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robes, and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said unto me, these are they who came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." -Rev. vii. 14. These precious robes, in which they appear before God, and stand confirmed for ever and ever in bliss, were washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb, and this gives them an eternal purity and an endless glory.
Has not the fountain, then, which was opened for sin and for uncleanness a divine property, since believers receive from it all the graces of time and all the blessings of eternity? The scriptures which I have quoted ascribe to it the wonderful power of cleansing from all sin, and that for ever. Sins of the greatest guilt, scarlet.crimson, sins, whose deep dye cannot be taken out by any other
means, washed in the blood of the Lamb become as white as snow : and the fountaiii which has this infinite virtue stands open night and day. It cleanses freely, without money and without price. Whoscever will, let him come, and be made clean. The Spirit and the bride invite him, and say, come, and let him that heareth say, come, and let him that desires to be cleansed,
Come and try its virtue, and it will infallibly succeed. Though thousands and ten thousand times, ten thousand sinners have washed in it, and been made clean, yet it has lost none of its virtue. Still it is almighty to do away sin. Whoever is washed in the blood of Christ is made clean and pure to all eternity. My brethren, do you believe this? And do you desire to experience its cleansing virtue? Have you been convinced of the polluting nature of sin, and how it has defiled your souls, and rendered theni in the sight of an holy God more filthy and abominable than the most loathsome object is in our eyes, and would you be made clean freely by the blood of the Lamb of God? Is this the prayer of your heart? “ I am convinced that God is of
than to behold the least iniquity, and I am nothing but ini
quity. O that the Lamb of God would take pity on me, and out of his mere love and mercy cleanse my polluted soul from every spot and stain of sin! Í believe nothing else can cleanse me but his most precious blood, and it cannot cleanse unless it be applied and received by faith : Lord, apply it then for ihy mercies' sake, and wash my soul in the fountain which was opened for sin and for uncleanness !” If these be your real desires, you will follow me profitably to the considération of the
Fourth particular I was to treat of, namely, by what means and in what way sinners receive and partake of its cleansing property. Although Christ has shed his blood, and although it can cleanse from all sin, yet it cannot cleanse unless it be applied. You can have no benefit from it, unless it be sprinkled upon your consciences. By the shedding of it he obtained merit to cleanse, but the efficacy of it in cleansing comes from the application. The law pointed out this in the sprinkling of the blood of the sacrifices, and particularly in the cleansing of the leper. When the priest had examined him, and found the plague of the leprosy was healed, then the leper was to bring his sacrifice, and it was offered for him, and its blood was shed, but he was not pronounced legally clean until the blood was sprinkled upon him. The shedding of the blood did not cleanse without the application. And these figures of the law are applied to Christ in the new testament. The apostle Paul speaks of the sprinkling of the heart from an evil conscience, and the apostle Peter shows what it is which is able thus to cleanse the heart, namely, the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. This speaketh better things than that of Abel. Abel's blood cried for vengeance, but Christ's blood cries for mercy; and when it is applied, it sprinkles the heart from an evil conscience, and purges it from dead works, to serve the living God.
This consideration brings us to meditate upon the office of the Holy Spirit. As Christ covenanted to
shed his blood, so the Holy Spirit covenanted to apply the merits of it, and to render it effectual to the sinner's heart. This is his office-character: he was to take of the things of Christ and to show them unto us, to show us our want of them. And in the present case he was to convince sinners that they wanted cleansing, and that there was a fountain opened for uncleanness, and by his grace he enables them to wash and be clean. As there can be no outward washing away of any pollution but by an outward application, so there can be no inward cleansing but by his spiritual application. If there was a bath famous for curing some particular disease, you know it could not cure the diseased person, unless he was bathed in it: so neither can this fountain. It was opened for use, and whoever is cleansed by it must be washed in it, inwardly and spiritually, by the Holy Spirit. He applies, and faith receives, the benefit of that blood which cleanseth from all sin : for the apostle, speak ing of Christ, says, “whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood."-Rom. iii. 25. The shedding of his blood had merit to cleanse, , but faith apprehends it and receives its cleansing vira tue. That faith which is the gift of the Holy Spirit, and is wrought in the heart by his operation, relies upon the blood of Christ, and puts its whole trust and confidence in its power to cleanse, and then finds the heart sprinkled with it from an evil conscience, guilt being taken out, and peace brought in, with love and joy, aud all the graces of the Spirit of God.
