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he bare our sins in his own body on the tree, I Pet. ii. 24.
3. In a third class must be ranked all those passages in which our salvation is represented as being the fruit of Christ's death. The persons, whose opinions we are combating, maintain themselves on a ground which we established in a former branch of this discourse, namely, that the death of Jesus Christ was a demonstration of the truth of his doctrine. They say that this is the reason for which our salvation is considered as the effect of that death. But if we are saved by the death of Jesus Christ, merely because it has sealed a doctrine which leads to our salvation, how comes it then, that our salvation is no where ascribed to the other parts of his ministry, which contributed, no less than his death, to the confirmation of his doctrine? Were not the miracles of Jesus Christ, for example, proofs equally authentic as his death was, of the truth of his doctrine? Whence comes it, that our salvation is no where ascribed to them? This is the very thing we are maintaining. The resurrection, the ascension, the miracles, were absolutely necessary to give us assurance, that the wrath of God was appeased; but Christ's death alone was capable of producing that effect. You . will more sensibly feel the force of this argument, if you attend to the connection which our text has with what follows in the 17th verse: Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren ; that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest.... to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
If we are saved by the death of Jesus Christ, merely because that event sealed the truth of his doctrine, wherefore should it have been necessary for him to assume our flesh. Had he descended
from heaven in the effulgence of his glory; bad he appeared upon Mount Zion, such as he was upon Mount Sinai, in flashes of lightning, with the voice of thunder, with a retinue of angels; would not the truth of the gospel have been established infinitely better than by the death of a man? Wherefore, then, was it necessary that Christ should die ? It was because the victim of our transgressions must be put to death. This is St. Paul's reasoning. And for this reason it is that our salvation is no where ascribed to the death of the martyrs, though the death of the martyrs was, like that of Jesus Christ, a proof of the truth of the gospel. 4. In a fourth class, must be ranked all those
passages which represent the death of Jesus Christ as the body and the reality, of which all the sacrifices prescribed by the law, were but the figure and the shadow. We shall select a single one out of a multitude. The greatest part of the Epistle to the Hebrews must be quoted to this effect. It is evident, that the great object of its author, is to engage Christians to look for that in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which the Jews, to no purpose, sought for in those which Muses prescribed. Now what did the Jews look for in their sacrifices ? Was it not the means of appeasing the deity? If, therefore, the sacrifices of the Jews were the expiation of sin, only in figure, and in a shadow, if the sacrifice of Jesus Christ be their body and reality, does it not follow that Jesus Christ has really and literally expiated our transgressions ? To pretend that the Levitical sacrifices were not offered up for the remission of great offences, but only for certain external indecencies, which rather polluted the flesh, than wounded the conscience, is an attempt to maintain one error by another: for a man has only to open his eyes, to be convinced that the Le
vitical sacrifices were offered up for offences the most atrocious; it is needless to adduce any other
; evidence than the annual sacrifice prescribed, Lev. xvi. 21, 22. in the offering of which, Aaron laid both his hands upon the head of th· live goat, and confessed over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins .... and the goat did bear upon him all their iniquities.
5. In a fifth class must be ranked all the circumstances of the passion of Jesus Christ, and of his agony in the garden ; that sorrow, those fears, those agitations, those cries, those tears, that bloody sweat, those bitter complaints: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ? Matt. xxvii. 46. The argument derived from this will appear of still greater weight, if you support it by thus reflecting, that no person in the universe ought to have met death with so much joy as Jesus Christ, had he suffered a mere ordinary death. Christ died with a perfect submission to the will of his Father, and with a fervant love to mankind. Christ died in the full assurance of the justice of his cause, and of the innocency of his life. Christ died completely persuaded of the immortality of the soul, and of the certainty of a life to come. Christ died under a complete assurance of the exalted felicity which he was to enjoy after death. He had come from God. He was returning to God. Nay, there
, ought to have been something more particular in his triumph, than in that of the generality of believ
Because he had made himself of no reputation ; God was about to give him a name which is above every nume. A cloud was going to serve him as a triumphal car, and the church triumphant was preparing to receive him with acclamation of joy: Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye
lipt up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in, Psa. xxiv. 7.
What, then, are we to expect that Jesus Christ shall do! Shall we behold him advancing to meet death with joy? Shall he not say nith St. Paul: My desire is to depart? Shall be not in rapture exclaim: This day crowns are to be distribuled, and I go to receive my share? No, Jesus Christ trembles, he turns pale, he fears, he sweats great drops of blood; whereas the martyrs, with inferior illumination, with feebler motives, have braved death, have bidden defiance to the most horrid torments, have filled their tormenters with astonishment? Whence comes this difference? From the very point which we are endeavoring to establish. The death of Jesus Christ is widely different from that of the martyrs. The martyrs found death already disarmed. Jesus Christ died to disarm the king of terrors. The martyrs presented themselves before the throne of grace. Jesus Christ presented himself at the tribunal of justice. The martyrs pleaded the merits of Christ's death. Jesus Christ interceded in behalf of the martyrs.
Let the great adversary, then, do his worst to terrify me with the image of the crimes which I have committed ; let him trace them before my eyes in the blackest characters which his malignity can employ; let him collect into one dark point, all that is hideous and hateful in my life; let him attempt to overwhelm me with dismay, by rousing the idea of that tremendous tribunal, before which all the actions of men are to be scrutinized, so that like Joshua the high priest, I find myself standing in the presence of God, cloathed with filthy garments, Zech. iii. 1. &c. and Satan standing at his right hand, to expose my turpitude: I hear at the şame time the voice of one pleading in my behalf :