G. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) Hallock.

The English pulpit : collection of sermons online

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person ; or it may be considered as a comparison instituted between the
figurative sacrifice and the intelligent victim referred to : " For if the
blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the
unclean, sanctifieth " — if the involuntary, compelled, reluctant victim
sanctifieth, " how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through
the eternal Spirit offered himself" — by virtue and support of the
eternal Spirit that is, his intelligent nature — " to God purge your
conscience from dead works to serve the living God ? " You need not
to be told that these figurative victims were involuntary, or that if they
had apprehended the nature of the doom to which they were devoted,
they would have recoiled from it. Every school-boy is acquainted with
the fact, that among the Romans, whose system of superstition was a
corruption of the Jewish sacrificial system, there existed a belief that
it was a most ominous and inauspicious circumstance, if the unwilling-
ness of the victim rendered it difficult to bind it to the altar : but there
was nothing of this sort in the case of our Savior. No ! he was an
intelligent, cheerful, deliberate victim ; what he did he did not by com-
pulsion, but by choice ; he freely made this recognition of God's author-
ity, and this oblation to God's justice ; he lay in the bosom of the
Father, and, therefore, when he felt the beatings of his heart, his own
responded to them. He came down from heaven ; he was not hurled

'■from his throne, he was not dragged like the creature-victim ; " he
came down from heaven for us men, and for our salvation," and he
would re-ascend up into heaven by no other way than that of the cross :
and being there, we see in him, not the unwilling victim bound with
cords to the horns of the altar, kicking against the fatal and sanguin-
ary knife : but the yielding, uncomplaining, cheerful, self-devoted sac-
rifice, which is the grand fact on which its preciousness rests ; because
he gave himself to God, the Savior's sacrifice was one of a sweet
smelling savor to him.

4. Another circumstance — one which we believe was prefigured by
the sacrifices under the law, and one which substantiates the sacrifice
of Christ to have been a proper sacrifice — is that he ivas an unblem-
ished victim. In consequence of his miraculous conception by the



DOCTRINE OF THE ATONEMENT. 217

Holy Ghost, lie escaped the common contagion of mankind ; and his
personal character in after life was holy, for " he was harmless and
undefiled, and separate fi'om sinners," and thus he passed to the altar
an unblemished victim. And because Jesus Christ was righteous, on
this ground, which was indispensable, as without it he could not have
offered himself to God, his sacrifice became an acceptable propitiation
for the sins of the whole world.

5. But the most prominent and important circumstance in this pas-
sage has reference to the value of the victim through his personal union
with the Deity : Christ, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself to
God. I put it to you whether any proof can be drawn from Scripture,
of any personal and distinct agency of the Holy Spirit, the third per-
son in the adorable Godhead, in the atoning sacrifice of the Savior ;
for that notion involves in it a mischievous error. We can only come
to the conclusion of the presence and agency of the Holy Spirit in the
person of Christ ; contrary to the assumption of Dr. Macknight, that
the offering must be first made in heaven before it is complete ; that it
could never be offered to God until Christ had passed into the heavenly
place, and appeared before him. It is true that the Spirit had an
agency in the offering ; but our assumption is, that it was by the exer-
cise^ and not by any distinct personal operation of the Holy Spirit, that
he was quickened and raised from the dead ; and there is no discord
between that assumption and the opinions of the most sound and wise
of men : it harmonizes with the language of the Church of England
in her thirty-first article, " Of the one oblation of Christ /m'sA^c? upon
the (TOSS." " The offering of Christ once made, is that perfect redemp-
tion, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world,
both original and actual : and there is none other satisfaction for sin,
but that alone." And we are bold to assert, that there is no proof in
all the Scripture of any person of the Godhead represented as person-
ally distinct, or of any distinct ofl&cial agency of the Spirit, in the aton-
ing sacrifice of our Lord.

