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to bless us, nor approached with the honour of worship. There is a disposition in the human mind to exalt them beyond their true condition, but this is condemned in the scriptures as superstitious and idolatrous. In the book of the Revelation, xxii. 8, 9, we read, 'When I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not, for I am thy fellow-servant; worship God.' Jehovah will not give his glory to another. Let us beware, that however we may admire the glorified inhabitants of heaven, we do not trust in them nor adore.

But whatever temptation may arise from this source, it is more difficult to say, 'There is none upon earth that I desire besides thee.' Our great attractions are to the earth and earthly things. And yet how vain are they all!

Riches! They are uncertain, and make to themselves wings and fly away. They are unsatisfying, mere husks, that cannot be food for a rational and immortal mind. They are perplexing, often more difficult to keep than obtain, to use than earn. 'If riches increase, set not thy heart upon them.' 'Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.'

Pleasures! They are commonly the seeds of pain. Hear one who tried all their rounds, and bore faithful testimony to their insufficiency: "I gave myself unto wine, I made me great works, I got me servants and maidens, I gathered me also silver and gold; whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.'

Ambition! A mere bubble! A phantom that may amuse for a moment, but beguiles and leaves to the bitterness of disappointment. Remember the history of the great king Nebuchadnezzar. 'He spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? While the word',was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken. The kingdom is departed from thee. They shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men.' 'Those that walk in pride,

he is able to abase.'

The creature! We may love him, but not supremely. We may enjoy him, provided only we enjoy God in him. Apart from God he will be a snare. If put in the room of God, he will

be a disappointment. Let us prize him as the gift of God, employ him as the servant of God, use him for the glory of God; but remember his and our dependence upon God, and be ready to part with him at the command of God. 'Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils, for wherein is he to be accounted of?'

The wise man raises his thoughts above the earth. God is his chosen portion. How satisfying and secure! He is reconciled to God in Christ Jesus, and loves, and serves, and honours, and enjoys him as a Father. The divine perfections are his security; unerring wisdom his counsellor; almighty power his support; unchanging faithfulness his refuge; unbounded love his consolation; inflexible justice his defence. The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it and is safe.' 'O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man that trusteth in him.' They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.' O that we may ever breathe the spirit of David, saying with our whole heart,—

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'Whom have I in the heavens high
But thee, O Lord, alone?
And on the earth whom I desire
Besides thee there is none.'

TWENTY-SEVENTH DAY.-MORNING. "Without shedding of blood is no remission,' Heb. ix. 22.

If any one will turn to a concordance, and search for the term blood, he will find it is used with so much frequency in the scriptures as at once to suggest the idea of great importance being attached to it. Nor is it the mere frequency of the term that is remarkable so much as the use of the blood itself, in connection with the doctrines intended to be taught, and the ends to be answered by it. Throughout the whole of the Old Testament scriptures, under all dispensations of religion, it has the greatest prominence given to it. If Abel offered unto God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, one feature of difference between their offerings was the shedding of blood. When Abraham was taken into covenant with God it was sealed by blood. And for its use under the Mosaic economy see the preceding context, from which the passage under meditation is an inference, and in every verse of which the term occurs, ver. 18-22. "Neither the first Testament was dedicated without blood. Moses took the blood of calves and goats and sprinkled the book and all the people-this is the blood of

the Testament-he sprinkled with blood the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministryand almost all things are by the law purged with blood. When it is considered that this is the language of the Holy Spirit, it must be felt that it is used with wisdom and design.

So also in the gospel. Marked attention is paid to the shedding of the blood of Christ. In the agony of the garden his 'sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.' At the time of his death the blood poured freely from his hands and feet, rudely lacerated by the nails that fastened him to the cross, as well as by the injury of the thorns with which, in mockery, he was crowned. And the incident is particularly noticed that as he hung on the cross, a soldier pierced his side with a spear, so that there came thence blood and water. Does there not seem to be a design to teach that all the blood which had flowed in the body of Christ was poured out until life became completely extinct? And when he died, and ordinances were instituted to commemorate his death, these are so ordered as still to keep the shedding of his blood prominently in view. Witness the water in baptism, and wine in the supper.

