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the people; so in the Divine appointment, Christ's second coming is necessary to the complete salvation of his followers.]
2. Death and judgment shall be fatal to unbelievers; and the first and second coming of Christ shall be means of salvation to them that believe
[The Lord Jesus, as a Judge, will condemn the wicked; “ he will come to take vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not his Gospel." But as a Priest, he will come forth only to bless his redeemed, who are praying without, whilst he is interceding for them within the vail?. They are fitly represented as “looking for him;" and he will appear to their unutterable and eternal joy.] ADDRESS
1. To those who are regardless of their spiritual welfare
so that you would duly consider the certainty and nearness of death and judgment! You would then soon turn from vanity and sin, and labour to secure an interest in Christ. Let this subject then dwell upon your minds, till you are quickened by it to seek the Lord, and have obtained through him the remission of your sins.] 2. To those who are anxious to save their souls
[If you really look to Christ to take away your sins, you need not be afraid of death and judgment. You may look forward to Christ's second coming, not with comfort only, but unspeakable delight. Stand then in this posture, looking for and hasting to that blessed day 8: if he tarry, wait for him ; and in due time you shall hear from his lips that reviving sentence; “ Come, ye blessed children of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you."]
Luke i. 9, 10.
8 2 Pet. iii. 12.
SEASONS OF PENITENCE RECOMMENDED.
Heb. x. 3. In those sacrifices there is a remembrance again
made of sins every year. IN the institutions of the Mosaic law, burthensome as they were, God consulted the best interests of his people. Repentance, faith, and obedience, were
inculcated in them all. The daily sacrifices and frequent ablutions were intended to shew them, that they stood in need of mercy and of spiritual renovation: and the authority with which they were enjoined, taught them, that their whole happiness depended on an entire submission to the will of God. Those ordinances had also a further use; which was, to lead the minds of all to the contemplation of mysteries, which should in due season be more fully revealed. They did not themselves convey any solid or lasting benefit: they were mere shadows, which indicated indeed a substance; but which would vanish away, when that substance should appear. This is the view given of the law in the passage before us. The Apostle says, “ The law, having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then, would they not have ceased to be offered ? because that the worshippers, once purged, should have had no more conscience of sins." Hence it appears, that the most solemn institutions of the law, not excepting the sacrifices offered ou the great day of annual expiation, were, in fact, no more than mere “remembrances of sins," which could never be removed, but by that better Sacrifice which should in due time be offered.
But that we may have a fuller insight into this subject, I will endeavour more distinctly to shew, I. For what end those annual remembrances of sins
were enjoinedDoubtless they were intended, as the whole of the Mosaic ritual also was, to separate the Jewish people more entirely from all the nations of the world. But they were more particularly designed,
1. To make them sensible of their need of a Saviour
[Every offering had this tendency: no man could see his victim bleed, without seeing and acknowledging what was his own desert before God. But, if there had been no day of annual expiation appointed, the people would have been ready to imagine that every offering which they had presented to God had actually taken away the sin for which it had been offered. To guard against this fatal error, a day was appointed annually for a more especial remembrance of their sins, and for a deeper humiliation of their souls before God on account of them. Thus they were taught that neither their repentances nor their sacrifices had really availed to put away their sins : for, if they had, there had been no occasion for a repetition of them. Moreover, the same ordinances being still appointed annually, and annually observed, they were made to feel, that not even these more solemn rites had been able to prevail for the expiation of sin; so that, in fact, the guilt contracted throughout their whole lives still abode upon their souls; no offerings, which they had ever presented, having been able to remove it. In the view of this, they were particularly required to " afflict their souls a." And, in truth, this ordinance was well calculated to produce in them the deepest humiliation: for, having occasion every year to review their lives through the past year; and to add, as it were, the sum of their recent iniquities to the incalculable score that was against them in consequence of former transgressions; and being at the same time necessitated to see that nothing which they either had done, or could do, could cancel the smallest portion of their debt; they would, of necessity, be led to cry for mercy with the deepest contrition, and to acknowledge their need of that Saviour whom they were instructed to expect.]
