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cries, “Lord, save me!” Did he cry in vain? No more shall you. Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost; nor did he ever say unto one of the sons of men, Seek ye me in vain. He offered his soul for sin, and came to redeem us from all iniquity. Let uS now
II. Consider Christ as the Redeemer; not as a Redeemer, but the Redeemer.
There is no other. “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” All the types and symbols of the Saviour teach you this. There was one ark in the flood—but one; and all perished save those who sailed in it. There was one altar in the temple—but one; and no sacrifices were accepted but those offered there—“the altar,” as the Bible says, that “sanctified the gift.” There was one way through the depths of the Red Sea —but one ; and only where the water, held back by the hand of God, stood up in crystal walls, was a passage opened for those that were ready to perish. And even so, there is but “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” as our catechism says, “The only Redeemer of God's elect is the Lord Jesus Christ.”
This truth is, in a certain sense, and to some extent, acknowledged by all churches which call themselves. Christian. They all profess to give Jesus the honors of Salvation; not excepting, on the one hand, those which, denying the divinity of our Lord and the doctrine of the atonement, extract its vitality from the Gospel; nor, on the other hand, those Greek and Roman churches, which, by their additions and traditions, have buried the Rock of Ages beneath a great heap of
rubbish. While, however, they appear to regard our Lord Jesus Christ as the Redeemer, and so seem to travel on in company, no Sooner is the question started, in what sense he is a Redeemer, than we arrive at a point where they take different paths, and are led, as they advance, wider and wider asunder. That question introduces us, in fact, into a great controversy. I do not intend to enter into it; but I will affirm, that whether the weapons were sword, pen, or tongue, no conflict that affected the sacred cause of liberty, the rights of man, the honor or interests of nations, ever involved such important, vital, transcendent interests, as are staked in the battle that has been waged around Christ's cross, and about the question, how he saves, in what sense he is a Redeemer. The first and most notable champion who appeared on the field was the apostle Paul ; and as, panoplied from head to heel in the armor of God, he stalks into the arena, and, looking undaunted around him, is ready to fight and to die for the truth, observe the motto on his battle-shield, “I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” It is not simply Jesus Christ; though given by an angel and full of meaning, that was a great name. Nor is it Christ come, nor Christ coming, nor even Christ crowned ; but Christ dying on a cross, “ Christ, and him crucified.” Life to sinners through a Saviour's death, salvation by substitution, redemption through blood—that blood the ransom and Jesus the Redeemer —was the substance of all Paul's sermons, the theme of his praise, the deepest-rooted and most cherished hope of his heart. He lived and died in that faith; and, though that tongue of power and eloquence be now silent in the grave, he proclaims to listening angels in heaven what he preached to men on earth. He proclaims it, not in sermons, but in songs; for in that serene and better world, where no storms disturb the church, nor controversies rage, nor clouds obscure the light, they sing, salvation by the blood of Christ, May we cast away all other hope —and, with our whole hearts embracing that, we shall one day join the vast congregation whose voices fell on John's ear as the sound of many waters, while in harmonious numbers and to golden harps they sung before the throne, “Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood.”
And for more fully understanding and appreciating this doctrine, I remark—
1. Christ does not redeem us, as some say, by simply revealing the truth—save us by merely as a prophet shewing the way of salvation.
The pathways on the deep along our rugged coasts, as well as our streets, are lighted ; and yonder, where the waters fret and foam and break above the sunken rock, the tall light-house rises. Kindled at sundown, it shines steady and clear through the gloom of night, warning the seaman at the wheel of the danger he has to avoid, and shewing him the course he has to steer. Now he who reared that house and kindled its blessed light, and thus saves many a bark from shipwreck, many a sailor from a watery grave, may be called a saviour. In one sense he is the saviour of all who, bravely ploughing their way through the black midnight over the stormy deep, hail that light as it rises on them like a star of hope—and, seeing it, know how to steer, to take the roads, to clear the bar, to beware the reef, and bring their bark in safety to the desired haven, But if Christ is a Saviour only in that sense, simply because he brought life and immortality to light, then he is not the only Saviour. From the “Sun of Righteousness” he changes into a star, and in that heaven, where he shone without a rival, he takes his place but among the luminaries of the church ; one of many, he is only a pure and bright and beautiful star in that brilliant constellation, which is formed of Moses, the prophets, those seers and sages and inspired apostles, by whose voices and pens, in the days of old, God communicated his will to man. Many of those, indeed, who were inspired to reveal the will of God for the salvation of men, had more to do instrumentally in revealing that will than Jesus Christ. No book bears his name ; he wrote no epistle, and the truths that actually dropt from his lips, so far as they are recorded, form but an insignificant portion of those Holy Scriptures which are our chart and charter. Yet who but he is set forth as the Redeemer and Saviour of sinners ? Where is Moses represented as such 3 or David 2 or Isaiah 2 or Paul ? Where is it said, Believe on Paul, and thou shalt be saved ? whosoever believeth on Paul or Peter hath everlasting life and shall never perish 2 Nevertheless, compared with our Lord Jesus Christ, see how much Paul did in actually revealing the will of God to men. Jesus preached three years, but Paul thirty. Jesus preached only to Jews, but Paul to Jew, and Greek, and Roman, Parthian, Scythian, barbarian, bond and free. Jesus numbered his converts by hundreds, Paul his by thousands. Jesus confined his labors to the narrow limits of Palestine; Paul overleaped all such bounds, he took the wide earth for his field, and flying as on angel's wings, he preached the Gospel alike to the bearded Jew, the barbarians of Melita, the philosophers of
Athens, and in the streets and palaces of Rome, to the conquerors of the world. Yet look at this great apostle; he lies as low at Jesus' feet as the woman who washed them with her tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. He wore chains for Christ, and gloried in them ; nor was ever queen so proud of her diamond coronet, nor man in office of his chain of gold, as he of the iron manacles he wore for Christ, and boldly shook in the face of kings. To serve the cause of Jesus he could submit to be beaten, and scourged, and starved, and stoned, and cast at Ephesus to hungry lions; but one thing he could not bear—grief and horror seize him when he finds himself set on a level with his master. To a divided church, rent by factions and full of partisanship, where one is crying, I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos, and a third, I am of Cephas, and a fourth, I am of Christ, he turns round with indignation to ask, “Is Christ divided ? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul ?” In whatever others may glory, he ascribes all the glory of redemption to the cross of Christ, and, rebuking that party spirit and respect for human authority which is still too prevalent among us, he exclaims, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2. Our Lord does not redeem us, as some say, simply by his example.
That man is, in a sense, my saviour, who leads me safely along any dangerous path. The brave guide, for instance, who, high up on the beetling precipice, appears to shuddering spectators below like an insect creeping along its face, who now plants the point of his foot in the crevice, now poises himself on that