Billeder på siden

safe in God's pavilion till the indignation was overpast. "And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. And it came to pass that at midnight the Lord smote all the first born in the land of Egypt-And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead."*

This teaches us the alarming situation of those, whose hearts are not sprinkled with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

Had not the lintel, and the two side-posts of the doors of the houses of the children of Israel, been sprinkled with the blood of the paschal lamb, they all would have been involved in the same dreadful calamity, which came upon Pharaoh and upon all his people. So, if sinners are not sprinkled with the blood of sprinkling, which speaketh better things than the blood of Abel, they will be forever undone. For the sentence of eternal death will go forth with infinite weight, and with all the authority of the Most High, upon every "soul of man that doeth evil," and is not, therefore, made clean in the blood of the Lamb. "Draw nigh to God, then, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts. ye double-minded "+

The question in the day of judgment will not be, Did Christ die for you? did he make an atonement for your sins? has he taught in your streets? and have you eaten and drunk in his presence, and in his name done many wonderful works? But the question will be, Whether we have clean hands and a pure heart? "Blessed are the pure in heart:" "blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity,

* Exod. xli, 29, 30.

James iv, 8.


and in whose spirit there is no guile." In the Gospel a fountain is opened to wash in, from sin and uncleanWhosoever will let him take of the water of life freely. Hence, "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.""Come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price."

Notwithstanding the freeness of the offer of salvation, the depravity of man by nature is such, as to make light of it. Christ has illustrated this sentiment by the parable of the marriage of the king's scn. Many were invited to the wedding, but they would not come.-"He sent again, saying. Behold I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready, come unto the marriage. But they made light of it." This parable illustrates the Gospel. Whosoever will may come; but he must perish, who will not come, as truly as if no provision had been made. For, "except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish."

2. It may be illustrated, that the atonement will avail them nothing, who live in the case of Noah's "preparing an ark to the saving of his house."

There was a time when the wickedness of man was so great that God said, I will destroy him; for "it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." Noah, therefore, was commanded of God to build an ark, that he and his house might be safe, when the overflowing scourge should come upon a wicked world. "And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him, so did be. And Noah went in and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood."* The eight souls which went into the ark were saved from the waters of the flood. But what did the ark

* Gen. vi, 22; and vii, 7.

men must give up their account, who?

avail those who went not in? Did the sight of the ark administer any consolation to those who were perish- : ing all around it? And the door of the ark being closed against them, their shrieks and dying groans would avail them nothing. Those who were drowned by the flood were not profited by the ark

While the waters were rising over their heads the thought that they had been invited into the ark but refused until the door was shut, was calculated greatly to heighten and to aggravate their misery. Now, in a spiritual sense, Christ is emphatically the Ark of safety. But will Christ save those who do not obey him, who do not come unto him? There is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.”* But in the day when

be the situation of those who shall not be found in Christ walka ing in the Spirit? but will be found walking “according to the course of this world, according to the price of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience? The weight of their own folly will sink them; the waters of divine wrath will overwhelm them; and despair will forever prey upon them, like the worm which dieth not; and the fire into which they will be cast is unquenchable. Will their sorrow be mitigated by the recollection that the precious blood of Christ was shed for them? will the sight of Christ upon his glorious throne alleviate their pain? Is not their situation as dreadful as if Christ had never died? Yea, the thought that Christ has died for them, and in the most affectionate manner invited them to come to him, will, indeed, greatly aggravate their condemnation. Let not any then expect that the precious blood of Christ will screen them from the wrath of God, unless they have clean hands and a pure heart. Atonement will avail them nothing who live and die in sin.

* Rom. viii, 1.

Some will tell you that Christ has suffered in the room and stead of the sinner, what is equivalent to the second death. But the fact is that the sufferings of Christ as to kind and quantity, fall infinitely short of the second death. For, although Christ suffered greatly from the powers of earth and hell, yet he never suffered what is expressed by the phrase, "The wages of sin." Christ has tasted death for every man. But that death which the wicked die, he never tasted. Some say, that, though he could not suffer remorse of conscience, yet he suffered all that natural evil which the wicked endure in hell, and that in the sinner's room and stead. But this, if what we have heard on the subject be true, Christ never suffered.

What Christ has done to make atonement for sin, is infinitely more than equivalent to the damnation of sinners: for atonement lays a foundation for eternal salvation. Through the atonement of Christ ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands of the children of men, will be saved. But if all mankind had been cast into an eternal hell, their sufferings would make no atonement Instead of procuring salvation, they would exclude the very idea of salvation. For eternity has no end.

Sinners, we will say, deserve to suffer forever; when therefore, they have suffered forever, if this were possible. they would have a right to be exempted from any further suffering; but exemption from suffering on this ground would exclude grace. For what grace would there be in exempting a person from suffering. when he had suffered all the evil which he deserved? And if in this, there would be no grace, then, surely, there would be none in exempting him from suffering. when another had taken his piace and suffered in his room and stead an equivalent to the sinner's suffering forever. To thank the person who should exempt himfrom suffering, under these circumstances, would be a. reflection upon his substitute.

The doctrine of substitution excludes the necessity of our suffering, not only, in the future, but, equally in the present, state. God brings evil upon sinners in this world: But it would be as unjust to bring sufferings on sinners in this world, as in the world to come, if all the suffering which they deserve had been laid upon Christ. Therefore as sinners suffer in this world, we know, of consequence, that it hath not been laid upon Christ. For, to lay sufferings for the same crime both on Christ and on the sinner, would be unjust. That atonement therefore doth not consist in Christ's suffering what sinners deserve, is just as evident to me, as that "the Judge of all the earth will do right."

Let us return from this digression.

3. That the atonement will not profit men without obedience, may be illustrated by attending to certain metaphors, by which our Saviour is represented in the word of God.

Behold, saith Isaiah, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place; and the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. This prophecy, saith Dr. Lowth, in its highestsense, is applicable to Christ; who is here represented as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest," &c.

Suppose then a place is prepared at great expense and from a principle of benevolence, for the defence of those who might be exposed to imminent destruction by reason of a severe thunder tempest. The clouds gather blackness, the lightnings play in forked fury, and peals of thunder roar all around; the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and threaten inevitable ruin to all who do not repair to this place of safety. They who flee to this hiding place, are secure from all harm. But all those who repair not to this place of defence, are involved in confusion and swalJowed up in death; and thousands of dead bodies are

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsæt »