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On the Cleansing Virtue of Christ's
“ In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David,
and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.” -ZECHARIAH, xiii. 1.
THEY that be whole need not a physician, but 1 the sick stand in need of his advice and help. The persons who feel no malady of sin see not their want of a Saviour. They are not in pain, and there. fore they desire no remedy; but it is otherwise with the convinced sinner. He feels the misery of sin: he suffers the torment of it in his guilty conscience, and earnestly seeks for relief. : No person in exquisite pain ever cried out for help with greater fervency than he does. He has heard of the almighty physician, and of his great reacliness to heal all distressed objects who come unto him, and therefore he earnestly implores his assistance. How comfortable to his afflicted soul is such a scripture as this, when explained and applied to him by the Spirit of God. In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of Dávid, and to tbe inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness." He hears the words with joy, and blesses God for having opened a fountain for
such polluted sinners as he is, to wash in and be clean: he believes the record that God gave of his Son, namely, that his blood cleanseth from all sin, and through faith he finds great joy and peace in receiving redemption through the blood of Jesus, even the forgiveness of sins. But the case is quite different with those who have never been in any concern about their souls. They may give a kind of simple assent to such scriptures as this; perhaps they may be convinced that they shall want to be cleansed from sin some time or other, but at present they see no absolute necessity for it; they have no painful sense of the malady of sin, nor no apprehension of their danger, and therefore they give themselves no uneasiness about the great physician of souls: but the less they are concerned for themselves the more ought we, who are sensible of their danger, to be concerned for them. We ought to preach the law to them, by which is the
knowledge of sin, and to set before them their pollu• tion and their guilt, and the misery and punishment
to which they are subject;'and we ought to look up to God for his blessing, that he would set home, and apply by his grace to their consciences, what we speak to the outward ear. And when he has convinced them of the dangerous state in which they live, before they are washed in the fountain of Christ's blood, and they earnestly desire and pray to be washed in it, then we may safely preach to them the comfurts of the gospel, and the infinite riches of a Saviour's love. Then we may exhort them to wash and be clean; though their sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, when washed in the fountain of the Redeemer's blood; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. May the Lord God, who opened this fountain, be with us this day to apply its cleansing, healing virtue! May his good Spirit awaken the careless and profane sinner to see his pollution and guilt ! May he increase the desires and strengthen the longings of those who are waiting for the blood of sprinkling, and may he edify and comfort his own people by means of what shall be said in order to determine,
First, what the fountain is which is mentioned in the text.
Secondly, the time when it was opened, here said to be a particular day.
Thirdly, the wonderful property of this fountain; it could cleanse and do away the pollution of sins of the deepest dic; and then,
Fourthly, by what means and in what way sinners receive and partake of its cleansing property.
It will not require many words to determine what the fountain is. There is a circumstance mentioned in the text which will easily settle this point. It is said to be opened for sin and for uncleanness. Now wbat fountain could it be which had the wonderful property of cleansing from sin ? The scripture has laid down this infallible rule-without shedding of blood there is no l'emission : and the shedding of what blood ever obtained remission ? Did the blood of the sacrifices under the law? No. “ To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I delight not in the blood of bullocks or of lambs, or of he-goats; (Isaiah, i. 11 ;) for I desired mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings;" (Hos. vi. 6.) He commanded sacrifice, but not in preference to mercy, Men were not to rest in the sacrifice, as if its blood could atone, but to look with faith at the great sacrifice which the mercy of God had provided, and which was to make a full atonement for sin, and to bring in everlasting righteousness. This was the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. No blood but his ever did, or could, atone. If all the cattle upon a thousand bills had been offered up, they could not have taken away the least sin. If a man had given the fruit of his body for the sin of his soul, still his sin would have remained. If he had repented, his repentance without faith in the blood of Christ could not have obtained remission. There would be occasion to repent of his repentance. If he was to shed rivers of tears, yea, tears of blood, these very tears would want washing. Nothing can cleanse and do away sin but some divine and infinitely precious blood, and in whom is there any such ? Not in a mere creature. A creature has blood, but none that has any virtue to cleanse a sinner from the pollution and guilt of sin. This is the property of the Lamb of God, who being both God and man, in the person of one Christ, did thereby give a divine and infinite virtue to the blood which he shed, so that it can cleanse from all sin. Here then is the fountain. It is the most precious blood of Christ, which is always sending out its virtue, as a fountain is always sending out water. Its cleansing streams have never stopped since there was sin to cleanse, and they can never be exhausted. Whoever washes therein shall be made clean, let him have been ever so defiled or polluted. The pool of Bethseda was a lively image of this fountain. After the angel went down and troubled the water, then whosoever first stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. As this cured every bodily, so does the blood of Christ cure every spiritual disease : for it takes away sin, which is the cause of all diseases, and obtains eternal redemption,
Are any of you, my brethren, thoroughly sensible of the defiling nature of sin, and do you find how offensive it makes you in the eyes of an holy God? Has the angel of the covenant come down and troubled your consciences, and are you convinced that nothing can cleanse you but the blood of Jesus Christ? Then believe his word and rely upon his promise, that if you" polluted souls be washed in this fountain, how filthy and defiled soever they be, they shall be made clean: for it can cleanse from all sin. Are your pollutions numerous, of a long continuance, i and of the deepest dye? The blood of Christ can infallibly cleanse them, and make them as white as snow : because it partakes of the infinite and divine nature of the God-man Christ Jesus. He who open
ed this fountain for sin was God and man united in one Christ, whereby the actions of the one nature may properly be ascribed to and predicated of the other. The man Jesus had blood to sbed, but he who shed it was God as well as man, and therefore it is called by St. Paul 6 the blood of God :" for as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ. The manhood suffered and bled, the Godhead merited infinitely by those sufferings, and by that blood-shedding; and so the one Christ who suffered and bled, merited infinitely, according to what the apostle John says, “ that God laid down his life for us," and the ends and purposes for which God laid it down could not possibly be defeated. Hear this, ye poor, guilty sinners, whose consciences are troubled with a sense of your many and great pollutions. The Lord God has opened a fountain for such as you are to wash in and be clean, and he has given to it a divine and almighty virtue to cleanse all manner of sins. His power is present to make it an all-perfect cleanser. O that God may enable you to make use of it! Is it not your heart's desire, that you may be clean ? And here are the means. The fountain stands open. What hinders you then from washing in it, and having your consciences purged from dead works? You cannot doubt of its virtue. Has it not cleansed sinners, who were once as black as hell; a Manasseh, a Mary Magdalen, a Saul ? Put it then to the trial. Believe the record wbich God has given of it. Apply to it for the cleansing of your souls, and it will infallibly take effect. Ali the sinners from Adam to Christ, who have been admitted into the presence and kingdom of God, were cleansed from every spot and stain of sin in this fountain ; and all sinners, from Christ to the end of the world, must wash their robes in the same fountain, if they appear in spotless purity before God. But al. though this fountain has had its all-cleansing virtue ever since the fall, yet there was a fixed time in the council of God, called in the text, in that day, when.