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Yet it is not so much to the lamb as a crea- | atone for guilt on earth; and now in heaven, in ture that the allusion is made, as to the lamb as the midst of the throne, beheld, beloved, adored a sacrifice. Now, no lamb was accepted for an as the Lamb slain. Was he manifested to take offering, unless it was free from all blemish; and away sins? Let us willingly part with ours, here then is an emblem of the spotless purity of never again to resume them, and dearly prize the His blood is the Christ our paschal sacrifice-his birth immacu-purity he has purchased. late, his life blameless a lamb without blemish, and without spot'-the Holy One of God, who fulfilled all righteousness.
It is this circumstance which imparted such virtue to his expiation, and rendered it so effectual for taking away sin. For that is the principal idea conveyed here, namely, the removing the imputation and punishment of guilt, by bearing it in his own person, and so taking it out of the way. He himself took on him our griefs and infirmities, and carried away our sicknesses and sorrows. 'He his own self bore our sins in his own body upon the tree.' The very employment here of the figure of a sacrificial lamb shows clearly, that Christ takes away sin in some other way than merely by destroying its power through the effect of his precepts, and the influence of his example. If Christ's death was a real satisfaction for sin, then the ancient sacrifices were intelligible types of him; but if he saves only by the force of moral suasion, it is impossible to perceive any analogy between his death and that of the legal victims; and yet his own word expressly declares that they were all figures of him.
The Baptist's announcement declares unequivocally, that the blessed result of his substitution and sacrifice would be the removal of sin. He 'takes away sin,' even the sin of the world'— not of Jews only (as their exclusiveness and bigotry might suggest) but of Gentiles also. 'He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.' But though his atonement be amply sufficient for all, and freely offered unto all, it does not follow that all are actually saved. For just as a remedy, however efficacious, can only heal those who employ it; as food, however wholesome, will only nourish those who partake of it; as a place of refuge, however capacious and secure, will only shelter those who flee to it' for safety-so the sin of those only is taken away by the Lamb of God who humbly receive him, by believing on his name.
We have heard the witness of John.' If the voice of so great and good a man has any weight with us;-if the glory of his still greater Master is dear to us;-if we value our own soul's salvation-let us believingly behold, and joyfully embrace this Lamb of God, promised in the ancient oracles, sent in the fullness of time; sacrificed to
source of all grace and all blessing; but let it be despised, and it will become avenging blood, calling down the fury of Him that sitteth upon the throne,' and kindling into fiercer indignation the wrath of the Lamb.'
The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin,' 1 John i. 7.
WITHOUT shedding of blood is no remission.' Under the law all things were purged with blood. The expiatory sacrifices were always bloody, and in that did their value consist, for the life of the immolated victim was in the blood. By the blood of Christ' therefore is to be understood his vicarious sufferings and atoning death, which are uniformly represented as the ransom of the believer's soul, and the price of his eternal redemption.
It is the blood of Jesus'-the name which is
above every name. That name he bears because he saves his people from their sins; and as he is able to save unto the uttermost, his blood cleanseth from all sin.
It is the blood of Christ,' the Anointed of the Father, the Sealed of the Holy Ghost, the Messiah clearly promised, amply qualified, fully commissioned to execute the divine purposes of love in saving sinners with an everlasting salvation. To those who are in Christ there is no condemnation; and delivering them from sin's punishment, he at the same time rescues them from the power, the prevalence, the practice of iniquity; his blood cleanseth from all sin.
It is the blood of God's Son.' True it is, that the blood shed was the blood of his humanity, for his divinity could not suffer; yet was it his divinity that gave virtue and value to his sacrifice. It is not his blood as the Son of Man, which is the meritorious procuring cause of salvation, but his blood as he was the Son of God, the Son of the Blessed,-Himself God over all, blessed for evermore! "Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.'
And in what does the peculiar value and efficacy of his blood consist? It possesses a purifying virtue; it cleanseth from sin. This evidently
Having, therefore, these promises, let us cleanse. ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
implies, that man being by nature defiled, stands | sciences from dead works to serve the living God? in need of cleansing. Sin is the soul's pollution. Originally created pure and spotless as its Maker, it has lost his image, and is deeply sullied with the stains of iniquity. What is man that he should be clean, or he who is born of woman, that he should be righteous?' Pure, indeed, we may appear to be in our own esteem, for all the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but Jehovah trieth the spirits.' In the sight of that Holy One, who is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and who cannot look on iniquity, we are altogether filthy; yea, ‘though we wash ourselves as with snowwater, and make our hands never so clean, yet shall he plunge us in the ditch, and our own clothes shall abhor us.' The heavens are not clean in his sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man, who drinketh up iniquity like water? And as to any ability on our part to remove this pollution, who among us can say, 'I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?' Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one. And, therefore, a new and divine influence is requisite to renew and purify the human soul; and it is for this end that a fountain has been opened in the house of David, and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.
