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ways upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.” Thus taking away the iniquity of their holy things. So it is said concerning our Saviour Christ, in the ižird chapter of Malachi, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th verses: “ Who may abide the day of his coming ?” plainly understood of Christ, as appears by the 1st verse. Then at the 3rd: “He shall sit as a refiner, and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old.” Then shall their offerings be pleasant. When? When he hath purged their sacrifices and their offerings. This in the days of his flesh, and now much more. This is the second thing, that the Lord Christ, our great High Priest doth in offering up our gifts unto God the Father, he takes out the weeds.
Thirdly, As he takes away the iniquity of our holy things, so he observes what good there is in any of our duties, or performances; and with that he mingles his own prayers and intercessions; his own incense; and presents all as one work mingled together unto God the Father. This we have so fully in the viiith chapter of the Revelation, that I need name no other place: “ Another angel (at the 3rd verse) stood at the altar, having a golden censer, and there was given unto him 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 (at the 4th verse) of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God, out out of the angel's hand.” This must needs be understood of Christ; for no angel does intercede but Christ, who is called, " The angel of the covenant.” It is said, he stood at the altar, having a golden censer: which none of the high priests had: and there was given unto him much incense, and this he offered with the prayers of all the saints; and the smoke of the incense came with the prayers of the saints, and ascended up before the Lord. He alludes unto the way, and custom of the Jews, and the high priest: shewing, that the Lord Jesus Christ doth all this for us, as our great High Priest : that is the meaning of it. So that this is plain what
he doth, when as our great High Priest, he offers up our gifts unto God the Father.
But in the second place: Suppose he doth so, what favor or acceptance hath this our great High Priest in heaven?
He hath very much : “ Father (says he) I thank thee that thou hearest me always.” He never spake a word unto God the Father, but the Father heard him always. We read (as I remember) but of two places in the New Testament where the Lord by an audible voice gives testimony of Jesus Christ his Son: and in both those places we have the same words uttered, “ This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased :” and again ; “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” We may know what favour a man hath with another, by the trust that he doth commit to, and repose upon him: Joseph had great favour in the eyes of Pharaoh; and how did it appear? it appeared by this, because Pharaoh trusted him with so much. Now God the Father hath trusted Jesus Christ, this our great High Priest, very much. This I shall evidence in four particulars, viz. What a great trust God the Father hath put upon him.
First, It was an agreement between God the Father, and Christ, the second Person, before the world was, that in due time he should come into the world, take flesh upon him, and die for sinners : and he did so. But before Christ came into the world, there were thousands of souls saved; how came they to be saved ? They came to be saved by the blood of Christ, and before Christ had died. So then, God the Father saved them upon Christ's bare word, that he would come into the world, and die for them. What a mighty trust was here! That so many hundred thousand souls should be saved, upon a bare word of Christ that he would come into the world, and die for them afterward.
Again, the trust appears in this : that he was made when he did come into the world, the great Lord Treasurer of all the grace and comfort, that should be given out unto the children of men. When Pharaoh trusted Joseph, all the whole kingdom was put into his hand, with the corn thereof, and not a grain was to be given out to any but as Joseph gave it out: which argued a mighty trust. So now, that not any grace or comfort, given out to the children of men,
but only by the hand of Christ, it argues a mighty trust that the Father put upon him.
But yet further, when our Lord and Saviour Christ died, and ascended unto God the Father to heaven; as soon as ever he came into heaven, saith the Father to him, Thou hast now suffered, “ Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession :” all the world at one word. Ask of me (saith he) and at the first word I will give thee the whole world. It was a mighty, and a great trust that the Father did put upon him.
Yea, as if all this were not enough; the Father did put the keys of heaven and of hell into his hand : the keys of heaven and hell into the hand of Christ. So we read in the ist of Revelation 18th verse. 66 I am he that liveth and was dead : and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” There is no man that goes to hell, but he is locked in by Jesus Christ: and there is no man goes to heaven, but Christ hath the keys of heaven, and he locks him in there unto all eternity. The Lord Jesus Christ, he hath the keys of hell, and of heaven; he hath the keys of all men's eternity hanging at his girdle. Oh! what an infinite trust is here, that God the Father hath put upon him! Then let us conclude, if that trust do argue favour; and the Lord Jesus Christ, our High Priest, hath such a great trust as this put into his hands by the Father ; what infinite acceptance must he needs have with God the Father.
