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towards a coming reality, of wbich Aaron's office was but a faint shadow; for the priesthood of the Lord Jesus is indeed a reality; no shadow, no figure, but a fact. His death as a victim was a real death, and no less so is his life in heaven of intercession a real life. Mark, then, well, O ye Hebrews! says the Apostle, “The law made notbing perfect;" it was but a shadow of things to come; " but the bringing in of a better Lope did," and the priesthood under that your law, and the priesthood under this scheme of a better hope, have the same essential difference—the difference of imperfection on tho one hand, and perfection on the other. And then remember, Oye Hebrews, that as frail dying nen were made priests under your law, the priesthood was liable to constant change, and passed necessarily and quickly from the hand of one man to another. Not so in the case of Christ. In the upper sanctuary, made without hands, he has a priesthood subject to no succession ; wlierefore, His work of passion and death can never fail of application to all who come unto God by Him; wherefore, no case can arise in this world, shrouded in the curse of sin and death, for which there is no sympathy, no virtue of grace and merit in Him ; wherefore, we have no intercessor, saint, or angel, to canonize and seek, through fear of deficiency or indifference, or change in Him; wherefore, there is no anxiety whether a stranger may succeed in office to him, who, by experience, is able to pity and “succour them that are tempted;" wherefore, we, who have entrusted our hope to Him, are safe for ever: His office passes not from band to hand : from generation to generation he lives for evermore-lives to make intercession, -"Wherefore, he is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him."
But, now, turn from the word of in erence which introduces the text, to the precious truth which it plainly states. A Gospel, a glad tiding, is indeed here. Oh!"I know not the history of each man or woman in the throng now gathered in the sight of (tod, on the pavement of this noble abbey ; I know not what differences of mind or circumstance, of sorrow or joy, of want or wealth, exist between you ; I know not the burden which is lying on any heart, or the depth of selfishness, and sin, and agony in which evil passions, working out their strength in evil habits, may have steeped it; I know not whether one may be hopeless in his remorse, or another in the bondage of the fear of death, or a third an outcast from all the sympathies of friendly eyes and loving hearts;- aye, perhaps an outcast in her own bitter judgment upon self, the birthright of chaste affections and self-respect, and an undefiled body, bartered for a mess of pottage, sold under some vile bribe ; I know not who may be the slave, either in its refined or grosser forms, of that worldliness which is enmity against God; I know not whether there be before me now some stricken and sorrowing spirit who dares not venture upon a hope of peace, because, though there be mercy and restoration for all, yet not for him, against light, and early religious training, and tides of better thoughts, and secret and repeated strivings of the spirit of grace, of all sinners as he thinks the chiefest; or whether there be here some downcast child of God, whom unbelief has made sad, or trial crushed, or compliance with the subtle whispers of the tempter left to "walk in darkness, where there is no light;"-Oh, who shall tell the secrets of all hearts which are before me? who can know the weariness, the woe, the guilt, which lies as a sore burden, intolerable on that man or woman who has worshipped beside him? And what matters this ignorance to the preacher? He has in trust to dispense to all a medicine which can heal all sicknesses, a Gospel which can bring restoration, and hope, and joy to any convicted, fearful, suffering heart, a specific for any case of threatening death. God's remedy can meet and satisfy any necessity. It is for all classes, all characters, all ages in life or ages in sin, because, my text says, it is a remedy to the uttermost. And in this conviction we declare it, in all courage and hope. It must answer for the end whereunto He hath sent it : “Jesus is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Note well, and ponder, and pray over this plain and positive assurance.
