Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

to the law of sacrifices, and we know that this distinction preceded the deluge.*

The animals which were appointed to be of-, fered in sacrifice, were to be of the clean tribes and without blemish. Now these were all useful for food, and in them consisted the chief riches of the early ages. In the descriptions which the Scripture hath given of Christ, the true Lamb of God, the great sacrifice for the sin of the world, such circumstances are particularized as shew the correspondence that was Divinely intended to exist between the type and the antitype. Christ is “a lamb without blemish and “ without spot." He was “chosen of God and “ precious." He 6 was led as a lamb to the

slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers “ is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.” For “ when He was reviled, He reviled not again; « when He suffered, He threatened not; but « committed Himself to Him that judgeth

righteously.” He was the firstling of the flock, being “the first-born among many brethren.”

The rite of sacrificature was altogether of a typical kind. Thereby the gospel was preached to those who lived before the æra of the Mesa siah. Therein by significant actions every material point of doctrine respecting the person and work of Christ, and also respecting justification by faith in Him, was taught. The sins of the offerer were laid on the head of the appointed victim, and therefore the victim itself is called sin, and guilt. And as none but the guilty can properly be punished, and as brute animals are impeccable, the infliction of death

* See several notes on this subject annexed to Dr, Magee's second Discourse on the Atonement; and Jones's Zoologia Ethica, in the third volume of his works.

on an ox or a sheep speaks for itself

, and plainly demonstrates the typical imputation of sin. A transfer of guilt being made to the appointed victim, its blood was shed; for “ without shed“ ding of blood there was no remission.” The death of the vicarious victim was required, because the life of the personated criminal was forfeited. The slain victim was then laid on the altar of God, where it was either wholly or partly, as the circumstance required, consumed by fire, and in some few instances by fire miraculously kindled. The smoke of the altar then ascended to heaven, a sweet savour to God. *

The application of these particulars is so easy, that we need not enlarge upon it.

We shall therefore proceed to observe that the end of sacrificing was expiation or atonement; and that when the sacrifice had been offered, a feast was made of the peace offerings which were not consumed on the altar, Thus those, who through faith in the Lamb of God are justified by His blood; feast on Him while they partake of the symbols of His love in the Lord's supper. It was the remark of an eminent Divine that nothing happened to the Messiah which was not predicted, either verbally or by typical

* On this most interesting subject to every true Christian, the relation between the Jewish sacrifices and their great antitype, much curious and profitable instruction is contained in Vitringa's Observationes Sacræ, lib. ii. cap. 13, 14, 15. The Author has made use not only of the Scripture account, but also of the descriptions of the sacrifical rites given by the Jewish writers, for the purpose of illustrating his subject. Whether this valuable work, which is written in Latin, has yet been translated into English, the Author of these pages is not competent to say. But if it has not, he thinks a translation of it would be a valuable addition to our stock of theological treatises,

representation; and that nothing was thus predicted of Him which has not been fulfilled.

God hath given His only begotten Son to be unto us a sacrifice for sin. The oblations under the law had no value but what they derived from Him who is the substance of all those shadows. The blood of bulls and goats could not put away sin. But our Lord Jesus Christ hath,

by the one oblation of Himself once offered, “ made a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, « oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the “ whole world." The necessity of such a sacrifice exhibits in the fullest and clearest manner the guilt and misery of man, while it also shews “the

height and depth, the length and breadth, of “ the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.”

God gave His only Son to be unto us also an “ ensample of Godly life.” Such in their degree were the sacrifices of the Mosaic law; for moral instruction was certainly intended to be conveyed by that distinction of animals into the classes of clean and unclean which was established by the Mosaic code. It had a primary reference to the qualities of the great Atoner, and a secondary one to the character of those who profess to believe on His name; the instincts of the unclean tribe shewing them what they are not to be, and those of the clean animals exhibiting “what man“ ner of persons they ought to be in all holy con“ versation and Godliness."* These, however, were only shadows of a brighter pattern which has now been held up for our imitation. Christ is the “ensample of Godly life” from which

* This is demonstrated in a most ingenious and edifying disquisition on the subject, in the third voluine of the works of the late Rev. Wm. Jones.

instruction on the whole circle of duty richly emanates.

It was the gracious purpose of God to make those whom He redeemed by the blood of His Son a happy people. This He could not do without making them a holy people. He has therefore made provision in the covenant of grace for their sanctification as well as for their justification; and of both Christ is the appointed fountain out of which we are to “ receive and grace “for grace.” He, “of God, is made unto us “ wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and re

demption.” In consequence of His sacrifice for sin the gift of the Holy Spirit is procured for fallen man, of which “it pleased the Father that - all fulness should dwell in Christ" for our regeneration and sanctification. Bv a revelation of Christ as the sacrifice for sin His redeemed are inspired with love to His person, name and character; and love begets imitation. In the law of God they have a perfect rule of duty; and that this rule may be the more fully understood, and be furnished with every powerful attractive, holiness has been personified in the conduct of our Lord Jesus Christ.

That the example of our Lord was designed for our imitation is expressly and frequently asserted, though, alas! it is regarded in this light by few among those persons who bear His name. If the end for which God gave His only Son were to be inferred from the general conduct of Christians, it would not be supposed that the latter of those mentioned in our collect had any place in the Divine mind. But the statement of our church is accurate. For Christ hath “left us an example " that we should follow His steps." 1 Peter ii. 21. Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of < Christ," says St. Paul to the Corinthians, • He that saith, he abideth in Him, ought « himself also so to walk, even as He walked." 1 John ii. 6..“ Take my yoke upon you, and « learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in “ heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls, says the adorable Saviour of Himself:

The example which our Lord hath set us is bright and alluring. It is calculated to afford instruction in every station and relation, with respect both to God and man, to friends and foes. It is a lively and perfect comment on both the tables of the moral law; for the whole decalogue was written on His heart and exhibited in His life. Both morality and holiness shone in Him with a steady lustre. He was a sun without spots, which constantly poured forth its radiance in every direction. In the mirror of His history, the child, the youth, the man, may discern a perfect pattern of conduct. In the man Christ Jesus “ the beauty of boliness" was displayed in the fullest manner. May we gaze till we are transformed into the same image!

Our church has wisely conjoined the twofold object of Christ's mission. For an imitation of Christ is essentially necessary to prove that we have a saving interest in His sacrifice. Faith is not a merely speculative assent to the truth of certain propositions which are made to the mind, but it “ worketh by love." " The same mind - which was also in Christ Jesus" is genuine religion. All pretensions to Godliness without this are vain. This only is sterling and will bear the test of examination; all without it is counterfeit and reprobate,

« AnteriorContinuar »