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"Now is come salvation and strength, and the | is the fear of falling back into nothing, which kingdom of our God, and the power of his the prospect of death awakens. The greatest Christ; for the accuser of our brethren is cast of all the advantages which we possess, and down, which accused them before our God day that which indeed is the foundation of all the and night. And they overcame him by the rest, is existence. We accordingly observe blood of the Lamb," Rev. xii. 10, 11. Let us, that old people, though all their faculties are however, reduce our reflections on the subject much impaired, always enjoy a certain nameto method. Three considerations render death less superiority over young persons. The reformidable to man; three considerations disarm flection that there was a time when they exdeath in the apprehension of the Christian; isted, while as yet the young did not exist, 1. The veil which conceals from the eyes of constitutes this superiority; and young persons, the dying person, the state on which he is in their turn, feel a superiority suggested to about to enter: 2. The remorse of conscience them by the thought, that a time is coming which the recollection of his guilt excites: 3. when they shall exist, whereas the others shall The loss of titles, honours, and every other be no more. Death terminates, to appearance, earthly possession. In these respects chiefly, an advantage which is the foundation of every "he who has the power of death subjects men other. And is it any wonder that the heart of In vain will we flee for refuge from this deto bondage:" these are the things which ren- man should sink under such a consideration? der death formidable. pressing reflection, to the arguments which reason, even a well-directed reason, supplies. If they are satisfying of themselves, and calculated to impress the philosophic mind, they are far beyond the reach of a vulgar understanding, to which the very terms spirituality and existence are barbarous and unintelligible. To no purpose will we have recourse to what has been said on this subject, by the most enlightened of the pagan world, and to what, in going into the bath which was to receive, the particular, Tacitus relates of Seneca, on his blood, as it streamed from his opened veins: he besprinkled the bystanders with the fluid in which his limbs were immerged, with this memorable expression, that he presented those drops of water as a libation to Jupiter the Deliverer. In order to secure us against terrors so formidable, we must have a guide more safe than our own reason. In order to obtain a persuasion of the immortality of the soul, we must have a security less suspicious than that of a Socrates or a Plato. Now that guide, my brethren, is the cross of Jesus Christ: that security is an expiring Redeemer. Two principles concur in the demonstration of all-important truth.


In opposition to this, the death of Jesus Christ, 1. Removes the veil which concealed futurity from us, and constitutes an authentic proof of the immortality of the soul: 2. The death of Jesus Christ is a sacrifice presented to divine justice for the remission of our sins: 3. The death of Jesus Christ gives us complete assurance of a blessed eternity. These are the three considerations which disarm death in the apprehension of the dying believer. And this is a brief abstract of the important truths delivered in this text.

The devil renders death formidable, through
uncertainty respecting the nature of our souls;
the death of Christ dispels that terror, by de-
monstrating to us that the soul is immortal.
The devil renders death formidable by awaken-
ing the recollection of past guilt; the death of
Jesus Christ restores confidence and joy, for it
is the expiation of all our sins. The devil
clothes death with terror, by rendering us sen-
sible to the loss of those possessions of which
death is going to deprive us; the death of Jesus
Christ tranquillizes the mind, because it is a
pledge to us of an eternal felicity. The first
of these ideas represents Jesus Christ to us as
a martyr, who has sealed with his own blood a
doctrine which rests entirely on the immortali-
ty of the soul. The second represents him as
a victim, offering himself in our stead, to di-
vine justice. And the third represents him as
a conqueror, who has, by his death, acquired
for us a kingdom of everlasting bliss.

Had we nothing farther in view, than to pre-
sent you with vague ideas of the sentiments of
the sacred authors, on this subject, here our
discourse might be concluded. But these
truths, treated thus generally, could make but
a slight impression. It is of importance to
press them one by one, and, opposing in every
particular, the triumph of the Redeemer, to
the empire of the wicked one, to place in its
clearest point of light, the interesting truth
contained in our text, namely, that Jesus Christ,
"through his own death, has destroyed him
who had the power of death, that is, the devil;
that he might deliver them who, through fear
of death, were all their life-time subject to

I. The first consideration which renders
death formidable: the first yoke imposed on
the necks of the children of men, by that tre-
inendous prince who "has the power of death,"

1. The doctrine of Jesus Christ establishes 2. The death of Jesus Christ is an irresistithe immortality of the soul. ble proof of the truth of his doctrine.

