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great God; his majesty when it is discovered, unless Christ he discovered also, is one of the grandest shakings of faith: Wo is me, saith Isaiah, I have seen the holy one of Israel.
The second objection is, " I am a great sinner.”.
The third is, “ That the law is a great and awful law, « that I am to answer to.”
All this is true. What shall a man do with this? Will God grow less, will the law be unbinded, or thy sin removed ? No; they stand all as they are, an infinitely great God, a vile guilty sinner, a righteous holy law, that cannot be defeated.
The only answer is here, if I have a great God to deal with, and if I am a great sinner, and if a great law to reckon with; I have a great High Priest, and I can set this alone against all these : he is a High Priest whose sacrifice is of a sweet-smelling savour before the great God; the virtue of it cleanseth sin, and the virtue of it fulfils the law. The apostle therefore, when he is giving the grand foundations of a Christian's faith, loiges it all upon this great High Priest : Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. But how can God justify? It is Christ that died, says he, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
His dying is the oblation of this great High Priest, his rising again is the application thereof, Rom. viii. 33, 34.
(2.) in your making use of Christ as High Priest betwixt God and you, you must do it not only with confidence of the worth and virtue of the sacrifice, but with confidence as to your right to make use of it. Here is a common deceit that Satan hinders the peace of many a poor Christian by; the greater our shame; his cunning is not so great as our folly is great. The common thought of men is this, there is no doubt, but that Christ is a great Priest, and that his sacrifice is a great sacrifice, happy are they that have the virtue of it; but what right have I to make use of it. The mean, ing of this question, What right have I? is commonly this, May I adventure upon it without sin? This is undeniabla that thou mayst; for there are these three things I would lay before you :
(1.) God commards thee, whoever thou art, to deal with
him about salvation. Pray lay down this for a conclusion ; it is the certain revealed mind and will of God, that every man and woman, how great sinners soever they be, should deal with him about their salvation. God never allows men to run to hell, neither in security, nor in despair; but he proclaims his displeasure against those that do either way. If men run to hell sleeping or roaring, and depart from. God with a tormenting conscience, they are both condemned justly. This then is a principle, that is some way befriended by the light of nature, the only true God coma mands me in his word to deal with him about salvation ; and since his patience has kept me out of hell, he allows me to lay hold of his grace, for the preventing of that dreadful ruin. (2.) God forbids thee to deal with him about salvation
other name, but in Christ's name. That is as plain as the other. As God would have men mind their salvation, and glorify him in seeking for it from him; so he forbids them expressly, to come about salvation in any name but Christ's: There is no salvation in any other : for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved, Acts iv. 12. There are two things that are pretty plain: God commands us to deal with him about salvation, and not to go to hell quietly and tamely; and he forbids us to deal with him about salvation in any name but Christ's.
(3.) He has revealed and set forth Christ Jesus unto men in the gospel to be thus made use of: Rom. iii. 25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood. As really as the brazen serpent was erected upon the pole, that the stung Israelites might look and live; so truly is Christ Jesus held forth in the gospel, that every man that has a mind to salvation may look to him and get it. All men that live where the gospel is preached have alike right to believe on Christ Jesus; no man has a right in Christ, till he is a believer. There are secret purposes and thoughts in God's heart where to apply his grace; but in the public dispensations of it, all men are alike afar off, and all have alike equal right to believe. There is not a poor cr:ature upon the face
of the earth, that lives where the gospel is preached, but he has as much right to believe on Christ for the salvation of his soul, as Saul had when he went to Damascus. Indeed an actual right follows faith. Dos God command you to treat about salvation with him ? doth he forbid thee to treat in any other, but in Christ's name? hath he revealed Christ Jesus in the gospel, for this end to be made use of? How can the devil prev.il with any creature ever to fall into this dreadful imagination, I am afraid God will be angry, if I should venture the burthen of my lost soul upon Christ Jesus? Be ye persuaded of it, that murther and adultery, and the greatest abominations, are not more displeasing, by virtue of that command of the law, than a bare not improving of the Son of God for salvation, is by virtue of the gospel. This is the condemnation, this is that which sends multitudes of poor sinners to hell, if I may so speak; it sends more to hell in London, than all the profaneness in the midst of us; and until the power of the gospel be sent more into the hearts of the people; these open sorts of prrfaneness will never be destroyed. This confidence is so far from pride, that it is a great act of humility; and it is only the pride of mens hearts that hinders this confidence; they are unwilling to cast themselves upon this plea alone, to intrust the whole burther of their salvation upon this great Priest alone; that is the way to make all miscarry.
