« AnteriorContinuar »
sitions of a persecuting world, and temptations of Satan; and we have treacherous hearts, that are as tinder to those baits and sparks, unless divine grace prevent us: it is this that Jesus Christ now prays for on our behalf.
7. Union and communion of saints. John xvii. 11, “ That they might be one, as we are.' And this extends to all the saints in all ages; ver. 21, “That they all might be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee.” As there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and all real saints are one mystical body, so Christ prays that they may be one in opinion respecting all fundamental truths, one in endeared affection to each other, and join in one mutual communion. O when shall this prayer be heard, that all that fear God may
be kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love, in honour preferring one another." *
8. Further sanctification. John xvii. 17, “Sanctify them through thy truth : thy word is truth.” Yea, ver. 19, “ For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified.” Our Lord was to this purpose set apart to his mediatorial work, to be both priest and sacrifice, for the purpose of consecrating his saints to be a kingdom of priests, and to be more and more sanctified, purified from corruption, and dedicated to God. O what a blessed design is he driving on, " that we may be holy as he is holy,”† and at last arrive at perfection in holiness.
9. Conversion of more souls to God. John xvii. 20, “ Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe through their word.” There are two things hinted in this text: (1.) That Christ prays for the actual conversion of those that were given to him by everlasting love: they shall at last be effectually brought home by the means of grace; John X. 16, • Rom. xii. 10.
+ 1 Pet. i. 16.
“Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice.” We poor Gentiles were God's sheep in the counsels of heaven, to whom the gospel was shortly to be sent, and upon whom it must be effectual. O blessed day! 0 happy design ! when “more must be the children of the desolate, than the children of the married wife;"* that is, the Jewish church. This is the fruit of Christ's purchase and intercession. (2.) He prays for them when they are believers ; that the Lord would receive them, pardon and save them, that none of them might perish, but that all should have everlasting life.
10. Christ intercedes for all his, that they may ascend with him into heaven. John xvii. 24, “ Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me.” This is the top-stone of the Christian's happiness. No doubt Christ ascended into heaven, not only for himself but for his church, and that not only to represent them, for “he hath made them sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus;" ! but he is gone before into those heavenly mansions to prepare a place for them, John xiv. 2, 3. And he looks on himself as not complete till all his followers be gathered to him; he therefore prays for their perfect sanctification and admission by death into glory; and then they shall be glorified together || with him, in their souls at death, in their bodies and souls at the resurrection.
Thus I have briefly hinted at the matter of Christ's intercession in heaven being answerable to the petitious he presented to his Father upon earth, so far as we may conjecture by analogy when he is still carrying on the same design.
Isa. liv. ), 2. † John x. 28. Eph. ii. 6. || Rom. viii. 17.
THE MANNER IN WHICH CIIRIST MANAGETH
THIS OFFICE OF INTERCESSION.
The third general division relates to the manner in which our blessed Jesus manageth this glorious undertaking of interceding for his church, or particular believers.
I told you this word imports our Lord's being an advocate, and as an advocate he undertakes the patronage of a believer's person and cause, to bring him off clear before a court of judicature, to which it alludes. I shall accordingly prosecute it under these four particulars :
1. An advocate is to hear the case stated.
4. To oppose the adversary, and to answer all accusations.
1. A solicitor, advocate, or intercessor, is to be thoroughly acquainted with the cause on all sides, he must not go blindfold about so important an affair, he must see to evidences, examine witnesses, weigh all circumstances, and to these things he must attend with due care, wisdom, and patience, that he may give a right judgment; he must also be well versed in the law, that he may legally manage the cause.
This is the case in the intercession of our Lord Jesus. He carefully regards what the soul which is his client, hath to say; Jer. xxxi. 18, “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning herself.”* Christ as God knows the secret workings of the heart, he lays his ear at the saint's closet door; nay, he that searcheth the
* Heb. “ In hearing I have heard."
the heart knows the mind of the spirit;* and saith to the poor client as Absalom in compliment,“ see thy matters are good and right;”+ for our Lord will not undertake a bad cause; nay, he will not only understand the client's case, but make the client to understand it himself, else he will challenge him, and say, you know not what you ask. Observe this, our advocate doth not only understand law and justice, but he also instructs us in reference to what we must ask of God; and therefore we should come to him and say,
Lord, teach us to pray.” Į He will not suffer us to espouse a wrong cause, no more than he will patronize us therein, but he will rectify our mistakes, regulate our suits, and then undertake the cause for us; and as he hears the case stated by the client, so he hears what thie judge saith to the case. God is righteous; “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?"|| Our Lord Jesus understands both sides, and will see to it that nothing in this whole affair be done to the prejudice of either party.
2. The work of an advocate is to declare in the court, what is law, as well as know it, he must declare in open court before witnesses, how matters stand on both sides; thus doth our Lord—on God's part he declares God's displeasure against the sinner for violating the covenant of works, and the death, and the curse, due to him for it. As many as are of the works of the law are under a curse;s we are all dead and condemned by the first covenant, children of wrath as all others are; and then our Lord produceth another covenant, the law of grace, and confirms it, “ He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned, and the wrath of God
. Rom. viii. 26, 27. + 2 Sam. xv. 3. I Luke xi. l. || Gen. xviii. 25.
$ Gal. ii. 10.
1 Eph. ii. 3.
abides upon him :"* this Christ declares before all in open court, that none may plead ignorance, and gives counsel to the client to look to the sincerity of his faith and repentance, or else he is a lost sinner, notwithstanding all the provision Jesus Christ hath made in the gospel dispensation. Thus the blessed Jesus is the counsellor, Isa. ix. 6, and advises his client what method to take, that he may be rectus in curia, found right and upon good terms in the court of heaven.
3. And when the poor sinner hath truly embraced Christ upon these terms, then our advocate pleads the equity and legality of the procedure, in justifying and acquitting the sinner according to this law of
in the gospel dispensation, and declares that God may salvå justitiâ, notwithstanding infinite justice, pardon the condemned prisoner, because an infinite price is paid for him, even the blood of Godt (or of him who is God,) which is fully commensurate with divine requirements, the surety satisfies for the creditor, the king's son dies for the malefactor at the bar, and demands a release for him according to law, so that our dear Lord makes that bold challenge in Isa. 1. 7–9. “ The Lord God will help me, who is he that shall condemn? He is near that justifieth me, who will contend with me?” I have paid the utmost farthing, justice itself cannot demand more. I am able save to the uttermost all that come to God by me,f none shall perish for want of full satisfaction. I have given myself for sinners, and this is an offering, and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour ; || God himself can ask no more, so that now I demand spiritual blessings as a debt, due upon my undertaking, through rich grace and mercy to the sinner.
to the sinner. O blessed contrivance, Mark xvi. 16. John iii. 36.
+ Acts xx. 28. # Heb. vii. 25.
|| Eph. v. 2.