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"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." EPH. I. 7.

It will help us to better understand the expressions here employed by Paul, if we consider whence he wrote, and to whom he wrote.

He wrote from prison, in bonds (chap. iii. 1; vi. 20). He was a captive in chains (Acts xxviii. 20).

He wrote to brethren living in a town celebrated for its extraordinary licentiousness and idolatry.

These two facts must have given peculiar force to the expressions before us. The Church at Ephesus would feel them most powerfully (being applied by the Holy Spirit); for in times past "they walked according to the Prince of the power of the air, the Spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" (ch. ii. 2); but at the time of Paul's writing, they were then quickened and raised up together in Christ Jesus, delivered from the bondage of idolatry and licentiousness.

Paul, or rather the Holy Spirit, did not write for the Ephesians alone -he wrote for us-for the whole Church of God. "He remembered them that were in bonds, as bound with them." The truth which the great apostle felt was this: By nature all are bound fast by the iron fetters of sin, and held captive by the devil; as he, when he wrote, was bound fast with an iron chain to the Roman soldier, and held captive by the Roman governor. Paul mentions this truth more than once in his Epistles (Rom. vi. 16; vii. 23). In 2 Tim. xi. 26, he speaks of those who are in the snare of the devil, taken captive by him at his will. Our blessed Lord declared the same truth in John viii. 34. Paul shrunk not from boldly declaring the utter ruin and depravity of mankind. He readily acknowledged that in his flesh there dwelt no good thing-that "we are not sufficient of ourselves to think a good thought of ourselves" (2 Cor. iii. 5); but poor, wretched, miserable, blind, and naked slaves of sin (Rom. vi. 17) (see Greek). The philosophical (falsely so called) notions of the present day, were the Pagan doctrines of Paul's times; but he spurned them all.

Although the apostle was in chains, he looked forward to his being liberated, and in his letter to the Ephesian Christians, he bids them to faint not at his tribulations (chap. iii. 13), and to be comforted in their hearts (chap. vi. 22).

But Paul comforts them with the promise of a far greater deliverance than that from an earthly prison and a worldly power. He speaks to them of an eternal deliverance from an everlasting hell. "In whom (Christ) we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin."

Deliverance from bondage, chains, and prison, is what the Holy Spirit teaches us by the word, "redemption."

The first, and most simple form of the word employed by the sacred


writer is, "to unbind," "to loosen;" then to unbind or loosen for a "price paid; " so that redemption means deliverance of a captive on account of a ransom, or price paid.

Deliverance (from this evil world) is evidently meant by "redemption," in Luke xxi. 28; in Heb. xi. 35, it is so translated. Women received their dead, others were tortured, not accepting deliverance.

In Luke xiii. 12, we have another form of the original word, woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity, - immediately she was made straight. Again, in Matt. xviii. 27, he loosened him. The Lord had commanded him to be sold, and his wife and children, and all that he had. The law had-or would have-laid hold of him, and have sold him as a slave. Matt. xxvii. 15 is very much to the point. Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner. Pilate also uses it (John xix. 10), "Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?" Acts iv. 21, has the same meaning; so when they had further threatened them, they let them go-they release them from bonds-see 3rd verse.

The word has also the meaning of putting away by divorcement, as in Matt. v. 31, 32; xix. 3; Mark x. 12.

It also means to depart from-to be separated from, as in death (Luke ii. 29), "Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace," and the same Phill. i. 23, having a desire to depart.*

Redemption is, then, unbinding, loosening, and unlocking the fetters of sin, which would otherwise have held us fast, as prisoners in hell for eternity.

It is a release from the deadly grasp of a broken law, and the infernal dominion of him who had the power of death-the devil. The lawful captive is delivered.

It is a divorce, an eternal separation from all sin and guilt. It is the death of eternal death and condemnation. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. It is the healing of our backslidings, and the making of us whole and upright. He hath by one offering perfected for ever, those that are sanctified.

That this is the apostle's view the expression "the forgiveness of sins," fully proves. He uses it to explain, or rather to enforce, the meaning of "redemption." The same doctrine of "unbinding," "setting at liberty," and "delivering from," is taught by the word "forgiveness."


