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parts. A whited sepulchre is an abomination in the sight of God. What say our hearts to this request? Are we anxious to have our souls purged-from the leaven of sin, and to become new creatures? If this be not the desire of our souls, we are unacquainted with the privileges, duties, and obligations of Christianity~-we have no part in the great passover, and derive no benefit from the death and resurrection of the Son of God.
We implore sanctifying grace "through the <c merits of the same His Son Jesus Christ our "Lord." He is of God made unto us sanctification as well as justification. He is the meritorious cause of both; and while His resurrection assures us of the all'sufficiency of the latter, faith in His name through the purchased influence of His Spirit puts us in possession of the former. "Beholding as in a glass the glory of "the Lord, we are changed into the same image, ** from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of "the Lord."
THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.
Almighty God, who hast given thine only Sort to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin and also an ensample of godly life; give us grace, that we may always most thankfully receive that His inestimable benefit, and also daily endeavour ourselves to follow the blessed steps of His most holy life, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR the confirmation of the faith of Hezekiah the course of nature was miraculously reversed. (Is. xxxviii. 8.) A similar retrogression in our meditations on the course of the sun of righteousness, as it is marked in the sun-dial of our church's calendar, may be productive of the same effect in our souls. It may tend to confirm our faith, and to establish our hopes. With this view we are led again to contemplate the death of Christ.
Christians are followers of Christ. "They "follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth." (Rev. xiv. 4.) Thereby they are distinguished from all other persons, so that they may easily ascertain their own character and be known by others. To "follow the Lamb" implies two tilings, viz. faith in His atonement as the sacrificed "Lamb of God that taketh away the sin "of the world," and an imitation of His example who was "holy, harmless, undefiled and "ivpnrate from sinners." These two things, faith and practice, constitute the character of a Christian.
This twofold end for which "God gave His "only Son" corresponds with a twofold desire which is formed in the bosom of every true believer. And the unison which prevails between the design of Divine mercy as it is revealed in the Scriptures, and the feelings of a penitent sinner, affords irrefragable evidence that the gospel is of God, and that He who made the human soul is the Author of that plan of salvation which is proposed to it. The relation between a curious mould and the figure which is cast in it is not more apparent to the eye, than that which exists between the fallen soul of man and the gospel-salvation is to the conscious mind. The same all-wise Being who formed the soul must have contrived that plan of salvation which is found on trial to be suitable to its multifarious wants and miseries. Thus "he that "believeth hath the witness in himself" concerning "the record which God hath given of "His Son."
The end for which God gave His only Son was, that He might "be unto us both a sacri"fice for sin and also an ensample of Godly "life." And the desire of every awakened soul is "most thankfully to receive that-His inesti"mable benefit," and also "daily to follow the "blessed steps of His most holy life."
Our collect for the second Sunday after Easter consists of an introduction and a prayer. The introduction exhibits Christ in a twofold point of view, on which a twofold petition is founded.
Christ is first exhibited as "a sacrifice for sin;" for His atonement must be received before His example can be imitated. A foundation
mast be laid by faith in His death, before a superstructure can be raised by a conformity to His life. "The mercies of God," as they are manifested in redemption, afford the only motives which can induce a sinner to "pre** sent his body a living sacrifice, holy and ac"ceplable to God," though such a surrender is undoubtedly "the reasonable service" of all rational creatures.
In order fully to understand the first view which our collect takes of Christ, it will be necessarv to have recourse to those sacrifices which were offered under the Old Testament dispensation as typical figures of Him. The rites of sacrifieature were enjoined immediately after the fail, because a knowledge of the true sacrifice was immediately necessary to the salvation of fallen man. That the institution of sacrifice should have been of human invention, is in itself a highly improbable position. For the expectation of appeasing an offended God by the blood ot'a brute animal can have no foundation in reason, nor in any views which the mind naturailv forms of Deity. But we have positive evidence that the institution is Divine. For the first sacrifice which is recorded to have been ottered, though doubtless not the first that was ottered, was offered by faith (Heb. xi. 4.}; and' w* know that taith milst have its warrant in the command and promise of God. The patriarchal sacrifices were acceptable to God; and as willworship cannot please Him, we may be assured tha those sacrifices were a compliance with His I*vti::»e requisition. Moreover, the arbitrary deletion which was established between clean 4ad unclean animals had an immediate relation
to the law of sacrifices, and we know that this distinction preceded the deluge.*
The animals which were appointed to be offered in sacrifice, were to be of the clean tribes and without blemish. Now these were all useful for food, and in them consisted the chief riches of the early ages. In the descriptions which the Scripture hath given of Christ, the true Lamb of God, the great sacrifice for the sin of the world, such circumstances are particularized as shew the correspondence that was Divinely intended to exist between the type and the antitype. Christ is "a lamb without blemish and "without spot/' He was "chosen of God and '* precious." He "was led as a lamb to the "slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers "is dumb, so He opened not His mouth." For "when He was reviled, He reviled not again; "when He suffered, He threatened not; but "committed Himself to Him that judgeth "righteously." He was the firstling of the flock, being "the first-born among many brethren."
The rite of sacrificature was altogether of a typical kind. Thereby the gospel was preached to those who lived before the aera of the Messiah. Therein by significant actions every material point of doctrine respecting the person and work of Christ, and also respecting justification by faith in Him, was taught. The sins of the offerer were laid on the head of the appointed victim, and therefore the victim itself is called sin, and guilt. And as none but the guilty can properly be punished, and as brute animals are impeccable,, the infliction of death
* See several notes on this subject annexed to Dr. Magee's second Discourse on the Atonement; and Jones's Zoologia Ethica, in the third volume of his works.