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"Christ died for us." — Romans 5:8.

So have many. All those who have paid with their lives to the injured laws of their country have died for us; and if we derive not improvement from it, the fault is our own. The world drowned in the Deluge, perished for us. The Jews, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness, suffered, as the Apostle tells us, as ensamples and admonitions to us. We have buried friends and relations, but

"For us they languish, and for us they die."

That husband of her youth, that wife of his bosom, that child of their love have been removed, to wean the heart from earth, and to show how frail we are.

But are we going to rank the death of Christ with such deaths as these? We would rather class it with that of an Apostle: "If I be offered," says Paul to the Philippians, "upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you." This was noble. But was Paul crucified for us?

No: "It is Christ that died" His death is peculiar and pre-eminent, infinitely peculiar and pre-eminent. This was indicated by the prodigies that attended it. Yet on these we shall not enlarge. Neither shall we dwell on the many touching circumstances of his death. Such a tragical representation may be derived from the history as would draw tears from every eye, while the heart may be unaffected with, and the mind even uninformed of, the grand design of his death. The question is, What was this design?

Some tell us that it was to confirm the truth of his doctrine, by the testimony of his blood; and to suffer, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps. And this is true. And we believe it as fully as those who will go no further. But is this the whole, or the principal part of the design? We appeal to the Scriptures. There we learn, that He died for us, as an expiation of our guilt, and to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. There we see that He died for us as a sacrifice, a ransom, a substitute; that He redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us, that He once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us unto God.

Exclude this, and the language of the Bible becomes perfectly embarrassing and unintelligible. Exclude this, and what becomes of the legal sacrifices? They were shadows without a substance; they prefigured nothing. For there is no relation between them and his death, as he was a martyr, and an example; but there is a full conformity between them and his death, as he was an atonement. Exclude this, and how are his sufferings to be accounted for at all? For he did not die for the sins of others, and he had none of his own. Where, then, is the God of judgment? That be far from Him to do after this manner; to slay the righteous with the wicked. So far the Jews reasoned well: they rejected him, for they considered him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. And so he was: but "he 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." Exclude this, and with what can we meet the conscience, burdened with guilt? With what can we answer the inquiry, How shall I come before the Lord? With what can we wipe the tear of godly grief? But we have boldness to enter into the holiest, by the blood of Jesus. Surely he hath borne our grief, and carried our sorrow. His death was an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour. The all-sufficiency, and the acceptableness, were evinced, by his discharge from the grave, and his being received up into glory. There, within the veil, our hope finds anchorage.

"Jesus, my great High Priest,
Offer'd his blood, and died;
My guilty conscience seeks
No sacrifice beside
His powerful blood did once atone,
And now it pleads before the throne."

Yet even this is not all the design. Christ died for us, not only to reconcile us, but to renovate; not only to justify us, but to sanctify. The one is as necessary to our recovery as the other. And both equally flow from the Cross. For he gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity; and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

"Oh, the sweet wonders of that Cross,
Where God, my Saviour, groan'd and died;
My noblest life her spirit draws
From his dear wounds and bleeding side."

Morning Exercises For Everyday In The Year
By Rev. William Jay

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