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equity) he ordained that the guilt should be abolished by a sacrifice, and that they should be fully restored to their former privileges. Thus the apostle tells us, that the blood of those sacrifices“ sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh ;" that is, it communicated a legal purity to the offerers, and consequently a right to approach the holy place. Now the reason of these institutions was that the legal impurity might. represent the true defilements of sin, and the expiatory sacrifices prefigure that great and admirable oblation which should purge away all sin.
(2.) A real guilt, which respects the conscience, and was contracted from the breach of the moral law, and subjected the offender to death temporal and eternal. This could not be purged away by those sacrifices; for how is it possible the blood of a beast should cleanse the soul of a man, or content the justice of an offended God ? Nay, on the contrary, they revived the guilt of sin, and reinforced the rigour of the law, and were a public profession of the misery of men: 'for this reason the law is called “the minister of death.” As the moral contained a declaration of our guilt and God's right to punish, so all the parts of the ceremonial were either arguments and convictions of sin, or images of the punishment due for them. But as they had a relation to Christ who was their complement, so they signified the expiation of moral guilt by his sacrifice, and freed the sinner from that temporal death to which he was liable ; as the representative of our freedom from eternal death by the blood of the cross.
This will appear more clearly by considering—that all kinds of placatory sacrifices are referred to Christ in the new testament—that all their effects are attributed to him in a sublimer and most perfect manner. He is called a Lamb in the notion of a sacrifice; "The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” Rev. xiii. 8. A lamb was used in the expiation of moral and legal impurities, Lev. v. 6 ; xiv. 12. He is called “our passover that we sacrificed for us,” 1 Cor. v. 7. The paschal lamb in its first institution had an expiatory efficacy ; for God, by looking on that blood, averted the destruction from the Israelites, which seized on the Egyptians, Exod. xii. 13. This was the reason of the prohibition, that none should go out of the house till the morning, lest they should be struck by the destroying angel. Not but that the angel could distingnish the Israelites from the Egyptians abroad, but it was typical, to shew their security was in being under
the guard of the lamb's blood, which was shed to spare theirs. Thus the apostle Peter tells us, that we are redeemed by the blood of the pure and perfect Lamb, 1 Pet. i. 19. And he was represented by the red heifer, whose ashes were the chief ingredient in the water of purification ; "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 purge your conscience ?" Heb. ix. 13, 14. Especially the anniversary sacrifice which was the abridgment and recapitulation of all the rest, had an eminent respect to Christ. The whole epistle to the Hebrews is tinctured with this divine doctrine.
The effects of Christ's death are infinitely more excellent than those that proceeded from the Levitical sacrifices. The law had “a shadow of good things to come,” Heb. x. 1; but the real virtue and efficacy is found only in Christ.
The averting of God's wrath is ascribed to his death; according to the words of the apostle, “ Whom God has set forth 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; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus,” Rom. iii. 25, 26; propitiation,” idaotípiov, the title of the mercy-seat, partly in regard it covered the tables of the law which were broken by us, to signify that by him pardon is procured for us; and principally because God was rendered propitious by the sprinkling of the blood of the sacrifice on it, and exhibited himself there, as on a throne of grace, favourable to his people. For this reason he gives the name of the figure to Christ; for he alone answers tie charge of the law and interposes between justice and our guilt, and by his own blood hath reconciled God to us. Now the design of God in this appointment was to “declare his righteousness;" that is, that glorious attribute that inclines him to punish sinners; for in the legal propitiations, although the guilt of man was publicly declared in the death of the sacrifices, yet the justice of God did not fully appear, since he accepted the life of a beast in compensation for the life of a man ; but in the death of Christ he hath given the most clear demonstration of his jus tice, a sufficient example of his hatred to sin, condemning and punishing it in the person of his beloved Son; that the whole world may acknowledge it was not from any inadvertency
but merely by the dispensation of his wisdom and goodness that he forebore so long. And by the death of Christ he hath declared that glorious mystery which no created understanding could ever have conceived, that he is inflexibly just and will not suffer sin to pass unpunished, and that he justifies those who are guilty in themselves, if by a purifying faith they receive Christ for pardon. The same apostle tells us, that Christ "hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour ;” Προσφοράς και θυσίαν, an allusion to the peace-offering and sin-offering; for the truth of both is in the death of Christ, which appeases God, and obtains the blessings that depend on his favour ; Eph. v. 2. He is qualified as a priest, whose office it was to present to God an offering for appeasing his anger; he gave himself ; the oblation that is added to his death, gives the complete formality of a sacrifice to it; for it is the priest who gives being to the sacrifice: and the effect of it is, to be a sweet smelling savour to God, that is to conciliate his favour to us. The same phrase is applied to the sin offering under the law. We may observe that upon this account, our reconciliation to God is attributed to the death of Christ in distinction from his glorified life; "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by this life,” Rom. v. 10. And the same apostle tells us, that “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God,” 2 Cor. v. 19, 20. A double reconciliation is mentioned, that of God to men, and of men to God; the first is the ground of the apostle's exhortation, the latter the effect of it. The first was obtained by the death of Christ, who by imputation had our guilt transferred upon him, and consequently our punishment; and in consideration of it, God who is just and holy, is willing to pardon penitent believers; the latter is by the powerful working of the Spirit, who assures men that are guilty and therefore suspicious and fearful of God's anger, that he is most willing to pardon them upon their repentance, since he hath in such an admirable manner found out the means to satisfy his justice.
