The Only Offering for Sin
by JOSEPH IRONS
Delivered in Grove Chapel, Camberwell, Sunday Morning, Feburary 2nd, 1851
The epistle to the Hebrews is a most interesting and instructive portion of New Testament Scripture. Being addressed to the Hebrews, the apostle was directed by the Holy Ghost fairly to argue with them relative to the types and shadows of the Law being removed and made to disappear by the coming of the substance. There were many among the Hebrews that were called by God s grace under the ministry of the word; and yet their old prejudices clung so closely to them that the apostle was very anxious to tear them off. It is not a very easy matter even now in this late period of the world, even when grace takes possession of the heart, to get rid of old prejudices, corruptions, superstitions, and habits in winch we may have been trained from our very infancy. These Hebrews were clinging to the ceremonies and to the priests, and to the law with its types and shadows...very similar to those in Galatia to whom the apostle wrote. They were very anxious, while professing to be Christians, to keep up the rite and ordinance of circumcision. Paul writes to them, and says, that whosoever is circumcised is a debtor to do the whole law, If you will go under the law, go under the law. Now in this epistle he takes up the subject of the priesthood, and argues that whoever will cling to a human priesthood must be a Jew under the law; for he argues in this very chapter that as there is a change of priesthood, so is there of necessity a change of the law; that the ceremonial law being abrogated, and the priesthood annulled, another Priest has been appointed, not after their own order, nor those of their tribe. If our Lord had sprung from the tribe of Levi, there might have been some shadow of pretence about the line of succession being kept up; but it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah, of whom Moses spoke nothing concerning the priesthood. The sceptre was to be there - the kingly authority; but the priesthood under the law limited to the tribe of Levi. When the glorious Melchisedec came, the great antitype of that wondrous Man, he assumes the very order and the very character of His priesthood and He is to be both King and Priest - King of Salem, that is, King of Peace. Now it was a serious crime under the law for any man to assume both offices. Uzziah was smitten with leprosy for daring (being a king) to assume the priestly office also. That was reserved for Christ alone, and consequently it was not awful for any human being to assume it. It is this which marks the character of Antichrist; for he would fain be a monarch and a high priest, plainly proving that he is Antichrist. This coupling of the offices pertained only to Melchisedec, and only to him as a type, pointing out what our glorious High Priest should be under the gospel dispensation; and our souls rejoice in the fact that He reigns in heaven King of Salem, King of Peace. He reigns over His Church; He reigns over all things. He controls and arranges all things according to the council of His own will. He rules over all worlds, and holds His very enemies in chains, and says even to devils, "Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further." And yet this precious glorious Lord is made Priest over His Church as well. The Father has sworn, and will not repent, "Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." We have heard of priests in our day who mimic it, and mock it, and who are made so by an oath too - an oath that binds them to murder, when they have opportunity, all that do not think as they do. Their very language is "to persecute, and hunt down, and destroy the heretics to the utmost of their power." My precious Lord had no such oath as that. The glorious High Priest of our profession is sworn to offer the offering, and present the incense, and produce the merit and save and redeem His Church, and glorify all the perfections of Deity; and He came into the world for that express purpose. I reject all other priests then; and the longer I live the more indignant I feel at any human being who should dare to assume the character of an official priest. It is a positive rejection of Christ. The apostle argues this point, and says that Christ is very unlike those priests that went before; for the law made men priests who could not abide because of death; but we wanted one of an unchangeable priesthood, who should never die after having offered his one offering. "He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens." Now observe the point, "Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people s: for this He did once" (and once is enough) - "this He did once, when He offered up Himself."
Now passing by, as much as we can, all those impostors that call themselves priests among men, I want to invite your attention to what is here said of our precious, glorious, exalted Christ. First of all, we would glance at the offering and the offerer - "He offered himself." Then we will look at the illustrious triumphs exhibited in the whole gospel scheme, and in your experience and mine; and then we will look at the sinfulness of rejecting or mocking this one offering for sin.
