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"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."" This certainly implies a reciprocal imputation of Christ, and of his righteousness to us. "hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us."" "Who his own self "bare our sins in his own body on the tree."— "He suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.4"
ing justified freely by his grace, through the redemption, that is in Christ Jesus, whom God "hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith "in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the "remission of sins-that he might be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus."—
' Eph. v. 2.
our sin to
21. 3 Gal. iii. 13.
These and many similar expressions, as connected with the institutions of the ceremonial law, and the reasonings of the apostle in his Epistle to the Hebrews, are abundantly sufficient, to prove; not only that the doctrine of an atonement by the vicarious sufferings of Emmanuel is contained in scripture, but that it is the most prominent and central part of revelation. This is confirmed by the appointment of the Lord's supper, in perpetual remembrance of the death of Christ; and for a constant representation of the life of faith, under the figure of "eating the flesh and drinking the "blood of Christ." We may therefore confidently affirm, that they who deny or explain away this doctrine, prefer their own reasonings to the sure testimony of God, and endeavour to remove the key-stone of an arch, the whole of which would at length fall down, if they could succeed. So that mere natural religion, which palliates and flatters human pride, will uniformly be preferred to the religion of the Bible, by all who lose sight of this fundamental doctrine and facts do fully demonstrate that this has always in process of time been the consequence, when persons have argued themselves and others, out of the ancient and orthodox interpretation of redemption by the Saviour's atoning blood.
But the present occasion admits not a fuller discussion of this important subject. The propitiatory oblation made by the Lamb of God, being of
infinite value, was sufficient to take away the original and actual sin of mankind, even as if it had been but one complex transgression. Millions in every age have received the benefit of it; and if the whole human race should at once apply for pardon and salvation by the blood of Christ; it would suffice to take away all their sin. The efficacy of the typical sacrifices was confined wholly to the Jewish nation: but that of the one atoning sacrifice of Christ, extends equally to other nations. It is sent to them all without exception: and we can assure any sinner throughout the earth, that if he believe in the Son of God he shall be saved. So that none perish, because there is no help for them; but because pride, love of sin, and aversion to the spiritual service of God, harden their hearts in unbelief, and they "will not come "to Christ, that they might have life." In this sense "The Lamb of God taketh away the sin of "the world."
But he also taketh away guilt from the conscience by the sprinkling of his blood.' The atonement made upon the cross eventually profits none but those, who apply it to themselves. This is represented in the Lord's supper, as it was of old by the eating of the paschal lamb, with the sprinkling of its blood. We are not communicants merely by hearing of, or seeing, the emblems of Christ's body and blood, but by eating and drinking
them. The Lord Jesus" who gave himself a ran"som for all, to be testified in due time,'" sends his gospel to sinners, and by the powerful convictions of the Holy Spirit, he effectually destroys their self-confidence; then their conscience becomes burdened with the guilt of their former sins; and whatever efforts they use to get relief, all prove ineffectual, till they understand the nature, and see the suitableness and glory of redemption by the blood of Christ. Applying in true repentance and living faith for an interest in this propitiation, they find the load of guilt removed, and obtain stable peace, connected with deep humiliation, hatred of sin, watchfulness against it, acquaintance with the divine law in their own hearts, and great tenderness of conscience. "For 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 with"out spot to God, purge your conscience from "dead works to serve the living God." Nothing but this view of the cross, this application to the blood of sprinkling, this washing in "the foun"tain opened for sin and uncleanness," can give that kind of peace and confidence which hath been described because nothing else can shew the enlightened and humbled heart the divine justice
1 1 Tim. ii. 5, 6.
2 Heb. ix. 13, 14. x. 22.
and holinesss, in harmony with mercy and truth, glorified in pardoning and saving the chief of sinners. And whenever this peace has been lost through relapses into sin, there is no other way of recovering it, but that in which it was first obtained: nay indeed, it cannot be preserved in the midst of those numberless imperfections and defilements, that accompany our best days and duties, except by continual application to "the "blood of Christ which cleanseth from all sin."
In consequence of the atonement and intercession of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit destroys in the heart of his disciples, the dominion, love, and pollution of sin; by means of the motives, encouragements, and ordinances of the gospel. In this sense also, "the Lamb of God taketh
away the sin of the world:" for this is the only. method, by which the hearts of men all over the world can be made holy; and all men in every nation of the earth, who believe in the name of Christ, are thus sanctified by faith in him." "Christ also loved the church, and gave himself "for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with "the washing of water by the word; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that "it should be holy and without blemish." "You "who were enemies in your minds by wicked "works; yet now hath he reconciled; in the 1 Acts xxvi. 18. * Eph. v. 25-27.