1. That the doctrine of Jesus Christ establishes the immortality of the soul is a point which no one pretends to dispute with us. A man has but to open his eyes in order to be convinced of it. We shall, accordingly, make but a single remark on this head. It is this, that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul ought not to be considered merely as a particular point of the religion of Jesus Christ, independent of which it may subsist as a complete whole. It is a point without which Christianity cannot exist at all, and separated from which the religion of Jesus Christ, the fullest, the most complete, and the most consistent that ever was presented to the world, becomes the immortal. Wherefore most imperfect, barren, and inconsistent. The tion, that the soul whole fabric of the gospel rests on this foundawas it that Jesus Christ, the Lord of universal nature, had a manger for his cradle, and a sta

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ble for his palace? because his "kingdom was
not of this world," John xviii. 16. This sup-
poses the immortality of the soul. Wherefore
is the Christian encouraged to bid defiance to
tyrants, who may drag him from a prison, from
a dungeon, who may nail him to a cross, who
may mangle his body on a wheel? It is because
their power extends no farther than to the
"killing of the body," Matt. x. 28, while the
soul is placed far beyond their reach. This
supposes immortality. Wherefore must the
Christian deem himself miserable, were he to
achieve the conquest of the whole world, at
the expense of a good conscience? Because it
will "profit a man nothing to gain the whole
world, if he lose his own soul," Matt. xvi. 26.
This supposes immortality. Wherefore are we
not the most miserable of all creatures? Be-
cause "we have hope in Christ not for this life
only," 1 Cor. xv. 19. This supposes immor-
tality. The doctrine of Jesus Christ, therefore,
establishes the truth of the immortality of the

2. But we said, in the second place, that the
death of Jesus Christ is a proof of his doctrine.
He referred the world to his death, as a sign by
which it might be ascertained whether or not
he came from God. By this he proposed to
stop the mouth of incredulity. Neither the
purity of his life, nor the sanctity of his deport-
ment, nor the lustre of his miracles had as yet
prevailed so far as to convince an unbelieving
world of the truth of his mission. They must
have sign upon sign, prodigy upon prodigy.
Jesus Christ restricts himself to one: "Destroy
this temple, and within three days I will build
it up again," Mark xiv. 58.
adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and
An evil and
there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign
of the prophet Jonas," Matt. xii. 39. This
sign could not labour under any ambiguity.
And this sign was accomplished. There is no
longer room to doubt of a truth demonstrated
in a manner so illustrious.

Our ancestors devised, with greater simplicity, it must be allowed, than strength of reasoning, a very singular proof of the innocence of persons accused. They presented to them a bar of hot iron. If the person under trial had the firmness to grasp it, and received no injury from the action of the burning metal, he was acquitted of the charge. This proof was, as we have said, devised with more simplicity than strength of reasoning: no one having a right to suppose that God will perform a miracle, to evince his innocence to the conviction of his judges. I acknowledge at the same time, that had I been an eye-witness of such an experiment; had I beheld that element which dissolves, which devours bodies the most obdurate, respecting the hand of a person accused of a crime, I should certainly have been very much struck at the sight of such a spectacle.

But what shall we say of the Saviour of the world, after the proof to which he was put? He "walked through the fire without being burnt," Isa. xliii. 2. He descended into the bosom of the grave: the grave respected him, and those other insatiables which never say "it is enough," Prov. xxx. 16, opened a passage

for his return to the light. You feel the force of this argument. Jesus Christ, having died in support of the truth of a doctrine entirely founded on the supposition of the immortality of the soul, there is no longer room to doubt whether the soul be immortal.

before we enter on the second branch of our subject, let us consider how far this position, so Let us here pause for a few moments, and clearly proved, so firmly established, has a tendency to fortify us against the fears of death.

