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[We need not look to any passages that confirm this doctrine by direct assertions; since in the text it is contained with yet stronger evidence in a way of implication. Let it be supposed for one moment that Christ was a mere creature: how will the Apostle's argument then appear? If the blood of one creature avails for the obtaining of a mere shadowy and temporal benefit, how much more shall the blood of another creature avail for the obtaining of all that God himself can bestow ? This were as absurd as to say, if a child can lift a feather, how much more can a grown person lift a mountain ? Such an appeal would be unworthy of any man that pretends to common sense; and much more of an inspired Apostle. But let the divinity of Christ be acknowledged, and the appeal is clear, convincing, incontrovertible. Indeed the doctrines of the atonement and of the divinity of Christ are so interwoven with each other, that neither of them can be denied without effectually subverting both. Let us seek then to be well established in these important truths.]

2. How necessary is it to trust entirely in Christ's atonement !

[It is not possible to state a case more strongly than this is stated in a chapter before referred to'. We cannot conceive less guilt to be contracted by any act than by unwittingly touching a thing, which, unknown to us, had been before touched by an unclean person: yet nothing but the sprinkling of the ashes of a red heifer could ever remove the uncleanness contracted by it: if the person that had contracted it were the holiest man on earth, and were to shed rivers of tears on account of what he had done, and increase his circumspection in future an hundredfold, it would be all to no purpose; he must die as a defiler of God's sanctuary, if he did not use the purification which the law appointed. How much more then must that soul perish which is not purified by the blood of Christ! How impossible is it that even the smallest sin should ever be expiated in any other way! Let this then teach us to look unto Christ continually, and to have our consciences ever sprinkled with his precious blood.]

3. How inseparable is the connexion between faith and works !

[They greatly err, who think that the doctrines of faith are subversive of morality. The very faith that purges the conscience from guilt, purifies the life also from dead works, and animates us to serve the living God. Let this connexion then be seen in our lives;. so shall we most effectually remove the calumny; and “ by well-doing put to silence the ignorance of foolish men."]

i Numb. xix.



Heb. ix. 22. Without shedding of blood is no remission.

THE external administration of religion has been extremely different in different ages of the world : but the method of acceptance with God has been invariably the same.

Before the Mosaic ritual was formed, pardon was dispensed through the blood of sacrifices : and since it was abolished, men obtain mercy through that blood, which the sacrifices both before and under the law were intended to prefigure.

To mark the correspondence between the sacrifices under the law, and that offered by Jesus on the cross, is the great scope of the Epistle to the Hebrews. In the preceding context it is observed, that the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry were purged with blood; and then it is asserted as an universal truth, “that without shedding of blood there is no remission."

This assertion being of infinite importance, we shall, I. Establish it

The observances of the ceremonial law shew that men were saved by blood under the Mosaic dispensation

(For every offence, sacrifices were to be offered according to the rank and quality of the offender: and whatever animals were sacrificed, whether bullocks, goats, lambs, or pigeons, they were to be slain, and their blood was to be sprinkled both on the altar, and on the offerer: and it was by the blood so sprinkled, that the offerer was cleansed from guilt. If a person were so poor that he could not bring a pair of young pigeons, he was at liberty to offer a measure (about five pints) of fine flour: a portion of which, answerably to the destruction of the beasts, was to be burnt, in order to shew the offender what he merited at the hands of God a.

There were indeed other purifications, some by fire, and others by water: but these were for ceremonial only, and never for moral defilement.

a Lev. v. 6-13.

Thus the law, with the one exception above mentioned, spake exactly the language of the text.]

The same way of salvation still obtains under the Gospel

[The typical sacrifices are indeed superseded by the one sacrifice of Christ. But it is through his sacrifice, and through it alone, that any man is saved.] This is capable of direct proof from Scripture

[The warning which Eli gave to his sons, when they poured contempt upon the sacrifices, and caused them to be abhorred by the people, not obscurely intimated, that acts of injustice towards men might be punished by the magistrate, and yet be forgiven through the great Sacrifice: but that, if any person poured contempt upon the sacrifices, he rejected the only means of salvation, and must therefore inevitably perish.

There is a yet stronger assertion to this effect in the chapter following the text, where it is said in the most express terms, that they who reject this Sacrifice have nothing to expect but wrath and fiery indignation°; which could not be true, if there were any other way of salvation provided for us.]

