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2 CORINTHIANS IX. 12.-For the administration of thi
SUMMARY OF DISCOURSE LI.
TITUS, CHAP. II.-VERSE 14.
The expression here used, Who gave himself for us, is so familiar to the ears of Christians, and its reference to the death of our Saviour is so well known, that there is no need to illus-, trate it by parallel passages. The expressions in 1 Tim. ii. 61. and Gal. i. 4. are somewhat fuller, but their import is the same. This doctrine of the gospel, viz. man's salvation purchased by Christ's death, is that great mystery hid from ages, but now manifested by the preaching of the Apostles and Prophets. Yet, though it be made known and manifest to us, that we suppose
ourselves intitled to call for the reasons on which it is founded, it is necessary to observe that the gospel is a revelation of the will and purpose of God: the reasons of his so acting are not revealed to us, nor have we authority to say they ever will be. Under the law, God's purpose to save mankind is intimated ; under the gospel it is proclaimed to all the world ; but neither of them instructs us in the reasons of this proceeding : but having life and immortality set before us in God's own way, we are left to embrace them through faith. The gospel then being offered as a matter of faith,
confirmed by signs and wonders as security for its promises, he acts without commission, who proposes it as a matter of science and knowlege, and as the result of mere reason, or who pretends to account for the inscrutable methods of God's wisdom. To a person inquiring why God required such a sacrifice for sins, when he might have forgiven them, we may answer, God has not admitted us to his secret counsels, or openly declared them. We preach Christ's death, a sacrifice for sin, himself the resurrection and the life, and the judge of the world : if you ask for our evidence, we answer with St. Peter, To him give all the prophets witness, &c. (Acts x. 43.), with our Saviour (John x. 25.), with St. Paul (Acts xvii. 31.) On this evidence the faith of the gospel stands; the Christian's hope rests not on curious speculations, but on this, that all the promises of God in Christ are yea, and amen, that is, sure, certain, and irrevocable. The death of Christ, according to the Scripture, was ordained before the foundation of the world; and since, through faith in his death, God intended to offer salvation to the world, it is reasonable to suppose that the sacrifices before and under the law were introduced in order to prepare and dispose men to receive the tender of God's mercies, in virtue of the one sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the whole world. Sacrifices in the heathen world, though corrupt, and applied to corrupt purposes, yet appear in the religious worship of the best men in the earliest times, and were established in the church of God's own founding among the Israelites. Had they originally been matter of superstition or human invention, though we may suppose God's gracious acceptance of the free-will offering of a weak mind, yet we cannot suppose that he would adopt the superstition, and make it a necessary part of a religion of his own establishment. To avoid this absurdity, it must be said that the use of sacrifices was divinely introduced for the atonement of sins; if so, they had such virtue as God thought fit to annex to the perform