صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

his unjustly-gotten gains in his possession, without confession and restitution; and he then, oh! then goes to give an account of the manner in which he obtained them before a tribunal, which he cannot escape, and whose judgments are recorded against all the unrighteous, against all who do wrong, and defraud.-Behold then the Christian doctrines of confession and restitution taught us by the Jewish law respecting the trespassoffering. The external ceremonies may be abolished or changed; but the great principles of piety and morality remain. And those who are taught them, as we are, both out of the law and out of the gospel, will have no excuse to offer if they transgress them, or if, having transgressed them, they do not humbly confess, and conscientiously repair the wrong, as far as lies in their power. May he, who is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins, give us grace to exhibit these necessary marks of a genuine repentance, and pardon our sins through his own sacrifice.

III. For I must observe to you, as a third circumstance to be noticed in the trespassoffering, that although confession and restitution were both required, yet it was the sacrifice that made the atonement: "the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the trespass-offering, and it shall be forgiven him." The great Christian doctrine here is seen as strongly as possible, namely, that to the atonement alone we owe all our pardon and peace. Contrition, confession, restitution, all the feelings which accompany, and all the works which are meet for, repentance, are indispensible; but it is faith in the atonement of Christ which alone justifies. Upon that alone must the penitent's hope be placed. While he weeps tears of grief and shame, while he renounces all his evil ways, while he strives to undo all the evil which he had previously done, the sacrifice of Christ must be looked to as the only meritorious cause, the only appointed method, of mercy. For this his earnest application must be made; without this his repentance, or what might be called repentance, will avail him nothing. We have

a most striking instance in the scriptures themselves of the inefficacy of such a repentance in the lamentable case of Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of our Lord. In him appear all the three great marks of repentance. There was a strong feeling of contrition and fear, for he could no longer bear his life under it; there was confession of his crime, for he came to the chief priest and said, I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood; there was restitution, for he threw down the thirty pieces of silver, the price which he had received for his treachery; but there was no application to Christ; there was no faith in his atonement. Hence there was no hope; there was nothing but despair; he departed, and hanged himself. He died by his own hand, without a hope of mercy, because he believed not in the efficacy of that innocent blood which he had been the means of shedding. In fact, if his feelings and actions be accurately looked into, they will all be found deficient. His contrition wanted that humbled shame and grief of spirit, which constitutes a godly sorrow; his confession should

have been made, not to the accomplices in his guilt, but to the master whom he had betrayed, and the fellow-disciples whom he had deserted; he should indeed have spurned the money which was the price of blood, but his reparation of his sin should have been by a more firm profession of the Saviour and his gospel: like St. Peter, he should have endeavoured the more to strengthen his brethren; like St. Paul, he should have more vigorously preached the faith which he had attempted to destroy. And all this deficiency is evidently to be attributed to that one great defect, his want of faith in the atonement of the Son of God, his want of application of that blood which cleanseth from all sin to his own crime.

Thus I have endeavoured again to shew you how the great principles of the gospel are taught by the law. May the Holy Spirit enable you to understand, feel, and act upon these truths. May he give you a true repentance and a living faith. May he lead you to that atonement through which guilt is removed, so that you may not die in the trespass which

you have trespassed, and in the sin which you have sinned, but rather, may have all your trespasses and all your sins forgiven through the merit of that sacrifice which Jesus has offered for you. Oh! that that divine Saviour may be more and more recommended to you by every view which we can take of him through these early ceremonies of the Mosaic law. For what were the scriptures written, for what do you read them or listen to them, for what do we preach to you, but that you may believe in him, and believing may have life through his name? My brethren, regard him as the sum and substance of all revelation, and read and hear that he may become increasingly precious to your hearts by faith.

« السابقةمتابعة »