impositam fuisse posulo, usque dum tempus illud venisset, quo evangelium toti mundo revelatum est. Vide Rom. 8. 4.', Episcopius. “ Lex tam ceremonialis significando et pronunciando, quam moralis infirmitatem hominis arguendo, Christum ut scopum spectabat; ad eum tendit, ducit, et vocat." Cirinus.