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blood of the Lamb. And is not this sufficient to prove that he cannot possibly be partaker of the hope, the love, the joy, which are peculiar to the religion of the crucified Emmanuel ?
It is, however, to be feared that numbers assent to this doctrine, who neither understand its nature and tendency, nor are suitably influenced by it. The cross of Christ, when contemplated by an enlightened mind, most emphatically teaches the glory and beauty of the divine character; the reasonableness and excellence of the moral law; the value of immortal souls; the vanity of earthly distinctions; the misery of the most prosperous transgressors; the malignity of sin; the lost state of man; the presumptuous nature of every selfrighteous confidence; the inestimable value of this foundation for our hope; the sinner's motives and encouragements to repentance, and the believer's obligations to the most self-denying and devoted obedience to his reconciled God and Father. He therefore, who truly believes and understands this doctrine, and who glories in the cross of Christ alone, habitually gives his eternal concerns a decided preference to every worldly object. He feels an earnest desire to promote the salvation of mankind, especially of those who are most dear to him. He is “ crucified to the world, and the world to “ him.” He repents of all his sins, forsaking and hating them, and seeking the crucifixion of every sinful propensity. Though he entirely renounces all confidence, save in the unmerited mercy of God in Christ Jesus ; he yet deems it his pleasure, privilege, and honour, to “live to him who died “ for him and rose again.” The example and love of Christ reconcile him to reproach, contempt, self-denial, and “persecution for righteousness' “ sake ;” and dispose him to forgiveness, love of enemies, enlarged benevolence, and whatever can “ adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour.”
Whilst we would therefore “contend earnestly “ for the faith once delivered to the saints,” we would also caution every one not to “ imprison “ the truth in unrighteousness.” They who vilify the atonement are not the only “ enemies of the “ cross of Christ :" for such as hold the doctrine in a carnal heart, and disgrace it by a sensual life, fall under the same condemnation. It is to be feared that many, who are zealous against the fatal Socinian heresy, are tainted with the abominable infection of Antinomianism ;. and that numbers of another description, who contend for the doctrine of the atonement, do nevertheless rest their hope of salvation principally upon their own moral goodness, and not on the merits and expiatory sufferings of Christ. But, as that “ God
“who spared not his own Son, “ but delivered him up for us all,” will “ with him
freely give all things” to the true believer; so, assuredly, in his awful justice he will not spare any of those, who oppose, neglect, or abuse his great salvation ; for “our God is a consuming fire.”
« of all grace,
1 i Phil. ii. 18-21.
ON THE EXALTATION OF CHRIST, AND HIS APPEAR
ANCE IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD IN OUR BEHALF.
When our Saviour upon the cross was about to commend his spirit into the Father's hands, he said, “ It is finished.” Whatever the types had prefigured, or the prophets foretold, concerning his obedience, conflicts, and sufferings; whatever the glory of God, the honour of the law, or the, rights and satisfaction of divine justice, required ; and whatever was necessary in order to his own final victory, triumph, and exaltation at the right hand of the Father, as our advocate and friend, was then fully accomplished; that is, as far as it could be previously to his death, which immediately followed. He then became conqueror over the world, sin, and Satan, (triumphing over them even on the cross ;) and, having consecrated the grave by his burial to be a sacred repository for the bodies of his disciples, he arose on the third day a mighty victor over “ the king of terrors :" and at that crisis commenced the glory which was to follow his sufferings.
The evidences of our Lord's resurrection have been already considered ;l the ends answered by that great event may here be briefly mentioned. He thus confirmed beyond all reasonable doubt
every part of the doctrine which he had taught; proving especially that he was the Son of God, in the peculiar and appropriate sense in which he had claimed that high relation to the Father, and for which he had been condemned as a blasphemer. He fully evinced that his atonement had been accepted, and had effectually answered those great and gracious purposes for which it had been made. He thus became capable of possessing in our nature the mediatorial throne, which had been covenanted to him as the reward of his obedience and sufferings : and to appear as our advocate and intercessor in the presence of the Father; being our brother, and glorying in that condescending relation to us. And, finally, he was “ the first“ fruits” of the general resurrection, the earnest and pledge of that grand and interesting event.
I shall not further enlarge on the circumstances of our Lord's resurrection, or on the instructions which may be deduced from it: but, as his mediation is naturally divided into two distinct parts, it regularly falls within the plan of this work, to consider at present that part which he now performs in his heavenly glory, as we before did that which he fulfilled during his humiliation on earth. From the depth of his voluntary abasement,” he ascend“ ed up far above all heavens, that he might fill “ all things.” He then “ led captivity captive, “ and received gifts for men, yea for the rebellious “ also; that the Lord God might dwell among 6. them.”1 “ For the heavens must receive him, “ until the restitution of all things.” “I go,"
says he to his disciples, “ to prepare a place for you: and, if I go to prepare a place for
I “ will come again and receive you to myself, that “ where I am there ye may be also." We will, therefore, in this Essay point out the purposes for which Jesus, " our forerunner, hath for us " en“ tered into heaven," and the means by which he
for our admission to the same place of holy felicity.
The royal prophet introduces Jehovah declaring with an oath, which denoted “the immutability of “his counsel,” that the, Messiah was constituted “ a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek;"2 and the apostle thence argues, that the Aaronic priesthood was never intended to be perpetual. Now Melchizedek’s priesthood especially differed from that of Aaron in that it united the regal power with the sacerdotal office; which shewed that the Messiah was to “be a priest upon his “ throne."3 Before we proceed with the subject, however, I would observe, that this affords us a most conclusive proof of our Lord's Deity. The sacred historian makes no mention of Melchizedek's father, mother, pedigree,“ beginning of “ days, or end of life:" but introduces him to our notice with mysterious abruptness: he“ being," says the apostle, “ made like unto the Son of « God."4 But in what sense could this circumstance render him “ like the Son of God,” or a proper type of him, except as it was a shadow of his eternal pre-existence? As man, he had “ be
1 John, xiv. 2, 3.
? Psal. cx. 4. Gen. xiv. 18. Heb. vii.