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self another pattern,.even Jesus," who hath set us an example, that we should follow his steps:" he is no longer "conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of his mind." By the cross of Christ the world is become loathsome to him, even as a crucified object: while he is in it indeed, he performs the duties of it in a conscientious manner: but he goes into it only, as a physician into an hospital, from a sense of duty, and for the good of others; and is glad enough to retire from it to a purer atmostphere.]
He endeavours to keep before his eyes
II. The price paid for him
Slaves and captives are redeemed with silver and gold: but gold was of no value in the redemption of our souls
[The whole world was not a sufficient price for one soul: it could not atone for our sin or reconcile an offended God: nor could it at all avail to change our carnal dispositions. Gold and silver might rivet our chains, and fix us more strongly in a vain conversation; but it could never detach us from the love of present things.]
That, which alone was of value sufficient, was, "the precious blood of Christ"
[The lamb that was offered daily in sacrifice to God was to be spotless and without blemish. By its blood atonement was made for the sins of the Jewish nation; and they were preserved a holy and peculiar people. This was a typical ordinance: it represented Christ, who in due time "offered himself without spot to God:" and the benefits visibly, and in a figure, enjoyed by the Jewish nation, are invisibly, but really enjoyed by us. We have the substance of which they had the shadow. Well then might the apostle call his blood " precious.” There is no bondage from which it does not deliver us. Were we under the curse and condemnation of the law? The blood of Christ redeems us from the penalty of all our transgressions: it gives peace to the guilty, and liberty to the captive soul: it, frees, moreover, from all the snares and entanglements of this vain world. This is mentioned both in the text and in other places as a principal end of Christ's death.d Precious indeed is it, when its influence is thus felt. To a true Christian the blood of Christ is not less precious as delivering him from sin, than it is as delivering him from hell itself.]
While we wonder that such a price was ever paid, let us enquire into
III. The effect which the consideration of this price should have upon us
The apostle introduces the text as an argument for passing our time in fear
[A slavish fear is one of those things from which we are delivered by the blood of Christ. We sprinkle that blood on our door-posts, and have no dread of the destroying angel. But there is an holy jealousy, which it is our duty ever to maintain. We are only sojourners in this world, and are hastening to our Father's house. We are moreover in danger of being diverted from our path. We have a subtle adversary and a deceitful heart. Sin itself also is deceitful, and will beguile us, if we watch not against its wiles. We should therefore be on our guard, and pass the the time of our sojourning here in fear.]
And well may this effect be produced by such a wonderful consideration
[Were we laden with bags of gold, we should be cautious how we ventured ourselves among thieves and robbers. And shall we be careless when we carry about with us what is of more value than the whole world? Shall we trifle with that which nothing but the precious blood of God's own Son could redeem? Shall Satan as a roaring lion go about seeking to devour us, and we not stand on our guard against him? Shall we suffer him to destroy that for which Christ died?" O let not that precious blood be so vile in our eyes. Let not our souls appear of so little value. Let us rather watch night and day. It is but a little time: soon we shall be at home; safe in the bosom of our Lord, safe beyond the reach of harm.]
1. Let us enquire, what we "know" concerning these things
[The apostle takes for granted that all Christians “know” them. But do ye know them? Do ye know that a worldly conversation is a vain conversation? Do ye know that no resolutions, no services, yea, nothing but the precious blood of Christ could ever redeem you from it? And do ye know by daily experience the efficacy of his blood in that view?" Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith," and whether you have that deadness to the world, which alone can warrant a favourable conclusion? If ye be Christ's, "ye are not of the
world, even as he was not of the world:" "ye are dead to it,” and "have your conversation in heaven."]
2. Let us labour to experience them more and more
[There is something very fascinating in the temptations of the world. Its pleasures, riches, or honours are but too apt to draw us aside. But whenever ye are tempted, say, Shall I return to that bondage from which I have been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ? Shall I trample under foot the Son of God, and crucify him afresh? Shall I, as it were, see his dead corpse lying in my way, and go over that to the gratification of my base desires? Surely such reflections will not fail to animate your resolution, and to keep you at a distance from those scenes of vanity, where your stedfastness would be endangered. Let us live as citizens of a better country, and “no more fashion ourselves according to our former lusts in our ignorace." Let us drink of purer pleasures, even of "that river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God." Thus, experience the full benefits of redeeming love on earth, we shall ere long sing its praises in heaven for evermore.]
e John xvii. 16.
