« AnteriorContinuar »
! Doct. III. That THE TRUE GROUND AND REASON OF CHRIST'S
ALL-SUFFICIENCY TO SAVE SINNERS, IS LAID UPON THE
And this, because it is the most comprehensive point, taking in both the former, is that, which I choose to insist upon.
In the prosecution of which Doctrine, I shall speak concerning "- . Christ's Intercession.
His All-Sufficiency to Save, which depends upon and flows from it.
I. Concerning CHRIST'S INTERCESSION, I shall enquire into Three things:
What it is, and wherein it doth consist. What the Extent and Latitude of it is. ; :What are the Benefits, that do redound to believers '-i,. ':by iti . ',', .
.'. - 1 ,
i. For the opening What It Is, we must know, that Intercession is a law term, borrowed from' Courts of Judicature; and signifies the action of a proxy or attorney, either in suing out the rights of his client, or answering the cavils and objections brought against him by the plaintiff.
Thus doth Christ for believers. He appears for them: Heb. ix. 24. He is entered into heaven, appearing in the presence of God for us. Nay, he doth, in some sense, carry believers into heaven with him, and there set them before his Father's throne; as we have it, Eph. ii. 6. And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Even as the high-priest did bear the names of the Twelve Tribes upon his breast, when he entered into the Holy of Holies; so Christ, when he entered into heaven, bears upon his heart the names and persons of all his, and presents them before his Father. He hath taken their cause, and pleads it with God his Father; as the Apostle speaks: We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 1 John ii. 1.
This Intercession is of Three sorts.
1. Charitative Intercession. '.,.'. ''.•'.' •'•..,:'.'. . . i
And, thus, one man is bound by the duty of dbarity and conscience to pray and intercede for another. And of'this kind of intercession we have mention made, 1 Tim. ii. 1. I exhort, therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men: that is, intercession of mutual charity one for another. . i•' . , .'".
2. There is an Adjutory Intercession, a helping intercession. And, thus, the Holy Spirit makes intercession for believers:
Rom. viii. 26, 27. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered, tfc. He makes intercession for us, because, by his holy inspirations, he makes those prayers and intercessions for us, which we make for ourselves. And this is an Adjutory Intercession. We are indigent, and see not our own wants, nor have we tongues to express them; and, withal, we are dull and heavy, and make not importunate supplications; and, therefore, God sends his Spirit into our hearts, to discover.our necessities to us, to raise desires in us, and to put wordyinto our mouths and teach us what to pray for, and how to pray as we ought.
3. There is an Official and Authoritative Intercessicm And this properly belongs to Christ.
And this may be considered under a Twofold!r<Sspect. :" (f) His Intercession, in his state of Humiliation. And this is in a congruity to that debased state, wherein, with strong cries, and tears, and groans he made supplications to God: Heb. v. 7. Yea, when he was under the sharpest agonies; when he was bruised by God and broken by men, suffering the wrath of the one, and the wrongs of the other; when his own pains might have made his prayers selfish, or his enemies' malice might have made him revengeful: yet, even then, he forgets not to intercede for them: Lukexxiii. 34: Father, forgive them; for they know noPwhaf they do. Although he was made in the form of a sertidtitj despised and rejected of men; (Is. liii.';3T.) j accursed of God (Gal. iii. 13.); exposed'1^ i-eproach and injuries; devoted to death: notwithstanding all this, his intercession was not at all regarded the less, or the less prevalent; but, even in this low estate and vile appearance, he prayed with majesty and authority, Father, I will that those whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, He. John xvii. 24.
(2) His Intercession may be considered as performed on our behalf, in his state of Gloty and Exaltation.
After his offering up of himself here upon earth as a sacrifice upon the cros3, he entered into the Most Holy Place; and there he prosecutes the same suit, which he here commenced: Rom. viii. 34. It is Christ that died; yea rather, that is risen again^ who is ascended into heaven, where he continually maketh intercession for us.
This Glorious Intercession of Christ doth principally consist in these following particulars, which I shall endeavour to illus* ti'ate and open.
• [l] In his appearing in the court of heaven in both natures, as our Mediator and Advocate; ready to answer any charge laid in against us, or suing out any good thing that belongs to us.
Thus, when Joshua, the high-priest, stood before the angel in filthy garments, Zech. iii. 1. Satan stood at his right-hand to accuse him: the accusation was true: the crime was manifest: now, here, the Angel (that is, Jesus Christ) interposeth: he appears for us, saying, The Lord rebuke thee, 0Satan: what though the garments be filthy, I will take them away: / have caused their iniquity to pass from them. And this may be for our abundant consolation: though Satan, by his accusations and temptation, stand continually at our right-hand to resist us; yet Christ, in heaven, always stands at the right-hand of God to plead for us and silence Satan. And this was typified to us, by the highpriest entering into the Holy of Holies, to make intercession for tke people. ,* \ ,, ,, ,,..,.
