Sermon 310. Christ-Our Substitute
Delivered on Sabbath Evening, April 15th, 1860, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
At New Park Street, Southwark.
"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."-2 Corinthians 5:21.
SOMETIME AGO an excellent lady sought an interview with me, with the object as she said, of enlisting my sympathy upon thequestion of "Anti-Capital Punishment." I heard the excellent reasons she urged against hanging men who had committed murder,and though they did not convince me, I did not seek to answer hem. She proposed that when a man committed murder, he shouldbe confined for life. My remark was, that a great many men who had been confined half their lives werenot a bit the better for it, and as for her belief that they would necessarily be brought to repentance, I was afraidit was but a dream. "Ah," she said, good soul as she was, "that is because we have been all wrong about punishments. We punishpeople because we think they deserve to be punished. Now, we ought to show them," said she, "that we love them; that we onlypunish them to make them better." "Indeed, madam," I said, "I have heard that theory a great many times, and I have seen muchfine writing upon the matter, but I am no believer in it. The design of punishment should be amendment, but the groundof punishment lies in the positive guilt of the offender. I believe that when a man does wrong, he ought to be punished forit, and that there is a guilt in sin which justly merits punishment." "Oh no; she could not see that. Sin was a very wrongthing, but punishment was not a proper idea. She thought that people were treated too cruelly in prison, and that they oughtto betaught that we love them. If they were treated kindly in prison, and tenderly dealt with, they would grow so much better,she was sure." With a view of interpreting her own theory, I said, "I suppose, then, you would give criminals all sorts ofindulgences in prison. Some great vagabond who has committed burglary dozens of times-I suppose you would let him sit in aneasy chair in the evening before a nice fire, and mix him a glass of spirits and water, and give him his pope, and make himhappy, to show him how much we love him." "Well, no, she would not give him the spirits, but, still, all the rest woulddo him good." I thought that was a delightful picture certainly. It seemed to me to be the most prolific method of cultivatingrogues which ingenuity could invent. I imagine that you could row any number of thieves in that way; for it would be a specialmeans of propagating all manner of roguery and wickedness. These very delightful theories to such a simple mind as mine, werethe source of much amusement, the idea of fondling villains, and treating heir crimes as if they were the tumbles andfalls of children, made me laugh heartily. I fancied I saw the government resigning its functions to these excellent persons,and the grand results of their marvellously kind experiments. The sword of the magistrate transformed into a gruel-spoon,and the jail become a sweet retreat for injured reputations.
Little however, did I think I should live to see this kind of stuff taught in pulpits; I had no idea that there would comeout a divinity, which would bring down God's moral government from he solemn aspect in which Scripture reveals it, to a namby-pambysentimentalism, which adores a Deity destitute of every masculline virtue. But we never know to-day what may occur to-morrow.We have lived to see a certain sort of men-thank God they are not Baptists-though I am sorryto say there are a great many Baptists who are beginning to follow in their trail-who seek to teach now-a-days, that Godis a universal Father, and that our ideas of his dealing with the impenitent as a Judge, and not as a Father, are remnantsof antiquated error. Sin, according to these men, is a disorder rather than an offence, an error rather than a crime. Loveis the only attribute they can discern, and the full-orbed Deity they have not known. Some of these men push their way veryfarinto the bogs and mire of falsehood, until they inform us that eternal punishment is ridiculed as a dream. In fact, booksnow appear, which teach us that there is no such thing as the Vicarious Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. They use the wordAtonement it is true, but in regard to its meaning, they have removed the ancient landmark. They acknowledge that the Fatherhas shown his great love to poor sinful man by sending his Son, but not that God was inflexibly just in the exhibition ofhismercy, not that he punished Christ on the behalf of his people, nor that indeed God ever will punish anybody I his wrath,or that there is such a thing as justice apart from discipline. Even sin and hell are but old words employed henceforth in a new and altered sense. Those are old-fashioned notions, and we poor souls whogo on talking about election and imputed righteousness, are behind our time. Ay, and the gentlemen who bring out books onthis subject, applaud Mr. Maurice, andProfessor Scott, and the like, but are too cowardly to follow them, and boldly propound these sentiments. These are thenew men whom God has sent down from heaven, to tell us that the apostle Paul was all wrong, that our faith is vain, that wehave been quite mistaken, that there was no need for propitiating blood to wash away our sins; that the fact was, our sinsneeded discipline, but penal vengeance and righteous wrath are quite out of the question. When I thus speak, I am free toconfessthat such ideas are not boldly taught by a certain individual whose volume excites these remarks, but as he puffs thebooks of gross perverters of the truth, I am compelled to believe that he endorses such theology.
