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that all things were looking to that perfect dispensation in which the church would be placed, when the fulness of times should come, and Christ should take away the first covenant with its ceremonies that he might establish the second. The Israelites were thus taught that without the shedding of blood there was no remission of sins; and however some of them might have dim and darkened views on this subject, while the veil was upon their mind, we at least know that the blood of all the animals which was shed at the altar of burnt-offering owed all its excellency to its being a type of that blood of Jesus, by which he hath obtained eternal redemption for us.
Let us also look at the purpose for which the burnt-offering was to be brought, in the promise that was attached to it: “ it shall be accepted for him, to make atonement for him.” Here is the special office of Christ. His sacrifice was truly an atoning sacrifice. He offered it that he might pacify the just anger of God, and procure a reconciliation with him for sinful man. Atonement means
reconciliation, and how clearly is this stated by St. Paul as having been effected for us by the sacrifice of Christ. He says, “ You, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked words, yet now liath he reconciled, in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in his sight.” And as in the case of the laying of our sins upon Christ, the gospel goes beyond the law, and shews that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, even to all that believe, so the gospel here also goes beyond the law, and shews not only that God becomes reconciled to man by the death of his Son, but that through the powerful influence of that death upon his heart, man becomes reconciled to God. As the same Apostle already quoted writes again in his second Epistle to the Corinthians, “ All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath committed to us the ministry of reconciliation, to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” Whoever shall bring that sacrifice of Christ in faith to the altar of God shall assuredly find that it shall be accepted for him, and shall make an atonement for him. It will appease the wrath of God, who will no longer impute his trespasses to him; and it will have the happy effect
upon his own heart of removing all its natural alienation and enmity, so that he shall be reconciled to God.
I trust that you all feel perfectly assured that it is only through the efficacy and merit of this one great sacrifice of Christ, that we can possibly be accepted of God. Since this is so clearly presented to us in all parts of the scriptures, I hope that all of you will see that there is no other possible way by which we can obtain peace and mercy. If, by these expositions of the object and intention of the ceremonies of the Jews' religion, I can produce a deeper conviction and clearer perception of this principal truth of the gospel, then our time will have been well employed. See then how the death of Christ and his severe sufferings, his voluntary gift of himself for our salvation, the efficacy of his
blood, the perfection of his sacrifice, his substitution in our stead, and the atonement which he has made for us, are all here depicted. I say not what complaint might be made of the Jews, if they did not see through the meaning of these types and shadows, but I say that we are all perfectly inexcusable, if we do not understand this merciful undertaking of Christ, and our own absolute need of his salvation. I say also, that we are all perfectly inexcusable, if, understanding this, we do not apply our faith to it, and bring this sacrifice, this divine burnt-offering, this great atonement, before the Lord. all bring it, I say, by faith before God against whom we have sinned ; let us by faith lay our hands upon it; let us by faith sprinkle the blood of it upon our souls, and let us bring it most willingly, gladly, and thankfully: most willingly, as being satisfied with it, and without going about to seek any offering of our own, or to establish our own righteousness in any other way; most gladly, as feeling how perfectly sufficient it is for our purpose, and in what a blessed and glorious
state of peace and reconciliation it will place us; and most thankfully, as being deeply affected by the infinite love and mercy of Christ in thus giving himself for us.
But although we have nothing of our own which we can offer as an atonement, yet there are things which may be presented to God, , voluntarily on our part, as tokens of our regard to him, and out of gratitude for his mercies. We may give to him of our substance for the advancement of any work of piety, or for the relief of the poor. And whatever we thus give should be a willing offering, as were the gifts of the people for the erection of the tabernacle; and whether it be large or small should depend upon the possessions of the giver.
The pigeon or turtle dove was as suitable for the burntoffering of the poor, as the bullock for that of the rich; but the rich might not have ventured to bring that smaller offering. Therefore in all gifts for pious or charitable uses let the means of the giver be considered, and give in proportion as God has given unto you.