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you are unfit to die ; and how dare you live in a condition altogether unfit to die ? O remember that stinging scripture : "If a man keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James ii. 10.)
Use iv. Lastly. Let us all take care to improve this legacy, the blessed cup of Christ's blood, that this point lie not, like grounds long in suit, barren and unprofitable.—While there is such stickling for the sign, let us strive after the thing signified. Shall we contend so earnestly for this jewel, and then not wear it? Shall we venture so hardly for this water of Bethlehem, and then pour it out when we have done ?
0, no. Let us squeeze all possible virtue out of this sacred cup; let us go up by the stream to the spring; having opened the shell, let us feed upon
the kernel : let us remember Christ's bitter death and passion for us. Is thy heart impenitent? Steep it in the blood of this Scape-goat. Is thy faith weak and fainting ? Here is sense to help thy faith : Apply the mouth of thy faith to his wounds, and “be not faithless, but believing." (John xx. 27.) Is thy conscience unquiet? Bring it to be there sprinkled with the merit of his blood. Are thy sins as many as the sands ? His blood is as large as the ocean, to overflow them all. When this blessed cup is poured out, let thy eyes pour down a flood of tears mixed of grief and joy: to see such a person pouring out his life by thy procurement,—this should melt thee with grief : to see the price paid by that blood for thee, should lift thee up into a trance of joy. When thou takest that cup of salvation, think, «• What shall I render to the Lord for this his benefit to me?' (Psalm cxvi. 12.) · Who is this that comes with dyed garments from Bozrah ? how glorious is he in his apparel !' (Isai. lxiii. 1.) How bitter was his passion ! how sweet his compassion to poor sinners! . Be ye lift up, O my everlasting doors, and let the King of glory come in. (Psalm xxiv. 7.) Bring him into thy soul, and there feed upon him by faith, and let his fruit be savoury to thy taste. (Canticles ii. 3.) Inward communion is the crown of an ordinance ; it is “the cup of the new testament in Christ's blood, which was shed for you;” (Luke xxii. 20 ;) receive it with reverence, receive it with thankfulness, receive it with application : remember his death, remember his love more than wine. (Canticles i. 2.)
Let us not only defend the truth, but improve it. If we feel no virtue or comfort in the blood of Christ, we shall be tempted to throw away
the cup as well as others. When we find no marrow in the bone, we throw it away. He that profits by ordinances will best value them ; he that is refreshed by wine will never cry down the vine : but a formal partaker will easily be weaned ; and when the children do but play with the drink, the father may justly take away the cup from them.
SERMON XXIV. (XXIII.)
BY THE REV. THOMAS WADSWORTH, A.M.
FELLOW OF CHRIST COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.
IN THE MASS THERE IS NOT A TRUE AND REAL SACRIFICE OF CHRIST HIMSELF
FOR THE SINS OF THE DEAD AND LIVING.
CHRIST CRUCIFIED, THE ONLY PROPER GOSPEL-SACRIFICE.
But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down
at the right hand of God.—Hebrews x. 12.
The design of the apostle in this verse, with the verse foregoing, is to set forth the excellency and perfection of our Saviour's priesthood and his one sacrifice, above the Levitical priesthood and the plurality of sacrifices by them offered under the law.
This he doth by comparing them together, and by showing wherein they agree, and wherein they differ, that so he might clearly illustrate the pre-eminence of the one above the other.
Their agreement consisted,
First. The Levitical priesthood consisted of a plurality of persons, therefore called “priests,” (verse 11,) who, by reason of death, had many
But the evangelical priesthood consisted but of one single person, our Lord Jesus, called in the text, “ this man.”
Secondly. As the Levitical priesthood consisted of a plurality, so did their sacrifices; for they were also very many, and therefore called “sacrifices.” (Verse 11.) Now you must understand, the apostle there speaketh not only of a plurality as to the number of them, but likewise as to their several kinds; for they offered not only several sorts of beasts, as bulls, lambs, goats, but of birds also, as turtle-doves and young pigeons, &c. But the sacrifice which Christ offered was but one as to the kind, which was that “body” which was “prepared.” (Verse 5.)
