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sacrificed from the beginning, had no guilt of their own; yet they suffered as if they had been guilty. They were substituted in the place of the criminals; and the guilt, or desert of punishment, was typically transferred from the sinner to the sacrifice. It was imputed to the animal, who bare the punishment, while the offerer escaped: and it took away his sin by expiating the guilt of it.Thus the Lord Jesus was substituted in our place; our guilt was transferred to him by imputation: He was sinless himself, and yet suffered as a sinner, in order "that whosoever believeth in him "should not perish but have everlasting life:" and in this manner he "taketh away sin.'
We are not, however, left to deduce this conclusion from types and shadows, or our own reasonings concerning them: for the sacred writers have most explicitly and energetically declared the same great truth. The prophet Isaiah, in his most wonderful prediction of the sufferings and glory of the Redeemer, says, " He was wounded "for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. All we like sheep have gone astray: "we have turned every one to his own way, and "the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us "all." "It pleased the Lord to bruise him, and "to put him to grief: thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin.-He shall bear their ini"quities. He bare the sin of many." You see, my brethren, that Christ not only bare our punishment, but our iniquities: and this can imply nothing less than actual translation of guilt from the sinner to the sacrifice. 'It was exacted, and
' he became answerable." He willingly consented to become our surety, to assume our flesh, and expiate our sins by his own suffering and death upon the cross. He was capable of doing this, and willing to do it. The human nature he assumed was preserved free from all contamination of sin : so that his life was not forfeited, or suffering deserved, by any personal transgression. He had power to lay down his life and power to take it again, and no mere creature ever was or can be placed in a similar situation. "He loved us and
gave himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice "unto God for a sweet smelling savour."2 The imputation of guilt no more implied criminality or pollution, than the sacrificing of the harmless lamb rendered it sinful and defiled: or than a man becomes chargeable with the extravagance and profligacy of the poor insolvent whom he liberates from prison by paying his debt, out of the most generous compassion.
And let us not suppose, that this language concerning Christ "bearing our sins," was merely that of prophecy or poetry: for the writers of the New Testament, in didactive prose, are equally decisive, or even more so. "He was made sin for "us who knew no sin; that we might be made "the righteousness of God in him."3 This certainly implies a reciprocal imputation of our sin to Christ, and of his righteousness to us. "Christ "hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, be
Bishop Lowth's Translation of Isa. liii. 7.
Eph. v. 2.
32 Cor. v. 21.
"ing made a curse for us."1
"Who his own self
"bare our sins in his own body on the tree." "He suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God."2 "Be
ing justified freely by his grace, through the "redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God "hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith " in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the "remission of sins-that he might be just and the "justifier of him that believeth in Jesus."3 These and many similar expressions, as connected with the institutions of the ceremonial law, and the reasonings of the apostle in his Epistle to the Hebrews, are abundantly sufficient to prove, not only that the doctrine of an atonement by the vicarious sufferings of Emmanuel is contained in scripture, but that it is the most prominent and central part of revelation. This is confirmed by the appointment of the Lord's supper, in perpetual remembrance of the death of Christ; and for a constant representation of the life of faith, under the figure of "eating the flesh and drinking the "blood of Christ." We may therefore confidently affirm, that they who deny or explain away this doctrine prefer their own reasonings to the sure testimony of God, and endeavour to remove the key-stone of an arch, the whole of which would at length fall down, if they could succeed. So that mere natural religion, which palliates and flatters human pride, will uniformly be preferred to the religion of the Bible by all who lose sight of this fundamental doctrine: and facts do fully demon
1 Gal. iii. 13. 1 Pet. ii. 24. iii. 18. Rom. iii. 24-26.
strate that this has always in process of time been the consequence, when persons have argued themselves and others out of the ancient and orthodox interpretation of redemption by the Saviour's atoning blood.
But the present occasion admits not a fuller discussion of this important subject. The propitiatory oblation made by the Lamb of God, being of infinite value, was sufficient to take away the original and actual sin of mankind, even as if it had been but one complex transgression. Millions in every age have received the benefit of it; and, if the whole human race should at once apply for pardon and salvation by the blood of Christ, it would suffice to take away all their sin. The efficacy of the typical sacrifices was confined wholly to the Jewish nation: but that of the one atoning sacrifice of Christ extends equally to other nations. It is sent to them all without exception; and we can assure any sinner throughout the earth, that if he believe in the Son of God he shall be saved. So that none perish because there is no help for them; but because pride, love of sin, and aversion to the spiritual service of God, harden their hearts in unbelief, and they "will not come to Christ "that they might have life. In this sense "the "Lamb of God taketh away the sin of the world."
But he also taketh away guilt from the conscience by the sprinkling of his blood. The atonement made upon the cross eventually profits none but those who apply it to themselves. This is represented in the Lord's supper, as it was of old by
' 1 Pet. i. 2.
the eating of the paschal lamb, with the sprinkling of its blood. We are not communicants merely by hearing of, or seeing, the emblems of Christ's body and blood, but by eating and drinking them. The Lord Jesus" who gave himself a ransom for Fall, to be testified in due time," sends his gospel to sinners, and by the powerful convictions of the Holy Spirit effectually destroys their self-confidence; then their conscience becomes burthened with the guilt of their former sins; and, whatever efforts they use to get relief, all prove ineffectual, till they understand the nature, and see the suitableness and glory of redemption by the blood of Christ. Applying in true repentance and living faith for an interest in this propitiation, they find the load of guilt removed, and obtain stable peace, connected with deep humiliation, hatred of sin, watchfulness against it, acquaintance with the divine law in their own hearts, and great tenderness of conscience. "For, if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the "unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; "how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself with"out spot to God, purge your conscience from "dead works to serve the living God."2 Nothing but this view of the cross, this application to " the "blood of sprinkling," this washing in "the foun"tain opened for sin and uncleanness," can give that kind of peace and confidence which hath been described: because nothing else can shew the enlightened and humbled heart the divine justice
'1 Tim. ii. 5, 6.
* Heb. ix. 13, 14. x. 22.