The expression of this text, therefore, reveals the undoubted presence
of the Divinity. And there are many parallel passages to this effect ;
as for instance, in the opening of the epistle to the Romans, the apos-
tle, speaking of Jesus Christ, declares " that he was made of the seed
of David according to the flesh, and declared according to the Spirit
of holiness " — according to the divine nature which resided within
him — " to be the Son of God ; " and was declared to be such, " by
his resurrection from the dead." And why ? Because he rose from
the dead by his own power, by the exercise of that spirit which resided
within him. And perhaps the apostle makes the same reference, in his



218 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

epistle to Timothy, when he declares that God the Deity, " was mani-
fest in the flesh, but justified only in the Spirit." There was then a
manifestation of the Deity in mortal nature ; that Deity vindicating
itself, and justifying itself as Deity and as God, on several occasions
for practical important purposes, putting forth its divine energy and
power. And so says the apostle here, " Jesus Christ, by the eternal
Spirit," which has been already explained, by virtue, by full virtue, or
rather by support, by the special, supernatural support, of his indwell-
ing divine nature, offered himself to God. And I need not tell you
that his was a sacrifice which justice required, that it was one which
divine mercy only could have provided, and which a divine person
alone could have rendered. The Lord of Glory was crucified ! The
Prince of life was killed ! The Almighty's fellow was offered up. —
" Awake, sword, against my shepherd ; and against the man that is
my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts." God shed his blood for his
church. Well, therefore, may we arrive at the conclusion of the apos-
tle, that " this is the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit
offered himself without spot to God, which shall purge our conscience
from dead works to serve the living God." " Worthy is the Lamb ; "
therefore, precious is his blood !

III. Compute the value of this precious blood with reference to
THE PERSONAL VALUE OF THE Savior, Compute the value of the sac-
rifice with reference to Chrisfs own deity.

Witli this we can never thoroughly sympathize; but we may form
some faint conception of it, we may be impressed with the highest
sense of it at which we can arrive. How precious to himself was his
blood ! How dear his life ! and, therefore, how expensive his death !
And now, to furnish you with some simple thoughts on the subject. —
Remember that he retained, that he could not but retain, even when in
the flesh — his divine and spiritual nature. And, therefore, he could
not but be sensible of the transcendent dignity of it. Indeed, what
dignifies his sacrifice is, that he could measure the stoop he made, that
he could behold the distance he travelled, and the humiliation to which
he bowed. And hence, not seldom during his intercourse with his
disciples, and with men upon earth — although it was not his general
habit — when it became him he broke in upon his general habit, and
vindicated his divinity for the very purpose of exalting and commend-
ing his love, for the purpose of expressly impressing the minds of those
around him with the fact of his consciousness of the Godhead dwelUng
in him, — and his own consciousness, therefore, of the infinite generos-



DOCTRINE OF THE ATONEMENT. 2^9

ity of the stoop which he made for the miseries and sins of Iiis
creatures.

When he became man, he was endowed with all the innocent pecu-
liarities, affections, and instincts of human nature, and the strongest
instinct of human nature we know is self preservation, the love of life.
And can it be supposed for a moment, that these feelings were less
acute in our Lord JesuS Christ than in ordinary men ? they must have
been the reverse, because in his case they were never blunted by sin.
Oh, what a heart had he ! How harmless were his joys ! How pain-
ful were his sympathies ! There was a great deal more of feeling than
of philosophy in the character of our Savior when he was upon the
earth. Of course his intellect, even in his inferior nature, was unfath-
omable : but still it contained in it more developments of the tenderest
sensibiUties, than of the stern, cold intellectuality of sensibility, of that
sensible sympathy which usually associates with the acutest sense of
self-value and self-love, the most innocent of our sins. He felt for
himself as well as for others ; he valued himself, he loved his life. How
pathetically did he appeal to his disciples in terms like these, " Greater
love hath no man than this,that a man lay down his life for his friends ! "
" I am the good Shepherd " — hear the illustration — " the good Shep-
herd giveth his life for the sheep."