2. To shew, then, the insufficiency of the legal sacrifices—
[Nothing could carry stronger conviction with it than this particular ordinance : for, if former sacrifices had prevailed, why should they be repeated? What occasion was there for the annual offerings, if the occasional ones had answered their full end? or why should the same sins be atoned for in a future year, which have been expiated in the present year, if the present expiation has been satisfactory and complete ? Here, then, was the axe laid to the root of all self-righteous conceits. It was to no purpose that these ordinances were of Divine appointment; or that they were observed according to the strict letter of the law : they were never intended to serve as real expiations of sin; nor was the observance of them ever intended to form a justifying righteousness before God: they were intended only to shadow forth a Saviour, to whom all must look, and through whom all must be justified; and the very repetition of them was, in fact, not only a remembrance of
a Lev. xvi. 29, 31.
the sins which rendered a Saviour necessary; but a pledge, that such a Saviour as they needed should in due time be sent them.]
3. To direct their eyes to that Great Sacrifice that should in due time be offered—
[In every sacrifice which was offered, they saw the Lord Jesus Christ exhibited before them: and were reminded, that in due time he should " come to take away sin by the sacrifice of himself." They were informed, that there was to arise from the loins of Abraham, “a Seed, in whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed." The Prophets Isaiah and Daniel had fully described the way in which the promised seed should effect the work assigned him: that he should “ be cut off, but not for himself;" that he should be “wounded for our transgressions, and be bruised for our iniquities b;" that he should “ make his soul an offering for sin ; and that in this way he should “finish transgression, and make an end of sin, and bring in an everlasting righteousness,” by which all the sinners of mankind, who should believe in him, should be “ justified.” Now, all this was set before them; and was seen by them, with more or less distinctness, according to the faith they had in exercise : and in every sacrifice which, from year to year, was offered, they saw an herald sent, and heard his proclamation, “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world !”]
That we may bring the matter more home to ourselves, let us consider, II. What good may be expected from stated remem
brances of sins amongst usIt is granted, that nothing equivalent to the Mosaic ordinances is required of us. Yet, if we were to appoint stated seasons for ourselves — seasons for reviewing our past lives, and for special humiliation of our souls before God-I am persuaded we should find it highly conducive to our spiritual welfare. Such seasons would be useful, 1. For the deepening of our repentance
[We are apt to lose, very speedily, the convictions which sin has fastened upon our mind. At first, perhaps, they are pungent, and cause considerable anguish; but in a little time the impression wears away, and we almost forget that we have
b Isai. liii. 5, 6, 11. Dan. ix. 24.
int stated sea lives, and formersuaded we shop
sinned at all. But if we had stated seasons for calling our ways to remembrance, our past convictions would be revived, and our humiliation before God be greatly promoted. The sins of early life being thus from time to time set before us, and those of daily incursion being added to them, we should have juster views of our extreme unworthiness. The whole life would then appear to be, what in reality it is, one continued scene of iniquity. For want of such seasons of recollection, men view their sins as they do the heavens in a cloudy night, when they can see only here and there a star of greater magnitude, and at remote distances: whereas, if our selfexaminations were strict, and our retrospect frequent, our lives would appear rather like the heavens in the clearest night, full of stars of a greater or lesser order, and so connected as scarcely to leave an interval between them. With such views of ourselves, our repentance would not be slight, partial, transient; but deep, universal, permanent.] 2. For the endearing of the Saviour to us
[True is that saying, that “where much is forgiven, men will love much ; and little, where little has been forgiven.” Now, if we be in the habit of bringing before our eyes the sins of our whole life, and of viewing them, even as God does, in the aggregate, how shall we adore that mercy of God that has been extended to us, and that love of Christ which he has evinced in giving himself for us! Verily, it will appear almost incredible that even God himself should be capable of such condescension and grace. This self-knowledge is at the root of the experience of the saints in heaven. Behold them all prostrate before the throne, and casting down their crowns at The Saviour's feet; whilst they sing, “ To Him that loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own blood.” This is the state of mind which self-knowledge has a tendency to generate: and if our seasons of humiliation were more deep and frequent, we should more resemble the glorified saints, both in the nature and in the expressions of our joy.]
3. For the augmenting of our vigilance against the recurrence of sin
[It is a truth not generally considered, that the sins which more easily beset us in early life, continue, more or less, our besetting sins to the end of our days. Pride, envy, wrath, malice, lewdness, covetousness, rarely leave the soul of which they have once got an undisturbed possession. Now, if a person has been in the habit of self-examination from year to year, and of seeing by what temptations chiefly he has been overcome, he will know the better against what he needs more especially to watch : he will have seen, how, on many