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died. And ho intercedes, -as a peace-maker, who actually makes peace betwixt God and every believing sinner; hence, Heb. xii. 24, he is “ Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant ;' and his blood is “the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better thiugs than that of Abel.” By his means, he who was before an enemy is reconciled to God, brought within the bond of the covenant of peace, and gets a right to all the benefits of it. As by his gracious Spirit he extinguishes the real enmity of the sinner against God, so by his intercession he removes the legal enmity in God against the sinner.—He intercedes as the Secretary, or favourite courtier of heaven, bringing in the sinner into the comfortable gracious presence of God, procuring him access to God, and communion with him in duties: Eph. iii. 12, “ Iu whom we have boldness and access, with confidence, by the faith of him.” Thus, through the vail of his flesh, the believing singer draws nigh to God, and God draws nigh to him with his quickening, sanctifying, and comforting influences. The sinner looks on God with the confidence a child does on a father.—He intercedes as a resident at the court of heaven : Heb. ix. 24, “ He is entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” And by this means he maintains that peace which he has made betwixt God and believers : Rom. v. 1, “ Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ :" he keeps the believer's trade with heaven open and free for them : Rom. v. 2, " By whom also we have access by faith, into this grace, wherein we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” He removes any emergent differences, Isa. liii. 12; and so ensures, by the covenant of peace, that there can never be a total rupture betwixt heaven and them : Heb. vii. 25, “Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”--He intercedes as an Advocate at the bar of God: 1 John ii. 1, “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." He pleads their cause before God, upon the ground of his own sufferings, against all their accusers and whatever is charged upon them, so that they are freed from condemnation, their right and title to heaven is still vindicated, notwithstanding their many failures; and wrath can go no farther against them than temporary strokes.—He intercedes as a Solicitor for his people before the Lord. He presents their petitions, and solicits for the granting of them. With much incence he offers the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne, Rev. viii. 3. They have many wants, both as to temporal and spiritual things. They must go to God for them, and put up their petitions. But he must present them, else they cannot be heard.
5. He is the Administrator of the covenant, God's deputy.governor, to dispose of the benefits of the covenant, and to manage the whole matter betwixt the Lord and sinners : Matth. xxviii. 18, “ All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” As Joseph was set over the land of Egypt, so he is set over his Father's house, all commerce betwist the Lord and sinners being through his mediation. As they can offer nothing to God acceptably, but through him : so they can receive no benefit from heaven but through his hand : John v. 22, " For the Father judgeth no man, but committed all judgment unto the Son." He has to bring the elect to consent to the covenant; to rule and govern them in it; to protect, provide, and furnish them with all necessaries through the wilderness : and, finally, to give them the crown and kingdom at last; this is the office and work to which Christ was anointed ; neither men nor angels could be fit for such a trust. Could any manage it without a fulness of the Spirit lodged in him ? therefore, as in John v. 22, (quoted above), and in ver. 23, “ All men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father: he that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father that sent him." All men should honour the Son, for none but one who had the fulness of the divine perfections could be capable of such a trust. Who else was fit to be day’s-map between God and sinners? Who else could be the messenger of the covenant, for who hath known the mind of the Lord, but his only-begotten and well-beloved Son, who from eternity lay in his bosom?
I conclude with a very short improvement.
1. Learn hence, that the work of the salvation of sinners, restoring them to the favour of God, and to make them happy, is a great work, and a work which was not easily accomplished. It was a work above the power of men or angels, a work not to be performed but by him who bas all power in heaven and earth. Think on this ye that judge it such an easy thing to obtain mercy; and assure thyself it is a work which can never be done but by Christ's own hand.
2. Highly esteem and honour Christ, particularly by believing in him, who is thus qualified for this great work. O what need of the fulness of the Spirit in him to support him under the load of the elect's debt,-in order to the discharging of it, -and to touch and turn the hearts of sinners unto God!
Lastly, See your absolute need of Christ. You must have an interest in him, else you cannot be saved. His mediation only can save you from the wrath of God, and from the lowest hell. Amen.
JESUS A PREACHER OF GOOD TIDINGS TO THE MEEK.
