« ÎnapoiContinuă »
good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves; but by his own blood, He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." Such is the grand truth contained in the words of the text; a truth which abounds with blessings to the church of Christ in all ages of the world.
I. Let us consider mankind as needing this sacrifice.
II. Let us reflect upon the goodness of God in appointing it.
III. We shall be led to consider the value which we ought to set upon such an act of divine mercy.
1st. If man had not fallen from his original righteousness, there would have been no need of an atonement for sin. Where there is no debt incurred, we need no Surety-for where no law is, there is no transgression.* Where there is no transgression, we need no pardon; where there is no breach of the law, we need not fear strict justice. But this is not our case. In
* Rom. iv. 15.
the present state of human nature, no man of common sense, possessed of any portion of due consideration, who knows his own heart at all, can question but that we are all exposed to the just and righteous anger of God against sin. Scripture is plain upon the point, and experience speaks as clearly in confirmation of Scripture. "We have all gone out of the way, we are algether become unprofitable, there is none that doeth good; no, not one." We may all take up the confession of the psalmist, and say, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin didmy mother conceive me!" How, then, is man to be saved? Where is he to look for a righteousness which will stand before God, seeing he has lost his own original righteousness?
Shall paradise be shut for ever against him? Shall the flaming sword never be taken out of the way? Shall he, with the afflicted Job, sit down upon the ground, and no man speak a word unto him, seeing that his grief is very great? Shall heaven, with all its joys, be lost upon the children of Adam? No! my brethren, the almighty and ever-blessed God has far different de
signs towards us. We have sinned, and we LOD do sin; and shall sin more or less, so long as we continue in these mortal bodies; but a day is coming when sin, with all its dreadful consequences, shall have no place. "O death, where is thy sting?" saith the apostle; “O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law." But there is One who has disarmed those enemies! "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ." We hasten-with joy of heart we hasten to consider,
2ndly. The wisdom and the goodness of God, in appointing an all-sufficient sacrifice for sin. Here unassisted reason is lost in vain conjectures. It is only to the word of God that we can look with any degree of comfort and satisfaction on such a subject as this. We read, throughout the whole of the Old Testament, of sacrifices offered to expiate sin. At one time the blood of bullocks and goats is poured forth; at another, the sins of the people are confessed over the head of the scape-goat, and he bears them away into the wilderness, never again to be remembered at another, a bird
is made the sacrifice, and a running brook carries away the defilement. All these ceremonies were typical of the one great sacrifice to be made for sin upon the cross. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh how much more shall the blood of Christ, who, through the Eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God!”*
The writer in our own church, of late years, who perhaps studied this great subject contained in the Epistle to the. Hebrews more attentively than other men, was the late Mr. Jones of Nayland. † Speaking of the difference between the high priest of the tabernacle and the high priest of the sanctuary, (Jesus Christ,) he says, "The latter was both priest and sacrifice. And it was necessary it should be so;
* Heb. ix. 13.
+ His Lectures on the figurative Language of Scripture, and on the Epistle to the Hebrews, are a mine of wealth to the Christian mind, and the most interesting and convincing pieces of divinity. For a more elaborate treatise of older date, we should say the work of the great Owen.
for the blood of bulls and of goats could not take away sins; the cattle upon a thousand hills could not make an atonement for one sinner. There is, indeed, one visible relation, in the eye of human reason, between the death of a sheep and the pardon of sin; but that Christ, a perfect man, the accepted and beloved Son of God, should shed his blood to save our souls, in that there is so much sense, that it is the very wisdom of God, and the power of God."
With what joy, then, should the Christian receive and welcome this great truth-that the second person in the ever-blessed and glorious Trinity was made flesh, and dwelt among us; that he lived, suffered and died for our sins, and that he rose again for our justification! Well might the apostle St. Paul, when about to take his departure from the church at Ephesus, exhort them in these words; "Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." And it is to be observed that the beloved John, writing to the seven churches in Asia, says,