Billeder på siden

teach the absolute necessity on man's part, of real, sincere obedience; such as implies clean hands and a pure heart, or salvation is far from them.

We cannot infer from instructions communicated by Christ, that we are to look for any saving benefit from the work of redemption, unless we are new creatures. After Christ commenced Preacher of righteousness, his first object was, to teach the neces· sity of being born again. In the second chapter of St. John, we have an account of certain miracles being wrought by him. These wonderful works of our Saviour, convinced Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, that Christ was a Teacher come from God; "for no man," says he, "can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him." Jesus embraced this op portunity of teaching him what the scribes and Pharisees had never taught, namely, the necessity of being born again. The teachings of the Jewish doctors was perfectly superficial; they taught the necessity of paying tythes of mint, rue, annise, and cummin, and then stopped short; they never descended to the heart; nor taught the necessity of regeneration. But Christ embraced the first opportunity of teaching this important doctrine. "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Being born again, as we see from what follows, is being born of water and of the Spirit. For, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."* From this we see clearly that the atonement, the blood of Jesus, will not save men, except they be born of water and of the Spirit.

The apostles, in imitation of their Lord and Master, taught the same doctrine that he taught. They, who live in sin, remain impenitent, and walk in darkness, will never receive any saving benefit from the

* John iii.

blood of Christ; but the Apostle John says, "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another; and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."* Christ came into the world for the salvation of man; but can any suppose that Christ will save his enemies? Christ died for his enemies: but that love which led him to die for them, if they remain impenitent, will be displayed in their everlasting punishment. The salvation, which comes to men through the blood of the Lamb of God, is a great and glorious salvation; but against them that neglect it, the wrath of God and of the Lamb will burn forever and ever. Consider then how dreadful must be the end of those who obey not the Gospel of God! "For, if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner ap pear."+

2. The atonement has not removed any desert from the sinner; he deserves to be punished for his sins as much as if Christ had not died. Criminality remains the same; and, therefore, the desert of the sinner remains the same as if no atonement had been made.‡ It may be seen from statements in the foregoing work, that the nature of atonement is such as affords the sinner no argument, why he should not be punished according to his deserts. He cannot plead that Christ has suffered the penalty of the divine law, in his room and stead; and, that, therefore, it would not be justin God to punish him also, however deserving he may be; he cannot say that this would be punishing twice for the same sin;-for, the doctrine of vicaricus punishment, that is, punishing the innocent instead of the guilty, has been proved to be contrary to reason and Scripture.

[blocks in formation]

That can

"Our ill desert is not taken away by the atonement of Christ. never be taken away. Nor doth the obedience of Christ render us deserving of heaven, or undeserving of hell. Merit is ever personal. In the nature of things it cannot be otherwise. Another's having been righteous, doth not make me righteous, if I have not been so myself."



HEBREWS V, 8, 9.

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and, being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.



WE can receive no benefit from the atonement of Christ unless we obey him.

Christ hath done great things for us, whereof the saints are glad. Paul speaking of Christ saith: "By his own blood, he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. We can not however be justified and saved, "through the redemption there is in Christ Jesus" unless we obey him. We must put off the old man, and put on the new, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." For, "without holiness no man shall see the Lord."

It is presumption, not religion, to expect pardon and salvation through the blood of Jesus, while we live in. disobedience. The Jews looked for salvation, but not through Christ; for him they despised. They boasted that they were the children of Abraham: But Christ gave them to understand, that if they believed not that he was the only Saviour, they should die in their sins. He said, I am the living bread which came down from heaven, which if a man eat, he shall live forever.

He did

Christ gave his flesh for the life of the world. not, however, barely, on this ground, promise eternal life to any man. For he saith, "whosoever eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life." Salvation is not made certain to us, merely, because Christ "was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification" Jesus said to the Jews. I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. Christ will not be the Saviour of those who do not come to him. But saith he "him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out." " We readily see that neglected bread, bread, of which we do not eat, will avail us nothing. Sinners, therefore, cannot be saved, who "neglect the great salvation." We see then what the end will be of those who obey not the Gospel of God.'

Manna was rained from heaven about the camp of Israel in the wilderness; but none were benefitted by it, except those who went abroad and gathered and eat it. Hence, they who refuse the bread of life must perish: it will be to them "a savour of death unto death." Salvation is far from him, "who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace." If we wish to be saved by Christ, and are willing that he should have the glory of our salvation, we must come unto him. He calls upon us to come, and he promises salvation to those who obey him.

[ocr errors]

Christ is the only Saviour: still "salvation is far from the wicked: because they seek not God's statutes 'Christ will save his people: he is gone to heaven to prepare a place for them, and he will come again and receive them to himself; that where he is, there they may be also.' But they who obey not the Gospel shall be cast into utter darkness, where there is weep ing and wailing and gnashing of teeth. "So we se that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”

That the blood of Christ without obedience, will not save men, I shall endeavour further to illustrate in a number of particulars:

1. This proposition is illustrated by the institution of the passover. A divine decree had gone forth for the destruction of all the first born of Egypt. But while inevitable, and awful distress was coming upon Pharaoh and his people, God had devised a way for the children of Israel to escape. The plan divinely constructed was as follows,-God commanded that every house of the congregation of Israel should be provided with a lamb; "according to the house of their fathers a lamb for an house. And the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood and strike it on the two side-posts, and on the upper door-posts of the houses wherein they shall eat it God said that he would pass through the land of Egypt that night, and smite all the first born of Egypt, both man and beast. "And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I shall see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you, to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt.

[ocr errors]

Although the paschal lamb had been slain, and his blood shed according to order, and agreeably to the command of God; yet if it were not sprinkled upon the side posts, and on the upper door posts of the houses wherein it was eaten, it would avail them nothing. But God had promised that where he should see this token, namely, the side-posts and the upper door-posts sprinkled with the blood of the slain lamb, he would pass them over; and that they should escape the terrible destruction, which he was about to pour upon the land of Egypt.

While the first born of all the Egyptians was slain,. the people of Israel, being governed by the divine command, in the use of the blood of the slain lamb, were

* Exod. xii.

« ForrigeFortsæt »