And consider that the Savior's was an innocent offering. And this
must have rendered his hfe more valuable to himself, as well as his
death — death, with all its moral associations, is repugnant ; but the
death of the atonement, as an instantaneous recognition of the author-
ity of God over a world of siimers, and his predetermination to punish
sin, to his purity and innocence must have been peculiarly revolting.
He was not willing to admit for a moment that it was his design to for-
feit, — he never forfeited the great gift of life, he never rendered him-
self personally deserving of death ; he was tenacious of life, he was
more afflicted at his anticipated removal than one bowed at the feet of
God under a sense of forfeited life and deserved death. We speak of
Christian fortitude and humility, and that humility constituted by a
sense of our demerit. In such a sense our Savior had it not ; in no
sense had he deserved the displeasure of God for himself ; and I say in
consequence he must more sensitively have recoiled from the death of
the atonement, and from death in all its forms, from all its bitter bodi-
ly pains, and more especially from the bitter moral associations con-
nected with it, as a sacrifice for sins not his own.

And what do we infer from all this, but the costliness and generosity
of the sacrifice; that he ^vho knew himself to be God, " who," as the
apostle significantly tells us, " thought it no robbery to be equal with



220 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

God " — that he who knew himself to be God, should assume mortal
nature, and endowed with all its tenderest sympathies, and loving life,
he should hasten to its close ; and that, pure, placid, and peaceful as
he was, conscious of his personal innocence, he should submit to
receive, not only wounds and sufferings, but to be branded with dis-
honor, and to have the impress of divine and judicial wrath stamped
upon him, that he might redeem the lost at such a vast expense to God,
and to himself such an unspeakable sacrifice ?

Lamb of God ! was ever pain,
Was ever love like thine V

IVc Consider the value attached to this blood by the
Father.

1. We might illustrate this by many tokens and testimonies of his
complacency towards his Son, before his suiferings and death. " When
he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let the
angels of God worship him." At another time, " Lo, a voice from
heaven, saying, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
And this is a proof, that in his submission to work the business of
redemption, he undertook a task which was dear to the heart of God.
When he undertook the burthen of the redemption of God's favorite
creation, it rendered him an object of peculiar complacency, in the
prosecution of which he never lost his Father's regard : he abode in his
Father's love, because he perfectly did his commands in reference to
the prosecution of the great enterprise in which he had embarked.

2. Consider as another illustration of the preciousness of Christ's
blood, either in life or death, to the Father — consider, I say, the per-
sonal compensation he aivarded to him for his sufferings. The ortho-
dox faith has been assailed on two points connected with this subject,
by the Socinians. The taunt of, I cannot but say, our unhappy oppo-
nents, is directed first in this way : " That it represents God as a being
who would not consent to remit the punishment of an offending race,
without devolving the burthen of their sufferings upon his own Son."
We know easily how to retort this taunt : it is one which argues that
our system is unmerciful ; that it is a system which dishonors the jus-
tice and mercy of God, who makes no other provision for a righteous
and honorable remission of sins ; that it exhibits the divine being in a
very revolting light. But is our system so ? What is the truth on
this point ? Why, that when the justice, the honor, and the perfec-
tions of God rendered an atonement necessary for our salvation ; —
which rendered the redemption necessary of the whole world, as sin-
ners against the infinite Majesty of heaven ; when a redemption price



DOCTRINE OF THE ATONEMENT. 221

became necessary, God himself paid it down in the person of his own
Son, and thus expressed his love to his fallen creatures, as an expres-
sion of his regard for him, he comes from heaven, and dies for their
guilt, and to expiate their offences : he expresses his -willingness that
men should repent and Uve, and his unwillingness that they should die
their deserved death. And this is an expression of his love, unmeas-
urably greater than if he could have pardoned sins without such a
sacrifice.

