« AnteriorContinuar »
the Father for my soul, and shall I be afraid to appear before poor worms for him ? Shall the Lord Jesus Christ own me in heaven, and shall not I own him upon earth? Shall the Lord Jesus Christ, as the great High Priest, take my name, and carry it upon his breast into the presence of God the Father, and shall not I take the name of Christ and hold it forth to the world? Oh! I beseech you consider what a mighty engagement is here to stand to and appear for the Lord Christ, and to own his cause in these backsliding times, because he is now in heaven appearing for you, and making intercession for you.
Thirdly, the more I consider or apprehend that the Lord Jesus Christ does lay out himself for me, the more am engaged to lay out myself for him. The Scripture says, “He ever liveth to make intercession for you.” He lays out his whole eternity for you. Methinks we have here before us, the greatest argument in the world for to make us to walk closely with God in Christ; for shall the Lord Jesus Christ spend of his eternity for me, and shall not I spend of my whole time for him? He ever liveth : 66 He ever liveth to make intercession.” Before the world was made, his delight was in the habitable parts of the earth, among the children of men.
He laid out himself in delighting upon you before the world was made. Well, in due time he comes down into the world ; and here, while he was upon the earth, he laid out himself fully for you. Then he dies, and goes up to heaven, and, says he, “ I go to prepare a place for you." He was at work for you before the world began : then he comes down upon the earth, and here he spends all his time for you: and now that he is gone to heaven, the text saith, “ He ever liveth to make intercession for you;" he spends off all his eternity for you. Oh! does not the Lord Jesus grudge me eternity, to spend off his eternity for my soul; and shall I grudge the Lord Jesus Christ a little time, to spend a little time for him ? Surely people do not think what Christ is doing in heaven for them, (you that are saints especially) if you did, you could not be paddling in the world so much. Shall the Lord Jesus Christ be appearing in heaven for me, and shall I be digging in the world? Shall he be making mention of my name unto God the Father, and interceding for me; and shall I be sinning
against him, shall I be contending with his children, shall I now be joining with his enemies, shall I be opposing his ways ? Oh! if people would but think what the Lord Jesus Christ is doing in heaven for them, they would not rebel so in the world against him as they do. Wherefore, that you may be kept from your sins, and kept from the world, think of these things. The apostle says, “ These things have I written unto ye, that ye sin not: and if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” And so say I to you: I have been here delivering to you this doctrine concerning the priestly office of Jesus Christ; and these things have I preached unto you that you sin not. And therefore, that you may be kept from sin, and your hearts made more holy, think of the priestly office of Jesus Christ, he is gone into heaven to make intercession for you. And thus have I discovered the second particular of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. A third follows.
Wherefore in all things it behoved him, to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest, in things pertaining to godliness, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”—HEB. II, 17, 18.
We have found already, that the work of the high priest was and is, to satisfy and to intercede for the sins of the people.
Now if we inquire further, we shall find also, that the work of the High Priest was and now is, To offer up the gifts of the people unto God; to present our prayers, praises, duties, services, and all spiritual performances unto God the Father, and to procure acceptance of him. This was done thus. In the times of Moses, in the Tabernacle there were two parts or courts, as we read in the ixth chapter of the Hebrews. In the one which was called the holy of holiest, there was the ark, the mercy-seat, the cherubim of glory, and the golden censer. In the other there was the brazen altar upon which they offered sacrifices, there was the
table of shewbread, the golden candlestick, and the golden altar upon which incense was. This is expressly laid down in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th verses of that ixth of Hebrews : " For there was a tabernacle made, the first wherein was the candlestick and the table and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second vail, the tabernacle which is called the holiest of all, which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant, overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; and over it is the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy-seat.” And as every day, morning and evening, there was a lamb offered, a sacrifice for the sins of the people, upon the brazen altar ; so every day, morning and evening, there was incense also upon the golden altar : which was performed while the people were without at prayer, mingling that incense with their prayers; as it is in the ist chapter of Luke, the 8th, 9th and 10th verses : “ It came to pass that while he (that is, Zacharias) executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, according to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord : and the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.” So that the incense was at a time when they were sweetly mingling their prayers and the incense together. But now, although that there was a sacrifice every day, yet once in the year the high priest came, and he took the blood of the sacrifice, and carried it into the holy of holiest, and sprinkled the mercy-seat therewith. And although there was incense too, from the golden altar, every day, yet once in the year the high priest came, and he took the golden censer, and putting incense into it from off the golden altar, went into the holy of holiest and caused a cloud of perfume to arise upon the mercy-seat. All which was a great type of Jesus Christ our High Priest: who though he offered up himself a sacrifice once for sin without, yet when he died and ascended, he carried the virtue of that his blood into the holy of holiest, into heaven, and sprinkled the mercy-seat therewith: although he began to make intercessions while he lived, as we read in the xviith of John; yet when he ascended up into heaven, the holy of holiest, then he did take his golden censer, and carried his intercession into
heaven, causing a cloud of sweet perfumes to arise upon the mercy-seat: which still he does, whilst we are praying here without, he mingling all our duties with his intercessions; and so taking altogether as one, presents it unto God the Father for our acceptance.
