« PreviousContinue »
cure and remedy that heedlessness and coldness, and deadness, and unconcern, which are fatal, and under which, we have so much reason to know, that we as yet unhappily labour.
THE EFFICACY OF THE DEATH OF CHRIST.
HEBREWS, ix. 26.
Now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
HE salvation of mankind, and most particularly in so far as the death and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are concerned in it, and whereby he comes to be called our Saviour and our Redeemer, ever has been, and ever must be, a most interesting subject to all serious minds.
Now there is one thing in which there is no division or difference of opinion at all; which is, that the death of Jesus Christ
is spoken of, in reference to human salvation, in terms and in a manner, in which the death of no person whatever is spoken of besides. Others have died martyrs, as well as our Lord. Others have suffered in a righteous cause, as well as he; but that is said of him, and of his death and sufferings, which is not said of any one else. An efficacy and a concern are ascribed to them, in the business of human salvation, which are not ascribed to any other.
What may be called the first Gospel declaration upon this subject, is the exclamation of John the Baptist, when he saw Jesus coming unto him: "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." I think it plain, that when John called our Lord the Lamb of God, he spoke with a relation to his being sacrificed, and to the effect of that sacrifice upon the pardon of human sin: and this, you will observe, was said of him, even before he entered upon his office. If any doubt could be made of the meaning of the Baptist's expression, it is settled by other places, in which the like allusion to
a Lamb is adopted; and where the allusion is specifically applied to his death, considered as a sacrifice.
In the Acts of the Apostles, the following words of Isaiah are, by Philip the evangelist, distinctly applied to our Lord, and to our Lord's death, "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a Lamb dumb before his shearers: so opened he not his mouth; in his humiliation his judgment was taken away, and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth" therefore it was to his death, you зee, that the description relates. Now, I say, that this is applied to Christ most distinctly; for the pious eunuch, who was reading the passage in his chariot, was at a loss to know to whom it should be applied. "I pray thee," saith he to Philip, "of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself or of some other man?" And Philip, you read, taught him that it was spoken of Christ. And I say, secondly, that this particular part and expression of the prophecy being applied to Christ's death, carries the whole prophecy to the same subject: for it
is undoubtedly one entire prophecy: therefore the other expressions, which are still stronger, are applicable as well as this. "He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed: the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” There is a strong and very apposite text of St, Peter's, in which the application of the term "Lamb" to our Lord, and the sense, in which it is applied, can admit of no question at all. It is in the 1st chapter of the 1st epistle, the 18th and 19th verses: "Forasmuch as ye know, that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." All the use I make of these passages is to show, that the prophet Isaiah, six hundred years before his birth; St. John the Baptist, upon the commencement of his ministry; ́St. Peter, his friend, companion, and apostle, after the transaction was over, speak of Christ's death under the figure of a Lamb being sacrificed: that is, as having the effect of a