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may give him strong support and sweet relief. Do you complain of the hardness of your hearts, and want of love to Christ? behold him as offered up to God for you; and such a sight (if any in the world will do it) will melt your hard hearts. "They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and shall mourn." Zech. 12: 10. It is reported of Johannes Milius, that he was never observed to speak of Christ and his sufferings but his eyes would drop tears. Art thou too little touched and unaffected with the evil of sin? Is it thy complaint, christian, that thou canst not make sin bear so hard upon thy heart as thou wouldst ? Consider but what thou hast now read; realize this sacrifice by faith, and try what efficacy there is in it to make sin for ever bitter as death to thy soul. Suppose thine own father had been stabbed to the heart with a certain knife, and his blood were upon it, wouldst thou delight to see, or endure to use that knife any more? Sin is the knife that stabbed Christ to the heart; this shed his blood. Surely you can never make light of that which lay so heavy upon the soul and body of Jesus Christ.
Or is your heart pressed down even to despondency, under the guilt of sin, so that you cry, How can such a sinner as I be pardoned? my sin is greater than can be forgiven. Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world." Remember that no sin can stand before the efficacy of his blood." "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin." 1 John, 1:7. This sacrifice makes full satisfaction to God.
Are you at any time staggering through unbelief; filled with unbelieving suspicion of the promises? Look hither, and you shall see them all ratified and established in the blood of the cross, so that hills and mountains shall sooner start from their own bases and foundations, than one tittle of the promise fail. Heb. 6: 17-19.
De you at any time find your hearts fretting, dis
quicted, and impatient under every petty cross and trial? See how quietly Christ your sacrifice came to the altar, how meekly and patiently he endured all the wrath of God and men together. This will silence, convince, and shame you.
In a word, here you will see so much of the grace of God in providing, and the love of Christ in becoming a sacrifice for you; God taking vengeance against sin, but sparing the sinner; Christ standing as the body of sin alone; for "he was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him :" that whatever corruption burdens, this, in the believing application, will support; whatever grace is defective, this will revive it.
Blessed be God for Jesus Christ.
INTERCESSION OF CHRIST.
THE SECOND PART OF HIS PRIESTLY OFFICE
"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." Heb. 7:25.
Having considered the first part or act of Christ's priesthood, consisting in his oblation; we come to the other branch of it, consisting in his intercession, which is but the virtual continuation of his offering once made on earth.
This second part or branch of his priesthood was typified by the high priest's entering with the blood of the sacrifice and sweet incense into the holy place: "And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of
sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: and he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercyseat that is upon the testimony, that he die not: and he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy-seat," &c. Lev. 16: 12-14. Christ's offering himself on earth, answered to the killing of the sacrifice without; and his entering into heaven, there to intercede, answered to the priest's going with blood and his hands full of incense within the vail. So that this is a part, yea, a special part of Christ's priesthood; and so necessary to it, that if he had not done this, all his work on earth had been ineffectual; nor had he been a priest, that is, a complete and perfect priest, if he had remained on earth, Heb. 8: 4, because the very design and end of shedding his blood on earth. had been frustrated, which was to present it before the Lord, in heaven. So that this is the perfective part of the priesthood: he acted the first part on earth, in a state of deep abasement, in the form of a servant; but he acts this in glory, whereto he is taken up, that he may fulfil his design in dying, and give the work of our salvation its last completing act. So much is contained in this scripture, which tells us, that by reason hereof he "is able to save to the uttermost."
These words contain an encouragement to believers to come to God by faith, drawn from the intercession of Christ in heaven for them. In which notice,
1. The character of the persons here encouraged, who are described as going to God by faith, conscious of great unworthiness in themselves.
2. The encouragement to such believers, drawn from the ability of Jesus Christ, in whose name they go to the Father, to save them "to the uttermost:" that is, fully, perfectly, completely; for so this emphatical word, us To Tartes, signifies.
3. The ground or reason of this his ability to save: Seeing he ever liveth to make intercession;" that is, he hath not only offered up his blood to God upon the cross, as a full price to purchase pardon and grace for believers; but lives in heaven, and that for ever, to apply unto us, in the way of intercession, all the fruits, blessings, and benefits that this precious blood hath procured. Hence, among other instructions, we learn that
Jesus our High Priest lives for ever, in the capacity of a potent Intercessor in heaven, for believers.
Here we will inquire, what it is for Christ to be an Intercessor; by what acts he performs that work in heaven; and in what consists the potency and prevalency of his intercession.
1. What it is for Christ to be an intercessor for us. To intercede, in general, is to go between two parties, to entreat, argue, and plead with one for the other. There is the intercession whereby one christian prays and pleads with God for another, 1 Tim. 2: 1; and that whereby Christ, as an act of office, presents himself before God to plead for us. Between these two is this difference, that the former is performed not in our own, but in another's name; we can tender no request to God immediately, or for our own sake, either for ourselves or for others: Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you." John, 16: 23. But the latter, which is peculiar to Christ, is an intercession with God for us, in his own name, on account of his own merit. The one is a private act of charity, the other a public act of office; and so he is our Advocate or court Friend, as Satan is our accuser or court adversary. Satan is avridinos, one that charges us before God, 1 Pet. 5:8, and continually endeavors to make breaches between us and God. Christ is waganλntos, our Advocate, that pleads for us, and continues peace and friendship
between us and God; "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." 1 John, 2: 1.
Thus to make intercession is the peculiar and incommunicable prerogative of Jesus Christ; none but he can go in his own name to God. And in this sense we may understand the passage, "Then said the Lord unto me, This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it, because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. It is for the prince, the prince he shall sit in it, to eat bread before the Lord," &c. Ezek. 44: 2, 3. The great broad gate, called here the prince's gate, signifies the abundant and direct entrance of Christ into heaven by his own merits, and in his own name; this, saith the Lord, shall be shut, no man shall enter in by it; all other men must come thither, as it were, by side doors, which looked all towards the altar, namely, by virtue of the Mediator, and through the benefit of his death, imputed to them.
And yet, though God hath for ever shut up and barred this way to all the children of men, telling us that no man shall ever have access to him in his own name, as Christ the Prince had; how do some, notwithstanding, strive to force open the Prince's gate? They do so, who found the intercession of saints upon their own works and merits, thereby robbing Christ of his peculiar glory; but all that so approach God, approach a consuming fire; Christ only, in the virtue of his own blood, thus comes before him, to make intercession for us.
II. We will inquire wherein the intercession of Christ in heaven consists, or by what acts he performs his glorious office there. And the Scriptures place it in three things:
1. In his presenting himself before the Lord in our names, and upon our account. So we read, Heb. 9:24,