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tor and surety; as Judah did for Benjamin, and Paul for Onesimus. His very presence in heaven as our Head and Redeemer, is a strong plea in our behalf. It shows that God is fully satisfied with his performance, and therefore has exalted him to the honor and reward promised in the covenant of redemption.
2d. He presents himself before God as Mediator, with body and soul which he offered
with the marks in his hands, feet, and side. Heb. 12:24. Rev. 5:6. His blood is of constant efficacy, a continual intercession. Our fathers were obliged to renew their sacrifices continually, to obtain fresh blood to present it to God; but the blood of Christ is ever the same, ever fresh and new, and will never lose its value and efficacy. Heb. 9 : 25, 26; 10:10–12.
3d. Christ declares it to be his will that the blessings of his purchase shall be conferred on his people. Of this he has given us a specimen and pledge in his prayer, record. ed John, 17: 24, "Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am; that they may be. hold my glory which thou hast given me." Christ here pleads that his people may be put in full possession of all the blessings which were purchased for them by the shedding of his blood. He reminds his Father, as it were, of the mutual covenant agreement--of his having performed the condition required on his part; and claims the performance of his Father's promise, as a debt due to his meritorious obedience even unto death.
§ 4. The foundation of Christ's intercession is the atone. ment which he made for sin. As the high priest went into the most holy place with the blood of the sacrifice, so Christ first offered the sacrifice, then pleads it. There could be no intercession without a sacrifice going before. The condition of his covenant was his death; by it the blessings were procured, and now he pleads that they may be conferred. Propitiation is the payment, intercession is the plea; the one by his death, the other by his life; the one on earth,
the other in heaven. The connection of the intercession and death of Christ, like that of the superstructure and the foundation, is beautifully described by the apostle Paul: "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make interces. sion for them. For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's; for this he did once, when he offered up himself.” Heb. 7: 25–27.
§ 5. The objects of Christ's intercession are the same for whom he made satisfaction. He intercedes for all his people, for all who do now believe in him, and love him, and all that shall believe in him hereafter. John, 17:9, 20; "I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.”
$ 6. The blessings for which Christ intercedes, are the same that he has procured by his obedience and sufferings even unto death, that their persons and services might be accepted; Eph. 1: 6, "accepted in the beloved ;" Gen. 4:4, "God had respect unto Abel.” To be justified freely, i. e. to be treated as if they had never sinned, and therefore not punished; and as if they had kept the whole law, and therefore receive eternal life as the "free gift of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jer. 23:6; Rom. 6:31; 8:33, 34; 2 Cor. 5:21. As if Christ had said, “ Lord, these are the
persons for whom I lived and died, deal with them as if they had not sinned, but obeyed.” He also intercedes that their services may be accepted, and their prayers heard. While the high priest was offering incense, the people prayed without. Luke, 1: 10. This was typical of Christ's intercession. His pleading gives efficacy to his people's prayers. John, 16:26, 27; 1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 8:3. Those
who made their addresses to king Admetus, brought the prince with them in their arms. As Joseph charged his brethren that they should not see his face unless they brought Benjamin their brother with them, so we cannot see God's face unless we bring Jesus, our elder brother, with us. When Herod was displeased with the men of 'Tyre, they made Blastus, the king's chamberlain, their friend. Acts, 12:20. My dear Benjamin, I wish I could make you feel the importance of this particular. Prayer is to the soul what food is to the body. Christ's intercession is our greatest encouragement to come to a throne of grace. Heb. 4: 14–16. Christ not only presents his own prayer, but as it were prays over our prayers. Rev. 8: 3, "Another angel came, having a golden censer," &c. This angel was Christ. He takes the golden censer of his merits and puts our prayers into it, and with incense of his intercession makes our prayers ascend into heaven, as a sweet perfume. It is said, Lev. 16:16, “ Aaron shall make atonement for the holy place." This was typical, to show that our holy duties need an atonement. Our best services, as they come from us, are mixed with corruption, as wine that tastes of the cask. Isa. 64:6. But Christ purifies and sweetens them, mixing the sweet odor of his intercession with them, and thus God accepts and crowns them. As the fan winnows the chaff from the wheat, so Christ's intercession separates the chaff that mixes with our prayers. As the mother that takes from her child the nosegay designed for the father, and separates the nettles from the flowers, so Christ scpa. rates the imperfections from our prayers and services. Another part of Christ's intercession is,
$ 7. That all recessary blessings may be bestowed, such as pardon and peace. John, 14:13. We often think it too much boldness to approach God. What! such sinners as we to come for pardon! we shall be denied. This is a sin. ful modesty. Did we come in our own name, it would in. deed be presumption; but Christ intercedes for us in the
force and efficacy of his own blood; therefore, now to be afraid to come to God in prayer, would be a dishonor to Christ's intercession. Heb. 4:14-16.
