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Ch. 11.

NATURE OF CHRIST'S PRIESTHOOD.

137

do they lick themselves whole with their own duties and reformations! Physicians say of wounds, let them be kept clean, and nature will find balsam of its own to heal them. If it were so in spiritual wounds, what need Christ to have left the Father's bosom, and come down to die as a sacrifice for us? Oh, if men can but have health, pleasure, riches, honor, and any way still a disturbing conscience, that it may not check or interrupt them in these enjoyments, they care nothing for Christ. And I am assured, till God show you the face of sin in the glass of the law; make the scorpions and fiery serpents, that lurk in the law and in your own consciences, come hissing about you, and smiting you with their deadly stings; till you have had some sick nights and sorrowful days for sin, you will never go up and down seeking an interest in the blood of his sacrifice with tears. But, reader, if ever this be thy condition, then wilt thou know the worth of a Saviour, then wilt thou value the blood of sprinkling.

3. Is Christ your High Priest, and is his priesthood so indispensably necessary to our salvation ? Then freely acknowledge your utter impotency to reconcile yourselves to God by any thing you can do or suffer ; and let the whole glory of your recovery be ascribed to Christ. It is highly reasonable that he that laid down the whole price, should have the whole praise. If any man say or think he could have made an atonement for himself, he doth therein cast no light reproach upon that profound wisdom which laid the design of our redemption in the death of Christ. But of this I have spoken elsewhere. And therefore,

4. In the last place, I rather choose to persuade you to see your necessity of this High Priest, and his most ex. cellent sacrifice; and accordingly to make use of it. The best of you have polluted natures, poisoned with sin; those natures have need of this sacrifice, they must

have the benefit of this blood to pardon and cleanse them, or else be eternally damned. Hear me, ye that never spent a tear for the sin of your nature; if the blood of Christ be not sprinkled upon your natures, it had been better for you that you had been the offspring of beasts or of dragons. They have a mean, but not a vitiated, sinful nature as you have.

Your actual sins have need of the great High Priest and his sacrifice to procure remission for them. If he take them not away by the blood of his cross, they can never be taken away ; they will lie down with

you

in the dust; they will rise with you, and follow you to the judgment-seat, crying, We are thy works, and we will follow thee. All thy repentance and tears, couldst thou weep as many as there be drops in the ocean, can never take away sin. Thy duties, even the best of them, need this sacrifice. It is in virtue thereof that they are accepted of God. And were it not that God had respect to Christ's offering, he would not regard thee, nor any of thy dutics. Thou couldst no more come near to God, than thou couldst approach a devouring fire, or dwell with everlasting burnings. Well, then say, I need such a price every way. Love him in all his offices. See the goodness of God in providing such a Sacrifice for thee. Meat, drink, and air are not more necessary to maintain thy natural life, than the death of Christ is to give and maintain thy spiritual life.

Oh, then, let thy soul expand whilst meditating on the grace and excellency of Christ, which is thus displayed and unfolded in every branch of the Gospel : and with a deep sense upon thy heart, let thy lips say, Blessed be God for Jesus Christ.

CHAPTER XII.

EXCELLENCY OF OUR HIGH PRIEST'S OBLATION,

THE FIRST PART OF HIS PRIESTLY OFFICE.

For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are

sanctified.Hebrews, 10:14.

After this more general view of the priesthood of Christ, we come to a nearer and more particular consideration of the parts thereof; which are his oblation and intercession, answerable to the double office of the High Priest, offering the blood of the sacrifices without the holy place, which typified Christ's oblation; and then once a year bringing the blood before the Lord into the most holy place, presenting it before God, and with it sprinkling the mercy-seat, wherein the intercession of Christ (the other part or act of his priesthood) was in a lively manner typified to us.

My present business is to consider the oblation of Christ; the efficacy and excellency of which are illustrated in the context, by a comparison with all other oblations; and are with a singular encomium commended to us in the words " by one offering.” It is but one offering ; but once offered, and never more to be repeated : for Christ dieth no more. Rom. 6 : 9. He also commends it from its efficacy; he "hath perfected” it, that is, not only purchased a possibility of salvation, but all that we need to our full perfection. It brings in a most entire, complete, and perfect righteousness: all that remains to make us perfectly happy, is but the full application of the benefits procured by this oblation for us. Moreover, it is here commended from the extensive. ness of it; not being restrained to a few, but applicable to all the saints, in all ages and places of the world. Lastly, He commends it from its perpetuity; it "per

fects for ever;" that is, it is of everlasting efficacy : it shall abide as fresh, vigorous, and powerful to the end of the world, as it was the first moment it was offered. All of which affords us this sweet truth: The oblation made unto God by Jesus Christ is of un

speakable value, and everlasting efficacy, to perfect all them that are or shall be sanctified, to the end of the world :

Out of this fountain flow all the blessings that believers either have, or hope for. Had it not been for this, there had been no such thing as justification, adoption, salvation, peace with God and hope of glory, pardon of sin, and Divine acceptance: these and all our best mercies had never been. A man, as one saith, might have happily imagined such things as these, as he may golden mountains, and rivers of liquid gold, and rocks of diamonds: but these things could never have had any real existence, had not Christ offered up himself a sacrifice to God for us. It is "the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered up himself without spot to God, that purges the conscience from dead works,” Heb. 9: 14, that is, from the sentence of condemnation and death, inflicted by conscience, for our sins.

His appearing before God as our Priest, with such an offering for us, is that which removes our guilt and fear together: "He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Heb. 9: 26. Now, as the point before us is of so great weight, and so fundamental to our safety and comfort, I shall endeavor to give you as distinct and clear an account of it as can consist with that brevity which I must necessarily use. And therefore, read. er, apply thy mind attentively to the consideration of this excellent Priest that appears before God; the sacritice he offers; the Person before whom he brings, and to whom he offers it; the persons for whom he offers; and the end for which this oblation is made.

I. The Priest that appears before God with an oblation for us, is Jesus Christ, God-man; the dignity of whose person gave an inestimable worth to the offering he made. There were many priests before him, but none like unto him, either for the purity of his person or the perpetuity of his priesthood: they were sinful men, and offered for their own sins, as well as the sins of the people, Heb. 5: 3; but he was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” Heb. 7: 26. He could stand before God, even in the eye of his justice, as a lamb without spot. Though he made his soul an offering for sin, yet he had done no iniquity, nor was any guile found in his mouth, Isa. 53:9; and indeed his offering had done us no good, if the least taint of sin had been found on him. The Jewish priests were mortal men, that "continued not by reason of death,” Heb. 7: 23, but Christ is " a Priest for ever." Psa. 110: 4.

II. The oblation for offering he made, was not the blood of beasts, but his own blood. Heb. 9: 12. And herein he transcended all other priests, that he had something of his own to offer ; he had a body given him to be at his own disposal: to this use and purpose he offered his body, Heb. 10:10; yea, not only his body, but his "soul” was made "an offering for sin.” Isa. 53: 10. We had made a forfeiture of our souls and bodies by sin, and it was necessary the sacrifice of Christ should be answerable to the debt we owed. And when Christ came to offer his sacrifice, he stood not only in the capacity of a priest, but also in that of a surety; and so his soul stood in the stead of ours, and his body in the stead of our bodies. Now the excellency of this oblation will appear in the following adjuncts and properties of it. This oblation being the soul and body of Jesus Christ, is therefore,

1. Invaluably precious. So the apostle styles it, " Ye were redeemed with the precious blood of the Son of

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