I. First of all, let us glance at the offering and the offerer. "He offered up Himself." I never knew any other priest do that. Priests under the law, as well as those under the rule of Antichrist and Mahomet (and they are quite akin), offer costly things; but they plunder the people for them. They do not even offer their own property, much less offer themselves. But here is the gracious, glorious High Priest of our profession who could find no offering costly enough. The cattle on a thousand hills were not sufficient. The rivers of the blood of rams and he-goats were not at all valuable except as they were typical; and because no other offering could be found suitable, and acceptable, and sufficient, "He offered Himself - " "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Rev. 13:8)
Oh, pause a moment over this precious offering, and note the voluntary manner in which it was offered - an offering adequate to the purpose for which it was intended. The other priests offered offerings, for their own sins and then for the sins of the people - this glorious Priest found in the one offering of His own precious body and soul an adequate amount of merit for all the sins of all the election of grace, and presented it as such to God the Father. The utmost rigour of the law, and the fullest demands of justice, were met by this offering; He was "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners," without spot and without blemish, well - pleasing to the Father, and accepted in His sight; and, consequently, all the Church is accepted in Him, the Beloved, so efficacious, so adequate to the great work was this offering, that there remained in His Church, for whom it was offered in the sight of a Holy God, "neither spot, nor wrinkle, nor any such thing." That one offering is declared to have perfected for ever them that are sanctified; and their sanctification brings them to the evidence that it was meant for them. How those arrant rogues, and robbers, and plunderers of mankind can cheat and delude the people, by telling them that they want a fresh offering at every mass, and by every ordinance, and by every penance, at the caprice of the priesthood how they can muster effrontery enough, in the face of the Bible, in the face of common sense, in the face of revelation, thus to delude, and deceive, and draw aside the millions of souls that they do, is really a matter of wonder and astonishment, when the words are so expressly recorded, that He has "perfected for ever them that are sanctified." (Heb. 10:14) If I am perfected forever, what do I want with any more offering? My Bible says, there remains no more offering for sin, in express terms. I know that passage has been a stumbling block to some of the Lords children - let me throw in a parenthesis to explain it. "If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin" (Heb. 10:26) - that is, no other. The sinning wilfully is a rejection of Christ, as Arians, and Papists, and Socinians do, rejecting Christ s perfect offering. The language of the Holy Ghost is, "there remaineth no more sacrifice," no other shedding of the blood of the atonement. If this offering be rejected, there remaineth nothing but fearful judgment to be looked for by those who reject it.
Pass on to mark, that this offering, so valuable, so precious, and perfect, and sinless, and acceptable to God the Father, is administered to the faith of God s elect by the Holy Ghost, it is expressly His work and His ministry to plant faith in the heart of a poor, ruined sinner; which faith, as dear Dr. Hawker says, in his portion this morning, is to bring nothing, to find nothing in the creature, to come empty-handed, just to receive the application of blood Divine, by the Holy Ghost administered to personal experience; so that, in the offering itself is found all that is adequate for the sinner s salvation, and redemption of the Church of God, in the Father s acceptance of it, a receipt in full of a demands for the whole Church, and in the Holy Spirit s ministry, the application of it to the hearts of all the election of grace.
Now look a moment at the offerer - "He offered Himself." It is the business of a priest to offer a sacrifice. He goes forth as our Priest after the order of Melchisedec, to offer Himself a sacrifice acceptable unto God.
Here is, first of all, affection. He so loved the Church that He gave Himself for it. He loved His own that were in the world, and loved them unto the end - the end of His labours, the end of His obedience the end of His life. He so loved the Church that the Father had given to Him, that He shed His most precious blood as an act of affection and love. This He did voluntarily; and I dwell on that particularly, because if the voluntary nature of Christ offering were laid aside, the offering would not be worth a straw. If it had been by constraint and violence, unwillingly there would have been no atonement or redemption in it; but here lies the grand point, that while He was appointed by the Father as the substitute and surety of His Church, it was His own voluntary engagement; He not only accepted but requested the appointment. When burnt offering and sacrifices for sin were of no avail, then said I; "Lo, I come." The Father sends the Son, and the Son comes voluntarily.
Moreover, there was affinity. Christ loved His Church as the apostle exhorts husbands to love their wives; as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it, that He might wash it, and cleanse it and present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. We have seen, in several of our late discourses, that His Church is His bride, in the Song of Solomon she is addressed as His sister, His spouse, His love, His fair one, and the like. All through the word of God the affinity is set forth and kept up between Christ and His Church and this affinity moved Him to come and offer Himself, if I may so speak, moved Him to come and die for His Church, moved Him, to come and bear her whole load and burden of guilt, and misery, and ruin upon Himself, and bear her sins in His own body on the tree.
