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HEBREWS x. 20.
By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us,
through the vail, that is to say, his flesh. I HAVE spoke, upon the 20th verse, of the way that is made to heaven, as the apostle does delightfully and wisely by the Spirit of God teach it; the various aspects as, it were, that Christ hath on our salvation, which we must have in our faith on him for salvation. I told you from this verse, that the way to heaven lies through the vail of the flesh of a slajn Saviour, and this is the only way. I proposed to handle the properties of this way, before I came to the large application that so great a theme calls for. I have spoke of the first of them, That it is a new way, a new slain way. Last day I spake of this property of the way, That it is a living way. Jesus Christ as the way to heaven is a very great mystery; take but the words now as they are in our text. This sense of them is inseparable from them; and can there be any thing more mysterious than they do express, that a slain Christ is a living way for dead sinners to walk in unto eternal life? Who understands this? who believes this? I spake of the signification of this property at some length last day, how that Christ as slain is a living way to heaven. 1. In that there was life in his death. He was crucified through weakness, as to outward appearance of his low state ; yet the great things that were done by that powerful death, are unspeakably mighty and many. He hath reconciled us to God, he overcame Satan, he overcame death in dying ; death was never conquered until it got one man in its hands, that was our Lord Jesus ; and from that day to this, it is able to mas ter none that believes on him, but must make an entrance for them to the heavenly kingdom. Death cannot stop a believer in Christ from going on to heaven, but rather it is made now one of the last dark gates that we must pass through. 2. He is a living way, in that all the life of poor man, all sav
ing spiritual and eternal life, is lodged in the Son of God; This is the record that God hath given of his Son, that he hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son, 1 John v. 11. There is nobody makes a question of that, that call them. selves by that common name of Christians, that all · life is from Christ; and there are but few, but know that all life is in him, and that men get life by being in him; that they have it when they have him. 3. He is a living way, in that, as soon as a man is in Christ, he is made alive. When that power of divine grace draws a poor wandering sinner, and puts him in the way of Christ, he is made alive immediately to God. 4. He is a living way, because he lives for ever. The virtue and savour of his sacrifice is as fresh in heaven, as in the day wherein it was offereit. 5. He is a living way, because all that are in him shall live for ever ; never can a man die in Christ. I know that we sometimes use the word dying so frequently that this phrase is common amongst Christians, living in the Lord, and dying in the Lord; but the New Testament phrase is fitter ; believers in Christ only sleep in the Lord : They that sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him. Lastly, He is a living way, because the walker in Christ lives upon the
is food to him. The same sacrifice of atonement before God is made a feast for the believer. As under the law and before the law, in peace-offerings, by which covenants of peace were confirmed, there was some part thereof that was to be made a feast of; so this fiesh and blood of our Lord that is rent for us for a propitiation, is made a feast unto our faith: Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you, John vi. 53.
The third property of this way remains now to be spoke to; that it is a consecrated way: By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us. The words as they run in the original have consecrated before the other two properties, and may be equully fairly rendered, which he hath consecrated for us, to be a new and living way; and that consecrating relates not only to the substance of Christ's being the way, but to his being a new and living way.
There are three things that I would discourse to you from these words.
1. Of Christ's consecration.
2. His own interest in it, his hand in it; so it is told us in the text, By o new and living way which he hath consecrated for us.
3. For whom it is that this way, this consecrated way is ; it is consecrated for some body; it is consecrated for us, for our sakes, for our benefit, for our advantage.