8 Heb. x. 29.
f Phil. iii. 20.
1 Pet. i. 14.
CXXXIX. THE MEANS OF DELIVERANCE FROM SPIRITUAL LEPROSY.
Ps. li. 7. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
EVERY part of God's word is profitable for our instruction in righteousness
But, in the Psalms, religion is exemplified, and, as it were, embodied—
The workings of genuine repentance are admirably delineated in that before us
David traces his iniquities to their proper source, his original corruption
He acknowledges the necessity of a thorough renova
tion of soul
And, in legal terms, but of evangelical import, he implores forgiveness—
The expressions in the text intimate to us
I. The nature of sin
The generality of the world imagine sin to be a light and venial evil
Some indeed have learned to dread it as destructive of their eternal happiness →
But very few have any idea of it as defiling and debasing to the soul
It is in this view, however, that we are now called to consider it
[Sin has defiled every member of our body and every faculty of our soul
Hence St. Paul speaks of it as "filthiness both of the flesh and spirit"a
What uncircumcised ears, what venomous tongues, what adulterous eyes,d have the greater part of mankind!e
How are all their members used as instruments of unrighteousness!
What pride, and envy, what wrath, and malice, are harboured in the bosom!
How gladly would we cast off all allegiance to God, and be a god to ourselves!s
Thus, in fleshly lusts, we degrade ourselves almost to a level with the beastsh
And, in spiritual filthiness, we too much resemble the fallen angelsi
How different is this state from that in which we were first created!k
Yet is the change effected solely by the agency of sin'-]
[The Psalmist evidently refers to the state of a leper, or a leprous house
No disorder was more loathsome than the leprosymA person infeeted with it was driven from the society of his dearest relatives
And was necessiated to proclaim his uncleanness to all who approached him"
Nor could his disorder ever be cured by the art of manIf he were ever healed, it was by God alone, without the intervention of human means
Hence David, knowing the filthiness and incurablenes of sin, cries to God-]
a 2 Cor. vii. 1.
d 2 Pet. ii. 14.
g Ps. xii. 4.
k Gen. i. 27.
n Lev. xiii. 44-46.
b Acts vii. 51.
e Jam. iii. 6.
e See Rom. iii. 10-19. f Rom. vi. 13.
h 2 Pet. ii. 22.
i John viii. 44.
1 Rom. v. 12.
m Lev. xiii. 8.
Similar representations also abound in every part of the sacred writings
[Our natural depravity is declared in expressions of the like importR
Our acquired corruptions are said to render us loathsome objectsP―
The very remains of sin in the holiest of men are also described in similar terms
Yea, the most eminent saints, in bewailing their sinfulness, have used the very same figure as David in the text
Happy would it be for us, if we had these views of sin. We should soon put away our proud, self-exalting thoughtsAnd should adopt the confessions of holy Job'-]
But, vile as sin is, it may be both forgiven and subdued II. The means of deliverance from it
It has been already observed, that David alludes to the case of a leper
This is manifest from the terms, wherein he implores deliverance
Under Jewish figures he sets forth the only means of
[Certain means were prescribed by God for the purification of a lepert
When God had healed him, “the priest was to take two clean birds, with cedar-wood, scarlet, and hyssop"
Having killed one of the birds, the priest was to " dip the hyssop and the live bird in the blood of the bird that had been slain"
He was then to "sprinkle the leper seven times, and to let loose the living bird"
This ordinance typified the death of Christ, with his resurrection, and subsequent ascension into heaven with his own blood
A similar ordinance is explained by the apostle in this very
And the same effect is plainly ascribed to the things here typified
It is therefore in reference to Christ, that David says, "Purge me with hyssop"
• Job xv. 14-16. P Prov. xiii. 5. q Rom. vii. 24. The allusion seems to be to a dead body, which was sometimes fastened to criminals, till they died of the stench arising from it. In such a light did St. Paul view the remains of sin which he felt within him. r Isai. vi. 5. • Job ix. 20, 21, 30, 31. * Lev. xiv. 2—7.
" Heb. ix. 12.
y Rom. iv. 25.
* Ib. ver. 13, 14.