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are connected with the act of his intercession for us; or whether there is any at all. It is certain there can be no need of words before God. Perhaps the most satisfactory view we can take of his intercession is what the apostle says, "Now to appear in the presence of God for us," Heb. ix. 24. Dr. Dwight, on this subject, says, "Some of the ancients were of opinion, that Christ executes this office by presenting, continually, his human nature before the throne of his Father. Aquinas, also, a more modern writer, says, 'Christ intercedes for us by exhibiting, with a desire of our salvation, to the view of the Father, the human nature assumed for us, and the mysteries celebrated, or accomplished, in it.""
This appears to be a very consistent view of the intercession of Christ. In support of this opinion, we may urge, that the intercession of the high-priest under the law, which was a type of the intercession of Christ, was performed, not by the use of words in the holy place, but by sprinkling the blood of the sacrifice on the mercy-seat before the Lord. The blood thus sprinkled was by way of intercession; so Christ appears in heaven in the nature that suffered, presenting the memorials of the sacrifice he offered for sin while in our world.
Christ intercedes in heaven, on behalf of his people on earth, that they might enjoy the blessings of his salvation. In whatever manner he intercedes, he substantially pleads for them; for an intercessor is an advocate, and such is Christ for us: "And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." His people often sin, and need forgiveness. They are weak, and require help to persevere in holiness. They are unworthy of any blessing, and need a friend. That such persons who in themselves have no merit, require much to be done for them, in order to save them from misery, and bring them to eternal happiness, is a doctrine which appears to all self-evident. We see this in the present world almost every day, where evils are prevented, and favours obtained to the undeserving, by the advocacy of the influential and the worthy. We read in history of two brothers; one of whom became a general in the army, and signalized himself by valiant conduct and heroic deeds: at last he lost one of his arms in the successful defence of his country. His brother forfeited his life to the laws he had violated, and by trial was found guilty. It was asked whether any one could speak in his behalf. His brother, the veteran warrior, being present, stood up, said nothing, but uncovered the remaining stump of his lost arm, and held it up before the judges and the whole court. They were so much affected with a grateful recollection of his past services, as fully, for his sake, to pardon and release the guilty brother. So Christ appears in heaven
for us, as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; and by presenting himself before the throne, pleads for us the merit of his sufferings, and
"If justice call for sinners' blood,
The Saviour shews his own."
(3.) Let us consider the prevalence of Christ's intercession. It is necessary to inquire,
1st, Who are the persons for whom he intercedes. He intercedes for all believers, and for none but believers. Christ prayed not for the world while on earth, nor are we to suppose that he does so now in heaven. "I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me," John xvii. 9. His intercession for all believers was formerly represented by the high-priest's having the names of the twelve tribes on the breastplate which he wore when he entered into the Holy of Holies. He is an advocate, but only for those who have committed their cause into his hands. He ever lives to intercede, but only for those who come unto God by him.
He makes intercession for every believer particularly. earth, he prayed not only for his disciples, whom he kept while in the world; but also for all them who should believe on him through their word. John xvii. 20. "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father," 1 John ii. 1. And his pleading for them has a reference to all their circumstances of trial, or of persecution, or temptation. Thus he prayed for Peter, when the enemy desired to sift him as wheat. The Saviour said, " I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not," Luke xxii. 32. It is a matter of unspeakable comfort to the sincere Christian, that he has such a friend-such an advocate at the right hand of the Father, who knows his weakness, his trials, and his enemies; who knows their projects and their attitude; and who knows how to succour them that are tempted, because he can be touched with the feeling of their infirmities.
2dly, Inquire into the reasons by which we conclude that his intercession must be prevalent. Were it not so, it would argue a weakness on the part of the Saviour; for he would not be able to save to the uttermost all those that come unto God by him. And it would further argue an unwillingness on the part of the Father to grant
what the Son requested. But it will appear evident, when you consider
The dignity of his character. His person is so glorious, and his power so great, that, as a mediator, all power is given unto him in heaven and in earth. Matt. xxviii. 18.
The justice of his claims also shews this. His atonement answered all the demands of justice; therefore, his intercession must be as powerful as his satisfaction. If his death answered all
the requirements of the law, so that it became available for the justification of the ungodly, his intercession being founded upon the infinite merit of his death, the efficacy of his intercession must be as powerful as the virtue of his death. And from hence the apostle argues: "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life," Rom. v. 10. He pleads for nothing but what he has a right to bestow, in consequence of the infinite merit of his suffering and death.
"There's ne'er a gift his hand bestows
But cost his heart a groan."
