Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

torted from him that piercing cry, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Behold and tremble then, whilst you look upon this awful sight. Look in and let these sufferings cast a light upon your vile hearts, and learn to loathe and abhor yourselves and sin, whilst here you are taught to see its inexpresbly abominable nature.

3. Herein remember also the inexorable justice of God. Though love would pardon, yet must it be in a way wherein justice should be satisfied. Sin required an expiation equivalent to its high demerit, neither earth nor heaven afforded any such; I looked, and there was none to help. Justice demanded righteous judgment, such as had been poured upon rebel angels cast down into hell on their first transgression; the thunderbolt of wrath was lifted up to smite us sinners to the lowest pit; Jesus steps between and cries, Stay them from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom; receives the deadly shaft in his own body on the tree, and manifests the justice of God more glo· riously than could have been done by the destruction of the whole human race. For who is this? this is Jesus, the Son f God, the brightness of his glory, the express image of his person; this is the Father's equal, the man that is his fellow; this is the eternal God, come to expiate his creatures' crimes. Satisfaction was demanded, he offers to pay, to over-pay every demand. The price agreed, the Judge executes his claim, Awake, my sword, he cries, against the shepherd; the sword awoke to smite to the uttermost, and take full vengeance for the sins of a fallen world. It pleased the Lord to put him to grief; he laid upon him the iniquities of us all; and what would have utterly crushed us into hell, bruises to death the only Son of God. Behold the severity of God, He spared not his own Son; scè herein what a flaming sword Justice holds, and how it is honoured by such a sacrifice; see from hence what a fearful thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God; and in this ordinance learn to tremble whilst you see nothing but the Blood of God himself capable of expiating your guilt, and satisfyingi the demands of his own inexorable Law.

4. This sacrifice calls upon you to remember the conquest made by it. You, a child of wrath, an heir of hell, a slave of Satan, here see your liberty proclaimed, your tyrant destroyed, your misery done away. A dying Jesus on the accursed tree conquers for you; death, hell, and sin, fall before him. Strong in weakness, he triumphed on the cross, spoiling the principalities and powers of darkness, and making a shew of them openly. By death he destroyed him that had the power of death ; that is, the devil; as a sweet singer of Israel expresses it;

“ And when I bled, and groan'd, and dy'd,

« I ruin'd Satan's throne;
“ High on my cross I hung, and spy'd

“ The monster tumbling down." Thus he hath vanquished all our enemies for us, hath bound Satan from hurting us, plucked out the sting of death, and sealed up the bottomless pit. His death is our life, his fall our victory, his cross our triumph: well then may we glory in it, and determine to know nothing else but Jesus, and him crucified, since hereby we become more than conquerors, and are enabled daily to tread down Satan under our feet. And in this ordinance, peculiarly designed to strengthen our souls, this glorious victory should never be forgotten, no less for the honour of Jesus, than the comfort to be derived from it to our own souls.

5. It should always remind us of his coming again. It is as the pledge of our friend put into our hands to remember him in his absence, and to assure us he intends us another visit. This is to be a continual remembrance to shew forth the Lord's death till he come. Though he is gone to heaven now, yet he hath promised us he will return and take his humble followers home with him ; I go, says he, to prepare a mansion for you., When we see him present with us in the symbols of Bread and Wine, we should think how quickly we shall see the sign of the Son of man in the clouds; how soon we shall in our flesh sec God, and with our eyes behold him, even that very body which the nails tore, and the spear pierced; shall see him, but now

brighter than the sun when it shineth in its strength, coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, accompanied by hosts of heaven which no man can number; coming to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired of all that believe. And this will be a remembrance most comforting to those who, by the present ordinance sealing to them all the promises of God, are assured that when he shall appear, then shall they also appear with him in glory.

Such are the views which are included under the remembrance of the sacrifice of the death of CHRIST, which leads,

2. To the consideration of the benefits we receive thereby. These are great and manifold. In general JESUS Christ makes over his whole self to every believer, and therewith all the blessings of grace and glory, which by his obedience unto death he hath purchased for us. God in giving us his Son, doth also with him freely give us all things; and of these the following are the most remarkable.

