Imágenes de páginas

together; and the putting of them on the goat, to give a lively representation of it unto faith. So God did instruct Aaron to the putting of the guilt of our iniquities typically upon the sacrifice, really upon Jesus Christ.

He doth not say, He shall bear the punishment, but he shall take the sin itself, that is, as to the guilt of it, and carry it quite away: and therefore in the sacrifice appointed in Deut. xxi. for expiation of an uncertain murder, when a man was killed, and none knew who killed him, so none was liable to punishment, but there was guilt upon the land; then the elders of the city that was nearest the place where the murder was committed, to take away the guilt, were to cut off the neck of a heifer by God's appointment, and that took away the guilt. Thus did God instruct the church. under the Old Testament in this great sovereign act of his wisdom and righteousness, in transferring the guilt of sin from the church unto Christ. Therefore the prophet says, Isa. liii. 5, 6. The Lord has laid on him the iniquities of us all.' What then? By his stripes we are healed.' The stripes were all due to us; but they were due to us for our iniquities, and for no other cause. Now our iniquities being transferred to Christ, all the stripes came to be his, and the healing came to be ours. To the same purpose the apostle says, He was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.' As we are made the righteousness of God in him, so he is made sin for us. We are made the righteousness of God in him by the imputation of his righteousness unto us; for our apostle is to be believed, that righteousness is by imputation; God imputes righteousness, says he. We have no righteousness before God but by imputation; and when we are made righteous, the righteousness of God, which God ordains, approves, and accepts, it is the righteousness of Christ imputed to us. And how is he made sin for us? because our sin is imputed to him. Some will say, He was made sin for us, that is, a sacrifice for sin: be it so; but nothing could be made an expiatory sacrifice, but it had first the sin imputed to it. Aaron shall put his hands on the goat, confessing all their sins over his head; be their sins on the head of the goat, or the expiatory sacrifice was nothing. The same exchange you have again in Gal. iii. 13, 14.

[blocks in formation]


'He was made a curse for us.' The curse was due to us, and this Christ was made for us: and to confirm our faith, God did institute a visible pledge long beforehand, to let us know he was made a curse for us; he had made it a sign of the curse for one to be hanged on a tree, as it is written,' Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree.' What then comes to us? Why, the blessing of faithful Abraham.' What is that? Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.' Justification and acceptance with God is the blessing of faithful Abraham., Here is the great exchange represented to us in Scripture in these things, that all our sins are transferred upon Christ by imputation, and the righteousness of Christ transferred to us by imputation. Both these are acts of God, and not our acts. It is God who imputes our sin to Christ; he hath made him to be sin for us:' and it is God who imputes the righteousness of Christ to us; it is God that justifies.' He who made Christ to be sin, he also makes us to be righteousness. These acts of God we ought to go over with in our minds by faith, which is that I now call you to.


The way to apply the benefits and advantage of this great commutation to our souls, is in our minds by faith to seal to these acts of God. Christ in the gospel, and especially in this ordinance, is evidently crucified before our eyes;' Gal. iii. 1. God hath set him forth to be a propitiation; so he is declared in this ordinance; and Christ at the same time calls us to him,' Come unto me: Look unto me all the ends of the earth.' Come with your burdens; come you that are heavy laden with the guilt of sin. What God has done in a way of righteous imputation, that we are to do in this ordinance in a way of believing. We are, by the divine help, to lay our sins by faith on Jesus Christ by closing with that act of God which is represented to us in the word, that God has imputed all our sins to Jesus Christ. Let you and I and all of us say Amen, by faith, so be it, O Lord. Let the guilt of all our sins be on the head of Jesus Christ; and therein admire the goodness, the grace, the love, the holiness, the infinite wisdom of God in this matter. If we were able to say Amen to this great truth, we should have the comfort of it in our souls, to acquiesce in it, to find power and reality in it.

[ocr errors]

Then the other act of God is the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to us. It is not enough to us, that our sins are all carried away into a land not inhabited; we stand in need of a righteousness whereby we may be accepted before God. He makes us to be the righteousness of God; we do not make ourselves so, but are made so by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ.

Our second act of faith that God may stir us up unto in this ordinance, is, to 'receive the atonement.' So the apostle expresses it, Rom. v. 11. we receive together with it all the fruits of the atonement.

