Imatges de pÓgina
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everlasting empire received from age to age the applause and honor of an uomeasured universe-he who was the worthy object of heaven's highest and holiest halleluias, was bruised and pierced that his blood might be made an offering for sin! Yes, he to whose praise the music from unnumbered worlds rolled in exultant peals over the plains of glory—“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty!" was brought down as the victim of crucifixion and death to obtain for us eternal redemption! The last life-drops. were drained from the heart of incarnate Deity to atone for human guilt! Such is the superior excellence of the blood which our high priest presents in heaven.

And as the blood offered for us is of a superior nature, so it is also of superior efficacy to that offered by the Jewish priests. The apostle declares “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” It could not make perfect as pertaining to the conscience. Nevertheless it had some bodily and temporal efficacy. “And if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth 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 the conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

In these words we have the superior efficacy of Christ's offering so peculiarly and particularly stated, that I must crave your atten. tion while I attempt to point out whence it derives its efficacy, and what that efficacy is.

The efficacy of the christian offering is derived from two sour. ces: 1st. From the character of him of whose blood it consisted. 2nd. From the manner in which that blood.was poured out.

The text says that it was “the blood of Christ" which constitutes the offering. Christ was a Divine being. He possessed substantially in himself all the attributes and prerogatives of Deity. This has been clearly shown in a previous Lecture. As a Divine being he was also sinless. And not only had he never transgressed any law, but he was above all law. He was entirely independententirely beyond the reach of all the claims of law. There is not any sense in which the shedding of his blood could be considered as a something due to the law. So that if sacrifice can merit anything, the sacrifice of Christ was all meritorious--all efficacy. It

'Lecture II.

was in addition to this perfectly pure, it was an offering“ without spot.” There was nothing in it of any kind, viewed under any aspect which could detract from its moral excellence.

An offering from such a being-a being Divine in his nature as well as innocent and pure in his character certainly must have efficacy. The offering of mean and unworthy animals bad efficacy, how much more then should the blood of the immaculate Son of God have virtue.

But as to the manner in which this offering was made. It was 1st. Voluntary. From the character of the being concerned, it could not be otherwise. “ Christ offered himself to God.” It was by the exercise of his own will, and of his own uncircumscribed power of self-disposition, that he from the heights of celestial security and blessedness looked with an eye of pity on our sinful habitation, and went out upon the stupendous enterprise of the world's salvation. It was by the spontaneous impulse of his own benevolence that he wrapped himself in humanity—tabernacled in our smitten abode-endured the griefs and crosses which were every where thrown in his way-drank the cup of Divine wrathand exposed himself to the full discharge of those volleys of mighty and unknown distress which millions should have borne. Had this thing been in any way constrained, it would rather have insulted Jehovah, and called for vengeance, than have appeased him and secured his favor. But the blessed Savior offered himself voluntarily. It was on his part altogether a matter of choice. And herein lies one of the strong points of the efficacy of the christian offering

2nd. But Christ moreover offered himself agreeable to an eternal arrangement between the Father and himself. That such an arrangement was made is clearly intimated in the Scriptures. (See Eph. i. — Isaiah liii. 10^-12.) In that gracious transaction between the persons of the Godhead, Christ engaged to offer himself for the sins of mankind, and the Father engaged to accept of that offering as a complete satisfaction for the sins of those in whose behalf it should be presented. It is then in view of that engagement again that Christ's blood becomes powerful to save. From such an agreement the immutable God could not recede, and hence it must be regarded, and ever will be regarded as an ample equivalent for the sins of the world.

What then is the efficacy of the Savior's blood? What does it effect? To these inquiries I answer 1st. It secures the remission of the sins, and the justification in the view of the law of all those in whose behalf it is presented, by meeting every claim which held them in a state of condemnation. Being the blood of a Divine, innocent, and pure personage, it represented humiliation and suffering commensurate with the sufferings and disgrace due the sins of the entire world—humiliation and suffering which exhausted, and more than exhausted all the penalties and all the curses of the law. And though they were not entirely of the sort denounced upon transgressors, yet they were intense enough, and endured by a being dignified enough to answer all the ends of justice without the Jiteral infliction of the penalty upon the sinner. They arrest and still the thunders of the law, while at the same time they magnify it and make it honorable. Through them “God can be just and yet the justifier of them that believe in Jesus.” Consequently the blood of Christ presented in behalf of any one, frees him from the condemnation of the law, and secures him the treatment of one who had never sinned. “To him gave all the prophets witness, that whoever believes in him, should through him receive remission of sins.”

