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light distinguished from all others, and his blood had a cleansing and a healing power by virtue of its pureness. It is easy to see how a guilty man dying for the guilty, does not make satisfaction to the full extent of the case, for, being criminal, and having offences of his own to expiate, he does not come before the offended party as a perfectly fit and equal substitute. But an innocent man, laying down his life for the guilty, offers a full equivalent, if the judge shall be pleased to accept of a substitute. Now, Christ is declared in Sacred Scripture to have given his life a ransom for many; to have died for the sins of the whole world ; to have taken our infirmities and borne our sicknesses; to have made reconciliation for the sins of the people; to have died the just for the unjust; to have been the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; to have been made to us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption; to have washed us in his blood ; and to have obtained eternal redemption for us. And God is said to have accepted us in the beloved ; to have justified or acquitted us in the name of the Lord Jesus ; to have forgiven us all trespasses; to have taken us
into the near relationship of sons and daughters, as brethren of Christ and joint heirs of the promised and purchased possession; to have sent his Son into the world to save it ; in his love and in his pity to have redeemed - us; and to have placed us in circumstances as favourable as if we had never offended him.
When, therefore, to sum up all that has been said, we view the condition of man as he stood in consequence of the fall, and when we observe the holiness of God as a perfect being, requiring satisfaction, not from the impulse of passion or the thirst of revenge, but from a due regard to his offended justice, we cannot but observe, that an atonement was necessary to bring about a reconciliation between parties thus estranged,-between the Creator whose purity abhors transgression, and the creature whose nature had learned to delight in it; and as the life of man was the only valuable consideration he had to offer, and that was now forfeited by his choice of evil, it was worthy of the wisdom and goodness of God to provide a victim meet for the sacrifice. Of all the victims which could be offered up, none was so suited to the purpose as his own Son.
He stood in all human respects clear of sin and clear of imperfection, enriched with every possible grace, and full of the glory of his Father's excellence. His life was spent in exemplifying the character of innocence, and his death was a catastrophe which hath no parallel in the history of our
Other men have died victims to malice, to injustice, to contempt, to calumny, and every malevolent passion. The records of the world abound with proofs of innocent sufferers being sacrificed to the will of the guilty. But no instance can be found of a perfectly good man dying as proxy for, and on the behalf of those who put him to death, nor of any man who professed to die for the sins of the whole world. This, however, Jesus Christ has done, and by his one offering, he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
How should the consideration of so much kindness affect our hearts, and move us to the most lively demonstrations of gratitude and joy! Who can view his Redeemer, a great and spotless being, coming down from above, from the Father of lights, dwelling among men, and dying upon the cross for their redemption, without looking inwardly upon himself, and asking with awe and amazement, if he ever deserved so vast a blessing ? The good things of this life are many, and the enjoyments of every one are greater than he deserves. But whatever they are, they fade away before the blessings of redemption, and are, in the strictest sense of the word, not worthy to be compared with them. Can we then receive such favours at the hand of God, and not confess them? Can we be so much honoured beyond all that we can ask or think, and not return it ? Our holiness and innocence, our submission and affection, are the only tests of our regard which God will acknowledge. If we fear to offend his sacred majesty; if we love him with our whole heart; if we spend our lives in dutiful attendance on his service, and manifest a devout concern for our immortal welfare; if, in short, we so imitate our Lord and Master, as, in the language of an Apostle, to “put on Christ,” our conformity to the blessed and onlybegotten Son will endear us to his heavenly Father, and when the great and eventful period of our dissolution comes, we shall be taken up into glory, and receive this gracious welcome from his lips, “ Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
THE BREAD OF LIFE.
JOHN vi. 35.
JESUS SAID UNTO THEM, I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE: HE THAT COMETH TO ME SHALL NEVER HUNGER; AND HE THAT BELIEVETH ON ME SHALL NEVER THIRST.”
The figurative style of expression with which Scripture abounds, is well suited to the lofty subjects of which it treats, and to that disposition of the human mind which is fond of mystery, and loves to discover truths which are but imperfectly revealed. By throwing a veil over some of its more important particulars, it clothes them with an air of mystery, and by rendering this veil penetrable to the skill of man, and capable of being drawn aside by his talents and industry, it stimulates his researches after truth, and makes him the gratified discoverer of hidden things. Thus, the shadowy parts of the Old Testament are among the most interesting portions of ancient history, for they cover future realities, and he who sits down to their investigation, will not only find in them beauties which he never thought of before, but will see, as through a glass, the Christian Scriptures clearly