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The satisfaction made for sin by the death of Christ, is, I think, sufficiently proved already in this Discourse; but, whereas that is a subject of infinite importance, and much
disputed, I should, according to the second head proposed · in this Discourse, proceed to a more full and ample proof of
it, were it not that I bave taken up too much of your time with the first. For this reason I shall defer this proof to another occasion :
Humbly beseeching him, in the mean time, who ‘giveth us the victory over death, through our Lord Jesus Christ,' that he would make us truly thankful for this great mercy, and inspire our minds with the true principles of eternal life promised to us in and through his Son, and our Saviour; to whom, with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, be all might, majesty, dignity, and dominion, now and for evermore. Amen.
CHRIST THE TRUE AND PROPER SACRIFICE FOR SIN.
1 Cor. xv. 22.
Taking it for granted, that, in my former Discourse on these words, the doctrine of imputation, both as to the sin of Adam, and the righteousness of Christ, was sufficiently established on a scriptural foundation, against the only objections that seemed materially to affect it; I shall endeavour in this more fully to prove from Scripture, that Christ bath not only made satisfaction to his offended Father, for our sins, by his blood, so as to exempt us from the punishment of sin; but hath also, by the merits of his obedience, perfected in the reproachful death of the cross, and, through faith imputed to us, entitled us to eternal life, or the full re: ward of that righteousness, which results from a strict observance of the divine law in all its parts. After this, I shall
endeavour to shew on what terms these inestimable blessings are offered to us by the evangelical dispensation.
That we may proceed in this matter with the greater clearness and certainty, let us consider, first, that the holy and good God hates sin; that he is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and that he cannot even look on iniquity,' Hab. i. 13; secondly, that there is no peace between God and the wicked,' Isa. xlviii. 22 ; but 'indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, denounced against every soul that doth evil,' Rom. ii. 8, 9; and, thirdly, that we, being born under the breach of God's covenant, and universally prone to wickedness, are, in the eye of Divine justice, all concluded under sin,' Gal. iii. 22; and, consequently, ' by nature the children of wrath,' Eph. ii. 3 ; and strangers from the covenants of promise,' ver. 12. In the next place, let us consider what are the effects of this indignation and wrath thus threatened on account of the natural state of sin into which we are born, and wherein we must unavoidably continue, if we are not born again unto a new and better life. They are, exclusion from the sight and enjoyment of God, together with death temporal and eternal. • Without holiness no man shall see the Lord ;' Heb. xii. 14. The wages of sin is death;' Rom. vi. 23. • The wicked shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil, and his angels;' Matt. xxv. 41. Such is the state we are in by nature; and such must be its end, if God do not deliver us from it. Without him we can do nothing,' John xv. 5; .for we are not sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;' 2 Cor. iii. 5. Every text here quoted might be supported with many others, equally express and plain, whereby it might appear, that we are by nature the servants of sin,' Rom. vi. 17; that we were “sold under sin,' vii. 14; that we were ' set at a distance from God,' Eph. ii. 13; and that we were 'alienated from him, and enemies in our minds, by wicked works ;' Col. i. 21.
Now if it shall appear as plainly from the same Scriptures, that Christ hath taken our sins on himself; hath suffered the punishment appointed for them by the justice of God in order to set us free; and hath, by his covenant, imparted his own righteousness to us; and if it shall also appear, that God, on this account, hath been reconciled to us, and adopted us for his children and heirs; this ought surely to end all disputes about the doctrine of the satisfaction among Christians, and free that doctrine from every opposer, but the open and professed Deist.
To prove the first of these points, it will be necessary to consider what is meant in holy Scripture by a sacrifice for sin, especially when Christ is represented as such. The common method of doing this is, by weighing the nature and end of the piacular sacrifices under the law, in order to come at the right notion of the great sacrifice, and its effects. And whereas the Septuagint translators were obliged to give, for the Hebrew terms relating to this subject, such Greek ones as expressed the same intent or effect in the Gentile way of worship; which Greek terms, so applied in that translation, the penmen of the New Testament made use of in quoting the Old, and in writing to both the Jews and Gentiles; it hath also been thought expedient to search the ancient Pagan writers for the true sense of these terms. The method is good in respect to the one course of inquiry as well as the other, and can hardly deceive him who pursues it with candour and diligence. But we have a shorter and surer method, as you shall presently perceive.
