De Witt Talmage was considered a great preacher in his day, though it is rare to see him quoted or referenced in modern times. Still, I have benefited a lot by reading his sermons, and perhaps especially one he preached on Isaiah 52:3. He preached it at a time when many were objecting to the notion of atonement and to the necessity of an atonement of blood. Here is a brief, beautiful excerpt. It’s well worth reading it aloud.
Money is good for a great many things, but it can not do anything in this matter of the soul. You can not buy your way through. Dollars and pounds sterling mean nothing at the gate of mercy. If you could buy your salvation, heaven would be a great speculation, an extension of Wall Street. Bad men would go up and buy out the place, and leave us to shift for ourselves. But as money is not a lawful tender, what is?
I will answer: Blood! Whose? Are we to go through the slaughter? Oh, no; it wants richer blood than ours. It wants a king’s blood. It must be poured from royal arteries. It must be a sinless torrent.
But where is the king? I see a great many thrones and a great many occupants, yet none seem to be coming down to the rescue.
But after a while the clock of night in Bethlehem strikes twelve, and the silver pendulum of a star swings across the sky, and I see the King of Heaven rising up, and He descends, and steps down from star to star, and from cloud to cloud, lower and lower, until He touches the sheep-covered hills, and then on to another hill, this last skull-covered, and there, at the sharp stroke of persecution, a rill incarnadine trickles down, and we who could not be redeemed by money are redeemed by precious and imperial blood.