1. The pardon of sin. This is the first and grand purchase of the sacrifice of CHRIST; his blood was shed for the remission of sins. Sin made the great breach between God and us, its guilt condemned, whilst its power enslaved us; we lay under a curse which we could neither remove nor endure. But CHRIST, by his undertaking for us, hath opened to us a door of hope, a way in which God is righteous and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, whilst he accepts our surety, and exacts from him the immense debts with which we stood chargeable.

In the gospel the glad tidings of free salvation are brought to us, and we are called to embrace them; and here, for the confirmation of our faith, God condescends to put his seal to his Covenant of Grace, ratifying to us the purchased pardon, and assuring us thereby that he will be merciful to our unrigha teousness, and will remember our sins and iniquities no more ; and we testify our consent and hearty desire of its accomplish

L

ment by coming to receive the free gift of God in JESUS Christ, and casting our souls upon the promise. How high the gift! how great the benefit! pardon of sin,

free pardon without money and without price; a pardon for the chief of sinners, for a world of sinners; though dearly purchased by Christ, freely given to us; a pardon that silences condemnation, removes fear, begets boldness. Doth the Law accuse? we point to this sacrifice and say, There is my satisfaction. Doth conscience tremble? looking to JESUS how can we fear! Are we weighed down with our guilt peculiarly heavy, bound as under an ephah of lead, or lying under a burden as the sand of the sea ? this Blood cleanseth from all sin, unbinds evcry heavy burden, sets the prisoner free, sends him forth from the pit of sin and death to partake in the glorious liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. Come then, ye guilty sinners, whose black crimes cover you with confusion; come, ye leprous sculs, who want to wash and be clean; come, ye burdened consciences, and lay down your load at the foot of the cross of JESUS CHRIST.

He hath purchased all you want, and invites you to come and take of the water of life freely; to wash your crimson sins away in the fountain of his blood; and to be restored to the full enjoyment of God's favour, just as if you had never sinned. Here is a pardon for you written in blood and sealed in blood, confirmed by the word and cath of God, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to the hope set before us,

2. Adoption of children is another benefit of CHRIST'S passion. We who were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the promises, are brought nigh through the Blood of Christ, and made fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the houshold of God. His obedience to death not only removes guilt, but confers favour upon us, We are hereby reinstated in all the forfeited rights of children, which by our fall we had lost, and receive the adoption of sons, as well as are delivered from the curse of the Law. In this ordinance God the Father promises to be a father to all those who come unto him by

JESUS CHRIST; that he will give them a place in his family upon earth, and an inheritance among the joint-heirs with CHRIST in heaven. That he will take greater care of them than the, most tender parent, and love them with an everlasting love. He gives them this pledge, as the father gave the prodigal son the ring, whereby they are sealed to the day of redemption ; and withal sheds abroad in their hearts his love, begetting theirs: because we are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Thus the children coming to their Father, at the Table where their elder Brother hath provided a feast of love for them, receive increase in every filial temper and disposition, and grow up into lim in all things who is their head, even CHRIST. Here then behold the precious purchase of a Saviour's Blood ; that we, the heirs of wrath and children of darkness, that we, dust of the earth, vile as men, abominable as sinners, that we, aliens and enemies in our minds by wicked works, should be brought nigh, not merely permitted, as the prodigal asked, to be put among the hired servants, but robed in the Saviour's righteousness, placed among his children, seated at his table, blessed with his favour, partakers of the provisions of his house below, and looking for an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, which fadeth not away, reserved for us in heaven. Well may we cry out with astonishment, Behold, what manner of love is this which the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!

3. Another benefit is the consolation and joy which are herein dispensed. To rejoice in Christ Jesus, to have peace with God through faith, to be filled with comfort and joy of the Holy Ghost, in the present earnest and sure prospects of glory to come, is in a peculiar measure the case in this ordinance, where all things visibly tend to beget confidence in God. Here we often get Pisgah-views of the promised land, here the mourning saint finds joy, the weary rest, the dejected encouragement, the strong increasing confidence ; here the Spirit of faith applies the atonement, and the sense of reconciliation of ten fills our souls with joy unspeakable and full of glory; and

« AnteriorContinuar »