The true expiation of sin is the effect of Christ's death. He is called “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world,” John i. 29. Now sin may be taken away.in two manners ;-by removing its guilt, and exempting the
person that committed it from death ; and when this is effected by enduring the punishment that was due to sin, it is properly expiation ;-by healing the corrupt inclinations of the heart, from whence actual sins proceed. It is true, our Redeemer takes away sin in both these respects; he delivers from the damnation and dominion of it; for he is made of God our righteousness and sanctification. But the first sense only is convenient here; for it is evident that the Lamb took away sin, that is, the guilt of it, by dying instead of the sinner, and had no effect for the destroying of the malignant habits of sin in the person who offered it. And it is more apparent, that this divine Lamb hath taken away the guilt of our sins, in that “he bare them in his own body on the tree;" for the native force of the word årperv signifies, not only to take away, but to carry and bear, which, applied to sin, is nothing else but to suffer the penalty of it.
And it is to be observed, when cleansing, purifying, and washing are attributed to the blood of Christ, they have an immediate respect to the guilt of sin, and declare its efficacy to take off the obligation to punishment. Thus it is said that his blood cleanseth from all sin,” 1 John i. 7; and that it
purgeth the conscience from dead works,” Heb. ix. 14; and that we are washed from our sins in his blood, Rev. i. 5. The frequent sprinklings and purifications with water under the law, prefigured our cleansing from the defilements of sin by the grace of the Spirit; but the shedding of the blood of sacrifices was to purge away sins so far as they were made liable to a curse.
Our exemption from punishment, and our restoration to communion with God in grace and glory, are the fruits of his expiating sin. For this reason the blood of the Mediator “speaketh better things than that of Abel ;" for that cried for revenge against the murderer, but his procures remission to believers. And as the just desert of sin is separation from the presence of God who is the fountain of felicity, so when the guilt is taken away, the person is received into God's favour and fellowship. A representation of this is set down in the 24th of Exodus, where we have described the manner of dedicating the covenant between God and Israel by bloody sacrifices. After Moses had finished the offering, and sprinkled the blood on the altar and the people, the elders of Israel, who were forbid to approach near to the Lord, were then invited to come into his presence, and in to
ken of reconciliation, feasted before him. Thus the eternal covenant is established by the blood of the Mediator, and all the benefits it contains, as remission of sins, freedom to draw near to the throne of grace, and the enjoyment of God in glory, are the fruits of his reconciling sacrifice.
The sum of all is this, that as under the law God was not appeased without shedding of blood, nor sin expiated without suffering the punishment, nor the sinner pardoned without the substitution of a sacrifice; so all these are eminently accomplished in the death of Christ. He reconciled God to us by his most precious blood, and expiated sin by enduring the curse, and hath procured our pardon by being “ made sin for us.” So that it is most evident, that the proper and direct end of the death of Christ was, that God might exercise his mercy to the guilty sinner in a way that is honourable to his justice.
It is objected, that if God from infinite mercy gave his Son to us, then antecedently to the coming of Christ, he had the highest love for mankind, and consequently there was no need that Christ by his death should satisfy justice to reconcile him to us. But a clear answer may be given to this by considering—that anger and love are consistent at the same time, and may in several respects be terminated on the same subject. A father presents a double affection towards a rebellious son; he loves him as his son, is angry with him as disobedient. Thus in our lapsed state, God had compassion on us as his creatures, and was angry with us as sinners. As the injured party he laid aside his anger, but as the preserver of justice he required satisfaction.-We must distinguish between a love of good will and compassion, and a love of complacency. The first is that which moved God to ordain the means, that without prejudice to his other perfections, he might confer pardon and all spiritual benefits upon us; the other is that whereby he delights in us, being reconciled to him and renewed according to his image. The first supposes him placable; the latter, that he is appeased. There is a visible instance of this in the case of Job's friends. The Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My anger is kindled against thee and against thy two friends;
for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath :" here is a declaration of God's anger, yet with the mixture of love ; for it follows, “ Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven