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have no merits of their own to shew for us, on our behalf, for their very standing is of grace.
(2.) As for the saints departed, they cannot make intercession for us, because they know not our particular states here upon earth, neither can they hear our requests, therefore if we should pray to them to pray for us, we should substitute them in the room of God, because we ascribe that to them which is proper for him, namely, the searching of hearts, and knowledge of what is done on earth, which are God's prerogatives.
(3.) As for saints here upon earth, they have warrant and command to pray one for another, but they ean bring nothing of their own of suitable value to procure the granting of their requests, nor can they come in their own names, as deserving any such mercy either for themselves or others; but for the merits' sake of Christ only. So we may say with Eliphaz, Job v. 1, “Call now if there be any that will answer thee, and to which of the saints wilt thou turn ?"
3. Another reason is, because Jesus Christ and he alone is qualified every way to make intercession. He is qualified by his divine and human nature hypostatically joined together in one person.
66 He is over all, God blessed for ever,"* God of God, equal with God, distinguished by personal properties, for he is “the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person;" † so that he hath peculiar interest in and prevalence with the Father, being one with him, not only in harmony and consent, but in nature and essence : and then his human nature was assumed on purpose, that he might sympathize with us, " and be a merciful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people,” Heb. ii. 17. This is the first part of Christ's priestly office, in* Rom. ix. 5. + Heb. i. 3.
John x. 30.
tercession is the latter, wherein he shows the price he hath paid, and demands the fruit thereof for believers. None else were capable of being what our Lord was, and doing what he did.
4. Because Christ and Christ only comes under a sealed commission for this office. “No man taketh this honour to himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron,” Heb. v. 4. God gives him a peculiar commission to be a priest, ver. 6. He hath a good warrant and an indisputable title to bear him out in all the parts of his office; yea, he was instituted in another manner than other priests, even by an oath*-an oath of fidelity betwixt Father and Son, which as it confirms it, so it adds to the formality of it. Where is the person that can show such a patent, under the broad seal of heaven, to be agent for Jehovah upon earth, and solicitor for the saints in heaven? He “hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man,” John v. 27. And doubtless our dear Lord will be faithful in his office, much more than Moses as a servant ; for Christ is a son over his own house, and therefore hath special care of it.t
5. Because there is a special union and relation betwixt Christ and believers. He is the head, they are his members f—and it becomes the head to plead for the members. They are children, he is their elder brother||—it is requisite he should own them, and act for them that are helpless. They are his subjects, he is their king—they are his servants, and espouse his cause, and he espouseth theirs : he hath undertaken the patronage of all' his saints, and their defence against all the enemies of their salvation. This interposition for them is not occasional or accidental, but purposely, as one part of his office, and they daily need his help. * lleb. vii. 23, 21. Heb. iii. 5, 6. Eph. iv. 15. || Gal. iij. 26. 6. Because God designs his saints for very high honour, namely, to be his special favourites.* Abraham was his friend: these only shall be familiar with him; he will communicate to them his secrets, which he will not do to others. “Shall I hide from Abraham the thing that I do?”+ One reason is, that Abraham may plead with God for Sodom and the safety of Lot. Thus the Lord made Moses, Elijah, Noah, Daniel, Samuel, and many others, his secretaries, and intercessors for others. “This honour have all his saints, to be a people near unto him.” ! And those that are preferred to be courtiers in the King of heaven's palace, must have one or other to bring them into favour, and help them out at a dead lift, for they are often put hard to it; as Moses, when God seems to rebuke him, and say, “ Let me alone;" || yet he would not, but goes on with his suit. And why so ? Doubtless Moses knew he had a friend in the court that pleaded for him, and he found good success. Well, but by whose means are their prayers so prevalent ? Surely not for their own worth or importunity, but for Christ's sake. So Daniel pleads, chap. ix. 17, “Cause thy face to shine upon thy sanc
, tuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake;" that is, Jehovah, or the blessed Jesus. And thus God hath honoured his saints to be prevailing intercessors through Christ both for themselves and others; and this hath been a credit to religion, and profit to many.
7. Yet once more; Christ is our intercessor that he may be honoured and rewarded for all his sufferings here on earth : so saith my text, Isa. liii. 12, “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered • John xv. 15.
+ Gen. xviii. 17, 19. Psal. cxlviii. 14. cxlix. 9. || Exod. xxxii. 10. VOL. III.
with the transgressors, and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” This, with the first part of the verse, seems to be a recompense of Christ's humiliation, at least a consequence upon it; as if it had been said, It is most fit that he that interposed to die for believers on earth, should be exalted to God's right hand and intercede for them in heaven, and that authoritatively: Phil. ii. 6—11, which is a full comment on this text_“He humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross: wherefore God hath highly exalted him—that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” God owns it as a debt due to Jesus, to be owned as Lord by all men, as the fruit of his sufferings and obedience. This Sun of righteousness was eclipsed, that he might shine with more resplendent glory in the heavenly horizon. It was always accounted an honour to be priest of the most high God; thus Melchizedeck was greater than the patriarch Abraham, for the blessing of him speaks so much; “and without contradiction the less is blessed of the better :"* Melchizedeck was higher than Aaron; but Christ is higher than both, as the apostle there proves. Our Lord is both king and priest, and is said to be a priest upon his throne; he therefore manageth this mediatorial office in a princely manner, commanding what is for the good of his church : “ thus he
6 bears the glory.” + “For all power is given to him in heaven and earth.” | And as God hath thus honoured, so doth he expect men should honour him in this high station, as our intercessor. But more of this hereafter.
* Heb. vii. I-8.
+ Zech. vi. 12, 13.
# Matt. xxviii. 18.
INFORMATION FURNISHED BY THE DOCTRINE WHICH HAS BEEN STATED AND CONFIRMED).
The application of what has been advanced may be, first, by way of information in these four points concerning Jesus Christ.
1. This office of Christ as intercessor, hath been of ancient standing, from the beginning of the world, or at least from the fall of man; long before his incarnation, father Abraham saw his day ; David in spirit calls him Lord ;* yea, the whole ceremonial law represented Christ to the senses of the Jews: the high priest going into the holy of holies, and people standing without clearly represented this; † so our Lord Jesus was the true minister of the sanctuary of old, and now of the true tabernacle which the Lord hath pitched, not man, Heb. viii. 2, this is the holiest of all, ch. ix. 8. Signal and various were the appearances of Christ to the prophets and patriarchs in the Old Testament; every slain sacrifice spake Christ's death, and the sprinkling of blood, the sprinkling of conscience for remission of sins. “They did all eat the spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink, for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ,” 1 Cor. x. 3, 4; not that the rock followed them, but the water out of the rock, and Jesus signified by that rock. Yea, how often did the blessed Jesus appear visibly as man to his saints of old, as a prelude of his incarnation; that man with whom Jacob wrestled, was the angel of the covenant, even God himself, therefore he calls the place Peniel, for saith he, “I have John viji. 56. Matt. xxii. 43.
+ Luke i. 9, 10.