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drops of blood, and in that unparalleled agony cried, " Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass;" and though he brake out upon the cross, in that heart-rending complaint, " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" yet there is no abatement; justice will not bend; but having to do with him on this account, resolves upon satisfaction from his blood.
If this be so, what is the case of thy soul, reader, if thou hast no interest in this sacrifice ? For if these things be done in (Christ) the green tree, what will be done to (thee) the dry tree? Luke, 23: 31. Thus The ophylact beautifully paraphrases that passage: "That is, if God so deal with me, that am not only innocent, but like a green and fruitful tree, full of all delectable fruits of holiness; yet if the fire of his indignation thus seize upon me, what will be your condition, that are both bar. ren and guilty, void of all good fruit, and full of all unrighteousness,” and so like dry, sear wood, fitted as fuel to the fire ? Consider with thyself, how canst thou imagine thou canst support that infinite wrath that Christ bore in the room of his people! He had the strength of Deity to support him, "Behold my Servant whom I uphold.” Isa. 42:1. He had the fulness of his Spirit to prepare him. Isa. 61:1. He had the ministry of an angel, who came down from heaven to relieve him in his agony. Luke, 22:43. He had the ear of his Father to hear him, for he cried, " and was heard in that he feared.” Heb. 5:7. He was assured of the victory before the combat; he knew he should be justified, Isa. 50:8; and yet for all this he was sore amazed, and sorrowful even to death, and his heart was melted like wax. If Christ thus sunk under the wrath of God, how dost thou think, a poor worm as thou art, to dwell with everlasting burnings, or contend with devouring fire ? Luther saw ground enough for what he said, when he cried out, "I will have nothing to do with an absolute
God,” that is, with a God out of Christ : for," it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Wo and alas for evermore to that man who meets a just and righteous God without a Mediator!
Whoever thou art that readest these lines, I beseech thee, by the mercies of God, by all the regard and love thou hast to thy own soul, lose no time, but make quick and sure work of it. Get an interest in this sacrifice quickly ; what else will be thy state when vast eternity opens to swallow thee up? what wilt thou do, when thine heart-strings are breaking ? Oh, what a fearful shriek will thy conscience utter when thou art presented before the dreadful God, and no Christ to screen thee from his indignation! Happy is that man who can say in a dying hour, as William Lyford did, who being desired, a little before his dissolution, to give his friends a little taste of his present hopes, and the grounds of them, cheerfully answered, I will let you know how it is with me: then stretching forth his hand, said, "Here is the grave, the wrath of God, and devouring flame, the just punishment of sin, on the one side ; and here am I, a poor sinful soul, on the other side: but this is my comfort, the covenant of grace, which is established upon so many sure promises, hath saved all. There is an act of oblivion passed in heaven: 'I will forgive their iniquities, and their sins will I remember no more.' This is the blessed privilege of all within the covenant, among whom I am one." Oh, it is sweet at all times, especially at such a time, to see the reconciled face of God through Jesus Christ, and hear the voice of peace through the blood of the cross.
3. Hath Christ offered up himself a sacrifice to God for us? Then let us improve, in every condition, this sacrifice, and labor to get our hearts duly affected with such a sight of it as faith can give. Whatever the condition or complaint of any christian is, a beholding the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world,
may give him strong support and sweet relief. Do you complain of the hardness of your hearts, and want of love to Christ ? behold him as offered up to God for you; and such a sight (if any in the world will do it) will melt
hard hearts. " They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and shall mourn.” Zech. 12: 10. It is reported of Johannes Milius, that he was never observed to speak of Christ and his sufferings but his eyes would drop tears. Art thou too little touched and unaffected with the evil of sin? Is it thy complaint, christian, that thou canst not make sin bear so hard upon thy heart as thou wouldst? Consider but what thou hast now read; realize this sacrifice by faith, and try what efficacy there is in it to make sin for ever bitter as death to thy soul. Suppose thine own father had been stabbed to the heart with a certain knife, and his blood were upon it, wouldst thou delight to see, or endure to use that knife any more ? Sin is the knife that stabbed Christ to the heart; this shed his blood. Surely you can never make light of that which lay so heavy upon the soul and body of Jesus Christ.
Or is your heart pressed down even to despondency, under the guilt of sin, so that you cry, How can such a sinner as I be pardoned ? my sin is greater than can be forgiven. * Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” Remember that no sin can stand before the efficacy of his blood." " "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.” 1 John, 1:7. This sacrifice makes full satisfaction to God.
Are you at any time staggering through unbelief; filled with unbelieving suspicion of the promises ? Look hither, and you shall see them all ratified and established in the blood of the cross, so that hills and mountains shall sooner start from their own bases and foundations, than one tittle of the promise fail. Heb. 6:17—19.
Do you at any time find your hearts fretting, dis
quicted, and impatient under every petty cross and trial ? See how quietly Christ your sacrifice came to the altar, how meekly and patiently he endured all the wrath of God and men together. This will silence, convince, and shame you. In a word, here you will see so much of the
of God in providing, and the love of Christ in becoming a sacrifice for you ; God taking vengeance against sin, but sparing the sinner; Christ standing as the body of sin alone; for "he was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him :" that whatever corruption burdens, this, in the believing application, will support; whatever grace is defective, this will revive it.
Blessed be God for Jesus Christ.
INTERCESSION OF CHRIST.
THE SECOND PART OF HIS PRIESTLY OFFICE
" Wherefore he is able also to save them to the ultermost that come
unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." Heb. 7:25.
Having considered the first part or act of Christ's priesthood, consisting in his oblation; we come to the other branch of it, consisting in his intercession, which is but the virtual continuation of his offering once made on earth.
This second part or branch of his priesthood was ty. pified by the high priest's entering with the blood of the sacrifice and sweet incense into the holy place: "And he 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 mercyseat that is upon the testimony, that he die not : and he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy-seat,” &c. Lev. 16: 12–14. Christ's offering himself on earth, answered to the killing of the sacrifice without; and his entering into heaven, there to intercede, answered to the priest's going with blood and his hands full of incense within the vail. So that this is a part, yea, a special part of Christ's priesthood; and so necessary to it, that if he had not done this, all his work on earth had been ineffcctual; nor had he been a priest, that is, a complete and perfect priest, if he had remained on earth, Heb. 8:4, because the very design and end of shedding his blood on earth had been frustrated, which was to present it before the Lord, in heaven. So that this is the perfective part of the priesthood: he acted the first part on earth, in a state of deep abasement, in the form of a servant; but he acts this in glory, whereto he is taken up, that he may fulfil his design in dying, and give the work of our salvation its last completing act. So much is contained in this scripture, which tells us, that by reason hereof he "is able to save to the uttermost."
These words contain an encouragement to believers to come to God by faith, drawn from the intercession of Christ in heaven for them. In which notice,
1. The character of the persons here encouraged, who are described as going to God by faith, conscious of great unworthiness in themselves.
2. The encouragement to such believers, drawn from the ability of Jesus Christ, in whose name they go to the Father, to save them to the uttermost:" that is, fully, perfectly, completely; for so this emphatical word, 446 TO TAYT$, signifies.