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Mediator is necessary alike to the operation of the one, and to the efficacy of the other. It is so arranged by infinite wisdom that all the good done to the souls of men, in connexion with the covenant of grace, shall be begun, carried forward, completed, and maintained through eternity, in relation to Christ's intercession.
The perfection of his priesthood also demonstrates the reality of his intercession. That Christ's intercession belongs to his priestly, and not to his regal, office, is a necessary proof of its reality. And that it constitutes one of his sacerdotal functions, appears from the connexion in which it is spoken of:-' He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." To bear sin, means, we have seen, to make atonement, and it is here connected with making intercession. 'Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ who died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."" Christ died as a priest, and here his intercession stands connected with his death. But the connexion is expressed in so many terms, in the following words:-'This man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood: 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." Moreover, he is spoken of as being a priest in heaven. only does he act in his sacerdotal
Not on the cross character:-' He
1 Is. liii. 12.
2 Rom. viii. 34.
3 Heb. vii. 24, 25.
shall be a PRIEST UPON HIS THRONE. His priestly office claims the stamp of perpetuity:-"Thou art a PRIEST FOR EVER, after the order of Melchizedek." Heaven is the scene of his priestly acts:-'We have such an HIGH PRIEST who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the HEAVENS." If, then, Christ is a priest on the throne of the heavens for ever, there must be some sacerdotal act which he performs in this situation. And what is this act? Oblation it cannot be; he offered himself a sacrifice for sin once for all; by one offering he perfected for ever them that are sanctified: and this one oblation was made upon earth. It can only, then, be intercession; and if it is denied that Christ is thus occupied in heaven, the name Priest is an empty sound, and you fix on him the degrading stigma of holding an office without a function, of accepting a title without a corresponding work. If farther proof be necessary, it is derived from the fact, that the intercession of Christ is ever represented as proceeding on the ground of his atonement. One passage may suffice in proof of this assertion; that, namely, in which his propitiation is exhibited as supporting his all-powerful, comforting advocacy:-'If any man sin, we have an ADVOCATE with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the PROPITIATION for our sins." But the best evidence of all, is that which is furnished by the act of the high priest under the law. It was not enough that he offered sacrifice
4 Zech. vi. 13.
5 Ps. cx. 4. 6 Heb. viii. 1. 71 John ii. 1, 2.
on the brazen altar in the outer part of the tabernacle, on the day of expiation: he must afterwards enter into the holy place, and burn sweet incense on the golden altar, after having sprinkled it seven times with the blood of atonement. 'And Aaron shall take
a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail. And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy-seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not.' The import of this significant ceremony we are not left to conjecture. 'Christ is not entered 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.' 'And another angel came and 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 of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand."" The intercession of Christ was significantly prefigured by this solemn act of the ancient high priest: and as the latter was, without doubt, a sacerdotal act, so also must be the former. In this way does it appear, that, for the reality of Christ's intercession, we have the same evidence as for the reality of his priesthood. If the one is figur
8 Lev. xvi. 12, 13.
9 Heb. ix. 24.
10 Rev. viii. 3, 4.
ative, the other is also figurative; if the one is real, the other is also real. And, unless it is meant to reduce the whole sacerdotal character of the Redeemer to a thin shadow, a mere figment, his intercession must be held to be a true and proper intercession.
We might even contend that the circumstances of the people of God render the intercession of Christ necessary. Numerous and daily are their wants; they are made up of wants; their necessities are innumerable and constant. Blessings to supply these necessities, it is true, are procured by the atoning sacrifice of the Redeemer. But who shall apply to God for the bestowment of these purchased benefits? They cannot themselves; they have neither merit, nor skill, nor even at first inclination to apply for any such thing; they cannot plead their own cause; they are altogether unfit to appear in the presence of God for themselves; another must appear for them. Without the intercession, the purchase of Christ had thus been in vain, and the elect of God must have remained strangers for ever to a single saving blessing.
The passages, then, which speak of the work of intercession, we regard as descriptive of a high and glorious function which is actually performed by the Saviour of sinners. A function, without a believing knowledge of which we can neither behold the Saviour's glory, nor understand the nature of man's salvation, nor experience the comforts of the redeemed.
It is no valid objection to the view we have given
of this subject, that God loves his people, and has determined to confer on them the blessings purchased by his Son. If so, it has been asked, where is there need or room for Christ's intercession? The objection proceeds altogether on a mistaken conception regarding the use and object of the Saviour's intercession. It is not to awaken the love of the Father; it is not to obtain a decree in favour of those who are its subjects, that constitutes the object of this mediatorial function. Far be the impious thought! Its very existence is a fruit of God's love-an evidence of his gracious purpose. It is, that his Almighty love may be displayed, his sovereign decree fulfilled, in a way most consistent with the divine glory, most compatible with the honour of the divine government, most productive of the good of man, and most consonant with the interests of the moral universe at large. It is the method by which God has wisely determined to express his affection, and fulfil his purposes of mercy toward fallen men. And no objection on this ground, can be urged against the intercession of Christ, which will not apply with equal force against our presenting a prayer on our own behalf, or on that of our fellow men.
Neither is there any validity in the objection, that intercession supposes something derogatory to the honour of the Redeemer. It is true, that the act of petitioning, in one point of view, implies inferiority in the petitioner with reference to the person petitioned. But, in the case before us, there is no inferiority supposed inconsistent either with the personal