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against such fatal consequences! And, then, such an advocate; not a man like ourselves, not an angel of light, not a seraph of glory, but his Son, his own Son, his only begotten, well-beloved Son, equal to himself in every divine perfection, the noblest personage in the universe. Herein is love! Let us contemplate it with grateful adoration, and dwell upon the delightful theme till our enraptured hearts reciprocate the emotion, till we can say, 'We love him because he so loved us.'
How does the subject illustrate, also, the love of the Son! This is equally apparent, in his being pleased to identify himself, by becoming their advocate, with guilty, polluted, rebellious, worthless, wretched creatures of our fallen race. This he was under no obligation to do; it was his own spontaneous act, flowing from the good pleasure of his will. And, when his personal dignity is considered, his love is enhanced by the condescension supposed; for, although exalted far above all principalities and powers, and having a name above every name, though having all things under his feet, and receiving the homage of angels, and regulating the affairs of the universe, he disdains not to espouse the cause of us mortal worms, and to become our suppliant with the Father. As love induced him to undertake the work, so is it evinced in the promptitude, and earnestness, and diligence, and zeal, and ceaseless constancy, with which it is prosecuted, laying us under obligations to regard with admiration, and to acknowledge with gratitude, such disinterested affection.
The intercession supplies an argument of no mean force for the divinity of Christ. This doctrine, indeed, runs like a golden thread through the whole system of man's salvation, connecting itself with every part, and giving strength and consistency to the whole. It is no less necessary to the efficacy of his intercession than to the worth of his sacrifice. To know minutely all the cases of so many millions of people; to listen to, and understand, such a multitude of simultaneous applications; to represent them all with perfect skill, and in due order; to give effect to all the pleas demanded by their endless variety, must require qualifications nothing short of divine. No finite being could ever be fit for such an undertaking. What finite mind could understand the matter! What finite power could sustain the load! What finite worth could secure success! An undertaking this, sufficient to confound and crush to the dust the mightiest of creatures, nay, all created being combined. None but a divine person is qualified to be the intercessor of elect sinners. Such is our advocate with the Father. 'This is the true God, and eternal life.'
The intercession of Christ confirms the efficacy of his death. It all proceeds on the ground of his atonement. But for this a single petition could not have been presented on our behalf. The high priest's entering into the sanctuary with the censer of incense supposed the expiatory sacrifice to have been previously offered, for he had to carry with him its blood. In like manner, our Lord's intercession supposes his
sacrifice to have been previously offered and accepted, and every act of intercessory interposition establishes the efficacy of his meritorious death. If at any time our faith in the latter truth happen to be staggered, if we want confirmation of this fundamental verity, we have only to look on high, and contemplate the Angel standing at the altar, having a golden censer with much incense, and to behold the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascending up before God out of the Angel's hand.
It gives perfect security to the people of God. Their present state is imperfect. The matter of Christ's intercession supposes this; there would be no need for him to pray for pardon if there were not guilt, or for sanctification if there were not corruption; so that the sinless perfection, to which some presumptuously lay claim, is not more at variance with christian humility than with the work in which the Saviour is engaged. But against the despondency which this imperfection might otherwise occasion, the people of God have the security of final perfection, arising from the work of intercession. Their security.springs not from any thing naturally indestructible in the principle of the new life of which they are possessed, nor from any want of criminality in the sins they commit, nor from any thing less dangerous in the circumstances in which they are placed, but wholly from the intercession of Christ. The principle of the new life may, in itself, be liable to decay, but Christ by his intercession will uphold it; their sins may deserve condemnation, but
he intercedes for pardon; they may be openly exposed to danger, but his intercession interposes a shield of infallible protection. Not a sin can they commit, for which his merits cannot secure forgiveness; not an accusation can be charged upon them which he has not skill to answer; not a temptation can assail them which he has not power to repel; not a service can they perform, however imperfect, to which he cannot give acceptance in the sight of God. Their final salvation is thus rendered absolutely secure, and in a spirit, not of haughty self-confidence, but of humble dependence on the Advocate with the Father, may they bid defiance to all opposition, and calmly trust that the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. The church is thus surrounded as with a wall of adamant, which no enemy can either penetrate or overthrow. Infidelity may open wide its mouth, and heresy may pour forth its polluted streams, and persecution may light its fires, and immorality may spread its thousand snares, and war and famine and pestilence may spread devastation all around, but not one, nor all of these together, can prove a match for that angel-intercessor who cries with a loud voice, 'Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.'
How ought the people of God to beware of dishonouring Christ's intercession. It has already been remarked what an abuse of this function takes place when encouragement is taken from it to indulge in sin. But it is also dishonoured by being neglect
This we fear is no uncommon oc
ed or overlooked. There is a disposition in many to regard what Christ has done, to the neglect of what he is doing. Not that we would have men to think less of the former, but more of the latter. Surely the preceding pages have been read to little purpose, if they have not left the impression on the mind that the present work of Christ in heaven is of no inferior moment. Much is said of it in the scriptures, not a little is made of it by the inspired writers. The purpose for which the Saviour lives in mediatorial glory cannot be of small importance; 'he ever liveth to make intercession;' 'if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, MUCH MORE, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.' Let us then think highly, and think much, of the intercession as well as the death of Christ. Let us see, too, that we restrain not prayer before God. This would be to do what we can to nullify the Saviour's character as an advocate, as, in this case, he could have no service to offer, no cause to undertake, no matter to perfume with the fragrance of his merits. Such as would put honour on Christ's intercession must 'pray without ceasing.' Nor let any indulge unreasonable despondency. The intercession of Christ ought to prove an antidote to every such feeling. Hear how the apostle reasons on the subject: 'He is able to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.' To those who have right views of this truth, there can be no room