1. First, then, Jesus is able to save. And what is salvation? We cannot answer this question fully, unless we knew the sad evil and demerit of sin, and the extent to which its incurable defilement has spread into the very well-spring of the responsible creature's being, in which the will resolves, the affections have their secret outgoings, and the conscience sits as judge ;-unless we understand the value of the soul, the terrors and resources of God's punitive justice, the duration of eternity, the agonies of the endless loss in onter darkness, and the high and holy joy of the glory to be revealed. This we know, that salvation is that gist, that exercise and process of divine mercy in Christ, which meets and removes all the penalties and results of human sin. Just as pity implies misery, mercy supposes guilt, and salvation is deliverance from the sentence of God's justice upon guilt. And it is written, “According to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost;" that is the gift and exercise of Divine mercy supposes also sinfulness of nature; and salvation is deliverance from this natural state of opposition to God's holiness, through the baptism and renewing of his graced halvation is a new state of a
Character and resemblance before Him in consequence. In other words, it implies a change of condition, accompanied and evidenced by a change of will and affection. It is redemption from the curse of violated law, and restorati n to the grace and satisfaction of parental love, and renovation after the image of him who was made a curse for us to win that redemption, and opened out the way to the welcome and the safety of that restoration. Regard the word in a legal sense, and it is release from the punishment which, as the sanction and strength
of law, is due to sin. Regard the word in a moral sense, and it is a release from the inward power of evil-or the light of truth breaking in upon the mind—the power of truth bringing peace and yet sensitiveness to the conscience--the love of truth having the government over the will and the affections; i.e., it is the intercession of the Redeemer becoming a realized fact in the history of a man. Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth."
It is one thing, by the sheer exercise of royal clemency, to arrest the process of law, giving free pardon to the criminal when just passing to its uttermost exactment, and to place him again amidst the unchallenged by justice, and the free. But it is quite another and far more difficult task for benevolence to cast out the unclean spirit, to discipline to a very death the evil habit, to reclain and reform the character, when vice has taken such a mastery and governed so long that it has the force of nature, is in the very core, and, like a poison in the blood, works in every part and organ of the man's being, and to bring the man onward to that calm of conscience, that freedom from all fear, that consciousness of guilelessness and integrity which speak to us through the frank countenance, the honest look, the answering eye which shrinks not from our fixed glances, and the manly open words which are the tokens of felt, firm, independent uprightness. What profits liberty through the suspension of justice, without reformation through a godly discipline and influence? The man will be again your scourge, and his own misery and curse. You have saved the criminal, not when you have merely released him from the sentence upon bis crime, but when you have won him from the love and habit of it. You have restored the fallen, not when you have merely rescued her to a safe keeping from the path of the destroyer, but when you have checked, and quenched, and trampled out the last spark of the vile lust which the spoiler fuelled and fanned by the stimulants of. pleasant temptation. Thus, salvation is not merely the deliverance of the guilty from the arrest and sentence of justice, but it is the deliverance of the man himself from his own former self. It is both purity and pardon ; remission of sin and release from it; safeness from the wrath to come, and a title to heaven; but more than this, "meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light.” It is both righteousness in a forensic sense-righteousness reckoned onto us for justification ; and righteousness in
in a moral sense-righteonsness in conformity of man's character to God's will. In a word, salvation, liku binal stars which, though they seem as one to unhelped eyes, the telescope proves to be double bodies, revolving round each other, or rather round one common centre of force unknown to ussalvation may be resolved into two united gifts, two stages of the same life united to each other, and shining upon each other, wliile both have their one common centre in Christ. One is but the bud, and the other the flower of the same plant of Paradise ; one is but the dawn, and the other just the noon of the same endless day. One is a state of grace, the other a state of glory. Grace is the eartlıly part of salvation; glory is the heavenly part Grace is the assurance of pardon and the pledge of it; glory is the enjoyment of pardon and the proofs of it. Grace is the spring-tide of holiness and happiness, the sowing time of struggle; glory is the autumn-tide of holiness and happiness, the reaping time of their perfection. In a word, salvation is pardon, peace, and purity to a human spirit in this life ; and holiness, happiness, and glory, perfect and eternal, in the life to come.
