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and pacify conscience, and make a man become a real friend to himself.
Thus our Lord meets those accusations on the behalf of his client.
But, mistake not, these impleadings are for different reasons. 1. Christ doth not encounter justice as an adversary, but to make it friendly to us, which yet we must stand in awe of. 2. He meets not the charge of the law so as to supersede it from being the rule of our practice, but only to deliver us from the curse of it. 3. He so opposes Satan as not to hinder the poor Christian's fighting against him, but to furnish arms and arguments against him. 4. He so meets the accusations of conscience as not to rock us asleep in security, but to be the more watchful, and establish conscience upon a sure basis.
I might further add, that when our blessed advocate hath thus cleared the Christian's cause in the court, then he demands a final verdict, to show his elient, and satisfy him that all things are fairly carried, and he is cleared from all charges laid against him; and this is by divine testimony in the holy scriptures to the sinner's conscience, saying plainly, “ Be of good comfort, thy sins are forgiven thee,” Matt. ix. 2. And now the soul can make that bold and brave challenge, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?” Rom. viii. 33, 34.
THE QUALIFICATIONS OF CHRIST AS OU'R
BEFORE we proceed to the reasons for Christ becoming Intercessor, I shall briefly review the properties and qualities of an advocate engaged to intercede, that we may see how Christ is sufficiently qualified for this office; and indeed he is beyond the rate of mortals accomplished for this occupation.
Now there are ten several qualifications of Christ that make him fit for this work.
1. He is intelligent. He is very able, judicious, and skilful for managing this important concern. A novice or an ignoramus is not fit for so high an employment; they would but bungle about it, and please no side. An attorney must exactly know the laws of the land, the mind of the lawgiver, the custom of the country, and circumstances of both parties. Such a one is our blessed Jesus, well accomplished for this high office and difficult service: Isa. xi. 2, 3, “The spirit of the Lord rests upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, and shall make him of quick understanding."* Christ is omniscient, and knoweth all things; he is well versed in the statutes of heaven, yea, acquainted with the decrees of God; for he was not only present in the grand transaction about recovering lost mankind, but sat at the council table, and interprets the divine will : “ The only-begotten Son of God, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him," John i. 18.
All things Varg. Scent or smell.
are delivered to him of the Father as his great plenipotentiary; he is the Judge's Son, and knows his Father's pleasure; yea, he is Judge in the King's Bench, and Master of Requests; he can help his clients in all their concerns in that court : yea, he knows the client's case and cause better than the client knows it himself, He knows what is in man, what he needs, what he would say; for “he that searcheth the heart knoweth what is in the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for his saints according to the will of God," Rom, viii. 27.
2. He is just, righteous, and impartial ; not taking bribes to pervert judgment, nor favouring some that are not to be encouraged, and daunting others that have the better cause : “ He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of the ears ;" he acts not by hearsay or specious pretences, “but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity, for the meek of the earth,” Isa. xi. 3, 4. He will not be fee'd to embrace a bad cause; no, he is exact and punctual in his procedure; for as he is “ holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners”* in himself, so he is in all his pleas and actings, for he always did the things that pleased God. As for man, he challengeth his most carping adversaries, saying, “ Which of you convinceth me of sin?” Yea, “the prince of this world came, and had nothing in him.”+ His greatest enemies cleared him ; yea, Pilate, that condemned him, said, “I find no fault in this man.” “ He did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” Fear not mistaking or miscarrying, if Christ be your advocate ; never did any to this day detect him of any flaw or fault in managing what he Heb. vii. 26.
f John viii. 46. xiv, 30. # John xix. 4. 1 Pet. ii. 22.
undertook, for he never undertakes any bui a righteous cause, and manageth it righteously—you may venture all in his hands.
3. He is condescending, he is of easy access, good to be spoken to. Though “he dwell on high, yet he humbleth himself to behold things in heaven and earth."* Christ is God's fellow, “thought it no robbery to be equal with God, yet tock on him the form of a servant;"+ and now he hears the requests of poor as well as rich, and espouseth the cause of the meanest peasant who is a humble client supplicating for grace and mercy. He despiseth not his prisoners that lie at his footstool; the lower they lie, the welcomer they are. Solomon's mother bids him “plead the cause of the poor and needy;" | so doth our blessed Solomon effectually: Though all kings fall down before him, yet he shall deliver the needy when he crieth, the poor also and him that hath no helper,” Psal. lxxji. 11–14. Since the world began it cannot be said that ever he rejected an upright suitor, for he hath said, and confirmed it many thousand times, “ Those that come unto me, I will in no wise cast out.” || It is very emphatical in the Greek,Ç I will not, no, I will not reject either their persons or suits.
4. Another excellent qualification of this advocate is, that he is free, willing of his own accord to undertake any cause without any fee. You may have what you want of him “ without money and without price.” He prevents us with his “ blessings of goodness ;"** he begins his suit to us, and encourages us on, saying, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold.”tt He sells not law, but gives it, and it easeth his heart when he gets
* Psalm cxiii. 4-6, || John vi. 37.
Isa. lv. l.
+ Phil. ii. 6, 7. # Prov. xxxi. 9. και Ου μη εκβάλω έξω. Psalm xxi. 3.
++ Rev. ii. 18,
custom of poor sinners. You must come to him in formá pauperis, as poor beggars, and then you are most welcome: if you come to him begging, you will speed better than he that brings bags of gold and silver, I mean a conceit of their own merits. The poor publican that had but this word to say, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” sped better than the proud Pharisee, that had so much to say for himself, how good he was, and what good he had done. * Our Lord doth all gratis, and looks upon it as a disparagement to his free grace to have his practice bought and sold, as if he were mercenary: there is his free Spirit, his free pardon, free access and acceptance—all is free.
5. He is ready, nigh at hand, within a call, he is not far to seek, when his client's necessitous case calls for his speedy help. You need not say, “ Who shall ascend to heaven, to bring Christ down from above?”+ He is not so included in those celestial mansions as to be excluded from his church on earth; for, saith he, “I am with you to the end of the world,”He walks in the midst of the golden candlesticks ;|| he is still within a call, “a present help in time of trouble.” “The Lord was ready to save me,” saith good Hezekiah. Daniel, Jonah, the three children, and all the saints in all ages and straits, have found him so; he is ever at God's right hand, listening what petitions you have to present to him, and there he is ready to present you to God as supplicants.
6. He is compassionate, very sympathizing with all his members, he is not accustomed to daunt or damp the courage of any of his poor clients, but to allure them with the sweetest attractions; “Come unto me
• Luke xviii. 13, 14.
+ Rom x. 6—8.
Isa. xxxviii. 20.