However, as to this longer one, no ordinary reader of the Greek classics can help observing, that they considered the Deity as angry at their crimes, and disposed to punish them; that they offered sacrifices to appease his wrath, and avert its penal effects; and that they regarded those sacrifices as representatives of the transgressor, and slain in his stead. He who, having observed this (which Grotius and Lomierus will help him to do), casts his eyes afterward over the Greek of the Old and New Testament, cannot but take notice, that the same terms used by the Greek Pagans, in speaking of their sacrifices, for remission, redemption, expiation, atonement, &c. are applied to the piacular sacrifices treated of in both Testaments, not only without any warning given to the Gentile reader of a change of meaning, but evidently to the same effect, and in the same sense; as appears almost every where by the context, and by the confidence which the performers of these sacred rites appear always to have reposed in them. On the modest supposition, that the Holy Spirit, in writing to the Gentile reader in terms familiar to that
reader, did not intend to impose on him, we must take it for granted, since no new sense is professedly given to those terms in Scripture, that they are to be understood in the old ordinary sense. Lucian, who had read the Scriptures, must have thus understood them, or he could not have said that Christ, by the punishment of the cross, had introduced into Palestine a new sacrifice or expiation.
We will now suppose a Greek reader of the Old Testament to have taken the Septuagint translation into his hands, in order, by a search into that, on the strength of his acquaintance with the terms relating to sacrifices, to find out the meaning of what is said in the New, concerning the great sacrifice. In the book before him, he sees God's anger strongly expressed. He sees also the sacrifice of bulls, goats, rams, lambs, &c. appointed by the law to atone for sin, and appease the wrath of God, not only for small sins, or sins of ignorance, but for great and wilful sins, such as denying a deposit, robbery, and perjury, even after the delinquent had repented, and made restitution, Lev. vi. 6, 7. He sees, by some instances, particularly by that of the scapegoat, Lev. xvi. 21, that the animal offered was put in the · place of the offerers, and bore their sins, just as the piacu.
lar sacrifices of the Pagans were supposed to do. And, farther, he sees these sacrifices actually taking effect; and the death of men averted by the sacrificial death of beasts, as in the atonement made by Aaron, Num. xvi. 47, 48; in the sacrifice offered by David at the threshing-floor of Araunah, 2 Sam. xxiv. and in various other instances.
But, in the midst of all this, his reason tells him, that a beast can in reality by no means be made guilty of sin, nor become a true and proper sacrifice for the transgressions of men, because utterly unequivalent. The Scriptures of the Old Testament strongly intimate, and those of the New expressly tell him, the same thing; namely, that the blood of bulls and goats cannot possibly take away sins;' Heb. x. 4,
Here it is natural for him to inquire how this seeming contradiction may be reconciled; which if he does, he will perceive, by what St. Paul says in the Epistle to the Hebrews, that the sacrifices of the law were in themselves of no value; but rendered, however, in a certain degree, efficacious, as types and shadows of good things to come, that is, of the true and great sacrifice offered up by Christ; chap. x. 1, &c. In the New Testament he will find all the terms relating to propitiatory sacrifices, made use of by the Septuagint translators, so applied to the death of Christ on the cross, as to give no room for a suspicion, that they are not there applied in their strict and proper sense.
. On this occasion he will observe, what I hinted just now, that there was no need to take such a compass to come at the right notion of the great sacrifice exhibited in the New Testament. He will be convinced, that, in all his long inquiry, he had been only endeavouring to trace the substance by the shadow, when the substance itself was openly offered to his view, in such a manner, as to throw light on the piacular sacrifices of that figurative dispensation, through which he had preposterously chosen to examine it. The true intent and use of Christ's sacrifice is to be sought in the plain and literal account which he and his apostles give of it, rather than in the darkness of the legal symbols appointed to prefigure it. The Jews, indeed, as St. Paul observes, might have been thus led by the law, as by a schoolmaster, to Christ;' but we, who have been taught better things, ought not to use so faint a candle to find out what we seek, in the full light of the gospel. The justness of this assertion you will quickly be made sensible of by an easy method, which leaves no room for mistakes.
You have seen already, that God, as a just Governor of the world, hates sin, is angry with those who commit it, and, consequently, disposed to punish it in the guilty. But the same Scriptures that tell you this, tell you also that he is merciful; and hath made an atonement for sin in the blood of his Son Christ Jesus, who hath taken our sins upon him; suffered the punishment due to them; and, if we are not wanting to the conditions required of us, as effectually cleared us in the sight of God, as if we had never transgressed.
Now, that Christ was the true propitiation, the real original atonement for sin, you may perceive; because those essential properties of a sacrifice, which were only either imaginarily, or, at best, but representatively, in other sacrifices, are really found in this, and in this alone.
First, Christ was a voluntary victim, who, from the be