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therefore, carefully what these things were: “ I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”! A most gracious declaration from the mouth of him, who, as old Simeon had expressly declared, was to be a light to lighten the Gentiles, and to be the glory of his people, Israel. Blessed, therefore, be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited and redeemed his people, hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. Let us, then, as we are the children of light, walk honestly as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put on the Lord Jesus. Christ, and make not provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof; for, the kingdom of Christ and of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Let us make it the great concern of our lives to secure to ourselves this great salvation which is wrought for us; and remember, that, as there is no condemnation to them that are really in Christ Jesus,* so, for those to fall away who have been once enlightened and brought out of the shadow, of death, is to make themselves twofold more the children of darkness than they were before. There is no other name under heaven given amongst men, whereby we must be saved, but the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth ; and the most acceptable tidings of great joy, which ever were, or ever will be, brought to the sons of men, are these of the angel :
Unto you is born this day, in the city of David,|| a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord.”
*" lis qui sunt in Christo; non tantum mediatè et secundum quid, rempe ratione ecclesiæ : ipsius, quæ corpus Christi mysticum, in qua sunt; sed immediatè, per unionem mysticam cum ipsius persona, fide et virtute Spiritûs Sancti, ut viva membra capiti, &c.” Gomarus, &c.
+ “ I. e, baptizati. “ Baptismus apud veteres nomen habuit Owtiquã; idque ab effectu baptismi, per quem translati erant ex tenebris in lumen, 1 Pet. ii. 9, &c.” Estius, &c. But see Poole.
“ Inter homines. Hoc addit ob Mosem, cui fidebant.” Frasmus. H.“ Cui hæc promissio facta erat, Ps. cxxxii. 11. Quod et vulgo notum, Joh. vii. 42.". Bru. gensis.
JOHN, i. 29. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.*
W AS there ever so welcome a Messengerf as this to a race of sinners? Or what tidings could this prophet of the highest have brought to the miserable offspring of Adam, that could have afforded so great comfort and consolation? To lie under the sentence of condemnation from an earthly judicature is a very melancholy situation; but how deplorable was the condition of sinful man, when God, the judge of all, passed this tremendous sentence upon him; “ Dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return.” For what hope could he possibly entertain of pardon
* Behold, Ecce (eum quasi digito demonstrat) Agnus ille (eximius et singularis) i.e. Deo gratissimus, quippe sine labe aut macula.
† So welcome a messenger as this. " Similitudo a more principum, qui sc. per certos homines, quos præmittunt, adventum suum nunciant, ut ipsos majore cum pompo occurretur.” Drusius. “ Angelum vocat ob puritatem vitæ, excellentiam doctrinæ, et dignitatem officii, quia Christum nunciavit et prædicavit.” Drusius, &c.
and forgiveness from his offended Maker? He well knew that he had wantonly forfeited both souf and body to his great Creator, and at the same time was sensible that it would cost more to redeem his soul than he was able to pay. For it could not be supposed that the blood of bulls and of goats could take sin;* or that the Lord would be pleased with thousands of rams, or ten thousand rivers of oil;+ nor could the sinner hope lo atone for the sin of his soul by the fruit of his body. I Behold him shrinking under the agony of his wounded conscience, and almost expiring with despair; but where is the sacrifice to pacify the offended Majesty of heaven, and to reconcile God to man? Why, however this was impossible with men, it was possible with God; for, " Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world./l”
Let us therefore consider more particularly this great mystery of godliness, and see with what propriety the Redeemer of Mankind receives this appellation of the Lamb of God. That the whole world lieth in wickedness, and that the human nature is greatly degenerated and depraved, is a truth which universal experience confirms; and we are assured, by the infallible word of God, that the first parents of mankind were the fatal authors of this disorder and confusion in the human frame, as “ By one mans sia entered into the world, and death by sin." In what manner the effects of this original sin are derived to
* The blood' of bulls, &c. “ Sacrificia vobis prosunt (sacerdotibus et offerentibus) non mili, nec ea volui quod cibo indigerem.” Muis.
Thousanjis of rams. “ Deridet propheta stultitiam, hominum qui Deum placari putant ceremoniis et rebus frivolis.” Calvin. Rivers of oil, Oleum usitatum in sacris Hebræorum, Lev. ii. 1.
The fruit, &c. “ Fructum ventris meæ, ii e. uxoris meæ, ut Ps. cxxxii. 11. Quod fecit Joplithe." Grotius. “ Dabone filium meum in valle Hinnom comburendum.” Tarnovius.
Il “ Agnus erat primum et antiquissimum Christi documentum, Apoc. xiii. 8." Lightfoot. “ Tollit perfectissime, et maculam. peccati eluendo, et pænam debitam solvendo, atque ita justitiæ divinæ satisfaciendo.” Brugensis.