For one moment glance at the agony which this voluntary act involved. If He will be surety, He shall smart for it - if He will put Himself in the place of His bride, His wife, as her bridegroom and husband, He must pay all, and suffer all, and endure all that her transgressions have deserved. Blessings on His precious name, He has done it. The whole amount of Divine wrath poured out like a cataract upon His soul - all the vengeance of stern justice waiting with its sword to smite Jehovah s fellow was felt when He bowed His head and died - all the curse of the law, like barbed arrows, penetrated His very soul. He endured all this for His Church. Look at Him in Gethsemane, count those rolling drops of blood that are squeezed from His holy pores, while He bears your load and mine. Being in an agony His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Precious, precious Lord! How is it that my love to thee is so cold? How is it that I think so little of thee and so much of the infirmities of poor nature?
Go a little further, and you find Him typified under the Old Testament dispensation, and becoming Himself the fulfilment of all its types. Time would fail me here to enter largely upon them, but I will just mention the morning and evening lamb. Constantly as the day returned was a lamb offered under the Mosaic economy in the morning and another in the evening, pointing to and typifying the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." "the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29) Oh, precious Lord, did thy saints in olden time by faith eye thy perfect atonement in all these things? Verily they did. The believing Israelites saw no saving efficacy in the blood that was shed morning and evening upon the Jewish altar, but as they looked from the type to the antitype. They were taught of the Holy Spirit (I mean the spiritual among them), that the blood of bulls, and of goats, and of lambs, and of rams could never take away sin; it must be blood of infinite value, of infinite worth, of an infinite being. Bear with the strong- expression. Infinite being, because infinitude was united with the manhood that suffered, and this put infinite value and importance into the sacrifice and offering He presented before God.
Now just mark, that these types answered their purpose, for the time being, as well as the priesthood that were commanded to keep them up; but the antitype being come, the reality being presented before God, He has made an end of the law, as well as brought us to the end of it. He has made an end of sin, and put it away by the sacrifice of Himself; therefore there remaineth (as we have just said) no more sacrifice for sin. We do not want any more. There remaineth but that one, and it shall remain till the end of time, that every poor, broken-hearted sinner, who wants a sense of forgiving love, and justifying righteousness to put on, may have access to that one offering that has perfected forever them that are sanctified. Oh, Lamb of God, how wondrous is thy work! "What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh," did perform and accomplish perfectly. Ages of offerings of the blood of animals never blotted out one sin - they only pointed to Christ - but the six hours of a precious Christ on the cross carried back a flood of atoning blood to Adam s day, and it rolled its tide forward to the end of time, that the whole election of grace might be for ever exonerated by that one offering "He hath obtained eternal redemption for us," (Heb. 9:12) saith the apostle. I dwell upon that phrase with peculiar delight, because it is so frightfully perverted, amid the doctrine which is current in the present day would render it, "having obtained universal redemption for all." Now would not that be barbarously murdering Christ the Lord? I cannot bear such blasphemy; it is a direct insult to God my Saviour. I like the translation of my English Bible very well; I read it as it stands. "Having obtained eternal redemption for us." "Eternal." Can you put a termination to it? It runs backward to the first transgressor, and it runs forward to the end of time, and then into eternity with its blessings. "Eternal redemption." "Aye," say you, "that little word 'us,' I dare not claim it." Why not? "Having obtained eternal redemption for us." Who was it for? I want the appropriation put forth by you and me upon simple principles. How do you know that some poor slave, under a foreign yoke of tyranny, was redeemed? How would he know it himself? Why, in the first place, he would be thoroughly sick and tired of his chains; in the next place, he would know that the price has been paid for his ransom and, in the third place, he would be set free; and when a man is set free he will not stay under the yoke of the tyrant any longer, he will be off to his own country. Now, you and I may know it in the same manner. I know, that for several years was thoroughly sick and tired of the devil s chains and slavery, and I found out, to my sacred joy, that the ransom price was paid, not with corruptible things, "such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, (1 Pet. 1:18,19) as of a Lamb slain before the foundation of the world." Well, what then? I know that God brought me out of Satan s slavery, and the love and allowed practice of sin, and the Son of God made me free, Now I mean to say, that this eternal redemption is for you if you can join me in these things. Having obtained eternal redemption for us. Lay hold of it, beloved, by faith, if God enable you, and go and plead it at the throne, and never fear losing it - it cannot be lost - it includes all the blessings of the gospel for time, all the fullness of the covenant for enriching the Church, and all the glories of heaven for everlasting possession.
