Imatges de pàgina
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* Without shedding of blood is no remission. Heb. lx. 22.'

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NOTHING can transcend the readiness with which the divine mind marked the condition of man, the moment he apostatized from God. The sorrows of the fall were hardly felt, remorse had only begun to prey upon the conscience, and guilt to rally its terrors, when a hope as consoling as it was unexpected dawned from heaven upon our revolted race. I will put,' said God to the tempter, mity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.' All the subsequent revelations concerning the redemption of sinners, are included in this original promise.

The doctrine of the Messiah's person, of his sacrifice, of his triumph, together with that vast system of prediction, which extends from the beginning to the end of time, and all the corresponding dispensations of the new covenant, are nothing but its regular developement. God proved that he could pity, as soon as we had made ourselves guilty and iniserable. He afforded an irresistible demonstration of his compassion in contriving a inethod of deliverance from the disastrous consequences of the fall. It was then that his mercy was most strikingly and impressively displayed, when he actually sent his Son into the world to carry into effect the purposes of his love to a lost race. Then was a new channel opened for the divine benevolence to flow to man. Then the loving-kindness of Deity became blended with the sympathies of humanity ; and the result is, that in Jesus the Son of God, we have an High Priest who is in all respects capable of being touched with the feeling of our infirmities, who has shed his precious blood for our sin.

The doctrine of remission of sins through the blood of that victim who was once offered for the sins of the world, forms the grand peculiarity of the Gospel, and was the principle of the Apostolic ministry, and is now pre-eminently the power of God io salvation. It is the sun and centre of the whole system of divine truth, “Without the shedding of blood is no remission;' without it, there is no medium of approach to God, there is no way for the divine benevolence to flow to man. The obvious design of the Author of our text is to show, that there is no salvation but through the mediation of Jesus Christ. And that this doctrine might be clearly perceived by the Jewish Church the law would not grant any remission of sins without the blood of a victim : which victiin was a type of the Lamb of God slain for us, but now exalted to the right hand of God, where . He ever liveth to make intercession for us. The subject for our present consideration, is the Mediation of Jesus Christ.

I. The necessity of the mediation of Christ. The truth of this sentiment is so clearly sustained by the sacred writers, that no believer in divine revelation can withhold his most implicit confidence in the doctrine. But while all Christians believe that Christ died in consequence of sin, there is a diversity of opinion respecting the manner in which the death of Christ affects the immortal interests of men. Has Christ Jesus in his death and sufferings become the real propiti.ation to divine justice for our sins ? or has he, by displaying his transcendent excellencies, shown us the true dignity of human nature, the elevation to which it may be raised, and finally becoming a martyr to the truth thereby become the Saviour of men ? The former opinion is the doctrine taught both in the Old and New Testament, in relation to the death of Christ. On this fact was all the sacrificial system of the Jewish Church founded, without it their sacrifices have no meaning or importance attached to them. The indispensable necessity of this mediation will, most clearly, appear from a consideration of the nature of the awful attribute of divine justice.. Jehovah is essentially, infinitely just. It is not in the nature of justice in any mode or in any degree to remit punishinent. It is the office of justice to see that the penalty annexed to the violated laws be strictly enforced. It never can ask more than its due; and less than its due it will never accept. The law which divine justice supports is eternal in its obligations; therefore its penalties cannot be limited. Its claims cannot be affected by distance or by time; till those claims are satisfied they pursue their victims to the extremities of the universe, and to the ages of eternity. The divine law is universal in its requirements. It addresses itself to inward feelings and sentiments as well as outward acts, demands the obedience of the heart as well as the life. It demands the most perfect obedience, and to fail in any one point is to be guilty of the whole law : to fail only in the spirit of duty renders the delinquent liable to suffer the whole penalty of the law. The fearful and awful consequences connected with a liability to suffer the penalty which divine justice inflicts are augmented by the fact that this law is a transcript of the moral perfections of Jehovah.

It is an emanation of the divine wisdom and goodness. Nothing can possibly transcend the sublinity, moral dignity, and excellency of this divine code. All that is wise, just and good are here con-, centrated.

This divine constitution originally provided for the obedient all that our natures were capable of enjoying.

If therefore we finally fall under its penalties, our state must be all that weight of woe our natures are capable of suffering.

It is a fact as incontestible as it is melancholy, that all mankind have transgressed the law of God. Now we know that what things soever the law sayeth, it sayeth to those who are under the law, that every mouth may become guilty before God.' If, therefore, justice be a. essential perfection of the Deity—if it be that strict and inviolable principle, which we have represented, it is manifest that the penalty of the law in all its unmitigated extent must be executed unless soine one able to answer the claims of infinite justice undertake to mediate between God and his offending subjects. If we have therefore rightly considered the guilt of man and the perfections of Jehovah, we must clearly see the necessity of a vicarious sacrifice for the sins of the world and a constant mediation beIween God and man.

But it may be thought we have come to this conclusion by overlooking the loving kindness of our Heavenly Father, who, though just, is capable of exercising mercy.

May not confession and penitence be accepted as satisfaction for sin ?

Penitence however deep, repentance however universal, can never change our relation to the divine government nor can they remove the legal obstacles to the exercise of the divine mercy.

As well may the condemned criminal tender the civil judge penitence and proffers of amendment, and thereby hope to escape the punishment to which he is doomed. Justice precludes the possibility of such a commutation without satisfaction. Jehovah can as soon cease to exercise benevolence, as divine justice can cease to demand satisfaction for sin. No less certain, therefore, is the execution of the penalty of the law on the finally impenitent, than the bestowinent of endless life on the good and faithful servants.' It would not only be inconsistent with the divine perfections of Jehovah to relax the rigor of his law but highly injurious to the moral interests of his intelligent creatures. God has not only a divine right to be obeyed as the Creator and Governor of the universe, but

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