时间：<2020-07-06 06:44:49 作者：g8张艺兴机场晕倒WlR 浏览量：9777
III. But our third question still remains,—“In what way, or by what means, is this great object to be attained?” I am, of course, speaking of the human instruments, and not of the sovereign power of God the Holy Ghost, without whom nothing is strong, and nothing holy.
II. Such, then, is the contrast; and now let us turn, in the second place, to the reason of it. Why were those ancient sacrifices so often repeated? and why was ours once and for ever? The same passage that brings out the contrast explains the reason of it; and the reason is that, p. 24in themselves, they have no saving power, and that ours has. They were ineffectual for the blotting out of sin, but the one offering of our Blessed Lord was perfectly effectual in the very point where they failed. There was as great a contrast in respect of efficiency as there was in respect of frequency; and, in fact, the repetition was the result of weakness, as the oneness was the result of complete sufficiency. This insufficiency is placed in two points of view in the chapter, for we are there taught, first, that these sacrifices could not take away sin, and, secondly, that they could not satisfy the conscience.
II. This then being, I trust, clear, our next subject will be the object of the ministry; and this is taught very clearly in the words,—“The p. 52ministry of reconciliation.” The reconciliation of the sinner to God is the great result, to attain which God founded the ministry. The question has been raised whether, by the reconciliation here mentioned, is meant the reconciliation of God to the sinner, or the reconciliation of the sinner to God. Surely both are included. In our guilty and ruined condition there is a double enmity. Man, through his corruption, is at enmity with God; and God, through His righteousness, is at enmity with rebellious man. And as there is a double enmity through sin, so, likewise, is there a double reconciliation through Christ. God, His law being satisfied, is reconciled to the sinner; and the sinner, his heart being changed, is reconciled unto God.
But here a question will arise in the minds of all those who really desire to make this sacrifice to the Lord, viz. What does it practically involve? What is the real meaning of it? What will be the practical result of such a sacrifice in our own life and character? Some will tell us that it involves the necessity of conventual life, a separation from common duties, and the seclusion of a nunnery, or the vows of a sisterhood. Let any one read this chapter through, and he will see at a glance that this is not the meaning of the Apostle. There are no rules there for a monastic order, but there are very full directions for common business, and common life. All such ideas, therefore, may be dismissed at once. That is not the meaning of the sacrifice. Then, what is? What p. 36is the sacrifice which we, living at home, are to offer to God?But I do not deny that the text is one of considerable difficulty. The first great difficulty is to ascertain to whom the words were spoken. From Luke, xxiv. 33, we find that the persons present were “the eleven, and them that were with them;” and there is nothing in the record to decide whether the words were addressed to the eleven Apostles separately, or to the whole company—including, of course, laymen and women. My own belief is, that they were addressed to the eleven separately, and conveyed a special judicial power to these inspired men. That they possessed such a power p. 59is clear from history; for when Peter retained the sin of Ananias and Sapphira, God ratified his decision by their death; and when St. Paul passed sentence on the incestuous person at Corinth, he clearly claimed a supernatural power of judgment when he said (1 Cor. v. 3-5), “For I verily, as absent in body but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” So when he remitted the same sentence he clearly claimed special right to do so; as he said, “If I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it, in the person of Christ.” But if this were the case, and if the power was given to the Apostles as a part of their apostolic office, it follows that with the Apostles it must have ceased for ever. Accordingly, in our Lord’s words there is not the smallest hint at transmission; and as for the idea that the Apostles could transmit it to the Bishops, and the Bishops to the