Images de page

nearly fifty years; may God bless and preserve


THE SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE -is our life a “reign”? How shall we make it so? By receiving “abundance of grace;" then we

SPRINKLING OF BLOOD. shall reign in life." Expect it, then, and if you The ininds of Christians have been much exercised expect it, make ditches to receive it. Let God the of late on the subject of Sanctification as effected by Holy Ghost quarry out ditches in your liearts to the application of the Blood of Christ. It is strongly

. receive it. Then expect power.” Take bow and contended by some that the blood of Christ is noarrows !—then use the power; and smite in the where asserted in Scripture to be the instrument of name of God, I beseech you, smite! I know not our sanctification, and that in all passages where it how many times, but again and again. You will occurs the justification of the believer alone is connever have power unless you use it. When God templated. We have thought that it may assist our gives you grace do not lay it up in some sacred place readers to arrive at a right conclusion on a matter where you can go and look at it when you are all alone. of such importance, if we place before them the God does not give it to you to hoard; He gives it views of a well-known Scottish theologian-Proto you to use. And the saine if you expect plenty. fessor Fairbairn, of Glasgow — who has laid the Be like the poor widow ; get your vessels ready, get Church of Christ under great obligations by his able

; the people ready-your classes, your wants ready. and exhaustive work on the Typology of Scripture. You do not get plenty because the vessels are too The first quotation which we propose to present few. Get them ready; pour in the water up to the will be found in vol. i. of this work (p. 221). brim, and then pour out, and He will empty the Speaking of the service which a truly Scriptural cornucopia of His fulness of grace to you, and you Typology renders in enabling the believer to realise shall drink to His glory.

spiritual ideas with clearness and certainty, the ProIf you expect great things of God, lay out your fessor proceeds to give an illustration of his meaning dry fleece before Him, and believe that He will fill as follows:with the dew of His Spirit. Lay out your dry self, 1. “For our first illustration we shall select a and you shall drink in the dews of the Holy topic that will enable us at the same time to explain Ghost.

a commonly misunderstood passage of Scripture. Shall we not do this to-day? Is there not life The passage is 1 Pet. i. 2, where, speaking of the more abundant for us? We are persuaded that He elevated condition of believers, the Apostle describes will keep that which we have committed unto Him, them as 'elect according to the foreknowledge of and He is persuaded that we shall keep, by the two God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, hands of faith and prayer, strengthened by the Holy unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Ghost, which He has committed unto us.

Christ.' The peculiar part of the description is the May God to-day keep us, and deepen in us the last — sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ – Life more abundant !

which, being represented along with obedience at the end, to which believers are both elected of the

Father and sanctified of the Spirit, seems at first A BENEDICTION. “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee : the Lord make his sight to be out of its proper place. The application face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee : the Lord lift of the blood of Christ is usually thoughtof in reference up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."'. Num. vi. 24-26.

to the pardon of sin, or its efficacy in the matter of “Saith the Lord, In blessing I will thee.”—Gen. xxii. 16, 17. the soul's justification before God; when, of course, The Lord Almighty bless thee,

its place stands between the election of the Father From His own heavenly store ;

and the sanctification of the Spirit. Nor, in that The fulness of His presence

most common reference to the effect of Christ's Be with thee evermore.

blood, is it of small advantage for the attainment of Exodus xxxiii. 14.

a clear and realising faith that we have in many The God of glory keep thee

of the Levitical services, and especially in those of Keep thee in perfect peace ; Leading thee bravely forward,

the great day of yearly atonement, an outward form Till every conflict cease.

and pattern of things by which more distinctly to Isaialı xxvi. 3, 4. picture out the sublime spiritual reality.



[ocr errors]

