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mark his abhorrence of their crimes, and assert the claims of his justice, as the Righteous King of heaven, Jehovah required an adequate satisfaction, as the only terms on which he would receive back his rebellious creatures to favour.
3. But who was to satisfy God for the transgression of his law ? Not one of the countless millions of sinners, who had subjected themselves to its curse, could make the needful compensation. The voice of inspiration loudly declares, that no man “can by any means redeein his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him : for the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for everk." Could not the united hosts of angels concert a plan to rescue our race from impending ruin? We answer, No: for, as created beings, bound to glorify God, they could not place that obedience to the account of others, which they were obliged to perform for themselves. • For this reason it is obvious, that none but a Divine Person, in our nature, was competent to undertake the arduous task of restoring our species to the lost friendship of Heaven ; who, by a communication of righteousness from his unbounded fulness, could justify, 'sanctify, and glorify, even “ the chief of sinners."
It was expedient that our Redeemer should be God; otherwise his atoning sacrifice could not be infinitely available : and it was absolutely necessary that he should be man, partaking of the same nature as those persons in whose stead he suffered; in order, that, in that very nature which had offended, he might obey the violated law, and thus be fully qualified to act as their Surety and Substitutekk. To accomplish the benevolent work of our redemption, * Psalm xlix. 7,8.
kk Heb.ji. 17.
to which Christ alone was equal, he, being God, added to his Divinity the human-nature; and thus died on the cross, to make atonement for the sins of mankind. Thus “ he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him ; and with his stripes we are healed'."
This atonement was inade by the active obedience and passive sufferings of our crucified Lord. His innocent life, which afforded a complete exhibition of the righteousness which the moral law demandshis incessant endeavours to honour God by his personal ministry—the privations to which he cheerfully submitted, in the pursuit of the great object which he had in view--his voluntary poverty, hunger, thirst, and watchings --- his meekness under reproach and derision--and his ceaseless efforts to do good to all, yea, even to his most bitter enemies, stamp a high character of excellence upon his conformity to the will of his heavenly Father.
But it is principally to his death on the cross that we must ascribe our deliverance from the vengeance which sin deserves. The agony of our Lord in the garden of Gethsemane, where "great drops of blood" flowed from his body, was but a fearful prelude of far greater sufferings to come. He was apprehended, at the instigation of Judas, by the Chief Priests and Elders; who led him away, bound, to Caiaphas, in whose palace he was mocked and smitten. Having been examined in the great Council of the Jewish nation, he was conducted to the bar of Pilate, where many accusations were brought against him, which his adversaries could not prove. His judge openly.protested his innocence, saying, "I find no fault in him."
" Isa. liii. 5.
In opposition to this declaration, the voices of the Chief Priests, who'thirsted for his blood, prevailed, and they wickedly condemned him to suffer death. With one consent, they demanded his crucifixion. Then he was hurried away to the scourging pillar ; where his hands were fastened, and his back lacerated with cruel scourges, until the blood trickled to his heels. They arrayed him with a purple robe, and put a crown of thorns upon his head; and then, in derision, said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Lastly, they confirmed their hatred against him, by leading him away to be crucified between two malefactors; one on his left hand, and the other on his right. Whilst he hung for six tremendous hours on the accursed tree, he was insulted with the taunts and reproaches of the spectators. To add to his accumulated sufferings, Satan, and the Powers of Darkness, were permitted to assault his righteous soul ; · and God, who before listened to his supplications, now seemed to shut his ears, whilst his beloved Son exclaimed, "My God, my God! why hast thou forsaken me" ?"
Upon a review of such unexampled sufferings, well might Jesus say with the Prophet, when weeping over the desolations of Jerusalem, “ Is it nothing to you,
that pass by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger" !"
5. Now the voluntary atonement of Christ", who is equal to the Father as touching his Godhead, must of necessity be all efficacious. The single circumstance of his being God, stainps such a value upon
11 Mat. xxvii. 46. John xviii. and xix. m Lanı. i. 12. John x. 17, 18.
his death, as gives it infinite efficacy to atone for the sins of the whole worldo. Holy Writ speaks in exalted terms of the sovereign virtue of Christ's sacrifice: “ For, if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; how much inore shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works, to serve the Living God P?” “Wherefore He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." one offering, he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Language so encouraging as this, warrants the vilest of men to hope for mercy through faith in Christ's atonement; provided they turn unto the Lord, with true humility of soul, on account of their multiplied trespasses against him. That blood which was spilt on Calvary, is all-sufficient to wash out the foulest stains of guilt, and to sanctify the heart. Let the weary and heavy-laden sinner make trial of its wonderful power. Let him behold Christ crucified, with the eye of faith; and he will find that the sight is capable of affording him peace, pardon, and lively manifestations of spiritual joy".
6. The death of Jesus must not be looked at as an accidental event : for, although the Jews acted freely as agents in the wicked deed of his crucifixion, yet were they only instruments, as St. Peter affirms, in fulfilling the secret purposes of Heaven. “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked
• 1 John ii. 1-3. p Heb.ix. 13, 14. 9ib. yii. 25, *Heb. x. 10-15. IP Isa. xlv. 22-25,
hands have crucified and slain." “ It pleased the Lord to bruise him: he hath put him to grieft.”
7. We are further taught, in the oracles of eternal truth, to regard the crucifixion of Christ as a real atonement to Divine Justice for our offences, whereby we obtain remission of our sins, and are made partakers of the benefits of redemption.
Had God dismissed sin, without the infliction of a suitable penalty, Satan would have had reason to boast, that our salvation had been effected in a way derogatory to the honour of God: and he might further have urged, that, as God had forgiven iniquity without a proper satisfaction having been made to the Law, he was indifferent to good or evil ; yea, that they were both alike in his sight. But such accusations are clearly taken away by the manner in which we have been redeemed. Rather than sin should go unpunished, God consented to yield up his coëqual Son to an ignominious death ; in the endurance of which he suffered all the torments which the violated law could inflict. Thus “ God hath set him forth (to the whole world) to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; that he might be just, and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus.”
Our Saviour, who well understood the object of his mission to our world, attests, that "he came to seek and to save that which is lost,” by “ giving his life a ransom for many "u." At the institution of the Sacrament, which was intended to remind us of his death, and the benefits which result from it, he spake of the wine as emblematical of his "blood," • Acts ii. 23.
+ Isa. liii. 10.