First, Of Christ's consecration. This word consecrate as it is in the English, is not in all the New Testament, that I know of, but in this epistle; and it is twice in this epistle, though not the same Greek word in both places. See Heb. vii. 28. Consecrate in the Old Testament is very frequent; and you know that the apostle, as hath been frequently observed to you, in this epistle, and particularly in this part of the epistle, has wisely accommodated himself to those he wrote to, who understood these words a great deal better than we do, for they knew well whence they were borrowed ; they were borrowed from the temple, and tabernacle, and Old Testament worship, where consecrating was used about every thing. Consecrating is dedicating and devoting a person or thing to a special or holy service; so we find consecrating or dedicating of things and places. There was the book of the covenant, and there was the tabernacle, and all the utensils thereof, all of them dedicated with blood; and this ceremony in their consecration was used, that, by being sprinkled with blood, they were dedicated to the holy use and service God appointed them for. So was it also as to persons: we find it especially concerning Aaron, the high-priest, who was the first type, and concerning his sons that were under him; they were separated and set apart by divine appointment for a special use, none else were appointed for it. The sense then of this word is, That Christ's consecration is, that he is devoted, and appointed, and dedicated to, for a special use, and that is, to be the way to heaven, that by him men may come to God. John Baptist understood this when he preached Christ : Behold the Lamb of God, says he, which tak, eth away the sin of the world, John i. 29. Here comes the true sacrifice, who bears the iniquity of his people. The apostle, in Heb. ix. 22. makes a deep and excellent use of this
consecration : Almost all things are by the law purged with blood; purging there is partly in the same sense with our consecrating. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. What were the patterns of the things in the heavens? The holiest of all was the grand one ; the high-priest was a pattern of our Lord Jesus Christ; the temple was a pattern of the heavenly things; yet these were but shadows of them; the things themselves must be purified with better sacrifices than these, even with the blood of the Son of God. We find therefore the truth of consecrating, and devoting, and dedicating our Lord Jesus to be the way to heaven; it is frequently in the word, and used upon many accounts. We will therefore take notice, that it is the Father hath dedicated him to be the way; for this is of great use in the exercise of our faith, to know our Lord Jesus under this name, That he is the conse'crated way to heaven.
1. He is consecrated by the oath of God; as in Psal. cx. 4. The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Melchisedec. And this the apostle discourses of at great length in chap. vii. of this epistle, and makes one of the grand differences betwixt his priesthood and all that went before to consist in this, That they were made without an oath; hinting there was a time when they should cease : but when he made our Lord Jesus a Priest, it was by an oath ; which was a demonstration, that he was to continue for ever in that employment. Therefore in the conclusion of that chapter, he says, For the law maketh men high priests, which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son who is consecrated for evermore. Take in this matter now by a true faith, and it may be that some time or other you will find food for your faith from it, That, by the oath and appointment of Jehovah, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Christ the Son is sworn and appointed to be the only way to bring sinners to glory.
2. Our Lord Jesus is dedicated and consecrated to be the way to heaven, by the preparing him a body to suffer in. The çovenant betwixt the Father and Son had all the blessings
therein secured, by the mutual faithfulness betwixt Father and Son; but the way by which these were to be brought about, was the sacrifice of the Son in man's nature; therefore his consecration is carried on by his getting a human body: verse 5. of this chapter, Sacrifice and offering thout Ruouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared me. Did not God will and command sacrifices ? Yes, but never out of his Son Christ Jesus; these were all but shadows and types of the great one, and there was no such thing required of our Lord Jesus, neither did he offer any such thing; but, A body, says he, hast thou prepared me.
3. By the commission and charge that our Lord had for the setting about this great work of redemption. He not only had a body to suffer in, but was commanded by the Father to lay down his life for his people. This our Lord frequently takes notice of: This commandment have I received of my Father, John X. 17, 18.
4. He is dedicated by the holy anointing. One of the grand ceremonies of consecrating a person under the Old Testament, was by anointing. Aaron was to be anointed, and his sons ; when they came in to be priests of God's appointment, they were God's anointed. And all this is typical of the true anointing of our Lord Jesus. The anointing of Christ is the fulness of the Holy Ghost, and his pouring upon him: Therefore God, thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows, Psal. xlv. 7.
Lastly, By giving him all power over all persons and things, in order to the accomplishment of his work. All judgment is committed to him: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him, John v. 21. Matth. xxviii. 18. John xyii. 2.
Secondly, How is it that Christ hath a hand in his own consecration? The word is, He hath consecrated himself to be the new and living way.
1. Christ devotes and consecrates himself to be the way to heaven, in a cheerful and willing compliance with all the will of his father about him. In order to his being the way, the Lord God his Father opened his ears, and he