This salvation is in Christ; "He is able to save," my text say8. He has won the gift of salvation for us, and He has the will to give what He has won; that is, His
ability to save is oficial and moral. He has won the right to exercise this ability, inasmuch as He is able to save as mediator. I do not now explain the mystery of that marriage bond which knits into a perfect oneness, and yet allows a perfect distinctness between the human and the divine nature in the person of the Lord. You accept this mystery as a fact, as a truth established, though not expounded. On this union does the virtue of his sacrifice as an atoning victim, and the virtue of his advocacy as an interceding priest, depend. He is thus the “
Daysman," or reconciler, who can “lay his hands on both parties," —wbo by his divinity can lay the band of his power upon the Julge, who by his humanity can lay the hand of his sympathy and merit, as a suffering Saviour, upon man. The human nature was the priestly robe He took for sacrifice and intercession. It was upon this that the “precious ointment" of the Holy Ghost, poured forth without measure on the edge of Jordan, did run down, even to the very skirts of his clothing, consecrating to the work of salvation bis bumanity in its entireness. Christ was originally free, the Author of law, above all law; but He would be in the place, in the relationship of the creature to law. This was his voluntary resolve. Hence He took unto Himself our nature; He became a man, really, federally. That body and soul which He assumed, that humanity was a responsible creature, under the creature's power of service, and the creature's capability of suffering. In that body He served, He suffered, He wrought out a perfect righteousness, as our representative.
All that measure of intelligent worship which a rational creature owed to his Creator, all that measure of child-like trust which a dependent creature owed to his Benefactor, all that mental and active obedience which a responsible creature owed to his sovereign God, -all this measure of worship, of dependence, of obedience, to the uttermost extent to which they could be yielded by a moral, rational, dependent creature, under the limits of his nature, with that unique entireness to which all his perfect faculties, unweakened, as they were unstained by sin, could rise, and his organs express, Jesus fulfilled, wrought out before man, brought unto God as a sponsor or mediator for man. This was his human righteousness. But there was a further obligation in law. The race of responsible creatures with whom He had taken alliance, had not only failed, but transgressed; and so all that measure of suffering which the guilty creature owed to the strict justice of a Holy Judge must be endured, and this suffering was exbausted to the uttermost; He made his soul a sacrifice for sin, and it was sustained in life upon the fiery altar until He could say, “Father, I have glorified thee on earth ; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”
And now, my brethren, mark how his ability to save came. Into his perfect human righteousness, into his perfect self-sacrifice, his divine nature, by virtue of its union with his human nature--union which held through every stage of life and death-did throw all that infinite wealth and virtue of suffering, of effectualness, of power, of merit, which were in the very essence of its being. And so salvation is his rightful gift, because he has made it possible, and removed all hindrances for its pos. session. He is able to save, because he has been called to be a Saviour, and has brought into his office all the qualities which it demanded,-a numan nature in which to serve and suffer, and his own divine nature, as the everlasting Son of the Father, which should carry its own perfectness into every act and word to which it was pledged, and given by the humanity with which it was allied. He is able to save, because he has obtained for us by his death the gift of a new life, quickened in man by his Spirit, sealed by his sacraments, and nurtured by his Word and ordinances. By the mystery of his nature then, and the merit of his work, he is able to
And he has a moral ability, I mean the ability of heart, of inclination, and will. How much hangs upon the will to help! Without the will, the power lies dumb under all appeal, dormant before all opportunity. The poor leper felt this, -"Lord, if thon wilt, thou canst make me clean;" and that leper found that the ability of right and will, of power and purpose, did indeed meet in him. Nay, he travailed for and won the power, only because his heart was settled in the purpose to save. Note his words, "Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest;" "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Note his deeds. Facts are decisive ; but the time would fail me to tell of Matthew, and Zaccheus, and Mary of Magdala, and the woman that had been a sinner; of demoniacs
already almost beconie alight in the burning; of Saul of Tarsus, and the impure Corinthians, and the idolatrous men of Ephesus, and the fierce gaoler, and the gentle Lydia, and the judge Dionysius, and the slave Philemon; all of whom are patterns to them which shall hereafter believe in his name, that he is able to save.