"It is plain, however, that the sprinkling of Christ's sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ,' and blood, mentioned by St. Peter, is not that which which is also described in the Epistle to the Hehas for its effect the sinner's pardon and acceptance brews, with a similar reference to the blood of (although Leighton and most commentators have so Christ, by having the heart sprinkled from an evil understood it), for it is not only coupled with a conscience,' and again by having the conscience personal obedience as being somewhat of the same purged from dead works to serve the living God. nature, but the two together are set forth as the The sprinkling or purging spoken of in these several result of the electing and sanctifying grace of God passages is manifestly the cleansing of the soul upon the soul. The good here indicated must be from all internal defilement, so as to dispose and something inward and personal ; something not fit it for whatever is pure and good, and the wrought for us, but wrought upon us and in us; purifying effect is produced by the sprinkling of implying our justification as a gift already received, the blood of Jesus, or its spiritual application to the but itself belonging to a higher and more advanced conscience of believers, because the blessed result is stage of our experience, to the very top and climax attained through the holy and Divine Life, repreof our sanctification. What then is it? Nothing sented by that blood becoming truly and personally new certainly, or of rare occurrence in the Word of theirs. Now this great truth is certainly taught God, but one osten described in the most explicit | with the utmost plainness in many passages of terms; while yet the idea involved in it is so Scripture--as when it is written of believers that spiritual and elevated, that we greatly need the aid their hearts are purified by faith'; 'that they of the Old Testament types to give strength and purify themselves even as Christ is pure' or when vividness to our conceptions of it. The blood of it is said that Christ lives in them': that 'life the sacrifices by which the covenant was ratified at is hid with Him in God’; that 'they are in Him the altar in the wilderness was divided into two that is true and cannot sin, because their seed, the parts, with one of which Moses sprinkled the altar, seed of that new, spiritual nature which has been and with the other the people (Ex. xxiv. 6-8). A quickened by fellowship with the life of Jesus, similar division and application of the blood was remains in them’; and, in short, in every passage made at the consecration of Aaron to the priest- which connects with the pure and spotless life-blood hood (Ex. xxix. 20, 21); and though it does not of Jesus an impartation of life-giving grace and appear to have been formally, it was yet virtually holiness to His people. done on the day of the yearly atonement, since all “I can understand the truth, even where thus the sprinklings on that day were made by the high spiritually and (if I may so say) nakedly exposed ; priest for the cleansing of defilements belonging to but I feel that I can obtain a more deep and comhimself, his household, and the whole congregation. forting impression of it when I keep my eye upon

Now,' says Steiger, on 1 Peter i. 2, "if we repre- the simple and striking exhibition given of it in the sent to ourselves the whole work of redemption, in visible type. For with what effect was the blood of allusion to this rite it will be as follows :-Re-expia- atonement sprinkled upon the true worshippers of tion of one and of all sin, the propitiation was the old covenant ? With the effect of making whataccomplished when Christ offered His blood to God ever sacredness, whatever virtue (symbolically) was on the altar of the accursed tree. That done, He in that blood pass over upon them; the life which had went with His blood into the most holy place- flowed out in holy offering to God was given to be whosoever looks in faith to His blood has part in theirs, and to be by them laid out in all pure and the atonement (Rom. iii. 25); that is, he is justified faithful ministrations of righteousness. Such, preon account of it, receiving the full pardon of ail his cisely, is the effect of Christ's blood sprinkled on the sins (Rom. v. 9). Thenceforth he can appear with soul; it is to have His Life made our Life, or to the whole community cf believers (1 John i. 7), full become one with Him in the stainless purity and of boldness and confidence before the Throne of perfection which expressed itself in His sacrifice of Grace (Heb. iv. 16) in order that he may be puri- sweet-smelling savour to the Father. What a subfied by Christ as, High Priest, from every evil lust!' lime and elevating thought! It is much, assuredly,

, It is this personal purifying from erery lust which for us to know that by faith in His blood the the Apostle describes, in ritual language, as the crimson guilt of my sins is blotted out, Heaven

[ocr errors]

itself reconciled, and the way into the holiest of all sacrifices; but to be alone with God and meditate laid freely open for my approach. But it is much in His law he took to the desert, clothed himself in more still to know that by faith in the same blood, raiment of camel's hair, and lived on locusts and wild realised and experienced through the power of the honey. Holy Spirit, I am made a partaker of its sanctifying But though John hal no earthly possessions, no virtue; the very holiness of the Holy One of Israel lordly mansion, no epicure's table, no gorgeous passes into me ; His life-blood becomes in my soul apparel, no obsequious attendants; yet was he the well-spring of a new and deathless existence. greater than the princes of the earth, greater than any So that to be sealed up to this fountain of life is to born of woman up to his own day. He was himself be raised above the defilement of nature, to dwell in the subject of prophecy, and by the Holy Spirit, the light of God, and sit as in heavenly places in which filled and inspired him, he could point to Christ Jesus. And amid the imperfections of our Israel's long-expected Messiah and say, “ Behold, the personal experience, and the clouds ever and anon Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the raised in the soul by remaining sin, it should un world." questionably be to us a matter of unfeigned thankful- But the best of men are but men at the best. In ness that we can repair to such a lively image of the the hour of adversity, like his type Elijah, we find truth as is presented in the Old Testament service, this great servant of God betraying the weakness of in which, as in a mirror, we can sce how high in humanity. Shut up by the tyrant whom he rethis respect is the hope of our calling, and how proved, in the dungeon of Machærus, on the eastern much it is God's purpose we should enter into the side of the Jordan, he sends two of his disciples to blessing.”

