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heart, and to all the riches of his grace.' •Wherefore, ask and receive, that your joy may be full.'
Now what a vast acquisition was this to the wealth of devotion; it was supplying it with a key to the divine treasury, and placing it in a position, in reference to the throne of grace, which gave to it an omnipotent influence with him who sitteth thereon. What a prodigious advance was it, in one sense, even on the promise of his personal intercession! By empowering his people to employ the argument of his name, he is, in so far, placing the fund of his merit at their disposal; affording them the profound satisfaction of bringing it into the presence of God, and using for themselves the very same plea which he employs for them; he is in effect pleading for them by their own lips well as with his own, and thus multiplying the voice and power of his intercession. By investing them with this privilege, he is virtually clothing them with priestly vestments, placing them by his side at the altar, and putting into their hands a censer filled with incense like his own.
11. But further, with a view to promote the devotion of his disciples, he distinctly engages to answer their supplications. Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.' That the same being should undertake, both to present and to answer their petitions, both to intercede for them and to confer the blessings sought, may appear incompatible; but the offices, though distinct, are perfectly reconcileable. In his conduct at the altar we behold the Intercessor, and in his conduct on the throne we behold the result and reward of his intercession: having become the medium of prayer from man to God, he is rewarded by being made the medium of blessing from God to man: the Intercessor for human penury, is constituted the Almoner of infinite bounty: he is called from the altar of incense, to ascend and dispense from the throne of God, the blessings which he has sought for us.
However various the lights then in which we behold the virtues of our Lord's mediation, it is evident that one principle explains, harmonizes, and encompasses the wholethe love of God; that they all subserve the grand aim of which we have been speaking—the manifestation of the divine character for human encouragement and salvation. To regard the institution of the intercessory office, as necessary to give us success with God, is an injustice to his beneficence, and a misapprehension of the whole economy. * At that day,' saith Christ, 'ye shall ask me nothing; for the Father himself loveth you. And whatsoever ye
shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Till our fears are allayed, and our distrust removed, the love of God does not cease to heap up its gifts, and to multiply its grants and appointments. On this principle it is, that the throne of grace, though in itself ineffably attractive as occupied by infinite love, is made additionally attractive by the appointment and presence of a benignant Intercessor: as if God did not deem its attractions complete while only invested with the might of his own love, he has placed at the altar before it an Advocate clothed in our own nature. On our way to the seat of mercy our Intercessor assures us, and asks us to receive the assurance as the only correct interpretation of his office, that if he accompanies and introduces us to God, it is not because God requires it for himself, but for us; that the design of his intercession is, not to excite, but to satisfy the love of the Father-by granting this last favor to our fears. There is a spot in the universe where centres all dignity, authority, and power--the focus of glory--that
spot is at the right hand of Deity; and Jesus assures us that he himself is its sole occupant in the capacity of our Inter
Yes, he who might have been placing a vial of wrath in the hand of every angel around his throne, with a commission to pour it out on this rebellious world till it was utterly consumed, is standing at this moment at the altar of incense, presenting our prayers for mercy, and officiating there as our great high priest.
• Who then 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!' This is an argument not to be refuted, a climax to which nothing can be added; leading us upward, step by step, it conducts us to a summit where all is unclouded and serene, and where we can breathe the air of security and triumph. While standing on this elevation, by the side of our Intercessor, and in the light of the throne of God, we feel that no foe can approach, no enemy impeach us, that the universe is at peace with us.
How richly is Jesus entitled to be called, the Wonderful! The view indeed which has now been taken of his office and excellence, is hasty and defective: had it been much less unworthy than it is, it would still have fallen infinitely short of the grandeur of the subject; for we are dilating on a theme on which it is a joy to reflect that perfection is unattainable. But crude and imperfect as our remarks are, they will have answered an important end, if they have enabled us to feel this; if they have made us sensible that we are engaged on a theme, which we must have eternity to celebrate and comprehend. He has shown us that even the mysteries of the Godhead admit of increase; for he has added to them the peculiarities of humanity, and adopted the sum of them all into his own per
Besides the predicates which are true of him as God,
and those which are true of him as man, by combining divinity and humanity together, he has created, if I may say so, a third class of truths which can be predicated of him, and of him alone; and on these, as they relate to his mediatorial office, hangs the hope of the perishing world.
None, before his advent, had ever succeeded in drawing the character of a perfect man; he not merely described but exhibited a specimen of perfect humanity conjoined with Deity; and while he preserved the characteristics of each nature distinct, he showed what God is, and what man should be; became the representative of God and the exemplar of men. He erected a new order of greatness ; of which the laws, conditions, and results—the whole archetype-were peculiarly his own. He gave a new economy to the divine government, placed himself at the head of a new dispensation, the object of which was to reconcile the prerogatives of justice and compassion; and to do this, not by compromising either, but by honoring both; by enabling mercy to punish without impairing its clemency or its claims to our love; and enabling justice to forgive, without sacrificing its purity, or its claims on our awful regards. The rights of justice, and the condition of sinful man, were essentially hostile: they had diverged to an infinite remoteness, and stood frowning at each other, as from opposite sides of the universe. He laid hold on the nature of man: and planting his cross midway, created a point of attraction which reached and drew them across the separating gulph, back to itself, as to a common centre. Justice moved from its high and awful position on Sinai; and, with all the armies of holiness, brightening and still brightening with complacency as it approached, bowed with reverence at the cross, and said, “It is enough. The sinner, detached by the same magnetic power from the strong confederacy of sin, approaches, relents, and changes,
as he draws near, till he falls prostrate before the cross, a new creation in Christ Jesus. By giving his heart to sinners, and for them, holiness finds that it has nothing to ask, nothing to do; only to raise the sinner from the dust, and to become the guardian of his new life: the sinner finds that nothing is left him to desire, except that he may never wander from the sight of that cross which has made him the ward of infinite holiness, and is preparing him for heaven. Here God erects his throne, and man adores; to each the cross is ineffably precious; for it is only in its immediate presence that sin can be vanquished, and yet the sinner be saved.
While this amazing consummation was in actual process, the character of Christ evolved an amount of excellence which might have made angelic natures, if capable of the feeling, jealous of the rivalry and riches of earth. The eternal Father himself beheld in it more than an indemnity for human transgression : never before had he contemplated a work in which his holiness appeared so pure, his mercy so amiable, his wisdom so profound; he saw in it the stability of all law, the recovery of man, an infinite augmentation of the splendor which surrounds his throne, an amount of objective glory such as he had never before beheld out of, and apart from himself. And as if this new relation and aspect of the divine nature had been an experiment, the result of which more than answered to his great idea ; as if the advent of Christ surpassed the divine expectation, the sublime phenomena which it displayed, called forth audible and delighted expressions of paternal complacency and love; the radiance of the divine countenance fell full
them. The dedication of the Jewish temple was an epoch in the history of the earth. All Israel was assembled the occasion: and, had man done justice to the event, all the