And then, once more, consider the purpose and practice of his endless life.. “IIe is able to save,” says our text, "seeing he ever liveth to make intercession.” Where, in what far off star, in what local and material sanctuary he doth in his human nature keep the state of heavenly royalty, and sit as "a priest upon his throne," I know not. There are many mansions in the Father's universe, and in one most fitted for his glory does he now abide, expecting the promised kingdom. It is not necessary for us to speculate, whether, in the very accents of that familiar voice which, by the simple utterance of her name, did awaken up such recollections of the past in Mary at the sepulchre, that breathless in joy and surprise, she could only cry, “ Rabboni, Master," —that is, whether in his human voice he makes intercession. Why not? for he is clothed there in the same flesh and bones which ate, and spake, and moved, and could be touched by the Apostles, and was like their own in all things but its bloodlessness and independence of the laws of matter. He is clothed in this still, but it is a real intercession, an intercession which, by the tenderness and experience of our merciful high priest, extends to all our important interests and wants. He was Love-speaking, pitying, labouring, suffering on earth, and He is Love still—pitying, serving, pleading in heaven. The ransom which he paid upon the cross has reality and virtue, by the application of its benefits through his prayer upon the throne. He is in the midst of it "as a lamb slain," as one who remembers his passion, and who perfects its results in the individual soul by his activities there. Witness the marvels of the day of Pentecost; witness the noble army of martyrs and confessors who have passed to heaven, like Manoah's angel, in a shroud of fire, "doing wondrously" in agony, because they did know his sympathy, did taste his gracious considerateness, did find his prayers mingling with their own in the consciousness of faith, in the experience of replies, did see a form like unto the Son of God walking with them in the burning fiery furnace. So that, like the old Fathers of the Church, they could call their fetters bracelets of beauty and honour, and their shame glory, and their cross a "light yoke.” And are there no witnesses to this great truth here? Oh! I trust that there are many, many who have made trial of his ability, many who, by the yearnings aud actings of their own heart, have been desirous to put that ability to the test, who have ventured confidence in his merit, who have cast themselves
his mercy, never doubting his sympathy and will, but simply saying, "He is able to save," because “having died unto sin once, he ever liveth to make intercession.". Why doubt, sin-stricken, harrassed spirit within me, whether he can save thee? Make the venture, cling to him, and if perish you must, perish there. But perish, how can this be? For note the further assurance in the text, “He is able to save to the uttermost."
II. What limitation dares one place on the word “uttermost?” Regard it first as a note of time, as stretching from the first moment to the last moment, in that parenthesis of a few thousand years for man's probation and education, in which is laid the scene of the earthly history of his race. He is able to save from one extreme of time to the other ; from its birth to its death ; from its dawn to its evening in the day of salvation. Count backwards times, epochs--pass through the dark valley of the past, to him who first trod amidst its shadows, and tasted its chill and cheerlessness, immediately he fell. Count forward times, epochs. Nay, that we cannot do, for who dare build on hours and days which may never be ? But, still, pass onward, in thought, to the uttermost moment and ministry of grace, when trial and opportunity are just about to give way for ever to glory and reward,--pass in thought to Him who will be the uttermost and last to make test of, and rejoice in Christ's salvation in that last hour of the world, when, "Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold,” and the very virgins that are to go out to meet him who comes for a bridal day with his redeemed spouse, shall fall into slumbers and keep no vigils for his advent-pass to Him who will be the last exception to the multitude, the last living contrast in the general death—from that past uttermost, when the first promise gave hope to the trembling pair, to that last uttermost, when the angels will sing their last song over the last sinner that repenteth--and between these two extremes in salvation's day, through shifting dispensations and varying advancing brightness of the Christian church, "shining more and more unto a perfect day,” there are, there will be, tokens of the same experience, the experience of his ability io save. Look backward to the time when the morning of the day of salvation revealed had scarce broken, and men walked by the twinkling siars of type and promise, and in the moonlight of the pascal feasts. To Him as the Sun of righteousness, to arise with healing in his wings—to his cross, as the common centre of life, patriarch aud prophet looked. Some did stand eagerly and confidently on the tiptoe of hope, and upon the highest hill of promise, and had visions, on the other side of the horizon, which careless spirits did not see, such as Abraham, who saw Christ's day, and who seeing it was glad. If we rejoice in one able to save who has come, they did also hope, at times almost against hope, for one able to save who would come. Lift up the veil of prophecy! See the distant view of the latter days! " Many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God.” And why? “He shall be lifted up, and all men shall be drawn unto him." And thus, for the putting the uttermost shock into the garners of God, "to accomplish the number of his elect, and hasten bis kingdom," He is able to save the uttermost."