Well, brethren, I am happy to say that sort of stuff has not gained entrance into this pulpit. I dare say the worms will eatthe wood before there will be anything of that sort sounded in his place; and may these bones be picked by vultures, and thisflesh be rent in sunder by lions, and may every nerve in this body suffer pangs and tortures, ere these lips shall give utteranceto any such doctrines or sentiments. We are content to remain among the vulgar souls who believethe old doctrines of grace. We are wolling still to be behind in the great march of intellect, and stand by that unmovingcross, which, like the pole star, never advances, because it never stirs, but always abides in its place, the guide of thesoul to heaven, the one foundation other than which no man can lay, and without building upon which, no man shall ever seethe face of God and live.
Thus much have I said upon a matter which just now is exciting controversy. It has been my high privilege to be associatedwith six of our ablest brethren in the ministry, in a letter of protest against the countenance which a certain newspaperseemed willing to lend to this modern heresy. We trust it may be the means, in the hands of God, of helping to check thatdownward march-that wandering from truth which seems by some singular infatuation, to have unsettled theminds of some brethren in our denomination. Now I come to address you upon the opic which is most continually assailedby those who preach another gospel "which is not another-but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospelof Christ," namely, the doctrine of the substitution of Christ on our behalf, his actual atonement for our sins, and our positiveand actual justification through his sufferings and righteousness. It seems to me that until language can mean the veryreverse of what it says, until by some strange logic, God's Word can be contradicted and can be made to belief itself,the doctrine of substitution can never be rooted out of the words which I have selected for my text "He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin,that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
First, then, the sinlessness of the substitute; secondly, the reality of the imputation of sin to him; and thirdly, the glorious reality of the imputation of righteousness to us.
I. First, THE SINLESSNESS OF THE SUBSTITUTE.
The doctrine of Holy Scripture is this, that inasmuch as man could not keep God's law, having fallen in Adam, Christ cameand fulfilled the law on the behalf of his people; and that inasmuch as man had already broken the divine law and incurredthe penalty of the wrath of God, Christ came and suffered in the room, place, and stead of his elect ones, that so by hisenduring the full vials of wrath, they might be emptied out and not a drop might ever fall upon the heads ofhis blood-bought people. Now, you will readily perceive that if one is to be a substitute for another before God, eitherto work out a righteousness or to suffer a penalty, that substitute must himself be free from sin. If he hath sin of his own,all that he can suffer will but be the due reward of his own iniquity. If he hath himself transgressed, he cannot suffer foranother, because all his sufferings are already due on his own personal account. On the other and, it is quite clear thatnonebut a perfect man could ever work out a spotless righteousness for us, and keep the law in our stead, for if he hath dishonouredthe commandment in his thought, there must be a corresponding flaw in his service. If the warp and woof be speckled, how shallhe bring forth the robe of milk-white purity, and wrap it about our loins? He must be a spotless one who shall become therepresentative of his people, either to give them a passive or active righteousness, either to offer a satisfaction asthe penalty of their sins, or a righteousness as the fulfilment of God's demand.
It is satisfactory for us to know, and to believe beyond a doubt, that our Lord Jesus was without sin. Of course, in his divinenature he could not know iniquity; and as for his human nature, it never knew the original taint of depravity. He was of theseed of the woman, but not of the tainted and infected see of Adam. Overshadowed as was the virgin by the Holy Ghost, no corruptionentered into his nativity. That holy thing which was born of her was neither conceived insin nor shapen in iniquity. He was brought into this world immaculate. He was immaculately conceived and immaculatelyborn. In him that natural black blood which we have inherited from Adam never dwelt. His heart was upright within him; hissoul was without any bias to evil; his imagination had never been darkened. He had no infatuated mind. There was no tendencywhatever in him that to do that which was good, holy, and honourable. And as he did not share in the original depravity, sohe didnot share in the imputed sin of Adam which we have inherited-not, I mean, in himself personally, though he took the consequencesof that, as he stood as our representative. The sin of Adam had never passed over the head of the second Adam. All that werein the loins of Adam sinned in him when he touched the fruit; but Jesus was not in the loins of Adam. Though he might be conceivedof as being in the womb of the woman-"a new thing which the Lord created in the earth,"-he lay not in Adamwhen he sinned, and consequently no guilt from Adam, either of depravity of nature, or of distance from God, ever fellupon Jesus as the result of anything that Adam did. I mean upon Jesus as considered in himself though he certainly took the sin of Adam as he was the representative of his people.
