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companions exclaimed, “It is of no use looking there, for there is a spider's web over the mouth of the cave; he cannot have entered without destroying the web.' They passed on, and the astonished and grateful Christian escaped, admiring the providential interference of God in his behalf, who uses even the most insignificant of his creatures, as instruments to promote his own designs of mercy. An important question by way of application arises, Is this religion yours? But is there here an individual who is not possessed of this character ? Oh if this be the case your state is an awful one ; remember how soon the thread of life may be broken. It is absolutely impossible, without this humility, to enter into the realms above.
Again : may it ever be our daily object to pray to God to make us humble. We may do this, but wish to be made humble in our own way; but do not dictate the manner or means ; humble we must be, and let us leave the mode to God. We must be made little before we can become great. Let the spirit of John the Baptist be ours" He must increase, but I must decrease.” May God be magnified and we ourselves lowered in our own estimation continually.
October 29, 1820.
CHRIST THE LAMB OF GOD.
Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin
of the world—JOHN 1. 29.
The context says, that John, seeing Jesus coming to him, saith, “ Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” This is an allusion to the Jewish sacrifice. Lambs were continually sacrificed under the Jewish ritual, to typify the great sacrifice that was to be made of Jesus, who was the lamb of God. The evangelist does not mean to say that Christ was really a lamb. The type and the antitype, the sign and the thing signified are again and again in scripture called by the same name. The Roman Catholics maintain that bread and wine are really changed into the body and blood of Christ, because Christ said, “ This is my body which is given for you : this do in remembrance of me.” This is absurdity, and not only absurdity, but blasphemy.
It is quite as good an argument to say, that in all the lambs that were sacrificed under the ceremonial worship of the Jews, Christ was actually slain and suffered, because St. John said, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” The sufferings and atonement of Christ for sin, had been again and again typified in the lambs that had been sacrificed; but this is the lamb of God; one whom no one could provide but God; the one whom Abraham had in view when in faith he said, “ God will provide himself a lamb.”
Again; he is the Lamb of God, because no one could give such a sacrificial lamb but God. But we are called upon by St. John to “ behold this Lamb of God:” and what is there to be seen in him so worthy of our regard ? Every thing that is lovely. When John pronounced the words of the text, he solicited our attention • to all the beauty and perfection of Deity which God could exhibit to man. Behold in this Lamb of God a Divine person, God as well as man, God from all eternity-man in time; man free from sin, holy, harmless, undefiled. God combining all perfection ; exhibiting the source, the perfection of uncreated beauty, in created beauty; one in whom all the beauty of Deity shone in our own image. We see that beauty beaming upon us in the humanity of the Son.
We see in him one who possessed himself, and provided everything necessary to reconcile God to man, and man to God; equal to the Father as touching his godhead ; inferior to the Father as touching his manhood; one filling the infinite distance between God and man; one whose arm is high enough to reach his Father, and low enough to reach the sinner; to bring them together, and to keep them united for ever. When we thus consider him as God and man in one person, and see him suspended between two thieves, forsaken for a season by heaven and earth: at least, if not forsaken, with nothing but misery flowing into his bosom, then we see the evil of sin, and nowhere else do we really see it, but on the cross of Christ. He was indeed a victim throughout his life, from the womb to the grave ; from the womb he was made under the curse and the precept, intimating he died for infants, as well as for others. Yes, it is on the cross, viewing a divine person, the Creator himself, dying in his humanity under the sin of the creature, that we see the evil of sin in its malignity. Sin presents itself as an evil perpetually in the world in all we see around : if we could remove sin out of the world, there would be an end of misery. We see enough misery around us to prove that sin exists, and happiness enough to
shew that God is a God of mercy. There are many striking illustrations in scripture to prove the evil of sin, and the testimony of our senses echoes the testimony of God. This is the reason why the body and soul are separated. The tendency of sin is not only to destroy the being who is the transgressor, but also to destroy universal being—created and uncreated. The scripture represents the hatred of man as murder ; hatred universally seeks the destruction of the object hated ; and if it be thus with hatred to man, the hatred to God involves a principle which has a tendency to annihilate God. It is much to say, that sin destroys created being, but it is infinitely more to say, it would destroy uncreated being. The image of God, when exhibited in the creature, is hateful to the natural man. The Roman Catholic religion has ever been endeavouring to destroy this image of God, as seen in the true disciples of Jesus. I look around into the book of nature and see the brute creation suffers much; and sometimes we are tempted to wonder at it; but while I would observe, that the aggregate of the happiness of the brute creation is greater than the sum of their suffering, yet the suffering of the brute creation teaches us an important lesson ; it proves that the tendency of sin is to destroy universal being; and when man sinned,