Thirdly. The Levitical sacrifices were oftentimes offered ; (verse 11 ;) but the sacrifice of Christ was but once offered. (Verse 12.)
Fourthly. The Levitical sacrifices could " never take away sin ;" (verse 11 ;) but Christ by his one sacrifice, once offered, took away sins for ever ; that is, took away sins fully and everlastingly. And herein it is, that the transcendent glory of the gospel-sacrifice out-shines all the legal sacrifices, as much as the sun doth all the stars in their greatest lustre: for all those sacrifices could never take away sin, which this one hath done perfectly.
From the words thus opened, I shall gather these four
PROPOSITIONS. PROPOSITION 1. That Christ crucified is the only divine and proper sacrifice of the gospel.
Prop. 11. That the sacrifice of Christ is but of one kind.
Prop. iv. That this sacrifice of Christ once offered, was 80 completely efficacious, as that it took away sins fully and for ever.
THE FIRST PROPOSITION OPENED.
That Christ crucified is the only divine and proper sacrifice of the gospel.
Here I shall explain, First, Why I say it is “divine :” Secondly, Why “a proper sacrifice :” Thirdly, Why “the only proper sacrifice of the gospel.”
First. I call it “a divine sacrifice,” because its institution and appointment are of God. Let the matter of a sacrifice be never so excellent and precious in the eyes of men, yet except God hath legitimated and sanctified it by his appointment, it would prove but an abomination in the eyes of God. As, suppose one should offer up“ the fruit of his body for the sin of his soul,” which is a kind of sacrifice, than the which there is nothing a man can more highly value, and more hardly part with ; which yet Abraham was ready to have done in his Isaac at God's command, whereby he did wonderfully signalize his faith, and obtained favour with God. But when apostatized Israel essayed to give a like testimony of honour to a mistaken deity, the Lord by his prophet Jeremiah doth not only charge them with idolatry, but likewise with the kind of sacrifice that they offered, which was of their sons and daughters, of which he saith, “ Which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination.” (Jer. xxxii. 35.) So that every sacrifice that hath not the stamp of divine authority to legitimate it, is not to be accounted of as divine, or of any worth or acceptance with God. But now I say, that this sacrifice of Christ crucified is of divine appointment, and so a divine sacrifice : this is clearly asserted by the apostle : Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me : in burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God.” (Heb. x. 5—7; Psalm xl. 6—8.) Mark that ! Christ took up a body, in order to be sacrificed, instead of all legal sacrifices, and this in compliance to the will of God; which he farther explaineth in verse 10: "
By the which will we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” The sum of what the apostle saith is this,—that God would be satisfied with no sacrifice but that of his Son; and that with this sacrifice he would be pleased, and therein would accept of all that should believe. The conclusion is this,—that because Christ was crucified at the appointment of God, (as I have proved, therefore I call Christ crucified “a divine sacrifice.”
Secondly. I say further, that Christ crucified is not only “a divine” but likewise “a proper sacrifice ;” and that for this reason, because the
most essential properties of the most perfect sacrifices under the law, which were those that were expiatory; I say, the properties of such kind of sacrifices agree to this of Christ crucified.
There are four properties of an expiatory sacrifice, all of which, I shall show you,
with this of our Christ crucified. 1. The first property of such a sacrifice is, that it be of some living creature slain, and its blood shed, and offered up unto God. This is so evident to any that hath but any knowledge in the laws of God concerning the nature of his sacrifices, that it will seem a needless matter to add any thing for the illustration or proof thereof. Certain it is, that the holy scriptures, both in the Hebrew and in the Greek, use such words
a sacrifice" as do include “a slaughter” in them; the one being na}, the other Juola' and the apostle throughout this epistle speaking of sacrifices, whether they were of bulls, goats, or lambs,—he all along maketh mention of their blood shed, which cannot be but with their slaughter. So that there is nothing more evident, than that slaying and shedding of blood is the property of an expiatory sacrifice. Now it is as clear that our Christ crucified had this property; for he was nailed hands and feet to the cross, and through those wounds bled to death : besides, when dead, the remainder of his blood issued from his side, pierced with a soldier's spear. This blood, thus shed, the apostle Peter
precious blood,” and withal calls it “the blood of a lamb without blemish;” (1 Peter i. 19;) therein alluding to the sacrificed lamb under the law, of which shadow Christ, the Lamb of God, sacrificed under the gospel, is the substance. From what hath been said, it is evident that this first property of an expiatory sacrifice doth fully comport with the death of Christ.
