« ПредишнаНапред »
The atonement of Christ is, likewise, a strong inducement to forgiveness of injuries. God, freely, forgave us our debts, Christ, cheerfully, paid our ransom : can we, then, rigorously demand entire satisfaction from others ? We ought, rather, to be • kind to one anoth
er, tender-hearted, forgiving one another in “ love, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath for“ given us." Jesus endured the contradiction of sinners against himself, and will we indulge anger, retain resentments, and revenge every unguarded expression, and every undesigned or imaginary wrong? How can we expect mercy from God, when we show none to our fellow men ? With what plea can we approach the throne of grace to ask forgiveness for our unnumbered transgressions, when we are sensible, that, we have not forgiven our neighbour in far less aggravated circumstances?
In like manner, if we make a proper use of the atonement of Christ's blood, we will seek peace with all men, and keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. The ultimate end of Christ's making atonement, at all, was to restore peace and harmony, to reconcile foes, to bring together things in heaven and things on earth. Part of the song which was sung
by the heavenly host, at our Saviour's introduction into the world, was, “ Peace on earth and
“ “good will towards men.” And, indeed, his death lays us under the strongest obligations
peace and unity. For, if Christ hath reconciled upon the cross all the redeemed unto God in one body, having destroyed the spirit of enmity by his sacrifice, then we are, no more, strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of faith. And how comely is it for brethren to dwell together in unity. It is as the dew of Hermon, as the dew that descended on the mountains of Zion.
My believing brethren ; you are all members of one family, you are all baptized into one faith, you are all justified by the same blood, you are all sanctified by the same spirit, you are all travelling to the same country, and, you will all meet in that blessed place where no discord enters. How foolish, then, must it be to fall into uncharitable strifes by the way ! especially, in such a state as the present, where you are beset with so many temptations, and have so many coinmon enemies.
Again ; the atonement of Christ ought to lead us to humility and lowliness of mind.Christ humbled himself for our salvation; and should not we to follow his example ? Our greatest Benefactor lived in poverty and distress: our greatest blessings were procured by sufferings and death : ought not we, then, to live contented in every situation of life, ought not we to be unambitious of grandeur and power, ought not we to be inoffensive to all men, to be submissive to our superiours, to be condescending and obliging to our equals and inferiours ; in a word, to be the servants of our brethren? Our Lord
his disciples the very same advices, and enforced them by his own example. Matth. XX. 28.-" Whoso“ever will be great among you let him be
your minister : and whosoever will be chief
among you, let him be your servant, even " as the Son of Man came not to be minister" ed unto, but to minister, and to give his life “ a ransom for many."
As I do not propose a complete illustration of this part of the subject, I shall, only, observe, farther, that, the atonement of Christ is a strong inducement to us to mortify our evil desires and passions, and to withdraw our pursuits and affections from the things of this life. Jesus Christ did not pay so enormous a price as his own blood to redeem us and our faculties from sin and death, that we might employ them in any vicious or unworthy pursuit.He did not purchase the Holy Spirit, and bestow him upon us, that we might employ our bodies, which are his temples, in the service of the flesh. Nay, the Apostle, to the Galatians, tells us that " they who are Christ's have “ crucified the flesh, with it's affections and “ lusts.” Neither ought we to set our hearts upon the things of this life. Thus says the Apostle Paul : “ If
be risen with Christ, “ seek those things which are above, where “ Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.”If it were necessary that the Heir of all things should renounce the pleasures and conveniences of life in order to accomplish our salvation, the same self-denial is undoubtedly binding upon us. If this work was so difficult to him, may we indulge in ease and pleasure ? No : we are engaged in a race wherein we will, infallibly, come short of the prize, if we stop every moment and entangle ourselves with the affairs of this life. “ Let us, therefore,
lay aside every weight, and the sin which “ doth so easily beset us, and let us run with
patience the race set before us, looking un“ to Jesus, the authour and finisher of our faith; “who, for the joy that was set before him, “ endured the cross, despising the shame, and “ is now set down at the right hand of the " throne of God.”
5. The doctrine of atonement is highly comfortable to every true christian. It assures him of the complete salvation of all those who were chosen before the foundation of the world. Christ hath paid his ransom, and he cannot be lost. He hath destroyed the hand-writing which was against him, by nailing it to his
It, also, assures him of the complete perseverance of the saints in a state of
grace. If they fall away, either finally or totally, it must go to impeach, either, the perfection of Christ's atonement, or the sufficiency of God's grace to keep them from falling. But Christ hath made complete atonement, and hath purchased grace
sufficient for them in every trying hour. How, then, shall believers be nioved ? The winds may beat, and the rains may descend, but they cannot be overthrown, for their foundation is on a rock.