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do what he asks; for Christ having fully performed the work on his part, the mercies he intercedes for are as due as the hire of the laborer when the work is faithfully done. And as the matter is just, so the manner of his intercession is urgent and continual. How importunate a suitor he is, may be gathered from that specimen given of his intercession in John, 17; and for the constancy of it, my text tells us, "he ever lives to make intercession.” And to close all,
4. Consider who they are for whom he makes intercession: the friends of God, the children of God; those that the Father himself loves, and to whom his heart is inclined and ready enough to grant the best and greatest of mercies: which is the meaning of John, 16 : 27, " The Father himself loveth you.” The first corner. stone of all these mercies was laid by the Father himself in his own purposes of grace. He also delivered his Son for us: and "how shall he not with him freely give us all things ?” Rom. 8 : 32. So then there can remain no doubt but that Christ is a prevalent and successful Intercessor in heaven.
INFERENCE 1. Doth Christ live for ever in heaven to present his blood to God in the way of intercession for believers? How sad then is the case of those that have no interest in Christ's blood; but instead of pleading for them, it cries to God against them, as its despisers and abusers! Every unbeliever despises it: the apostate treads it under foot. To be guilty of a man's blood is sad; but to have the blood of Jesus accusing and crying to God against a soul, is unspeakably terrible. Surely when he shall make inquisition for blood, when the day of his vengeance is come, he will make it appear by the judgments he will execute, that this is a sin to be expiated, but vengeance
pursue the sinner to the lowest hell. Ah! what do men do, in rejecting the gracious offer of Christ! Alas for
that man, against whom this blood cries in heaven!
2. Doth Christ live for ever to make intercession? Hence let believers draw relief and encouragement against all the causes and grounds of their fears and troubles; for surely this answers them all.
Let them be encouraged against all their sinful infirmities and lamented weaknesses. It is confessed these are sore evils; they grieve the Spirit of God, sadden your own hearts, cloud your evidences; but having such a High Priest in heaven, you must never despair. "My little children, these things write I unto you,
that you sin not: and if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." 1 John, 2:1, 2. Children when first beginning to walk are apt to stumble at every straw; so are young and unexperienced christians: but, though it must be far from them to take encouragement so to do from Christ and his intercession, yet if by surprisal they do sin, let them not be utterly discouraged; for we have an advocate; he stops whatever plea may be brought in against us by the devil, or the law, and answers all by his satisfaction: he gets out fresh pardons for new sins. And this advocate is "with the Father.” He doth not say with his father, though that had been a singular support in itself; nor yet with our Father, which is a sweet encouragement singly considered, but with the Father, which takes in both, to make the encouragement full. Remember
that are cast down under the sense of sin, that Jesus, your friend in the court above,"is able to save to the uttermost.” Which is, as one calls it, a reaching word, and extends itself so far that thou canst not look beyond it. "Let thy soul be set on the highest mount that any creature ever attained, and enlarged to take into view the most spacious prospect both of sin and misery, and the difficulties of being saved, that ever yet oppressed any poor humble soul; yea, join to these
all the hinderances and objections that the heart of man can invent against itself and salvation : lift up thine eyes, and look to the utmost thou canst see—and Christ, by his intercession, is able to save thee beyond the horizon and largest compass of thy thoughts, even to the utmost."- Goodwin's Triumph.
Hence draw abundant encouragement against deadness of spirit in prayer. Thou complainest thy heart is dead, wandering, and contracted in duty: oh, but remember Christ's blood speaks, when thou canst not; it can plead for thee, when thou art not able to speak a word for thyself. "Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant ?" Cant. 3:6. The
before God sullied with their offensive corruptions; but, remember, Christ " perfumes them with myrrh," by his intercession he gives them a sweet perfume.
Christ's intercession is a singular relief to all that come unto God by him, against all sinful and slavish fears from the justice of God. Nothing more promotes the fear of reverence; nothing more suppresses unbelieving despondence, and destroys the spirit of bondage. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest, by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us through the vail, that is to say, his flesh; and having a High Priest over the · house of God, let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith.” Heb. 10:19-21.
The intercession of Christ gives admirable satisfaction and encouragement to all that come to God, against the fears of deserting him by apostasy. This, my friends, this is your principal security. With this he relieved Peter. Simon, (saith Christ,) Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” Luke, 22:31,
32. As if he had said, Satan will fan thee, not to get out thy chaff, but bolt out thy flour; his temptations are levelled against thy faith ; but fear not, my prayer
shall break his designs, and secure thy faith against all his attempts upon it. Upon this powerful intercession of Christ, the apostle builds his triumph against all that threatens to bring him, or any of the saints, again into a state of condemnation. And see how he urges on that triumph, from the resurrection, and session of Christ at the Father's right hand; and especially from the work of intercession, which he lives there to perform. "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died; yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ?" Rom. 8: 34.
It gives sweet relief when we are conscious of being sanctified but in part. We want a great deal of faith, love, heavenly-mindedness, mortification, knowledge. We are short and wanting in all. These are deficiencies, or things wanting, as the apostle calls them. 1 Thess. 3 : 10. Well, if grace be but yet in its weak beginnings and infancy in thy soul, this may encourage you, that by reason of Christ's intercession, it shall live, grow, and increase in thine heart. He is not only the author, but the finisher of it. Heb. 12: 2. He is ever begging new and fresh mercies for you in heaven; and will never cease till all your wants be supplied. He saves to the uttermost, to the last, perfective, completing act of salvation.
3. Doth Christ live for ever to make intercession ? Then let those who reap on earth the fruits of his work in heaven, draw instruction thence about the following duties.
Do not forget Christ in his exalted state. You see, though he be in glory above, at God's right hand, and enthroned King, he does not forget you: he, like Joseph,
remembers his brethren in all his glory. But, alas, how oft doth advancement make us forget him! As the Lord complains, Hosea, 13:5, 6, "I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought : but when they came into Canaan, according to their pastures, so were they filled: they were filled, and their heart was exalted: therefore have they forgotten me.” As if he had said, O my people, you and I were better acquainted in the wilderness, when you were in a low condition, left to my immediate care, living by daily faith ; then you gave me many a sweet visit ; but now you are filled, I hear no more of you. Good had it been for some saints if they had never known prosperity.
Let the intercession of Christ in heaven for you encourage you to constancy in the good ways of God.
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” Heb. 4 : 14. Here is encouragement to perseverance on a double account. One is, that Jesus, our Head, is already in heaven; and if the head be above water, the body cannot drown. The other is from the work he is there performing-his priesthood; he is passed into the heavens, as our great High Priest, to intercede, and therefore we cannot miscarry.
Let it encourage you to constancy in prayer : Oh do not neglect that excellent duty, seeing Christ is there to present all your petitions to God; yea, to perfume as well as present them. So the apostle infers from Christ's intercession; "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb. 4: 16.
Hence be encouraged to plead for Christ on earth, who continually pleads for you in heaven. If any accuse you, he is there to plead for you: and if any dishonor him on earth, see that you plead his interest,