Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

OF JESUS CHRIST. 439

ther, in the Father and the Son—and, finally, receive them into that glory which was laid up for Jesus himself, in the mansions of' bliss. "Father," he said, "/ 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:" ver. 24.

But, the advocacy of Jesus was far indeed from being restricted to the period of his mortal humiliation: he continues to exercise the same gracious office in the kingdom of his glory. "If any man sin," said the apostle John to the catholic church, at a period subsequent to the ascension of Jesus,—" If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:" I John ii, 1. In this respect, as well as in many others, "God hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead;" (I Pet. i, 3;) and we may well adopt the language of the apostle Paul: "If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled unto God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life" Rom. v, 10. Jesus Christ was not only " delivered for our offences," but " was raised again for our justification:" iv, 25. Having for ever put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, " the Great Prince which standeth for the children of the Lord's people," (Dan. xii, 1) hath entered, " not into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:" Heb. ix, 24.

The office of an advocate or patron, in ancient times, was one of great importance. He was the perpetual protector of his client; and, as occasion required, he was always ready to defend his cause, to confute and rebuke his accuser, or to intercede for his

[blocks in formation]

pardon: and Jesus, in his priestly and mediatorial character, is the advocate of his people, because he is ever engaged in protecting them from danger, in counteracting the accusations of their cruel adversary, in pleading their cause, and in offering intercession for them to the Father Almighty. He is the perfect antitype of the High Priest of the ancient Hebrews, respecting whom we read as follows: "And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel, in the breastplate of judgment, upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord, continually. And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummin; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart when he goeth in before the Lord; and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart, before the Lord, continually:" Exod. xxviii, 29, 30.

That Jesus Christ, who is a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec—the king of righteousness, and the king of peace—is enthroned at the right hand of the Father, and there presides perpetually as a sure protector and defender, over the house of God, the whole family of believers, is a doctrine which has been fully considered in a former essay, and on which, therefore, we need not now insist.

That he rebukes and confounds the accuser of his brethren is unquestionable, on the general principle, that it is he who bruises the serpent's head, and destroys "the works of the devil:" I John iii, 8. "The Lord rebuke thee," said the Angel of the Covenant to Satan, when the latter was accusing Joshua the priest—" The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan, even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?" and to Joshua,

OF JESUS CHRIST. 441

who was standing before him, " clothed in filthy garments," he said, " Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment:" Zech. iii, 1—4. May we not collect from this remarkable narration, that the mighty Advocate, who still pleads for his people against their malicious adversary, rests their defence on the atonement made by his own blood-shedding, and graciously covers them with the spotless robe of his own righteousness? Thus it is that the blessings which Christ died to purchase, he lives to apply.

Finally, that his perpetual intercession is offered on our account to the Father Almighty, and is all-availing for the safety of his faithful followers, both here and hereafter, is to be concluded on the clearest scriptural evidence. "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?" said the apostle Paul in the triumphant language of Christian confidence—" It is God that justified). Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for its?" Rom. viii, 33, 34. "This (man) because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing He

EVER LIVETH TO MAKE INTERCESSION FOR THEM "."

Heb. vii, 24, 25. Having cited these explicit and powerful passages, I have now, in conclusion, to remark, that the intercession of Christ has not only its own direct efficacy, but is the means of procuring acceptance for the prayers of his people. "The spiritual sacrifices" of the church on earth are "acceptable to God, by Jesus Christ;" (I Pet. ii, 5;) and we may reasonably conclude, that our almighty Intercessor

442 RECAPITULATION.

was represented by the angel in the Apocalypse, who appeared in the character of a priest, standing before the altar, with a golden censer in his hand. "And there was given unto him," said the apostle, " much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up be/ore God out of the angel's hand!" Rev. viii, 3, 4. The prayers of the saints are offered by the Redeemer on the altar of God—but that which alone imparts to them the fragrance of a sweet-smelling savour, and renders them acceptable to God, our heavenly Father, is the incense in which they are enveloped—the incense of the intercession of the Redeemer himself.

On a brief review, then, of the contents of the present section, we may recollect, first, that the righteousness declared to be imputed to the believer in Jesus, is the righteousness of Jesus himself; that this righteousness consisted in his absolute freedom from sin, and in his perfect and meritorious fulfilment of the law of God; that it is said to be imputed to Christians, beause, in virtue of their union by faith with the great Head of the Church, they reap the fruits of it; for they are not only saved from hell, as if they were as innocent as Christ, but are rewarded with heaven, as if, like Christ, they had perfectly fulfilled the law. Secondly, that he who thus procured for us, by his own blood-shedding and obedience, the gift of eternal life, is our never-failing defender and advocate at the right hand of God; that as he protected his people, and prayed for them while he was with them on earth, so now, in the glory of his kingdom, he is ever engaged in our support and defence, in answering and

CONCLUSION. 443

rebuking our adversary, in presenting and perfecting our prayers, and in saving us by his own continual and all-powerful intercession.

What then are the practical lessons to be deduced from these scriptural doctrines? They are lessons of hope, and joy, and encouragement. When we are humbled before God in the view of our own imperfect services, let us cast ourselves on his mercy, and repose on the righteousness of our Redeemer! When we are surrounded with many conflicts—when Satan is desiring to "sift" us as " wheat"—let us remember the gracious words of Jesus to Peter, " I Have Prayed For Thee, that thy faith fail not:" Luke xxii, 31, 32. Let us console ourselves with the wellgrounded assurance, that as long as we are humbly endeavouring to persevere in the faith and patience of the saints, so long are we the subjects of an advocacy not to be defeated, and of prayers all-effectual for our help and salvation!

PART III.

ON THE SCRIPTURE DOCTRINE OF THE SPIRIT.

In the view which, in a former essay, we took of mankind in their unregenerate condition, we traced the sure evidences, both of their moral darkness, and of their moral death. Man without grace (whether he is possessed of outward information or not) is, in the first place, devoid of any profitable, saving, knowledge of God and his truth. And, in the second place, he is "alienated" by his wickedness from "the life of God," and " dead in trespasses and sins."

Although, therefore, the Supreme Being has graci

« EdellinenJatka »