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SERM. But how do the Oppugners of Christ's II. Satisfaction hit off the Difficulty? That n Mankind are, and always, from the first Transgression, have been universally affected with a spiritual Depravity, incapable of act. ing up to their Maker's Expectations, and
all more or less reduced under the Tyranny of Sin, so as to obey it in the Lusts thereof, is manifest above reasonable Dispute And who can work Deliverance for them, besides the Son of God? What can discharge their Obligation, but his Merits ? And what wash them clean except his most precious Blood ? Instead of this, what have chese Men to trust to ? It must be either to Sacrifices, as did the Antients, or to Repentance, as do the Moderns, who warmly contend for its being a full Plea for Pardon.
In Regard to the former, it has been long ago allowed, that St. Paul was at least once in the right, when he pronounced it to be impossible, that the Blood of Bulls or of Goats. Should take away the Guilt, or the Punishment of Sin (s). And it was the deepest Ignorance of the End, for which Sacrifices were ordained, that induced weak Men to
imagine (3) Heb. X. 4.
SERM. imagine, these were able by their proper
II. Virtue and Efficacy to expiate the Faults of m the Offerers.
As there appears to be no Room to suppose, · that it could be the Invention of Men to
take away the Lives of Beasts, and employ them as Victims in the Worship of God, without his express Appointment ; fo is there as little to question, that they were instituted for some good and useful Purpose. But this was rather to discover, than pay off the Debt; to shew Men, how they had justly forfeited their Lives by their Wickedness, rather than redeem them by the Death of their Sacrifices ---and to point to the Atonement and its Manner of operating, rather than make it. Being therefore considered 'independently of their typical Relation to Christ's Satisfaction on the Cross, they could be of no fpiritual Benefit, nor make the Comers thereunto perfect (t).
INSTRUCTIVE Lessons, to be sure, they were to the common Apprehension of Mankind in all Ages, that God would not be appeased, nor forgive them without Punishment ; and to the Jews particularly they
(1) Heb. x. 1.
were Forms of entering into, and renewing Serm. their Covenant with their Maker, whereby II. he vouchsafed to bind himself, on certain Conditions, to Pardon, to be reconciled , to, and bestow various Blessings on them. After all, they were not in their own Nature effectual to these great Purposes,-----they had no intrinsic Excellency in them towards procuring the Divine Favour,---and derived their whole Worth from being made the Representation of that real Sacrifice, which was to be, and has been the Propitiation for the Sins of the World.
But though the material lifeless Sacrifices of Brutes could not, yet why may not the reasonable and living Sacrifice of ourselves, by an hearty Repentance and renewed Obedience, be available to pacify God's Wrath, to satisfy his Justice, and to prevent our Punishment? NoDoubt, it may; provided Sinners do not build more on this Foundation, than it will bear. To forsake Ungodliness is expedient, and even necessary to the Forgiveness of it ; and to improve in Holiness is the best Qualification for a gracious Acceptance : Yet to recommend an Offender to Mercy is one thing, and to give him a firm Claim to it is another. To expect, as of Right,
SERM. a Release of past Demands on the Score of II. future Services, no less due in themselves
than those, which have been withheld, is much the same thing with attempting to pay onę Debt with the Tender of another.
The most uniform Submission to the Divine Will, after numerous Offences committed, cannot properly make Reparation for them : It can only induce the Criminal to entertain some faint Hopes of Pardon, but not in Point of strict Justice authorize him to look on himself as actually, or sure to be, forgiven. For since God has the same Title to the Homage of his Creatures in every Part of their Lives, what was their Duty before their Disobedience, must be equally so affert it ; and consequently, a pious Change of Mind and Manners in a subsequent Period of their Being, cannot atone for their Impieties in a past,---have not the Efficacy to wipe away the Stains of Vice, nor to restore Sinners to the same Place in God's Love and Regard, which they might enjoy before.
He, who is once an Offender, must be always one, how pertinent soever ; ----Sin leaves an indelible Mark on the guilty Mind ;---loft Innocence cannot be recalled :
And if the justly provoked Deity is pleased Serm. to overlook our Iniquities so far, as instead II. of inficting the Vengeance they deserve, to treat us like pure and finless Persons, when we are too much the reverse, this Privilege must arise not from what we have been able to advance towards the Purchase of it for ourselves, but from the ample Price paid down by Christ Jesus for us : So that our whole Dependance refts on a crucified Saviour.
Hence questionless it is, that the Holy Scriptures have lain such Weight on the Sufferings and Death of Christ, and set them off with the utmost Strength and Variety of Expression ; that whoever believes those, as he ought, cannot disbelieve these. The Knowledge thereof was gradually introduced into the World by a Series of Prophecies, which, however dark in the Delivery, became exceeding clear in the Completion ; nor have we, who live so many Ages after the Accomplishment, the least Reason to hesitate concerning their ultimate Sense and Meaning : For if we are persuaded, that the same infallible Spirit is the Revealer of the Purposes of God in both Teftaments, his Applications in the New of prophetic Pal