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be. For why did Jesus die? For our sakes. The punishment which was due to us, he vouchsafed to take upon himself; and so, through the voluntary sin-offering of this one holy victim, thousands upon thousands have been made righteous, have been forgiven, have been purified from their offenses, have been raised to everlasting life.
Nor was the Messiah himself a loser by his sufferings, and by his wondrous love, as Isaiah plainly declares in the last three verses of our chapter, which in Bishop Lowth's translation stand thus. "When his soul shall make an offering for sin, he shall see a seed which shall prolong their days, and the gracious purpose of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Of the travail of his soul he shall see the fruit, and shall be satisfied. By the knowledge of him shall my righteous servant justify many; for the punishment of their iniquities shall he bear. Therefore will I distribute to him the many for his portion; and the mighty people shall he share for his spoil; because he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors and bare the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." time will not allow me to go minutely into the fulfilment of these last three verses: nor is it needful; for you yourselves see their fulfilment. Has not God the Father highly exalted Jesus, that at
his name millions of knees have bowed this very day? Does not Christ see a seed which shall prolong their days far beyond the grave? Has not God's gracious purpose prospered in his hand? It has, it has. Bear witness, ye multitudes in every age, who have been weaned from sin by the doctrines of the blessed Jesus. Bear witness, ye innumerable servants of his, who have felt and declared that ye were reconciled to God through the blood of his dear Son,-declared it, not with your lips alone,-O no! ye have declared it by your lives, by your holiness, by your humility, by your patience, by your diligence in every good work, by that inward peace of heart and conscience, which the world can neither give nor take away. By these proofs have ye shewn in all ages, ye servants of the holy Jesus, that the promise of the prophet has been gloriously fulfilled, that the gracious purpose of the God of heaven has indeed prospered in the hands of his Messiah. For what is that purpose, dearly beloved brethren ? St Paul tells us in half a dozen words: "The will of God is your sanctification." His gracious purpose in sending his Son into the world was to bring back the children of men to their duty and allegiance. When they are persuaded to come to him that he may give them life, then is the will of God accomplished, and his gracious purpose pros
perously fulfilled. My brethren, will you not do your parts to fulfill God's gracious purpose? The Father is willing and ready: the Holy Ghost is willing and ready: Christ has done his part. The price is paid: the iniquity has been borne: the door of reconciliation here, and of heaven after death, has been thrown wide open to you. Will you not do your parts? Will you not come and take the life, which Jesus has bought for you with so much suffering? Will you not return to God?
Thus have we examined this prophecy of Isaiah verse by verse. We have seen every part of it fulfilled in the life of Jesus. Such an agreement, so accurate, so wonderful, in so many points, cannot possibly be accidental. Therefore in Jesus we have the true key for the prophetic lock: and Isaiah, who foretold all these things so many hundred years before, must assuredly have spoken, as St Peter says, not of his own will, but as he was moved by the Holy Ghost.
PRINCIPLES ABOVE RULES;
WHEAT IS BETTER THAN BREAD.
COLOSSIANS ii. 20.
If ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances?
THE ordinances here spoken of are the ordinances of the law of Moses, which were only designed for a certain people, and for a certain time. They were designed for the Jewish people, for that people out of which in the fulness of time the Saviour of the world was to spring: and they were designed to hold that people together, and to keep the expectation of the Saviour alive in it, until the Saviour himself came, to fulfill the law, and by ful
filling it to prepare the way for the downfall of all such parts of it as had merely been intended for their particular nation and age. Now this is a point in which there is a great and striking difference between the law of Moses and the law of the Gospel. One of the chief excellences of the precepts which we find in the New Testament, is, that they reach far beyond the occasions and purposes they were originally laid down for; so that, in spite of all the changes which have taken place in the world since, they are many of them applicable to the letter, and all are still applicable in their spirit, at this very day. If you bear in mind that near eighteen hundred years have gone by since the apostles wrote those letters to the Christian churches of their age, which we are wont to call Epistles, you will join with me in wondering, not that there should be a few sayings here and there in them dark and hard to be understood, but that there should be such a vast number of verses in them, every word of which we may still apply to ourselves, to the purifying of our hearts, and the building up of our souls, and the shaping of our lives.
Now to what is this excellence owing? In other words, what is the peculiar character of the precepts laid down in the New Testament, in consequence of which they do not pass away, like the