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would thus unite the character of a testator and of a man who purchases, by dying, the goods which he bequeathes.
he died, will away the mercies which were not his unless he had died. You observe, then, that in representing Christ under the character of a testaNow this supposed case finds its tor, there is no interference whatsoprecise counterpart in the matter of ever with the great truth of our reliour redemption. The blessings of thegion, that his death was the purchase Gospel could only be procured by money of the blessings which as methe sufferings and death of the Me-diator he bestows.
cause of our salvation. In what sense, then, did Christ make a testament or will, or what fidelity is there in such an account of the scheme of our redemption?
Now we would, first of all, remark, that there is nothing more frequent in Scripture than the speaking of true believers "as heirs of GOD," or as brought into such a relationship to the Almighty, that heaven becomes theirs by the rights of inheritance. You cannot fail immediately to observe, that the correspondence is most exact between this account of the believer as an heir, and the representation of Christ as a testator. It is certain that whatsoever our original rights as sons of GOD, made after his
diator. It was indispensable that We may proceed, therefore, to the Christ's blood should be shed, other- | fuller consideration of this figurative wise pardon and acceptance could exhibition unrestrained by the fear, never have been offered to the guilty. that to represent Christ as bequeathHence unquestionably, the blessings ing, is not at all inconsistent with our which Christ bequeathed were bless-looking to his sufferings as the alone ings which his death, and nothing but his death, could give him right to bestow; but, nevertheless, he might still be a testator, or still make a will. In dying he might bequeath what he was to obtain by dying; and thus real inconsistency, after all, there is none, between regarding Christ as the maker of the will, and at the same time as procuring by his death the blessings which he made over to his people. It deteriorates in no degree from the meritoriousness of his death, to speak of him as a testator whose document, like that of a mere human testator, became valid in consequence of the fact of his death. It is lawful to say, that he willed his possessions to mankind, and that so soon as he died mankind were entitled to those posses-image, we can have no claim in our sions; but if, on this account, you should infer that his death was not the procuring, or meritorious cause of the blessings bequeathed, you would suffer yourselves to be carried away by the most groundless supposition. You would be imagining that bequeathing pre-supposed possession; whereas it only pre-supposed a right which may be obtained by death, as well as enjoyed before death. In strict truth, Christ had not the blessings to give when he died; he was to procure them by dying; but since death gave the right, he might certainly, before
apostacy to the privileges of children. We have ceased to be members of GoD's household; and once ejected from its circles we become virtually disinherited; so that naturally, or by the established and recognized principles of kinsmanship, we are not in any sense the heirs of Gon, belonging no longer to his family, and being therefore, excluded from what might otherwise have been our birthright. And if our condition be that of the alien, and the outcast, then, we require, so to speak, some executed deed which shall make over to us the forfeited
privileges—some legal and authorita- | which the right is conveyed, “Thou
tive document which shall reinstate us in the original heirship; and if this document be the dying acts of an individual, so that they become valid as the consequence of his death, then they will be precisely of the description of a testament or will, and we may be said to be constituted heirs by the generosity of the testator.
It would not be easy, we think, to exhibit under a similar point of view, the fact that the Redeemer may be regarded in the light of a maker of a will. If I had been heir to an estate, and if for some crime or misdemeanor the property became confiscated, I should, in temporal things, occupy just the position which, as a child of Adam, I now occupy in spiritual and eternal; and if the lord over the alienated lands should make arrangements on his death-bed in my favour, it is quite clear, that I might again be brought into the privileges of an heir, and obtain, on the ground of a will, the estate which I could not claim by the pretensions of kinsmanship. And practically, if not verbally, this is exactly what has been done by Christ for mankind. By the arrangement, so to speak, of his passion and death, he made over to a sinful and disinherited world the lands and dwelling places forfeited by rebellion. As a direct consequence on his dying (a result which apart from his dying could never have been brought round) the exiles are again received into the family, and enter again on the rights which sonship entails. "Ye are no longer," says St. Paul," strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of GOD." He says, again, of true believers in Christ, that they are "the children of GOD; and if children then heirs; heirs of GOD, and joint heirs with Christ." And, once more, showing also the channel through
art no more a servant, but a son: and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ." So that we may adduce it as a truth, laid down unequivocally in Scripture, that as an effect of the death of Christ, believers are constituted heirs of the kingdom of heaven; brought, that is, exactly into the position into which a testament would have brought them, supposing it made by one who had right to will this glorious heritage. And, if it be true, that Christ in dying, did, on our behalf, precisely what a testator might have done, who had the power of bequeathing immortality, what can be more correct than the description of Christ as a testator; or rather by what form of expression can we more accurately define the results of his death, than by one which supposes him, Lord, as he was, over heaven and its palaces, to have drawn up a will in favour of our race, and to have consigned to them, as legatees, the mighty things of eternity?
