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honoured with exalted dignity, and be delighted with that fulness of joy which is in the presence of God there; but that as their Forerunner, he might prepare a place for them*. Still he remembers, that he is made Head over all things to his church, which is his bodyt, and which, with constant tenderness, he Nourisheth and cherisheth I. This is the language of his compassionate heart: “Behold me, Oh my heavenly Father, behold me in a form thus different from that, in which I originally was. Behold me, now dwelling in human flesh; and remember where this flesh was assumed ; and remember how it was once treated. When thou saidst, Sacrifice and offering I will not ;I said, lo, I comeņ; I delighted then to do thy will, and I still delight to recollect that I did it. Thou wast a witness to that awful scene; nor canst thou forget this blood, that was once offered to thee on the cross, to assert the honours of thy law, and to appease the terrors of thy wrath. Thou didst once own it, as An offering of a sweet-smelling savour|l; and wilt thou not still own it? I have performed my part of the covenant; and I cheerfully put in my claim to the performance of thy part, in favour of those for whom I descended and died. Father, I will, that those whom thou hast given me, be with me where I ams; and that nothing be wanting to begin, to carry on, and to complete the salvation of every one of them.” Thus does our Lord even now own his people in the presence of his Father, and of his holy angels; and in the administration of his mediatorial kingdom, he does all things for the elect's sake, for whom he once endured all. 5. This gracious intention and care of Christ respects, not
only his church in general, but “every particular believer, in all the variety of his personal circumstances.”
When the jewish high-priest Stood before the Lord, he bore in his heart the names of the twelve tribes of Israel**: But Christ our great High-priest bears on his heart, not only the names of the various nations, and tribes, and families of his people, but the name of every individual person amongst them, even of all the children of God who are scattered abroadtt. So that “ he is mindful of me,” may every humble believer say, “and each of my concerns, as if I were the only happy creature under his care.” Thus, as The good shepherd, he is
* Heb. vi. 20.
+ Eph. i. 22, 23.
1 Eph. v. 29.
John xvii. 24.
said to know all his sheep by their names*; and is described as accommodating himself with a proper care to the necessities of each, as Seeking that which was lost, and bringing again that which was driven away, and binding up that which was broken, and strengthening that which was sickt; as gathering the lambs in his bosom, and gently leading those that are with youngt. His eye is still upon each of them, and his heart is tenderly affected toward each. And while, as a Mediator, he presents the prayers of each unto the Father, he intermingles his own intercession, not only that an answer of peace may be returned to them, but that other necessary blessings may be given in, and that they may be preserved from danger by them unseen : As in the days of his flesh, he foresaw the trials of Peter and his brethren, and Prayed for them that their faith might not failş; when they were under no apprehensions for themselves. 6. “ The scripture does not expressly determine, whether
there be, or be not some verbal address of Christ to the Father, in favour of his people."
Some very eminent divines have indeed positively concluded, that there is nonel. But I cannot think that so certain, as they have supposed it. It is true, we know but very little of the heavenly world, of the methods of converse, or worship there. We know not in what accents its blessed inhabitants address their songs of praise to God, or Cry to each other, saying, holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty. But this we assuredly know, that our Redeemer is gone into heaven in his human body, though now, in an admirable and inconceivable manner, refined and beautified, invigorated and adorned. And we know, that since his entrance into bis glory, he has not only appeared in a visible form to some of his servants on earth, but spoken to them with an audible voice. And must we say, that he still dwells in everlasting silence above ; or that, if he speaks, it is only the language of authority to his celestial subjects ? Is it absolutely certain that his sacred voice is never employed in any of the triumphant songs of heaven ; or that it is never addressed to his
* John X. 3, 14. + Ezek. xxxiv, 16. Isa. xl, 11. § Luke xxii. 39.
|| The great Dr. Owen expressly asserts, “ He interceedeth not orally in heaven at all.” Owen on the Spirit, p. 445. So Scott's Christian Life, vol. 3. p. 763. and many others.
Isa. vi. 3. Rev, iv, 8.
Father in the language of prayer! On earth, he importunately asked those blessings for his people, which he knew that his Father had, by the covenant of redemption, expressly stipulated to bestow : And when he was returning to the regions of glory, he said, I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter* Now can we say, there is any thing in a vocal, more than in a mental prayer, unworthy the character of the Son of God, and the Lord of all ?
We cannot indeed imagine, that our Lord is always thus employed. We know he has other business in the world of glory, with which a continued address to the Father would be inconsistent. But how are we confident, that nothing of this kind passed, when he first ascended to The right hand of the Majesty on high; or that such an intercession has never since been repeated ? I would stand at the remotest distance from a bold intrusion into these unseen things; but I must presume so far as to say, that I see no absurdity in granting, that some scripture passages we have just referred to, may be taken in a more literal sense, than many have allowed. Nor can I imagine, that the supposed silence of the high-priest, when he entered into the most holy place, can have much weight in the present question : For not now to urge, how possible it is, that he might then use some words of prayer, though no form be prescribed for this, or any other peculiar service of the day ; it is certain, that he was then alone in the divine presence : Whereas Jesus, The great lligh-priest of our profession, is surrounded with an innumerable company of angels, and with the spirits of just men made perfectf. But after all, I will assert nothing positively here ; and to prevent the mistake of what I have already said, I think it proper to add, 7. That in whatever manner this intercession may be carried on,
we may depend upon it, that it is “ always congruous to that dignity and authority, in which our Lord appears in the world above."
