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mony, command, or appointment: this Cain disregarded, "leaning to his own understanding," and virtually denying his need of an atonement; and therefore he was rejected. No sooner was Noah liberated from the ark than he offered burntofferings to the Lord:1 and doubtless the general opinion, that such sacrifices were proper to appease the anger of the gods, was derived from original tradition; for it seems to have no ground at all in human reasonings.
When Abraham, at God's command, went with full purpose of heart to offer his beloved son for a burnt-offering, Isaac, as acquainted with the customary oblations, said, "My father, where is the "lamb for a burnt-offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a "burnt-offering."2 Under the law, a lamb was the daily sacrifice, morning and evening: and on the sabbath days this was doubled, Thus harmless lambs, free from all spot and blemish, were presented at the altar day by day; while the priest, as representative of the congregation, laid his hands on the head of the sacrifice, and doubtless confessed over it the sins of Israel, which typically were by imputation laid upon it. Then the blood of the lamb was shed; and its body prepared and burnt upon the altar, by the fire which came down from heaven, as an emblem of the divine justice inflicting vengeance on the guilty. And, when the blood had been sprinkled and poured out, according to the appointment; the priest went into the sanctuary, and burned incense on the golden altar,
1 Gen. viii. 20, 21.
2 Gen. xxii. 7, 8.
while all the people prayed without in the courts of the temple.
But the paschal lambs, which immensely exceeded in number all other sacrifices that were offered, (when the law was regularly observed,) were most emphatically prefigurative of Christ and his atonement. The unblemished lamb for every family was selected four days before the passover, when it was sacrificed in the presence of the elders and congregation of Israel: its blood was then sprinkled on the lintels and door-posts of their houses and its body roasted whole was eaten within by all the professed people of God. The feast was celebrated with unleavened bread, and they were directed to eat it with bitter herbs, and with staves in their hands; in remembrance of their affliction in Egypt, their preservation when the first-born were slain, and their marvellous deliverance from bondage. The apostle teaches us how to interpret these things when he says, "Christ, "our passover, is sacrificed for us; therefore let 66 us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither "with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but "with the unleavened bread of sincerity and "truth." He is the true 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 roast
Lev. i. 4; xvi. 21. Num. xxviii. 3-10. Luke i. 9, 10. 1 Cor. v. 7, 8.
ing 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 sincerity and simplicity of heart, they exercise repentance, and mourn for their sins; they deny themselves, take up their cross, and bear sanctified afflictions; 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 be"fore the foundation of the world, but was mani"fest 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 before 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."2 On another occasion the apostle "beheld, and lo, a great
1 Pet. i. 18-20.
2 Rev. iv. 1; v. 6—13.
"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 sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb." "These are they, which came out of great tribu"lation, and have washed their robes and made "them white in the blood of the Lamb; there"fore are they before the throne of God; and the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall "feed them, and shall lead them unto living foun"tains of waters."1
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 of goats," or of lambs," should take away sins."2 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."3
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 wis
'Rev. vii. 9-17.
2 Heb. ix. 22; x. 4.
dom 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 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,
II. To consider the import of the words, "which "taketh away the sin of the world.”
The unblemished harmless lambs, which were
1 Heb. x. 4-10.