respecting the state of souls, after this life is
closed, and respecting the economy on which we
Suppose for an instant that we knew nothing
must then enter; supposing God to have granted
article, but simply this, that our souls are im-
mortal, a slight degree of meditation on the
us no revelation whatever on this interesting
case, as thus stated, ought to operate as an in-
ducement rather to wish for death, than to fear
it. It appears probable that the soul, when
disengaged from the senses, in which it is now
more noble than it could do here below, during
its union with matter. We are perfectly con-
enveloped, will subsist in a manner infinitely
vinced that the body will, one day, contribute
greatly to our felicity; it is an essential part of
our being, without which our happiness must
be incomplete. But this necessity, which fet-
ters down the functions of the soul, on this
earth, to the irregular movements of ill-assort-
ed matter, is a real bondage. The soul is a
prisoner in this body. A prisoner is a man sus-
ceptible of a thousand delights, but who can
enjoy, however, only such pleasures as are com-
patible with the extent of the place in which
city of his dungeon: he beholds the light only
he is shut up: his scope is limited to the capa-
through the aperture of that dungeon: all his
intercourse is confined to the persons who ap-
proach his dungeon. But let his prison-doors
be thrown open; from that moment, behold him
in a state of much higher felicity. Thencefor-
all the men in the world; thenceforward he
can contemplate an unbounded body of light;
ward he can maintain social intercourse with
thenceforward he is able to expatiate over the
spacious universe.

soner to the senses, it can enjoy those delights
only which have a reference to sense. It can
This exhibits a portrait of the soul. A pri-
see only by means of the cuticles and the fibres
of its eyes: it can hear only by means of the ac-
tion of the nerves and tympanum of its ears: it
can think only in conformity to certain modifi-
cations of its brain. The soul is susceptible of
a thousand pleasures, of which it has not so
much as the idea. A blind man has a soul ca-
pable of admitting the sensation of light; if he
be deprived of it, the reason is, his senses are
defective, or improperly disposed. Our souls
are susceptible of a thousand unknown sensa-
my of imperfection and wretchedness, because
it is the will of God that they should perceive
tions; but they receive them not, in this econo-
only through the medium of those organs, and
that those organs, from their limited nature,
should be capable of admitting only limited

But permit the soul to expatiate at large, let
it take its natural flight, let these prison walls
be broken down, O, then! the soul becomes



capable of ten thousand inconceivable new delights. Wherefore do you point to that ghastly corpse? Wherefore deplore those eyes closed to the light, those spirits evaporated, that blood frozen in the veins, that motionless, lifeless mass of corruption? Why do you say to me, "My friend, my father, my spouse is no more; he sees, he hears, he acts no longer." He sees no longer, do you say? He sees no longer, I grant, by means of those visual rays which were formed in the retina of the eye; but he sees as do those pure intelligences which never were clothed with mortal flesh and blood. He hears no more through the medium of the action of the ethereal fluid, but he hears as a pure spirit. He thinks no longer through the intervention of the fibres of his brain; but he thinks from his own essence, because, being a spirit, the faculty of thought is essential to him, and inseparable from his nature.




hence those hecatombs; hence those human victims; hence that blood which streamed on the altars, and so many other rites of religious worship, the existence of which no one is disposed to call in question. What consequence do we deduce from this position? The truth of the doctrine of the atonement? No: we do not carry our inference so far. We only conclude, that there is no room to run down the Christian religion, if it instructs us that God demanded satisfaction to his justice, by an expiatory sacrifice, before he could give an unrestrained course to his goodness. This third argument we carry thus far, and no farther.

pondence of our belief, respecting this par-
ticular, with that of every age of the Christian
4. A fourth reflection hinges on the corres-
church, in uninterrupted succession, from Jesus
Christ down to our own times. All the ages
of the Christian world have, as we do, spoken
of this sacrifice. But we must not enlarge.
Whoever wishes for complete information on
this particular, will find a very accurate collec-
tion of the testimonies of the fathers, at the
end of the treatise on the satisfaction, com-
posed by the celebrated Grotius. The doctrine
of the atonement, therefore, is not a doctrine
of yesterday, but has been transmitted from
age to age, from Jesus Christ down to our own
times. This argument we carry thus far and
no farther.

which, after all, we would have you to consi-
der only as so many presumptions in favour of
Here then we have, a class of arguments
the doctrine of the atonement. But surely
we are warranted to proceed thus far, at least,
in concluding; a doctrine in which human rea-
son finds nothing contradictory: a doctrine
which presents nothing repugnant to the di-
vine attributes, nay, to which the divine at-
tributes directly lead us; a doctrine perfectly
conformable to the suggestions of conscience,
and to the practice of mankind in every age,
and of every nation; a doctrine received in
the Christian church from the beginning till
now; a doctrine which, in all its parts, pre-
sents nothing but what is entirely worthy of
God, when we examine it at the tribunal of
our own understanding: such a doctrine con-
tains nothing to excite our resentment, no-
thing that we ought not to be disposed to ad-
mit, if we find it clearly laid down in the Scrip-

to this purpose; and not only do we meet
Now, my brethren, we have only to open
with an infinite number of passages in which
the Bible in order to find express testimonies
the doctrine is clearly taught, but a multitude
of classes of such passages.

