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“ bread of sinéerity and truth.”* He is the truc paschal Lamb, the spotless sacrifice for sin : he was predicted four thousand years before his coming in the flesh: and at length he was crucified for us, at the demand and in the presence of the rulers and people of Israel. His intense sufferings, from the fiery wrath of God against our sins, answered to the prescribed roasting of the paschal lamb.--The profession of faith in his blood externally places the soul under the divine protection, while vengeance is denounced against unbelievers : but the inward experience of true Christians, who secretly feed on Christ in their • hearts by faith with thanksgiving,' corresponds with their avowed dependence on him. In genuine sin. cerity and simplicity of heart, they exercise repentance, and mourn for their sins ; they deny them. selves, take up their cross, and bear sanctified afflic. tions; and, being set at liberty from Satan's yoke, they set out on their pilgrimage to the heavenly Canaan.
With allusion to these types the apostle says, " Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as “ silver and gold--but with the precious blood of “ Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without
spot; who verily was fore-ordained before the foun. " dation of the world, but was manifest in these last “ times for you.”+ And John saw in his vision, “A door opened in heaven."" And there stood a “ Lamb, as it had been slain : and the four living “ creatures and four and twenty elders fell down be.
* fore the Lamb, and they sang a new song, saying, "-Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God " with thy blood.”—The angels also joined these representatives of the universal church, “Saying with "a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, " to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and
strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. *" On another occasion the apostle“ beheld, and, lo, a
great multitude, which no man could number" stood before the throne and before the lamb, clothed “ with white robes, and palms in their hands; and "cried with a loud voice, Salvation to our God which k sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb." “ These are they, which came out of great tribula" tion, and have washed their robes, and made them “white in the blood of the Lamb; therefore they
are before the throne of God; and the Lamb, " which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, " and lead them unto living fountains of waters.t”
It is evident that the emblem of a Lamb that had been slain, in all these places refers to the death of Christ, as the sacrifice for our sins, and the antitype of all the legal sacrifices. “ Without shedding of “ blood is no remission;" but, “ it is not possible that " the blood of bulls and goats,” or lambs, “ should "take away sins. 8” As therefore all that were pardoned and saved from the first entrance of sin, were partakers of the benefits arising from the one oblation of Christ once offered ; so He is called “ The Lamb “slain from the foundation of the world."
• Rev. iv, 1. v. 6--13.
| Heb. ix. 22. x. 4.
# Rev. vii. 9-17.
It is my design in these citations, to remove every shadow of doubt, and every degree of hesitation from your minds, concerning the meaning of the words “ The Lamb of God.” The honour of the divine law and government, and the satisfaction of the divine justice in saving sinners, required an atonement of infinite value. The wisdom of God therefore planned this method of redemption, and Christ is the Lamb of God's appointment. “ When he cometh into the “ world he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest
not, but a body hast thou prepared me, in burnt“offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no “ pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume “ of the book,” in the opening of the roll of scripture, “ it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. *» All other methods of expiating guilt and rendering the salvation of sinners honourable to God, were unavailing : but when the Lamb of God came, and offered himself as an atoning sacrifice, the required satisfaction was made, and no further oblations were necessary.
But this appointed atonement was likewise of God's providing. The plan of redemption by a sacrifice of infinite value would not have profited us sinners; if everlasting love had not provided such an oblation. The whole universe could not have supplied a single individual, whose dignity and excellency qualified him for such an undertaking; or whose love was so immense, as to influence him to interpose in our behalf. But “God spared not his own Son.” He gave him
• Heb. 2. 4-10.
to be the propitiation for our sins; he accepted the oblation which he had appointed and provided; and in all these respects, Christ is “ the Lamb of God.”— We proceed,
IL To consider the import of the words, “ Which "taketh away the sin of the world.”
The unblemished harmless lambs, which were sacrificed from the beginning, had no guilt of their own; yet they suffered as if they had been guilty. They were substituted in the place of the criminals ; and the guilt or desert of punishment was typically transferred from the sinner to the sacrifice. It was imputed to the animal, who bare the punishment, while the offerer escaped : and it took away his sin by expiating the guilt of it. --Thus the Lord Jesus was substituted in our place ; our guilt was transferred to him by imputation. He was sinless himself, and yet suffered as a sinner, in order “ that whosoever believeth " in him should not perish but have everlasting life:"" and in this manner he taketh
sin. We are not, however, left to deduce this conclu. sion, from types and shadows, or our own reasonings concerning them : for the sacred writers have most explicitly and energetically declared the same great truth. The prophet Isaiah, in his most wonderful prediction of the sufferings and glory of the Redeemer, says,
“ He was wounded for our transgressions, "he was bruised for our iniquities.-All we like
sheep have gone astray: we have turned every one " to his own way, and the LORD hath laid on him the “ iniquity of us all.” “ It pleased the Lord to bruise
him, and to put him to grief: thou shalt make hi “soul an offering for sin-He shall bear their iniqui “ ties. He bare the sin of many." You see, my brethren, that Christ not only bare our punishment but our iniquities : and this can imply nothing less, than actual translation of guilt from the sinner to the sacrifice. It was exacted, and he became answerable. * He willingly consented to become our Surety, to assume our flesh, and expiate our sins by his own suffering and death upon the cross. He was capable of doing this, and willing to do it. The human nature he assumed was preserved free from all contamination of sin: so that his life was not forfeited, or suffering deserved, by any personal transgression. He had power to lay down his life, and power to take it again, and no mere creature ever was or can be placed in a similar situation. “He loved “ He loved us, and gave
him. “ self for us, an offering and a sacrifice unto God for "a sweet smelling savour.”+ The imputation of guilt no more implied criminality or pollution, than the sacrificing of the harmless lamb rendered it sinful and defiled: or than a man becomes chargeable with the extravagance and profligacy of the poor
insolvent whom he liberates from prison by paying his debt, out of the most generous compassion.
And let us not suppose, that this language concerning Christ bearing our sins, was merely that of prophecy or poetry : for the writers of the New Testament, in didactive prose, are equally decisive, or
“ He was made sin for us, who knew
even more so.
Bishop Lowth on Is. liii. 7.
* Eph. y. 2.