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any man sin
every day: and therefore he goes beyond all the high priests that ever went before him.
And yet further : take the high priest in the old law, in the times of the old testament: and though they did offer sacrifice for some sins, and intercede; yet there was other sins again, that no sacrifice was to be offered for. If a man did kill another at unawares, there was a sacrifice. If a man sinned ignorantly, there was a sacrifice. But says the text in the xyth of Numbers 30th verse.
presumptuously, he shall be cut off, and there shall be no sacrifice for him :" no sacrifice, no intercession by the high priest then. But we have such an High Priest, that makes intercessions forall sins. So he says himself: “Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven, except the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.” Every sin, though it boil up to blasphemy, it shall he forgiven; but without sacrifice there is no remission : and therefore he hath made a sacrifice; and so he presents the sacrifice, and intercedes for every poor sinner: and therefore he is such an High Priest, that transcends all the high priests that ever went before him.
In the fourth place, How doth all this conduce now to our comfort, or our holiness; to our grace, or peace?
First, To our comfort. Very much to our comfort. And therefore in the ist chapter of Zechariah good words, and comfortable are spoken upon this occasion: (verse 8.) says the prophet, “I saw by night, and behold, a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom, and behind him were there red horses speckled and white. Then said I, O my Lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be. And the man that stood among the myrtle trees, answered and said, these are they, whom the Lord hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. answered the angel of the Lord that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. And the angel of the Lord answered, and said, O Lord of hosts, how long, wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem, and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these three-score and ten years?" Here is intercession. “And the Lord answered the angel that talked with me, with
good words, and comfortable words.” Give me leave to open the words a little, and we shall see how much it makes to our comfort, this intercession of Jesus Christ. At the 8th verse, “ I saw (says he) a man riding upon a red horse.” This is the Lord Jesus Christ presented thus to us. he stood among the myrtle trees.” The saints and people of God they are called the myrtle trees, for their greenness, sweetness, and fruitfulness. “And these myrtle trees were in the bottom.” That is, in a dark, in a low, and a poor condition: it is the condition of myrtle trees, and of the saints and people of God to be oft in bottoms, and in a dark and low condition. Well : “ Behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white: and I said, O my Lord, what are these?” Now that this is Christ; first of all, he is called a Man, and an Angel too. Secondly, as Christ walked between the golden candlesticks, in the book of Revelation : so here he stood among the myrtle trees, among the saints. And behind him (attending upon him) were red horses, speckled, and white. That is, angels sent to and fro through the earth, upon his message, and upon his errand; and unto him they come and give an account, and to none but Christ. Then we shall see this angel, that stood among the myrtle trees, comes and intercedes : all the angels they come and bring in this report, that the church and people of God were in a low condition. “Then this angel that stood among the myrtle trees, answered and said, (at the 12th verse) O Lord of Hosts, how long, wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem, and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these three score and ten years ? ” It must needs be Christ, for no angel intercedes, but Christ alone. What is the fruit of this intereession? (at the 13th verse) “The Lord answered the angel that talked with me, with good words, and comfortable words.” Aye, indeed, good words, and comfortable are the fruit of the intercession of Jesus Christ. It is a matter of great comfort this, that the Lord Christ, our great High Priest, is in heaven to intercede for
Is it not a comfort to a poor man, to have a friend above, near the king, or in the court, that may be able to do him kindness ? a man sometimes says, I had a friend indeed in the court, but now he is dead. Aye but, here is a friend that never dies : he ever lives to make intercession. Friends
may alter, and turn enemies; but he changeth not. Our Lord and Saviour Christ said unto his disciples, rejoice not in this, that the devils fall down like lightning before you : but rejoice in this, “That your names are written in heaven :" it is a matter of great joy to have one's name written in heaven: Oh! but what is it then, to have one's name written in the chief part of heaven, to have one's name written there upon the breast-plate of Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, that is gone into the holy of holiest. Thus it is, the Lord Christ is now gone to heaven, entered into the holy of holiest, and carries our names into the presence of God the Father, and there pleads and intercedes for us. Oh! what matter of comfort is here !
But you will say unto me: This is exceeding good, and very comfortable in itself: but what is this to me? for I am afraid that the Lord Christ does not intercede for me: if indeed I could persuade myself, that the Lord Jesus were in heaven as my High Priest, to intercede for me, I think verily I should have comfort, though I were in the lowest bottom, though I were in hell itself: but Oh! I am afraid to bear myself upon the intercession of Jesus Christ, lest I should presume.