Presbyters, it is altogether without foundation p. 60in the word of God. In fact, the case of the Corinthians proves clearly that it was not so transmitted. There cannot be a doubt, that when the epistle was written there were Presbyters in the Church of Corinth; and it is clear that Titus had just been there on a special mission, for he it was who brought to St. Paul the tidings of the repentance of the Corinthians (2 Cor. vii. 6, 7, and xii. 17, 18). But yet none of these persons appear to have had a transmitted power. It was necessary to refer the case to St. Paul himself. He retained and he remitted; and he did both “in the person of Christ.”But now, believing that there is no change whatever in the bread and wine—that the bread remains bread, and the wine wine, what shall we say of the practice of adoring the bread as God Himself? What can we say of it? What is our duty to say of it? I doubt not that some may think me very uncharitable and bigoted, but these are days in which the truth must be spoken, and that truth I firmly believe to be that such worship is idolatry. I do not doubt that many are sincere and conscientious in adopting it. But that does not touch the question. Sincerity does not prove truth. Are there none sincere when they sacrifice their lives under the car of Juggernaut? Was not Saul of Tarsus sincere when he persecuted the Lord Jesus in the persons of His people? I fully admit likewise that the worship may in some be based on a deep sense of love and reverence for our blessed Lord. But, again, that does not touch the question. If it is bread, it is idolatry to worship it as God. If it be still a lifeless wafer, it is idolatry to adore it as a living Saviour. God forbid that I should speak harshly of many who have set us an example of self-denial; and p. 16it is in no harsh spirit that I speak as I do. We should rather feel the most tender compassion for conscientious persons, who have been thus misled. But whatever we may think of motives, it is impossible to alter the facts, and I see not how we can avoid the conclusion that such worship is an awful sin in the sight of God. It is almost impossible to turn aside the stern reproof of God by the ministry of His prophets, Isa. xliv. 16, 17: “He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire: And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.”
Heb. x. 12.II. This then being, I trust, clear, our next subject will be the object of the ministry; and this is taught very clearly in the words,—“The p. 52ministry of reconciliation.” The reconciliation of the sinner to God is the great result, to attain which God founded the ministry. The question has been raised whether, by the reconciliation here mentioned, is meant the reconciliation of God to the sinner, or the reconciliation of the sinner to God. Surely both are included. In our guilty and ruined condition there is a double enmity. Man, through his corruption, is at enmity with God; and God, through His righteousness, is at enmity with rebellious man. And as there is a double enmity through sin, so, likewise, is there a double reconciliation through Christ. God, His law being satisfied, is reconciled to the sinner; and the sinner, his heart being changed, is reconciled unto God.
Simply to Thy cross I cling.”The second is from the rubric in the service for the Visitation of the Sick, where we read—“Here shall the sick person be moved to make a special confession of his sins, if he feel his conscience troubled with any weighty matter.”
2 Cor. v. 18, 19.II. Such, then, is the contrast; and now let us turn, in the second place, to the reason of it. Why were those ancient sacrifices so often repeated? and why was ours once and for ever? The same passage that brings out the contrast explains the reason of it; and the reason is that, p. 24in themselves, they have no saving power, and that ours has. They were ineffectual for the blotting out of sin, but the one offering of our Blessed Lord was perfectly effectual in the very point where they failed. There was as great a contrast in respect of efficiency as there was in respect of frequency; and, in fact, the repetition was the result of weakness, as the oneness was the result of complete sufficiency. This insufficiency is placed in two points of view in the chapter, for we are there taught, first, that these sacrifices could not take away sin, and, secondly, that they could not satisfy the conscience.
