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all attendant privileges, (which was the faith of the Jews concerning them) and the repetition of them invincibly proves that they could not of themselves effect that end.
Hence we may see both the obstinacy and miserable state of the present Jews. The law plainly declares, that without atonement by blood there is no remission of sins; this they expect by the sacrifices of the law, and their frequent repetition; but these they have been utterly deprived of for many generations, and therefore they must, on their own principles, die in their sins and under the curse.
And it is hence also evident, that the superstition of the church of Rome in their mass, (wherein they pretend to offer, and every day to repeat, a propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the living and the dead) doth evidently demonstrate, that they virtually disbelieve the efficacy of the one sacrifice of Christ as once offered, for the expiation of sin.
$3. (I.) The “worshippers” (ou 107pɛvovies) are the same with the comers (ou WPOGESXOMLEVO!) in the verse foregoing; and in each place not the priests, but the people for whom they offered, are intended; and concerning them it is supposed, that if the sacrifices of the law could make them perfect, then would they have been purged; wherefore the latter (xabepileobul) is the effect of the former (TEREwca.) If the law did not make them perfect, then were they not purged.
This sacred (sæbepomos) purification takes away the condemning power of sin from the conscience, which was introduced on account of its guilt.
$4. “They should have had no more conscience of sins;” rather, they should not any farther have any conscience of sins. The meaning of the word is singularly well expressed in the Syriac translation: "they
should have no conscience agitating, (tossing, disquieting, perplexing) for sins;” no conscience judging and condemning their persons for the guilt of sin, so depriving them of solid peace with God: it is (ouvaidyow Queblowy) conscience, with respect to the guilt of sins, as it binds over the sinner to punishment in the judgment of God; now this is not to be measured by the apprehension of the sinner, but by the true causes and grounds of it—that sin was not perfectly expiated.
The way and means of our interest in the sacrifice of Christ, is by faith only; now, even in this state, it often falls out, that true believers have a conscience, judging and condemning them for sin, no less than they had under the law; but this trouble of conscience doth not arise hence, that sin is not perfectly expiated by the sacrifice of Christ, but only from an apprehension, that they have not a due interest in that sacrifice, and its benefits. On the contrary, under the Old Testament, they questioned not their due interest in their sacrifices, which depended on the performance of the rites belonging to them; but their consciences charged them with the guilt of sin, through an apprehension that their sacrifices could not perfectly expiate it; and this they found themselves led to by God's instituted repetition of them, which had not been done, if they could ever make the worshippers perfect; but in the use of them, and by their frequent repetition, they were taught to look continually to the great expiatory sacrifice, whose virtue was laid up for them in the promise, whereby they had peace with God.
85. “But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year;" (anaz) but, this note of introduction sufficiently intimates the nature of the argument insisted on: had the worshippers been per- . fected, they would have no more conscience for sins;
but, saith he, it was not so; for God appoints nothing in vain, and he not only appointed the repetition of these sacrifices, but also, that, in every repetition of them. there should be a remembrance made of sin, as of that which was yet to be expiated. (Ev autous) in them; “in these sacrifices,” we supply the defect of the verb substantive by, there is;" for there is no more in the original than, “but in them a remembrance again of sins,” the sacrifices intended are principally those of the solemn day of expiation; for he speaks of them that were repeated yearly, which are peculiarly fixed on, because of the solemnity of their offering, and the interest of the whole people in them at once. By these, therefore, they looked for the perfect expiation of sin.
“A remembrance again made of sin;" that is, by virtue of divine institution, whereon depends the force of the arguinent; for this “remembrance of sin,” by God's own institution, was such as suíficiently evidenced, that the offerers had yet a conscience condemning them for sins, and hereby the apostle proves effectually, that these sacrifices did not make the worshippers perfect. Their confession of sio was in order to and preparatory for, a new atonement and expiation of it; our remembrance of sin, and confession of it, respects only the application of the virtue, and efficacy of the atonement o ce made, without the least desire, or expectation of a new propitiation. Their remembrance of sin respected the curse of the law, which was to be answered, and the wrath of God, which was to be appeased; ours respect only the application of these benefits of the sacrifice of Christ to our own consciences, whereby we have assured peace with God.
$6. (II.) Hence we may infer,
ing right and power, by virtue of the sacrifice of Christ is the foundation of all other privileges we receive by the gospel. Where this is not, there is no real participation of any other.
2. All peace with God is resolved into a purging atonement made for sin, "being once purged.”
3. It is by a principle of gospel light alone, that conscience is directed to condemn all sin, and yet to acquit all sinners that are purged; its own natural light can give it no guidance in this matter.
87. 1. An obligation to such ordinances of worship as could not expiate sin, nor testify that it was perfectly expiated, was part of the bondage of the church under the Old Testament.
2. It belongs to the light and wisdom of faith so to remember sin, and make confession of it, as not thereby to seek for a new atonement for it, which is made "once for all.”
Confession of sin is no less necessary under the New Testament, than it was under the Old; but not for the same end. The causes and reasons of confession now are to affect our own minds and consciences with a sense of the guilt of sin in itself, so as to keep us humble, and fill us with self abasement. He who hath no sense of sin but what consists in a dread of future judgment, knows little of the mystery of our walk before God, and obedience to him; wherefore we do not (as the manner of some is) make confession of sin a part of compensation for the guilt
, or a license for the practice of it.
VERSE 4. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goals should take
$1. The important ends of instituting the legal sacrifices, though they could not take away sins 2 The impossibility of atonement being made by them, in the nature of the thing. $3, Taking away sin what. $4. How impossible by the blood of bulls and goats. $5. Observations,
şi. There is no difficulty in the words, and very little difference in the translations of them; “by the blood of bulls and goats,” he intends all the sacrifices of the law; now, if it be impossible that they should take away sin, for what end then were they appointed?
T'he answer which the apostle gives, with respect to the law, in general, may be applied (with a small addition, from a respect to their special nature,) to the sacrifices of it, “they were added to the promise, because of iransgressions.” For God in and by them continually represented to sinners the curse and sentence of the law; or, that death was the wages of sin; for although there was allowed in them a commutation, that the sinner himself should not die; but the beast that was sacrificed in his stead (which belonged to their second end of leading to Christ) yet they all testified to the sacred truth, that it is the judgment of God that “they who commit sin are worthy of death.” He let no sin pass without a representation of his displeasure against it, though mixed with mercy directing to relief against it, in the blood of the sacrifice. Again; they were added as the teaching of a schoolmaster to lead to Christ. By them was the church taught, and directed to look continually after that sacrifice, which alone could really take away all sin; and in this consisted, we may affirm,' the principal exercise of grace under the Old Testament economy.