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heed then that you do not rest content with the shadow, instead of the substance of religion. will answer no good purpose to be only almost a Christian! Nothing but a living faith can make you a partaker of the lasting consolation that is in Christ. If you believe, you will also be emboldened to speak, and confess that Jesus is a precious Saviour.
SHOWS ON WHAT ACCOUNT, MORE PARTICULARLY, CHRIST IS PRECIOUS TO BELIEVERS.
WHEN the deep wretchedness and degrading slavery of being in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity are duly considered, how forcibly do we feel the words of the Psalmist, "The redemption of the soul is precious!" Compared with this grand object, every thing else is lighter than the small dust of the balance. "What is a
man profited, if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" The worth of the soul baffles the power of calculation; and a proper sense of its danger, through the entrance and influence of sin, is the first sign of an awakened conscience, and penitent heart. But to what quarter shall we look for redemption? To whom shall we go for deliverance? We are told, "that without shedding of blood there is no remission;" and it is certain, that without remission there
ON WHAT ACCOUNT CHRIST IS PRECIOUS. 35
can neither be true peace or solid hope. This leads us,
1. To consider the consoling doctrine of atonement, on account of which Christ is esteemed precious hy every believer. Happy for us, this doctrine is abundantly taught both in the Old and New Testament.
Christ is represented as a substitute, as a ransom, as a sacrifice, as a propitiation. Isa. Ixiji, 5, 6; Galat. iii, 13; 1 Tim. ii, 6. These, and many other scriptures of the same kind, show in the fullest manner the design of the Saviour's death, and the special efficacy of his blood to take away sin. The important doctrine of the atonement was diligently taught by the apostles in all the churches. Hence Paul, writing to the Corinthians, says, "I delivered unto you first of all, that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures," I Cor. xv, 3. In no other way than through the divinely appointed medium of the Saviour's propitiatory sacrifice can pardon and peace flow to It is expressly said concerning Christ, "That he made peace by the death of his cross." "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to to the riches of his grace."
This view of the death of Christ stamps a
dignity on the sacrifices which were offered under the law, and gives an instructive significacy to what might otherwise appear a needless and unmeaning service. The great number of innocent victims, which were slaughtered at the temple, could not purge guilt from the conscience; but they typically pointed out the Lamb of God, which was in due time "to take away the sin of the world." The law was only a shadow of good things to come, but the body is Christ. It was probably not less by the use of sacrifice than the language of prophecy, that Abraham gained that glimpse of the day of Christ, which gladdened his
It is the atonement made by the blood of Jesus, which renders the cross an object so interesting to the Christian. This has, indeed, always been a stumbling-block to the unbelieving Jew, and a topic of scorn to the vainly wise, and the self-conceited Greek. But the enlightened saint, equally free from the dark errors of infidelity and the dazzling fires of enthusiasm, can look towards Calvary and exclaim, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." And why this exultation? Was there any intrinsic virtue in the wood to which the dying Saviour was ignominiously fixed? No; it is the wondrous work
which he finished on the tree, that appears so marvellous in our eyes.
The propitiatory death of Christ, viewed by faith, fills and absorbs the mind, touches and melts the heart, raises and refines the affections, and completely transforms the whole character. So fully was the mind of the apostle occupied by this subject, that his language to the Corinthians is, "I determined not to know any thing among you save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." "Herein is love," says John, "not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and gave his Son to be a propitiation for our sins. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live to themselves, but to him that died for them and rose again." 2 Cor. v, 14, 15.
Is it surprising then, that Christ should be precious to believers? Can we see his matchless condescension, in stooping from a throne of glory to a cross of suffering and shame; can we understand the great end of his amazing humiliation and vicarious death; can we feel the sprinkling of his peace-speaking blood upon the conscience, and not love, adore, and magnify him? cold hearted, frozen formalists, on such a
it is impious to be calm. Passion is reason, trans