Jesus to propose the question, “Art thou He that



To John's question Jesus gives the answer which (Matt. XI. 6.)

not only meets John's difficulties but which suits

all time, and is sufficient to remove the doubts of Tue public ministry of John the Baptist lasted every honest inquirer. He was at that moment only about a year and a half. But how fruitful in giving the highest authentication of His mission ; glory to God was one day of his devoted life! John and, pointing to His mighty works, He says, "Go was a lamp that burned with a bright and steady and show John again the things which ye do hear flame. He was the morning star which ushered in and see; the blind receive their sight and the lame the Sun of Righteousness. For a season Israel re- walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the joiced in his light; but from the mirror of the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel Gospel that light has been reflected on the people of preached to them.” And then, sounding a gentle God all down the ages to the present hour.

note of reproof and warning, He adds, "Blessed is John was no reed shaken by the wind. Sceptical he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me." Sadducees and hypocritical Pharisees he denounced Discouragement in John's circumstances was as a generation of vipers, and warned them to flee natural. · Hope deferred maketh the heart sick." from the wrath to come. He reproved the licen- He might with apparent reason ask, "If He to whom tious tyrant Herod, though he knew well that Herod I have borne witness be indeed the Christ, why does had power to take off his head.

He permit His servant to lie in a dungeon exposed Jolin preached repentance to a degenerate and to the sword of Herod? Why does He not take guilty nation, and he took the position which the kingdom, convert and restore Israel, and fulfil accorded with his ministry. Unlike those heathen the prophecies of the Word ? Why does He not philosophers who taught men to despise wealth break the arm of the oppressor, scatter their darkand luxury, while they themselves lived like princes ness, and bless the nations ?” and heaped up wealth like the sand, John endured The appeal of Jesus to His works established the hardness and practised what he taught. As the son Divinity of His mission, and suggested the counsel, of a priest he might have worn the rich robes of his “It is good that a man should both hope and quietly order, and lived in Jerusalem on the fat of the wait for the salvation of God” (Lam. iii. 26). We


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

cannot doubt that the return of John's disciples is both full and definite. “ There shall come in the brought confirmation to his faith and joy to his heart. last days scoflers," says the Apostle Peter," walking

We cannot form a conception of that thrill of joy after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the which vibrated through the souls of angels when promise of His coming; for since the fathers fell rising out of nothing they looked upon that glorions asleep all things continue as they were from the One whose fiat gave them being. And, again, we beginning of the creation" (2 Pet. iii. 4). can conceive something of their joy when they saw But how many at the present hour, who reject carth and all other worlds rise into existence by the the creed of the sceptic and scoffer, are saying in same fiat. It was then Job tells us, “The morning their hearts, “ My Lord delayeth His coming;” and, stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted encouraged by the delay, they smite their fellowfor joy.” But there was still greater glory to be servants, and eat and drink with the drunken. But witnessed and greater joy to be awakened. They where is Christ, and how is He now engaged? Ie have seen the glory of creation; they have yet to is in the presence of the Father, making intercession see the glory of redemption. They had seen God for IIis people, and interposing between the eternal in the height of His greatness; they have to behold justice and a wicked world; prolonging to men their Him in the depth of His grace. That glorious day of grace and sending down upon them the Being whom they saw in the light unapproachable bounties of His providence and the influences of they have to see emptied of that visible glory, and His Spirit. for the suffering of death made lower than them- Moses shines on the sacred page the fullest type selves.

of Christ as Mediator. While Israel stood afar off Were angels stumbled by the humiliation ? On from Mount Sinai, he went up into the presence of the contrary, the depth of condescension in the that very glory in which Christ is now inhaloed. suffering and death of the Son of God awakened in There he remained for forty days and forty nights them an interest such as they had never felt before, on behalf of the people. But how did they occupy and fixed all their attention. "Which things," says themselves in his absence ? Did they wait with the Apostle, "the angels desire to look into." longing hearts and watching eyes for his return?

But it was not for angels that Christ was born in Far from it: they say to Aaron, “Up, make us gods a stable and died on a cross. That lowly birth and that shall go before us; for as for this man Moses ignominious death was for us men and for our salva- we wot not what is become of him." tion. Strange that that lowliness and condescension In the disbelief of the return of the Mediator the should heighten the bliss of angels, and yet be a old Egyptian spirit revives, and Aaron makes for stumbling-block to us. Strange that the very grace them a golden calf in imitation of the Egyptian which brings men salvation should drive them god Apis. What has made the professing Church farther from God, and be so perverted by them as to imbibe the spirit of the world, and pay euch marked sink them in a deeper perdition. It was while he homage to its idol trinity of pleasure, wealth, and gazed on this grace the Apostle exclaimed, “If any fame! Just this, that it does not look for, because man love not the Lord Jesus Christ let him be it does not believe in, the return of the Lord Jesus. anathema, maranatha."

