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to witness the consummation of it. He is hurried through the streets; he is dragged first to one bar and then to another; he is cast and condemned before the Sanhedrim; he is mocked by Herod; he is tried by Pilate. His sentence is pronounced—“Let him be crucified !” And now the tragedy cometh to its height. His back is bared; he is tied to the low Roman column; the bloody scourge ploughs furrows on his back, and with one stream of blood his back is red-a crimson robe that proclaims him emperor of misery. He is taken into the guard room; his eyes are bound, and then they buffet him, and say, “ Prophecy, who it was that smote thee?” They spit into his face; they plait a crown of thorns, and press his temples with it; they array him in a purple robe; they bow their knees, and mock him. All silently he sits; he answers not a word. "When he was reviled, he reviled not again," but committed himself unto him whom he came to serve. And now they take him, and with many a jeer and jibe they drive him from the place, and hurry him through the streets. Èmaciated by continual fastings, and depressed with agony of spirit he stumbles beneath his cross." Daughters of Jerusalem! he faints in your streets. They raise him up; they put his cross upon another's shoulders, and they urge hiin on, perhaps with many a spear-prick, till at last he reaches the mount of doom, Rough soldiers seize him, and hurl him on his back; the transverse wood is laid beneath him; his arms are stretched to reach the necessary distance; the nails are grasped; four hammers at one moment drive four nails through the tenderest parts of his body; and there he lies upon his own place of execution dying on his cross. It is not done yet. The cross is litted by the rough soldiers. There is the socket prepared for it. It is dashed into its place: they fill up the place with earth; and there it stands.
But see the Saviour's limbs, how they quiver! Every bone has been put out of joint by the dashing of the cross into that socket! How he weeps ! How he sighs! How he sobs! Nay, more, hark how at last he shrieks in agony, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?” O sun, no wonder thou didst shut thine eye, and look no longer upon a deed so cruel! O rocks! no wonder that ye did melt and rend your hearts with sympathy, when your Creator died! Never man suffered as this man suffered. Even death itself relented, and many of those who had been in their graves arose and came into the city. This however, is but the outward. Believe me, brethren, the inward was far worse. What our Saviour suffered in his body was nothing, compared to what he endured in his soul. You cannot guess, and I cannot help you to guess, what he endured within. Suppose for one moment--to repeat a sentence I have often used-suppose a man who has passed into hell-suppose his eternal torment could all be brought into one hour; and then suppose it could be multiplied by the number of the saved, which is a number past all human enumeration. Can you now think what a vast aggregate of misery there would have been in the sufferings of all God's people, if they had been punished through all eternity? And recollect that Christ had to suffer an equivalent for all the hells of all his redeemed. I can never express that thought better than by using those oft-repeated words: it seemed as if hell was put into his cup; he seized it, and, " At one tremendous draught of love, he drank damnation dry.” So that there was nothing left of all the pangs and miseries of hell for his people ever to endure. I say not that he suffered the same, but he did endure an equivalent for all this, and gave God the satistaction for all the sins of all his people, and consequently gave him an equivalent for all their punishment. Now can ye dream, can ye guess the great redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ?
IV. I shall be very brief upon the next head. The fourth way of measuring the Saviour's agonies is this: we must compute them by THE GLORIOUS DELIVERANCE WHICH HE HAS EFFECTED.
