Page images
PDF
EPUB

dignity or with the mediatorial glory of the Son of God. His His person is divine, and on this the value of both his sacrifice and intercession greatly depends; but as they are official functions, whatever inferiority they may possess is wholly official, and affects not in the least his dignity as God. If it is not incompatible with his divine Majesty to offer himself as an oblation, no more can it be so to plead the cause of his people. If it was not derogatory to the honour of the Redeemer to assume the office, it cannot be derogatory to discharge its functions. The discharge of official duties can never disgrace an official functionary, unless the office itself be discreditable. This part of service is expressly represented as required of the only begotten of the Father, 'Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession;'" and so far from being dishonoured by such a requirement, it is the very purpose for which he lives in official glory. 'He ever LIVETH to make INTERCESSION for them.' It is to be remembered, too, that, in making intercession, he pleads not for himself, but for others. The humiliation attaching to personal supplication has no place here. To petition on behalf of another is compatible, not only with equality, but even with superiority in the petitioner over him with whom he intercedes. And, then, it is to be borne in mind, that an essential distinction exists, in respect of their nature, between the

, 12

[blocks in formation]

prayers presented by Christ in his state of humiliation, and those in his state of exaltation and glory. On earth, 'he offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears, unto him that was able to save him from death;' but no infirmities of this kind attach to his intercessory prayers on high; there all tears are wiped away from his, as from his people's, eyes; there is nothing of servility or servitude supposed in these; they partake more of demand than of petition, of claim than of request; and evince rather the dignity of a claimant urging a right, than the poverty of a suppliant begging an unmerited favour. 'Father, I WILL that they whom thou hast given me be with me where I am.' Say not, then, that there is any thing degrading in the supposition that Christ should make intercession. No. While his church has a want, while his people's necessities continue, he will count it his delight, his pleasure, his honour, his glory, to present their case to his Father, and to secure for them the bestowment of every needed boon.

SECTION II.

NATURE OF CHRIST'S INTERCESSION.

The

To intercede, means literally to 'pass between.' The term is used figuratively, to denote mediating between two parties with a view of reconciling differences, particularly in the way of supplicating in favour of one with another. In this sense, 'intercession' is frequently affirmed of Christ in the scriptures:-'Who also maketh intercession for us." "He ever liveth to make intercession for them." verb employed in these passages (ivrvyxáven), when connected with the preposition that follows (veg), includes every form of acting in behalf of another; it is improper to limit it to prayer, as it denotes mediating in every possible way in which the interests of another can be promoted. But other terms are employed in speaking of the same thing. It is expressed by asking:-ASK of me and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance.' It is expressed by praying:-'I pray (igúra) for them; I pray not for the world;' which shows that supplica

4

3

1 Rom. v. 34.

2 Heb. vii. 25.

3 Ps. ii. 8.

4 John xvii. 9.

[ocr errors]

tion is included, though not to the exclusion of other ideas. It is also described by advocacy:-'If any man sin, we have an advocate (Tagázλnrov) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.' This is a law term, which was in common use among the Greeks and Romans, to denote one who appeared in a court of justice to maintain the cause of a person accused, an attorney, a pleader, a spokesman, a patron, who, placing himself in the room of his client, advocated his interests with all zeal and ability. The term is expressly applied to Christ in the passage quoted; and, in his own words, it is distinctly supposed to belong to him, when, consoling his disciples in prospect of his own removal from them, he says, 'I will pray the Father, and he shall give you ANOTHER Comforter (2λov ragánλntov). But, with reference to him, there must be understood this difference, that his plea is not the innocence of his clients but his own merits; his appeal is not to absolute justice but to sovereign mercy; what he sues for is not a legal right to which they are entitled, but a free favour to which in themselves they have no claim.

How the intercession of Christ, thus explained, is conducted-in what form this asking, praying, advocacy, is carried on, it does not become us either anxiously to inquire, or dogmatically to affirm. It becomes us rather to content ourselves with the account given of it in scripture. Beyond this, it is useless, and worse than useless, to conjecture.

It may be remarked, that, for one thing, Christ is

6

said to appear in the presence of God for his people. '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." To this there seems to be an obvious reference in the preternatural vision of Stephen, ‘Behold I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." The same also is the reference in the apocalyptic vision, 'And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer, &c." His presenting himself before God is denoted by his appearing, and standing, language which plainly enough marks some sort of official activity. This is the first thing implied in his intercession; when our case is called, so to speak, at the bar of heaven, he appears in our room; when we are summoned to appear, he stands up in our

name.

But appearance is not all. He is farther said to exhibit his atoning sacrifice, as the ground on which the blessings for which he pleads are to be conferred on his people. The Hebrew high priest's entering into the sanctuary, on the day of expiation, prefigured the intercession of Christ. But it was not a simple appearance within the holy place that was made by this typical functionary; he carried with him the blood of the victim which had just been offered in the outer apartment, and sprinkled it seven times on the mercy-seat and the ark of the covenant. With

5 Heb. ix. 24.

6 Acts vii. 56.

7 Rev. viii. 3.

« PreviousContinue »