This is the great objection, and stands up continually, to resist the comforts of God's people: give me leave therefore, to deal with this objection all along, and to take it off, that so the comfort
fall more fully upon you. First, I will shew, it is no presumption for us to bear ourselves upon the intercession of Jesus Christ.
Secondly, Who those are that the Lord Christ does intercede for in heaven. And,
Thirdly, How willing, how infinitely willing he is to intercede for us: that so I may bring the comfort nearer to our own bosoms.
First, I say it is no presumption for us to bear ourselves upon the intercession of Jesus Christ : no presumption to believe. We know the story of the woman in the gospel, that came unto our Lord and Saviour, touching the hem of his garment for her cure, and she was cured thereby. But our Saviour perceiving virtue to be gone from him, he calls out the person,
Who hath touched me? come forth; and the woman came forth trembling. Our Lord and Saviour Christ
does not say to this poor woman, How dare you
thus touch me? how durst thou thus presume to do it? Consider, the woman had no command to do it, no precept to back her: the woman had no promise to engage her, that if she did touch the hem of his garment she should be cured. The woman had no example; never any before that touched the hem of his garment and was cured. No commandment, no promise, no example: surely now, if any man or woman should presume, it should be this woman, that had no commandment, nor promise, nor example; and yet the Lord Jesus Christ does not chide her away, does not tell her she had presumed; but, “O woman, thy faith hath saved thee, thy faith hath made thee whole.” Let me speak this home: we have a command now to beliete in Christ; and a promise: Those that come unto him, he ever liveth to make intercession for them. And we have examples of many that have come unto Jesus Christ, born themselves upon his intercession, and have gone away cured. What! was it no presumption for the woman to come and touch Christ, without a commandment, and a promise, and an example ? and have you examples, and have you promises, and have you commandments to believe, and will you say this is presumption ? Be not deceived, it is no presumption for thee, poor soul, to bear thyself at length upon Jesus Christ.
Secondly, to make this out a little more fully, I shall discover who those are that the intercession of Jesus Christ does belong unto. If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous,” i John ii. 1. You will say, This is to be carried upon those that were spoken of before : and those were such as had fellowship with the Father : “ Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ," chap. i. yer. 3. “Now if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” If any man that hath fellowship with the Father, or Christ, sin; they have an Advocate with God the Father. First therefore stand you by I pray, that we will take for granted, all you that ever had any fellowship with God the Father, or with Jesus Christ; this doctrine of the intercession of Jesus Christ, and the comfort hereof, does belong to you.
Moreover, in the xviith chapter of John, there we find that
our Saviour says, he prays for those that do believe, and should believe. Those that he prays for here, he intercedes for in heaven : “ Neither pray I for these alone (at the 20th verse), but for them also which shall believe on me through thy word.” I do not pray only for those that do believe now, but for them also which shall believe. Well then, here is a second sort, those that do believe, and those that wait upon the Lord in the ordinance, that they may believe, or shall believe: stand you by also, you are another sort of people that the intercession of Jesus Christ, and the comfort thereof, does belong unto.
But now yet further, if we look into the viith chapter of this epistle unto the Hebrews, at the 25th verse we shall find these words: “ Wherefore he is able, also, to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Who are those ? Those that come unto God by him. Lay this, and the liiird chapter of Isaiah, the 12th verse, together: “ He was numbered with the transgressors (speaking of Christ clearly), and he bare the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” It may be thou canst not say, I have fellowship with God the Father: it may be thou canst not say, I do believe, I am persuaded that I do believe; thou canst not say so: well, but can you say thus: Through the Lord's grace I do come unto God by Christ; I have been, and I am a great transgressor, but I come unto God by Christ; I am one of the coming transgressors: I have been a transgressor, but I am a coming transgressor, I come unto God by Christ. Stand you by also, this intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ, it belongs unto you: and let me tell thee for thy comfort, poor soul, whatsoever thou hast been, that comest unto the Lord by Christ, the Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, he is gone to heaven to intercede for thy soul.
But you will say, There is one thing that makes me afraid he will not intercede for me, I have been so great a transe gressor: for I have been a transgressor against Jesus Christ, this High Priest: Oh! I have sinned against this great High Priest, Jesus Christ, and therefore I am afraid he will not intercede for me.
For answer to this, I shall only desire you to turn to the xvith chapter of Numbers, the 41st verse, and consider it