« ZurückWeiter »
only common intercession for the worst who remain on probation, and will not hold long.
3. Consider therefore, you have a time, and but a time, to get an interest in this blessed Jesus to intercede for you: when your short life is expired, and your advocate is to seek, you are lost for ever. Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.* The great assizes hasten apace—as yet you may find an advocate -tarry till your breath be stopped, and your state is hopeless: he that you may now have for your advocate, will then be your Judge, and will be inexorable. Now bestir yourselves, set matters straight before you, come into the court, get hold of Christ : you may have him, you must have him, or you will be undoubtedly cast, condemned, and executed. Oh remember the foolish virgins that went too late to seek for oil, and found the door shut; after all their crying, “ Lord, Lord, open to us,” † they found no entrance, because they had inissed the right door, Jesus Christ the true door of the sheep. I Get in at this door, or you will be shut out for ever.
4. You will be every day less and less capable of looking after this intercesssor. You think a few words
a at last must needs oblige him to interpose for you ; if you have but time to say, “Lord, be merciful to me for Christ's sake,” you conceit such a compliment will then charm him to be your friend. Alas, by your sinning you daily harden your own hearts, set God at a further distance from you, increase your guilt and provoke God against you. || He may now say, go to the gods whom you have served—what right have you to call upon me? Have you gratified Satan all your days, and do you think to take sanctuary under my wing # 2 Cor. vi. 2.
+ Matt. xxv. 10, 12. # John x. 7.
|| Heb. iii. 13.
now in a storm? Getting a title to this blessed advocate, is not with a word by the way, it will cost you hard tugging to obtain this privilege. Look to yourselves, get this highly important affair adjusted in God's way and time, or take your leave of it for ever. Now or never.
5. Consider the cares and griefs the Son of God underwent, that he might be in a capacity to become an intercessor for you ; not but that Christ could have spoken a good word for man, if he had not been incarnate, but that he may effectually, according to divine ordination, undertake this office, he must put himself into our nature, continue a season on earth, suffer death for us, endure God's wrath and the curse of the law. “ It behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest, in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people: for in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted."*_Heb. ii. 17, 18. And shall the eternal Son of God become man, endure such contradictions of sinners, live a sorrowful life, be betrayed, accused, condemned, spit upon, bear the cross, be nailed to it, and die to redeem us, rise again, ascend to heaven to intercede for poor sinners, while transgressors so much concerned, neglect and slight him, or do not employ him? God forbid.
6. Our Lord still follows the suit, using all means and methods to prevail with sinners to accept of him for their intercessor. How many affectionate sermons did he preach in the days of his pilgrimage ? Yea, he wept over Jerusalem, uttering those affecting words, “O that thou hadst known in this thy day, the things that belong to thy peace !”What bowels of love # See Heb. y. 2.
+ Luke xix. 40, 41.
are yearning over poor sinners! and since his ascension he hath sent his Spirit to move men's consciences, and his ministers, as ambassadors, to beseech poor sinners to be reconciled to God*-and will not all this prevail ? Who ever heard of a counsellor court a client at this rate? And whether is this profit to him, or advantage to you? It is true, it is a pleasure to his heart to do you good, but you will reap the benefit by it. O gratify then the heart of Christ, which he takes as a recompense for all his pains, and show not yourselves ungrateful.
7. The terms he requires are easy, safe, and honourable, upon which he will be your intercessor, yea, such as nothing shall hinder but your own wilfulness. All that he demands is your cordial accepting of him: John i. 12, “But as many as received him, to them he gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” What can be easier ? here are no fees to be paid. Will you say you will have none of him? Doth he call you to give him any thing but yourselves ? and are you not his own by right? Doth he bid you part with any thing but your lusts, which are your greatest enemies ?
What say you now? what rational objections can you make against this blessed bargain? The fault is your own if you be not happy : for so himself hath determined it, John v. 40, " And you will not come unto me, that you might have life.”.
Object. Doth he not say, John vi. 65, “No man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father ?” How can I believe except God give me grace ?
I answer, God's free grace and man's duty are very consistent. Phil. ii. 12, 13, “ Work out your own
* 2 Cor. v. 20.
salvation, with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” God gives men natural faculties and lays them under moral obligations, and if they wilfully neglect God's appointed means, the fault will be charged on them, not on God, who is an absolute sovereign and free agent, and is beforehand with them: and they that will not do what they can, have no reason to charge God for not doing what they cannot; their own consciences will be sufficient witnesses against thein, since men will not bestow a thought upon it, but judge themselves unworthy of eternal life, * and seem careless and unconcerned whether God show mercy, or Christ intercede for them or not; they will not ask a question, or stir a foot towards Christ, so that their destruction is of themselves, and they must be condemned as wicked and slothful servants.t I do therefore entreat you, charge and command you, in the name and by the authority of my sovereign Lord and Master, to whom we must shortly give account, that you put not off any longer, but immediately take God's mode of securing Christ, the darling of heaven at God's right hand, to become your friend, as you hope to speed now and another day in that celestial court,
Some directions were next proposed to be given on this subject, that Christ may be chosen as intercessor by sinners; and I might refer you to the marks of such as have interest in Christ's intercession, as helps also to obtain it—namely, the Spirit's pleading and prevailing with men, sensible sinners taking God's part and pleading against themselves, lying under a sense of want, studying Christ's mediatorial office, with experience thereof, laying hold of him by faith, and so retaining him ; the Spirit helping our infirmities, reActs xiii. 16.
+ Matt. xxv. 26.
gulating our prayers and conversation according to God's will, being an advocate for Christ and his interests, consciousness of acting suitably to returns of prayer, and denying ourselves in all.
These are not only characters of the Christian for whom Christ intercedes, but due qualifications necessary in those that expect that our Lord should intercede for them; be sure you look after them, or else you miss
end. But besides these, I shall lay before you these seven considerations to help you in an affair so important as this.
1. Solemnly consider what are the essentials of prevailing prayer. It is not rattling over a form of good
a words, but the main essentials of a right prayer are these four :
(1.) The subject or person praying must be a child of God; “ The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination to the Lord ; but the prayer of the upright is his delight.” The person must be pious, in favour with God.
(2.) The act of praying must proceed from a heart engaged to God, with holy hands, without wrath or doubting ;t for right ends: the primary end, God's glory; the secondary, our good, according to God's word, with submission to his will.
(3.) It must be praying in the spirit, by the assistance of the Holy Spirit helping our infirmities.
(4.) That which must crown all, is depending by faith on Jesus Christ sitting at God's right hand to make intercession for us, this is a right prayer. Now unless you weigh the due qualifications necessary to a right gospel prayer, you will slight it, and pass it over as a coinpliment. Oh, but when the Christian bethinks • Prov. xv. 8.
t Jer. xxx. 21. 1 Tim. ii. 8. # Rom. viii. 26. Jude, 20.