Again, as in his nature he was free from the corruption and condemnation of the sin of Adam, so also in his life, no sin evercorrupted his way. His eye never flashed with unhallowed anger; his lip never uttered a treacherous or deceitful word; hisheat never harboured an evil imagination. Never did he wander after lust; no covetousness ever so much as glanced into hissoul. He was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." From the beginning of his life to theend, you cannot put your finger even upon a mistake, much less upon a wilful error. So perfect was he, that no virtueseems to preponderate, or by an opposing quality give a bias to the scale of absolute rectitude. John is distinguished forhis love, Peter for his courage; but Jesus Christ is distinguished for neither one above the another, because he possessesall in such sublime unison, such heavenly harmony, that no one virtue stands out above the rest. He is meek, but he is courageous.Heis loving, but he is decided; he is bold as a lion, yet he is quiet and peaceful as a lamb. He was like that fine flourwhich was offered before God in the burnt offering; a flour without grit, so smooth, that when you rubbed it, it was softand pure, no particles could be discerned: so was his character fully ground, fully compounded. There was not one featurein his moral countenance which had undue preponderance above the other; but he was replete in everything that was virtuousand good.Tempted he was, it is true, but sinned he never. The whirlwind came from he wilderness, and smote upon the four cornersof that house, but it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock. The rains descended, heaven afflicted him; the winds blew,the mysterious agency of hell assailed him; the floods came, all earth was in arms against him, but yet he stood firm in themidst of all. Never once did he even seem to bend before the tempest; but buffetting the fury of the blast, bearing all thetemptations that could ever happen to man, which summed themselves up and consummated their fury on him, he stood to theend, without a single flaw in his life, or a stain upon his spotless robe. Let us rejoice, then, in this, my beloved brothersand sisters, that we have such a substitute-one who is fit and proper to stand in our place, and to suffer in our stead, seeinghe has no need to offer a sacrifice for himself; no need to cry for himself, "Father, I have sinned;" no need to bend theknee of the penitent and confess his own iniquities, for he is without spot or blemish, the perfect lamb of God's passover.
I would have you carefully notice the particular expression of the text, for it struck me as being very beautiful and significant,-"whoknew no sin." It does not merely say did none, but knew none. Sin was no acquaintance of his; he was acquainted with grief, but no acquaintance of sin. He had to walk in the midstof its most frequented haunts, but did not know it; not that he was ignorant of its nature, or did not know its penalty, buthe did notknow it; he was a stranger to it, he never gave it the wink or nod of familiar recognition. Of course he knew what sin was, for hewas ver God, but with the sin he had no communion, no fellowship, no brotherhood. He was a perfect stranger in the presenceof sin; he was a foreigner; he was not an inhabitant of that land where sin is acknowledge. He passed through the wildernessof suffering, but into the wilderness of sin he could never go. "He knew no sin;" mark that expressionand treasure it up, and when you are thinking of your substitute, and see him hang bleeding upon the cross, think thatyou see written in those lines of blood written along his blessed body, "He knew no sin." Mingled with the redness of hisblood-that Rose of Sharon; behold the purity of his nature, the Lily of the Valley-"He knew no sin."
II. Let us pass on to notice the second and most important point; THE ACTUAL SUBSTITUTION OF CHRIST, AND THE REAL IMPUTATIONOF SIN TO HIM. "He made him to be sin for us."
Here be careful to observe who transferred the sin. God the Father laid on Jesus the iniquities of us all. Man could not makeChrist sin. Man could not transfer his guilt to another. It is not for us to say whether Christ could or could not have madehimself sin for us; that certain it is, he did not take this priesthood upon himself, but he was called of God, as was Aaron.The Redeemer's vicarious position is warranted, nay ordained by divine authority. "He hath made himto be sin for us." I must now beg you to notice how very explicit the term is. Some of our expositors will have it thatthe word here used must mean "sin-offering." "He made him to be a sin-offering for us." I thought it well to look to my GreekTestament to see whether it could be so. Of course we all know that the word here translated "sin," is very often translated"sin-offering," but it is always useful, when you have a disputed passage, to look it through, and see whether in this casetheword would bear such a meaning. These commentators say it means a sin-offering,-well, I will read it: "He hath made himto be a sin-offering for us who knew no sin-offering." Does not that strike you as being ridiculous? But they are precisely the same words; and if it be fair to translate it "sin-offering"in one place, it must, in all reason, be fair to translate it so in the other. The fact it, while in some passages it maybe rendered "sin-offering," in this passage it cannot beso, because it would be to run counter to all honesty to translate the same word in the same sentence two different ways.No; we must take hem as they stand. "He hath made him to be sin for us," not merely an offering, but sin for us.