Now if the Lord will be pleased to stir up our hearts from under their deadness, to gather them in from their wanderings, to make us sensible of our concern, to give us the acting of faith in this matter, that truly and really the holy God has laid all our iniquities upon Christ, and tenders to us life, righteousness, justification, and mercy by him, we shall then have the fruit of this administration.


I SHALL offer a few words with a view to prepare our minds to the exercise of faith and communion with God in this ordinance: and because we ought to be in the highest exercise of faith in this ordinance, I shall take occasion from those words which express as high an acting of faith, I think, as any is in the Scripture; I mean those words of the apostle in

GAL. ii. 20.—I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Our inquiry now is, How we may act faith? It acts two


1. By way of adherence, cleaving to, trusting and acquiescing in God in Christ, as declaring his love, grace, and good-will in his promises. This is the faith whereby we live, whereby we are justified; the faith without which this

* Delivered April 16, 1676.

ordinance will not profit, but disadvantage us; for without this faith we cannot discern the Lord's body, we cannot discern him as crucified for us: this is that we are in an especial manner to examine ourselves about in reference to a participation of this ordinance; for self-examination is a gospel institution proper for this ordinance. And this is the faith whereby we are in Christ, without which a participation of the outward signs and pledges of Christ will not avail us. So then, with faith thus acting, we are to be qualified and prepared unto a participation of this ordinance.

2. Another way by which faith ought to act in this ordinance, is that of special application. Who loved me and gave himself for me;' this is faith acting by particular application. I hope the Lord has given us that faith whereby we may be prepared for this ordinance. And now I am to inquire and direct you a little in that faith which you may act in this ordinance; I say, it is this faith of special application to our own souls that God now requires we should act; and I prove it thus, It is because in this ordinance there is a proposition, tender, and communication of Christ to every one in particular. In the promise of the gospel Christ is proposed indefinitely to all that believe; and so the faith I mentioned before, of acquiescence in him, answers what is required of us by virtue of the promise in the gospel; but in this ordinance by God's institution Christ is tendered and given to me and to thee, to every one in particular; for it is by his institution that the elements in this ordinance are distributed to every particular person, to shew that there is a tender and communication of Christ to particular persons. Now such a particular communication is to be received by this particular faith, the faith of application, to receive him to our own souls.

[ocr errors]

And then, moreover, one great end of the ordinance is manifestly, that it requires the acting of faith in a particular way of application to every one of us; it is for a farther incorporation of Christ in our souls; it is for receiving Christ as nourishment, as the bread that came down from heaven, as giving his body and blood for spiritual food. Now every one knows, that whatever feasts be prepared in the world, unless every one in particular takes his own portion, and eats and digests it, it will not turn to nourishment unto him.

This particular act of application answers that eating, drinking, and digesting, which the nature of the ordinance does require. So, brethren, this is that I aim at, that it is our duty in this ordinance to act a particular faith as to the application of Christ and all his benefits, each one to his own soul.

You will say then, What is the special object of this special faith? Truly that which the apostle tells us here, it is special love, in the first place; and it is the special design of the death of Christ, in the next place. Who loved me, and gave himself for me.' The object you ought to fix upon, in the exercise of this faith of application to your own souls, is the special love of Christ, that Christ had a special love, not only to the church in general; but the truth is, Christ had a special love for me in particular. It will be a very hard thing for you or me to rise up to an act of faith, that Christ hath a love for us in particular, unless we can answer this question, Why should Christ love you or me in particular? What answer can I give hereto, when I know he does not love all the world? I can give but this answer to it, Even because he would. I know nothing in me, or in any of you, that can deserve his love. Was there ever such a thing heard of, that Christ should have a particular love for such as we are? Would ever any person go and fix his love on a creature who was all over leprous? Is this the manner of man? Truly Christ would never have fixed his love upon any of our poor, defiled, leprous souls, but upon this one consideration, I know I can cleanse them, and I will. He loved us.

But what will he do with such deformed, polluted creatures as we are? Why,' He loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might wash and purify it, and present it to him a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing.' Though we are altogether deformed and defiled, though no example, no instance can be given in things below, or among the creatures, of any fixing love on such as we are; yet Christ has done it out of sovereign grace, with this resolution, that he would cleanse us with his own blood to make us fit for himself.

O that God would help you and me to some firm unshaken acts of faith, that Jesus Christ did out of sovereign

« AnteriorContinuar »