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from their prayers. In this sense, Abraham is ignorant of us, and Israel does not, and cannot, acknowledge us*: But Christ is an ever-living Intercessor, without whose interposition theirs had been vain, and in comparison with whom we have none on earth, or in heaven to desire. Let papists commit themselves to the patronage of angels and saints, and by a voluntary and offensive humility, intreat them to intercede with God, or to intercede with Christ, in their favour: As Christ has by one offering perfected for ever them that are sanctifiedt; so by one continued intercession, in which he needs and admits no associate, he for ever secures them. 3. With what holy boldness may the christian draw near to God,
in dependance on such an Intercessor!
We have daily important errands to the throne of grace ; and perhaps hardly any thing would more promote the success of them, than to lift up a cheerful and believing eye, as expecting to receive something from God's handt. A consciousness of our own numberless imperfections and defects, may indeed discourage us ; a sense of our guilt might even fright us away. But when we see Jesus standing before the throne, in such a posture, in such a character, surely we may venture near ; and when most awed, and most dismayed, may encourage ourselves in him. This is an inference which the apostle draws, and which he repeats again and again : Seeing we have a great Highpriest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God; let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every time of needş; for surely, neither mercy to pardon, nor grace to strengthen, will now be with-held. Having therefore boldness, (as he elsewhere expresses it) to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by that new and living way which he hath consecrated for us,let us draw near : And Oh that we might ever do it with a true heart, since there is so blessed a foundation laid for a full assurance ef faith|| ! 4. What reason is there to adore the divine wisdom and good
ness, in appointing so excellent a way, at once, to promote
* Isa. Ixiï. 16.
+ Heb. x. 14.
| Acts iji, 5.
consider, that though we are unworthy for whom any thing should be done, yet Christ is worthy: And I may add, that in appointing him to be our Intercessor, God hath declared his own favourable regard to us, and we may comfortably conclude, that The Father himself loveth us*. Yet this love is manifested, as in a very gracious, so also in a very humbling way. This token of divine displeasure against sin is yet upon us, that we are not allowed to draw near to him in our own name, or to expect the least favour for our own sake; but he still keeps us at an humble distance, nor will he permit us to see his face, unless our elder brother be with ust: And as he treated Eliphaz and his companions, saying, My wrath is kindled against you ; take now an offering, and go to my servant Job, and he shall pray for you, and him will I accept; lest I deal with you after your follyt: Thus God refuses to look on the best of our offerings, if they do not pass through another more acceptable hand. How awful a reflection, and how wise a provision, to promote that humility, which so well becomes pardoned rebels, before the only injured Majesty of heaven! This is, as he expresses it by Ezekielş, That we may remember our way, and be confounded, and never open our mouths any more, because of our shame, even when he is pacified towards us for all that we have done. Lastly, How powerfully should this comfortable doctrine operate
on our minds, to promote our love to this great Intercessor, and our zeal for his honour and glory!
“ Blessed Lord,” should each of us say, “ dost thou remember such a worthless worm amidst all thine honour and joy above, and shall not I remember thee, the King of glory? Where should my heart be but with thee? On what should I Set my affections, but on those things which are above, where thou sittest at the right-hand of God ||? My righteousness, and my strength, mine advocate, and my guardian! Shall I be unmindful of thee? While thou art pleading my cause in heaven, shall I not be joyfully willing to plead thy sacred and honourable cause on earth ? Rather, much rather, may I forget the powers of reason, and lose the faculty of speech, than neglect to use them for thee : Rather may my Tongue cleave
* John xvi. 27.
Ezek. xvi. 63.
| Job xlii. 7,8.
+ Gen. xliii. 5.
to the roof of my mouth*, than it should be ashamed, or afraid, to vindicate thy gospel, though I stood alone in a croud of insulting blaspheming enemies, and though they added cruelty and terror to their impieties. So mayest thou Confess me before thy Father and the holy angels, in the last solemn day, as I determine that I will confess thee nowt, though this crooked and perverse generation should grow still more degenerate than it is."
Christians, if we have not such sentiments and resolutions as these, I fear we have no title to any of the comforts of Christ's intercession, and shall have no share in its invaluable blessings.
* Psal. cxxxvii. 5, 6.
+ Mat, x. 32. Luke xii, 8,
POWER AND GRACE OF CHRIST.
Coming to God by Christ, the Character of those that
shall be saved.
Heb. vii. 25.—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. WHEN the Psalmist had been celebrating the Majesty of God, as the almighty creator and possessor of all, he breaks out into this most natural, and important enquiry, Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord ? and who shall stand in his holy place*? And methinks, christians, when we have been hearing of the boundless power of Christ to save, and of the prevalency of that intercession which he ever lives to make, we should immediately cry out, “ Who are the happy souls, in whose rescue this almighty arm shall be employed, and whose cause this gracious intercessor will undertake always to plead?” The text answers the question in a very edifying and satisfactory manner, though in few words; They are such as come unto God by him.
You know that from this scripture I have already considered,
I. What we are to understand by Christ's being able to save to the uttermost.
II. What evidences we have, that he is really so.
III. I have considered the particular argument for it, wbich the apostle here draws, from his ever living to make intercession,
It only remains, that I now open,
IV. The character of the persons, who are encouraged to expect a share in this salvation; they are such as come unto God by him.
Now before I proceed to the more particular discussion of
* Psal. xxiv, 3,
these words, you must give me leave to observe, that they seem in their primary and strictest sense to signify “ an approach to God in the solemnities of religious worship, in the name of Christ, as the great intercessor.'
As when the Jewish people were honoured with the abode of the Shekinah, the visible token of the divine presence, they did in their highest religious solemnities approach to that, surrounding with their sacrifices, and their prayers, the tabernacle or temple, where it held its residence; hence it seems to have come to pass, that the phrases of coming to God, coming into his presence, and drawing near to him, were often used to express the acts of divine worship*. And as the priests were admitted to come nearer to the ark, on which this visible glory usually rested, than others even of that holy nation; they are with peculiar propriety spoken of, as drawing near to Godt. We may also add, that forasmuch as once a year the high-priest went into the holy of holies, in the name of the whole congregation, with the blood of victims offered to expiate their sins; they might properly, at that solemn season, be said to come unto God by him. And the connection of these words, as I have largely shewn, does most evidently imply an allusion to these Jewish rites, and a regard to Christ as the great High-priest of our profession.
But it would be very imprudent, and unsafe, to leave the matter thus generally explained. Salvation is here promised, to all that come unto God by Christ; as it elsewhere is, to all that call on the name of the Lord I. Yet most certain it is, from the whole tenor of scripture, that there are multitudes who call on his name, and transmit their petitions to God in a professed dependance on his mediation and intercession, whose persons and services God will reject with abhorrence; who shall see salvation only from afar, and never be permitted to taste of it. And therefore it is manifest, that, to make the scripture consistent with itself, these phrases, when connected in such a manner, must be taken in a much larger extent, as comprehending all that, by which the acceptable worshipper, and the true believer, is distinguished from the hypocritical professor who draws near to God only to dishonour him, and to bring on himself aggravated guilt and condemnation.
And by consequence, coming to God, as the phrase is here
Vumb. viii. 19. Psal. lxv. 2. lxxiii. 28. xcv. 2. c. 2. Isa. xxix. 13. lviii. 9. Heb. vii. 19. + Exod. xix. 22. Lev. x. 3. Numb. xvi. 5. Ezek. xl. 46. xlir. 13. 1 Joel ii. 32. Acts ii. 21. Rom. x. 13.