2nd. But not only so. It also frees us of those original and inherent impulses to sin which all men inherit from Adam. This it does in two ways: by securing for us the influences of the Holy Spirit, whose office it is to cleanse and sanctify us ; and by furnishing us the most overpowering motives to obedience to God and holy living. This is done more by the means of grace than by the blood of the Redeemer directly. Nevertheless it is to that blood that we are indebted for the means of grace. A Savior might have been provided-a whole ritual of means might have been instituted, but this without the pouring out of his blood in our behalf could no more have saved us from our sins or our depravity than if mercy had never looked upon us in pity.

3d. But Christ's blood moreover secures us the title to all the blessedness to which the most rigid positive obedience to the letter and spirit of the law could have given us access. Did the law say " do this and live?” The Gospel says, “Whosoever believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” Did obedience to the law secure Divine favor and elevate the soul to the naked and open enjoyment

of his presence? Through the blood of Christ we are made “kings and priests unto God and his Father.” Did the keeping of the law entitle man to Divine reward?' Through the blood of Christ we are “ begotten again to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven.”

How full and glorious then is the efficacy of the Savior's blood! Not all the austerities of the bigot—the self-inflicted tortures of the enthusiast-the sacrificial rites of all nations--nay, not all the cattle upon ten thousand hills offered up in one unbroken hecatomb could merit or secure for a single soul what it has effected for all those in whose behalf it has been presented. It is something upon which the sin-wearied soul can repose with composure, knowing that by it the conscience is purged from dead works-reconciliation with God is effected—and eternal redemption secured. So much superior is it to the blood offered by the Jewish priests, that it was absolutely the very thing in prospect of which pardon was obtained by the ancients. “On this account,” says the apostle “he is the mediator of a new covenant, that by means of his death even those transgressions committed under the first covenant might be atoned for, and the promised eternal inheritance secured unto such as are called.”] It is the precious blood of Jesus Christ which saves all who are saved. The worthies of the past--the faithful of the present--and all the penitents of the future find salvation only in it. Well may the church sing :

“ There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel's veins ;

And sinners plunged beneath that flood, loose all their guilty stains." And well may the ransomed in glory fall down before the Lamb with their harps and golden vials of odors, saying, “ Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests.”

“Shout, heaven and earth, this sum of good to man !" But we must hasten on to a third point of comparison between the two dispensations We learn from the text, that the christian covenant like the Jewish is ratified with the offering of sacrifice.

'I give but a paraphrase conveying what I consider the meaning of this difficult passage.

“For where a covenant is, (i. e. between God and man,) there is necessity that the death of the appointed victim should take place. For a covenant is ratified over the victim when it is dead, since it is of no strength (force) while the appointed victim is alive.”

The apostle here states a general principle in the dealings of God-a plan in which he confirms all his engagements with men. It was thus that his covenant with Abraham was ratified. Several animals were slain and divided, and the symbol of the Divine presence was made to pass between them to furnish additional assu rance to the patriarch that his seed should inherit the land of promise. (Gen. xv. 9—18.) So the covenant made with the Hebrews in the wilderness was made in the same way. (Ex. xxiv. 6. See also Jer. xxxiv. 18. Zech. ix. 11.) In fact all the Jewish sacrifices in their endless repetition were regarded but so many new instances of the ratification of his promises. It was a settled policy for God to confirm all his engagements with men over the death of some victim, and no covenant could be considered as of full force which was not thus confirmed.

In view of this established method of transacting such matters between God and man, Paul

says,

“ Neither was the first covenant sanctioned without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the covenant which God hath enjoined upon you. Moreover he sprinkled likewise with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”

· And it is in view also of this settled law in the case that he further argues, “Since then the copies of heavenly things must needs be consecrated in this manner, the heavenly things themselves (must be consecrated) by better sacrifices than these.” As this was the established rule--a rule which was always rigidly observed in God's engagements with men, so the new covenant to be valid must have sacrifices of ratification. It too must exhibit the death of the victim by which its validity is confirmed; and a victim of a dignity corresponding with its antitypical superiority.

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