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But let us inquire what meaneth this? What is the mystery in the shedding of blood? The principle of interpretation is thus given in the law of Moses, the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar, to make an atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul,' Lev. xvii. 11. By pouring out the blood the life was given up, and by giving up the life, in the room of another, atonement was made. Under the law this was figuratively and typically declared, and only so, for the blood of bulls and of goats could never take away sin. But under the gospel this was literally and really accomplished when Jesus Christ poured out his soul unto death, and presented it an offering for sin. The ceremonies of the law were only the shadow, while his death was the substance. And so important is this doctrine, that the entire epistle to the Hebrews was written for its elucidation.

And what was there so peculiar in the shedding of Christ's blood as to render it thus efficacious? This is explained by John saying, the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.' He was the Son of God. As Son he equal partaker of the nature and glory of the Godhead with the Father and the Spirit. Hence the efficacy of his death—its merit is infinite-enough to satisfy for the sins of an apos

was an

tate world.

But why was this necessary to the remission of sin? The law of God required it—the truth of God required it—the honour of God required it-the character of God required it. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins, that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.' Wondrous economy! God glorified while the sinner is saved! The law magnified while the guilty is pardoned! Heaven sounding with praises while earth is redeemed from sin.

For in the one appointment of the shedding of blood a provision is made to meet the evil of sin in all its bearings. Here is pardon, and peace, and purity, and redemption. The blood of Christ is alike a title to heaven, and a motive to holiness. 'There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ.' And upon all such is it enjoined, 'ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and spirit, which are his.'

Am I in Christ? Does the holiness of my life evidence the reality of my faith? O! my soul, the blood of Christ now speaketh peace. Let it be sprinkled on the conscience by the Holy Spirit, whose office it is to apply it to the sinner. But it may be disregarded, and neither its necessity nor worth may be known, and if so, the day cometh when it shall cry for vengeance, worse than that of Abel-when the charge shall be, guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.' And then shall the punishment be that of him 'who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace.'

'Behold the Saviour on the cross,

a spectacle of woe!
See from his agonizing wounds

the blood incessant flow;

Till death's pale ensigns o'er his cheek
and trembling lips were spread;
Till light forsook his closing eyes,
and life his drooping head!

''Tis finish'd-was his latest voice;
these sacred accents o'er,
He bowed his head, gave up the ghost,
and suffer'd pain no more.
'Tis finish'd--The Messiah dies
for sins, but not his own;
The great redemption is complete,
and Satan's pow'r o'erthrown.
"Tis finish'd-All his groans are past;
his blood his pains, and toils,
Have fully vanquished our foes,
and crown'd him with their spoils.
'Tis finish'd-Legal worship ends,
and gospel ages run;

All old things now are past away,
and a new world begun.'



Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you,' Ezek. xxxvi. 25.

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THIS promise is addressed to the Jews, and contains an assurance of their final restoration to the favour and service of God, as is manifest from the context, Ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God,' ver. 28. Then the heathen, that are left round about you, shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate; I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it,' ver. 36.

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Viewed in this application, the promise is singularly rich and precious. For how great is the guilt of Israel! Yet shall it be removed. How deep their depravity! Yet shall it be healed. How inveterate their sinfulness! Yet shall it be overcome. They crucified the Lord of glory, and cried out, His blood be upon us, and upon our children;' for eighteen hundred years they have continued to 'trample under foot the blood of the Son of God;' and by an obstinate perseverance in iniquity they have done despite to the Spirit of his grace. Yet is there mercy in store for them. The blood which they shed shall be applied to them for cleansing. This is the clean water spoken of in the promise. It can, and will make even guilty Israel clean. 'There shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.'

What exalted views does such a promise give us of the redeeming power and love of God! It is, indeed, a satisfying evidence of the precious doctrine of the apostle Paul, 'Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.'

And does it not encourage and require us diligently to seek the recovery of Israel? God has thoughts of mercy towards them, and we should labour to see them blessed with his favour. O for more of the prophet's spirit in the Christian church, breathing its anxieties for the ancient people of God in his words, For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.'

