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the Great Mediator. And what then is our situation? Out of Christ, "God is a consuming fire "." Behold, in the glowing description of the Prophets, the effects of his indignation. "Tophet is ordained of old-it is prepared for the unbelieving and the ungodly. The breath of the Lord, as a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it "." Oh! my soul, is it possible that this may be thy destiny, and canst thou be at ease?
'Heb. xii. 29.
Isaiah xxx. 33.
CHRIST-A HIGH PRIEST.
HEB. iv. 14, 15, 16.
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest that is passed into the Heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
My Brethren-if we should regard Jesus Christ not as a Divine Saviour from the dominion and penalties of sin, but merely as an instructor in truth and virtue, we should entertain very inadequate ideas of his character. If we should strip Jesus Christ of his Divinity, the cross of his atonement, and the throne of the Majesty on high of his intercession, we should not only act unreasonably, in rejecting truths sufficiently attested, merely because like many other truths which we
receive, they are incomprehensible; but should shew that we greatly erred in our estimate of our own condition, and of our spiritual wants.
What is the conclusion which results from an accurate view of the character and condition of man? Is it that he is under the guidance of truth, and the dominion of virtue? Alas-errors involving often absurdity as well as danger, and follies and vices leading to disgrace as well as misery, have been embraced and committed by men whose vigorous intellect could penetrate into the most profound recesses of science, and explore the widest range of human knowledge. On the most charitable estimate of human nature, we must confess that it is more or less under the dominion of ignorance, prejudice and corrupt passion. On this great stage of human life, through the successive periods of its duration, there is a perpetual contest between error and truth, vice and virtue; the cunning deceiving the simple, the powerful oppressing the weak, and vice and misery triumphing over the virtuous and the good.
What is the conclusion in which this survey of human nature would result? It is that which constitutes the basis of that plan of salvation, which the pride of human reason sometimes undervalues or rejects-that we are fallen and sinful creatures. And my brethren; when we consider the relations which as fallen and sinful
creatures we sustain to the almighty Being who made us, and to whom we are finally accountable; when we endeavour to unravel the mystery, which excites so much solicitude, in what way and on what terms the holy and just Governor of the universe can restore the transgressors of his laws to his favour; when with the glimmering torch of reason, we seek to explore the darkness that surrounds the throne of an offended God, and to dispel the shades that rest upon the world to come what is the conclusion which will force itself upon our minds? Is it not that contained in the text, and which characterises the GospelThat erring, sinful, and obnoxious to punishment, we need not only a Divine Instructor, but a Divine Saviour-in the language of the text, a "High Priest," to atone for our sins, and "set on the right hand of the Majesty on high" to intercede for our pardon.
Yes-reason admits that the offended justice of God must be satisfied; that his infinite holiness must be vindicated; that the penalties of the violated law of the Sovereign of the universe must be sustained; that a propitiation for sin must declare the indignation with which it is regarded by a holy and just God, and at the same time the readiness of this merciful Father of all to pardon the penitent sinner. And the history of man confirms the deductions of reason. Look at the hecatombs that were sacrificed on the
altars of unknown gods. Survey the costly rites by which unenlightened man sought to engage in his behalf the intercession of inferior divinities with the supreme Deity. This is the voice of nature attesting the truths which reason suggests, and for which the Gospel alone provides; that man is guilty; that conscience warns him of a judgment to come; and that the sense of guilt, the apprehension of merited wrath, prompt him to seek a Mediator who, propitiating his sins, should restore him to the favour of his offended God. Reason and nature, when not controlled by pride or prejudice, receive with joy the truth which is the animating theme of the Apostlethat we have an High Priest who has passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God."
Let us then consider, as set forth in the text, -The priesthood of Christ.
I. The nature of the priesthood of Christ.
II. The qualifications of Christ for the office.
III. The duties and consolations which result from it.
I. The priesthood of Christ-its nature.
The patriarchal and legal dispensations, all preparatory to the Christian, were principally