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But the subject suggested to us in the text doth not end with prefiguring the Redeemer in his complete and finished Sacrifice; another delightful view of his Priestly Office opens beyond it, when ascending in the flame from off the Altar, and affords this doctrine also, that it is one and the same Person who completes redemption-work upon earth, and carries up with him into heaven, his own blood and righteous ness, as our All-prevailing Intercessor, to plead the merits of it, for the acceptance of his people before God. This was the second Branch of discourse, which I proposed from this subject, and to this let us now direct our atttention.
· So infinitely interesting is this part of the Priestly Office, in the Redeemer's Character, that God the Holy Ghost, was pleased by the ministry of his servants, in the early Church, to cause to be prefigured, in various shadowy representations, this leading doctrine.
Under Matt. 17. 5. + Psalm 84. 9.
Under the Law, the High Priest, on the great day of Atonement, was enjoined, to enter into the holy of holies, (which was well understood by the People to be a figure of heaven) not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the errors of the People. $ And that an object of so much importance, might not be left, to the mere conjecture of human interpretation, an Apostle, had it in commission, from the same Almighty Teacher, to tell the Church, that the Holy Ghost thus signified that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was yet standing, But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands that is to say not of this building neither by the blood of goats and calves but by his own blood entered in once into the holy place having obtained eternal redemption for us. * And as it is expressed in another scripture; he is entered into heaven itself there to appear in the presence of God for us.ll
Still carrying on the interesting subject of redemption, by so many separate and distinct views of the Redeemer's character, in his Priestly Office, the Holy Ghost was further pleased, by the ministry of his servants, in the early Church, to cause to be prefigured, by other shadowy representations, the interest which Jesus always takes in the concerns of his peo
§ Heb. 9.7. .
* Heb. 9. 8. 11. 12. .
] Heb. 9' 24.
ple. Hence the High Priest, was enjoined to go in unto the holy place, for a memorial, continually before the Lord, with the names of the Children of Israel, in the breast plate of judgment upon his Heart. And Aaron (it is said, shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breast plate of judgment upon his heart when he goeth in unto the holy place for a memorial before the Lord continually. * Hereby manifesting that the Lord Jesus carries in the names of his people continually and sets them, as a seal upon his heart and as a seal upon his arm, when presenting himself before the Father, saying behold I and the Children which God hath given me. † And in order to convey the clearest testimony, that both the persons, and the offerings, of the people, depended for acceptance, on the incense of the Redeemer's merits; the High Priest was further enjoined, to take a Censer full of burning coals of fire from off the Altar before the Lord and his hands .full of sweet incense beaten small and bring it within the vail. I
We never can sufficiently express, our thankfulness to God the Holy Ghost, in that, he hath graciously condescended, to explain to us himself, by the ministry of his servant John the Apostle, the direct reference of these typical representations, to the Person, and of
'fices, * Exod. 28. 29. † Heb. 2. 13. Levit. 16. 12.
fices, of the Lord Jesus Christ. From him we learn, that all pointed to Jesus, as so many rays of light, converging into one centre. For when the Redeemer appeared to the Apostle, many years after his ascension, he appeared to him, in his Priestly Garirents: thereby intimating, that he wore the Priesthood still, and in that Character, always appears for his people before God. He saw him also, standing at the Altar, with his golden Censer, and offering much incense, with the prayers of all saints, to testify, that it was He which the High Priest under the law prefigured, and that the acceptance both of the Person, and offerings of his People, all are found in the incense of his merits. And in order that the Church, might never lose sight of the everlasting efficacy of his finished 'sacrifice, while contemplating the Lord Jesus, in his unchangeable Priesthood; John saw him also as a Lamb as it had been slain in the midst of the throne. * thus testifying, that the blood of Jesus, which Paul calls a speaking blood, s still pleads, and ever will plead, for the salvation of his Church and People.
How very sweet and encouraging are these illustrations of the Redeemer's Priestly Office, in addition, to all the other parts of his character, for the mind to lean upon, in its hopes of acceptance, when approaching God.
Neither * Rev. 5. 6. Heb. 12. 2*.
Neither must it for a moment be forgotten, that in the whole of those services of the Lord Jesus, both the right by which he pleads, and the covenant engagements, by which the Father is pledged to answer; both the everlasting love of the one, in which redemption-work is founded, and the eternal merits of the other, by which the redemption itself is purchased; all unite, to give virtue, and efficacy, to what the Lord Jesus hath done, and is doing, for his people.
And let me beg of you, while contemplating this subject, always to connect in one view, the Father's love and the Redeemer's merit, as the united sources of your salvation. Remember what Jesus hath said upon the occasion, I say not unto you (says Christ) that I will pray the Father for you, for the Father himself loveth you because you have loved me. Il What Jesus demands as a right by redemption, is in one and the same moment the Father's gift from rich mercy. For while we are fully taught, that we have redemption thro' his blood even the forgiveness of sins, we are no less taught, that it is to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. *!