Well, this He did officially, relatively, not as a common - place sufferer, but under appointment, and, consequently, under responsibility. This He did as the covenant Head, in the name and on behalf of His whole Church; and He did it openly in His life and death, before all worlds. His obedience was manifested before the world as well as before God. He was lifted up to be the gaze of all worlds upon the cross, and He had said, "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me." (John 12:32) Therefore, when, I view the Person and perfect work of Christ, once offering Himself on behalf of His Church, I treat with the utmost contempt all those beings who would pretend to offer any other offering.
II. Let us glance, in the second place, at the illustrious triumphs of this one offering. The apostle in addressing the Colossians, tells them concerning these illustrious triumphs, that lie spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of then openly on His cross, triumphing over them in it. (Col. 2:15) The triumphs are vast and extensive, and they shall never be subdued. I know very well that Arminians want to sully the triumphs of Christ, and pluck the laurel from His brow to put it upon free - will. They will be sure to tarnish it if they put it there and if not, I should like to set fire to it and burn it. It belongs only to Jesus and He shall wear it forever and ever.
The first feature of these triumphs we see in new covenant terms of salvation met and fulfilled. Terms? Say you. Yes, terms - not made with man though, nor left to man. If they were, woe to the whole race of Adam. Do treasure up this sentence, if one single contingency could be introduced into God s method of saving sinners, the whole race of Adam would be damned to all eternity. Do not forget that, I am determined to war with Arminianism as long as I have breath. Just mark, then, what these terms are. They cannot be terms with the creatures. Oh yes, say some, there are terms with the creature, It is if he will pray, and if he will believe, and if he will repent, and if he will improve the grace given. Well, then, as I have just said, perdition is the lot of every child of man. But instead of repenting being a term, my Bible tells me that Jesus says it is a free gift; then it cannot be a contingency. If contingencies and conditions form part of my salvation, Jesus can be no longer the giver of it; but my Bible tells, me that he is its author and finisher. If improving grace is to be a term, then I wonder where the power and the will comes from. You know what improvement you have made if you know your own hearts - you have got worse and worse every day. But if I look upon sovereign grace conquering corruption, conquering old Adam, conquering the spirit and love of the world, then I look at it as His own act and deed, as well as His gift. Away with all conditions and terms only as they belong to Christ. Still, there are terms of salvation, and let me mark what they are. Why Jehovah says He will by no means clear the guilty; then if a man be saved at all his guilt must be cleared away, or there is no salvation for him, for God says He will by no means clear the guilty. Then my precious Lord, by His one offering, has cleared away the guilt, borne away the entire mass from His Church, so that there is, therefore, now no condemnation, and Jehovah looks on and says, He has not seen iniquity in Jacob, nor perverseness in Israel; (Num. 23:21) and when their iniquities are sought for they shall not be found, and when asked after, there shall be none. (Jer. 50:20) And why is this? Because Jesus met the terms, allowed the whole mass of guilt and transgression which pertained to His Church to be laid upon Him, and the Father Himself did it. "The Lord had laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Isa. 53:6)
Go on to mark, that in this New Testament terms which are met there is another condition-"without holiness no man shall see the Lord." (Heb. 12:14) What a mercy that this is not left to you or me! Our precious, glorious High Priest, who offered Himself, imparts His own life, his own nature and will, sends down His Holy Spirit, to take possession of the souls of all for whom He bled, that they may stand complete in His holiness of God. Not the holiness of old Adam nature. All we can say about that is the subduing, and conquering, and mortifying, and putting it off. I do not believe I have any more holiness in my nature than I had forty years ago; but, I bless God, He has enabled me to subdue its corruptions. It is the holiness of God-"Christ in you the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27) - the Holy Ghost working mightily and effectually in the soul, that meetens us for the enjoyment of God.
