Imágenes de páginas

Of the Nature of a Sacrament.

tion of the whole human race. For who is this? This is Jesus, the Son of God, the brightness of his glory, the express image of his person ; this is the Father's equal, the man that is his fellow; this is the eternal God, come to expiate his creatures' crimes. Satisfaction was demanded; he offers to pay every demand. The price agreed, the Judge executes his claim; Awake, my sword, he cries, against the shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow : the sword awoke to smite to the uttermost, and take full vengeance for the sins of a fallen world. It pleased the Lord to put him to grief; he laid upon him the iniquities of us all; and what would have utterly crushed us into hell, bruises to death the only Son of God. Behold the severity of God! he spared not his own Son! See herein what a flaming sword Justice holds, and how it is honoured by such a sacrifice. See from hence what a fearful thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God; and in this ordinance learn to tremble, whilst you see nothing but the blood of God incarnate capable of expiating your guilt, and satisfying the demands of his own inexorable law.

4. This sacrifice calls upon you to remember the conquest made thereby. You, a child of wrath, an heir of hell, a slave of Satan, here see your liberty proclaimed, your tyrant destroyed, your misery done away. A dying Jesus on the accursed tree conquers for you ; death, hell, and sin fall before him. Strong in weakness, he triumphed on the cross, spoiling the principalities and powers of darkness, and making a shew of them openly. By

Of the Nature of a Sacrament.

death he' destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil ; as a sweet singer of Israel expresses it

“ And when I bled, and groan'd, and died,

“ I ruin'd Satan's throne ;
“ High on my cross I hung, and spied

" The monster tumbling down."

Thus he hath vanquished all our enemies for us, hath bound Satan froin hurting us, plucked out the sting of death, and sealed up the bottomless pit. His death is our life, his fall our victory, his cross our triumph; well then may we glory in it, and determine to know nothing else but Jesus, and hin crucified, since hereby we become more than conquerors, and are enabled daily to tread down Satan under our feet. And in this ordinance, peculiarly designed to strengthen our faith, this glorious victory should never be forgotten, no less for the honour of Jesus, than the comfort to be derived from it to our own souls.

5. It should always remind us of his coming again. It is as the pledge of our friend, put into our hands to remember him in his absence, and to assure us he intends us another visit. This is to be a continual remembrance, to shew forth the Lord's death till he come. Though he is gone to heaven now, yet he hath promised us he will returi, and take his humble followers home with him : I go, says he, to prepare a place for you. When we see him present with us in the symbols of bread and wine, we should think how quickly we shall see the

Of the Nature of a Sacrament.

sign of the Son of Man in the clouds; how soon we shall in our flesh see God, and with our eyes behold him, even that very body which the nails tore, and the spear pierced; shall see him, but now brighter than the sun when it shineth in its strength, coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, accompanied by hosts of heaven which no man can number : coming to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired of all that believe. And this will be a remembrance most comforting to those, who, by the present ordinance sealing to them all the promises of God, are assured, that when he shall, appear, then shall they also appear with him in glory.

Such are the views which are included under the remembrance of the sacrifice of the death of Christ; which lead,

Secondly-To the consideration of the benefits we receive thereby. These are great and manifold. In general, Jesus Christ makes over his whole self to every believer, and therewith all the blessings of grace and glory, which, by his obedience unto death, he hath purchased for us. God, in giving us his Son, doth also with him freely give us all things; and of these the following are the most remarkable :

1. The pardon of sin. This is the first and grand purchase of the sacrifice of Christ; his blood was shed for the remission of sins. Sin made the great breach between God and us; its guilt condemned,

Of the Nature of a Sacrament.

whilst its power enslaved us; we lay under a curse which we could neither remove nor endure : but Christ, by his undertaking for us, hath opened to us a door of hope, a way in which God is righteous and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness; whilst he accepts our surety, and exacts from him the immense debts with which we stood chargeable.

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In the Gospel the glad tidings of free salvation are brought to us, and we are called to embrace them; and here, for the confirmation of our faith, God condescends to put his seal to his covenant of grace, ratifying to us the purchased pardon,

ring us thereby that he will be merciful to our unrighteousness, and will remember our sins and iniquities no more; and we testify our consent and hearty desire of its accomplishment, by coming to receive the free gift of God in Jesus Christ, and casting our souls upon the promise. How high the gift! how great the benefit! pardon of sin ! a free pardon, without money and without price! a pardon for the chief of sinners, for a world of sinners ! though dearly purchased by Christ, freely given to

-a pardon that removes condemnation, silences fear, begets boldness! Doth the law accuse? we point to this sacrifice, and say, There is my satisfaction.-Doth conscience tremble ? Looking to Jesus, how can we fear?-Are we weighed down with our guilt peculiarly heavy, or lying under a burden intolerable as an ephah of lead? This blood cleanseth from all sin, unbinds every burden, sets the prisoner free, sends him forth from the pit of

us !

Of the Nature of a Sacrament,

sin and death, to partake in the glorious liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. Come then, ye guilty sinners! whose black crimes cover you with confusion; come, ye leprous souls ! who want to wash, and be clean ; come, ye burdened consciences! and lay down your load at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ. He hath purchased all you want, and invites you to come and take of the water of life freely, to wash your crimson sins away in the fountain of his blood, and to be restored to the full enjoyment of God's favour, just as if you had never sin ned. Here is a pardon for you,

writ. ten in blood, and sealed in blood, confirmed by the word and oath of God, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge, to lay hold on the hope set before us.

2. Adoption of children is another benefit of Christ's passion. We who were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenant of promise, are brought nigh through the blood of Christ, and made fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. His obedi. ence to death not only removes guilt, but confers favour upon us.

We are hereby reinstated in all the forfeited rights of children, which by our fall we had lost; and receive the adoption of sons, as well as are delivered from the curse of the law. In this ordinance God the Father promises to be a father to all those that come unto him by Jesus Christ; that he will give them a place in his fainily upon earth, and an inheritance among the joint heirs with Christ in heaven; that he will take greater

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