And this he does now as our High Priest; for if we look into this book of the Hebrews, we shall find, that the apostle speaking of the High Priest, relating unto Jesus Christ; says, in the vth chapter and the 1st verse, that it was his work to offer gifts : 66 That he
may offer both gifts and sacrifices.” And so in the viiith chapter and the 3rd verse: “Every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices.” Thus we have another great work, of our great Priest; which is, to offer up all our prayers, our duties, our gifts unto God the Father, which if ye will, we may call another part of Christ's intercession; but I handle it distinct.
Now that I may open and clear this great gospel mystery, I shall endeavour to discover:
First, What Jesus Christ, our High Priest, doth, when he does offer up our gifts unto God the Father.
Secondly, What abundance of favour and acceptance this our great High Priest himself hath in heaven.
Thirdly, That he doth improve all that his own acceptance, for our acceptance; planting all our duties upon his own acceptance, upon that acceptance that he hath with the Father.
Fourthly, What abundance of acceptance therefore we have, in all our duties by him.
Fifthly, How this doth conduce to our grace and to our comfort.
First, What doth our Lord and Saviour Christ, our great High Priest, when he offers up our gifts unto God the Father?
First, He doth take our persons, and carries them in unto God the Father, in a most unperceivable way to us.
He knows that if our persons be not first accepted, our duty cannot be accepted: Love me, and love my duty; love me, and love my service: hate me, and hate my service. In the covenant of works, God did first accept of the work, and then of the person; the person for the work: but in the covenant of grace, God doth first accept of the person, and then the work. Now, therefore, that our work and our duty may be accepted with God the Father; the Lord Christ, our
High Priest, doth first take our person and our name, and carries them into the presence of God the Father. This was plainly shadowed out unto us by that of the high priest; who went into the holy of holiest, with the names of all the tribes upon his breast. Which the apostle speaks out plainly: “ In whom we have access with boldness.” The word access, as some observe, is manuduction, hand-leading: In whom we have an hand-leading; or by whom we are led by the hand unto God the Father. As a child, having run away from his father, is taken by the hand of a friend, or of his elder brother, and brought again into the presence of his father : so, all we having run away from God, are taken, and led again into the presence of the Father by the hand of Jesus Christ. He is that ladder that Jacob saw, upon
whom we do ascend into the bosom of God, and go into heaven. Our High Priest, Jesus Christ, doth first take our persons, and lead us into the presence of God the Father.
Secondly, As he doth take our persons, and lead, and carry us into the presence of God the Father : so, when we do perform any duty, he doth observe what evil, or failing there is in that duty, and draws it out, takes it away before he presents the duty unto God the Father. A child that would present his father a nosegay or posy, goes into the garden, and he gathers flowers and weeds together; but coming to his mother, she takes them, and picks out the weeds, and binds up the flowers by themselves, and so it is presented to the father. Thus it is with us: we go to duty, and we gather weeds and flowers together : but the Lord Jesus Christ, he comes and picks out the weeds, and then he presents nothing but flowers unto God the Father.
And this we have plainly set forth unto us, by that of the high priest taking away the iniquities of the holy things of God's people, in the xxviiith chapter of Exodus: “ Thou shalt make a platform of pure gold (at the 36th verse) and grave upon it like the engravings of a signet HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD. And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be.” Then at the 38th verse: 66 And it shall be
upon Aaron's forehead (that is, the high priest), that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts: and it shall be al