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offering much incense, with the prayers. of all saints ; to testify, that acceptance, both of the persons and offerings of his people, is found in the incense of his merits. And, in order that the Church might never lose sight of the everlasting efficacy of his sacrifice, John, while con-, templating the Lord Jesus in his unchangable priesthood, saw Him also, a Lamb, as it had been slain, in the midst of the throne ; whereby testimony was given, that the blood of Jesus, which Paul calls “a speaking blood,” still pleads, and will for ever plead, until the dispensation of grace shall be consummated in glory : for all humble and contrite believers in his name.
Well then, “He is able to save to the uttermost all them that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them”—And if his pleading from the agony of the cross was answered, at the next feast of Pentecost, in the conversion of three thousands of those deluded men, who knew not what they did, when
they crucified Him, why should not you look for the same mercy, who may now be convinced of guilt, and pricked to the heart? Nay ye, by whom this godly şorrow hath never yet been felt, — why should not you attest the free riches of his love? Why should not the coming Pentecost see graces of the Holy Ghost poured out on you, even contrition for sin, broken-heartedness, evangelical faith, full and everlasting pardon, perfect justification, a good hope through grace, adoption into the family of God, and the sanctification which his children have in Christ? If
of you are opposing his person or his office, you must be saved, if saved at all, by that very blood, which now you count an unholy thing." If you come to know its worth, you will then have evidence, that Jesus hath interceded for you, and that He hath been heard' on your behalf in heaven.
And ye whom his grace hath overruled to love Him, how animating should
a view of Him, in his priestly character be to your hearts ! You have nothing to bring of your own, except as He freely gives Himself unto you, and nothing to offer, as a propitiation unto God for sin. Let it then be dear to you, to see Jesus, having completed his work of redemption upon earth, now going as the Priest, the Sacrificer, the Intercessor, into heaven, there to appear in the presence of God
“ Come boldly to the throne of grace,
you may obtain mercy, and find grace to help, in time of need." The angel of the covenant doeth wondrously, as He ascends towards heaven, from off the altar, in the flame of the altar. It is for you to look on, like Manoah and his wife ; to admire and adore the riches of divine grace; and to know, that, both in sacrifice and intercession, “ Christ is all and in all."
And now, my brethren, this conduct of our dear Lord and Saviour, dear as the Lord, and dear as the Saviour, to you who believe, will surely teach us a gracious lesson of that love which the professing servants of God, are so imperatively bound (and yet alas ! are so mournfully slow) to learn. Look to Jesus praying for his enemies, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Look to Stephen, a man full of the Holy Ghost, full of the Spirit of his Redeemer's love, thus pleading for those who stoned Him,“ Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” And will not these views of what was the mind of your Lord, exemplified by Himself, and by the first martyr, who was one in spirit, and one in gracious bonds with Him, unite your hearts in love and prayer for the enemies of his cross? Hear Him say, “Love your enemies ; bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father, which is in heaven :” and see Him exemplify his own precept by pleading for his executioners.
Lastly, Ask your own hearts, what should be the temper of a child of God, towards all men, and especially towards those, who are persecuting Christ, either in his members, or directly, by unbelief, continuance in sin, hatred of free salvation in the Redeemer's cross and righteousness, or any other manner, in which rebellious men do the office of the Jews who crucified Him? That goodness,' as one who had deeply studied the gospel, hath wisely said, 'cannot be genuine and upright, which depends upon the goodness of others, and is exercised only as they deserve it.' If our meekness or charity be such, only, or mainly, as lies in the good and meek carriage of others towards us, in their hands and tongues, we are not intrinsically its owners, nor is it a gracious habit in us. It is the accidental quiet of an unstirred spirit; move it, and the bitterness that has only subsided to the bottom, for lack of
1 Abp. Leighton.