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because those only who are sensible that they are finners, will be obedient to the call.
Are you not therefore sensible of your guilt and danger? Are your understandings so blinded? Is natural conscience itself so feared, that you do not see how much you stand in need of a Saviour ? Remember, that if there be any truth in the whole compass of natural and reveal. ed religion that cannot be spoken against, it is this, That God " is of purer eyes than that he can behold iniquity;" and that, for this reason, “ he will render to every man " according to his works.” It is a truth engraven upon the conscience, and ratified by the course of providence; the Heathens discovered it through the thickest darkness; and the guilty confess it by their daily fears. What a harvest of converts would I bring in, even in this assembly, if I could but lead to the Saviour every one that believes, in fome measure, in a judgment to come! What an astonishing disorder is brought into our nature by fin? What a marvellous delusion is upon the mind, and what inconfiftency is there in the conduct of finners! It is hard to say, which of the two is most amazing ; their backwardness to receive the truth, or their unwillingness to obey it; their inattention to evidence on the one hand, or their forgetfulness of what they do believe, upon the other. Is there any person within these walls, who doubts that he is to die; or who does not believe, that he must be judged after death? Are you then ready for the trial ? Have you ferved
your Maker? Have you loved him above all ? Have you lived to his glory? Have you fought and placed your happiness in his favor? Or are you sensible that iniquities have prevailed against you ? Have they now taken hold upon you, so that you cannot lift your eyes ? Behold, I preach peace to you by Jesus Christ. Believe in his name and merits for your pardon: rely on his grace and Spirit for your your reformation ; and return to God, through him, as your unchangeable portion. This is the tenor of the gospel : Luke xxiv. 46, 47. “ Thus it is “written, and thus it behoved Christ to fuffer, and to " rise from the dead the third day : and that repentance " and remiffion of sins should be preached in his name, “ among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem,"
And he is the propitiation for our sins : and not for ours only,
but also for the sins of the whole world.
() as many as have any belief of eternity, it must be
a matter of unspeakable moment to know, how they may have confidence towards God. This enquiry becomes, if possible, still more serious, when we consider man as in a lapsed and corrupt state by nature, as guilty, and obnoxious to his Maker's righteous judgment. Then it becomes necessary, not only to preserve the favor, not only to avoid the displeasure, but to seek for some shelter or covering from the wrath of God.
This is the account given us of our condition in fcrip. ture; which, as it is a truth of the utmost importance, lying at the foundation of all religion, I have often endeavored both to explain and enforce. And happy, happy they who have heard with application; happy they whose eyes have been opened on their danger as finners; who have seen and felt the evil of fin, as a departure from, and rebellion against a most holy, righteous and gracious God. Happy they, who, rejecting the vain reasonings of the carnal mind, and the cob-web-defences of the short-fighted creature, have been laid prostrate as guilty and helpless, before the fovereign and almighty Creator. All mankind, in the several ages of the world, have in general discovered such a jealousy of their condition, and have so far felt the reproof and condemnation of natural confcicnce, that their attempts and inventions have been innumerable to appeale the offended Deity.
But blessed be the name of God, we are not left to any uncertainty as to this important quellion. We may chearfully apply our minds to it and receive unspeakable consolation through the tender mercy of our God; where" by the day-spring from on high hath visited us.” The way to life and peace is fully explained in the glorious gospel of the Son of God. We are indeed, by nature, guilty sinners, enemies to God in our minds, and by wicked works; but there is a gracious provision made for our recovery in the mediation of Christ. This is the strong hold and refuge of the finner; it is the foundation fione and confidence of the believer. In the 8ih and oth verfes of the preceding chapter, the apostle John says, “ If we
say that we have no lin, we deceive ourselves, and the “ truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faith“ful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from “ all unrighteousness.” And in the verse preceding the text, “My little children, these things write I unto you, " that ye fin not. And if any man fin, we have an ad“ vocate with the Father, Jefus Christ the righteous." He then teaches the Christian to live by faith in the Saviour's blood: And he is the propitiation for our sins. And that he might further illultrate the extent and efficacy of the great atonement, he adds, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. In further difcourling on this subject, I propole, through the assistance of divine grace,
