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he was harmless in his disposition repent, that Christ is a priest for and conduct toward men; and not ever after the order of Melchisedec. merely harmless, but full of good-Upon this, as well as upon many ness and mercy; he was undefiled, other most precious and important he did not contract any defilement truths concerning the priesthood of of any kind from any source; he Christ, the apostle dwells, very was separate from sinners; though fully, in bis epistle to the Hebrews: he dwelt among sinners and con. shewing, in many respects, the versed with them, yet he had no pre-eminence of Christ as the cominunion with them in sin; he great High Priest over the house was not in the least degree con- of God: and especially in this formed to them in sin. Such was one point of exaltation above all Christ, and such an High Priest the high-priests under the law, became us: it was necessary that his continuance in office as the he should possess these qualifica. greatest and the last, whom no one tions for the priestly office. He shall succeed, but abiding a priest who was to make atonement for for ever. • the sins of others, was, himself, The Lord Jesus being soeminentto be without sin, or there could ly qualified for interceding with be no value in his sacrifice. If God for sinners, the prevalency Christ had not been altogether of his intercession is most cerwithout sin, he could not, in his tain; he cannot intercede in vain. intercession, have had any accep. Being appointed by God himself table sacrifice to plead before God; to the office of High-priest; havneither his offering up of himself, ing a sacrifice of infinite value to nor his appearing before God as plead; asking nothing of God but an intercessor, would have been of what he can in justice as well as in any avail. But it is our happi. mercy grant, but what is the good ness, that in the holy, the spotless pleasure of his will, and to the Jesus, we have such an High Priest glory of his name, to bestow; as it became us to have, in order abounding in love, in tenderness, to our salvation through his accep and compassion, toward all for table sacrifice and prevailing in whom he pleads; and being himtercession
self perfectly free from all sin ; As every believer in Christ needs surely bis intercession must prove bis intercession till he is brought effectual for all the great and blessto glory, and as the church of ed ends for which it was appointGod will need it in every period ed ; must be honoured by God 'till the end of time, it is a truth with the most abundant success. of unspeakable value, that Christ As an interest in the mediation ever lives to make intercession for of Christ is essential to salvation, his people; that he appears in tbe it is a matter of importance, presence of God for them 'till brethren, to consider who they are they are all in the actual posses- for whom Christ intercedes. As sion of their eternal inheritance; 'all men are not saved, Christ does that his priesthood is unchange. not intercede for all; for, if he did, ·ble; that the nature and efficacy his intercession, in some cases, of his intercession change not; would prove without effect; which that his eminent qualifications as is what we do not believe of the an advocate with the Father are intercession of the Son of God. not diminished nor altered by time, When on earth he was prayiog for but will continue in all their glory his disciples, he said to his Father, 'till all the purchase of his blood I pray not for the world : and appear in the realms of bliss; for now, when he appears in the prethe Lord bath sworn, and will not 'sence of God for men, there is a
part of the human race for whom tion, spiritual and eternal, is the he does not intercede with the benefit of Christ's intercession, or, Father. His intercession extends the intercession of Christ is one to all who are included in his part of that mediation of Christ, Father's gift; for when on earth he by which sinners are saved. said to his father, I pray for them Christ's intercession as the great that thou hast given me. The High Priest who appears in the Father's gift to Christ are, doubt-presence of God, for bis people, less, the elect, the predestinated with his own blood, obtains for unto life, the chosen in Christ them the gift of the Spirit of God, from before the foundation of the with all his gracious and powerful world; all whom Christ redeemed influences; with all the blessings with his precious blood, for whom connected with what he works in he obeyed, suffered and died as their hearts. If, as the fruit of their mediator, surety, and substi. Christ's intercession, the Spirit tute. As Christ laid down his life causes them to believe in the name for the sheep, so he intercedes for of the Son of God: through the the sheep: as he loved the Church same intercession is obtained for and gave himself for it, so he ever them, that forgiveness of sins which lives to make intercession for the God has promised to them that Church. The church of Christ is believe; for the Saviour pleads his the house of God, and Christ is blood for that end ; that it may be said to be the High-Priest over given them, not only to believe on that house; consequently the sav- his name, but that, believing, they ing benefits of his priesthood are may be justified freely, by God's confined to his church, to that grace, through the redemption that house which is composed only of is in Christ Jesus. When, through the ordained unto eternal life. the intercession of Christ, the From the word of God we learn Spirit of God produces faith in that Christ makes intercession for the hearts of God's chosen, through all who come unto God by him, the same intercession, they receive who approach the eternal God, as that adoption of sons, which is the Father of mercies, by faith in connected with faith in the name Christ Jesus, as the way by whom of Christ: for, says the apostle, we have access, by one Spirit, tol ye are all the children of God by the Father. These, then, are cer- faith in Christ Jesus. In a word, tainly blessed with an interest in all the supplies of divine grace Christ's intercession: and all who they receive; all the succours of thus come upto God, who are of divine grace by which they are the true circumcision, who worship saved from the powers of sm, of God in the Spirit, who rejoice in the world, and of Hell; all the Christ Jesus, and have no confi. wonders of divine grace that are dence in the flesh; may take all wrought on their behalf; the grace the comfort of this truth, that that saves them in this life, that Christ ever lives to make interces. saves them from the sting of death, sion for them.