Regard the word as bearing upon the distinctions in the classes and civilisations of men.
What differences, mental, moral, social, obtain amongst mankind, yea, what differences physical! What a chasm between European refinement and savage rudeness--between the enlightenment of the West and the darkness which is in the corners of the far East-between the child of modern civilisation and the child of the islet of the South Pacific! But the Gospel of the Lord can bridge over that chasm; and, amidst all distinctions of climate, of colour, and civilisation, bring out the exact features of a common brotherhood, -the unity of idea which runs through the new creation,—the moral creation of the Church, -just as a unity of idea also runs through all the classes of the old-the organic creation—that is the unity of the Spirit, in the bonds of a common spiritual life, which can bind man to man from the extremest point of social life, just because it is the Gospel of Jesus, who is "able to save to the uttermost. And so we say, Oh! Church of our fathers, Church of our choice, "lift up thy voice, lift it up, be not afraid," proclaim every where that thy Master is able to save to the uttermost.' No matter the depth of that darkness in which the Ruler of the darkness of this world may have shrouded souls, no matter how vile or how fascinating the image or the ideal of the god, how rude or how rich the altar, no matter how degraded the poor victim who worships before them, the Gospel of the cross can work its marvels of light into the grossest darkness; and altar and god shall moulder in the dust, and the poor slave they enchained be raised to the liberty and dignity of a child of the Holy Father in heaven, by the power which is promised to the simple teaching of the truth, which is not for man, but for mankind, — “Jesus is able to save to the uttermost.'
And so we have but one message for all the shades of classes and character which checquer the face of our social life at home. To the rich, that we may humble and hallow wealth, to the poor, that we may comfort and cheer and hallow poverty, we preach Christ crucified, -“ Jesus able to save to the uttermost," because, before and above all other moral forces which can be applied to raise, or govern, or educate for the highest progress the lower classes in the social scale, or unite in fraternal responsibilities and in links of love all classes-because, above and beyond all human forces, we just believe in Christ “the power of God," and above and beyond all other sources of human enlightenment and knowledge, we just believe in Christ "the wisdom of God."
But individual life, the history of each man's life has its uttermost point, its crisis for eternity, its awful instant, when there is but a step between the man and death. Oh! in that awful moment, can the soul that has cast Him aside wilfully for so many years find Him able to save even up to that uttermost ? Take an instance; the Bible supplies "one that none may despair, and but one that none may presume." Amidst the reproaches of the crowd and the mad violence of the priests, one voice of prayer, one appeal for mercy reached the ear of the dying Jesus. Partner in crime with him who hung upon the other side of that central cross, he had for some time, as we gather, been a partner in his profane taunts, for it is written, "They that were crucified with him reviled him," " But a change comes over the hardened criminal. The reviler suddenly rebukes the reviling : "Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art