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ing of the paschal lamb. The profession of faith in his blood externally places the soul under the divine protection, while vengeance is denounced against unbelievers : but the inward experience of true Christians, who secretly · feed on Christ in their hearts by faith with thanksgiving,' corresponds with their avowed dependence on him. In genuine sincerity and simplicity of heart, they exercise repentance, and mourn for their sins; they deny themselves, take up their cross, and bear sanctified afflictions; and, being set at liberty from Satan's yoke, they set out on their pilgrimage to the heavenly Canaan.
With allusion to these types the apostle says, “ Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, “as silver and gold, but with the precious blood
of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and “ without spot; who verily was fore-ordained be“fore the foundation of the world, but was mani“ fest in these last times for you.”? And John saw in his vision, “ a door opened in heaven ;” “ and “ there stood a Lamb, as it had been slain : and “ the four living creatures and four and twenty “ elders fell down before the Lamb, and they sang is
a new song, saying, Thou wast slain and hast “redeemed us to God with thy blood.” The angels also joined these representatives of the universal church,“ saying with a loud voice,“ Wor
thy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, “and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and ho
nour, and glory, and blessing."On another occasion the apostle“ beheld, and lo, a great
! 1 Pet. i. 18-20.
2 Rev. iv. 1; v. 6-13.
“ multitude, which no man could number, stood “ before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed “ with white robes, and palms in their hands; and “ cried with a loud voice, Salvation to our God “ which sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb." “ These are they, which came out of great tribu“ lation, and have washed their robes and made " them white in the blood of the Lamb; there“ fore are they before the throne of God; and the “ Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall “ feed them, and shall lead them unto living foun“tains of waters.'
It is evident that the emblem of a lamb that had been slain, in all these places, refers to the death of Christ, as the sacrifice for our sins, and the antitype of all the legal sacrifices,“ Without “ shedding of blood is no remission ;” but “ it is
not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats,' or of lambs, “ should take away sins."? As therefore all that were pardoned and saved, from the first entrance of sin, were partakers of the benefits arising from the one oblation of Christ once offered; so He is called “ the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." 3
It is my design in these citations to remove every shadow of doubt, and every degree of hesitation from your minds, concerning the meaning of the words, “ The Lamb of God," The honour of the divine law and government, and the satisfaction of the divine justice in saving sinners, required an atonement of infinite value. The wis
Heb. ix. 22; x. 4.
Rev. vii. 9-17. 3 Rev. xiii. 8.
dom of God therefore planned this method of redemption, and Christ is the Lamb of God's appointment. “When he cometh into the world “ he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest
not, but a body hast thou prepared me: in
burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast “ had no pleasure: then said I, Lo, I come in the “ volume of the book," in the opening of the roll of scripture, " it is written of me,) to do thy will, “ O God.”! All other methods of expiating guilt, and rendering the salvation of sinners honourable to God, were unavailing: but, when the Lamb of God came, and offered himself as an atoning sacrifice, the required satisfaction was made, and no further oblations were necessary.
But this appointed atonement was likewise of God's providing. The plan of redemption by a sacrifice of infinite value would not have profited us sinners, if everlasting love had not provided such an oblation. The whole universe could not have supplied a single individual, whose dignity and excellency qualified him for such an undertaking; or whose love was so immense as to influence him to interpose in our behalf. But God “ spared not his own Son;" he“ gave him to be “ the propitiation for our sins;" he accepted the oblation which he had appointed and provided : and in all these respects Christ is “ the Lamb of “ God."—We proceed,
II. To consider the import of the words, “which “ taketh away the sin of the world.”
The unblemished harmless lambs, which were
sacrificed from the beginning, had no guilt of their own; yet they suffered as if they had been guilty. They were substituted in the place of the criminals; and the guilt, or desert of punishment, was typically transferred from the sinner to the sacrifice. It was imputed to the animal, who bare the punishment, while the offerer escaped : and it took away his sin by expiating the guilt of it.Thus the Lord Jesus was substituted in our place; our guilt was transferred to him by imputation: He 'was sinless himself, and yet suffered as a sinner, in order that whosoever believeth in him " should not perish but have everlasting life :" and in this manner he“ taketh away sin. '
We are not, however, left to deduce this conclusion from types and shadows, or our own reasonings concerning them: for the sacred writers have most explicitly and energetically declared the same great truth. The prophet Isaiah, in his most wonderful prediction of the sufferings and glory of the Redeemer, says, “ He was wounded “ for our transgressions, he was bruised for our
iniquities. All we like sheep have gone astray: “ we have turned every one to his own way, and “the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us "
all." “ It pleased the Lord to bruise him, and s to put him to grief: thou shalt make his soul
an offering for sin.—He shall bear their ini“ quities.—He bare the sin of many." You see, my brethren, that Christ not only bare our punishment, bụt our iniquities : and this can imply nothing less than actual translation of guilt from the sinner to the sacrifice. It was exacted, and · he became answerable.” He willingly consented to become our surety, to assume our flesh, and expiate our sins by his own suffering and death upon the cross. He was capable of doing this, and willing to do it. The human nature he assumed was preserved free from all contamination of sin: so that his life was not forfeited, or suffering deserved, by any personal transgression. He had power to lay down his life and power to take it again, and no mere creature ever was or can be placed in a similar situation. " He loved us and
gave himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice “ unto God for a sweet smelling savour.” The imputation of guilt no more implied criminality or pollution, than the sacrificing of the harmless lamb rendered it sinful and defiled : or than a man becomes chargeable with the extravagance and profligacy of the poor insolvent whom he liberates from prison by paying his debt, out of the most generous compassion.
And let us not suppose, that this language concerning Christ“ bearing our sins," was merely that of prophecy or poetry: for the writers of the New Testament, in didactive prose, are equally decisive, or even more so. “He was made sin for “ us who knew no sin; that we might be made “ the righteousness of God in him.”3
This certainly implies a reciprocal imputation of our sin to Christ, and of his righteousness to us.
« Christ “ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, be
Bishop Lowth's Translation of Isa. lii. 7.
3 2 Cor. v. 21.