that delivers them from death and The value of Christ's interces- the grave, from death eternal, and sion appears in the vast benefits that raises them at last to eternal that are obtained by it, for the life, is all obtained for them by church of God. If the interced-their advocate with the Father, ing grace of the Lord Jesus is es- who is able to save them to the sential to the salvation of the uttermost, seeing he ever lives to church, if it is a part of the divine make intercession for them. We plan for the full and eternal salva- know not, brethren, of any blessing tion of all his chosen, then salva- we pray for, according to the will of God, but what he bestows on ings; and the benefits of it shall us through the intercession of our prove of eternal duration. great High-Priest. Heb.iv, 14-16. Believing the doctrine of Christ's It is through him that we enjoy intercession, as it is set before us the great benefit of access to God, in the word of truth, we must be and praying for the blessings of influenced to come unto God by his mercy and grace: and if we him, to approach the throne of his are warranted, in the name of grace with boldness, and there to Christ, to pray for all the blessings pour out our hearts before him ; of God's great salvation, then do adoring his great name, coufessing all those blessings flow to us our sins, giving him thanks for his through the intercession of Christ. manifold mercies, and imploring We are informed by an inspired all the blessings of his grace for writer that it is because Christ ourselves and for the whole Church ever lives to make intercession for of God. Having such an High all who come unto God by him, Priest, who is ever making interthat he is able to save them to the cession for us, should we not highly uttermost.
| value, and diligently use, the pri. We would not conclnde this vilege which it obtains for us, of address, brethren, without calling access to God at all times? Would your attention to those effects that not the neglect of prayer, secret should be produced in us by the or social, be making light of the faith of Christ's intercession: for grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, what God has been pleased to re- through whom the way is ever veal in his word upon this, as well open for us to the Father of as upon many other subjects mercies; who is ever before God closely connected with it, he has to present all our sacrifices that revealed for the purpose of pro- are offered to the Father in his ducing great effects in all them that name? There are many consider. believe: that thereby their spiri- ations that should excite believers tual good might be promoted, that to constant and fervent prayer; they might richly experience the and surely the intercession of abundant grace of God in Christ Christ should be viewed by them Jesus, that they might enjoy their as among the most powerful inmanifold privileges, that they might ducements to pray without ceasrender to God what is due to him ing: as among the most animating for all the benefits of his great encouragements to draw near to salvation. It is God who works God continually.-This grace of in his people, by his Spirit, both our Lord Jesus Christ should have to will and to do of his good plea- the most happy influence upon us, sure; but the divine Spirit in per- in our solemn and delightful seaforming this work of grace, makes sous of public worship, as well as use of the doctrines and promises in our secret approaches to God. of that word of truth which is | The way is open for us to the spirit and life.
throne of divine grace; God is The intercession of Christ is a ready, for his dear Son's sake, to blessing of such vast magnitude, do for us exceeding abundantly that if we believe in it, we must above all that we can ask or think; experience much love and grati. that blood is before the throne tude to the God of all grace, and that speaks better things than the to his dear Son, for the inestima. blood of Abel; God deligbts to ble blessing. It is, in truth, a doc- honour the High-Priest of his own trine of divine grace: it is the appointment, the sacrifice that was fruit of the Father's great love; it offered by his own command, the is fraught with the richest bless. intercession that is made as the fruit of his own love. May we praise-worthy in Christians than a pot then, without presumption, public spirited conduct, or a genebanish from our souls every fear on rous concern for one another's the ground of past guilt, or the good, whether as individuals or imperfection of present services ; societies. Indeed there can be no assured that our iniquities are not real Christianity without it; and remembered against us, and that this is the particular duty enforced our spiritual sacrifices will be ac. by the apostle in the words of the ceptable unto God by Christ text. To enter into the import Jesus? May we not with joyful and meaning of the passage we and thankful hearts, worship the must consider three particulars, Father of mercies, having confi- viz. A dissuasive or admonition, dence in him as the God and “Look not every man on his own Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, things"--an exhortation, to look and to us, in him, the God of all ' every man also on the things of grace? As the intercession of others'—and the example by which Christ insures the acceptance of the duty is enforced Let that all who come unto God by him, mind be in you which was also in and a gracious answer to all they Christ Jesus, &c.” ask in his name; the belief of his 1. The original words (un O XOWEITE) intercession should produce in us, translated Look not, signify, not to strong confidence in God as the aim at, or set up, our own concerns hearer of prayer. It is our privi- as our mark or end, so as that our lege to be assured, that whatsoever whole efforts should be bent to the we ask of the Father according to advancement of our own indivi. his will, in the name of Christ, he dual selfish concerns—not absowill do it for us. We give glory to lutely in every respect, but chiefly Christ, as our intercessor, when and in preference to the things of we seek all things, and hope for others; for the word “ also,” in all things, from the Father of the next clause, implies that our mercies, through the intercession own things are not altogether to of his beloved Son.