 Christ presents, as his own person, so likewiserthe Persons of all his blessed ones throughout the world, of all believers and the elect ones, to God the Father. _j ..,.. ,; -,
And that, not only in the general or total sum, that they are so many thousands, for whom he obtained mercy, for whom he must obtain salvation; not only as the high-priests among the Jews, who only had the names of the Twelve Tribes engraven upon their breast-plates, but not the name of every particular person of those tribes: but Christ hath every particular,saiot's name engraven upon his breast, and makes mention of every particular saint in his intercession to his Father: He is the good shepherd, John x. 14. that knows every one of his sheep by name:,y. 3. Let the meanest Christian, who is so obscure that his name stands unknown upon earth, take comfort and rejoice in this,, that his name is well known in heaven: Christ hath often spoken, and God hath often heard it. Yea, though Christ hath so many to hear, so many to relieve and gratify, yet let not the meanest, the most inconsiderable saint on earth think that he forgets him: for he knows him by name; and takes as much care and solicitousness for his salvation, as if there were not a soul in the world to save besides him; making prayers for him, that his faith fail not, as Christ said to St. Peter: and what is said of him may be applied in truth to every believer: Luke xxii. 32.
 Christ's Intercession consists in presenting the Performances of his people unto God.
All the duties and services of all the saints on earth do only ascend to God, when as they are presented to him by Christ. For he is that Angel, mentioned in Rev. viii. 3. having a golden cense?; with much incense, which he offers up with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, Kc, It was a true speech of him, John ix. 31. God heareth not sinners: and, therefore, he never heareth us, because we are sinners; but he always heareth his Son, who speaks over for us the same prayers that we have before spoken: and so he hears us, speaking by him; and he is well-pleased with those duties, that otherwise would be an abomination to him.
 Christ presents to God as our services, so also his own Merits; and that as the full and equitable price of all the mercies for which he intercedes.
For Christ's intercession is not a bare begging of blessings, to he bestowed gratis upon us; but all his transactions in the court of heaven are in a way of satisfaction and purchase. Is sin to be pardoned? lo here is the blood of propitiation and atonement. Is mercy to be procured? lo here is the price of the purchase. All, that we receive through the intercession of Christ, is, at once, both the effect of free grace and bounty, and yet likewise the purchase of all-sufficiency and of a n>eritorious price. In respect of us, all is free: in respect of Christ's undertaking; without our pre-ordination, free, as to performance; without our premonition, free, in the effectual application of it to us. But, though all this is free grace, in respect of us; yet, in respect of Christ, it is the purchase of a full price, and cost him the laying aside of his own glory, the obscuring of himself in a vail of flesh, and the assuming of a body to prepare him for the work of our redemption: it cost him the losing of his life, the shedding of his most precious blood to accomplish that redemption: I Cor. vi. 20. I Cor. vii. 23. Ye art all bought with a price,, tic. We are not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold.....but with the precious blood of Christ: 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. Now, as Christ once offered up himself upon the cross, so he continually offers up himself in intercession; and presents that blood to his Father, that he formerly shed for sinners: and, therefore, it is remarkable, that where Christ is called our Advocate, he is called likewise our Propitiation: 1 John ii. 1, 2. If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is also the propitiation for our sins: noting to us, that the, validity of the intercession of Christ consists in the merits of his death and sufferings; which price, offered up as a propitiation unto God in his intercession, is for the sins of all those that believe;
 Christ also presents bis Will and Desire to his Father, in bis Intercession: which, by virtue of bis merits, is always heard and granted.
And this he doth, not in a supplicatory manner, but by authority; by the absolute dominion, which he hath over those mercies for which he intercedes: Father, I will that those whom thou hast given me, may be with me, He. All authority is given to the Son : John v. 22. Therefore it is said, Rom. viii. 34. that he is at the right-hand of God making intercession for us: which phrases import, that all power, both in heaven and earth, is consigned over to Christ; and, therefore, his intercession at the right-hand of God is an intercession with authority; such an intercession as cannot, as shall not be denied.
So, then, in these Five Particulars, we may see wherein the Intercession of Christ consists: in presenting his own Person, and appearing in the court of heaven for Us; in offering up our Duties and Services; in presenting his own Merits, and likewise his sovereign and uncontroulable Will to his Father: by all which we may rest abundantly secured, that all the good things, which we ask in his name and that he asks on our behalf, shall be certainly conferred upon us.
So much for the First thing propounded, what the Intercession ot Christ is, and wherein it doth consist. .:•.•,
ii. Let us consider, according to the method proposed, this Intercession of Christ In The Latitude And Extent Of IT. I shall do this under a Twofold respect:
In respect of the Time, wherein it is made.
In respect of the Persons, for whom it is prevalent.