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infinite value, was sufficient to take away the original and actual sin of mankind, even as if it had been but one complex transgression. Millions in every age have received the benefit of it; and if the whole human race should at once apply for pardon and salvation by the blood of Christ; it would suffice to take away all their sin. The efficacy of the typical sacrifices was confined wholly to the Jewish nation : but that of the one atoning sacrifice of Christ, extends equally to other nations. It is sent to them all without exception: and we can assure any sinner throughout the earth, that if he believe in the Son of God he shall be saved. So that none perish, because there is no help for them ; but because pride, love of sin, and aversion to the spiritual service of God, harden their hearts in unbelief, and they “ will not come “ to Christ, that they might have life.” In this sense “ The Lamb of God taketh away the sin of .“ the world.” .
But he also taketh away guilt from the conscience by the sprinkling of his blood.' The atonement made upon the cross eventually profits none but those, who apply it to themselves. This is represented in the Lord's supper, as it was of old by the eating of the paschal lamb, with the sprinkling of its blood. We are not communicants merely by hearing of, or seeing, the emblems of Christ's body and blood, but by eating and drinking
Ti Pet. j. 2.
them. The Lord Jesus “ who gave himself a ran“ som for all, to be testified in due time,"” sends his gospel to sinners, and by the powerful convictions of the Holy Spirit, he effectually destroys their self-confidence ; then their conscience becomes burdened with the guilt of their former sins ; and whatever efforts they use to get relief, all prove ineffectual, till they understand the nature, and see the suitableness and glory of redemption by the blood of Christ. Applying in true repentance and living faith for an interest in this propitiation, they find the load of guilt removed, and obtain stable peace, connected with deep humiliation, hatred of sin, watchfulness against it, acquaintance with the divine law in their own hearts, and great tenderness of conscience. “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, " and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, “sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how
much more shall the blood of Christ, who, " through the eternal Spirit, offered himself with"out spot to God, purge your conscience from “dead works to serve the living God.” Nothing but this view of the cross, this application to the blood of sprinkling, this washing in “ the foun“tain opened for sin and uncleanness,” can give that kind of peace and confidence which hath been described : because nothing else can shew the enlightened and humbled heart the divine justice
' 1 Tim. ii. 5,6. a Heb. ix. 13, 14. 2. 29.
and holinesss, in harmony with mercy and truth, glorified in pardoning and saving the chief of sinners. And whenever this peace has been lost through relapses into sin, there is no other way of recovering it, but that in which it was first obtained: nay indeed, it cannot be preserved in the midst of those numberless imperfections and defilements, that accompany our best days and duties, except by continual application to “the “ blood of Christ which cleanseth from all sin.”
In consequence of the atonement and intercession of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit destroys in the heart of his disciples, the dominion, love, and pollution of sin ; by means of the mo, tives, encouragements, and ordinances of the gospel. In this sense also, “the Lamb of God taketh “ away the sin of the world :" for this is the only method, by which the hearts of men all over the world can be made holy; and all men in every nation of the earth, who believe in the name of Christ, are thus sanctified by faith in him."”“ Christ also loved the church, and gave himself “ for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with " the washing of water by the word; that he might “present it to himself a glorious church, not hav“ing spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that “ it should be holy and without blemish.” ” “ You “ who were-enemies in your minds by wicked . r works; yet now hath he reconciled; in the
| Acts xxvi. 18. · Eph. v. 25–27.
e body of his flesh through death; to present you "holy, and unblameable, and unreproveable in his “sight."” “ He gave himself for us, that he might “redeem us from all iniquity, and purify us unto "himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.2" Thus will the Lamb of God continue to take away the sin of believers all over the world, till there be no remains of it left; and till the whole company shall be " presented faultless before the presence of " his glory with exceeding joy.3"
III. Then we consider the call to “Behold the “ Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the " world.” :
I shall not confine myself to the exact import of the words, as spoken by John; but refer likewise to several other scriptures of a similar nature. “ There is no God else beside me, a just God and “a Saviour;-look unto me and be ye saved, all “the ends of the earth.4” “ As Moses lifted up “the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the “Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever be“ lieveth in him should not perish, but have eter“ nal life.5” “ Looking unto Jesus, the Author " and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy set be. “fore him endured the cross, despising the shame; " and is set down at the right hand of the throne
Col. i. 21, 22. 2 Tit. ii. 14. 3 Jude, 21.
4 Is. xlv. 21, 22. SJohn, iii. 14, 15. Vol. II.
“ of God.” The Baptist may be supposed to have addressed his disciples to this effect : 'You want pardon of your sins, and deliverance from the power and pollution of iniquity : “Behold” then “the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin “ of the world.” He alone can confer these blessings; apply to him, become his disciples, rely on him entirely, and follow implicitly his directions; thus you will be saved, and be made instrumental to the salvation of your fellow sinners.'
But we may understand the call in a more comprehensive sense, as an exhortation to meditate seriously and frequently on the great doctrines thus revealed; to behold and contemplate the person and redemption of Christ with fixed attention and humble faith. He seems to address us from the cross, and to say, “ Is it nothing to you, all ye " that pass by? Behold, and see, if there be any " sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto "me; wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in • the day of his fierce anger.a” Let us then turn our thoughts from all other subjects, and with believing application to ourselves, contemplate the interesting scene, which we this day commemorate.
We cannot well enter on şuch meditations, without adverting to the language of the sacred writers, concerning the essential and eternal Deity of
• Hleb. xii. 2 . « Lam. i. 12