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far it appears, that the salvation of sinners has its origin in th$ death and sufferings of Jesus.
Thirdly, Christ has not only procured by his blood, that a plan of reconciliation might be proposed to his forlorn and aposr Tate creatures, in perfect consistency with all the rights of divine government—but he also brought it to pass, that the Holy Spirit should some forth with all his sanctifying operations, for the effectual accomplishment of the designs of his death. This part of Christ's cleansing us from all sin by his blood, was not only as necessary as the others mentioned, but in many respects, more jo. The design of saving ruined man, must have certainly miscarried, had not the agency of the Holy Spirit been engaged to j-estore and bring him back to God.
It was not the only inconveniency attending our fallen state, that we had become debtors to the law, and obliged to suffer its awful penalties; it was not our only misery that the image of God had been effaced from our hearts, tfcat all 'intercourse between heaven and us had been broken off, and the just requisitions of the divine government were our eternal destruction; these, I say, were not the only consequences of our apostacy, but man, with the first transgression, contracted an indisposition of bean towards God. Before this awful event, God was the Father, friend, and portion of man, and man delighted in him with the most tender filial affection; he was to his feeling the life, and joy, and happiness of his soul. No sooner had he perpetrated the forbidden deed, than this blissful temper was changed into estrangement of heart, and alienation of affectien. from God. Immediately he runs away and hides himself from God, not merely through fear of his wrath, but through aversion from his friendship, and hatred to his perfections. This is the universal temper of mankind by nature. They choose to be fas from, and to live without God in the world. They have no tasta far Uii presence, or desire of intercourse with him,
While this remains the temper of man's heart, it is evident from the nature of things, as well as the gospel offers, his salvation must be impossible. Hence, if man is to be recovered, some agency must be employed, to redress this unhappy cast of mind. For the removal of this dreadful impediment, it was provided in the eternal counsels, that the third person of the adorable Trinity, should descend to the world, and deal internally with the hearts of sinners, and render the proposed treaty of reconciliation effectual to the salvation of man, by the ministry of the gospel.
In subserviency to his designation in the stipulated scheme, the Holy Spirit descends, impresses the hearts of sinners with a sense of their departure from God, and the fatal consequences of their horrid conduct; he brings strongly into their view, by the application of gospel truth, the character of God, the excellency of his law, the deformity of sin, and their own abominable wickedness and folly. He creates in the sinner a new heart, and disposes him to return to God again. He forms the penitent sentiment, and promotes the returning resolve. The Holy Spirit effectually performs the great business of reconciliation, subdues the stubborn heart, disposes the guilty creature to accept of Jesus Christ, as his only Lord and Saviour, to trust in his righteousness alone for justification, and cordially to obey the holy and selfdenying laws of the gospel. When the sinner's heart is thus formed anew, he immediately submits to the gospel covenant, and becomes the subject of the precious promises and blessings thereof. He receives the remission of his sins, and a title to the heavenly inheritance. God becomes again his God, and he is considered in the character and relation of a child and heir. The Holy Spirit is given him as a seal of his sonship, to dwell in him, to form his soul into a habitation of holiness, and to be his constant instructor and comforter. hat the Holy Spirit thus descends, in consequence of Christ's death for the above purposes, is the evident sense of the divine oracles in various places. It is in this view, that the Holy Ghost is so frequently stiled the spirit <yf Christ. And often times his gracious influences are represented as the gift of the Mediator, for the accomplishment of the purposes of his death, to wit, the reconciliation of sinners to God, and the sanctification of their natures. It is on this account, the proper reffccts of the Spirit's agency on the heart, are ascribed to the death and blood of Jesus. ' Thus we read, " He himself bore ** our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sin "might live unto righteousness." Now both these particulars, "dead to sin, and alive to righteousness," which are here ascribed to the sufferings of Christ on the tree, are the peculiar operations and effects of the Spirit. Therefore, "'He was made a * curse for us, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit." It pleased the Father, that in him all fullness shoilld dwell, having made peace by the blood of his cross, aifd that he might reconcile all things to God. But in the accomplishment of this hig4i concern, .wherein everything is attributed :to the blood of the Redeemer, the whole scriptures every where represent the interposing operations of the Holy Spirit, as his part of the work of salvation, though the cross, rationally speaking, was the deobstruent cause of this infinite business, yet the Holy Spirit, in conducting this matter to its full event, is ever introduced as of essential consequence. He had his part appointed him in the eternal counsels, and it was and is fulfilling with almighty power; therefore, wkile we magnify the blood of Christ, in which the .whole work of the Spirit is comprehended, we must not lessen' the latter, to appreciate the former. In the general adjustment, there can be no doubt, but the first and third person, supported their perfectly equal part with the second, in bringing forth, or exhibiting all the glories of God to the whole universe of intelligences. In this world, the cross of Christ bears such a conspicuous part, in conducting the grand plan, that all, in many places, seem to be attributed thereto. Hence our text, in one Comprehensive phrase, comprises the eternal counsels and decrees, the part each person in the adorable Trinity slxiuld sustain, and the event of the full display of all the attributes of Godhead, in this single sentence, a sentence which nothing but divine inspiration could suggest, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son, cleans“cth us from all sin.” Hence the whole system is represented in the revelation of St. John, that we are washed from our sins in the blood of the Mediator. His office in the grand economy. constituted him the Mediator. A mediator he was, to the astonishment of heaven, earth, and hell. These are all the worlds we know, and Jesus Christ is the joy, wonder, and terror of the whole. Allow me to remark, the Holy Spirit is too much neglected, in lectures on the gospel—but in revivals of religion, he is always brought forth, as bearing a distinguishing part ; and I would also observe, that at those times alone, as far as my observation extends, he is only admitted to a common share in the salvation of man. The Spirit is the great agent in the negociation of grace. But the Spirit descends for the sanctification of sinners, only in consequence of the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Fourthly, We are cleansed from our sins by the blood of the cross, as the death and sufferings of Jesus, have a tendency in their nature, to command the attention of the guilty children of men.—To paint to their senses the odious and vile nature of sin, its abominableness in the sight of an holy God, its contrariety to his nature, and its perfect opposition to his government.
If the human heart was not sunk beneath every proper feeling towards God, the sufferings of Christ would have a powerful influence to make us hate sin, and induce us to vigorous endeavor: after holiness; to fill our souls with love and gratitude, to quicken us in duty, and to engage us to cultivate a divine and holy temper of soul. Under every consideration, “The blood of “Jesus Christ his Son, cleanseth us from all sin.”
I hasten to close this subject, with a brief improvement.
First, How important and necessary is the death and blood of Christ, to the salvation of men 2 This is all to them. Their
kope, their life, their happiness. Without it, they must have. eternally perished; but by its virtue, they are brought to immortality and eternal glory. Let us, therefore, rejoice in the blood of the cross, and glory in Christ Jesus, the God of our salvation.
Secondly, How great, transcendant, and wonderful the love and grace of God and the Saviour, in the recovery of lost and guilty man? These things are the astonishment of heaven, and angels bend forward and stoop to look into these stupendous things. As these matters engross the attention of the celestial world, how should the hearts of the children of men be filled with admiration, praise, and thanksgiving ?" Sing praises to "the Lord, which dwelleth in Zion, declare among the people "his doings. Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord." Let us unite with " The multitude of the heavenly hosts, saying, '* glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good will to'e ward men. Thanks be to God, who always causeth us to tri«* umph in Christ."
Thirdly, How beautiful the address of our Apostle in another place, when communicating the same idea in our text. "Unto "liim that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own "blood; and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his "Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever."— Where can this ascription be so justly and deservedly applied, as to the Son of God, bleeding and dying for the salvation of a lost and ruined world? Shall the little heroes of mankind, be distinguished with the applauses of all ages, their names and merit recording in historic page, their praises sung by every bard, and the marble made to exhibit their everlasting figure? And shall the Saviour and deliverer of a whole world, be passed by unconsidered and unadmired? Shall the Son of God bleed and suffer the worst of deaths to save a guilty race, and yet receive little or no affectionate regard, even from the persons for whom he died?