« AnteriorContinuar »
mortal bodies shall be broken, then shall the pearl of grace shine forth in its lustre and glory; yea, “ he will also change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto the glorious body of Jesus Christ.—Phil. iii. 21.
Yet further, in the second place, Christ's intercession, now that he is in heaven, assures us of the certainty of covenant mercies, for he is Mediator, * a middle person, and so fit to negociate the business with God, for poor man, and he intercedes effectually for guilty souls, by virtue of the worthiness of his own person and merits; and as an advocate in a legal and judicial way he solicits for them and pleads their cause, and he appears in heaven for them, vindicating them from all accusations; and will not all this satisfy? Further, Christ's intercession is of large extent, and of as powerful efficacy, for as he can refuse no cause committed to him, but must and will intercede, when employed, so he cannot but be heard always; and his promise is as full, “ whatsoever ye ask in my name, it shall be done unto you,” John xiv. 13, 14; nay, “I will do it;" the intercessor is the executor. † But I shall not be large on this interesting subject of Christ's intercession, because many have written much about it; only take notice of that well-known text in Heb. vii. 25, for closing this head, “ wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” This text is a notable demonstration of the excellency of Christ's priestly office, tending to the confirmation of this point and the consolation of believers, wherein are these seven things. * 1 Tim. ii. 5.
+ See this Doctrine of Christ's intercession pithily and profitably opened, in Mr. Durham's Expos. of Revel. viii, 1, Lect. I, page 407-414.
1. The end of it, and that is to save souls, and the infinite God will certainly accomplish his end; men may fall short, but God cannot miscarry, “I work,” saith he, “ and who shall let it.
2. The universality of it, “ he saves all,” that is, all believers, rich and poor, whether they have more or less worthiness, for they are not saved for their own, but for Christ's merits.
3. The efficacy thereof, “ he saves to the uttermost, [łıç TÒ Tavtedès) that is, to the uttermost point or term of life, even to death and beyond it, or so as none can mend his work, for as he is “ the author,” so he is “ the finisher of our faith and hope,” consolation and salvation, none can come after him to finish what he hath begun; and he saves to the uttermost from all classes of enemies; none can challenge an interest in souls after he hath done his work, and he saves to the uttermost, that is, lie leaves them not till he have brought them into the highest happiness that creatures are capable of enjoying; there is all manner of perfection in this salvation.
4. Here are the subjects or persons saved, “ those that come to God,” or the condition, “ coming to God by Christ ;” now this is such a disposition as he himself doth work, for the power of his Spirit doth effectually draw souls to God, John vi. 44, 45; the condition is believing, and he works the condition. Christ is that sure ladder of Jacob by which souls may ascend to God, and into heaven; never any fell off this ladder, or miscarried that came to God by Christ.
5. Christ's ability to carry on that work, in the first words, “ he is able;” this we cleared in the first head concerning the union of the two natures. “ He is omnipotent," therefore he is said to be mighty to save, and
if he can do any thing in this soul-saving work, he will not fail those that lay the whole stress of their souls upon him.
6. Here is his capacity to save, for the text saith, “ he ever lives ;” a living Saviour can revive dying, dead souls. If Christ were not alive, there would be no hope of life by him, in vain should we seek for living enjoyinents among the dead; but our Saviour is revived and lives for ever, “ he is the living bread that came down from heaven," John vi. 51; “ and is again risen and ascended up into heaven, and because he lives, we live also.”
7. There is his complete execution of his present office, “ he ever liveth to make intercession for them,” saith the text, therefore, he must needs complete the work he hath begun on earth; like the high priest under the law, our Mediator sprinkles the blood of his meritorious offering here on earth, upon the mercy-seat now in heaven, * and continually bears the names of his saints upon his breast, and appears in the presence of God for us, Heb. ix. 24, so that we have a friend in our nature to own us in open court; yea, God the Father bade him welcome into heaven, and as a token thereof, sets him upon his right hand, which is an evidence of honour, (as Solomon dealt with his mother) and then bids him ask, promising that he will give him all that is in his heart. Certainly, then, the mercies of the covenant must needs be sure, and that through Christ, the Mediator, since his intercession is so prevailing, that he said in the days of his flesh, when praying over Lazarus’s grave, “ Father, I knew that thou hearest me always.—John xi. 42. Thus I have dispatched the doctrinal part of this
* Levit. xvi. 14. Heb. ix. 11, 12.
subject, wherein I have endeavoured to shew what the mercies of the covenant are; in what respects they are said to be sure, .by what means and ways they are made sure, and how they are made sure in and by Jesus Christ, the great Mediator of the covenant
THE SURE MERCIES OF DAVID FURNISHING A CON
FUTATION OF ERRORS.
Now for the application of this point, I shall make use of it several ways. In the first place, for the confutation of Atheists, Papists, Arminians, and Socinians.
1. It confutes the vain conceits of Atheists who call in question the great things of religion; they are first sceptics and disputants, then by degrees they grow Atheists and deny God—as one saith, in the academy of Atheism, a sinning soul takes these sad degrees. He proceeds,
(1.) To doubting whether there be a God or not. (2.) To living as though there were indeed no God. (3.) To wishing that there were none : and
(4.) To disputing against a Deity, and then he commenceth doctor in positive conclusions, asserting with the fool that “ there is no God,” * Psalm xiv. 1.
Many are ready to say, that religion in the power of it is but a fiery meteor, which the influence of those hot dog-stars of the times, ministers, have drawn up and kindled in the grosser region of some sick and melancholy brains, and so like fire is apt to catch in thatched and low built houses, not palaces, and castles, that is, large and high-built souls. But the truth is, some Atheists do find, even in this life, the certainty of our religion, all shall find it to the their cost hereafter by an irretrievable loss of these sure mercies, and by the intolerable sustaining of everlasting miseries. As Atheism hath been much propagated in these latter days, so God hath afforded instances of remarkable con victions by several modern, examples. Cardinal Richlieu, who after he had given law to all Europe many years, confessed to P. Du Moulin, that being forced to many irregularities in his life time, by what they call reasons of state, and not being able to satisfy his conscience, thence had temptations to disbelieve in a God, another world, and the immortality of the soul, and by that distrust to relieve his aching heart, but could not; so strong, as he said, was the notion of God on his soul, so clear the impression of him upon the frame of the world, so unanimous the consent of mankind—that he could not but taste the powers of the world to come, and so live as one that must die, and so die as one that must live for ever; and being asked one day why he was so sad, he answered, “ Monsieur, Monsieur, the soul is a serious thing, it must be either sad here for a moment, or sad for ever;" and though Cardinal Mazarin was an Atheist the greatest part of his time, yet he hath left behind him evidence of clear convictions of the immortality of the soul, and certainty of another state after this life, professing that if he were to live again, he would be a Capuchin rather than a courtier, that is, of a Popish religious order, to serve God in their way, rather than choose worldly preferments. It is recorded of Sir John Mason, counsellor to Henry the Eighth and Edward the Sixth, that he called his clerk and steward to him, and said, “ I have seen five princes, been privy counsellor to four,
* Mr. Herle on Policy, page 52.