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sinner? Not one that utters the word in a complimentary sense, but do I feel the deep compunction in my inmost soul? do I stand and feel convicted, guilty, and condemned? I do; I know I do. Whatever I may not be, one thing I know I am-a sinner, guilty, consciously guilty, and often miserable on account of that guilt. Well, then, the Scripture says, “ This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners."
“ And when thine eye of faith is dim,
Let me put my entire trust in the bloody sacrifice which he offered upon iny behalf No dependence will I have in my prayings, my doings, my feelings, my weepinga, my preachings, my thinkings, my Bible readings, nor all that. I would desire to have good works, and yet in my good works I will not put a shadow of trust.
* Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling." And if there be any power in Christ to save I am sa ved; if there be an everlasting arm extended by Christ, and if that Saviour who hung there was “ God over all, blessed for ever,” and if his blood is still exhibited before the throne of God as the sacrifice for sin, then perish I cannot, till the throne of God shall break, and till the pillars of God's justice shall crumble.
Now, sinner what then hast thou to do this morning? If thou feelest thy guilt to be great, cast thyself entirely upon this sacrifice by blood. “But no," says one, “I have not felt enough.” Thy feelings are not Christ. “No, but I have not prayed enough.” Thy prayers are not Christ, and thy prayers cannot save thee: “No, but I have not repented enough.” Thy repentance may destroy thee, if thou puttest that in the place of Christ. All that thou hast, I repeat this morning, is this-dost thou feel thyself to be a lost, ruined, guilty sinner? Then simply cast thyself on the fact that Christ is able to save sinners and rest there. What! do you say you cannot do it? Oh may God enable you, may he give you faith, sink or swim, to cast yourself on that. “Well! but,” you say, “ I may not; being such a sinner?" You may; and God never yet rejected a sinner that sought salvation by Jesus. Such a thing never happened, though the sinner sometimes thought it had. Come, the erumb is under the table; though thou be but a dog come and pick it up; it is a privilege even for the dog to take it; and merey that is great to thee, is but a crumb to him that gives it freely—come and take it. Christ will not reject thee. And if thou be the chief of sinners that ever lived, only simply trust thyself upon him, and perish thou canst not, if God be God, and if this Bible be the book of his truth. The Lord now help each one of us to come afresh to Christ, and to his name be glory.
PREACHED ON SUNDAY EVENING, NOVEMBER 7, 1858,
BY THE REV. HUGH ALLEN, M.A. (Incumbent of St. Jude's, Whitechapel, and Divinity Lecturer of St. Olave's, Old Jewry.)
AT ST. JUDE'S CHURCH, WHITECHAPEL,
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and ind grace to help in time of need." —Hebrews iv. 16.
The Bible was written for an express purpose: every portion of the Bible was written for that express purpose, and the purpose is the salvation of the soul. Those who come to the Bible to obtain satisfactory information upon other subjects will be disappointed, and deservedly so; but those that come to the Bible to obtain satisfactory information about the salvation of their souls will not be disappointed. But, then, if they come to the Bible to obtain information about the salvation of their souls they must place confidence in it. It is not only a book written for the express purpose of giving them information how their souls may be saved, but it is a book written avowedly for that purpose-it is a special book written by God for that purpose. It is the only book written avowedly by God for that purpose ; it comes, therefore, with plenary authority and power, and it deinands from every peruser for its contents the most implicit and complete submission. If men will peruse the pages of the Bible in a suitable manner, such persons will not fail to obtain that very information which is necessary for their salvation and edification : such persons will not fail to see not only their moral condition by nature and by practice, their fallen and sinful state-but such persons will not fail to see the remedy, the all-sufficient remedy for their soul's condition, a remedy in every way sufficient and efficient, a remedy full and complete, provided by God, procured by Christ, and applied by the Holy Ghost. They read in the Scriptures that this salvation is a great salvation, that it is a salvation which is able to do its intended and glorious work for the vilest sinner on the face of the earth, for it is written there, that “ Christ is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him." We, therefore, invite you to consider with us to-night salvation, as brought before us in the text, and in such a manner as to interest your own hearts in the important and wonderful theme; for it is an important theme to you-the salvation of your soul. It may be of little importance to the worldling, but it is everything to you—the salvation of your soul. It may be of too little importance even to portions of the visible church, but it is everything to you—the salvation of your soul; it is the most important matter to you. And the theme is not only important—it is a wonderful theme. It will open up to your mind, if you will study it, such an amount of precious information regarding God's wonderful love for you, Christ's wonderful efforts for you, and the Holy Ghost's wonderful care about you, that you cannot fail to be influenced by it, if you will but give your heart as well as your ears and your understanding, and your whole soul to the consideration this evening.