In Luke iv. 18, the word occurs twice, to preach deliverance to the captives, to set at liberty" them that are bruised. In Matt. viii. 15, the verb is employed in the sense of release, deliverance from. The fever left her. The fever was destroyed-that which was as a consuming fire in her body burned no longer.

There is another word in the original for redemption in Gal. iii. 13; iv. 5; Eph. v. 16; Col. iv. 5; and Rev. v. 9. It signifies in these texts to buy publicly, as at a market or at a public sale-to purchase for one's own use. This gives a most beautiful explanation of Rev. v. 9. Christ has purchased us publicly in the sight of heaven, hell, and earth. No one shall be able to contest the purchased possession. Purchased for his own use-the praise and glory of his grace.

In 1 Cor. viii. 7, &c., it signifies to put away, to divorce; destroying for ever the relation which existed as man and wife.

The root of this verb also contains the idea of throwing away with a certain force, as the throwing a stone.

Let none say that these are fanciful interpretations of Scripture. It is that "truth as it is in Jesus," taught the Old Testament saints by type and shadow, and clearly revealed to the New Testament disciples by the Lord from heaven.

Look at the scape-goat (Lev. xvi. 21), putting them (their sins) upon the head of the goat, and shall send them away (on him) by the hand of a fit man. The bird let loose into the open field (Lev. xiv. 7). Thou hast led captivity captive (Ps. lxviii. 18). God bringeth out those which are bound with chains (verse 6). As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us (Ps. ciii. 12). "Not so far as the north is from the south; for that distance can be measured, and the north and south can be reached; but who can tell where the east begins or the west ends? That is immeasurable. I, even 1, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions, and will not remember thy sins* (Isa. xlvii. 25). The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed (Isa. li. 14). The Spirit of the Lord is upon me to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound (Isa. lxi. 1). Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea (Mich. vii. 19). For thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back (Isa. xxxviii. 17). They shall be sought for, and there shall be none; they shall not be found (Jer. 1. 20).

Such is the blessed and harmonious testimony of Moses and he prophets to the work of Christ. The New Testament bears the fullest evidence, as, in the passages quoted, to the perfect accomplishment of what the Father had given his Anointed to do, so that with his dying breath he could exclaim, "It is finished."

We feel covinced that this is the doctrine of the word of God. So truly as the High Priest sent away the goat charged with sin, so truly did Christ on the cross bear away and make an end of the sins of his Church. As truly as Peter's wife's mother was delivered from her fever and made whole by Jesus touching her, so truly did Christ, by his death, deliver every child of God from his iniquity. As he actually, really, and literally washed his disciples' feet, so really and truly did he, by his blood, wash away and cleanse his people from all sin and uncleanness. As truly as he was put to death, so truly did he put to death every transgression of his elect body. Some preach and many believe that he only did so in figure, or in semblance, just as things are acted on a stage. They say his death was a means of salvation, but not the very suffering and the curse, such as his people must have suffered in hell had not Christ died in their stead. As truly as the twenty millions of pounds sterling granted to the West Indian

Blotting out is killing-causing to die. See Gen. vii. 4, margin, and Exod. xxxii. 32 and 33. Not to remember has the same meaning. See Exod. xvii. 14; Ps. vi. 5. This is what the apostle says (Rom. vi. 2 and 11), " dead to sin."


planters was the price paid for the release of the slaves, emancipated on the 1st of August, 1839, so truly was the blood of Christ (far more precious than such contemptible things as silver and gold), the price paid for the deliverance of his people from the slavery of sin and Satan and as truly as these emancipated slaves are now freemen, for ever delivered from the power of those who once owned them for life, so truly and actually are Christ's redeemed free indeed (John viii. 36), for ever delivered from the power of the devil. This is the glorious liberty of the children of God-the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. This is the liberty, fellow-emancipated slaves, in which we have been called (Gal. vi. 1), and in which the Holy Ghost bids us stand fast,-the liberty of the Spirit of the Lord dwelling in us (2 Cor. iii. 17)—the liberty which enables us to enter into the holiest (Heb. x. 19).