When our Redeemer was on earth in the days of his humiliation, He poured out strong cryings and tears Si when addressing his Father, he fell on his knees, and sometimes prostrated liiniselt on his face ||: But now sorrow and abasement are no more. He is described, as Sitting on the right hand of God (; aụd to raise the idea, is represented by the prophet, as a Priest
* Jolin xiv. 16. Comp. John xvii. 9, 20. and xvi. 26.
Heb, v, 7. 9 Sce Luke xxü. +1. Mat, xxvi. 39.
+ Heb. xii. 22, 256 Mark xvi, 19.
on his throne*. And the language of his intercession is princely too; Father, I will, that those whom thou hast given me, be with me where I amt.
And I must farther add, that his addresses to the Father, in favour of his people, are also perfectly consistent with his administration of the affairs of his mediatorial kingdom.” All power is given to him both in heaven and on earth I; and God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name above every numeş, having said unto him, Sit thou at my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool||. He is, as it were, the grand Almoner of heaven, by whom the divine bounties are dispensed. In his hand are the ways, the hopes, the lives of all; and even the keys of death, and of the unseen worlds. We are not therefore to think of any intercession inconsistent with this, if we would make our scheme agreeable to scripture, or scripture consistent with itself. I add once more, 8. The intercession of our blessed Redeemer " is always effectual,
for the vindication, the acceptance, and the final happiness of his people.” š
He is, as the apostle stiles him, God's dear Son **. And if on earth he could confidently say, Father, I know that thou hearest me always ft, we may then well assure ourselves, that he cannot fail of success, when pleading in the court of heaven ; especially when asking those things, which he has purchased for his people by his own blood, and which his heavenly Father, by promise, stands engaged to bestow.
By this intercession “ the characters of his servants are vindicated.” Observe how the apostle triumphs in the patronage of such an advocate, even under the humblest sense of his own imperfections, and while joyfully ready to renounce every appearance of confidence in himself. Who, says he, shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth : Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who also maketh intercession for us 11; though Satan stand at our right hand to accuse usss, though that malignant spirit aggravate every miscarriage, and detract from every service, and add, as in the case of JobIII, artifice to rage, and falsehood to malice ; Jesus stands at the right hand of God, to vindicate our character from every misrepresentation, and to
Zech. vi. 13. + John xvii. 24. A Psal. cx. 1.
Rev. i. 18, 11 Rom. viij. 33, 34. g Zech. iii, d.
Mat. xxviii, 18.
§ Phil, ï 9.
plead his own righteousness and blood, in answer to those charges which cannot be denied. Again,
The intercession of Christ prevails “ for the acceptance of our persons and services.” We must indeed humbly own, that we are such sinful creatures, that we pollute whatever we touch; and there is so much sin adhering to the best of our duties, that they need forgiveness, rather than merit reward. But the Angel before the throne offers the prayers of the saints with much incense*, which gives them a grateful savour; and they are made Acceptable in the belovedt.
In a word, this intercession is effectual “to procure for us all necessary blessings ;” which Christ in consequence of it, is commissioned to bestow upon us.
Thus he now Keeps us from falling; and he will ere long present us before the Father with exceeding joyt. The prayer he offered on earth, as the model of that which he is presenting above, shall be completely answered with respect to all his people: We shall be one, in the Father, and in him; and shall all be made perfect in one, being with him where he isş. And the eternal happiness of every believer shall shew the value the Father sets on the blood of the Son, and on that intercession which is founded in it.
We have thus taken a brief survey of what the scripture informs us, concerning the intercession of Christ. I am
II. To consider, how this intercession which he ever lives to make, “ is a proof of our Lord's being able to save to the uttermost."
So you see the apostle affirms; and so it will appear to be, if we consider the foundation, the extent, and the perpetuity of it.
1. The intercession of Christ, “ being founded on his atone
ment, is a proof of the efficacy of that,” and consequently of his ability to save.
You have seen it expressly asserted in scripture, that it is By his own blood that he is entered into the most holy placell. He pleads with, and upon that, urging before the Father, virtually at least, the merit of his sacrifice on the cross, as the great argument to bestow gospel blessings on those, for whom he hath thus purchased them. So that you evidently see, that were not the atonement of Christ satisfactory, his intercession would be vain. And can you imagine, that God would ever have per
* Rev, viï. 3. * Eph. i. 6. Jude 24. § John xvü. 21–24. Heb. ix. 12.