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given to guide it, the most happy opportunity that ever was in the world, had been to have heard our Lord Jesus praying a whole night to the Father. The scripture does not tell us what he prayed for ; but we are sure of this, that he prayed for his sheep: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me, for they are thine, John xvii. 9. Somewhat cur Lord used to utter, and to pour forth his heart to his Father about. Many prayers he put up for himself; Christ made no sacrifice for himself, but he put up many prayers for himself: IV ho in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto him that wi's able to save him from death, and he was heard, in that he feared, Heb. v. 7.
3. The third season is, Christ's intercession in heaven, when he went out of the world into his exalted state ; and that is the word most commonly used in the scriptures about his intercession. His intercession is frequently both in the Old and New Testament subjoined to his sacrifice: He hath poured out his soul unto death: And he was numbered with the transgressors, and he bare the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors, Isa. liii. 12. It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also mak. eth intercession for us, Rom. viii. 34. He ever liveth to make intercession, Heb. vii. 25. Of this intercession of our Lord, as managed in his exalted state, we find several expressions in the scripture, and I chuse rather, and will advise you accordingly to confine your thoughts to scripture phrase, about these things, wherein we may overdo, and overthink, and think amiss.
1st, His intercession stands in his entering into heaven in our name, and in our room. See how the apostle expresses it, Heb. ix. 12, 24. The most glorious, the most powerful entrance, the stateliest thing that we can imagine next to his return again, was when a slain, quickened, ascended Lord Jesus in man's nature entered into the heavenly places; not the places made with hands, but into heaven itself, says the apostle. As long as he is there we are there, for all his peoples cases will be minded effectually.
2dly, It is called appearing before God for us ; not only
entering in our name, but staying there on our behalf, for our good. To this purpose seems the word of our Lord to point : The spirit shall convince the world of righteousness; why so? Because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more.
This is a dark expression, I go to my Father, and ye see me no more. The meaning of it is plainly this, that the certainty of our justification by the virtue of the righteousness of Jesus Christ stands in this, that the person whose blood wrought out this righteousness is gone into heaven, and is not returned again. Pray observe, the high-priest under the law was to go in, and to accomplish righteousness for the atoning of God's anger against Israel, in the seventh month once; and he was to come out
poor man was not to stay there: but our grand High-priest is to stay for ever in heaven, until all the virtue of his death is fully applied to them that it was appointed for : when all that is done, then he comes out of his throne, in the clouds to gather all his people.
3dly, His intercession is expressed to us by his knowledge and sympathy with the ails, wants, and infirmities of his people.' So the apostle argues, 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, Heb. iv. 14. But, might the poor believer say, Our dear Lord is passed into heaven, and we are here in this miserable world ; how shall there be converse betwixt him and us? We have not, says he, an highpriest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin, ver. 15. Pray observe, that of the apostle's argument, the main thing is implied, the other things are but the outside of it. The thing that is the outside, is, Christ was once tempted as we are ; the apostle's argument from thence is, Therefore we have an high-priest that can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but the force and scope of it is, for our consolation, that he is touched with them. What his glorified state does admit of, is what we cannot conceive of, but what our necessities crave, our faith is allowed to expect. Our Lord will not cry and weep at Lazarus's grave now; he will not grieve in himself, because of the hardness and unbelief of their hearts, as he did when on earth; he does not
bear our infirmities, nor feel them with that afflicting sense and sorrow that he had in the days of his flesh; but every thing that ails a poor believer, is as well felt and as really known by our Lord Jesus, as if Christ and the man were in one place and room together.
Lastly, His intercession stands in blessing, and wishing well. These wishes and this blessing rise upward to the Father, and come downwards to us; he wishes as it were, he wishes and wills that all the blessings purchased by his death may be bestowed on all them for whom his blood was shed, See how he expresses it in his intercession on earth, how he prays, Father, I will, that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, John xvii. 24. Is that a word for a may in prayer to say, Lord, I will? You see how in some cases our Lord with the deepest humility addresses to the Father, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, Matth. xi. 25. But here now, when he is giving us a copy of his intercession, and is fore-acting his intercession in heaven, he puts on the authority that in his glorified state he is fully clothed with : 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,
Christ's blessing of his people is the virtue of his intercession; when his wishes as it were, and his will is delivered to his Father, then the blessing wished for comes down upon us. The last thing our Lord did on earth should be dear to us, to think how Christ and his people parted; he lifted up his hands and blessed them, that they might remember him as long as they lived. Christ came into the world to bless his people, and died to obtain a blessing; and when he went to heaven, he left his blessing upon them; and it was the last thing he dið upoa earth
Aprlication. Is Christ a proper priest, a true priest ? 1. Be very thankiul to God for this provision, that we have aa high-priest... Be careful to make use of him.
1. Be highly thanktul to God for Chris, as a High-priest. The provisioa made is abslutely needful, no dealing with God but by him. I: is provision that is maie in mere grace and mercy; nothing is in us to mere God so it bur mere mercy.
It is provision that is made very costly. To be a high-priest cost our Lord a great deal : he made himself of no reputation, and took on him the form of a servant, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, Phil. ii. 7, 8. It is however such a provision as brought a great deal of honour to Christ : he glorified not himself, to be made an high-priest, but his Father glorified him; this is a very strange word, Heb. v. 5. This high-priest was to be made a sacrifice; was there any great glory in being made a sacrifice ? To be made sin, to be made a curse, to be made shame, to be made, as it were, the channel of the wrath and displeasure of God, for all the sins of the people of God; where is the honour of all this? But look through this; there is grand honour, he is to be the reconciler of all things to God, the great umpire of heaven and earth, the great purchaser of eternal salvation for all the elect. The condescension and lowness that our Lord stooped to in undertaking this office, had great dignity in it; and so it appears in the issue, and will appear more when all is done.
2. Be careful to use Christ as an High-priest. Wo to them that do not know Christ; but a great deal more wo to them that know any thing of him, and do not make use of him. Every believer hath need of every thing that Christ has to give. Christ's fulness was never so laid open before the eyes of a believer, but the more he sees Christ hath, the more the man is convinced of his need of every thing he sees. In this using of Christ as an High-priest, only take notice of these two particulars :
1st, Never deal with God without him in any thing. It is only the pride, and ignorance, and folly of the children of men, that they dare venture into God's presence without Christ Jesus. An understanding believer cannot do so. He dares not come into God's presence, but in the hand of this great high-priest, and with him upon his heart. Do not offer, I say, in any concern, to deal with God without this highpriest. Judge ye what would have been done in the state of the church of the Jews, if any man had brought his sacrifice to the altar, and laid his own hands upon it, and said, This sacrifice is mine, and I will be priest myself. That soul had been cut off from amongst his people. This was but typical of the se
vere charge we lie under. . In all things that pertain to God, we must still bring Chri.t along with us. I will name some of those things that we must not deal with God in without him, and that we must deal with God by him, and with him.
(1.) When we draw nigh to God for the acceptance of our persons, and obtaining peace with God; this must be by our great High-priest, for it is in the beloved only that we are accepted, Eph. i. 6. It is in his Son only that he is well pleased. If ever you think to bring that to God that may make him love you, or that will render you lovely in his sight without Christ Jesus, you will find yourselves dreadfully mistaken, when it comes to the issue.
(2.) In all the offerings of service to him, let them be all by the hand of this High-priest. If you pray, pray in his name, and not in your own; if you offer the sacrifice of praise, do it by him : By him let us offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Whatever you do, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. This great high-priest must receive all our services and sacrifices, and he only must present them, if ever they be accepted, Heb. xiii. 15.
(3.) In all your expectations of good from God ; let all those expectations be through Christ, if there be
there be any looking and working of heart, as there will be if you be believers, in begging something, and looking for somewhat. There is no Christian that is exercised in begging much, but that poor creature will find some expectation and hope rising, that there shall be an answer of peace, there will come some good, some blessing will be returned. Now, take heed of this in all these expectations, let the answer of them all be through Christ.
In sum, The eyes of a believer are to be fixed on Christ, in all his dealings with God, (if I may divide them so, and this dividing is but uniting the eyes of faith that are fixed on Christ.) The one eye is to be set on his oblation, and the other on his intercession; and when your eyes are fixed, serve God as painfully, and expect as highly as you please ; ask as largely, and expect as confidently according to his word. Then your eyes are singly upon this high-priest set over the house of God when your hearts bear you witness,