This blood cleanseth from sin in its guilt, and consequently delivers from its punishment. Satan accuses, conscience condemns, God frowns upon the transgressor; the law flashes its lightnings, and rolls its thunders. But we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.' Jesus having suffered, the law is satisfied, the punishment is remitted, the believer is absolved, God is reconciled, conscience is pacified, and Satan accuses in vain. To condemn a man who has been washed in the blood of the Lamb, would be contrary both to the justice and mercy of God; contrary to his justice, for he has accepted Christ's sacrifice as a ransom-contrary to his mercy, for it would be to punish one who, in the eye of law, has been found and declared innocent. But now being justified by Christ's blood, we shall be saved from wrath by him.'
This blood cleanseth from sin also in its pollution. If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Christ gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify us unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, sprinkling the unclean, sanctify to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your con
This blood cleanseth from all sin-from sin of every kind. Men have often speculated regarding a fancied panacea or remedy for every disease to which the human body is subject. But what cannot be found for the body is to be found here for the soul. The blood of God's Son is a universal remedy-it cleanseth from all sin-from sin original and actual, sin personal and relative, sin private and public, sin of omission and of commission, sin of heart, speech, conduct. Jesus was delivered 'for our offences,' and there is no offence which his blood cannot wash away. The greatest wickedness ever committed by man was the murder of the Holy One and the Just; yet, even to his betrayers and murderers, was the gospel of reconciliation preached, and first preached too-beginning at Jerusalem;' and upon some of the very persons who madly exclaimed, His blood be on us, and on our children,' was that blood sprinkled, not as the blood of vengeance, but as the blood of peace. And as it cleanseth from all sin, however heinous and aggravated, so it cleanseth from all sins, however numerous. They may exceed, in multitude, the stars of the sky, or the sands of the sea, yet this most precious blood will remove their guilt from the conscience, their pollution from the heart, their love from the mind, their practice from the life.
This blood cleanseth from all sin-sin of every nation, Jew or Greek, barbarian or Scythian, bond or free. The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. From every country, and kindred, and people, and tongue, shall the ransomed of the Lord be brought, and forming that glorious church which is the purchase of the Redeemer's blood, they shall be presented pure and faultless before the Redeemer's throne, not having spot or wrinkle, nor any such thing.
This blood cleanseth from all sin, sin of every period. It is not said merely that it had cleansed or will cleanse, but that it now cleanseth. Its efficacy is present and perpetual as well as universal. The fountain once opened has never once been shut, but continues to send forth its purifying streams to the ends of the earth. As there is ever a copious source of corruption in our hearts, so there is a constant inexhaustible flow of cleansing blood; it is never lost or congealed like the blood of the ancient sacrifices; it has been deprived of none of its virtue by the lapse of ages, but is, at this moment, as fresh 'as when it first was shed,'
nor will it cease to flow so long as there is a sin- | ment. ner to be saved, or a sin to be forgiven.
Let the unholy and unclean flee without delay to this precious blood of sprinkling, and let saints who feel they are contracting daily habitual guilt, repair daily and habitually to the cleansing fountain; and so shall they be prepared at last for taking part in the sweet song: Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.'
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?' Rom. viii. 33.
THE apostle supposes the judgment to be set, the books opened, and the accused summoned to the bar. But there appears among them those, whom the Judge has not only acquitted but approved—has selected as the chosen friends of his heart, the destined heirs of his glory-and who shall lay any thing to their charge? The various but indissoluble links in the golden chain which draws them up from earth to heaven, have been enumerated in a preceding verse; they are 'foreknown, predestinated, called, justified, glori
'Being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.' This fore ordination includes a destined conformity to the likeness of the first-born Son of God, and a consequent admission into God's family. Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.' It takes in holiness as the way, and heaven as the end. They are chosen in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy;' they are 'ordained to eternal life.'
And because he loved them with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness does he draw them. Whom he did predestinate, them he also called. He calls them indeed, in the first instance, as he does others, by the invitation to observe gospel ordinances, and to share in gospel blessings, for that is a call addressed to all who enjoy the means of grace. Yet though in this sense many are called, few are chosen ;' whereas with respect to God's foreknown and predestinated people, they are called, and chosen, and faithful.' In addition to the outward and (as regards the impenitent) ineffectual call of God's word, there is addressed to them the inward, spiritual, effectual call of God's grace. When Christ says to them as he said to Matthew the publican: Follow me,' they arise and obey the summons. Upon what grounds did Paul assure the Thessalonian Christians that he knew their election of God?' It was because the gospel had come to them, not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much
The whole had its source in the foreknowledge' of God with respect to them;-by which we are to understand not simple prescience, for known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world,' nor the knowledge of bare discrimination, since all things that have been, and that are, that shall be, or that can be, are naked and open to the eternal eye of Him with whom the past, and the future, are one continued ever-assurance.' "God hath from the beginning present now. But God's knowledge of his people, whether from eternity or in time, implies a knowledge of special love, of peculiar complacency, of approbation and acknowledgment. The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them.' 'Does God cast off his people whom he foreknew?' No! for they are elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.'
chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth; whereunto he called you by our gospel.' Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.'
Hence it is here asserted, that they are not merely invited to a participation of gospel blessings, but are admitted to their actual enjoyment. Whom he called, them he also justified.' A state of justification is opposed to a state of condemnation; it is 'Whom he did fore- condemnation; it is to obtain at once forgiveness and acceptance, to be treated, not only as negatively guiltless, but as positively righteous, and consequently to pass from death unto life. It has its source in God's gratuitous favour-being
Having thus been from eternity the objects of his free choice, they became the subjects of his predetermined purpose. Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate. This marks the absolute sovereignty and infallible certainty of the divine decree, and points to the ultimate execution, in all its parts, of the divine appoint
justified freely by his grace.' The meritorious | in time by the bestowal of pardon through the procuring cause is the finished obedience and blood of the Son, and the production of purity by atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus-being justi- the grace of the Spirit. The apostle would refied by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath present to us the manner in which the three perthrough him.' The instrumental medium is faith sons of the adorable Trinity concur and co-oper-in his name Being justified by faith, we have ate in the salvation of God's chosen, devised by peace with God, who is the Justifier of him who the Father, procured by the Son, applied by the believeth in Jesus.' Holy Ghost.
And what is the final, blissful result? he justified, them he also glorified.' The apostle, after looking back to the good pleasure and purpose of God from the past eternity as the originating cause, now looks forward to the glorification of the elect in the coming eternity as the ultimate end. They are the vessels of mercy which God had afore prepared unto glory. The Saviour said of them, when he was on earth, I appoint unto you a kingdom;' and when he shall appear from heaven to call them home, he will say, 'Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.'
'What shall we say then to these things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?' Not God: for it is he who justifieth them, since he spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for them all; and if the Judge be for them, who can be against them? Who is he that condemneth them? Not Christ: for it is he who consented to be delivered for their offences, and who rose again for their justification, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for them. Shall the law accuse? It is satisfied. Shall justice denounce? It is vindicated. Shall conscience torture? It is pacified. Shall satan, the accuser of the brethren,' dare to prefer a charge? He shall be put to silence and shame-nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'
· Elect according to the fore-knowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ,' 1 Pet. i. 2.
HERE is another explicit and solemn assertion of the doctrine of an election by grace'-originating in the distinguishing love and foreknowledge of God the Father from eternity, and manifested
Even were the testimonies of scripture on this subject less explicit than they are, let us only connect together these two simple facts, (which are admitted by every humble Christian) namely, that salvation is of free grace, and yet that all men are not saved, and it is impossible to resist the conclusion that it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God who showeth mercy.' 'Who maketh thee to differ from another?' 'Even so, Father! for so it seemeth good in thy sight.'
There are, it is true, difficulties connected with this subject which we cannot explain; but where is the truth of God-where is the work of God that is wholly free from difficulties to the limited capacity of short-sighted mortals? Often has it been asked: 'How can we reconcile the purpose of God according to election, with the universality of moral obligation, or the individual responsibility of man? If God's designs of mercy be restricted to a certain number of the human race, why is the gospel addressed to all? and how can it be the duty of all to believe it?' Now in reply to these and such like questions, it would be enough to remind the objector, that if salvation is of God's grace, and if all are not saved, the force of the objection lies, not merely against God's previous decree, but against his actual conduct; it is directed not more against the limitation of his gracious designs than against the limitation of his gracious influences, the only difference being that the former are secret and concealed, while the latter are open and manifest.
But the truth is, that according to the principles of scripture, such objections are wholly inadmissible. If it be one bible-fact that God hath chosen Christians unto salvation, and if it be another bible-fact that unto all men is the word of this salvation sent, and that they are accountable for the use they make of the means of salvation God has afforded them-then no difficulties, real or imaginary, in the way of reconciling these two facts together can invalidate the truth of either. Our business with things revealed, is not to explain, but to believe; not to harmonise, but to practise. If in the course of our inquiries, we meet with some new truth that seems irre
concilable with one we had formerly admitted, | healthy or sick, live long or die soon, as that our shall we, on that account, reject either the one soul shall be saved or lost. But does any man or the other? Certainly not. Sound philosophy reason against the use of means for the se-will tell us to receive both, to reason from both, curity or increase of worldly property, the restorbut not to deduce from the one what might weaken ation of health, or the preservation of life, because the force of the other. Upon this principle the he is persuaded of the foreknowledge and presacred writers act; for they bring together into determination of God in reference to these matclose juxta-position, principles apparently the ters? And why then should he for any such most discordant, without ever pretending to rereason exclude the use of means from the great concile them, far less insinuating, that the apparent concerns of religion? The invitations of the gosdiscrepancy should affect our reception of either. pel to faith and repentance are as universal and Work out your own salvation with fear and as binding as are the obligations of the law; if a trembling, for it is God that worketh in you.' man is saved, it will be because he has embraced 'Give diligence to make your calling and election those invitations, if he is lost it will be because sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never he has rejected them. fall.' Ye will not come unto me that ye may have life. No man can come unto me except the Father which has sent me draw him.'
Here, finally, is the great safeguard of the doctrine-namely, that it is an election to holiness, even 'through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience.' The decree is passed in heaven, but on earth it is known only by the result, and that is a holy conversation and godly life. The elect are chosen to be holy and without blame '— to be created again in Christ Jesus unto good works, wherein God had before ordained that they should walk in them. To what are they predestinated, but to be conformed to the image of God's Son?-so that if a man's character be utterly
But in point of fact, the doctrine of predestination is not attended with greater difficulties than many other doctrines of revelation, which are received by all who profess Christianity. None, for example, will deny that 'God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity,' and yet none can deny that iniquity abounds; but who has yet been able to reconcile the holiness of God with the origin of moral evil? None will deny that 'God is love,' but who can perfectly reconcile the good-destitute of the lineaments of the holy Jesus, he ness of God with the introduction of moral and possesses as yet no evidence of his being an elect physical suffering? Again, that the foreknow- child of God; while, on the other hand, in proledge of God is a necessary part of his omniscience portion as he is made to resemble the meek and is acknowledged by all who have correct views lowly Saviour, in the same proportion will the eviof the divine character. On the other hand, that dences of his election of God increase. And while man is a responsible agent is taught at once by the doctrine thus secures the interests of holiness, the law of conscience, and the word of the Most it also illustrates the nature of the final perseverHigh. But what speculations have yet harmon-ance of the saints. God's eternal purpose of ised these two facts, or fixed the precise point of their agreement? Who of mortals has ever discerned that hidden link in the great chain of truth, by which they are connected? And yet our consciousness of the impossibility of reconciling them does not lead us to doubt or deny either.
Another vulgar objection against the doctrine of election is often stated thus: If I am to be saved, I shall be saved whatever be my vices; if I am to be lost, I shall be lost whatever be my virtues.' But such an inference from the doctrine can only proceed from the grossest misconception of its true nature, and an utter disregard of the connection which God has established here, as throughout all his works, between the means and the end. Apply the same reasoning to the business of life, and its absurdity will be instantly apparent. As certain it is in the purpose and perception of God, that we shall be rich or poor,
grace does render absolutely certain the ultimate salvation of every one of the elect; but no man has any right to conclude that he is one of the blessed number, unless he is actually enduring in faith and obedience even to the end.
"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,' John iii. 16.
NOTHING but our long familiarity with the marvellous fact here stated, can account for our ever reading this passage without the deepest emotion. How simple, yet sublime the announcement! how plain, yet how profound! The language is so perspicuous as to be intelligible to all, and yet