Let any one search the Scriptures, and they must be convinced that this is the truth there plainly taught. But what can be more palpably contradictory to it than to suppose that He is present, in body, soul, and divinity, in the form of the small piece of lifeless bread which we receive in the Lord’s Supper? In other words, that there is not only the one Saviour in heaven at the right hand of God; but that there are two or three hundred living Saviours collected together on the table every time that the Lord’s Supper is administered. I am not surprised if some of you feel shocked at such a statement, and I know that there is enough to shock any religious mind. I am shocked at it myself, and am sorry to have to make it. But this is the real teaching of p. 10the Church of Rome. The decree of the Council of Trent is as follows:—“If any man shall say that the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, together with his soul and divinity, and, in short, that a whole Christ, is not contained, truly, really, and substantially, in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist; but shall say that he is in it only in sign, or figure, or power, let him be anathema.” (Sess. xiii. Can. 1.) Another decree goes on to declare, “If any man shall say that in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, Christ the only begotten Son of God, is not to be adored, and that outwardly with the worship of latreia, and that he ought not to be carried solemnly about in processions, or that he ought not to be set before the people that he may be worshipped, and that the worshippers of him are idolaters, let him be anathema!” (Sess. xiii. Can. 6.) But we must not leave the matter there, for it is not enough for us to be deeply convinced p. 31that the doctrine of the Mass is opposed to the whole truth of God, for such a conviction, though it may keep us clear of Rome, will not, if it be all, bring us to God. What we want is not merely a conviction of the truth, but a personal appropriation of it in our own hearts. It is a blessed thing to know that a perfect sacrifice has been offered, and that no further sacrifice is either necessary or possible; but that knowledge, blessed as it is, may leave the heart dissatisfied, and the conscience ill at ease. When that is the case, we cannot be surprised at persons restlessly feeling after anything that promises peace; and I believe there is no state of mind in which persons are so liable to be led away by Rome, as when the conscience is awakened, but the heart not at rest in Christ the Saviour. It is when we can look to that cross of Christ, assured that the atonement there made was sufficient even for us, and when we can rest in the conviction that, because the atonement was sufficient, we, even we, are free; and when we learn to rest, not on feelings, not on sacraments, not on our doings of any kind whatever, but simply on the great, grand, glorious fact, that a full propitiation has been made even for the chief of sinners, so that we, though the chief p. 32of sinners, are no longer under the guilt of sin; then it is that we discover the strength of the rock under our feet, and, resting on it, we need no other stay. It is enough, for Christ hath died, and through Him God is reconciled. Blessed! oh, blessed that Christian believer, who can thus rest in a perfect Saviour; and be kept in perfect peace through the Saviour’s perfect work!The reconciliation of God to the sinner has been wrought out for us by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the great work of God incarnate, and He wrought it alone, in His great sacrifice of propitiation. Of this part of the work, therefore, the Apostle says,—“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.”
There are many points of deep instruction in this passage, but we have not time to dwell on them. Here is the foundation of the whole message, viz. a double imputation—the imputation of sin to the Lord Jesus, and the imputation of righteousness to all that are in Him. p. 67There is the tender earnestness of entreaty, which does not merely lay the message before the sinner and leave it there, but with a compassionate urgency in the Lord’s name beseeches and entreats. And there is the most remarkable fact, that these words are not addressed to the heathen, or to those who had never heard of Christ; but to a Church of professing believers, all baptized into the name of Jesus: so that we are brought to the conclusion, that amongst the baptized Christians in the Church of Corinth there were those to whom it was still needful to make the appeal—“We beseech you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” Does not that fact teach us, that amongst ourselves the same message may be equally necessary, and that, although we are all baptized, and all professing Christians, there are yet those amongst us who must be brought back to the great elementary question of their reconciliation to God; for they are not yet reconciled, and not yet accepted through His grace? To all such persons, then, must we speak as St. Paul did; and if any present are not yet reconciled, not yet forgiven, not yet justified before God, look, we beseech you, at the cross of Christ; look at His substitution of p. 68Himself for sinners; look at the hope of full forgiveness set before you through His blood; and listen, I implore you, to the words spoken by His own authority,—“As though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
In Matt. xxvi. 29, our Lord calls the wine the fruit of the vine after consecration.4. Nay more, it is contrary to the words of our Lord. The words, as given by St. Matthew (xxvi. 26-28) were: “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Of the bread, therefore, p. 14He said, “This is my body;” and of the wine, “This is my blood.” The bread did not represent the body and blood together, but the body only, and the wine the blood; or, if the doctrine of transubstantiation were taught, the passage would teach that the bread was changed into the body, and the wine into the blood. But the teaching of Rome defies all such distinctions, though thus plainly laid down by no less an authority than our Lord Himself, and fearlessly hurls her anathemas against all who do not believe that the bread, and the bread alone, is changed into body, blood, soul, and divinity, and becomes, to use their own expression, “a whole Christ,” to be exalted, carried in processions, and adored as a living God. The words themselves, taken literally, are dead against such a doctrine. I am not surprised, therefore, when I read our 28th Article, which says: “Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of bread and wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture.” But I am surprised that Christian people in the Church of England should sit so light as some seem to do to a heresy of so fearful a character, and that men p. 15should be so indifferent to truth as even to speak of the possibility of peace with Rome.