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THE POWERS OF MAN INADEQUATE TO HIS
1 Peter, i, 18, 19. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed
with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation, received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. THE apostle Peter exhorts the saints, whom he addresses in this chapter to be steady and sober, and, to persevere in holiness to the end of life. He exhorts them as obedient children, not to walk as they had walked, 'fashioning themselves according to the former lusts in their ignorance, “But,” saith he, “as God, who hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who, without respect of persons, judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."
The good, and well informed people, to whom the apostle wrote, knew that they were not redeemed from their former wickedness with corruptible things, as silver and gold, though they had been taught it by tradition from their fathers. The Jewish converts, whom the apostle addresses, scattered through Pontus, Galatia. Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, were not governed in their belief and practice, by tradition from their un
believing fathers: Because by the coming of Christ, they were extricated from the yoke of bondage under which they laboured in observing the Mosaic ceremonies. They knew that circumcision in itself was nothing. And they knew that the sacrifices, and offerings, and burnt-offerings of the law of Moses, could do nothing towards taking away sin, only, as they had respect to Messiah. And as his precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, had been already shed for the redemption of inan; believing Jews therefore had nothing more to do with corruptible things, even as types or shadows of him who was to come: for they knew that silver and gold were wholly inadequate to the taking away of sin, or the ransoming of one soul from bis vain conversation. And the supposition that such corruptible things could redeem from sin, must be a vain tradition received from the unbelieving and inflexible Jews. To these traditions, Saint Paul before his conversion, was exceedingly attached. Of this he informs us in his Epistle to the Galatians: "For ye have heard, of my conversation in times past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and
I wasted it; and profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers." Typical sacrifices, Mosaic ceremonies, or human inventions, together with all the silver and gold of this world, can do nothing towards redeeming one soul from sin and death. The precious blood of Christ alone is the price of man's redemption. Nothing that man can bring to the Lord will answer as a substitute for this precious blood. Thousands of rams, and ten thousands of rivers of oil, will not answer the place of atonement; nay, there is nothing that fallen man can do or suffer, which will in any measure fill the place of atonement, or answer as a substitute for the precious blood of Christ.
The precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, is the sole price of man's redemption.
In this proposition there is implied the following: Man can do nothing by which he can redeem himself from sin. To this proposition with an improve. ment of it, we shall pay attention, before we proceed to consider the main doctrine.
Redemption from sin is the work of Christ, and not the work of man. That Christ might redeem man from sin and death, HE CAME INTO THE WORLD TO DO THE WORK, WHICH WAS ASSIGNED HIM OF THE FATHER BEFORE THE WORLD WAS. The consideration of this must be referred to its proper place-Man cannot redeem himself from sin.
By sin, is meant spiritual death, or that moral depravity of which all mankind are subjects. By the disobedience of Adam, many, yea, ail men were made sinners. Adam did cat of the forbidden tree and died: and all his posterity died with him. They are sunk deep in death. All mankind are dead in sin is certain, because, If one died for all, then were all dead.” This is the death of which mention is made in Paul's address to the Ephesians, “You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” From this state of sin, which is moral death, no man can restore himself. He is sunk too deep in death for any human arm to reach him: no created power can rescue him from this awful abyss.
The body of death cannot raise itself: and the man dead in sin cannot do any thing which shall be accepted as a ransom for his redemption from this wretched situatio. into which sin has plunged him. God has power sufficient to restore man; his arm is strong and his understanding is infinite. God is perfecily acquainted wiih the condition of fallen man; and he is able to deliver him from this state, to rise him from the pit of death into which he is fallen. None can sink' beyond the reach and power of the Almighty. God is able to do every thing; but wretched man, sunk thus deep in death can do nothing can give nothing to God, which will be accepted as a ransom, or as a price of his redemption. If we were able to make a sacrifice equal to that of king Solomon at the dedication of the temple, it would be nothing as a ransom from sin. Yea, it would fall infinitely short of redeeming from one transgression. “Twenty-two thousand oxen and one hundred thousand sheep” offered as a burnt-offering, would do no more towards taking away sin or redeeming us from death, than the burning of a straw.
Man cannot redeem himself by burnt offerings, nor by any sacrifice whatever. Sin has reduced man to such a state of weakness and poverty, that he is utterly unable to give any thing to God as the price of his redemption. If some one infinitely superior to himself do not undertake for him, he is forever undone, he must reinain eternally in death. And being dead in sin, if he be not redeemed, he must suffer the wrath of God forever; “For the wages of sin is death.” Moral depravity, which is spiritual death, deserves eternal death. The first death, if we be not delivered from it, will bind us over to the second death, which is to bé cast into a lake of fire.” “And they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."
Man cannot give to God a ransom for his sin, by any sufferings which he can endure. There is nothing meritorious in suffering our due deserts. Sinners' suffering the second death, which is the desert of sin dan never redeem from moral death, which is sin itself. If a sinner deserve everlasting death for his sins, it is a very plain case, that he cannot, by su ering, redeem himself from those sins for which he deserves to suffer forever. And if he cannot redeem himself from sin