My predecessor, Dr. Gill, edited the works of Tobias Crisp, but Tobias Crisp went further than Dr. Gill or any of us can approve;for in one place Crisp calls Christ a sinner, though he does not mean that he ever sinned himself. He actually calls Christ a transgressor, and justifies himself by thatpassage, "He was numbered with the transgressors." Martin Luther is reputed to have broadly said that, although Jesus Christwas sinless, yet he was the greatest sinnerthat ever lived, because all the sins of his people lay upon him. Now, such expressions I think to be unguarded, if notprofane. Certainly Christian men should take care that they use not language which, by the ignorant and uninstructed, maybe translated to mean what they never intended to teach. The fact is, brethren, that in no sense whatever-take that as I sayit-in no sense whatever can Jesus Christ ever be conceived of as having been guilty. He knew no sin." Not only was he notguilty of any sin which he committed himself, but he was not guilty of our sins. No guilt can possibly attach to a manwho has not been guilty. He must have had complicity in the deed itself, or else no guilt can possibly be laid on him. Jesus Christ stands in the midst of all the divine thunders, and suffers all the punishment,but not a drop of sin ever stained him. In no sense is he ever a guilty man, but always is he an accepted and a holy one.What, then, is the meaning of that veryforcible expression f my text? We must interpret Scriptural modes of expression by the verbage of the speakers. We knowthat our Master once said himself, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood;" he did not mean that the cup was the covenant.He said, "Take, eat, this is my body"-no one of us conceives that the bread is the literal flesh and blood of Christ. We takethat bread as if it were the body, and it actually represents it. Now, we are to read a passage like this, according to theanalogy of faith. Jesus Christ was made by his Father sin for us, that is, he was treated as if he had himself been sin.He was not sin; he was not sinful; he was not guilty; but, he was treated by his Father, as if he had not only been sinful,but as if he had been sin itself. That is a strong expression used here. Not only hath he made him to be the substitute for sin, but to be sin. God lookedon Christ as if Christ had been sin; not as if he had taken up the sins of his people, or asif they were laid on him, though that were true, but as if he himself had positively been that noxious-that God-hating-thatsoul-damning thing, called sin. When the Judge of all the earth said, "Where is Sin?" Christ presented himself. He stood beforehis Father as if he had been the accumulation of all human guilt; as if he himself were that thing which God cannot endure,but which he must drive from his presence for ever. And now see how this making of Jesus to be sin was enacted to thefullest extent. The righteous Lord looked on Christ as being sin, and therefore Christ must be taken without the camp.Sin cannot be borne in God's Zion, cannot be allowed to dwell in God's Jerusalem; it must be taken without the camp, it isa leprous thing, put it away. Cast out from fellowship, from love, from pity, sin must ever be. Take him away, take him away,ye crowd! Hurry him through the streets and bear him to Calvary. Take him without the camp-as was the beast which was offeredforsin without the camp, so must Christ be, who was made sin for us. And now, God looks on him as being sin, and sin mustbear punishment. Christ is punished. The most fearful of deaths is exacted at his hand, and God has no pity for him. How shouldhe have pity on sin? God hates it. No tongue can tell, no soul can divine the terrible hatred of God to that which is evil,and he treats Christ as if he were sin. He prays, but heaven shuts out his prayer; he cries for water, but heaven and earthrefuse to wet his lips except with vinegar. He turns his eye to heaven, he sees nothing there. How should he? God cannotlook on sin, and sin can have no claim on God: "My God, my God," he cries, "why hast thou forsaken me?" O solemn necessity,how could God do anything with sin but forsake it? How could iniquity have fellowship with God? Shall divine smiles rest onsin? Nay, nay, it must not be. Therefore is it that he who is made sin must bemoan desertion and terror. God cannot touchhim,cannot dwell with him, cannot come near him. He is abhorred, cast away; it hath pleased the Father to bruise him; he hathput him to grief. At last he dies. God will not keep him in life-how should he? Is it not the meetest thing in the world thatsin should be buried? "Bury it out of my sight, hide this corruption," and lo! Jesus, as if he were sin, is put away out ofthe sight of God and man as a thing obnoxious. I do not know whether I have clearly uttered what I want to state, but whatarim picture that is, to conceive of sin gathered up into one mass-murder, lust and rapine, and adultery, and all mannerof crime, all piled together in one hideous heap. We ourselves, brethren, impure though we be, could not bear this; how muchless should God with his pure and holy eyes bear with that mass of sin, and yet there it is, and God looked upon Christ asif he were that mass of sin. He was not sin, but he looked upon him as made sin for us. He stands in our place, assumes ourguilt, takes on him our iniquity, and God treats him as if he had been sin. Now, my dear brothers and sisters, let usjust lift up our hearts with gratitude for a few