We are not yet contending, that Christ can be said, literally, to have made a testament, though the expression of our text where "testament" is, may possibly require the literal performance. But, at present, we only argue, that the consequences on Christ's death, are precisely those which would have been produced by a father making a will in favour of some disinherited children. In dying, Christ made us heirs. But this is exactly what would have been done by a testament; and, therefore, it is not possible that the effects of Christ's death should be more clearly represented, than by the figure of Christ as a testator. You understand, with the most thorough precision, what Christ did for man, when you learn that Christ, with all the glories of immortality at his disposal, made a will in favour of the apostate; and if
we had no other reasoning, by which to support the fidelity of the figure, we should say enough has been advanced to vindicate the fitness of likening Christ to a testator who must die in order to give effect to his testament.
but still question the propriety of defining them as a last will and testament, then we ask of you, what gives the declarations their worth, and what stamps on the promises their value? You must all know, that there is not a gracious declaration in the Bible, and not a rich and unsullied promise, which depends not practically, for all its strength and all its excellency, on the death of the Mediator. Is there a single proffer of mercy, a lonely assurance that hell may be shunned and heaven be reached, which takes not for granted, that clothed with flesh, and garnitured with mortality, the Son of GOD went up to the altar, which justice had reared for the offering and oblation, and took away by the measure of sacrifice the sin of a wretched and disinherited population? Can you find us a soothing, and beautiful, and touching saying in the Bible, which is not virtually written in the characters of Calvary, and which would not turn, if you could sweep away the facts of the sureties and assurances, into the mockery of a rich and lovely song, which if it pleased the ear, could not cheat the heart?
But is there then, indeed, no registered will, no document to which we can refer as the testament of the Mediator? We shall not hesitate to say, that there is not a single promise in the New Testament which ought not to be regarded as a line or codicil in the will of the Redeemer. If you ask us for a written testament if you will not admit that Christ could be a testator unless we can show you a testamentary document, then we carry you along with us to the archives of the Bible, and we take out of it declarations which ensure to the faithful the crown, and the robe, and the rapture, and we join them into one continuous discourse, and we say to you, Behold the last will of the Saviour. We take for example such sentences as the following: "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." "There is now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus"-"Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life""All things are yours, whether life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours." "We know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."-We take these and a hundred of like sentences, whether uttered by Christ himself, or by his apostles and evangelists, and we inscribe them on the same scroll, and give them into your hands, as the dying testimony of our Surety. If you will admit, indeed, that these are blessed declarations, and with all the veins of your heart confess they are exceeding great and precious promises,
We are not required to prove to a congregation professing belief in the great truths of Christianity, that every mercy, whether present or prospective, which the Creator engages to bestow on the creature, has been purchased by the Mediator. It is one of the first principles of our faith, that as there is "one GOD and Father, GOD over all things," there is " one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things." You should never look upon the glowing landscape, and never partake of the bounties of nature, any more than meditate on the pardon of sin, or look onward to heaven as the home of your spirits, without feeling the remembrance stirred up within you, that he who agonized in
the garden, and hung upon the cross, won for us by his mysterious and unsearchable anguish, as well the loveliness and luxuriance of our present habitation, as the splendour and extasy of the new Jerusalem. And if to keep close to the matter in hand, every promise in Scripture depends for its validity on the death of Christ, is it not quite fair to represent every promise as an article or item in the last will and testament of Christ? Is not, in short, every promise of Christ, just as is every line in the will of a testator, a dead letter unless you presuppose the death of the promising party, as in the other case of the bequeathing? The promise like the will, derives all its life from death; and though it might seem required by this reasoning, that we should take no promises but those which, in | his own person, the Mediator made, yet it must be evident, that since this Mediator was GOD as well as man, we need not exclude a single promise, but may gather into the testament whatsoever of encouraging declaration has been uttered by the Almighty to our race. We may ground our argument on the statement of St. Paul in referring to the Redeemer "All the promises of GOD in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of GoD by us."