He also intercedes for our sanctification. His language in heaven is like his prayer while on earth; "Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” John, 17: 17. This is the work and fruit of the Spirit, and therefore Christ promised to send him as soon as he should have ascended to the Father; and this unspeakable gift he bestows on all his children. Hence, saith the apostle, “ye have an unction from the Holy One." 1 John, 2:20. By this unction they are made partakers of the divine nature. 2 Pet. 1: 4. What is said falsely of the philosopher's stone, that the metal it touches is changed into gold, is perfectly true of this unction. Every soul it touches is changed, and made partaker of the divine nature; becomes holy, and resembles God." If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Cor. 5:17.
Comfort and support under affliction are other purchased blessings he pleads for.
The Spirit was not promised as a sanctifier only, but also as a comforter. John, 14:16. O how refreshing the consolations of the Spirit !-sweeter than honey that drops from the comb! It is the manna in the golden pot. A drop of this heavenly comfort is enough to sweeten a sea of worldly sorrow. It is called "the earnest of the Spirit.” 2 Cor. 1:22; an earnest to assure us of the whole sum. A taste of heavenly joy and peace is an assurance of the full fruition in glory. Christ further intercedes,
§ 8. That their accuser may be silenced, their enemies overcome, and they themselves kept from evil. Christ pleads for the saints, as queen Esther did for her people, the Jews, when Haman had determined on their destruction." Let my people," said she, " be given me at my request." Esther, 7:3. When Satan shows the blackness of their sins, Christ
shows the redness of his wounds. ·Many charges are brought against believers by their enemies, but Christ answers all their accusations. If true, he pleads his own merits, that they may obtain remission of sin; if false, he vindicates them. Zech. 3:1,5; Rom. 8:33, 34. Christ intero cedes for
every Under the law, there were some sins for which the high priest was neither allowed to offer sacrifice nor to intercede. Hence, said David, “ Thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it; thou delightest not, in burnt-offerings.” Ps. 51: 16. But Christ, by his intercession, procures the pardon of every sin. Hence, saith the a postle, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John, 1:7.
$ 9. Christ also intercedes for his people, that they may be enabled to persevere unto the end. We can no more keep ourselves in the spiritual life, than we can in the natural. It is God that must keep us alive, both naturally and spiritually, although we must use the means in both, as if all were dependent on us, 1 Pet. 1:5, “who are kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation." Our perseverance is in answer to Christ's intercession. John, 17:24. The prayer of Christ for Peter is a copy of his intercession in heaven for every individual in his flock; “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” Luke, 22:32. The saints persevere in believing, because Christ perseveres in interceding. Christ will never cease to intercede till all his chosen people are brought to glory. The immediate end of Christ's death was our reconciliation, and the immediate end of his intercession our glorification. John, 17:24; Rom. 5:10.
10. Properties of Christ's intercession. Christ pleads the cause of his people with infinite skill and wisdom. He knows every person's case, and all his wants. He knows what blessings they need, and how they are to be conveyed. He is perfectly acquainted with the laws and constitution of heaven, and is perfectly familiar with the best arguments to be used.