passages which declare that Jesus Christ died
for us. It would be no easy matter to enu-
1. In the first class, we must rank all those
merate them; "I delivered unto you first of
all," says St. Paul in his first epistle to the
Corinthians, xv. 3, "that which I also receiv-
ed, how that Christ died for our sins, according
to the Scriptures."
suffered for sins," says St. Peter, in his first
epistle general, iii. 18, "the just for the un-
"Christ also hath once
just, that he might bring us to God."

passages which represent Jesus Christ as suf-
2. In a second class must be ranked those


fering the punishment which we had deserved. | fice of Jesus Christ, which the Jews, to no pur-
The fifty-third chapter of the prophet Isaiah pose, sought for in those which Moses pre-
turns entirely on this subject; and the apostles scribed. Now what did the Jews look for in
hold the self-same language. They say ex- their sacrifices? Was it not the means of ap-
pressly that Christ "was made to be sin for peasing the Deity? If, therefore, the sacrifices
us, who knew no sin," 2 Cor. v. 21, that he of the Jews were the expiation of sin, only in
was "made a curse for us," Gal. iii. 13, that figure and in a shadow, if the sacrifice of Jesus
follow that Jesus Christ has really and literally,
he "bare our sins in his own body on the tree," Christ be their body and reality, does it not
1 Pet. ii. 24.
expiated our transgressions? To pretend that
the Levitical sacrifices were not offered up for
the expiation of great offences, but only for
certain external indecencies, which rather pol-
luted the flesh, than wounded the conscience,
is an attempt to maintain one error by another;
for a man has only to open his eyes, to be con-
vinced that the Levitical sacrifices were offered
up for offences the most atrocious; it is need-
less to adduce any other evidence than the an-
nual sacrifice prescribed, Lev. xvi. 21, 22, in
the offering of which, Aaron "laid both his
hands upon the head of the live goat, and con-
fessed over him all the iniquities of the chil-
dren of Israel, and all their transgressions in
all their sins.... and the goat did bear upon
him all their iniquities."


3. In a third class must be ranked all those
passages in which our salvation is represented
as being the fruit of Christ's death. The per-
sons, whose opinions we are combating, main-
tain themselves on a ground which we esta-
blished in a former branch of this discourse,
namely, that the death of Jesus Christ was a
demonstration of the truth of his doctrine.
They say that this is the reason for which our
salvation is considered as the effect of that
death. But if we are saved by the death of
Jesus Christ, merely because it has sealed a
doctrine which leads to salvation, how comes
it then, that our salvation is nowhere ascrib-
ed to the other parts of his ministry, which
contributed, no less than his death, to the con-
firmation of his doctrine? Were not the mira-
cles of Jesus Christ, for example, proofs equal-
ly authentic as his death was, of the truth of
his doctrine? Whence comes it, that our salva-
tion is nowhere ascribed to them? This is the
very thing we are maintaining. The resurrec-
tion, the ascension, the miracles were absolute-
ly necessary to give us assurance, that the
wrath of God was appeased; but Christ's death
alone was capable of producing that effect.
You will more sensibly feel the force of this
argument, if you attend to the connexion
which our text has with what follows in the
17th verse, "Wherefore in all things it behov-
ed him to be made like unto his brethren; that
he might be a merciful and faithful high priest
to make reconciliation for the sins of
the people."

If we are saved by the death of Jesus Christ,
merely because that event sealed the truth of
his doctrine, wherefore should it have been
necessary for him to assume our flesh? Had
he descended from heaven in the effulgence of
his glory; had he appeared upon Mount Zion,
such as he was upon Mount Sinai, in flashes
of lightning, with the voice of thunder, with a
retinue of angels; would not the truth of the
gospel have been established infinitely better
than by the death of a man? Wherefore, then,
was it necessary that Christ should die? It was
because the victim of our transgressions must
be put to death. This is St. Paul's reasoning.
And for this reason it is that our salvation is
nowhere ascribed to the death of the martyrs,
though the death of the martyrs was, like that
of Jesus Christ, a proof of the truth of the

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