A glance at the text will show us that it refers to two subjects; the completeness of the sacrifice offered on the cross, as in the words, “after He had offered one sacrifice for sin for ever,” and the present session at the right hand of God; as in the words, “sat down at the right hand of God.” It is the second of these that we shall study this morning.Nor, again, is this sacrifice the means whereby the great sacrifice is applied to the soul. This p. 41is a more common idea than the other, and one prevailing among many who are thoroughly opposed to Popery. It is in harmony with human nature to suppose that we must make our sacrifice in order to gain a share of the blessings of His. Thus people will sometimes give up, first one thing, and then another, hoping by these sacrifices to find peace through the blood of atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. They have no idea of being saved through anything but the great sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ; but they consider that they must make their sacrifice in order to secure the application of his work to themselves. This is the principle of almost all self-imposed mortifications. People hope through them to be partakers of reconciliation through the great atonement. Yet none of these things satisfy the soul. I have myself known persons who have resolutely made the effort, but utterly failed. They have become anxious about their soul, and set to work to reach the cross of Christ by personal self-denial. They have given up their different pursuits one by one; but at length they have found that nothing has done them any good. They have been just as far from the peace of reconciliation as they p. 42were the day they began. None of these sacrifices had helped them in the least. No, and none could help them. Nothing could help them but a free justification through faith, and faith alone; and that, thank God! at last they have found sufficient. And so will every other guilty sinner who throws himself in utter helplessness, to be freely forgiven, and freely saved, by the great grace of God in Christ Jesus. Let none suppose, then, that any sacrifice which we can render can ever make us partakers of the great salvation once purchased by the one sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. This salvation is given on altogether different terms. It is given as a free gift to those who can produce nothing; a gift bestowed in unfettered mercy on those who can only say, in the language of the hymn:— 果然 p. 21With all this the Apostle contrasts the one perfect sacrifice of our blessed Lord, made on the cross once and for ever. There are no less than six places in which he brings out this one point, and brings it out with such clearness that it really seems as if the whole passage was written as a prophetic safeguard against the doctrine of the mass. In Heb. ix. 25, 26, he says: “Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” So in vv. 27, 28, he draws a comparison between the death of the Lord Jesus and the natural death of man, and says: “As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” So that it would be just as absurd to expect men to die twice, as to believe that there can be any second offering of the Lord Jesus Christ for sin. The one death throughout mankind is the type or pattern of the one Sacrifice once p. 22made for sin. So, again, in x. 10, we read,—“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” And again, in vv, 11, 12, St. Paul returns to the contrast between our Lord and the Jewish priest, and says, “Every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.” And once more, in ver. 14, he sums up all by saying, “By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” It would be a matter of deep interest to study carefully the meaning of the word “perfected” in this most important text. It does not mean perfect in personal holiness, i.e. in the inward work of the Spirit on the soul; but perfect in justification: perfect, because the curse was perfectly blotted out, the law being perfectly satisfied, and the sinner, after propitiation, perfectly free. But we must not stop to dwell on that now, our one point at present is that the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus was once, and for ever; and this is most remarkably brought out in the words,—“By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
But this ministry of the word of reconciliation will vary according to circumstances. 黑暗 2. That whenever the Mass is administered, He, the living Saviour, is again sacrificed and put to death.
么声 I. On the authority of the ministry this text is perfectly clear; for the Apostle traces it to no human source when he says, “All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” The ministry, therefore, is a gift from God, and not a plan of human contrivance. It is not an arrangement adopted p. 49by the great Christian society as a means for its own improvement, but it is an institution by the authority of the Founder of that society, God Himself. Both the office and the men are gifts from God. In this passage he speaks of the office, and says, “God hath given us the ministry of reconciliation;” and in v. 19, “hath committed to us the word of reconciliation.” The men, therefore, received their office from their God. Just so he said to Archippus (Col. iv. 17), “Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.” But perhaps the most striking passage on this subject is St. Paul’s address to the elders of the Church of Ephesus, in Acts, xx. 28; for he there teaches not merely that the ministry in general was given to these elders, but that they had been made by the Holy Ghost overseers of that particular people amongst whom they were called to labour. “Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood.” Now, bear in mind that these persons were not apostles, nor persons holding any extraordinary office, as some did in those early days, but ordinary p. 50clergymen; some, probably, ordained by St. Paul himself, and some by Timothy, appointed to labour together amongst the rapidly increasing church in the large heathen town; and mark well the fact, that the Apostle does not say, “To which I appointed you,” or “to which Timothy appointed you,” but he regards the appointment as from God Himself, and says, “Whereof the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers.”
