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covenant anew, as man's surety, to pay the uttermost farthing. But the debt was not a pecuniary
The law was capital, and death the penalty incurred by the breach of it. Life was the debt due from us, and paid by Christ to the justice of Heaven. And therefore, when he took upon himself the obligation of paying it, which was as at this time, the covenant was made in the body of his flesh, and signed with his precious blood; to show that in him, now “ made sin for us,” the body of sin was to be cut off and destroyed; that, the curse of the law had seized on him as the malefactor (for such he vouchsafed to be accounted, and among such he did not disdain to be numbered), and that his disciples, who were really malefactors, might therefore “ go their
wayn” free ;. the blood now shed being an earnest, that in due time he would shed the whole, and make his human nature an offering for sin. This he did upon the cross, when he paid indeed the uttermost farthing that the law itself could demand, and so fulfilled all justice; thereby" cancelling the hand-writ.
ing of ordinances, taking it out of the way, and nailing it to his crosso,” never more to appear
in judgement against us. And accordingly, to our great and endless comfort, it is declared from the apostolical chair, that "there is now no condemna“tion to them that are in Christ Jesus P."
The way, therefore, is now open for us to proceed to a consideration of the imposition of the name JEsus, at the time of circumcision. For then it was,
* John, xviii. 8.
• Col. ii. 14.
P Rom. viii. 1.
that Christ laid himself under the obligation to SAVE, and began to answer to that sacred and glorious
From the very moment in which a sufficient surety appears, and becomes responsible for the debt, “Deliver the man,” saith the creditor, “I have “ found a ransom?” The greatness of the deliverance may be estimated by the value of the ransom; and reciprocally, the value of the ransom by the greatness of the deliverance. The ransom was the dear and only Son of God; the deliverance was a deliverance from all the terrors of angry and avenging Heaven. " The law worketh wrath';" because it condemneth the transgressors thereof, that is, without the intervention of the evangelical covenant of repentance, it condemneth every child of Adam; seeing that, according to the conclusion fairly deduced by the same apostle from undeniable premises, “all have sinned, and come short of the glory " of God"
But who shall express, or conceive adequate ideas of, that condemnation from which Christ hath delivered us; of that wrath, which the law worketh against every man who shall have no surety to appear for him, in the day when God shall come to require an account? As far, indeed, as the elements of nature can display to human sense the terrible majesty of their great Creator ; as far as his eternal power and Godhead can be manifested to the sons of earth by the things that are made ; so far did it once please God to manifest and display them; and that,
9 Job, xxxiii. 24.
r Rom. iv. 15. s Rom. iii, 23.
upon an occasion which evidently pointed out to us his intention in so doing. The occasion I mean, was the giving of the law, the circumstances of which are presumed to be the best and fullest comment upon the apostolical text before cited; “ The law " worketh wrath."
Let imagination, therefore, place us for a few minutes at the foot of Sinai, where every man must place himself, who would form an estimate of the salvation wrought for him by Jesus Christ. We shall find the mountain carefully fenced about, and guarded by this awful prohibition : “ Charge the "people, lest they break through unto the Lord to
gaze, and many of them perish.-For if so much
as a beast touch the mountain, he shall be stoned, “or struck through with a dart. Take heed to your“ selves therefore: stand at the nether part of the
mount tt.” There, then, let us take our station, and behold a thick cloud, blackness of darkness, settling upon the mountain, and diffusing itself around : in the midst of this most horrible night, the flame of devouring fire rolling forth in dreadful waves, and burning to the midst of heaven : lightnings every moment issuing from it, and breaking through the surrounding gloom; the air incessantly thundering from every quarter; and, above all, the voice of a trumpet piercing the heavens, sounding long, and waxing louder and louder; the mountain smoking like a furnace, and quaking greatly from its foundations; all the people in the camp trembling and dying for fear: nay, “so terrible was the sight, that even
t Exod. xix. 12, 17, 21.
“ Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake .” And if Moses, who, as the figure of him that should come, had the honour to be a mediator between an offended God and his offending people—if he exceedingly feared and quaked at this terrible sight, what must be the state of the careless sinner, who having incurred all this heavy displeasure, nor ever employed an hour in meditating his escape, shall be suddenly called upon by death to meet it all, unprepared ? And who is there among us, that thinks himself
prepared to meet his God, as he appeared upon mount Sinai? Let the experiment be made only in an ordinary tempest of thunder and lightning: No sooner is that glorious voice of Jehovah heard in the heavens, but the earth trembles and is still. “ Hear, attentive
ly, said Elihu in Job, “the noise of his voice, “and the sound that goeth out of his mouth. He “ directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning to the ends of the earth. At this
At this my heart “ trembleth, and is moved out of his place.” What sensations then would be produced in the hearts even of the best of men by a manifestation like that at Sinai? And if the righteous scarcely sustain it, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Nor let any man think himself unconcerned in that scene because it is past. The terrors of mount Sinai are still in force against every one who is not found in Christ Jesus ; unless we suppose that the despisers of the Gospel will fare better than the contemners of the law, and not rather be thought worthy of much sorer punishment. The hour is coming, when our
# Heb. xii. 21. w Job, xxxvii. 1, 2, 3.
eyes shall see more amazing sights, and our ears shall hear more terrifying sounds, than were seen and heard by the house of Israel in the wilderness. For yet a little while, and the same God who was revealed from heaven in flaming fire to give the law, shall again be revealed from heaven in flaming fire to inquire how it hath been observed, and to take vengeance on those who have not secured unto themselves a sponsor to stand in the gap for them. So that although the things seen and heard at mount Sinai did not affect us, yet the argument enlarged upon by the apostle, Heb. xii. undoubtedly doth; namely, that if the law was so terrible when enacted, how much more terrible must it be, when required at our hands by God, coming in glorious majesty to judge the world! Then shall there be blackness of darkness, not for a time, but for ever; then shall the lightnings of Sinai be extended over all the earth, and a fire be kindled which shall not be quenched ; then shall the heavens pass away with the noise of a great and intolerable thunder; a far louder trumpet shall then not only pierce the ears of the living, but also sound an alarm through all the regions of the grave, and awaken those who shall have slept for ages in the dust; then he whose voice formerly shook the earth shall fulfil his promise, “Yet once more I “shake not the earth only, but also heaven *;" both of which shall be removed, and their place no more be found; then shall all the tribes of the earth, as well as those of Israel, tremble, and mourn, and
* Heb. xii. 26.