moments. Here we are to-night; we know that we are guilty, but our sins haveall been punished years ago. Before my soul believed in Christ, the punishment of my sin had all been endured. We are notto think that Christ's blood derives its efficacy from our faith. Fact precedes faith. Christ hath redeemed us; faith discovershis;but it was a fact of that finished sacrifice. Though still defiled by sin, yet who can lay anything to he charge of theman whose guilt is gone, lifted bodily from off him, and put upon Christ? How can any punishment fall on that man who ceasesto possess sins, because his sin has eighteen hundred years ago been cast upon Christ, and Christ has suffered in his placeand stead? Oh, glorious triumph of faith to be able to say, whenever I feel the guilt of sin, whenever conscience pricks me,"Yes,it is true, but my Lord is answerable for it all, for he has taken it all upon himself, and suffered in my room, and place,and stead." How precious when I see my debts, to be able to say, "Yes, but the blood of Christ, God's dear Son, hath cleansedme from all sin!" How precious, not only to see my sin dying when I believe, but to know that it was dead, it was gone, itceased to e, eighteen hundred years ago. All the sins that you and I have ever committed, or ever shall commit, if we be heirsof mercy, and children of God, are all dead things.
"Our Jesus nailed them to his cross,
And sung the triumph when he rose."
These cannot rise in judgment to condemn us; they have all been slain, shrouded, buried; they are removed from us as far asthe east is from the west, because "He hath made him to be sinf or us who knew no sin."
III. You see then the reality of the imputation of sin to Christ from the amazing doctrine that Christ is made sin for us.But now notice the concluding thought, upon which I must dwell a moment, but it must be ver briefly, for two reasons, my timehas gone, and my strength has gone too. "THAT WE MIGHT BE MADE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM." Now, here I beg you to notice,that it does not simply say that we might be made righteous, but "that we might be madethe righteousness of God in him;" as if righteousness, that lovely, glorious, God-honouring, God-delighting thing-as if we were actually madethat. God looks on his people as being abstract righteousness, not nly righteous, but righteousness. To be righteous, is as ifa man should have a box covered with gold, the box would then be golden; but to be righteousness is to have a box of solid gold. To be a righteous man is to have righteousness cast over me; but to be maderighteousness, that is to be made solid essential righteousness in the sight of God. Well now, this is a glorious factand a most wonderful privilege, that we poor sinners are made "the righteousness of God in him." God sees no sin in any oneof his people, no iniquity in Jacob, when he looks upon them in Christ. In themselves he sees nothing but filth and abomination,in Christ nothing but purity and righteousness. Is it not, and must it not ever be to the Christian, one of his most delightfulprivileges to know that altogether apart from anything that we have ever done, or can do, God looks upon his people asbeing righteous, nay, as being righteousness, and that despite all of the sins they have ever committed, they are acceptedin him as if they had been Christ, while Christ was punished for hem as if he had been sin. Why, when I stand in my own place,I am lost and ruined; my place is the place where Judas stood, the place where the devil lies in everlasting shame. But whenIstand in Christ's place-and I fail to stand where faith has put me till I stand there-when I stand in Christ's place,the Father's everlastingly beloved one, the Father's accepted one, him whom the Father delighteth to honour-when I stand there,I stand where faith hath a right to put me, and I am in the most joyous spot that a creature of God can occupy. Oh, Christian,get thee up, get thee up into the high mountain, and stand where thy Saviour stands, for that is thy place. Lie notthere on the dunghill of fallen humanity, that is not thy place now; Christ has once taken it on thy behoof. "He madehim to be sin for us." Thy place is yonder there, above the starry hosts, where he hath raised us up together, and made ussit together in heavenly places in him. Not there, at the day of judgment, where the wicked shriek for shelter, and beg forthe hills to cover hem, but there, where Jesus sits upon his throne-there is thy place, my soul. He will make thee to situpon histhrone, even as he has overcome, and has sat down with his Father upon his throne. Oh! That I could mount to the heightsof this argument to-night; it needs a seraphic preacher to picture the saint in Christ, robed in Christ's righteousness, wearingChrist's nature, bearing Christ's palm of victory, sitting on Christ's throne, wearing Christ's crown. And yet this is ourprivilege! He wore my crown, the crown of thorns; I wear his crown, the crown of glory. He wore my dress, nay, rather, heworemy nakedness when he died upon the cross; I wear his robes, the royal robes of the King of kings. He bore my shame; Ibear his honour. He endured my sufferings to this end that my joy may be full, and that his joy may be fulfilled in me. Helaid in the grave that I might rise from the dead and that I may dwell in him, and all this he comes again to give me, tomake it sure to me and to all hat love his appearing, to show that all his people shall enter into their inheritance.