But our Lord’s words may have been addressed to the whole company; and if so, the laity, and even the women, had as great a share in them as any others. Now, no one supposes that every Christian has the power of forgiving sin; and the only way of understanding our Lord’s language is to regard His words as conveying to His Church the power of Christian discipline. It is clear that such a power is essential to the well-being of the body; for the Church would cease to be a Church if its most sacred privileges were open indiscriminately to all kinds of characters. There must be the right of excluding the wicked, of admitting converts, p. 61of excommunicating those who disgrace their profession, and of restoring such persons when the Church is satisfied respecting their repentance. But this authority, if it is not given here, is given nowhere. When our Lord said, as we read in Matt. xviii. 18, “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven;” He gave His disciples the power of regulating Church order; and it is reasonable to suppose that in these words He gives a similar authority with reference to persons, for in the one passage it says “whatsoever,” and in the other “whomsoever.” 铺天 A glance at the text will show us that it refers to two subjects; the completeness of the sacrifice offered on the cross, as in the words, “after He had offered one sacrifice for sin for ever,” and the present session at the right hand of God; as in the words, “sat down at the right hand of God.” It is the second of these that we shall study this morning. We live in very anxious times. Different phases of error are following each other with great rapidity, like waves before the gale on a stormy sea. A very short time ago we were deeply distressed by the sceptical tendencies of certain able writers,—tendencies still in rapid progress, though public attention has been recently directed into another channel. Now we are startled by the open declaration of Romish doctrine, and open practice of Romish ceremonial, by men who have accepted office in a church which declares these very doctrines to be “blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits.” It has become, therefore, absolutely necessary that we p. 4should understand the reasons why the Church of England has separated from that of Rome, and why it is that we raise our voice against these innovations. I am well aware that such a subject is distasteful to many minds. Some shrink from the trouble of controversy, and would rather have their whole attention fixed on that which they find helpful to their own souls. Others think it uncharitable; and maintain that, provided a person be conscientious in his practice, we need feel no anxiety about the truth or error of his creed. But I am persuaded that it will not do so to deal with truth. These are days in which we must know what we believe, and why we believe it. If we desire to stand fast, we must know our standing-ground. And if we desire to see our young people growing up as witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ, we must not merely strive to call forth in them a religion of feeling, but must train them in sound Scriptural principles, that they may be able to give an answer to every one who asketh them a reason of the hope that is in them. The Romish question is forced upon us by the enormous efforts which the Church of Rome is making for the recovery of its ancient supremacy in England; and I must say, and say it with the p. 5deepest grief and humiliation, I fear we have been betrayed, in many cases, by men who, as clergymen of the Church of England, have pledged themselves to the very principles they are betraying. It is high time, therefore, that we should understand the ground of our solemn protest against Rome, and that we should not merely study truth in its simplicity, but study it likewise in its opposition to Romish error. I purpose, however, God helping me, to direct your thoughts this morning to one point of the controversy. I cannot attempt the many points on which we are at issue. I confine myself, therefore, to one; and that is, the teaching of the word of God with reference to our exalted Saviour, in opposition to the teaching of Rome in the doctrine of transubstantiation. May the Lord direct our studies, and write His own truth most deeply on our hearts!”
一旦 p. 23The point of contrast, therefore, is this, that in the ceremonial law there was a multitude of sacrifices day by day, and year by year, repeated; whereas in the new covenant there was but one, and that one effectual for ever. In the one there was multiplicity, in the other oneness; in the one unceasing repetition, in the other one final act, which set the whole at rest for ever. The contrast stands out so plainly that he may run that readeth it. Nay, more, it is written with that perfect clearness, and often-repeated statement, that I confess myself perfectly unable to comprehend how any person, reading these two chapters, with a real desire to discover the mind of the Spirit, can arrive at the conclusion that there can be any repetition of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ under any form whatever, or any supplementary work of any kind whatever to complete or fill up His one perfect sacrifice for sin. And let me add, that I believe there are many troubled consciences who would find great assistance in their difficulties if they acted more on the advice of the Communion Service. It is a hard thing to bear a burden alone, and I am thoroughly persuaded there are many who might find great help under serious and painful difficulties from the confidential opening of the heart’s wound to a clergyman or Christian p. 66friend. I have known many such cases, and I believe that our just dread of the Romish confessional—and no one can dread it more than I do—combined with our national shyness of character, cuts off many from that which might be an important help to them in their anxious struggle for the peace of God. ”