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change of heart, that inward renewal of the mind and spirit, of which we have spoken in the fourth chapter, and not to the doctrine of Sacrifice. No sacrifice ever availed to procure any spiritual blessing for the impenitent:no repentance ever did, or ever will, avail, without a sacrifice. Repentance and a sacrifice were both of them always necessary to the salvation of a sinner ;-and they are so still. It is, therefore, a matter of unspeakable importance to the peace and welfare of your immortal soul, to enquire, Where is now your Sacrifice ?
Observe, then, I entreat you, that we have a Sacrifice, though you have not. We have one all-sufficient Sacrifice, of the value and efficacy of which, not all the revolutions upon earth can deprive us,-unless they could avail to recall the past, and undo the finished work of the Most High. We, under the sense and acknowledgement of all our guilt and unworthiness,—and let the multitude and magnitude of our past offences be aggravated to the utmost, -we can look to Jesus and say, “ Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”—“His blood cleanseth from all sin.”—“He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”—“For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified: Whereof the Holy Ghost is a witness to us." —So that we may humbly, yet boldly, say, “Who is he that condemneth ?- It is Christ that died.” (Rom. viii. 34.) “ We have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.” (Heb. vi. 18, 19.)
And, while we ourselves rejoice in the fulness and allsufficiency of this great and only Sacrifice, we would earnestly entreat you also to become partakers of our joy. Come then to this atoning Lamb, and lay your hand by faith upon His head, and put all the burthen of your accumulated guilt upon Him, who “ was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities : the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Is. liii. 5, 6.) It is our rejoicing,let it be also yours--that “Being justified by faith, we
have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ : By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.- For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.—Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Rom.v.1,2, 6–11.
This is our Sacrifice ;-and you, at this time, have, and can have, none other. If Jesus Christ be not an all-sufficient Sacrifice for sin,—and if you do not accept Him and trust in Him as such,-it is evident that you never can receive any of those benefits which Sacrifice was appointed to convey.
Or, in other words, you are utterly destitute of any way of access, by which you can approach to God with acceptance: "Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid bis face from you.” (Is. lix. 2.) There is a mighty gulf of separation
and Him, which no human power or wisdom can avail to cross. For He is not a man, as thou art, that thou shouldest answer him, or that you
should come together in judgement. Neither is there any days-man betwixt you, that might lay his hand upon you both. (Job ix. 32, 33.)
4. and lastly, I would urge upon your attention the statements I have quoted from your own Scriptures, respecting an inward change and renewal of the heart. If these be, indeed, the true sayings of God, it is of unspeakable importance, that you should consider them well, and seriously and diligently enquire, Whether you have experienced this inward and spiritual change or no ?
* It should here be observed, that this conclusion contains an important illustration of Hos. iii. 4., where it is prophesied, that the children of Israel should remain many days WITHOUT A SACRIFICE." They have been so, in every sense, according to the above reasoning, for more than 1700 years. And it is only in returning to seek " the LORD their God, and David THEIR KING,” that they will ever find a Sacrifice again. That this King was also to be a Sacrifice, appears from Dan. ix. 26.
You are a child of Abraham: but have you Abraham's faith ? and do you do the works of Abraham ? You are outwardly circumcised: but is your heart circumcised unto the Lord ? Have
your transgressions, and made you a new heart and a new spirit, according to the Word of God, by his prophet Ezekiel? (xviii. 31, 32.) Hath God taken away the stony heart out of your flesh, and given you a heart of flesh, and put his Spirit within you, to cause you to walk in bis statutes, and to keep his judgements and do them? (Ez. xxxvi. 26, 27.) These and similar questions you should put very closely to yourself, as in the sight of the heart-searching God: and you should seriously “consider your ways." (Hag. i. 7.)
It is vain to make your boast of Abraham and the Prophets, unless you follow the example of their faith and holiness. God is no respecter of persons. (Deut. x. 17, and 2 Chron. xix. 7.) If you are a highly favoured and peculiar people, the greater will be your condemnation, if you abuse your privileges : for thus it is written in one of your own prophets, “ You only have I known of all the families of the earth : therefore will I punish you for ALL your iniquities.” (Amos iii. 2.) As if it were said, Other nations are in darkness and ignorance. Their privileges and opportunities are few and small. Little has been given, and therefore little will be required. They will be punished indeed in a measure, for “ The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” (Ps. ix. 17.) But you are highly favoured ; you have the Scriptures in your hands, which are able to make you wise unto salvation. Therefore, every iniquity and transgression which you commit has great aggravations and must be visited accordingly, when “God shall bring every work into judgement, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil." (Eccl. xii. 14.) According to your singular privileges, is your singular guilt, if you transgress: and equally singular must be your heavy condemnation and punishment, when the Lord shall whet his glittering sword, and his hand shall take hold on judgement, and He will render vengeance to his enemies, and will reward them that hate Him.' (Deut. xxxii. 41.)
That you are the children of Abraham, proves nothing but what you ought to be. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram,
were the children of Abraham as well as you ;-and so were all the people of that evil generation, respecting whom the LORD sware in his wrath that they should not enter into his rest. (Ps. xcv. 11.) And so were those whom Jeremiah and Ezekiel so severely rebuked; and who yet remained impenitent under the plainest declarations of God's wrath, and even amid the execution of his judgements against them. It is, therefore, very easily possible, that, with all your privileges as a chosen and peculiar people, you may yet be altogether uncircumcised in heart for such was the case in the time of Jeremiah. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised ; Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness : for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL are unCIRCUMCISED IN THE HEART.” (Jer. ix. 25, 26.) It is equally evident, that this was the case with the nation generally in the time of Moses, or it would never have been needful to rebuke and exhort them in such terms as these, “ Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked.” (Deut. x. 16.) And, by referring to different passages of the historical and prophetical books, it would be very easy to point out many other periods, in which the great mass of your nation were evidently strangers to that new heart and new spirit of which we are speaking.
What has been so often, and so generally, the case heretofore, may be so still, and at this present day. It is, therefore, not at all improbable that you, who are now reading this exhortation, are yet uncircumcised in heart. And, if so, what a mighty change has need to be wrought in your soull and how seriously and earnestly should you seek that it may ! On that supposition it is, that I address you in the words of your own prophets; “ Hear, and give ear; be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken. Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while you look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness." (Jer. xiii. 15, 16.) “I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed ; and make you a new heart and a new spirit; for why will ye die, O house of Israel ? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God; wherefore turn, and live ye.” (Ez. xviii. 30–32.) Say unto Him, “O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters. Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved : for Thou art my praise.” (Jer. xvii. 13, 14.)
I conclude with urging upon you the necessity of diligent enquiry and earnest prayer. “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding ; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding ; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.-Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes ; fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel and marrow to thy bones.” (Prov. ii. 1–6, iii. 5—8.) “ Whatsoever thine hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest." And if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth there it shall be.” (Eccl. ix. 10, xi. 3.) We have already seen, that David was very earnest in prayer for this new heart;—and you cannot do better than adopt the earnest language of his soul, as you find it in the fifty, first, and in many other Psalms. And the Lord gives you a very important declaration on this point :—for, in reference to those precious and most free promises of a new heart and a new spirit, which we have already quoted, He tells us expressly, “Thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for