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all the hinderances and objections that the heart of man can invent against itself and salvation lift up thine eyes, and look to the utmost thou canst see-and Christ, by his intercession, is able to save thee beyond the horizon and largest compass of thy thoughts, even to the utmost." Goodwin's Triumph.
Hence draw abundant encouragement against deadness of spirit in prayer. Thou complainest thy heart is dead, wandering, and contracted in duty: oh, but remember Christ's blood speaks, when thou canst not; it can plead for thee, when thou art not able to speak a word for thyself. ?? Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?" Cant. 3:6. The prayers of christians often go up before God sullied with their offensive corruptions; but, remember, Christ "perfumes them with myrrh," by his intercession he gives them a sweet perfume.
Christ's intercession is a singular relief to all that come unto God by him, against all sinful and slavish fears from the justice of God. Nothing more promotes the fear of reverence; nothing more suppresses unbelieving despondence, and destroys the spirit of bondage. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest, by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us through the vail, that is to say, his flesh; and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith." Heb. 10:19-21.
The intercession of Christ gives admirable satisfaction and encouragement to all that come to God, against the fears of deserting him by apostasy. This, my friends, this is your principal security. With this he relieved Peter. "Simon, (saith Christ,) Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." Luke, 22:31,
32. As if he had said, Satan will fan thee, not to get out thy chaff, but bolt out thy flour; his temptations are levelled against thy faith; but fear not, my prayer shall break his designs, and secure thy faith against all his attempts upon it. Upon this powerful intercession of Christ, the apostle builds his triumph against all that threatens to bring him, or any of the saints, again into a state of condemnation. And see how he urges on that triumph, from the resurrection, and session of Christ at the Father's right hand; and especially from the work of intercession, which he lives there to perform. "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died; yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ?" Rom. 8:34.
It gives sweet relief when we are conscious of being sanctified but in part. We want a great deal of faith, love, heavenly-mindedness, mortification, knowledge. We are short and wanting in all. These are deficiencies, or things wanting, as the apostle calls them. 1 Thess. 3: 10. Well, if grace be but yet in its weak beginnings and infancy in thy soul, this may encourage you, that by reason of Christ's intercession, it shall live, grow, and increase in thine heart. He is not only the author, but the finisher of it. Heb. 12: 2. He is ever begging new and fresh mercies for you in heaven; and will never cease till all your wants be supplied. He saves to the uttermost, to the last, perfective, completing act of salvation.
3. Doth Christ live for ever to make intercession? Then let those who reap on earth the fruits of his work in heaven, draw instruction thence about the following duties.
Do not forget Christ in his exalted state. You see, though he be in glory above, at God's right hand, and enthroned King, he does not forget you: he, like Joseph,
remembers his brethren in all his glory. But, alas, how oft doth advancement make us forget him! As the Lord complains, Hosea, 13: 5, 6, "I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought: but when they came into Canaan, according to their pastures, so were they filled: they were filled, and their heart was exalted: therefore have they forgotten me." As if he had said, O my people, you and I were better acquainted in the wilderness, when you were in a low condition, left to my immediate care, living by daily faith; then you gave me many a sweet visit; but now you are filled, I hear no more of you. Good had it been for some saints if they had never known prosperity.
Let the intercession of Christ in heaven for you encourage you to constancy in the good ways of God. Seeing then that we have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession." Heb. 4: 14. Here is encouragement to perseverance on a double account. One is, that Jesus, our Head, is already in heaven; and if the head be above water, the body cannot drown. The other is from the work he is there performing-his priesthood; he is passed into the heavens, as our great High Priest, to intercede, and therefore we cannot miscarry.
Let it encourage you to constancy in prayer: Oh do not neglect that excellent duty, seeing Christ is there to present all your petitions to God; yea, to perfume as well as present them. So the apostle infers from Christ's intercession; "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Heb. 4:16.
Hence be encouraged to plead for Christ on earth, who continually pleads for you in heaven. If any accuse you, he is there to plead for you: and if any dishonor him on earth, see that you plead his interest,
and defend his honor. Thus you have heard what his intercession is, and what benefits we receive by it. Blessed be God for Jesus Christ.
THE SATISFACTION OF CHRIST.
THE FIRST EFFECT OF HIS PRIESTHOOD.
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." Gal. 3:13.
You have seen the general nature, necessity, and parts of Christ's priesthood, namely, oblation and intercession. Before you leave this office it is necessary you should further take into consideration the principal fruits and effects of his priesthood; which are complete satisfaction, and the acquisition or purchase of an eternal inheritance. The satisfaction made by his blood is manifestly contained in the excellent scripture before us, wherein the apostle (having shown before, at verse 10, that whosoever "continueth not in all things written in the law, to do them," is "cursed") declares how, notwithstanding the threats of the law, a believer comes to be freed from its curse, by Christ's bearing that curse for him, and so satisfying God's justice, and discharging the believer from all obligations to punishment.
More particularly, in these words you have the believer's discharge from the curse of the law, and the way and manner thereof displayed.
1. The believer's discharge; "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law." The law of God hath three parts-commands, promises, and threatenings or curses. The curse of the law is its condemning sentence, whereby a sinner is bound over to death, even
the death of soul and body. The chain, by which it binds him, is the guilt of sin; and from which none can loose the soul but Christ. This curse of the law is the most dreadful thing imaginable; it strikes at the life of a sinner, yea, his best life, the eternal life of the soul: and when it hath condemned, it is inexorable, no cries nor tears, no reformation nor repentance can loose the guilty sinner; for it requires that which no mere creature can give, even an infinite satisfaction. Now from this curse Christ frees the believer; that is, he dissolves the obligation to punishment, cancels the hand-writing, looses all the bonds and chains of guilt, so that the curse of the law hath nothing to do with him for ever.
2. We have here the way and manner by which this is done; and that is by a full price paid, and paid in the room of the sinner, making a complete and full satisfaction. He pays a full price, every way adequate and proportionable to the wrong. So much this word, nyoproer, which we translate redeemed, imports; he hath bought us out, or fully bought us; that is, by a full price. And as the price or ransom paid was full, perfect, and sufficient in itself; so it was paid in our room, and upon our account: so saith the text, "Being made a curse for us;" the meaning is not, that Christ was made the very curse itself, changed into a curse; any more than when the Word is said to be made flesh, the Divine nature was converted into flesh. The Divine nature assumed or took flesh; and so Christ took the curse upon himself; therefore it is said, "He was made sin for us, who knew no sin," 2 Cor. 5: 21, that is, our sin was imputed to our Surety, and laid upon him for satisfaction. And so this word nec [for] implies a substitution of one in the place and stead of another. Now the price being full, and paid in lieu of our sins, and thereupon we fully redeemed or delivered from the curse, it follows, as a fair and just deduction, that,