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was concealed by the veil, and none might approach to it on pain of death, but the high priest alone; nor he on more than one day in a year, with the blood of the sacrifices, and the burning of incense. What do all these arguments (which fill up more than half the epistle,) signify, but that Jesus is such a mediator as has been described? There is then “one Mediator between God and men, the
man Christ Jesus.”No doubt he is truly man, and performs his mediation in human nature ; for he assumed our flesh for this very purpose : but the apostle, by declaring him to be the one Mediator, excludes all other mediators. Moses and the priests of Aaron's line were, in a certain sense, mediators between God and man; and every believer, when he prays for others, in some degree interposes his requests between God and them, to seek mercy in their behalf. Yet Christ is the only Mediator ; because he alone is capable of, and appointed to perform, such a mediation as has been described, in virtue of his personal dignity and the ransom which he has made. “ Through him we “ have access to the Father.”
6. He is our peaceour advocate with the Father.” He says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life;
no man cometh to the Father but by me: that no man who rejects the mediation of Christ ever did, or ever will, find acceptance with God. We must come to God in his name, asking all blessings for his sake, and presenting all our services by his hands, and through his intercession; even“giv.“ ing thanks to God and the Father through him.”
1 Tim. ii. 5, 6.
? John, xiv. 6.
In this view of the subject, we may consider Christ as the mediator between God and man, in such a sense, that no sinner on earth can be found to whom we may not propose all the benefits of his mediation ; provided he truly come to God by faith in Christ: whereas fallen angels, and those who have died in their sins, are wholly excluded from this benefit, by the very constitution of the covenant which he mediated. But all other mediators, and all attempts to approach God without a mediator, are an affront both to the Father and the Son ; even as the sacrifices, which the Israelites offered contrary to the law, were an abomination to the Lord. As, therefore, we must shortly meet our offended Sovereign at his awful tribunal, let us now avail ourselves of this inestimable appointment; and constantly approach his throne of grace, through our “ faithful and merciful high priest” and mediator, “ that we may obtain mercy, and “find grace to help in every time of need.”
ON THE MERITS AND ATONEMENT OF CHRIST.
The opinion that the Deity might be appeased by expiatory sacrifices has been very widely diffused among the human race ; and the attempt has generally been made by shedding the blood, and burning a part of the body, of some useful animal. This notion and practice seem very remote from the dictates of our natural reason; and it is extremely improbable that they should have been the result of men's invention. We may therefore most rationally conclude, that it is wholly the doctrine of revelation, and the appointment of God, handed down by tradition, from the progenitors of our race, to the several branches of their posterity : and it is certain that we meet with it in the Bible immediately after the entrance of sin. When Cain's oblation of the first-fruits of the earth was rejected, and Abel's sacrifice of the firstlings of the flock was accepted; we may naturally conclude that the latter was presented according to the divine appointment, and that the former was not. But, if we inquire into the reason of this appointment, the practice of the patriarchs, and the multiplied precepts in the Mosaic law, as to this particular, we shall not easily arrive at any satisfactory solution, except we admit the doctrine of Christ's atonement, and suppose the whole to refer to him as the substance of all these shadows. I
ON THE MERITS, &c. shall, therefore, in this Essay, endeavour to explain, illustrate, and prove that doctrine; and to shew its importance in the Christian religion.
The rules and general usages respecting expiatory sacrifices, under the Old Testament, may assist us in understanding the nature of our Lord's atonement, of which they were types and prefigurations. The offender, whose crimes might be thus expiated, was required to bring “his offer
ing of the flock, or of the herd, to the door of “the tabernacle.” The very nature of the animals appointed for sacrifice was significant: not the ferocious, the noxious, the subtle, or the unclean; but the gentle, docile, and valuable: and none of these might be offered but such as were “ without blemish,” or perfect in their kind. The offender was directed to bring an offering, in which he had a property, to be presented unto God, and thus substituted in his stead for this particular purpose. He must then “ lay his hands upon
the head” of the sacrifice: which denoted the typical translation of guilt from him, by imputation, to the substituted animal. This is generally thought to have been attended by a confession of his sins, and prayers for pardon through the acceptance of his oblation : and doubtless it implied as much, and would be attended at least with secret devotions to that effect by every pious Israelite.2 The blood of the sacrifice was then shed; which, being “ the life” of every animal,
, was reserved to make atonement, and therefore was not allowed to be eaten, under the Old Tes
1 Heb. x. 1.
2 Lev. i. 4. iii. 2. iv. 4. xvi. 21.
tament dispensation. Afterwards the body, or a part of it, was burned upon the altar with the fire which came immediately from heaven, both at the opening of the tabernacle-worship, and afterwards at the consecration of Solomon's temple.2-Now who can help perceiving, that this fire represented the avenging justice of God, (who is “a con“ suming fire;”) and that, when it consumed the harmless, unblemished sacrifice, whilst the guilty offerer escaped, it aptly prefigured the way
of a sinner's salvation, through the expiatory sufferings of the spotless “ Lamb of God?” The animal's violent death, by the shedding of its blood, denoted the offender's desert of temporal death ; and the subsequent burning of its fat, or flesh, shewed him to be exposed to future vengeance : but then they represented the guilt and punishment, in both respects, as transferred from him to the sacrifice, which bore them in his stead. The whole ceremony concluded with the sprinkling of the blood, and in many cases, the application of it to all those things that pertained to the worship of God: which evidently typified the believer's deliverance from guilt and punishment, from the sting and dread of death, and finally from death itself, from sin and all its consequences; the acceptance of his person and services, and his participation of eternal life and felicity; through “ Him who loved him, and " washed him from his sins in his own blood."
These appointments were varied in divers particulars, as they respected the several kinds of sacrifices : but most of them coincided in the
"Gen, ix. 4. Lev. xvii. 11.
2 Lev. ix. 24. 2 Chron. vii. 1-3.