Moreover, if I may mention, a third term, I would say it is the being clad in a spotless, perfect, sinless righteousness for justification. Where is the man to get it? The Scribes and the Pharisees thought they had got it, but the Saviour said to His disciples, "Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisee, ye shall in nowise enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:20) Where is it to come from, then? Hear what Jehovah, by His prophet Isaiah, says. The prophet was directed to set it down, that everything pertaining to the creature should wear out as a garment, and that the moth should eat up all creature excellencies; but, says God, "My righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation shall not be abolished." (Isa. 51:6) That is an everlasting righteousness. Paul perfectly understood it, and blessedly appropriated it, when he said, "That I might be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which, is of the law, but the righteousness which is of God by faith." (Phil. 3:9) Observe, He would not put a little of His own and then bring in the righteousness of Christ as a make weight, but He would be stripped of everything that the creature could claim, and have nothing but the righteousness of God put upon Him. There our precious Christ presents to our view, in His illustrious triumphs, all the new covenant terms met and fulfilled.
Again, His enemies are all vanquished and an expiation accomplished in behalf of all His Church. "O death, I will be thy plague; O grave, I will be thy destruction," (Hos. 13:14) said He. "He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet." Principalities and powers are spoiled by Him, the old serpent s head bruised, the sting of death removed, the transgressions under the first covenant annihilated. The scapegoat having taken them all away, and He is going on now in His illustrious triumphs to subdue sinners hearts, and to bring those who were His enemies by wicked works, to be reconciled to God by the death of His Son, by the application of His blood, that they shall love, and serve, and honour, and glorify Him whom they once neglected, if not despised and blasphemed. That work is going on now, and my earnest prayer to God is (I hope it is yours), that it may go on this morning, that some enemies to God by wicked works may be subdued, and conquered, and reconciled by the blood of the Lamb. Bear with one bold remark here, that there is no religion under heaven worth possessing, but that which is obtained by His victory over the heart, it must be a conquest or it will never be lasting. That religion which is so tamely imbibed, so gently sucked in as with the mother s milk so tenderly taught in time schools, and the like - it will leave its possessor to go to hell, unpardoned, unsanctified, unjustified undone for ever and ever. When Christ carries on His triumphs over his enemies, He meets a sinner as His enemy, and His sword being girded on His thigh, as the Psalmist has it, and His quiver full of arrows they stick fast in the hearts of His enemies and the people fall under Him - He conquers them. Now I should like my hearers to be honest enough with themselves to ask, "How did I get my religion? Did I buy it? Did I earn it? did I make it? Did I learn it of creatures?" Beloved you may sell the whole of it - it is not worth a groat. If you ask me how I got mine I will tell you. It was in the manner I have - been hinting at. Omnipotent grace subdued this rebellious heart - the Holy Ghost, by his invincible power, imparted a life which I did not possess; having imparted it, He called it into exercise, and then, by his operations, repentance and a cry for mercy and a clinging to the cross, and a laying hold of the hope set before me, became imperative. The conquest of the heart is one of Jesus' triumphs.
Moreover, the expiation coupled with it includes the whole Church of God. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world." More than one interpretation might be given of that verse; but the most simple, and straightforward, and literal is this - not for the sins of Jews only, or apostles exclusively, but for all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues, all over the world. Well, then, then, this expiation being made, the one offering presented, all the transgressions and sins of the Lord s Israel atone for and blotted out (or, as we first said, expiated), what is there before the Church, what is there before the sinner that feels his need of Christ, but just simply to go on accepting and enjoying all he finds in Christ. Talk of what the sinner is to do. Ah my hearer, all we can do is to undo. Our glory is, not in what we can do, but in what God does for us, and in us; - and therefore we rejoice in the fact, that, having put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself we have nothing to do (as I have said) but to go on accepting and enjoying, accepting and enjoying. If I come to a promise. I want the hand of faith to grasp it as my own - to accept of it as spoken by God my Father, and as being infallibly yea and amen in God my Saviour, revealed, applied, and melted down into personal experience and enjoyment, by the operation of God the Holy Ghost. If I come to a privilege, it is mine, because my sins are expiated by the blood of Christ. If I open my eyes to the prospect of my entering eternity, it is very bright and glorious. Why? Because there is no sin, and therefore no condemnation in my way now. Nay, more, having "passed from death unto life," (John 5:24) my Bible says, I "shall not come into condemnation." (Rom. 8:1) Oh, the prospect is bright while Jesus is kept in view. Only let the Sun of Righteousness shine upon us, and our prospects for eternity must be brightened.
