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their sins. If the hearer be disposed to ask what the difference is between saving a sinner from his sins, and saving him from the punishment which his sins deserve, the following reply will show. To save a criminal from the punishment which the law holds against him would be a violation of the law, but to save him from his sin, would render him righteous. To save a disobedient child from the chastisement due for his offence, would violate the wholesome law of the parent, and would have an unfavorable effect on the disobedient when reformation is the object of the chastisement. But to save the child from disobedience is the very thing the parental law requires and is all the salvation which it needs. Thus, as has been before noticed, the Angel said to Joseph; "Thou halt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins."
Secondly, we may notice some particulars, which, however, are all comprehended in saving the sinner from his sins. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners from a state of ignorance which they were actually in, which ignorance was and ever is the cause of
Of the forerunner of Jesus it was said; "And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto his people, by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way or peace." Jesus said to the Jews; "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples in deed; and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." In his prayer to the Father, Jesus says; "This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." It is most plainly seen by the light of these passages, that the Saviour's grace was designed to deliver sinners from mental darkness, and to give them the true knowledge of God's divine and
gracious character. This is a salvation which the ignorance of mankind rendered necessary. St. Paul, speaking on this subject to the Collossians says; "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." The power of darkness is the deception to which ignorance subjects us, from which the true knowledge of divine things delivers the mind. God says by the prophet Jeremiah; "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, saying, know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember the sin, no more!" The words of St. Peter are pertinent to this subject: "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord." And we may add, that the mission of the Apostles, to "preach the gospel to every creature and to teach all nations," implies the necessity of bringing all men to the knowledge of the truth.
The same salvation which has already been signified by a salvation from sin and from darkness or ignorance, may be denominated a deliverance from unreconciliation to God. It is easily seen, that sin and unreconciliation to God are the same. This is the state which the sinner is in, and from this condition the gospel is designed to deliver or save him. Accordingly St. Paul says; "And all things are of God who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit; that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God! We see by this passage as well as by the general testimony of scripture, that God did not impute the trespasses of sinners to them, in any way to prevent the manifestation of his grace in their reconciliation to himself. This reconciliation of the world to God is the salvation of the world, and agrees
with the testimony of the beloved disciple who said, "We have seen and do testify, that the Father sent the son to be the Saviour of the world." And to the same did "a bright and a shining light' shining light" bear record, saying; "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world."
This condition of sinners, from which Christ Jesus came into the world to save them, is represented to be death. Jesus says; "The dead shall hear the voice of the son of God, and they that hear shall live.” St. Paul says to the Ephesians; "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." Again; "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ." Was there ever a representation more erroneous, than that which has for ages led men to believe that there was a divine wrath in God, from which Jesus came to save sinners? In the passage just recited it is declared, that on account of the great love which God had to sinners, who were dead in sin, he quickened them together with Christ.
Our Redeemer represents the salvation of sinners by seeking and saving something lost, "The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost." Time would fail us to mention all the ways by which sacred truth has represented the nature of a sinner's salvation by Jesus Christ.
The hearer is now called on to observe, that in all the representations quoted from scripture, there is no intimation of saving sinners from any punishment to which they were exposed, nor from any condition that they were not already in.
Being in possession of what the foregoing arguments seem plainly to prove, the mind of the hearer will devote its attention now to the consideration of the question, why "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners? If the object of the Saviour's mission was to suffer the penalty of eternal punishment, which all our Doctors agree cannot be suffered in this world, why did he come here? Why should he come into
a world where this supposed penalty never was designed to be executed? If Jesus undertook and did actually suffer the penalty of eternal damnation in a future world, in room and stead of sinners, surely there was no need of his coming into this mortal state to do it. But he "came into the world to save sinners." And the reason why he came into this world to save sinners, was because the sinners which he came to save were in this world. To make use of the parable of the Saviour, we may remark, that the physician goes to the place where the sick are, that he may administer what may relieve the patient from sickness. The goodly Samaritan went to the place where the bruised Jew lay naked and half dead, and there he poured into his wounds the mollifying oil and the life restoring wine. The shepherd went after the lost sheep until he found it, and from the place where it had wandered he bore it on his shoulder to the fold, rejoicing.
The common doctrine, which teaches us, that Christ Jesus came into this world to save us in another world is contrary to all the representations which are found in the scriptures. If in a future world, men are sick, then in a future world men will need a physician; and if in a future world men are lost, then in a future world they will need to be sought and found; but if the inhabitant shall say I am not sick," no physician will be wanted. If sin shall exist in a future state of existence, no doubt pardoning mercy will flow as freely there as it does here. God will be the same, Christ will be the same, and love divine will be the same. But none of our creeds teach us that man will sin in a future world, and surely if they do not they will not need to be saved from sin, for they will have none.
We are not informed in the scriptures, that Christ Jesus came into the world to procure for man a state of life and immortality; but we are informed, that he "hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. This divine inheritance was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but was "made
manifest by the appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death."
The attentive hearer is in the next place invited to spend a few reflections on the fulness of Christ Jesus to accomplish the work of saving sinners. Remember, "The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." Permit your humble servant to ask you, if you had any important concerns in a foreign country, which required the attention of one deeply skilled in such matters, would you not send one on whom you could depend? And would you not furnish him with all the necessary powers, to settle your concerns in a just and equitable manner? You answer in the
Then it seems, that your christian candor must lead you to allow, that ample power is given to Christ Jesus to save the chief of sinners. If God himself, who is acknowledged to be omnipotent, had power sufficient for this gracious work, he surely would not send his Son with too little. "All power in heaven and in earth is therefore committed to the Son." "In him dwells the fulness of the Godhead bodily,' Jesus "made unto us, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.". Are sinners ignorant of God? Jesus came with the true knowledge of the Father, whom to know is life eternal. Are sinners sick with spiritual leprosy? Jesus is that physician whose very word can heal. Are sinners lost and bewildered in the wilderness of sin ? Jesus is "the way, the truth and the life!" Are sinners dead in trespasses and sins, the life giving power of the gospel quickens them together with Christ. Here is a fountain opened for the cleansing of the unclean, here flow medical springs, teeming with health for all who are sick. Here grows the tree of life, whose fruit is for food, and whose leaves are for the healing of the nations. In a word, there is no infirmity in the sinner for which there is not a cure in Christ Jesus.
To conclude; My christian friends, is not our duty, as disciples of Jesus, made plain by the doctrine of our text? "It is enough for the disciples to be as his