2. The second property of a sacrifice is, that it was offered to God for the expiation of sin.—This was the end of the Levitical expiatory sacrifices, as the apostle tells us, when he saith, “ Into the second tabernacle went the high priest alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people : ” (Heb. ix. 7 :) which is as much as if he had said, that the blood of those beasts he had sacrificed he took with him into the tabernacle, and there offered it to God for his own and the people's sins. Now though he tells us, that “it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take sin :" (Heb. x. 4 :) which seems at first sight very harsh,—that those sacrifices were appointed to be offered for sin, and yet that they could not, when offered, possibly take sin away. But let the apostle answer for himself, as he is best able ; which he doth in Heb. ix. 9, compared with verse 13. In the ninth verse, he tells you in what sense they could not take away sin : “ There were offered,” saith he, “gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience.” The meaning of which words I shall rather give you in the paraphrase of learned Dr. Hammond, than in my own; which is brief, full, and plain. • Thereby,” saith he, “is meant, that all these legal performances will not be able to give any man confidence to pray unto God to bring him to heaven, or to obtain for him the pardon of any wilful or presumptuous sin in the sight of God, or free him from any sin that hath wasted his conscience, or give him grace to purge himself from
such sin.” In all these respects those legal sacrifices could not possibly take away sin. But you will say, “In what sense did they take away sin ?” The apostle will tell you : “If the blood of bulls and goats sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh.” (Verse 13.) He had told you before, that they could not make perfect as pertaining to the conscience ; he saith, as to “the flesh,” those sacrifices did purify, and so, in a sort, did take away sin. By “flesh” is here meant, the outward man, considered in his external privileges, as to his Judaical church-state, of which privileges this is the sum ; -namely, communion with that church in external ordinances of worship, from which upon every ceremonial uncleanness the Jew was excluded; but upon offering up of a sacrifice for his cleansing, his fault was passed by, and he was re-admitted to his former communion. And these were the errors of the priests and the people, from which upon their offering of sacrifices they were cleared. And now you see the objection removed, and yet the property of an expiatory sacrifice cleared ; and that is, that it was offered for the taking away of sin.
And now let us apply this property of a sacrifice to Christ crucified, and see whether it doth not thereto agree.
I say therefore, that answerably Christ was as a sacrifice crucified, and therein offered up to God for the expiation of sin. This is fully asserted by the apostle : “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 ?” (Heb. ix. 14.) That is, If the sacrifices of the law so far availed as to the purifying of the flesh, the sacrifice of Christ shall much more avail to purify the conscience; that is, so perfectly to settle and quiet the conscience from the fears of the wrath of God for sins committed, (which are the “ dead works” the apostle speaketh of,) to this end, among the rest,—that the sinner, thus quieted, might "serve the living God," not slavishly, for fear of wrath, but from love, as becometh a gracious child, whom his merciful Father hath so freely pardoned through the sacrifice of his own Son. The consideration of this verse, with that of the text I am speaking from, is abundantly sufficient to clear up the second property of an expiatory sacrifice to belong to Christ crucified, which is this,—that every such sacrifice was offered for the taking away of sin.
3. A third property of an expiatory sacrifice is, that it was to be offered up by a priest ordained of God to that end.—To this very end, saith the apostle, was the high priest, under the law, ordained, “ to offer gifts and sacrifices.” (Heb. viii. 3.) So that hence it is evident, that no sacrifice was to be offered but by a priest thus ordained : and was it not Saul's presumption in this kind that lost him his kingdom ? (1 Sam. xü. 9, 13, 14.)
Well, then, if every expiatory sacrifice must have a priest to offer it, so had our Christ crucified; for it was a sacrifice offered up to God by himself, our only High Priest, being appointed to that office by God. That Christ was appointed by God to this office, is manifest from Psalm cx. 4: “ The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” That this is meant of Christ's being by God designed to this office, is clear from Heb. vii. 17, where the apostle applies this prophecy to Jesus Christ. But, farther : as from what hath