S“ By one, man, i, e. '“ Adamum;, ut patet, 1°. Quod hîc in seq. pominatur, et ut primus homo confertur cum secundo, Christo. 2°. Quia, solus Adam fuit causa, propagationis peccati, &c.” Pererius.
q And death by sin. “Mors tum spiritualis et æterna, tum corporalis, tum omnia utriusque con, sequentia.” Paræus.
the unhappy descendants of Adam is an unnecessary inquiry: it is but too certain, as was the tree so are the branches;* and it does not become us so much to ask, with Nicodemus, how can these things be? as to learn, with St Paul, who shall deliver us from the body of this death · Very dreadful indeed would be the sinner's prospect, were his hopes of pardon built upon uncoveranted mercy only, for God must be just to himself as well as merciful to his creatures; and for us to imagine that he will overlook the frequent and heinous provocations we give him, without some satisfaction made to his injured majesty, however favoura-. ble to us, is an opinion not altogether so agreeable to infinite justice and equity. Unless, therefore, some expedient can be found out whereby the punishment of the sinner can be commuled for, nothing can be expected but the indignation and wrath of an offended God. Man himself was utterly unable to make any atonement for guilt; and the very angels themselves stand so much indebted to their bountiful maker, that all the services they can pay will leave them unprofitable servants. + In this great extremity the Son of God himself looks down with an eye of pity and compassion on the forlorn condition of man, and voluntarily engages to satisfy his offended Father, by suffering a punishment adequate to that the sinner deserved. But what punishment could the Divinity suffer: Or how could he, who only is immortal, become a sacrifice for sin? The method, by which this stupendous instance of mercy was accomplished, St Paul clearly explains in his epistle to the Philippians, c. ü. 5: - Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus ; who, being in the form of God, thought it not rob
* « Peccatum intravit per propagationem; quia filios genuit Adam ad imaginem suam, non Dei.” Paræus.
+ “Si ungelos Deus examinare velit, et secum comparare, et considerare per sese, exclusis donis quæ in illos contulit; inveniret eos stolidosque vanos et mancos.” Mercer.
"Mogan forma designat essentiam et naturam, et proprietates naturae; idemque est quod sola et Pring. . Vox autem Dei in hac phrasi sumi potest personaliter et relate, pro forma patris. Hoc accommodatius, ut sequentia indicant, æqualis Deo.” Zanchius, &c.
bery bery* to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men;t and, being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
In this short, but clear, sketch of man's redemption every difficulty is removed and every objection answered. For, what God can do we ought not to dispute, and what he himself assures us he has done we must believe and confess. It was decreed, by the wisdom of divine providence, that, without shedding of blood, there should be no remission of sins,ll and that the atonement for the offence should be made in the same nature which had offended. But, how was this to be completed by the eternal Son of God ? “ Behold, I shew you a mystery ;" God was manifest in the flesh. The second person in the ever-blessed Trinity, by a miraculous union, joins the divine to the human nature, and so qualifies himself to be a full, perfect, and sufficient, sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.
The time of this great oblation was deferred, for the wisest reasons; till many ages after the fall, which gave occasion for it. But, as the
* Robbery. “ Deitatem suam, quam publice ostentare potuit, in carne assumptâ celavit, non coactus, ut fures res furto ablatas celare solent, ne convincantur furti, sed sponte, &c.” Brentius. . t • Similis erat hominibus; non accidentaliter, aut phantastice, sed naturaliter et substantialiter; quomodo omnes homines dicuntur esse similes specie, seu naturâ humanâ." Tirinus, &c.
Of. the cross. “Mortis genus et ignominiosissimum, et maledictum, Deut. xxi. 23.” Estius. But see the remarks on John, iii. 14, in the next Sermon on Zech. xii. 10.
11 « Quamvis nonnullæ mundationes legales sine sanguine fierent, nulla tamen ad remissionem. peccatorum instituta erat ceremonia, quæ sanguinis effusionem non exigeret.” Gomarus. “ Hinc tamen optime colligitur, in nova lege non fieri veram peccatorum remissionem sine sanguine Christi. Et hinc destruitur missæ sacrificium, quod cum incruentum esse fateantur, propitiatorium esse nequit.” Estius, &c.
§ It was foretold by God, from the fall of Adam, that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head; and St Paul, speaking of Christ, declares that he took not on him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham; of whom it was also predicted, that in his seed should all the families of the earth be blessed. “Dei filius non angelicam, sed humanam, et quidem (secundum promissionem) ex Abrahami posteritate, Rom. ix. 5, Gal, iii. 16, naturam assumpsit.” Camer. &c.
9 “Supponit (Apostolus) Heb. x. 26, peccata a condito mundo expiata fuisse, idque solo Christi sanguine, cujus vis ad præterita et ad consecuta omnia peccata porrigitur." Beza.