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SERMON XVIII.

THE BLOOD OF CHRIST THE GROUND OF SALT A-'

TION.

I. John I. 7.

—The hlood of Jesus Christ his Son, cleanseth us from all sin. i

THE blood or death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the only source of a believer's holy hope, and the sole foundation on which he rests for eternal life. The apostle John is, in our context, giving an account of the character and mediation of the blessed Redeemer. He is the great subject of the gospel, the ground of the christian's faith, and the medium by which the sinner may return, be reconciled to, and have access to God. Hence he is stiled, the " Word of life, even of eternal life, which *! was with the Father, and was manifested unto us. And these "things v.'i*jj| we unt0 you, that your joy may be full''' Christ and his Apostles, all ardently wished and desired the consolation and joy of believers. With what ardor and affection does St. Paul express himself tothe Colossian christians, in relation to this matter ?" I would that ye knew, what great conflict I have for "you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not "seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts might be knit tou gether in love, and unto all riches of full assurance of under"standing, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, even k of the Father and of Christ." So when God gives Comm'issiori to the Prophet Isaiah to proclaim his name and his ways to the1 children of men, he gives him this in charge: "Comfort yei * comfort ye my people, saith your God.'' The gospel dispensation is not so strictly a dispensation of terror, as a dispensation of spiritual pleasure and holy joy. It ought to be joy to the! World, that the Son of God is come to seek and to save th'eiri that are lost; that he has made a full atonement for sin j con* quered death and hell, and forever lives an intercessor and advocate in heaveii; and that he will come again to perfect and to glorify his people. Believers ought to rejoice in their happy relation to God, as his beloved and adopted sons; in their relation to Jesus Christ, as brethren, member's of his bod)', and c6-heirs 'with himself ; in the Holy Ghost, as sanctified by his power, and rendered meet for eternal felicity. Hence we read, on a certain occasion, "The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy "Ghost." And We are assured that the foundation for all happiness in God, for pardon of sin, deliverance from its thraldom and dominion, and for all expectations of future glory is laid in the death and blood of Christ. *' The blood of Jesus Christ his Sou *' cleanseth us from all sin." He shed his precious blood for Usj His blood applied, discharges from the guilt of all sin, original and actual, internal and external, and by this we are constituted righteous in the divine sight. The sufferings, death and meritorious atonement of Jesus, are such a prominent part in the salvation of man, that the whole of it in its exten^, is frequently attributed to his blood, and thus the case is here; "his blosd "cleanseth us from all sin." The only import of the sentence is, that we obtain sanctification, forgiveness, and eternal life by virtue of the blood of the Redeemer. St. John here sets before us the importance, necessity, and influence of his blood, for our deliverance from all the fatal consequences of our apostacy and our restoration to the peace, favour, and enjoyment of God. This wonderful salvation is attributed to his death in all its branch«s. This is the sentiment most plainly and explicitly contained1 in these words.' "''' K

Tor the illustration of. which, and deeply impressing our mind« with the important truth, admit your attention to the following particular considerations. . .. . . •

First, It was by the death or Wood of Christ, sin was rendered pardonable at all. ':

Angels were the first transgressors in the divine dominions; and from the conduct. of heaven towards these revolted lofty spirits, it appeared that rebellion against the government of God was an unpardonable crime. They were immediately doomed by an irrevocable sentence, to endless punishment. This shows that sin must be an exceeding great offence, that could by no means be overlooked. Thus it appears from divine procedure, with respect to this first instance of transgression,. that rebellion against the divine government was unpardonable—could not .be remitted, or passed by. This was the face of tilings, thus far, with regard to sin'.. ...

Man was the second instance of rebellion in the universe. The circumstances of his trangression, We are much better acquainted with, and therefore can better explain the difficulties that lay in the way of his pardon—which, with respect to all created views and measures, were absolutely insuperable. We are informed that God was pleased to entef into covenant with him at his creation, which was at once the rule and trial of his obedience. By 'his obedience, he was to secure to himself a perpetuity of his then felicity. The nature of this constitution was such, that in case of violation, it admitted not of any relief against the penalty. The penal sanction of it was death. "In the day thou "eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." No provision is here for any failure or defect of obedience; but on the contrary, inevitable ruin was fixed as the certain event of disobedience. Utter rain was the evident import of the threatening. Man, unhappy .man, did rebel. And there could be no reason now why God should depart from his established rule of procedure. Yea, on the coutrary, there Svas the highest reason, from the nature of divine government and perfections, as also the circumstances of this particular constitution, that God should inviolably adhere to it; that his laws should be rendered respectable, and his truth maintained by a full reparation of all injuries. Hence man's case admitted not of pardon ; the matter excluded remission, and required that the penalty should be endured; and this was impossible to man but by interminable sufferings.- No mercy could be shown to the sinner, no step could be taken for his recovery, until the demands of the law to which he was.a debtor, were eompleatly answered. Here was a difficulty, no created intelligence could adjust, nor any finite ability remove. But lo, the divine deliverer appears.. In this dreadful conjuncture of mart's affairs the Son of God interposes. Agreeably to the covenant of redemption, entered into in the eternal counsels of the adorable Trinity, Christ undertakes to answer all the demands of a broken law, to suffer its penalty, and do prop:r honor to the old constitution; to set aside the covenant of works as the way to eternal life, and to form a new constitution, a covenant of grace, which should in future be the measure of divine administration: towards man. To answer these purposes, and fulfil these stipulations, in the fulness of time he became incarnate, in the human nature shed his blood, and died a sacrifice for sin; all which was accomplished on mount Calvary. In this way, a door of hope was opened for wretched sinners; sin rendered pardonable, and salvation made possible. God now, consistently with all his perfections and government, can exercise grace and mercy to guilty man. Hence you see the propriety of the assertion in our text: "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son, cleanseth us from all sin." It is by the blood of ,the Redeemer, sin becomes pardonable, and salvation possible..

Secondly, Had the matter been left here without any farther provision, it is obvious it would have been of little benefit to man* kind; though so much as this, was infinitely more than they deserved or could expect. By the death of Christ, a new covenant was introduced, a treaty of pardon and reconciliation set on foot, and published to mankind in the gospel, as the now rule of God's proceedings towards them. Herein pardon is offered to every one, who as a lost, helpless, and hell.deserving creature, repents and returns to God through Jesus Christ, and accepts of Jtim as his Saviour and his Lord. Al l former transgressions are proposed to be freely forgiven and blotted out. Only sincere faith, love, gratitude, duty and obedience, are required throughput the remaining course of life. They are to take God for their God and portion, Jesus Christ for their Redeemer, and the Holy Ghost for their Sanctifier, be devoted to the eternal Three, worshipping and serving the everlasting Father thrpugh the Son, by {he aids and influences of the ever blessed Spirit.

This Is the tenor of the covenant in which God now deals with. piankind. This is a summary view of the gospel dispensation! p.r what the apostle Paul terms, "The law of faith." What could express mpre grace? What could more fully demonstrate the freeness and riches of divine mercy and compassion? Wherefore, it is in virtue of this covenant of grace, that salvation is proposed, and pardon offered, and that repentance and a return

Qod is insisted upon,

i

Now it is by the blood of Christ this covenant is established', and this treaty of reconciliation is opened. Herein it is founded, ratified and confirmed. To this purpose is that ever memorable expression of our Lord, in the institution of his sacred supper, H This cup is the new testament in my blood." This he established as a pledge and confirmation to all, of the reality and truth of God's treaty of peace with guilty sinners. And we are to remember, as often as we drink of it, that this treaty received \{S existence, and obtained its ratification from his blood. Thu$

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