My text says, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."" We propose, with the help of the Holy Ghost, to consider, in the exposition of this text
1. Where the sinner is invited ?—the throne of grace.
I. Let us consider where! to what place the poor sinner is here invited to approach--the throne of grace. A throne is the emblem of authority, is the emblem of power, and ought also to be the emblem of wisdom. We read of a throne ; and we understand very well the idea which a throne suggests to our minds—we understand the idea of a throne of authority, a throne of power, a throne of wisdom, based upon laws, directed by laws, established for the purpose of carrying out laws—a wise throne. But our text invites us to approach a throne, not merely of authority, of power, or of wisdom, but a throne of grace.
In the Scriptures, God is represented upon the heights of Sinai, then he puts forth his laws, the Ten Commandments, amidst lightning and thunder, and on that occasion men had to keep away from the mountain, and if any one dared to approach it, death was the penalty, was the doom ! On Mount Tabor, in the New Testament, the Son of God appeared in glory, two heavenly beings came to visit him; but the three privileged disciples, Peter, James, and John, were on that occasion afraid. They were suddenly introduced to this glory. They had been with their Master in the valleys of tribulation through the length and breadth of Palestine, and knew him as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and loved and admired him nevertheless; but in this sudden transition they were influenced by fear--they feared as they entered the bright cloud, for they were astonished and stricken with admiration beyond expression ; yet still with all the admiration of Peter, and with all the wonder of the other two, nevertheless there was an awe about the entire matter. But there was another exhibition of Deity, and that was on Calvary's summit-there was the same Son of God, the same Jesus Christ-he was a God all the time as well as a man, though his manhood is brought
out on Calvary in a very striking and solemn manner, yet all that time he was God as well as man. Behold him nailed to the accursed tree. He submitted to that. One look from him, and every Roman soldier would have been stricken dead. One expression of his will, and all his adversaries would have been sent suddenly to perdition. But one word of the kind, one expression of the will in that direction he never put forward-he submitted to it all. Why! Because it was necessary. It was fixed in the counsels of eternity to be necessary. It was fixed by the Eternal Three to be necessary, that man may be saved, and yet God's honour maintained. The throne of grace was not to upset the throne of authority, the throne of grace was not to upset the throne of power, the throne of grace was not to upset the throne of wisdom, the throne of grace was not to upset the throne of law, the throne of grace was not to upset the throne of righteousness, and the throne of equity, and the throne of truth, and the throne of judgment, but the throne of grace was to harmonize all, and yet to welcome the sinner to pardon, to peace, to justification, and to complete redemption. The throne of grace is, in fact, Christ himself. The allusion is to the atonement, to the blessed truth, that “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.”. The throne of grace represents to us the benefit of the death of Christ, the benefit of the obedience of Christ, and that obedience even to the very death of the cross. The throne of grace represents to us all the glorious results of the great work of atonement performed by the Son of the living God. In one expression you have the wonderful result of this wonderful work. The throne of universal authority, the throne of universal power, the throne of universal wisdom, the throne of universal righteousness, the throne of universal equity, the throne of universal truth, becomes, through the atonement-by the blood of Christ sprinkled upon each--a throne of grace ; and hence the glorious announcement goes forth—"Look unto me and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth.” “Come and let us reason together, and though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow ; though they be red" like crimson, they shall be as wool." “ As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed their transgressions from them.” Now come unto my throne through my Son and I will give you pardon, I will embrace thee, O sinner, with my arms of everlasting mercy, I will bring thee up from the lowest depths of miserable degradation, guilt, misery, and despair, to the heights of bliss, holiness, and glory. In fine, to simplify the explanation, we would say, that they approach the throne of grace, who come for life and salvation to Almighty God through the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. But let me ask you—when listening to sermons upon the wonderful results of the atonement, or when reading about the death of the Son of God-do you thus understand the design and the end of that death? When you read in the Book of God the many descriptions it contains regarding the obedience of Christ to the law, his sufferings upon the cross for sinners, do you thus understand it, do you thus dwell upon it, do you thus try to realize its wonderful and most momentous importance to thee! Sinner, sinner, I want thee not only to stop and admire, but to go down on thy knees before the God of the Universe, and plead this blood, plead this atonement, plead this redemption, and seek for and obtain pardon, and life, and salvation at this throne of grace.
II. Let us consider in the second place, why sinners are invited to come to this throne of grace.
1. You are to bear in mind that the invitation is to sinners. Jesus Christ expressly said_“I came not to call the righteous”—the self-righteous, of course_but sinners to repentance.” All the world are sinners, but they do not acknowledge and feel that they are such. I come, says Christ, not to call those who die without acknowledging, or without feeling that they are sinners before God, but even for the vilest and the worst, who do acknowledge and feel their sinfulness-I come to call them.
2. It is written of the Son of man, that he came to seek and to save them them that were lost. “I am a lost man,” said once an individual to a very distinguished lady, distinguished in the history of the church and of the country, for her piety and zeal in the spread of evangelical religion_“I am a lost man-it is no use for you to talk to me, no use in your urging upon me this great salvation.” She touched him on the shoulder, and said "I am not sorry to hear you say that. I am glad to hear you say it. Although despair might have had something to do with producing the feeling which called forth the expression, I am glad to hear you say that you feel yourself lost, for the Spirit of the living God must have interposed. You believe you are lost, then hear the word,” said she, opening the book—“The Son of man-the Son of God-came to seek and to save them that were lost :-he came to seek and to save you."
