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Christ on earth, this important scene of Providence is closed ; and fallen man has no other plan of Salvation to expect. “ For Jesus Christ, in that he died, died unto sin once; and having been raised from the dead, he dieth no more.” Rom. vi. 9. 10. There remaineth, consequently, no more sacrifice for sin. Heb. x. 26.
Under these circumstances man is upon his last trial; the event of which must be final and irreversible. Considered in this light the doctrine of the Cross is a doctrine of universal and most interesting concern; as including under it the Salvation or condemnation of every man.
If then, (as we read) “ there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved, but the name of Jesus of Nazareth;"-Acts iv. 12. it cannot be a matter of indifference, in what character he is acknowledged. For should he not be acknowledged in that most prominent part of his character, in which he has been revealed, as the Redeemer of fallen man; he cannot be acknowledged to any saving purpose. Those therefore who in these enlightened days of
the Gospel affect to receive Jesus Christ, in no other character than that of a Prophet sent from God, to improve what they understand by the religion of nature; by teaching a more compleat system of morality, than that of which the world was before in possession; or as an example of perfect righteousness set up for men to copy after; such persons receive Jesus Christ to their own condemnation; whilst they reject him in the only character in which Christ can stand them in any stead in the day of judgement. For in such case they have received from Christ a Law of religious and moral duty, by which they cannot be justified; because they do not keep it; and an example which must condemn them, because they do not imitate it. In the pride of human self-sufficiency they place themselves therefore on the same ground, on which Adam in his state of innocence was unable to stand : and by rejecting the plan of Salvation which has been graciously accommodated to their fallen condition, they challenge to themselves judgement unaccompanied with mercy.
This is a consideration (and a most aweful consideration it is,) in which the Deist, the Socinian, and the self-righteous moralist of every description are equally concerned. For, if the Scripture doctrine of Redemption be true, (and if it is not, such a doctrine had not been revealed,) it follows, that Redemption from the consequences of the fall was absolutely necessary to the salvation of the fallen party; otherwise it would be inconsistent with the wisdom of the Deity, which doeth nothing in vain, that such a process should ever have taken place.
If then the testimony of Scripture be admitted, as furnishing evidence competent to the establishment of any revealed fact, (and to suppose otherwise is blasphemy in the extreme,) there is certainly no ground on which a reasonable doubt can be built relative to the subject before us. It has been clearly revealed, in fact it constitutes the ground on which the mystery of godliness was built,) that man by original transgression fell under the sentence of the law, which pronounced a curse on every transgressor of it; and that in this condemned condition, man has ever since continued. Now if no means have been adopted to take away this general curse, that curse must still remain; consequently in such case no man living can be capable of salvation.
But through grace it has been also revealed to us, that Jesus Christ“ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, himself being made a curse for us.”—At the same time we are expressly told that no man in this case can redeem his brother; and for this obvious reason, because man in his collective character is the party to be redeemed. When two persons are in bondage for a debt, which they are both equally unable to discharge; they must remain in bondage, till a third person be found, who is not only in a state of perfect solvency himself, but is moreover possessed of a sufficiency to spare for the relief of their distress. Jesus Christ therefore in his character of Redeemer could not be mere man: for, as man, by fulfilling the Law to the letter, he could only have saved himself: in such case it had been in vain for us to have looked for a ransom to him; who,
though he had paid his own debt, had nothing to spare for the relief of his captive brethren. The fair logical inference from which premisses is, that Jesus Christ, to be competent to the great work of man's Redemption, must himself have been more than man.
But our conclusion in this case is not left to stand on the ground of mere logical in- ' ference; because the testimony borne by Scripture to this important subject is decided and unequivocal.
The Psalmist after observing, in reference to those who trusted in their riches, “ that none of them could by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him,” concludes with the following consolatory reflection.
66 God (says he) will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive
Ps. xlix. 7. Where the Apostle exhorted his disciples to glorify God in their body and spirit; the ground on which his exhortation was built was this; that they were God's property; having been bought by him with a price. God then was the purchaser of fallen man. But