Rise up, believer; stand up in thy place, and this day testify to the greatness of what the Lord hath done for thee! Let me tell it for thee. I will tell thy experience and mine in one breath. Once my soul was laden with sin; I had revolted against God, and grievously transgressed. The terrors of the law gat hold upon me; the pangs of conviction seized me. I saw myself guilty. I looked to heaven, and I saw an angry God sworn to punish me; I looked beneath me and I saw a yawning hell ready to devour me. I sought by good works to satisfy my conscience; but all in vain. I endeavoured by attending to the ceremonies of religion to appease the pangs that I felt within; but all without effect. My soul was exceeding sorrowful, almost unto death. I could have said with the ancient mourner, “ My soul choosetli strangling and death rather than life.” This was the great question that always
perplexed me: “I have sinned; God must punish me; how can he be just if he does not? Then, since he is just, what is to become of me?” At last mine eye turned to that sweet word which says, “ The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth from all sin.” I took that text to my chamber; I sat there and meditated. I saw one hanging on a cross. It was my Lord Jesus. There was the thorn-crown, and there the emblems of unequalled and peerless misery. I looked upon him, and my thoughts recalled that word which says. “ This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Then said I within myself, “Did this man die for sinners? I am a sinner; then he died for me. Those he died for he will save. He died for sinners; I am a sinner; he died for me; he will save me.” My soul relied upon that truth. I looked to him, and as I “viewed the flowing of his soul-redeeming blood," my spirit rejoiced, for I
“ Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to this cross I cling;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die!" And now, believer, you shall tell the rest. The moment that you believed, your burden rolled from your shoulder, and you became light as air. Instead of darkness you had light; for the garments of heaviness you had the robes of praise. Who shall tell your joy since then? You have sung on earth, hymns of heaven, and in your peaceful soul you have anticipated the eternal Sabbath of the redeemed. Because you have believed you have entered into rest. Yes, tell it the wide world over; they that believe, by Jesus' death are justified from all things from which they could not be freed by the works of the law. Tell it in heaven, that none can lay anything to the charge of God's elect. Tell it upon earth, that God's redeemed are free from sin in Jehovah's sight. Tell it even in hell, that God's elect can never come there; for Christ hath died for them, and who is he that shall condemn them?
V. I have hurried over that, to come to the last point, which is the sweetest of all. Jesus Christ, we are told in our text, came into the world “to give his lite a ransom for many." The greatness of Christ's redemption may be measured by the EXTENT OF THE DESIGN OF IT. He gave his life " a ransom for many." I must now return to that controverted point again. We are often told (I mean those of us who are commonly nicknamed by the title of Calvinists—and we are not very much ashamed of that; we think that Calvin, after all, knew more about the gospel than almost any man who has ever lived, uninspired)-We are often told that we limit the atonement of Christ, because we say that Christ has not made a satisfaction for all men, or all men would be saved. Now, our reply to this is, that, on the other hand, our opponents limit it: we do not. The Arminians say, Christ died for all men. Ask them what they mean by it. Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of all men ? They say, "No, certainly not.” We ask them the next questionDid Christ die so as to secure the salvation of any man in particular? They answer "No." They are obliged to admit this, if they are consistent. They say “No; Christ has died that any man may be saved if”—and then follow certain conditions of salvation. We say, then, we will just go back to the old statement-Christ did not die so as beyond a doubt to secure the salvation of any body, did he? You must say “No;" you are obliged to say so, for you believe that even after a man has been pardoned, he may yet fall from grace, and perish. Now, who is it that limits the death of Christ? Why, you. You say that Christ did not die so as to infallibly secure the salvation of any body, We beg your pardon, when you say we limit Christ's death; we say, “No, my dear sir, it is you that do it. We say Christ so died that he infallibly secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ's death not only may be saved, but are saved, must be saved, and cannot by any possibility run the hazard of being anything but saved. You are welcome to your atonement; you may keep it. We will never renounce ours for the sake of it.
Now, beloved, when you hear any one laughing or jeering at a limited atonement, you may tell him this. General atonement is like a great wide bridge with only half
an arch; it does not go across the stream : it only professes to go half way; it does not secure the salvation of any body. Now, I had rather put my foot upon a bridge as narrow as Hungerford, which went all the way across, than on a bridge that was as wide as the world, if it did not go all the way across the stream. I am told it is my duty to say that all men have been redeemed, and I am told that there is a Scriptural warrant for it-“Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." Now, that looks like a very, very great argument indeed on the other side of the question. For instance, look here. “ The whole world is gone after him." Did all the world go after Christ? “ Then went all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan." Was all Judea, or all Jerusalem baptized in Jordan? “ Ye are of God, little children," and “the whole world lieth in the wicked one." Does “the whole world” there mean everybody? If so, how was it, then, that there were some who were “of God?” The words "world" and "all" are used in some seven or eight senses in Scripture; and it is very rarely that “all” means all persons, taken individually. The words are generally used to signify that Christ has redeemed some of all sorts-some Jews, some Gentiles, some rich, some poor, and has not restricted his redemption to either Jew or Gentile.