But the taunt then is transferred to the substitute : " Oh, then, still
the Deity must take a malignant pleasure in suffering, when he alleges
the atonement of his Son to be the only alternative to the misery of
his creatures." Our gospel meets this objection too ; it tells us, that
though God in mercy spared not his only Son, but freely delivered him
up to death for man, he, in justice to that Son, afforded liim supernat-
ural assistance, to sustain him in his trial and humiliation ; he made haste
to raise him from the dead when the atonement was complete, when
his death was accomplished, and his blood was shed ; he would not suffer
his holy One to see corruption ; he made good speed to recover him
from all but necessary, absolutely necessary dishonor ; he would not
suffer him " to see corruption," And now he sits at his right hand, in
the heavenly places, he is crowned with compensatory glory and honor
as the Redeemer of the world, and as the Savior of his people ; and such
glory as this would never have accrued to him, as the maker and gov-
ernor of the universe. He has assumed a new name, the name of
Jesus. He has assumed a new relation, that of the Savior. He has
assumed a new dominion, a mediatorial one. Every thing now is medi-
atorial. His government is mediatorial. His providence is mediatorial.
His official character is mediatorial All these new names have a
distinct relation to his sufferings. They are procured, and accorded to
him on the ground of his having thus nobly accomplished and submitted
to the death of the cross for us. And now his crown sparkles with
the tears of penitents, and their lustre far surpasses, in his own esteem,
the glory of its other embellishments : his palace resounds with the
sighs of broken hearts, and the songs of the rejoicing ones are like
music to his ears. Now his train is composed of the redeemed — the
liberated captives — the followers of his cross ; he rejoices with pecu-
liar satisfaction and complacency ; the name of Jesus is music to his
ear, he loves to hear it echoed ! echoed ! echoed ! It cannot be too
often made the subject of appeal to God his Father. It cannot be too
often repeated to himself. He loves to hear the sinner address him as
Jesus, as his official Lord, upon whom he devolves his hopes, as the
responsible instrument of his salvation.



222 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

And •when he looks upon earth, he beholds the fruits of his redemp-
tion, in the conversion of sinners, in the comforting of mourners, in
the recovery of the world, in the propagation of the gospel, and in the
edification of his church. And wlien he transfers his attention from
eartli to heaven, there he beholds the multitudes around his throne,
whose robes have been washed and made white in the blood of the
Lamb ; who through his merit, and the efficacy of his blood, are placed
there, far beyond the reach of any earthly toil or danger; who, we are
beautifully told, " follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth." And
this we are told in language which has no reference to their past char-
acter ; when they are described in the past tense, it speaks of them as
those " who have not been defiled ; " and as those who " were redeemed
from among men," but when they are spoken of in the present tense,
if we may so speak about heaven, it says, " these are they which follow
the Lamb whithersoever he goeth ; " their eyes are upon his throne, he
is the object and centre of attraction : —

Jesus, harmonious name !

It charms the hosts above ;
They evermore proclaim
And wonder at his love.
'Tis all their happiness to gaze ;
'Tis heaven to see our Jesus' face.

When he thus sees the work of redemption on earth, when he
beholds the redeemed who follow him with ceaseless songs in heaven,
he looks forward to the futurity, when all men shall bless, and be
blessed of him ; " he sees of the travail of his soul, and is satisfied."
Then his Father puts his seal to the work ; he intimates the unspeaka-
ble preciousness of his blood, and his fixed determination that his death
shall be a full recompense, a full redress ; and he illustrates the same
thing by the propitiatory efiect his blood has upon his own mind. The
Scripture sometimes speaks of the Father not merely as the first per-
son of the Deity, or as having a personal relation to the Son, and
Holy Spirit, but as the fountain and representative of the Godhead.
Our Lord speaks frequently as though the Deity subsisted in his per-
son ; he speaks of the Deity as subsisting in the person of the Father :
and the Scriptures teach us the eifect, the instantaneous effect, of the
presentation of the blood of the great atonement upon the mind of the
Father as upon the mind of the Deity ; so that his justice is suspended
and quieted, and turned aside, when he hears the Son. The blood
of Christ once freely shed, now constantly spnnkles the mercy-seat ;
the Father hears him with rejoicing.

The Father hears him pray,

His dear Anointed One ;
He cannot turn away

The presence of has Son.



DOCTRINE OP THE ATONEMENT. 223

And the Spirit makes a proper application of the truth : —

His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am bom of God ;

80 precious is the blood of Christ in the esteem of the Father.

