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of the subject have recourse. We express no opinion of our own. We regard the whole question as vain and trifling. Without indulging in foolish conjectures, it should be enough for us to know, that the intercession of our divine Advocate is conducted in the best possible way, for promoting the glory of God, his own honour, and the good of his people. And one thing is certain, that such is the efficacy of the Saviour's blood, such the value of his death, such the merit of his sacrifice, that the memorials of his atonement, exhibited before God in heaven, advocate our cause more powerfully than could ever be done by the language of men. No tongue of orator, or eloquence of angel, can ever plead so effectually in favour of guilty sinners, as 'the blood of sprinkling which speaketh better things than that of Abel.'
MATTER OF CHRIST'S INTERCESSION.
THE persons for whom, and the things for which, Christ intercedes, are different points, which are, nevertheless, intimately connected with one another. The latter is determined by the former, and on this it may be proper to offer a few remarks before proceeding to what may be regarded as the principal subject of this section.
In general, however, it may be remarked, both with regard to persons and things, that the extent of intercession must be regulated by that of atonement. As it is unreasonable to suppose Christ to make atonement for any for whom he does not intercede, so it were preposterous to allege that he intercedes for any but those for whose sins he has atoned, or that the matter of his intercession includes any thing not purchased with his blood. Intercession and atonement are correlates, not merely in nature, but in extent. For whomsoever and for whatsoever he has procured by his blood, does he plead before the throne of God. This is a leading principle which may serve
to guide us in the observations we have to offer on this department of our subject.
With respect to persons, we observe, that Christ makes intercession for the elect only, and for all and each of the elect. That he intercedes for the elect only is abundantly plain from the speciality of God's sovereign purpose of mercy, from the definite extent of the atonement, and from the explicit testimony of the scriptures. It has already been adverted to in the former department of our work.' Indeed, wherever the intercession is spoken of, this limitation of the objects is expressed or clearly implied. Paul says, 'who also maketh intercession FOR US.' Not for all, observe, but for the elect spoken of in the preceding verse. Again, 'He ever liveth to make intercession for THEM.' For whom? For them only who, as he says in the clause immediately going before, come unto God by Christ. To the same purpose is the testimony of John;-'If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father;' speaking in his own name and that of the christian brethren to whom his epistle is addressed. With this agrees the language of Christ's intercessory prayer on earth:-'I pray for THEM: I pray not for the world.' Who they are that are here referred to by the pronoun them, may be judged from the expression that occurs so frequently throughout the prayer-the men which thou gavest me out of the world.' It is utterly absurd and pernicious, as well as unscriptural, to suppose that he makes intercession for those who live and
1 See pp. 261-2.
die in unbelief, who continue to disown his mediatory office, and to-place reliance on other grounds of salvation than his infinite merits. With regard to all such, he must be understood as saying, 'Their drinkofferings of blood WILL I NOT OFFER, NOR TAKE UP
THEIR NAMES INTO MY LIPS.'
There are some passages of scripture urged in opposition to the sentiment thus expressed and supported. In the same intercessory prayer to which we have appealed, it is said, 'Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their word.'" But only let our affirmation be marked, and no contrariety will be found to it in this verse. We said, not that Christ intercedes for believers only, but for the elect only. All the elect are at one time unbelievers, many continue long in this condition, and it is only in consequence of Christ's intercession, as we shall afterwards see more particularly, that they are ever brought out of this state. Those who have believed, and those who shall believe, are both included in 'them which are given' to the Son. After this, the expression in the fiftythird chapter of Isaiah's prophecy-'he made intercession for the transgressors'—can give no difficulty; whether 'the transgressors' are those whose sins he bore, or those who were active in effecting his crucifixion, the passage admits of easy explanation. It is not said that he made intercession for all transgressors, and we know that the character which the term de
lineates belongs by nature to the whole number of the elect. If the instruments of his crucifixion are meant, then is the expression explained at once by the prayer on the cross, 'Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." We are aware that some excellent divines regard this prayer as not intercessory, but merely as a part of that moral duty required of Christ in fulfilment of the law which enjoins the forgiveness of offences.' But, without taking upon us to determine this point, it may be observed, that even on the contrary supposition the passage is easily explained. We see no reason why it should not be admitted, that Christ made official intercession for his murderers. Were not the five thousand, who were converted by the preaching of Peter, openly charged by that apostle, as persons who 'denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be
4 Luke xxiii. 34.
5 We may, we must,' says Dr Owen, 'grant a twofold praying in our Saviour; one, by a virtue of his office as he was mediator; the other in answer of his duty, as he was subject to the law; but yet those things which he did in obedience to the law as a private person, were not acts of mediation; nor works of him as mediator, though of him who was mediator. Now, as he was subject to the law, our Saviour was bound to forgive offences and wrongs done unto him, and to pray for his enemies; as also, he had taught us to do, whereof in this he gave us an example; Matt. v. 44.-" I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you;" which, doubtless, he inferreth from that law, Lev. xix. 18, "Thou shalt not avenge nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but shalt love thy neighbour as thyself;" quite contrary to the wicked gloss put upon it by the Pharisees : and in this sense, our Saviour here, as a private person, to whom revenge was forbidden, pardon enjoined, prayer commanded, prays for his very enemies and crucifiers; which doth not at all concern his interceding for us as mediator, wherein he was always heard, and so is nothing to the purpose in hand.'-Owen's Works, v. V. p. 275.