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The leading feat. In the first true sacrifice,
The leading features of the Representation - seem to be those. In the first view of it, it
sets forth, that Christ alone, is the true sacrifice, and the only unmixed offering for sin. For the text saith, that while the Angel did wonderously, according to his name which is wonderful. I), the man and his wife looked on. Thus Believers, behold Jesus, with an eye of faith, in the accomplishment of his finished salvation. They look on, and adore, but they can do no more. Nothing indeed, can be 'mingled, with the blood and righteousness, of the Lord Jesus Christ, to procure acceptance with God. The fire consumes all that is our's. For it is not said without an express allusion to this solemn transaction, that when he made his soul an offering for sin; he trod the wine press alone, and of the People there was none with him. His own Arm brought salvation. S
In the next view of this representation, the subject spiritually considered, affords this delightful prospect also; that as the Lord Jesus is the alone sacrifice for sin, so is he the only Intercessor for sinners: for by ascending in the flame from off the Altar, he as plainly manifested, that he it is alone which carries up his own sacrifice as the oblation, and there ever lives to plead the efficacy of it for his people : agreeably to the language of the Apostle, when speaking of the Redeemer under both parts of his Priestly office; when he had (said he) by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. * 10
Such Bei Isaiah 9. 6. & Isaigh 63. 3. 5. * Heb. 1. 3.
Such is the interesting doctrine, which this scripture opens to our view, by way of calling up our serious meditation. It forms a subject therefore at all times highly interesting, but more peculiarly appropriate, to the Altar service. You are about to approach the ordinance of commemoration, of the sacrifice, and death, of the Lord Jesus. What subject can I bring before you, equally suited to awaken under God the Spirit's influence, all the devout exercises of the heart?
Perhaps I may be speaking before some, who in the very moment of approaching the Altar, are labouring under a cold, and languid state of soul, and complaining of heart straitenings in prayer. And it is possible, there may be others like Mary of old at the Sepulchre, who though seeking Jesus, are yet seeking a risen and ascended Saviour, among dead ordinances. No doubt there are many present also, under various complaints, by reason of sin, and corruption; the buffetings of the enemy; and the darkness of their own hearts. Now to those, and every other state of spiritual distress, one view of the Lord Jesus in this his glorious Mediatorial office, if presented to the soul by the Holy Ghost, will go further to quicken the heart, and excite the animated affections, than by any other persuasives whatever. And if but one, poor, timid disciple, shall be this day refreshed, so as to look through the ordinance itself, to behold and enjoy, the God of ordinances, neither your attention, or my labour, will be in vain in the Lord.
What I propose from the subject, as God the Holy Ghost shall be pleased to enable me, is, in the first place, to consider some, of the more prominent features, in this perfect sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, which are represented in the text, by the Angel's doing wonderously; the man, and his wife, bearing no part in it, but only looking on. And secondly, to consider some of the outlines of the Redeemer's office, in that of his Intercession also, shadowed in the latter part of the text, under these expressions, that when the flame went up toward heaven from off the Altar he ascended in the flame. And may that God, whose office it is, to take off the things of Jesus and to shew to his people ; so graciously be with us in this undertaking, that seeing (as the Apostle speaks) we have such an High Priest who is passed into the heavens Jesus the Son of God, we may hold fast our profession; For we have not an high priest, which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points, tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
I am in the first place, according to my proposals, to consider, some, of the more prominent features, in the perfect sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the accomplishment of this, I stay not to go over the ground of argument, in quest of 1
proofs, for the expediency of such a measure. I shall for once, assume this for granted. Indeed, the offering of the body of the Lord Jesus upon the cross, carries with it, the fullest, and most satisfying testimony, both of its expediency, and of its infinite importance. The death of Christ, decidedly determines the utterly lost and ruined state of nature void of such a sacrifice: For as an Apostle saith on the subject, and which is as much the decision of reason, as of revelation, if one died for all then were all dead. * The death of Christ, as fully declares that an adequate atonement for sin was required, both to wash away its guilt, and to stop its penal effects. Every Victim, slain upon every Altar, from the fall of Adam, to the death of Christ, loudly proclaimed, that without shedding of blood there was no remission. † And common sense, became the echo to the voice of the gospel, under this particular, when it said, that it is not possible for the blood of bulls and of goats to take away sin. S And the death of Christ, which both proclaimed, the ruined state of man, and the necessity of an atonement for his recovery, as plainly taught, that that nature, could not be repaired, nor that atonement made, by the sinner himself, either in a way of doing, or of suffering. For a nature so maimed, and corrupt, could never be competent, to the obedience of an holy law for the future; neither to the purposes of an holy sacrifice, for the breaches of the past; and therefore, it must follow, that without this substitute, in the Person of the Lord Jesus, our fallen nature, must have remained, exposed to the just judgment of God, to all eternity.
Upon * 2 Cor. 5. 14. Heb. 9. 22. Heb. 10. 4.
Upon this foundation, rests that infinitely precious doctrine, which arises out of the Priestly Office, of the Lord Jesus; and which God the Eternal Spirit, considered so truly momentous, as to cause it to be preached to the Church, in types, and shadows, similar to the instance in the text, in all the antecedent ages of it, until the period of its being accomplished in reality, in the Person of Christ. And perhaps, among the interesting subjects connected with redemption, nothing can be more satisfying to the soul of every true believer in Jesus, than to observe, how exactly corresponding, to all our wants in every particular, the great author of salvation appeared, for the accomplishment of this wonderful undertaking. It forms indeed, one of the most pleasing studies, to trace the footsteps of Jesus, in his goings forth to the service,
To answer the full purposes of redemption, it became necessary, that, the righteous law of God, which man had broken, should be repaired; and the penalty, due to the breach of it, should be paid. He therefore, and he alone, whose spotless purity, might fulfil the one, and satisfy the other, could be competent to this office. Such an high Priest (saith an Apostle) became us who is holy harmless undefiled separate from sinners and made higher than the heavens. * And such, was the Lord Jesus Christ. For in the union of the divine nature,
with * Heb. 7. 26