Now, my brothers and sisters, Mr. Maurice, McLeod, Campbell, and their great admirer, Mr. Brown, may go on with their preachingas long as they like, but they will never make a convert of a man who knows what the vitality of religion is; for he who knowswhat substitution means, he who knows what it is to stand where Christ stands, will never care to occupy the ground on whichMr. Maurice stands. He who has ever been made to sit together with Christ, and once to enjoy thereal preciousness of a transfer of Christ's righteousness to him and his sin to Christ, that man has eaten the bread ofheaven, and will never renounce it for husks. No, my brethren, we could lay down our lives for this truth rather than giveit up. No, we cannot by any means turn aside from this glorious stability of faith, and for this good reason, that there isnothing for us in the doctrine which these men teach. It may suit intellectual gentlefolk, I dare say it does; but it willnot suitus. We are poor sinners and nothing at all, and if Christ is not our all in all, there is nothing for us. I have oftenthought the best answer for all these new ideas is, that the true gospel was always preached to the poor;-"The poor have thegospel preached to hem."-I am sure that the poor will never learn the gospel of these new divines, for they cannot make head or tail of it, nor the rich either; for after you have read through one oftheir volumes, you have not the least ideaof what the book is about, until you have read it through eight or nine times, and then you begin to think you are a verystupid being for ever having read such inflated heresy, for it sours your temper and makes you feel angry, to see the precioustruths of God trodden under foot. Some of us must stand out against these attacks on truth, although we love not controversy.We rejoice in the liberty of our fellow-men, and would have them proclaim their convictions; but if they touch theseprecious things, they touch the apple of our eye. We can allow a thousand opinions in the world, but that which infringesupon the precious doctrine of a covenant salvation, through the imputed righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ,-against thatwe must, and will, enter our hearty and solemn protest, as long as God spares us. Take away once from us those glorious doctrines,and where are we brethren? We may lay us down and die, for nothing remains that is worth living for. We have come tothe valley of the shadow of death, when we find these doctrines to e untrue. If these things which I speak to you to-nightbe not the verities of Christ; if they be not true, there is no comfort left for any poor man under God's sky, and it werebetter for us never to have been born. I may say what Jonathan Edwards says at the end of his book, "If any man could disprovethe doctrines of the gospel, he should then sit down and weep to think they were not true, for," says he, "it would be themost dreadful calamity that could happen to the world, to have a glimpse of such truths, and then for them to melt awayin the thin air of fiction, as having no substantiality in them." Stand up for the truth of Christ; I would not have you bebigotted, but I would have you be decided. Do not give countenance to any of this trash and error, which is going abroad,but stand firm. Be not turned away from your stedfastness by any pretence of intellectuality and high philosophy, but earnestlycontend for the faith once delivered to he saints, and hold fast the form of sound words which you have heard of us, andhave been taught, even as ye have read in this sacred Book, which is the way of everlasting life.
Thus then, beloved, without gathering up my strength for the fray, or attempting to analyse the subtleties of those who wouldpervert the simple gospel, I speak out my mind and utter the kindlings of my heart among you. Little enough will ye reck,over whom the Holy Ghost hath given me the oversight, what the grievous wolves may design, if ye keep within the fold. Breaknot the sacred bounds wherein God hath enclosed his Church. He hath encircled us in the arms of covenantlove. He hath united us in indissoluble bonds to the Lord Jesus. He hath fortified us with the assurance that the HolySpirit shall guide us into all truth. God grant that those beyond the pale of visible fellowship with us in this eternal gospelmay see their danger and escape from he fowler's snare!