Page images



"Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the

world!”—JOHN i., 29.

HE natural man receiveth not the things of


the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned."

The peculiar doctrines of the Bible are either uninteresting to unrenewed men, because beyond the range of their voluntary thought, or hated by them, because opposed to their natural prejudices and feelings; and when forced upon their attention by the Spirit of God, they excite a decided repulsion, and produce a shock like the stroke of the torpedo.

While every form of error and delusion enjoys, in its turn, the sunshine of popular favor, the truth, which has God for its author and heaven for its end, insures to its advocates and friends the ungrateful distinction that they shall be everywhere spoken against. But God seeth not as man seeth. And he has informed us that his word shall have its day, and every form of soul-destroying heresy be exposed in its true colors, and be banished from the earth; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord,

as the waters cover the sea. And from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before the Lord of hosts. The atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ is to the Christian what the sun is to the solar system. Take this away, and universal night and death succeed. Preserve this, and all is order, and light, and life, and beauty and gladness. Mistake, here, gives dim eclipse, and sheds disastrous twilight over many


John, the forerunner of the Messiah, announced his arrival on the field of official action, and described his character and works in the words of the text.

Other lambs, of earthly race and from human folds, had bled by millions, but could never take away sin. Save as a shadow of the coming Saviour, they seemed only as a continual testimony of abiding guilt, the judicial bond of our unsatisfied obligations, the handwriting of ordinances that was against us. But now appears the Lamb of God's providing, who, by one sacrifice of himself, should forever perfect them that are sanctified, and obtain eternal redemption for us. Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. The dim shadow is passed, for the glorious substance is come. The inefficient, because for the purpose of taking away sin the worthless sacrifices of slain beasts. have given place to a victim so precious that to furnish the sacrifice has made the treasury of heaven

comparatively poor; for all that yet remains in the gift of God is, by inspired computation, in comparison with this, of small value. "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"Rom. viii., 32.

"If the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God."-Heb. ix., 13, 14.

The text teaches the doctrine of atonement in

I. Its Nature.

away sin."

II. Its Extent.

"The Lamb of God that taketh

"The sin of the world."

I. Its Nature. The removal of the guilt of sin, by the vicarious sufferings of the Lamb of God.

The doctrine of atonement is part of the doctrine of justification. The latter describes the condition of those who are enabled to meet all the demands of the law, through the obedience and death of their Surety. The former is confined to his fulfilling in their behalf the penalty of the law. The Lord Jesus Christ does both for his people, for he is the Lord their righteousness. By the obedience of one, shall many be made righteous. By his enduring the penalty, they are delivered from hell; by his obeying

« PreviousContinue »