Just pass on to observe, that this precious, glorious High Priest of our profession has opened His new and living way unto the throne of God for all that the Father gives into His hands and will infallibly bring them all home to everlasting glory. So that the illustrious triumphs which He has accomplished, by His offering up Himself once has manifested and made sure and certain the entire and eternal salvation of all the Church of God, together with, the honour and glory of the Divine perfections and attributes, and His mediatorial honour. I wish our good friends, for the more part, would study the names and characteristic representations of our blessed Lord, as that of Mediator. A mediator is not a mediator of one, but of two parties - the mediator comes between - and our Jesus has manifested the glory of His mediatorial office by thus coming between as the great High Priest of His Church, and offering, in His own Person, to glorify all the attributes of Deity, and to meet all the exigencies of the entire family of God. That manifests His glory. He has not done His work by halves, as base Arminianism would insinuate, and left a great deal for the creature to do. "It is finished" was His cry when He bowed His head and gave up the ghost; and now it is our happiness to enjoy a finished salvation to our Mediators glory. Nor has He done with His mediation now; He is preparing a place for His blood-bought family, and He goes to the Father with all their concerns, ever living to intercede for them; and He comes down to His earthly courts- I believe He is here this morning - and tells of truth, reveals the Father s love, holds fellowship and communion with His children, and does as He says, "I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you." (John 14:18) He is the blessed and glorious Mediator now.
III. - I hasten, in the third place, to say a word or two, and perhaps rather severely, relative to the sinfulness of either rejecting or mocking this one offering for sin. And I do not know whether I should detain you much here, were it not for the alarming signs of the times. Who would have believed, thirty years ago, that England would have swallowed down Popery by wholesale as it has done? I remember dear old Dr. Hawker, about as long ago as that, positively laughed at the idea - "What! Think of entering into controversy with Popery now, at this late period; it is a thing never to be entered upon or thought of." What would he say now, when, in the most plausible and Jesuitical forms, Popery is palmed upon millions in dear old England and its colonies, in such wise as to be accounted a reasonable, and proper, and excellent thing? Now! I want to show my hearers, in case they might meet with any of these Jesuits, that their religion is altogether a mockery of Christ and of Christianity. The extolling of the merits of masses is a blasphemous insult to Christ, whether I look at it among mock Protestants, or among those dreadful deceivers that we commonly call priests. In either case, Christ is rejected and mocked. If there need any sacrifice of the mass, which they tell us is continually offered up, then Christ sacrifice is not worth my accepting - I reject Him at once if I want any other. I cannot possibly look for merit in the creature without believing that the merit of Christ is not sufficient - I cannot look for merit in creature doing without announcing in that very act, that l am not satisfied that Christ spoke the truth when He said, "It is finished." If it is finished, an eternal redemption is obtained; any pretention to add to it is nothing less than a blasphemous insult to Christ I would use stronger language if could find it; but I merely notice the facts, leaving you to make what God shall enable you of them.
The whole farrago of the free-will scheme is, in fact, abstract Popery; and I believe all the Arminians will go over to Popery in the great crisis. They got their Arminianism from Rome - let them carry it back again, we shall be very glad to get rid of them, if there be some saving efficacy in prayer, or in repentance (or, as they call it, penance), then there is something incomplete in Christ - then He had not gone to the end of the law - then He had not satisfied justice-then He had not fully glorified the Father on the earth, which He declared He had done. Popery and Arminianism make Christ out to be a wilful liar. Nothing softer than this can I use. My hearer, if you will only look at yourself as a guilty, ruined sinner, as the Bible sets forth, you must come to the conclusion that nothing can meet your case but a perfect salvation, the redemption in Christ Jesus, which can allow of no addition, and all attempts to add thereto are a rejection and a mockery of Christ.
Now, having named these things as boldly as I can, I want just to remind you, that negotiation with, the Father is not attainable by any human power, but in and by this offering. "No man cometh to the Father but by me." "Yes," says the lying priest, "you can come by me; or I will go for you if you will give me plenty of money." I will not believe those lying priests - I will believe my Lord, who is a Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. "No man can come unto the Father but by me;" and all that would stand in my way I would push on one side and say, "Hinder me not, my Advocate is on high - His blood is sprinkled on my conscience - His offering is made once for all - I am coming direct to the throne to plead His merits and righteousness and I will not be hindered by mortals; I will go straight to the throne, and name no other name but His, for 'there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.'" (Acts 4:12) Oh, if my brethren in the ministry would but speak out these things; we should heave Antichrist overboard, I do believe, even now. May God grant it!
