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flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works, to serve the living God!' The apostle shews afterward, in the same chapter, that, by this sacrifice, he becomes the Mediator of the new testament,' or covenant, ver. 15, which is ratified in his blood, as the old testament, or covenant, was by the 'blood of calves and goats,' ver. 19, pursuant to the universal custom of confirming covenants with sacrifices. Having enlarged on this comparison, he says, ver. 26. 28, Now, in the end of the world, hath he [Christ] appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, being once offered to bear the sins of many,' that he might mediate a covenant for those whom he had thus purchased. It is in the same sense, and for the same reason, that our Saviour, delivering the cup in his last supper, Matt. xxvi. 28, says, 'This is my blood of the new testament,' or covenant; on which words it ought carefully to be remarked, that they are the same with those of the Septuagint, Exod. xxiv. 8, where the covenant by Moses is concluded and ratified between God and the Israelites, and where we find the people sprinkled with the blood of these sacrifices that had been offered up to God, as they are, in the sacrament of the Lord's supper, with the blood of the great and true sacrifice offered by the Son of God to his Father. Thus God and the communicating Christian confirm the new covenant by a mutual participation of the sacrifice on which it is founded; the Christian taking it as the very covenant itself, and God accepting it as the atonement for sins past, and the faithful pledge of obedience for the time to St. Luke, chap. xxii. 20, and St. Paul, 1 Cor. xi. 25, deliver these words of our Saviour in somewhat a different manner, but to the same effect; namely, 'This is the new testament,' or covenant, in my blood.' The latter of these apostles sufficiently explains the meaning of these words, Heb. ix. 14-17, and shews both how remission of sins is obtained through the blood and death of Christ; and how the covenant, procured by the mediation founded on his blood, comes to be called a testament, or will.
If our blessed Saviour, then, hath by dying, satisfied the justice of his Father for our sins, and, by his mediation, sued
out the pardon of these sins, we must thankfully receive these inestimable benefits on such terms as he hath pleased to annex; and ought to consider every thing he hath enjoined us in the New Testament, not only as consistent with, but as actually comprised in, the testamentary covenant or dispensation delivered to us by his gospel.
Now there is nothing more evident, than that he requires faith, and reformation of manners, in all who receive his covenant; and, to perfect both, requires also, that they should terminate in charity, or the love of God and man.
That faith on our part is a necessary condition of the covenant, we must have concluded, had the Scriptures been silent on the subject; because without it we could not possibly receive Christ either as a teacher, or a Redeemer. But there is nothing the Scriptures express more strongly. St. Paul says, Gal. iii. 26, 27, Ye are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ; for as many of you as have been baptized into Christ,' that is, as have been admitted into the covenant, have put on Christ.' And our Saviour himself saith, John iii. 36, He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not on the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.' He also saith, Mark xvi. 16, He that believeth, and is baptized,' or admitted into the covenant, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned.'
That reformation of manners, or obedience to the will of God, is a necessary condition of the covenant in all who receive it, is evident also both from the nature of the thing, and from Scripture. It is evident from the nature of the thing, because the obstinately wicked cannot possibly be united to God, nor made happy; for it is against the nature of an infinitely just and good Being to tempt his creatures to sin; which he must do, did he bestow happiness, that is, the enjoyment of himself, on the wicked as well as the good. And this is likewise made evident from the holy Scriptures; for therein all men every where are commanded to repent,' Acts xviii. 30; and to do good,' that is, to bring forth fruit meet for repentance,' Matt. iii. 8. Hence it is that the baptism of John is called the baptism of repentance,' Mark i. 4, and that St. Peter says to the dis
ciples, Repent, and be baptized,' or received into the covenant, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins,' Acts ii. 38.
And lastly, That the faith, repentance, and obedience, of all who covenant with God in Christ Jesus, should terminate in the love of God and man, is manifest both from reason and revelation. Reason tells us, that, although God is to be feared both for his justice and power, yet that our duty to him, when improved by repeated meditations on his excellence, and grateful recollections of his goodness, ought to end in an ardent and lasting love of a Being so infinitely glorious in himself, and so full of compassion towards us. It also tells us, we ought to love those who are joined to us by one common nature, especially when to the ties of humanity those by which we are united to one another, and to God, are added. Revelation tells us the same thing. When the Pharisee asked our Saviour this question, Which is the great commandment in the law?' Jesus said unto him, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets,' Matt. xxii. 35-37. 39, 40. Well, therefore, might St. Paul say, that love is the fulfilling of the law,' Rom. xiii. 10. and that charity is greater than faith and hope,' 1 Cor. xiii. 13.
I might have taken a much greater compass both in the reasoning, and textuary proof of the conditions on which salvation is offered us through the blood of our Redeemer Christ Jesus; but I have said enough to hearers who may, if they please, consider the subject more at large, and who, by the assistance of God's word, can easily see and judge for themselves.
However, while I am thus proving, that the conditional tender of salvation through the blood of Christ, instead of encouraging us to sin, calls us to newness and holiness of life; I foresee it will be objected, that, if this be the case, our covenant founded in that blood is but a covenant of works, after all; from whence it will follow, that we gain nothing by the death of Christ. Now this objection acquires a still greater degree of strength, when it is considered, that higher
purity and holiness are expected of Christians than of other men, even on account of the covenant, and of the sacrifice that procured it. God hath not called us to uncleanness, but unto holiness,' 1 Thess. iv. 7. We are obliged henceforth to walk not as other Gentiles walk; in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But we have not so learned Christ.'-No; 'We must put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt, according to the deceitful lusts; and must be renewed in the spirit of our mind; that we may put on the new man, which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness,' Eph. iv. 17-20. 22-24. It is now high time to awake out of sleep. -The night is far spent, the day is at hand; we must therefore cast off the works of darkness, we must put on the armour of light; we must walk honestly, as in the day, not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; for we have put on the Lord Jesus Christ,' Rom. xiii. 11-14. Forasmuch, then, as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, we must arm ourselves likewise with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the flesh, hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh, to the lusts of men, but to the will of God,' 1 Pet. iv. 1, 2. How is the blood of Christ, who offered himself without spot to God,' to cleanse us? Is it not by purifying our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?' Heb. ix. 14.
I answer, It certainly is; and surely, if it produces this effect, we have therein an immense advantage. If, in the death of Christ, we see more clearly than ever the abominable heinousness and danger of sin, we must, from his cross, hear the loudest call to repentance. If, by his blood, he hath obtained the pardon of all our past sins duly repented of, we have undoubtedly, in that pardon, the most comfortable encouragement to newness of life. We are no longer tempted, as the men of Judah were in the days of Jeremiah, to say, 'There is no hope, and therefore we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the
imagination of his evil heart,' Jer. xviii. 12. It is not so with those who are made the sons of God by Christ Jesus. They know, that when he shall appear, they shall be like him. Every man, therefore, that hath this hope, purifieth himself, even as he is pure,' 1 John iii. 2, 3. For we are saved by hope,' Rom. viii. 24.
Gal. iv. 5.
Besides, is it not an immense advantage, that we, who were by nature the children of wrath, even as others,' Eph. ii. 3, have power now given us to become the sons of God,' John i. 12. that we, who were sometime alienated, and enemies in our mind, by wicked works, yet now hath Christ reconciled in the body of his flesh, through death, to present us holy, and unblameable, and unreproveable, in the sight of God?' Col. i. 21, 22. While God considered us as enemies, all we did was displeasing to him, not excepting our best actions, which were done without any regard to his will or service. But now that Christ hath made peace for us through the blood of his cross ;' Col. i. 20. and hath redeemed us that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons;' God dealeth with us as with sons,' Heb. xii. 7. and, because we are sons, hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,' Gal. iv. 6. If, then, this Holy Spirit lovingly chasteneth us' at one time, Heb. xii. 6. and bestoweth his fruit of love, joy, peace,' upon us at another, Gal. v. 22. if he also helpeth our infirmities,' Rom. viii. 26. if it is by him that we have faith,' 1 Cor. xii. 9. that our souls are purified in obeying the truth,' 1 Pet. i. 22. that we are sanctified,' 1 Cor. vi. 11. that we have 'power, and love, and a sound mind,' 2 Tim. i. 7. how can we look upon ourselves as hardly dealt with by the covenant, for requiring reformation and good works of us, since, at the same time that we are commanded to use our utmost endeavours to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling,' we are also assured, that it is God which worketh in us both to will, and to do, of his good pleasure?' Phil. ii. 12, 13.
When we consider the powerful instruments made use of by the Holy Spirit to keep us within the terms of the covenant, we shall be the more clearly convinced, that infinite wisdom, as well as mercy, is employed in the scheme of our salvation; and shall blame ourselves alone, if we are