How many of you, dear fellow-believers, live in the enjoyment of this precious liberty? Are there not some striving to knock off their fetters, and to unlock their chains by repentance or prayers? The price demanded and promised for our emancipation, the Lord furnished long before there was any one to repent, believe, pray, love, or praise. It was paid eighteen hundred years since. Look back to Calvary, you will see it written in letters of blood, "Their redemption (release) is precious, it ceaseth for ever." We must stand with our faces towards the cross, not our backs, for our crowns of victory are all hanging there. There faith will decipher the sinner's name, and realize the substance of things hoped for.

Come, timid, doubting, and weak believer, let us journey in though t to one of these plantations, where not long since hundreds of slaves toiled in fetters under the cruel lash of the driver's whip; but where now all are freemen. You perceive one poor man whose countenance betokens grief and fear. His eye rolls about with restless anxiety, as if watching the movements of some one he dreaded. You ask him why he is so unhappy, whilst others in the field are working so cheerfully and singing so gaily. He tells you that the others know they are free, and rejoice in their release; but he himself is not certain that he was included in the act of emancipation. As you speak of the bounty of the government and the benevolence of the act, his face brightens, his tongue outstrips yours in praise. How strange! You tell him that on that plantation, and in that colony, there are no more slaves-all are free. He bids you look at his hands and feet-there are still the marks of his iron fetters. He shows you his back, there the lash of the whip has left a deep scar. His breast discovers the letter with which the red-hot iron stamped him as a slave as his master thought for life. You answer him, all this proves that he was once a slave; but the proclamation and the money paid by government have ensured him liberty for life. "Yes," he replies, "I could believe it if I felt stronger, or more grateful, or more joyful, or worked better." Would you not immediately say to him, "Supposing you felt all this to the extent your heart could desire, could it add one jot to the ransom paid, or procure you one inch more freedom than the act of parliament had already given you? True, his once cruel driver, seeing

the poor man's fears, and delighting in harassing his soul, might threaten him as in by-gone days, and try to infuse doubts into his unhappy mind; but to every fear and every doubt would you not oppose the law of your country granting full and free emancipation to all the colony? Would you not point to the ransom paid and the proclamation made in the name of your sovereign? And can the law of heaven, that all whom the Son maketh free are free indeed, be less stable, less effectual? Can the ransom price paid, the precious blood of God's dear Son-can his proclamation of the word of life be less worthy of your fullest trust and confidence? Is not the promise of your God firmer than that of any earthly Monarch? Come, then, with boldness to a throne of grace to find mercy and grace to help in every time of need. Look on him in whom we have redemption (not shall have), not by acts of parliament, but by the eternal purpose and decrees of the almighty Jehovah-not through the will of man, but through the will of God-not according to the poor capacity of fellowman to set free, which at least can only be a freedom from temporal slavery, but according to the riches of his grace, the God over all, blessed for evermore, an eternal glorious liberty of body, soul, and spirit.

Feb. 12, 1848.



THIS, like every other attribute of God, while it is calculated to strike terror into the hearts of those who "love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil," is a source of unspeakable comfort to the believer in every point of view, and under all circumstances. How comforting and strengthening and sanctifying to the child of God, as he walks up and down this naughty world, is to feel that his Father's eye is upon him, and to remember that he has said, "I will set mine eyes upon them for good;" and so when darkness and uncertainty hang over his path, when difficulties and perplexities meet him at every turn how cheering to remember, "He knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness." When bowed down with sorrow, and oppressed with grief, when "waters of a full cup are wrung out to him," when he "looks for some to take pity, and there is none; and for comforters, but he finds none;" when "refuge fails him, and no man cares for his soul;" how soothing to his spirit is God's own assurance, "I know their sorrows;" "I have seen, I have seen, the affliction of my people;" when his spirit is so overwhelmed within him that he knows not how to pray, when he "cannot order his speech by reason of darkness," and can only weep and groan before the Lord, how precious is it to remember, "The Lord looketh upon the heart," that "all his desire is before Him," and that in those unuttered groanings and silent desires, He recognises the intercession

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