V. And need I remind you of the immense good this blood is the
MEANS OF PROCURING TO MANKIND, to SRj nothing of the lowcr orders
of creation, as a further illustration of this subject. When the burst
of joy shall rise from many angels round the throne, and the elders
saying, with a loud voice, " Worthy the Lamb that was slain ; " then
every creature which is in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth,
and such as are in the sea, whether at present higher or lower in the
scale of creation, every creature shall in some mysterious way subscribe
Amen ! to the beneficial effects of their redemption by their common
Savior. But if we look to the effect of this blood upon the mind and
condition of man generally, what do we owe to it ? We owe to it our
immortal destination; for, beyond question, had the law taken effect
upon the breach of it, if its penalty had been inflicted, ovir race would
have been extinguished. If in the day Adam ate the forbidden fruit
he had died, his posterity would have been extinct; we are, therefore
indebted to our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the language of the
New Testament, for our earthly existence ; and by the same testimony
we are clearly indebted to him for our resurrection-body ; we should
therefore, have no essential or perfect constitution without him, either
in a present or a future state. We are clearly indebted to him for
bringing life and immortality to light by the gospel, and putting us m
possession of it by his blood. We are indebted to his blood for our
salvation, and all which that involves us in, as responsible beino-s. We
are indebted to his blood for our hopes of eternal life ; for all our capac-
ities of mind ; for the favorable and auspicious circumstances in which
we are placed ; for all the conveniences of nature ; for the arrano-e-
ments of providence ; for the lengthening out our lease of life, and for
the arrest of judgment, which is made in our favor — aU this is to be
put to the account of Christ.

We are indebted to him for all the chastenings of providence which
are parts of God's merciful system. There is nothino- in the world
which ought not to remind us of it ; man's whole providential history
should remind us of our obligation to him : the mercy of God to him
in his affliction. We are apt to forget what we deserve when God
prospers us ; and when in his providence he chastens us, to pray to him
for a right use of it, and to be reminded of the moral cause of all.



224 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

Why are these things so ? Wherefore does God condemn me ? Because
I am a sinner. This thought does not often glance into our mind in
prosperity.

unexhausted grace !

love unspeakable !

1 am not gone to my own place,

1 am not yet in hell !

We do not remember that to deserve mercies we must thank God for
crosses, so chastening us by his providence, that we are driven for
refuge to the mediatorial interposition of the Savior, and the influence
of his precious blood. To this blood we owe his grace, spiritualizing
us, and disposing us to welcome all he does. We owe it to this that
the pulpit stands a fountain of pure and inspired instruction. To this
we are indebted for the gospel, for the ministry, for all our Christian
companionship and intercourse, for access to God in prayer, and the
leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit — all this we owe to his pre-
cious blood.

And mark its effects upon the penitent and enlightened man : it pro-
cures his pardon, for he is justified by his blood ; he has peace in the
blood of Christ, it purges his conscience from dead works to serve the
living God ; he rejoices in the power of going to the Lord Jesus Christ,
and that he may be joined to his spiritual church ; and that he, who
was once far off, is made nigh by the blood of Christ, that he may have
access and boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.

It i-s our duty, our daily duty, to look into that passage, I mean the
first chapter of the first epistle of John. Judge ye if the reference
is not to-day needful, and if it is not needful for your ultimate consid-
eration ; we have elsewhere described it, as the daily experience of
every faithful believer. And the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us
from all sin ; it keeps us from condemnation, it purifies our hearts, it
draws us towards God, and cleanseth us from all sin. And there is a con-
temporaneous expression which should be equally habitually our study ;
the expression, " if we walk in the light we have fellowship with God ; "
we are privileged with entire sanctification ; every day it enables us to
walk in fellowship with God, through this precious blood which cleans-
eth from sin. perfect influence of the blood of the everlasting
covenant, by which God maketh us perfect in every good word and
work ! victorious blood ! by which we are made finally conquerors,
and more than conquerors ! " They overcame by the blood of the
Lamb, and by the word of their testimony."

Take a comparative view, if you please, of this influence, and you
will find it transcends every thing. Compare it with the earthly objects



DOCTRINE OP THE ATONEMENT. 225

of men's affections, with wealth, with friendship, with power, with
court influence, with the splendors of state, with intellect, with scien-



Online LibraryG. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) HallockThe English pulpit : collection of sermons → online text (page 25 of 45)