Everyone that cherishes the hope of His appearing, The Lord compared the men of His generation to and being then made like Him, purifies himself even sullen children in the market-place, who when their as He is pure. playful companions piped to them did not dance; and And just as when Moses came down from the when they mourned to thein, did not lament. It Mount judgment fell on the idolaters, so shall it was thus when Christ came in humiliation men were come on the scoffers, and on the slothful and wicked stumbled, and refused to believe in Him ; so neither servant; for “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from now will they receive Him coming in His glory. heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, Indeed, men object to His coming at all, and dislike taking vengeance on them that know not God, the very thought of His personal appearing. They and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus wish Him to remain in heaven, and leave the manage- Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting ment of earth to them, who are so capable of ruling it. destruction from the presence of the Lord and from

But on this point Holy Scripture, in its warnings, the glory of His power,”




Why standest Thou afar off, O God? Why hidest

Thou Thyself in time of trouble?" But God's hiding The grace of John the Baptist was tested, and by is only the concealing of His preparation for their its testing it was matured. The wilderness and his deliverance. He has heard their cry, and for forty communion with God there prepared him for that years has been preparing Moses in the wilderness ministry which awakened the conscience of his of Midian to break the power of their oppressor. nation and brought whole regions to his baptism, The work of preparation is now complete; and, confessing their sins. But God meant that John, in the emblem of the burning bush, He is showing like his Blessed Master, should be made perfect Moses how in the fierce fires of persecution His through suffering. The wilderness and its privations unseen power is preserving Israel; and, in the and communings were necessary to prepare him for emblem of that rod turned into a serpent, He is a ministry grander than that of any prophet who showing him how He is preparing the instrument went before him; but the dungeon of Machurus of Pharaoh's destruction. was needful to mature his faith, and fit him for that Thus is He still wont to hide His preparations high position intended for him in the kingdom of for the deliverance of His suffering people. But God. It is only the grace which is exercised that blessed are they who are not offended by sharing God can reward ; tried by the fire, it shall be found the cup of their Lord. “It is a faithful saying, If unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing we died with Him, we shall also live with Him; of Jesus Christ.

if we suffer we shall also reign with Him." Blessed If I am going to build a ship to cross the ocean are all they who cheerfully bear the cross, looking I do not want a man to bring for the purpose a

onward to the crown : for “To them that look for quantity of cones or acorns. He may tell me the trees Him shall He appear the second time without sin” lie in embryo in the seeds. I do not call in question --not as a sin offering—“unto salvation.” his statement; but it is only the full grown trees which will answer my purpose. In our present state the discipline of trial is a

THE POWER OF GRACE, necessity. It is the moulding of the clay for a vessel unto honour. To despise our chastisements,

“My grace shall bo sufficient for thee." or to faint when we are rebuked of the Lord, is to become a vessel marred in the Potter's hand.

YEA, Lord ! sufficient hath it proved In patiently bearing the burdens which God is

In every trying lour,

And Thou, unto Thy well-beloved, pleased to lay upon us, His grace is both manifested

Hast been a rock and tower; and magnified. If He so pleased He could avert

When clouds were darkest o'er my head, from us every trial ; He could have prevented the

Thou gavest light divine ; viper coming out of the heat and fastening on Paul's

And sweetest blessings Thou hast shed hand; but it was more for His own glory, and more

When earthly woes were mine. for the advantage of Paul and his ministry among Thy wondrous grace bath never failed the Maltese, that he should be bitten by it and

Thro' all the changing years, should shake it off without injury. There is similar

Mighty, when strongest foes assailed,

To conquer all my fears ; double blessing when human vipers and every other

I've felt how truly Thou wert vigh, form of trial assail the people of God, and they are

When heaviest pressed by care, brought off unhurt.

And seen the hosts of darkness fly In the dealings of God with men the rule is that

Before the breath of prayer. where hope ends deliverance begins. The persecu

Oh! grace that cares, oh! grace that keeps, tion and distress of Israel increase in Egypt. There

My song is still of thee! is not on earth a hand to help nor an eye to pity.

My heavenly Keeper never sleeps, Despair drives them to the God of their fathers.

Then, soul, exultant be!

Be patient yet a "little while," They cry, but they hear no voice responding to

And thee that grace shall crown their prayer. Their burdens are not lighter, nor

A victor, 'neath the Master's smile, their stripes fewer. They may well ask with David,

With every cross laid down,



« PrécédentContinuer »