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all ye that are weary and heavy laden ;'* and when they come he deals gently with them, he even carries the lambs in his arms, puts them into his bosom, embraces them, and gently leads them that are with young.+ So true is what is said of our High Priest, Heb. v. 2, that he can have compassion on the ignorant, and them that are out of the way; they cannot be more ready to confess sin, than he is ready to forgive; his heart is still working for his sick and sorrowful church, and though he hath laid aside his feeling for himself, he still retains his fellow feeling, and can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, ļ and cries, Oh! in heaven, if his foot be trodden on upon earth; hence it is that Christ pleads for his, not as a stranger, but as a kinsman, even as for himself with pathetical affection.
7. He is courageous and magnanimous, he dares encounter the most potent adversaries, none can daunt him, or put him out of countenance. If all the devils in hell come roaring against a feeble soul, the Captain of our salvation can encounter and will conquer them. Our David will overcome Goliath. He can silence the impertinent railings of reviling Rabshakehs, he hath conquered the proud Pharaohs, the Nimrods, Herods, and Antiochuses of the earth. Yea, he can quell the daring passions of a wicked heart, and the blasphemous objections foisted in, by the fiend of hell. Our advocate can even encounter and calm the thundering justice of an offended God, and pacify him towards the sinner, so God himself saith, Isa. xxvii. 4, 5, “Fury is not in me,” that is, causeless or implacable anger against my church, “who would set the briars and thorns against me in battle ?” as if he had said, there is no opposing me by force, but I will direct my people to a right
Matt. xi. 28. + Isa. xl. 11. Ileb. iv. 15. Acts ix. 5.
method for reconciliation, “let each take hold of my strength," that is Jesus Christ who is called the strength or power of God,* as when one lays hold of the lifted up arm and keeps it from striking, “and he shall make peace with me.” O the prevalence of the Son of God in his undertakings! Well may he make that bold challenge, Isa. 1. 7–9, “Who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary ? let him come near unto me; behold the Lord God will help me.-Our advocate always comes off conqueror.
8. He is faithful. It is true he is kind to his clients, yet he will not flatter them nor bear with their mistakes or miscarriages; our Lord will not deceive us by telling us our cause is good, when it is bad, no, he is distinguished for plain dealing. If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful,t he will be faithful to all his own, whatever becomes of hypocrites, and if his own miss it in any thing, he will rectify their mistakes. He informs us both of our state and cause. Thus he dealt faithfully with the seven churches of Asia, f he told them the best and worst of their case, he commends what is good, and condemns what is wrong in them, saying, “ I have somewhat against thee.” He is too just to undertake the patronage of a bad cause, or vindicate a hypocrite, but plainly exposes and utterly rejects them, as he did the Scribes and Pharisees. When men are not able to discover, he easily can. When the young gentleman, Matt. xix. 16-22, came in a good humour with that pertinent question, “ Good master,
, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” our Lord rectifies his mistake, and then discovers the unsoundness of his heart. He will by no means suffer his clients to go on under a mistake, but will • 1 Cor. i. 24. + 2 Tim. ii. 13.
# Rev. ii. and ii.
undeceive them. And this he declares before all the world, that men may know what to expect, and to put us upon inquiring both what we have to say, and to promote sincerity in all that draw nigh to him.
9. He is a constant intercessor and advocate." If he undertake the patronage of a person or cause, he will by no means desert them; all promises or threats of the adverse party can neither bribe nor deter him; no, nor can the unkindness or ingratitude of the client himself, alienate his affections, or so disoblige him as to remove them altogether: he may indeed withdraw for a small moment in a little wrath, but with everlasting kindness will he have mercy on them.* He may correct them sharply, but this is the fruit of his covenant love; in faithfulness he afflicts them, but will not cast off for ever; for having loved his own, he loves them to the end ; † he saith it with five negatives in a breath, I will not, no, I will never, no never leave thee nor forsake thee, Heb. xiii. 5. Nay, he is constant in his intercession when we have intermissions in our prayers ; he prayed for Peter when he was entering upon a temptation, and for his disciples when they were asleep. It would be a sad thing for us, if Christ were not more closely employed in his intercession, than we are in our prayers and devotions; he is constantly pleading; he ever lives to make intercession 'for us in the court of heaven :# he is still engaged.
10. He is prevalent and successful; he was never puzzled or baffled in any matter that ever he undertook to this hour, he hath always won the day and come off conqueror: even when Satan seemed to have the advantage in the desert, Matt. iv. how did the Son of God baffle him? He hath laid prostrate all his and our enemies; “Be of good cheer,” saith he, “ I have • Isa. liv. 7, 8. † Ps. cxix. 75. John xiii. 1. * Heb. vii. 25.
overcome the world;"* this he did mystically, as well
; as personally, yea for us and in us. He makes all his clients more than conquerors, even triumphers, always causing us to triumph in Christ our head.t Here is a blessed advocate indeed, that always bears away the laurel of victory; if he speak to man, he speaks so as never man spake; † if he speak to God, it is in this form, “ Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me, and I know that thou hearest me always,” John xi. 41, 42. The business is still carried forward on his side ; as soon as the motion is made, the request is granted ; let none of Christ's clients fear miscarriage if you have him on your side as an advocate to plead for you, your success is certain.
JESUS CHRIST THE ONLY INTERCESSOR
BETWEEN GOD AND MAN.
It was proposed in the last place, in discussing the doctrinal part of the subject, to assign reasons why Christ and Christ alone, must be the intercessor for transgressors.
1. Because such is the vast distance and disproportion betwixt the infinite God and finite man, that there is no approaching to God without an intercessor. Man's only happiness consists in union to, and communion with God: “It is good for me to draw nigh to God,” saith David ; || indeed, our only happiness is bound up * John xvi 33.
+ Rom. viii. 37. 2 Cor. ii 14. # John vii. 46.
|| Psalm lxxii. 28.
in conversing with God, Psalm lxv. 4. But what intercourse can there be betwixt the infinite Majesty and finite man, without a middle person to interpose ? Kings on earth take such state upon them that they are not approachable by ordinary subjects without a favourite: but vast is the distance betwixt God and man, as we are his creatures, worms at his footstool, but he is “ the blessed and only Potentate, King of kings, and Lord of lords, who only hath immortality, dwelling in that light which no man can approach unto.”—1 Tim. vi. 15. The highest seraphim cover
”— their faces, as not able to behold the glory of his Majesty. O how much less is such a clod of earth able to draw nigh to him? But that is not all; man is a guilty sinner, a condemned malefactor before a sinrevenging judge, sitting on his throne. Our God is a consuming firent we are as dried stubble: and if they of Tyre and Sidon durst not come to Herod without making Blastus, the king's chamberlain, their friend, I surely there is no coming near God, without our heavenly Blastus.
Luther was wont to say that Deus absolutus, an absolute God, or a God out of Christ, is very formidable.
God never conversed amicably with any creature since the fall, but through the Mediator.
2. Amongst the creatures intellectual and rational, there is none fit for this employment, to intercede betwixt God and man, or for man with God.
(1.) The elect angels cannot. It is true, they are holy, happy, near God, and ministering spirits under him, to convey his messages to the saints, and to convey their souls into Abraham's bosom; but as there is not a word in scripture of their interceding for us, so it is an office above them, they died not for us, and * Isa. vi. 2. + Heb. xii. 29.
Acts xii. 20.