Now, what is our negotiation with God? Nothing by way of merit, nothing by way of righteousness, nothing by way of acceptance - that is all done. I do not know how it is with you, but I am obliged to come day by day, with my empty sack, for a multitude of wants to be supplied. I want more grace, more life, more love, more activity in all graces, more deadness to the world, more fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, more power of conquest over inbred corruptions, the world, the flesh, and the devil. I want supplies of all needful grace. Now I cannot get access to the throne to obtain any of these supplies but by virtue of this one offering. Do you want any other? This is enough for me. I have been pleading it between forty and fifty years, and I have never found it to fail, and I mean to go on pleading it so long as I stay upon earth; and my Lord has graciously told me, that those who thus come to Him shall have no good thing withheld from them. Go to the footstool of Divine mercy, guilt-burdened sinner, and name the blood and righteousness of Christ. Go and point the Father to His sufferings in Gethsemane and on Calvary. Go and tell what Christ has done - perfected for ever them that are sanctified, and dare assert, under all the load of your guilt, "Lord, I believe in the efficacy and power of that offering;" and go on till you are enabled to say, I believe it was offered for me." Then begins your peace and happiness.
I pray you to mark, once more, that all our negotiations must be successful when the name, and merit, and righteousness of Jesus are pleaded. Thus leads me to the last thought, that the trust and confidence of all the elect of God will be found placed there.
This marks the election of grace. And, beloved, carry this one thought with you, that all the elect of God, wherever placed on earth, are invariably brought, sooner or later, to this point of trust and confidence - to renounce all other hopes and dependencies, and to rest not in frames and feelings, not in sensible enjoyments, not in sufferings, but to confide exclusively in the Person, official character, and perfect work of the Lord Jesus Christ. And whoever is brought there by the power of the Holy Ghost is an elect vessel of mercy, afore prepared unto glory, and shall eternally enjoy the presence of that Christ in His unveiled glory, who offered Himself once for all to redeem His Church. For it is written, "He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied." And again, "He shall see His seed." (Isa. 53:10,11) Therefore, all who are brought by grace Divine to trust in this one offering, to the exclusion of all others, must infallibly gain the realms of everlasting glory.
Judge then, beloved, whether It be wiser or safer to trust to the fabulous teaching of a sinful, self-interested priesthood, who tell you of a multitude of sacrifices and offerings of which they are the dispensers, at a very dear rate, and which, after all, leave you entangled in contingencies and uncertainties, nay, in certain ruin, or to take the infallible word of God as your guide, and trust that one offering, offered once for all, upon Mount Calvary, for the expiation of the guilt of all the election of grace? The former is the trap of priest-craft, the trickery of Satan, and the tribute of fools; but the latter is the truth of God, the triumph of faith, and the testimony of real Christianity. Now in matters of merchandize, every man s common sense would immediately decide where such a wide disparity exists but, wonderful as it may appear, in matters of the highest importance uniformly decides in favour of delusion, until the grace of God opens his understanding to understand the scriptures, and creates in him a capacity to discover the difference between things spiritual and things natural, or between material things and things immaterial. Even the avowed Infidel, if he were only to use his boasted reasoning powers, would see that lie help He is giving to the advancement of Popery must terminate in the destruction of his idol, the LIBERTY OF THE PRESS; for wherever Popery is ascendant in power, the liberty of the press is quite suppressed then follows the liberty of principle, after that the liberty of property and the liberty of persons so that the word liberty, which is the charm of the present age, will be a annihilated as soon as Popery obtains its full power and the wild libertinism of modern times will be exchanged for the most degrading bondage and vassalage ever known on earth. Would to God that men would think!
But where spiritual understanding is bestowed, and vital godliness is possessed, the Bible will be the lamp of the feet and the guide of the path, and consequently the atonement of Christ will be the only object of faith, to the utter rejection of priestcraft, with all its lying wonders and unwarrantable pretensions. Being under the teaching of the Holy Ghost, His testimony of Jesus is received and embraced with delight, which testimony the apostle was inspired to record thus, "By Him all that believe are justified from all things from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." And again, "Being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." (Rom. 5:9) Faith receives these testimonies and sings, "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to be riches of His grace." (Eph. 1:7)
Oh, may that infallible Testifier of Jesus perform His office among us now, applying these fundamental truths with power Divine and invincible to your hearts, and Israel s Triune Jehovah shall have all the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
THE 168TH SONG OF MR. IRONS NEW VERSION OF THE PSALMS,