In the third place : Suppose that he have all this favour and acceptance in heaven, doth he improve this his favour, and acceptance, for our acceptance, and for our favour?
Yes, he improves all this his favour and acceptance, for our acceptance, and does plant all our prayers, and duties, upon his own acceptance. Lord, (saith he unto his Father concerning believers) “ I will, that where I am, they may be also : I will, O Lord, that they may be one, even as thou Father and I am one.” He doth not count himself full, and happy, but in the happiness, and fulness of the church. And therefore, as Christ is called, The fulness of God the Father: so the church is called, The fulness of Jesus Christ: in the 1st of the Ephesians, and the last verse; " Which is
his body the fulness of him that filleth all in all." When our Lord and Saviour Christ came to die, and the heart and love of God the Father was let out unto him: ye shall find, if ye look upon that xviith of John, and read it all over, that he spends his time, not so much in praying for himself: the time was but short, and his prayer short, “ Father, if it be possible let this cup pass : if not, yet not my will, but thine be done.” But he spends most of the time, in praying and interceding for those that did believe, or should afterward believe. The favour and acceptance which the high priest had, in the time of Moses, was not for himself: he had a mitre upon his head, and a golden girdle upon his loins -priestly garments; and he had great acceptance when he went into the holy of holiest; but it was not for himself, he did improve it all for the people: he was to lay it out all for the people, and not for himself. Our High Priest, goes beyond all other high priests in this particular also: for now, as for other high priests, though they went in with their incense, and covered the mercy-seat with a cloud; yet it was but once in the year: but our High Priest, is always in the holy of holiest, and never goes out of it, ever covering the mercy-seat with his intercessions. Take their high priest, and though he were very holy as Aaron was; yet sometimes he made the people naked unacceptable : but our great High Priest, never makes his people naked, but always clothes them with his own righteousness.
Take their high priest, and though he did go into the holy of holiest for the people, yet he never led the people into the holy of holiest, they stood without: but our great High Priest, is not only gone into the the holy of holiest himself, but doth also lead every poor believer into the holy of holiest; as we read in the xth of the Hebrews, and the 19th verse: “ Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus Christ.” The people might not enter into the holiest, in the time of the Jews : but our great High Priest, hath improved his favour for us thus far, that every man may come into the holy of holiest.
Now, if our great High Priest in this respect go beyond all the high priests that ever were before him, and they did improve their interest, and their favour, and their acceptance for the people, much more doth the Lord Jesus Christ our
High Priest, improve the favour, interest, and acceptance that he hath in heaven, for our acceptance, and the acceptance of all our duties. And that is a third particular.
But, if that be so; then surely we have great acceptance in all our duties: but have we so?
Yes, very great; in, and through the Lord Jesus Christ our High Priest. And therefore, if we look into the sivth of John, our Lord and Saviour saith, “ Whatsoever ye ask in my name (at the 13th verse) that will I do.” Aye, but may we be sure of this ? He repeats it again in the 14th verse) “ If
ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” Yea, that ye may see what great acceptance we have now through him, in all those duties that we offer up to God the Father: saith he in the xvith chapter and the 26th verse. “ At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say
not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loves you.” It is a mighty high speech. I do not say, that I will pray for you: ye shall have so much favour and love in heaven, from the Father immediately, that he will hear you presently. Aye, but is not all upon Christ's account? Yes, and therefore saith he, at the 13th verse of the xivth chapter, “ Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." So that all is
Christ's account. Great was the testim'ony of Christ's acceptance which he had from heaven, “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Now if we look in the Scripture, we shall find, that the same words are given unto the saints. Is the Lord Jesus Christ called the Son of God? My beloved Son: so are believers too; “ As many as receive him, have power to be called the sons of God.” Is he called, the beloved Son of God? “ This is my beloved Son:” so are the saints also; in the xxxist chapter of Jeremy, at the 20th verse. “ Ephraim my dear son, a pleasant child.” Ephraim; that is Israel, my dear son, a pleasant child. Well, is it said, “ In whom I am well pleased ?” my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased : the same word also is given to men.
When our Lord and Saviour Christ was born into the world, the angels they came and sung at his birth, and they sung “ Good-will towards men;" so we read it; but it is the same word that is used concerning Christ himself, “ My beloved Son, in