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But it is not Israel only that is concerned in such a promise as this. The dealings of God

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towards them are illustrative of his dealings towards us. They are a living exemplification of the depth of the divine love, and the power of divine grace. Hence Christians are addressed, Ye are come to mount Zion, and the city of the living God' to all the promises and privileges of ancient Israel. The clean water of Calvary has healing virtue for the souls of men in all ages and countries. And the rich promise upon which we dwell may be pleaded wherever there is guilt to pardon, or impurity to cleanse, or ungodliness to change. The address is to sinners, 'ye shall be clean.' And O how various and valuable the blessings which it contains.

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It is a promise of pardon. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.' 'In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.' There is no amount of crime beyond the reach of pardon. In this respect well might Jehovah say by the prophet, My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.' He pardoned Saul of Tarsus and Mary Magdalene. There may be defilement which water cannot cleanse, but there is no guilt which the blood of Christ cannot remove.

It is a promise of purity. And hence is it accompanied with this explanation, 'A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.' The blood of Christ is the 'laver of regeneration,' in which the soul is washed, and in which, while its guilt is removed, its nature is changed. However hardened in sin before, it becomes tenderly alive to the claims of God and the obligations of his service. Its views, and dispositions, and purposes undergo a complete revolution. It may truly be said, 'If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.'

It is a promise of external holiness, as well as inward purity. For it is added, 'I will cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.' When sin is pardoned, it is not that it may be contracted afresh. On the contrary, a powerful motive arises hence to avoid it in future. A sense of pardoning mercy is a mighty sanctifying principle. And when the heart is renewed, this is the qualification for a godly life. Till then the inclination is wanted; but as soon as this is done, holiness becomes the delight of the soul. As Jesus is loved,

so is he imitated and obeyed. The more his | be 'holy, and just, and good.' Holy! distinguishwork is considered, the more powerful its influ- ing in every instance between right and wrong, ence in determining to walk after his precepts. good and evil. Just! determining the claims and The very habit of the Christian is always bear- duties of all intelligent creatures. And good! ing about in the body the dying of the Lord securing the best interests of all who obey it. Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made Now to this law are all subject, at all times, and manifest in his body.' He feels the force of the in all things. None can escape from its observapoet's sentiment tion, or evade its requirements. Nor can it relax its demands, nor forego its obligations. Wherever sin is found, the law detects and condemns it. It is the guardian of Jehovah's character, while it is the expression of his will. Nothing, therefore, can it tolerate that is contrary to the nature and the will of God.

'Talk they of morals? O thou bleeding Lamb ! The grand morality is love to thee.'

But let us not omit to notice that it is a promise upon which we have been meditating. A promise! Therefore we must come to God by prayer, and plead it with him. His language is, 'I will for this be enquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them.' A promise! Therefore we must receive the blessing gratuitously. We cannot purchase it. While we dream of a price, we hinder our reception of it. We are to ask and receive. It is the office of the Holy Spirit to apply the blood of Christ to the conscience, and this is the exhortation of Jesus, 'If your fathers, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto their children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?'

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'By no means!' The phrase is intended to be a strong expression of that which is affirmed. But the expression is not stronger than the reality. God cannot-will not-on no account-by no means clear the guilty.'

His nature forbids it. They who know him must join with the prophet in saying, 'thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.' How hateful sin is to a good man when he turns his eyes from the sight of it, loathing it in his very soul, and feeling towards it only hatred and disgust. But feeble are the emotions of the purest hearts when compared with the displeasure of a pure and holy God. "Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness; neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight; thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing; the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceit

ful man.'

The law of God forbids it. This law is correctly and beautifully described by the apostle Paul to

And how illustrative of both the nature and the law of God have all his dealings towards mankind been. His law was published with a solemn sanction, 'in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.' And since it has been violated, the history of guilty man has been a record of 'weeping, and lamentation, and woe.' 'By the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation. One sin involved a world in ruin. And as in this sinful world iniquity has abounded, so have the divine judgments been poured out. These have sometimes been general, as when the waters of the deluge swept away, in one awful destruction, the guilty inhabitants of the earth. At other times they have been more special, as when, provoked by special transgression, God destroyed the cities of the plain with fire and brimstone. And still are they manifest in the individual history of sinners, who have been plainly warned, 'be sure your sin will find you out,' and who have usually found, sooner or later, that verily there is a God who judgeth in the earth. To all which must be added the day of righteous retribution, when God will lay judgment to the line and righteousness to the plummet, and detect, and expose, and punish the guilty.

