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out this his appearance could be of no avail, his entrance could have no efficacy; corresponding to which is Christ's presenting the memorials of his atonement before God in heaven. 'Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but BY HIS OWN BLOOD, he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.'8 To the same circumstance does the apostle refer when he says, 'It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but THE HEAVENLY THINGS THEMSELVES WITH BETTER SACRIFICES than these." By his blood and sacrifice, represented in these passages as carried by him into heaven, it is almost unnecessary to remark, we are not to understand the material blood which flowed in the garden and on the cross, but the merit of his sufferings and death, the virtue of his atonement, the substance of his sacrifice, the whole essence of his passion. The intercession is founded on the oblation. The former is nothing without the latter. It may, without impropriety, be said that it is the sacrifice which intercedes: it is the blood of Jesus Christ in heaven which cries to God on our behalf: 'the blood of sprinkling SPEAKETH better things than that of Abel.'10 Even in the midst of the throne, he stands 'a Lamb as it had been slain.'" The vestments of
8 Heb. ix. 11,
9 Heb. ix. 23.
10 Heb. xii. 24.
11 Rev. v. 6.
mediatorial exaltation conceal not the marks of mediatorial suffering; the diadem of glory hides not the impression left by the crown of thorns; he is still red in his apparel, and his garments dyed with blood; the scars of conflict are visible in the body of the Conqueror. His wounds are still open, and every mouth pleads our cause with God. His death pleads for our life; his blood cries for our safety; his tears procure our comfort; and everlasting joy is borne to us on the breeze of his deep-drawn sighs.
It is not difficult for us to understand, how intercession is made for us in heaven by the memorials of the Saviour's sacrifice. The language of signs is no strange thing among men. God has condescended to allow himself to be addressed in the same way: -The bow shall be in the cloud, and I WILL LOOK UPON IT that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.' Or, to adduce an example more directly bearing on the present subject:-'And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where you are: and WHEN I SEE THE BLOOD, I will pass over you.' In like manner,
there is a rainbow round about the throne like unto an emerald, which pleads with God our exemption from the deluge of wrath, and which derives its vivid tints from the rays of the Saviour's love, refracted by the shower of divine anger, and reflected from the dark cloud of his suffering. It is when he sees the
blood of the everlasting covenant, that Jehovah passes by those who were deserving of destruction. Even profane history has been happily adduced in illustration of this subject. Amintas had performed meritorious services in behalf of the commonwealth, in course of which he had lost a hand. When his brother Æchylus is about to be condemned to death for some offence of which he has been guilty, Amintas rushes into the court; without uttering a syllable he holds up the mutilated limb; the judges are moved; and Æchylus is set free. Thus the sacrifice of our Redeemer, the wounds in his hands and his feet, and his transfixed side, plead the cause of his people with perfect clearness, and infallible power. The advocate and the propitiation are the same:—'We have an advocate with the Father-He is the propitiation for our sins.'
In the intercession of Christ there is also included an intimation of his will that the purchased blessings of redemption be conferred. In whatever form conducted, it supposes substantial prayer or petition. There is the expressing of a wish, the intimating of a request. 'Father, I WILL that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am.' 'Simon, Simon, satan hath desired to have you that he might sift you as wheat: but I have PRAYED for thee that thy faith fail not.' This seems to correspond to that part of the function of the Levitical high priest, which consisted in burning incense on the golden altar,
14 John xvii. 24.
15 Luke xxii. 31, 32.
within the sanctuary, on the day of expiation. It was appointed that he should 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 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.' The intercessory prayers or requests of the Saviour himself, not the prayers of his people which he presents, constitute the antitype of this expressive symbol. Incense and the prayers of saints do not yield corresponding ideas. It is the prayers of Christ which breathe the sweetness, and produce the effects, of incense. Accordingly, in the vision of the angel seen by John, 'the smoke of the incense came up WITH the prayers of the saints out of the angel's hand;' thus demonstrating that the incense and the prayers of the saints do not mean the same thing. And what can we understand by this cloud of incense, but those innumerable intimations of the Saviour's will, which, in performing his work of intercession, ascend to God with so sweet a savour, and such glorious results?
We take not upon us to determine the question, whether these requests of Christ are conveyed vocally or symbolically, by words or by signs. Indeed, we are inclined to think the question is unworthy of being entertained at all. It seems foolish and useless, if not hurtful and presumptuous, to speculate on this point. The majority of sober writers incline to the opinion, that the intercession is conducted si
lently, without the use of spoken language altogether. Without calling in question the soundness of this conclusion, we must be allowed to say that we are little satisfied with some of the arguments by which it is supported. To say that words are unnecessary to convey to God the Saviour's will, is saying only what might with equal truth be affirmed of the exhibition of his sacrifice. It is not because it is necessary to express his will, that Christ appears before God a Lamb as if he had been slain. It is not to remind God of what he would otherwise forget, or to make known to him what he would not otherwise know, or to incline him to that to which he would be otherwise indisposed, that Christ's intercession is introduced at all. No. It is to illustrate the divine majesty and holiness; to display the wisdom, grace, and merit of the Son; and the more to impress the redeemed themselves with their obligations to deep and lasting gratitude;-these are the purposes which this part of the mediatorial economy is designed to subserve. And if for ends like these vocal utterance could be shown to be better adapted than silent symbols, we can see no reason why it should not be supposed to be used. Besides, what are words but signs? They are nothing more than symbols; symbols, it is true, of a particular kind, but, after all, only symbols of thoughts and ideas. We are not to be understood, in these remarks, as maintaining the position that vocal language is employed by Christ in making intercession; we only object to some parts of the reasoning to which those who oppose this view