This will moreover appear when you consider, that the most perfect unity subsists between the Father and the Son, -unity of nature; for he that hath seen the Son hath seen the Father. The Son is in the Father, and the Father is in the Son. John xiv. 9—11. But also, the most perfect unity of sentiment and idea. In this respect, the Son and the Father are one. John x. 30. He came down from heaven, "not to do his own will," (i. e. only his own will,) " but the will of him that sent him," John vi. 38. He had no will contrary to the will of his Father. Now let us see the unity there was between the will of the Father and the will of the Son: "And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day," John vi. 39. Let us now see what is the will of the Son: "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me," John xvii. 24. Christ, in his prayer at the tomb of Lazarus, says to the Father, " I know that thou hearest me always," John xi. 42. When, in the days of his flesh, he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears, he was heard in that he feared. Heb. v. 7. The Father, who always heard him while in the days of his humiliation, will hear him in his state of glorification in heaven.
He came to do the will of his Father in his suffering for us men, and for our salvation; and it is the will of his Father that he should be rewarded with honour and glory, commensurate with the greatness of his sufferings. And this is his reward, to give eternal life to as many as believe in him.
From this subject we may learn
1. The perfect safety of those who have come unto God through him. He is able to save them. They are kept by his power, and preserved by his grace. Because he lives to intercede in heaven, they are permitted to live on earth to pray. Because he ever abideth to make intercession for them, the enemy of souls has not triumphed
over them, nor ever shall. Because he prays for their eternal life, they shall at last be brought to see his glory, which he had with the Father before the world was. He knew all the difficulties connected with their salvation, before he undertook their cause. It was love that influenced his compassionate heart; and, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them to the end. Under the influence of such faith in him whom the Christian has not seen, he loves the author of his salvation; and loving, and believing, it is his privilege to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; while his song has often been this
"My name from the palms of his hands,
Eternity will not erase;
As sure as the earnest is given:
You have no
2. How sad is the condition of the unconverted. intercessor in heaven. Christ has never interceded on your behalf before the eternal throne; nor ever will, unless you come to God through him. You must plead the merits of his blood on earth, before he pleads it in heaven. Consider how awful is your condition. Until you come in the way of God's appointment, all is against you. The law is against you-Satan is against you-the corruptions of your own hearts are against you—the infinite perfections of the holy God are against you—and the pure gates of heaven are closed against you. And, hear it! the gates of hell are open wide to receive you, and you are in danger every moment of sinking into its wrathful flames. But there is compassion in the Saviour's heart, and he invites your approach. How will you escape, if you neglect so great salvation? He has done his work on earth, and waits you to solicit his interference in heaven. As an advocate, he never rejected a cause given him to plead; nor will he reject yours. Plead by faith on earth the merit of his blood, and he will plead it with success in heaven. As an advocate, he never lost a cause. Plead the merit of his blood, and all that was against you before, with the exception of Satan, who now has no power,-and the corruptions of your own hearts, which he will subdue by his grace,—will be for you. O, my hearers, come to Jesus-come to Jesus: his heart is full of sympathy, and with him his Father is well pleased!
"Give him, my friends, your cause to plead,
Nor doubt the Father's grace."
THE REIGN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
BY CALEB MORRIS.
ISAIAH lxi. 11.—For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
To know the only true God and Jesus Christ is life eternal. The character of the Deity, as it shines forth in his dispensations, is the basis, the model, and the means of our perfection. To study, to love, and to imitate the moral grandeur and loveliness of this character, is our great work, our dignity, and our heaven. The glory of our world is, that God is still to be seen in it, notwithstanding the deep darkness which sin hath thrown over it. This glory grows brighter and brighter continually. God is ever active in the midst of us; and every act of his is an additional proof and a fresh disclosure of his benevolent intentions respecting us. His light is spreading. His power is abroad;-ever warring with error, and misery, and gradually restoring order, goodness, and truth. grace reigns through righteousness over the minds, the principles, and the interests of men. Soon every thing opposed to God must give way; for he must fill his own creation with his own glory. As God himself always works, so he keeps all things around him in a state of incessant progress. Nothing stands still. The universe is never stationary: it is constantly advancing towards its Infinite Author. We have a striking illustration of this remark in the history of God's dispensations toward our world. From the very beginning, God has been gradually bringing to light his nature, his law, and his mercy. And all God's dispensations are for the world's good. Adam was expelled Eden, that he might seek heaven. If God's chief end had been his punishment, he would have driven him, not only from Paradise, but from the world: not to cultivate