Nor will the mercy of God extinguish the attribute of his justice. Let us particularly observe the connection in which we find the subject of our meditation. 'The Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.' The highest expression of mercy is joined with the strongest assertion of justice. And these are obviously brought together for the sake of warning and instruction. Let us carefully weigh the truths which are thus presented for our consideration.

We learn that while God delighteth in mercy

he will yet maintain the claims of his justice. In the gospel, which is the brightest display of love, we have the most awful expression of justice. The very same act, even the gift of his Son, proclaims at the same time both these attributes. 'God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son;' yet it became him to make the Captain of our salvation perfect through suffering.' This way of salvation was chosen, because it was the only one by which the divine attributes could be harmonized in the redemption of sinners. 'God hath set him forth to be a propitiation though faith in his blood; that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.'

We learn that notwithstanding the mercy of God and the gracious provision which it has made for sinners, they who continue in sin shall not escape the righteous judgments of God. Such as have fled to Christ are looked upon in him. God is well-pleased with them for his sake, and he can and does justify them freely through him. But they who have not been united with him,. and must therefore be treated upon the ground of their own worthiness, cannot stand before him when he ariseth to judge terribly the earth. For as his nature is still opposed to sin, and his law still condemnatory of it, the transgressor cannot escape either his cognizance or his wrath. As the provision of the gospel has not been embraced by him, 'the wrath of God abideth on him.'

We learn that the mercy of the gospel aggravates the guilt of the sinner. After describing its provisions, the apostle Paul exclaims, 'how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?' Unbelief is a sin of the greatest magnitude. The fullness, the freeness, and the grace of the gospel, are its high aggravations. The unbeliever makes Jesus, the Friend, the Saviour of sinners, his enemy. He has rejected the proffers of his love, and he shall meet the terrors of his displeasure. And it becomes him to ponder well the question, 'Who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth?'

when they sin against him. This is among the promises he has given them, 'I will visit your iniquity with stripes.' And has he not ever done so? How has he exposed and humbled his erring servants! The sin of Abraham, when he deceived Abimelech, was detected, and is recorded to his shame. David sought to cover his sin, but God made both it and its punishment public. An ungodly man may be allowed to conceal his crime, for it will be punished hereafter; but God will not permit his own servants to escape. Let us learn to be watchful. God is jealous of the holiness of his people. And may we never forget what may be interpreted either as a warning or a promise, 'he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.'


'The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all,' Isa. liii. 6,

In this passage the prophet states comprehensively the doctrine of our Lord's atonement, setting forth in few and simple words its origin, and nature, and extent. Let us follow him in the views which he has so well expressed. And may their contemplation warm our cold hearts!

1. What took place is ascribed to the Lord. He it was who laid the iniquity of sinners upon Christ. The wonderful scheme originated with God himself, nor could it have been conceived by any finite mind. In the wonderful person and the atoning work of his own Son, he saw how pardon might be dispensed to the guilty consistently with justice; how the law might be magnified, while the transgressor was acquitted; how God might be glorified, and the sinner saved. What divine wisdom devised, his unbounded love consented should be done. God Finally, we learn that God will visit for sin, so loved the world that he gave his only-beeven in his own people. In them, indeed, it is gotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him specially hateful to him. It is said with great should not perish, but might have everlasting emphasis, 'Our God is a consuming fire. The God life.' He gave his Son-his only-begotten Sonof the believer is a consuming fire to him, for he to death-to the most cruel, cursed, and ignowill not suffer sin upon him, but will burn it up minious death-for men, for sinners, for enemies, with the breath of his judgment. How heavy for their sin, their salvation, their redemption. was his hand upon ancient Israel when they dis-Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that obeyed him! And his judgments upon them were heavy because they were dear to him. And what is still more to the point, he visits not merely his professing people, but those who are really his,

he loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins.' But justice was not meanwhile relaxed. When the Son of God took the place of sinners, the hand of his Father was

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