From what has been said it appears, that there is a fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness, and that the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse from all sin. It had this virtue given it by the covenant of grace, when the holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity agreed to give their power to it, and nothing can resist the power of the Godhead. He who shed it was God and man in one person. As God, he was co-equal and co-eternal with the Father; and when he took our nature, that in it he might obey and suffer for
sinners, nothing could be wanting to render his obedience and sufferings absolutely complete: for all the 'works of God are perfect-nothing can be added to them, or taken from them. When Jesus shed his blood upon the cross, it was the will of the ever-blessed Trinity that this blood should be of infinite efficacy to take away sin. It cannot want power to cleanse, because the whole power of the Godhead is engaged to make it effectual. It is the blood of the everlasting covenant. The Son has shed it, and the Father has received it as full satisfaction and atonement for sin, and the application of it is now in the hand of the eternal and almighty Spirit: and when he applies it, and gives the sinner faith to rely upon it, what can then resist its power, or hinder its efficacy? My brethren, how do find your hearts affected with these great truths? Do you see the polluting nature of sin, and do you desire to be cleansed from it in the fountain of Christ's blood ? and do you therefore desire it, that you may be made boly as well as righteous ? Would you have the blood of Christ to save you by its efficacy from the dominion of sin, as well as to save you by its merit from the guilt of sin? Sirs, what say your hearts to these things? Do you really wish to be cleansed from the power as well as from the pollution of sin ? If you do not wish for it, what do you think of the text ? Is it true that there is a fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness, and has the blood of Christ the. cleansing virtue here ascribed to it? Can it take out the guilt of sins of the deepest dye? Are scarletcrimson sins washed in it as white as snow? Surely they are: this shows us our interest then in it, for it can cleanse from all sin. By the shedding of his blood Christ obtained infinite merit to cleanse sin. ners; but in order to their being cleansed it must be applied, and the application is now made by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Has he then applied it to you or not? This is the main point. Have you been washed in this fountain and made clean? What are
you the better for its cleansing others, if it never cleanse your souls? You can be benefitted only fronı its application to you in particular, and by your experiencing the power of it in your own hearts. Let each of us then examine ourselves concerning this particular, and may we do it, through the assistance of God, with profit and improvement !
1. It is not unlikely but there may be some persons here who are not thoroughly acquainted with the defiling nature of sin, and who never heartily desire to be cleansed from it. This is the case of all unawakened sinners. They see not the pollution of their hearts and lives, and therefore they are easy and content in their present state, without ever desiring to be cleansed by the blood of Christ. Does any one's conscience speak to him at present, and say, " this is my case; I have not been cleansed from my sins, nor do I desire it. My sins are so sweet and pleasing to me, that I should be very unhappy if I was to part with them.” But are they more sweet and pleasant than heaven, and would you part with heaven rather than part with them? Consider this matter a little. You inust part with one or the other ; for hear what God says of you in his word. You are the objects of his hatred. 66 Thou, O God," says the psalmist, “ hatest all workers of iniquity.”—Psal. v. 5. Yea, so great is his hatred that he cannot suffer you to appear before him.
“ Thou art of purer eyes," says the prophet, “than to behold evil, and canst not look upon iniquity.”-Hab. i. 13. And if
your iniquity, without the blood of sprinkling, you can never enter into heaven : “for no unclean person hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”—Eph. v. 5. To which agree the words of St. John, in his description of the heavenly Jerusalem : “there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth.” This awful scripture will be fulfilled in you. In no wise shall you enter into the city of the living God, unless your polluted souls be washed in the Redeemer's blood. You will be shut out of his