1. To confider Christ as the propitiation for sin, or what is implied in his being so called.
II. To consider the extent of this propitiation, or its being for the fins of the whole world. And,
III. To make some practical improvement of the subject.
1. First, then, Let us consider Christ as the propitiation for sin, or what is implied in his being so called.We find our Saviour designed as a propitiation in several other passages of scripture; as in this epistle, chap. iv. 10. “ Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he “ loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our “ fins ;” and Rom. iii.
" Whom God hath set forth “ to be a propitiation through faith in his blood.” It is the opinion of many learned men, that Christ is called a propitiation, or the propitiation, in allusion to the mercy-seat above the ark, which was set up at first in the tabernacle, and afterwards in the temple in the most holy place. To confirm this, it is observed, that the original word here used is the same which the Greek translators of the Old Testament always use to denote the mercy-seat, and which the apostle to the Hebrews uses when speaking of the same subject, Heb. ix. 5. “ And over it the cheru“ bims of glory shadowing the mercy-seat: of which we “ cannot now speak particularly.” But I apprehend there is some inversion of the order of things in this remark: for Christ is not called a propitiation in allusion to the mercyseat, which, independent of him, could ill bear that denomination; but the mercy-seat hath this title given to it because it was an eminent type of Christ. It beautifully indeed represented the benefit which we derive from himn as our propitiation. For as God, by the Shechinah, or symbol of his presence, dwelt of old upon the mercy-seat, between the cherubims, and was from that place propiti. ous to his people; so now God dwells in Christ, and by him reconciles finners to himself: 2 Cor. v. 19. “To wit, " That God was in Cbrift, reconciling the world unto " himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and “ hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation," In that ancient dispensation, every worthipper was to look toward the mercy-feat; and it was from thence that God accepted them, and gave intimations of their acceptarice: so it is through Christ, or in iis name, that we have now access to God; and it is in him that he lheweth us favor, and maketh us accepted; Eph. i. 6. “To the praise of “the glory of his grace
in he hath made us acceptVOL. I.
“ed in the beloved.” It was from the mercy-feat that God spake to his people by the intervention of the higlipriest, and by Urim and Thummim; so it is by his Son that God now speaks to us, and shews us the way of salvation : Matth. xvii. 5. “ This is my beloved Son, in “ whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”
But the true and proper meaning of Christ's being a propitiation, is to be taken from the sacrifices in general, and particularly points at his undertaking the office of mediator or peace-maker between God and man, and in that capacity suffering the wrath of God in the room of finners. By this he appeaseth him, rendereth him propitious or gracious to us, and purchaseth our pardon : Rom.
“ Whom God hath fet forth to be a propitiation, “ through faith in his blood.” Remember how intimately it is connected with redemption, another expression which runs through the whole of the New Testament, and is considered as equivalent to the forgiveness of fins: Eph. i. 7. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, “ the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his
grace." Now, redemption certainly signifies purchasing or buying with a price.
The facrifices under the Mosaic economy did all of them imply a substitution in room of something that had been forfeited, or was due. It is observed by one eminent for his knowledge of Jewish antiquities, that besides what was done when any particular person presented a finoffering, at the continual burnt-offering there were certain men appointed to represent the whole congregation of Israel. Their office was, to lay their hands upon the head of the lamb, and thus as it were transfer the guilt from the people to the victim. On this account they were called stationary men, because they attended continually for this end. And as the very purpose of the sacrifices under the law was, to typify the facrifice of Christ, they are a standing evidence of the early and original reference to him, as the ground of divine mercy.
Nothing is more undeniably true, than that the offering of sacrifices was both early and universal in every nation under heaven ; and it is no less certain, that those