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man race ; and thus they prepared (though not to their own advantage) an invaluable treasure for the whole world. At last, by their petitions, accusations, and threats, they prevailed upon Pontius Pilaté, who at that time was the Roman governor among them, to condemn the innocent Jesus to the most shameful death of the cross, and this sentence was put in execution the very same day. The Mediator between God and man offered up unto his heavenly Father the most ardent prayers, when he suffered an agony in the garden, in which his sweat was as it were great drops of blood; and having borne every kind of insult, he was extended upon, and nailed to the
But even this was not enough of the wrath of mán. When already dead, they pierced his side with a spear: but behold a wonder! Out of this life-giving wound ran forth blood and water, the image of the two mysteries instituted by himself, baptism and the commu. nion.
When he gave up the ghost, án awful and most wonderful change took place in nature. The sun and moon were darkened; the earth trembled, many of the dead arose, and the veil of the temple was rent: what clearer demonstration could be given, that the temple it. self, and all its holy services, were at an end?
Christ, hanging on the cross, pronounced his last words full of mysteries": " it is finished,” Johin xix. 30. By these words he taught us, that all the sacrifices, mysteries, ceremonies, and prophecies of the Old Testament, concerning himself, were completed; and that the law itself was fulfilled. “ For Christ is the end of the law,” Rom. $. 4.
It pleased our Lord to die the death of the cross; in this St Paul finds a great mystery. Those that were hung upon à éross, the law commands to be regarded as accursed. We, for our sins, lay under this curse; but as God promised to Abraham, that all believing nation's should be blessed in him, so the Son of God, crucified on the cross, took upon himself this curse, and thus merited for us the blessing of Abraham. To this purpose, the apostle reasoneth : “ Christ hathi redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us ; for it is written, Cura sed is every one that håñgéth on a tree: that the blessing of Abrahám might come to the Gentiles, through Jesus Christ.” Gal. iii. 13, 14.
XXIII. The death of Christ is the true and only sacrifice (for sin.)
The death of Jesus Christ is a true sacrifice,
which reconciles God to us, and saves those who believe in this divine Mediator.
1. It has been mentioned above more than once, that the justice of God, which turneth away from the sinner, could not by any means be infringed, and that on our part there was not sufficient strength to satisfy the demands of divine justice; and as it is farther evident, that. the sacrifices of the Old Testament, which conșisted in the offering up of animals, were not in the least adequate to reconcile God; therefore, all this the Son of God and our Mediator took upon himself and accomplished. His sufferings, shed blood, and shameful death, God received, just as if the sinner himself had suffered; and this punishment of the innocent Saviour was in our stead, according to the unsearchable purposes of God, in place of that eternal punishment which we ourselves deserved. Thus St Paul reasons on this point; For the love of Christ* constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead." “ For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, (that is, delivered him up unto death as a sinner,) that we might be made the righteous, pess of God in him," 2 Cor. v. 14-21. “ He
Slavonian.--" For the love of God constraineth us,” &c.
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," Isaiah liii. 5. The death of Christ, therefore, is the true sacrifice. A sacrifice, because Christ offered up himself upon the altar of the cross, as an innocent lamb, slain by the justice of God, and consumed by the fire of love, with which he burned for the salvation of mankind; and his being thus consumed, was a spectacle no less wonderful in itself, than acceptable to God, the Father.
Christ was also the true sacrifice ; for all the other sacrifices were nothing, but a kind of types or images of this; and it alone was capable of satisfying divine justice, meriting for us God's mercy, cleansing us from our sins, and of restoring us to our original state of blessedness. The word of God bears testimony to this ; “ But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to
not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 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 more 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?” Heb. ix. 11, 12, 13, 14. · This sacrifice put an end to the sacrifices of Aaron or of the Old Testament, and Christ became the only and eternal priest. The only priest, because another sacrifice is impossible: the eternal priest ; for, according to the words of the apostle, “ He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood; wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”. Heb. vii. 24, 25.
This great high-priest is called of God a priest not after the order of Aaron, but after the order of Melchisedec. Heb. v. 10. Now, in this there is a great mystery; in which every one must be astonished to behold revealed three of God's excellencies, mercy, justice, and infinite wisdom. Mercy so great, that the only begotten Son of God, of the same essence with the Father, was delivered up unto death for us the enemies of God. Can there be a greater display of mercy ! Justice so holy and inviolable, that without a
* Slavonian :-“Who through the holy Spirit,” &c.