Imatges de pÓgina
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nature is purified, in the hope of that glorious destiny in which corruptible shall put on incorruption, and mortal immortality. What ingratitude, then, and insensibility, to withhold the supreme love which is due to our gracious Creator, Benefactor, and Redeemer, and to bestow it upon the world— upon the world, which deludes us with imaginary pleasures, and at the close of life leaves us unprepared to render our account, and unfit to taste the joys of heaven! O let not the world separate our affections from God, and lead us from him, the source of bliss; let us love and serve him with all our mind, and with all our soul, and with all our strength; let us say unto him with undivided affection-“ Be thou my portion and my inheritance, my refuge and my hope." Then shall our souls be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and our mouths shall praise him with joyful lips: God will be our guide, even unto death; and when our strength and our hearts fail, he will be the strength of our hearts, our portion, and our God for ever and ever.

SERMON XXXII.

JESUS CHRIST THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE.

JOHN xiv. 6.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life : no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

THIS is a most important and interesting declaration, whether we consider its nature, the character of him by whom it was made, or the situation of those to whom it is addressed.

Jesus Christ, the only-begotten and well-beloved Son of the Father, in whom dwelt the fulness of the Godhead, the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of his person, with whom are the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, to whom all the prophets bore witness, and who proved himself to be the Son of God by signs, and wonders, and mighty works, uttered this declaration-" I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." He was announcing to his disciples his departure into heaven to prepare a place for them, and he delivered this declaration in the first instance to them; but through them it is addressed to all the human race, for whose salvation he came down. from heaven. And when we consider our ignorance, our weakness, and our guilt, and our subjection to sin and death, how important and interesting must

appear to us this declaration of the Son of God, in which he exhibits himself to us as a way of access to that dread Sovereign whom we have offended, as that eternal truth who should make us free from the bondage of error, and as that eternal life who should redeem us from death, and ransom us from the power of the grave.

Yes, my brethren, this is a declaration in which we are all interested; for surely no individual present can possibly be indifferent as to the means of his deliverance from error, from sin, and from death: these are topics of infinite moment to us all.

Listen, then, while I endeavour to explain to you in what respects Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, through whom alone we can come unto the Father.

I. Jesus Christ emphatically styles himself the way, because he only opens to us the way of access to that God whom we have offended.

What availed thousands of rams and ten thousands of rivers of oil? What availed that dreadful refuge of despair, the offering up the first-born, the fruit of the body? The sin of the soul still remained its guilt was not to be expiated by the merits of the most perfect creature, nor its stain to be washed away by the floods of repentance. No created being, however exalted, possesses even that portion of superabundant merit which can atone for the deficiency of another, much less which can make expiation for the sins of the whole human race; and repentance, when most sincere, is still imperfect, falling far short of the claims of divine justice and holiness, and unavailing to repair the

affront which the transgressor has cast on the power of God and the majesty of his government.

When, then, human nature, excited by the sense of sin, had exhausted every remedy which its guilty imagination could devise, still it could not indulge any certain hope of pardon, nor solve the perplexing mystery, how God could be just, and yet justify the sinner. The way of access to the throne of the Sovereign and Judge of the world was closed; and when conscience pointed to the tribunal where justice would by no means spare the transgressor, the language which its guilty fears prompted, was that of apprehension and despair-" Wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me?"

When thus there appeared no eye to pity nor arm to save, it pleased the Almighty Father to lay help on one that was mighty. God so loved the world as to send his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into the world, and by him was the way opened by which the sinner could have access to the throne of God, could obtain remission of his sins, and be restored to the favour of his offended Maker.

This new and living way of access Christ opened, 1. By the shedding of his blood.

It was the inscrutable determination of the divine counsels, that without shedding of blood there should be no remission of sin. This determination first appeared in the institution of sacrifices. In them man was taught to make expiation for his guilt by the shedding of the blood of the victim. But it was not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats could take away sin; and these sacrifices derived their efficacy from that one great sacrifice which they prefigured-that of the Son of God in VOL. II.

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our nature pouring out his soul unto death as an atonement for sin. The connexion between expiation and the shedding of blood, between satisfaction for sin and the death of an infinitely perfect victim -in other words, the mode by which the death of the Son of God, in the person of man, could atone for transgression-is one of those secret things which belong unto the Lord, one of those mysteries which the Father hath kept in his own power So it seemed good to God to ordain, that the sufferings and death of his only Son, in the person of man, should atone for man's transgressions. Jesus Christ made his soul an offering for sin, and thus opened the way by which man could obtain pardon and acceptance.

But something further was necessary; the law which man had transgressed, and the authority of the divine government which man had violated, were to be sustained and vindicated.

2. These objects Jesus Christ accomplished, by rendering perfect obedience to the law, and sustaining the penalty which the authority of the Divine government exacted. Without sin himself, and possessed of the glory and perfections of the Godhead, whatever acts he performed were of infinite value; and his obedience to the law being thus full and perfect, it was sustained in all its power and its purity.

Not only did Jesus Christ fulfil all the precepts of the law, but he incurred its penalty. "In the day that thou sinnest thou shalt surely die." "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them." These were the penalties of the law which man had violated; and incurring these penalties, he became subject

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