Because then they are sinners, helpless sinners-for all sinners are helpless, they cannot do anything for themselves. If they attempt to do any. thing, they only make themselves worse, they cannot make themselves better ; there is no use in their going to Sinai, there is no use in their attempting to mount up the heights of Tabor, in trying to get up an obedience on the one hand, or of presumption on the other-there is no use in their trying them. selves to make any efforts in the way of merit before God, before the Great Lawgiver of the Universe-they are helpless, and can only make themselves worse, and, therefore, they are invited by God to come, not to the throne of judgment, or the throne of power, or the throne of authority, or the throne of mere wisdom, but to a throne harmonizing all these-the throne of grace. They are helpless, lost by nature as well as by practice, lost in every sense of the term, there is no help for them, there is nothing but ruin staring them in the face, if they turn to any other place but this throne of grace. If they appeal to mere justice they must perish, if they appeal merely to God's power, they must perish, if they appeal merely to God's authority they must perish, if they appeal merely to God's wisdom they must perish-without an‘atone. ment they must perish. There are some who will say, I will appeal to God on the mere ground of his mercy, and say nothing about an atonement: I say, God will not listen to that appeal. God is able, and willing, and ready to listen to the appeal of every sinner who comes to him through Christ, but in no other way. There is no such thing as abstract mercy. There is no such thing as mercy without atonement. Under the old law there was “no romission without the shedding of blood;" and under the new law, there is no salvation withouts Christ. He, who was the very essence of love, and mercy, and kindness, uttered these solemn words—" I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” Why then are they invited to come! Because they are sinners, because they are helpless sinners, because they are utterly ruined sinners.
3. But there is another reason. They are invited to come to the throne of grace because they have a Great High Priest at that throne. There is a Great High Priest pleading for them at that throne. You see an allusion to this in the context. In the text, there is the word “therefore,” which alJudes to the context. In the 14th verse it is said—“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us bold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which eanaot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of peed." You are to bear in mind the importance of this revelation—that we have a Great high priest at the throne of grace. It is this Great High Priest, who by his atonement has converted the throne of authority into a throne of grace. He is the medium to God-he is the grand way to God-he is hinself, in fact, that throne of grace, and is constantly presenting to his Everlasting Father the case and the condition of every returning penitent; and represents them one after the other; and though the law may accuse them, he answers, I have obeyed the law for them; and although there may be countless charges against them, he cries out, I have suffered for them;
and although they may have been again and again warned, and again and again neglected the warning, he still repeats, I suffered, I obeyed, I died for them.
You will perceive that this revelation cuts away all pretensions of priests under the Christian dispensation. Priests were necessary under the Mosaic dispensation until Christ came, because they typified Christ; but when the Great High Priest himself came, he set aside these priests for ever. There is an end of priests under the Christian dispensation, therefore it is not right for any man to assume he is a priest under the Christian dispensation ; it is blasphemous to assume that he is a sacrificing priest. The word priest in the Prayer Book means elder. I need not remind you that at the time the Prayer Book was made, there was a great use of Norman or French words in this country. Our word priest is the contraction of the French werd prétre, which is a translation of presbyter, which is the Greek for elder. Frasce supplied a large number of words to England, and they are now, you know, fast bound up in our language, and this was one of the words. Then you are to understand that the word means elder; and when the Prayer Book is revised as I hope it will be revised - the word priest must be put out, and the word elder must come in. Not that the word was ever used in the Prayer Book Services for sacrificing priest, but because certain people take advantage of it.
With this explanation then, I recur again to my text, and I say, that the context cuts away all pretensions to the office of a sacrificing priest under the Christian dispensation. Christ is the Great High Priest. Once more you are to bear in mind, that the offering was made once and for ever-it was not to be repeated, as the Church of Rome says, that she repeats the offering of Christ in the sacrifice of the mass. That is another specimen of blasphemy, because the Saviour distinctly affirms, that he made his sacrifice once for all-it was never to be repeated. This we find stated fully and satisfactorily in this very Epistle. In the 9th chapter, you read~" Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Here you see it is solemnly stated that our Lord never designed to repeat his one offering; it was not necessary that he should, because it was sufficient, and efficient for the great purpose for which it was designed. And you also find an analogy drawn between our Lord's suffering once and men dying once-"as it is appointed unto men once to die," and it is but once-"so Christ suffered but once," and cannot suffer again. So, you see, that to attempt to show that the sacrifice of the mass is a true doctrine of Christianity is to contradict the plain statement of Holy Writ which I have read in your hearing.
Then, besides the office of priesthood which Christ sustains for us in heaven, he sustains it not to hand it over to any one else. This also is alluded to in this same Epistle to the Hebrews, when it is said, he took upon himself “an unchangeable priesthood," a priesthood that was not to be "iransmitted to any flccessor"