be disregarded. There is a priTo conclude, may you, dear mary care which every man owes brethren, abide in the truth as it is to himself that cannot be neglected in Jesus; contending for the faith with impunity; but the generality once delivered to the Saints: may of professors are so little in danyou grow in grace and in the ger from this source that it would knowledge of the Lord Jesus be almost superfluous here to enChrist: may brotherly love greatly large upon it. abound among you; and may all! By our "own things,” we must the fruits of the Spirit be borne by understand such things as are in you: may you, as risen with Christ, themselves lawful; such as honour, seek those things which are above, ease, safety, or worldly possessions wbere Christ sitteth on the right the things that relate to our prihand of God; and when Christ, vate interestand gratification rather who is your life, shall appear, may than the public good, and in which you also appear with him in glory. we have no other aim than merely
our own profit, or to please ourTHE DUTY OF BEING ZEALOUS
selves, without any regard to the IN THE CAUSE OF CHRIST. advantage of others. So it is said
ver. 21, “All seek their own “ Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
things,” which are · opposed to Let this mind be in you which was also in “ the things that are Jesus Christ's,” Christ Jesus." Phil. ii. 4, 5.
ora public concern for the interests NOTHING is more becoming or of his kingdom, which the apostle
denominates “caring for their with you all,” ver. 17. Even his state," ver. 20. We have a similar own life he counted not dear unto exhortation, 1 Cor. x. 24 " Let him, that he might look to the no man seek his own, but each things of others, and promote their one that of another." His own best interests, Acts xx. 24. Rom. here, evidently denotes his own ix. 3. And the same spirit is id. gratification, will, or pleasure ;/ culcated upon all the disciples of
which is the same with “ pleasing Christ, 1 John iii. 16. True, they .. ourselves" instead of our neigh- are not called to sacrifice their
bour for his good to edification. spiritual interest for the sake of
Rom. xv. 1, 2. In opposition to others; but every thing that relates . this, it is said of charity that “ she to their present life, and even life
seeketh not her own," 1 Cor. xiii. itself when it becomes pecessary 5, that is, her own private plea to promote their true happiness, sure, honour, safety, or advantage ought not to be witb-held. Which to the neglect of others; on the leads us to consider, contrary, she denies herself for 3. The great example by which their benefit; love being the re- the apostle enforces this duty. verse of a contracted selfish mind." Let that mind be in you which Christians; therefore, must not be was also in Christ Jesus-who so narrow minded as to be absorb- being in the form of God, thought ed in their own personal concerns ; it not robbery to be equal with on the contrary,
God; but made himself of no re2. They are exhorted to “ Look putation, and took upon him the every man on the things of others” form of a servant, and was made -not as officious intermeddling in the likeness of men; and being busy bodies in their affairs, 1 Pet. found in fashion as a man, he iv, 15. but from a generous and humbled himself, and became affectionate concern for their wel. obedient to death, even the death fare--to consider their peculiar of the cross.” This is the pattern circumstances, and endeavour to which the apostle sets before the utmost of their power to pro- Christians for their imitation. As mote their interest whether tem- if he should say, 'Be ye likeporal or spiritual. In this way minded with Christ Jesus, and they are required “ to care for follow his example in not looking their state"-" to seek the things to your own things, but every man that are Christ's”_" each to pur- also on the things of others. To sue the interest of another"--and illustrate this divine example he to “'please our neighbour for his presents to their view Jesus Christ good to edification." What a in his threefold state. First, that noble example of this disinterested of his original glory and dignityconduct have we in the case of " He was in the form of God, and Paul himself. When he embraced accounted it not robbery to claim the gospel, he looked not on his equality with God." Here we see own things, but made a voluntary 'what were “his own things”- that sacrifice of his religious character, divine form of majesty, honour as well as his worldly honour, ease, and glory which he possessed besafety, and advantages, subjecting fore his incarnation--that equality himself to dishonour, to lahours, with God which belonged to him dangers, poverty, and distress for without robbery. But what is all the elect's sake, on whose account that we can part with when comhe was willing to spend and be pared to these? Again, he points spent ; “ yea, says he, and if I be them to his state of humiliation offered upon the sacrifice and ser- and voluntary abasement. “He vice of your faith, I joy and rejoice emptied himself" of his divine