Now why do all the promises of the Most High find their strength and fixedness in Christ? We think the best answer to be that of our text, "where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth." Beautiful are the promises of GOD, they breathe of heaven, they are eloquent of glory, the perfumes of a better land seem to flow from their syllables, and every letter burns and seems to heave with im
mortality; but if you would give these promises a practical character— if you would realize an interest in them for yourselves if, in short, you would found a claim on them, then what do you do but appeal straightway to the death of the Surety, and do you not gather all your confidence, in the appropriation of promises, from the ascertained fact that he who was mainly concerned in the making of them, gave himself a ransom, and expired as a substitute? What, we further ask, is this, but an exact parallel to that which would take place in the case of a testament? Suppose you were permitted to read a will made in your own favour; there might be the bequeathment of a rich and noble estate, there might be the coffers of wealth and the caskets of jewelry consigned to your possession; but you would never think that you had a right to the domain, and you would never be bold enough to put forward a claim to the gold and the pearl, unless you knew that the testator was dead, and that thereby a force had been given to the testament. You would feel that as long as the testator was alive the document possessed no worth and conferred no advantage. It might read well; the possessions of which it spoke might be the fairest and costliest, but you would have no certainty that what was willed to you would ever descend to you; and it might easily come to pass, all through the want of the seal of death
Scripture and the consignments of a will. Suppose the promises made by Christ then, as it is with the bequeathment of a testator; Christ must die to give validity to these promises. It is indeed true, that these promises were valid before he died, but only because according to the language of scripture he was "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world;" so that so soon as he covenanted to die his death became efficacious. The promises would never have been valid without death. If there had been no sacrifice either presented or pledged, GOD could have given nothing to man, and Christ could have promised nothing but destruction; and hence, we maintain the resemblance to be most complete between the promises of Christ and the consignments of a will. Had Christ (if | we may bring forward such an idea) while suspended on the cross, and exhausting the wrath which had gone forth against a disloyal creation, dictated a testamentary document enumerating the blessings which he bequeathed to all who believe on his name, he could only have delivered, so as to be comprehended in one statement, those many promises which are now scattered up and down the pages of the Bible; and when he had dictated this document, then his actual death would have been wanting to give it its force; and not until he had bowed the head, and yielded up the ghost would this register of the legacy have lived, overpassing in its wealth all the thoughts of created intelligences, and given right to a single child of our race to look and hope for the heritage of the redeemed. And if such be an accurate and unvarnished account, shall it not be admitted, that what the promises would have been if collected into one document, and delivered at one time, that they are, though scattered over a wide
surface, and spoken at various seasons; and that, consequently, arguing on the simple and well defined principle that a testament is but a combination of promises becoming valid by the death of the promiser, we give the truest description of the promises of the Bible when we define them as, "the last will and testament of Christ our Lord ?"
It seems to us, that without advancing what is overstrained in illustration, we thus vindicate the fitness of calling Christ a testator by taking you to the archives and showing you the testament. If you examine the promises, you find them bearing reference to every necessity by which we can be oppressed as destined for immortality. They teem with the taking away of sin, and the communication of a superhuman power, and with the gift of an undefiled righteousness, and with every pre-requisite for the inheritance of the saints in light; but there is not one of the mercies, over whose vast range the promises thus expand themselves, which was not procured by the death of the Saviour. The promises were not my title-deeds to heaven, till he who wrote them, and signed them, and sealed them, poured out his blood, and made his grave with the wicked; and, therefore, the promises are literally Christ's will in my favour. Whatsoever I receive, oh, it is not merely the gift of a disinterested and large hearted benefactor! it is the legacy of one who thought of me in the anguish of the deathstrife, and provided for me in the moment of his own faintness and desertion. And now if asked, why I rejoice that Christ Jesus should have died, and whether there are not gracious intimations of God's love towards the world, which having no apparent dependance on the sacrifice of Calvary, might console me if I kept that sacrifice out of sight;-then