Leaving controversy, however, I will now answer a question. Tell me then, sir, who did Christ die for? Will you answer me a question or two, and I will tell you whether he died for you. Do you want a Saviour? Do you feel that you need a Saviour? Are you this morning conscious of sin? Has the Holy Spirit taught you that you are lost? Then Christ died for you, and you will be saved. Are you this morning conscious that you have no hope in the world but Christ? Do you feel that you of yourself cannot offer an atonement that can satisfy God's justicc? Have you given up all confidence in yourselves? And can you say upon your bended knees, “Lord, save, or I perish?” Christ died for you. If you are saying this morning, “I am as good as I ought to be; I can get to heaven by my own good works," then, remember, the Scripture says of Jesus, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." So long as you are in that state I have no atonement to preach to you. But if this morning you feel guilty, wretched, conscious of your guilt, and are ready to take Christ to be your only Saviour, I can not only say to you that you may be saved, but what is better still, that you will be saved. When you are stripped of everything but hope in Christ, when you are prepared to come empty-handed and take Christ to be your all, and to be yourself nothing at all, then you may look up to Christ, and you may say, “ Thou dear, thou bleeding Lamb of God! thy griefs were endured for me; by thy stripes I am healed, and by thy sufferings I am pardoned.” And then see what peace of mind you will have; for if Christ has died for you, you cannot be lost. God will not punish twice for one thing. If God punished Christ for your sin, he will never punish you. “ Pay. ment, God's justice cannot twice demand, first, at the bleeding surety's hand, and then again at mine." We can to day, if we believe in Christ, march to the very throne of God, stand there, and if it is said, “ Art thou guilty ?" we can say, “ Yes, guilty." But if the question is put, " What have you to say why you should not be punished for your guilt?" We can answer, “Great God, thy justice and thy love are both our guarantees that thou wilt not punish us for sin; for didst thou not punish Christ for sin for us? How canst thou, then, be just-how canst thou be God at all, it thou dost punish Christ the substitute, and then punish man himself afterwards?" Your only question is, “ Did Christ die for me?" And the only answer we can gire is—« This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ came into the world to save sinners." Can you write your name down among the sinners-not among the complimentary sinners, but among those that feel it, bemoan it, lament it, seek mercy on account of it? Are you a sinner? That felt, that known, that professed, you are now invited to believe that Jesus Christ died for you, because you are a sinner; and you are bidden to cast yourself upon this great immovable rock, and find eternal security in the Lord Jesus Christ.
TRUE AND FALSE RELIGION.
PREACHED MARCH 22ND, 1857.
BY THE REV. G. BUTT,
VICAR OF CHESTERFIELD.
"The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” 1. Cor. iv. 20.
THERE were certain persons among the Corinthians who put themselves forward in the Church, and were bold enough to oppose St. Paul. Elated in their carnal minds, and puffed up with some attainments they had made in the acquisition of religious knowledge, they proudly imagined that they had just as much right to give their opinion, and lay down the law in Church matters, as the great Apostle of the Gentiles himself. This impertinent and unwarranted interference on their part, created much dissension in the Church at Corinth, and St. Paul found it necessary to reprove them by letter, and to warn them that, when he came to Corinth, he would reprove them still more sharply in person-"I will know," he writes, “not the speech of them that are puffed up, but the power.” It seems that they had not believed his promise of coming to Corinth, but cast discredit upon it, that they might the more easily compass their own self-exalting designs.