It may be yet further proved by arguments, which, though of an indirect nature, are not less satisfactory than the foregoing

If salvation be not by blood, the whole Mosaic ritual was absurd

[For what end could so many innocent beasts be slaughtered, and consumed by fire, if it were not to prefigure the great Sacrifice? If they were intended to shadow forth the way of salvation through the sacrifice of Christ, there was abundant reason for such observances; and the lives of myriads of beasts were well bestowed in such a cause. But on any other supposition, the legal sacrifices, having no typical reference, were unworthy of God to institute, or of man to offer.]

If salvation be not by blood, the prophets grossly misrepresented their Messiah

[Christ was spoken of as “making his soul an offering for sin;" as having "our iniquities laid upon him ;" as "wounded for our transgressions,” that he might" heal us by his stripesd:" it was foretold that he should " be cut off; but not for himself;" that he should “finish transgression, make reconciliation for iniquity, make an end of sin, and bring in an everlasting righteousness e :” yea, he was prophesied of as a fountain that should be opened for sin and for uncleanness?:" and John, who was more than a prophet, pointed him out as that very Lamb of God, that should take away the sins of the world. Now what can be the meaning of these passages? how are they applicable to Christ, if they do not mark out his atonement? and what truth is there in such representations, if we be not to seek remission through his atoning blood ?]

b 1 Sam. ii. 17, 25.

c Heb. x. 26, 27.

d Isai. liii. 5-12.

If salvation be not by blood, the declarations of the Apostles, yea, and of Christ himself, are far more likely to mislead, than to instruct the world—

[Christ expressly told his Disciples, that his “ blood was shed for the remission of sinsh.” And the Apostles uniformly declare, that God purchased the Church with his own bloodi; that our reconciliation to Godk, and our justification before him', together with our complete redemption ", are by blood, even by the blood of Christ, that spotless Lamb. Is this the way to teach men that they shall be saved by their works? Must we not utterly despair of understanding any thing they have said, if we are not to expect salvation by the blood of Christ?]

The Apostle's assertion being thus fully established, we shall. II. Improve it

The death of Christ has an aspect upon every thing that relates to our souls. But not to enumerate many points, let us REFLECT

1. The evil of sin

[We are assured that not one sin could have been forgiven without shedding of blood. Nor was it the blood of bulls and of goats only that was necessary, but the blood of God's dear Son, even of Jehovah's Fellow: what then must sin be, that required such a sacrifice? We behold the evil of it in the miseries that are in the world; and still more in the torments of the damned: but most of all do we see its malignity in the sufferings of the Son of God; without which not the smallest transgression could ever have been expiated. Let

& John i. 29.

e Dan. ix. 24, 26.
h Matt. xxvi. 28.
k Eph. ii. 16. Col. i, 20.

Epb. i. 7. Rev. v. 9.

f Zech. xiii. 1.
i Acts xx. 28.
1 Rom. v. 9.
n 1 Pet. i. 19.


us then view sin in this light, and we shall no more account it a small and venial evil.] 2. The folly of self-righteousness

[Self-righteousness consists in substituting something of our own in the place of the atonement, or in blending something of our own with it. In either case we utterly make void the death of Christo. And what madness is this! It is, in fact, to shut ourselves out from all hope of pardon, and to rivet our sins upon our souls for ever.

It may be thought indeed that Christ died to purchase us a right and power to save ourselves by our works." But if this was the case, why did St. Paul impute the rejection of his own nation to their going about to establish their own righteousness P? and why did he desire to be found in Christ, not having his own righteousness? Why did he declare that if any man were circumcised with a view to obtain justification by the law, Christ should profit him nothing?? Why did he contrast salvation by grace, and salvation by works, so as to shew that they could not be blended or consist togethers? This alas! is a refuge of lies, which, together with all who flee to it, will be swept away with the besom of destruction.

Let us not then dare to put ourselves in that way, wherein God declares there is no remission.]

3. The encouragement which the Gospel affords to sinners

[When it is said that “without shedding of blood there is no remission,” it is doubtless implied, that through shedding of blood there is remission. And what a glorious truth is this! how refreshing to the weary soul! Let it be contemplated with holy joy and wonder. There is no sin, however great, from which the blood of Christ will not cleanse the soult. David, after contracting the foulest guilt, was yet able to say, Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snowu. Let every one then go to the fountain opened for sin ; let him plunge, as it were, beneath that sacred flood; and he shall instantly become pure and spotless in the sight of Godx."] 4. The wonderful love of Christ

[He knew that sin could not be forgiven, unless he would take

upon him our nature, and make atonement for us by his own blood. And rather than leave us to perish as the fallen

o Gal. ii. 21.
q Phil. iii. 9.
11 John i. 7.

p Rom. ix. 31, 32. and x. 3.
r Gal. v. 2, 4.

s Rom. xi. 6.
u Ps. li. 7.

Epb. v. 25, 27.


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