3dly, Mike use of this great fligh Priest entirely in all things, in all things wherein you need him, in all things wherein he may
We must use our High Priest about our good things, as well as about our bad. A great many poor creatures are so ignorant, I hope some may be Christians that are so ignorant, but this may be, and it is certain with many of them, that whenever they come to treat with God about their sin, then they know they must treat with him by Christ Jesus; but when they treat with God about their services, and when they present their grace, and faith, and repentance, and love, and worship, they do not see so much need of the High Priest. make right use of Christ as the High Priest over the house of God, remember this, that you must use him as really,
be useful to you.
as humbly, as entirely, in presenting your good works to God for acceptance, as in pleading for pardon for your bad
4thly, Mike use of Christ as a High Priest constantly. There
be such a weakness amongst some believers, that they think, that when they began first upon godliness, they stood in need daily of the High Priest, they are weak and feeble: but after they have got a great deal of experience, they hope that that experience and the means of grace may do pretty well with them. And that is the reason, why so
do so very ill. No Christian can ever outlive the necessity of employing Christ as High Priest in all the steps of his life; and in the last step through death wé must still lean upon this High Priest; we go by our High Priest within the vail, leaning and going through the vail of his flesh. And truly I am afraid, the Lord prevent it in you mercifully and graciously, there are many worse things to be afraid of; I am afraid of some Christians, that their best acts of faith on Christ Jesus are at their last, that their believing through the course of their pilgrimage is a little mingled and mixed with something of themselves; and when they come to the awful and dreadful step, and look death and judgment in the face, then they throw all away to the moles and bats; then their renouncing their own righteousness is no great business to a believer.
Lastly, Use him delightfully, use him with pleasure. Sirs, the constraint of conscience is good where there can be no better : but I would lead you to a better constraint, and that is the constraint of love: The love of Christ constrains me, says the apostle, to live to him. There is no man ever will be in heaven, but he that loves heaven, and no man walks in the way to heaven, but he that loves that way. There is a perverse love of heaven, and a mistiken love of the way to it; and if people would examine their hearts, and find the matter thus with them, I may say, in a word, there is a determination about your state.
A Christian loves heaven because Christ is there, and there he is seen and enjoyed; and a Christian loves the way to heaven, because it all lies through Christ; I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, an!
gave himself for me. The virtue of the sacrifice, giving himself for me, is the very strength of my life; whenever I would be recovered, and refreshed, and strengthened, I take a meal by faith of this love, and of his giving himself for me, and do it delightfully. I know that there is something of the new nature, that does prompt every believer to some spiritual pleasure in all actings of faith; but sometimes this is not so very remarkable. Says the apostle, re fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before you. Great dangers constrain people in a manner to take the first way of escape; but the believer comes to see what a glorious refuge Christ is, that not only is he a sure defence, but a glorious habitation; he blesses the danger that drove him, as well as the grace that welcomes him; he in a manner blesses the disease, that hath sent him to so sweet a physician. A great many make use of Christ as a Priest, when they cannot help themselves otherwise. Let it be your thought, If there were a possibility of doing my matters with God about salvation, otherwise than by Jesus Christ, I would renounce them all, and take Jesus Christ. But this is the only way; it should be as our meat and drink. Believing on the Son of God, will never be strongly done till delightfully done. When the weary traveller casts himself with delight, as well as with confi. dence, upon the stone laid in Zion, he then feels the benefit of rest.
HEBREWS X. 21,
And having an High Priest over the house of God. This
HIS verse contains the third encouragement which the apostle draws from Jesus Christ, to stir up believers to ap• proach to God in the right manner. I did propose three things to be spoke to; I have spoke to the first of them. The first thing in this encouragement is taken from Christ's