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This twofold end for which « God gave His « only Son” corresponds with a twofold desire which is formed in the bosom of every true believer. And the unison which prevails between the design of Divine mercy as it is revealed in the Scriptures, and the feelings of a penitent sinner, affords irrefragable evidence that the gospel is of God, and that He who made the human soul is the Author of that plan of salvation which is proposed to it. The relation between a curious mould and the figure which is cast in it is not more apparent to the eye, than that which exists between the fallen soul of man and the gospel-salvation is to the conscious mind. The same all-wise Being who formed the soul must have contrived that plan of salvation which is found on trial to be suitable to its mul. tifarious wants and miseries. Thus “ he that « believeth hath the witness in himself” concerning “the record which God hath given of “ His Son."
The end for which God gave His only Son was, that He might “ be unto us both a sacri“ fice for sin and also an ensample of Godly “ life.” And the desire of every awakened soul is “most thankfully to receive that His inestior mable benefit," and also “ daily to follow the « blessed steps of His most holy life.”
Our collect for the second Sunday after Easter consists of an introduction and a prayer. The introduction exhibits Christ in a twofold point of view, on which a twofold petition is founded.
Christ is first exhibited as "a sacrifice for sin;" for His atonement must be received before His example can be imitated. A foundation
must be laid by faith in His death, before a superstructure can be raised by a conformity to His life. “ The mercies of God," as they are manifested in redemption, afford the only motives which can induce a sinner to “ pre, « sent his body a living sacrifice, holy and ac
ceptable to God,” though such a surrender is undoubtedly “the reasonable service" of all rational creatures. · In order fully to understand the first view which our collect takes of Christ, it will be necessary to have recourse to those sacrifices which were offered under the Old Testament dispensation as typical figures of Him. The rites of sacrificature were enjoined immediately after the fall, because a knowledge of the true sacrifice was immediately necessary to the salvation of fallen man. That the institution of sacrifice should have been of human invention, is in itself a highly improbable position. For the expectation of appeasing an offended God by the blood of a brute animal can have no foundation in reason, nor in any views which the mind naturally forms of Deity. But we have positive evidence that the institution is Divine. For the first sacrifice which is recorded to have been offered, though doubtless not the first that was offered, was offered by faith (Heb. xi. 4.); and we know that faith must have its warrant in the command and promise of God. The patriarchal. sacrifices were acceptable to God; and as willworship cannot please Him, we may be assured that those sacrifices were a compliance with His positive requisition. Moreover, the arbitrary distinction which was established between clean and unclean animals had an immediate relation
to the law of sacrifices, and we know that this distinction preceded the deluge.* · The animals which were appointed to be offered in sacrifice, were to be of the clean tribes and without blemish. Now these were all useful for food, and in them consisted the chief riches of the early ages. In the descriptions which the Scripture hath given of Christ, the true Lamb of God, the great sacrifice for the sin of the world, such circumstances are particularized as shew the correspondence that was Divinely in. tended to exist between the type and the antitype. Christ is “ a lamb without blemish and " without spot.” He was “ chosen of God and « precious.” He was led as a lamb to the “ slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers " is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.” For “ when He was reviled, He reviled not again; so when He suffered, He threatened not; but “ committed Himself to Him that judgeth “ righteously.” He was the firstling of the flock, being “the first-born among many brethren.”
The rite of sacrificature was altogether of a typical kind. Thereby the gospel was preached to those who lived before the æra of the Messiah. Therein by significant actions every material point of doctrine respecting the person and work of Christ, and also respecting justification by faith in Him, was taught. The sins of the offerer were laid on the head of the appointed victim, and therefore the victim itself is called sin, and guilt. And as none but the guilty can properly be punished, and as brute animals are impeccable, the infliction of death
* See several notes on this subject annexed to Dr. Magee's second Discourse on the Atonement; and Jones's Zoologia Ethica, in the third volume of his works.
on an ox or a sheep speaks for itself, and plainly demonstrates the typical imputation of sin. A transfer of guilt being made to the appointed victim, its blood was shed; for “ without shed“ ding of blood there was no remission.” The death of the vicarious victim was required, because the life of the personated criminal was forfeited. The slain victim was then laid on the altar of God, where it was either wholly or partly, as the circumstance required, consumed by fire, and in some few instances by fire miraculously kindled. The smoke of the altar then ascended to heaven, a sweet savour to God.* .
The application of these particulars is so easy, that we need not enlarge upon it. We shall therefore proceed to observe that the end of sacrificing was expiation or atonement; and that when the sacrifice had been offered, a feast was made of the peace offerings which were not consumed on the altar, Thus those, who through faith in the Lamb of God are justified by His blood; feast on Him while they partake of the symbols of His love in the Lord's supper. It was the remark of an eminent Divine that nothing happened to the Messiah which was not predicted, either verbally or by typical representation; and that nothing was thus predicted of Him which has not been fulfilled.
* On this most interesting subject to every true Christian, the relation between the Jewish sacrifices and their great antitvpe, much curious and profitable instruction is contained in Vitringa's Observationes Sacræ, lib. i. cap. 13, 14, 15. The Author has made use not only of the Scripture account, but also of the descriptions of the sacrifical rites given by the Jewish writers, for the purpose of illustratiog his subject. Whether this valuable work, which is written in Latin, has yet been translated into English, the Author of these pages is not competent to say. But if it has not, he thinks a translation of it would be a valuable addition to our stock of theological treatises,
.66 God hath given His only begotten Son to be « unto us a sacrifice for sin.” The oblations under the law had no value but what they derived from Him who is the substance of all those shadows. The blood of bulls and goats could not put away sin. But our Lord Jesus Christ hath, “ by the one oblation of Himself once offered, " made a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, “ oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the « whole world.” The necessity of such a sacrifice exhibits in the fullest and clearest manner the guilt and misery of man, while it also shews “ the “ height and depth, the length and breadth, of " the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.”
“God gave His only Son to be unto us also an “ ensample of Godly life.” Such in their degree were the sacrifices of the Mosaic law; for moral instruction was certainly intended to be conveyed by that distinction of animals into the classes of clean and unclean which was established by the Mosaic code. It had a primary reference to the qualities of the great Atoner, and a secondary one to the character of those who profess to believe on His name ; the instincts of the unclean tribe shewing them what they are not to be, and those of the clean animals exhibiting - what man- ! “ ner of persons they ought to be in all holy con“ versation and Godliness."* These, however, were only shadows of a brighter pattern which has now been held up for our imitation.' Christ, is the sensample of Godly life", from which
* This is demonstrated in a most ingenious and edifying disquisition on the subject, in the third voluine of the works of the late Rev. Wm. Jones.