From the Apostle's manner of treating these vain and arrogant persons, we infer without difficulty his opinion of them, which was no doubt this, that they had never experienced in their hearts the renewing power of that religious knowledge, concerning which they boasted so loudly, and prated so impudently. For observe, he reminds them, “the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” He declares that it was his intention to try them by this test, “ I will know not the speech of them that are puffed up, but the power,” even that holy influence which Christianity exercises over the hearts and lives of true believers—he would see how much of this might be manifest in them.
Tried by this test, the religion of some professing Christians, of some who entertain a very high opinion of their own spiritual attainments, and look down with pity, if not scorn, on others, will be found sadly wanting. As regards professors of godliness, our Lord says, by their fruits shall ye know them, or distinguish them; and when we call to mind what the tendency of the Gospel being duly received is, we shall perceive that those who are lowly in heart, and emptied of self, know the life and power of it, while the conceited and proud, and self-magnifying, are wholly ignorant of the power, though they may very possibly be admirable phrascologists by aid of a good memory. Certainly the mere intellectual apprehension of the doctrines of the New Testament, tends like any other knowledge to make men, more especially smatterers, value themselves on their attainments, and court the applause of the more ignorant, by a pompous display of them. But it will be altogether otherwise with those who have received them into their hearts by faith, and have had them wrought into their very souls by Divine Grace, and fervent prayer, by much affliction, trial and temptation, for these doctrines are purposely designed and admirably calculated to bring down human wisdom and mortal pride even to the very dust before God, so that he who knows God, alone knows himself properly. That pure revealing light of heaven, which dispels the darkness of sinful nature, and illuminates the chambers of the genuine Christian's heart, discovers to him such abominations there, such corruptions and evils there, that he is ashamed and confounded, and closes for ever the mouth of boasting:
He perceives what a poor ignorant being he is ; how full of folly; how empty of all that is good ; how worthless and sinful. The more he learns to know of God, the more he advances in grace and spiritual wisdom, the more sensible will he grow of his own defects. The Apostle asserts, thai if any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. Self-conceit is, indeed, always found to be the offspring of ignorance ; the more we know, so much the better shall we know how much there is which as yet we do not know. They who have learned most of the the things of God, know but in part, are very far removed from perfection in knowledge. Hence true knowledge makes the Christian humble, while ignorance perpetuates itself by pride, and a vain conceit, and pretence of knowledge. When God would instruct men, he first gives them the grace of humility. “Whom shall he teach knowledge ? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine ? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts." (Is. xxviii. 9.) Without the grace of humility men cannot be saved
Unless ye are converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of heaven,” says He, who holds the key of that kingdom. (Matt. xvii. 3.)
Having made these preliminary observations, I shall now proceed to consider:
I. What St. Paul signifies by the expression, “ Kingdom of God."
II. What he intends by his statement, “ The Kingdom of God is not in word.”
III. That it is in power.
1. And first we have to consider what the Apostle means by the expression—" Kingdom of God.” The expression is used in Seripture evidently in more senses than one. It is used in an external sense to denote the Church visible of Christ. In an inward sense to denote the state of saving grace in the heart of man. It stands also for the kingdom of heavenly glory, or it may be taken for the Gospel dispensation. The Gospel is called “the Gospel of the Kingdom,” because all who repent, and obey the Gospel, are brought into the Church by faith and baptism.
It may be observed, that as the Church of Christ is divided into visible and invisible, so the kingdom of God or of heaven may mean the whole multitude of those who profess and call themselves Christians, whether they are such in spirit and truth or no. Otherwise it may mean exclusively the sanctified company of those who are true disciples of Christ, such as “can say that Jesus is Lord by the Holy Ghost." (1. Cor. xii. 3,) In the wider sense it is used in a short parable by our Saviour, where he speaks of a net cast into the sea, which enclosed a multitude of fishes good and bad. In the narrower