Isiau lxi. 1,
In these and the following words, we have represented the great, the important work for which Jesus was appointed, and to which he was specially called by his heavenly Father,—work for which he was completely qualified, by the Spirit of the Lord God being upon him. We propose to consider the several parts of this work, in that order in which they are set before us; and accordingly begin with that part, his having " to preach good tidings to the meek.”In which words we have,
1. The work itself in which the Son of God was employed, and to which he was called : “ To preach good tidings.” He was a minister by office; Rom. xv. 8, “Now I say, that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision, for the truth of God, to confirm the promises of God made to the fathers;" the great minister of the gospel. He was the best among men; he brought good tidings, the best of tidings; by these tidings is meant the gospel, Luke iv. 18. This is the good news, the tidings of peace and salvation, which Jesus brought from heaven to earth.-We have,
2. The special object of this part of the work," the meek.” The word signifies, such as are meek, humble, and submissive, being made so by poverty and affliction. In the parallel place, it reads poor, and the one explains the other. If it is inquired, what poor ones are meant ? I think it is plain, it is not those who are mean in the world, but poor in spirit, for these poor ones are meek. These meek ones are classed with the broken-hearted, and both distinguished from the captives and prisoners, by the original accentuation. So that by the meek here is meant, the poor in spirit, those who, as being convinced by the law, have seen themselves to be poor, that they have nothing in which they could stand before God as righteous, but look on themselves as wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, Rev. iii. 17. And it is remarkable, that our Saviour's sermon on the mount begins with good tidings to such persons : Matth. v. 3, “ Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
But here there occurs a question: Was Christ to preach the good tidings of the gospel to none but these? To this I answer, The gospel was in itself good tidings unto all : Luke ii. 10, “ And the angel
said unto them, Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Our Lord preached to all who heard him promiscuously these good tidings, but in effect they
re not good to any but to the poor in spirit among them. None but these could relish the goodness of them; to others they were tasteless, but to the poor in spirit, they sunk like a refreshing oil into their bones.-From these words I take the following
DOCTRINE, That as the tidings of the gospel will indeed be good and welcome tidings to those who are meek, and poor in spirit, so Jesus is, by his heavenly Father, employed on the great work of preaching the good tidings of the gospel to sinners, especially to such who are meek, and spiritually poor in their own eyes.-In handling this doctrine we propose,
I. To consider this meekness and poverty, and shew who are these meek poor ones.
II. To explain the good tidings of the gospel, and, as we go along, shew that they are good and welcome tidings to such persons.
III. Shew how this great work of preaching is, and hath been performed by Christ.
IV. Give the reasons of the doctrine.
V. Make some practical improvement of the whole. We are then,
1. To consider this meekness and poverty, and shew who are these meek poor ones.--As to this, we observe, that this meekness comprehends in it,
1. A pressing scene of utter emptiness in one's self: Rom. viii. 18, “For I know that in nie (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing." A poor man going abroad, sees this and the other thing, in the houses of the rich ; but when he comes home, he sees none of them there. Thus, the meek poor soul looks through himself, and there, in himself, he sees nothing but emptiness of all goodness, no holiness, wisdom, nor strength. The heart, which should be the garden of the Lord, appears as a bare muir, a wild, a waste. He is ready to cry out, o barren, dry, sapless heart and nature of mine ! Agur looks for knowledge, and he says, Prov. xxx. 2, 3, “Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of
I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.” The prodigal looks to his provisions, and says, “ How many hired servants of my father have bread enough, and to spare, and I perish with hunger ?" Paul reckons up his whole self, and the sum total is nought: 2 Cor. xii. 11, “For in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing."-This meekness comprehends,
2. A pressing sense of sinfulness : Rom. vii. 14, “ We know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.” He looks to the whole of himself, and he sees nothing on him but rags; a sinful nature, a corrupt heart, unclean lusts, and an anholy life. He must rank his righteousness with his unrighteousness, his duties with his sins, for he is defiled with them all: Isa. lxiv. 6, “ But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” These meek poor ones see themselves the very picture of rank poverty, having only filthy rags, death painted on their face by want, and overgrown by the vermin of filthy lusts. They see themselves not only nothing, but worse than nothing, wbile they look over these frightful accounts of the debt of sin, which stand against them, and for which they have nothing to pay. -This meekness comprehends,
3. A pressing sense of misery by sin. Like the prodigal, they see themselves ready to perish with hunger. Debt is a heavy burden to an honest heart, and filthiness to one that desires to be clean : Rom. vii. 24, “ O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?" They look about them, and see themselves in a cloud of miseries, arising from their sins. Their poverty presseth them down. They are obliged to do many things which otherwise they would not, and cannot attain to other things which they desire to arrive at: Rom. vii. 19, “ For the good that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do.” It separates them from that communion with God which they would otherwise enjoy, makes them sit within, mourning without the sun, when otherwise they might walk abroad in the light of the Lord's countenance. This presseth their souls to the dust.-It comprehends,
4. A sense of utter inability to help one's self: 2 Cor. iii. 5, “ Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves.” They see themselves in the mire, but unable to help themselves out; therefore these poor men cry unto the Lord : Psalm xxxiv. 6. They see an emptiness and weakness in all their external privileges, their gifts, duties, yea, their graces, to save and help them. They count all things but loss for Christ, and wish to be found in Christ, not having on their own righteousness, which is of the law. They find the sting in their conscience, but cannot draw it out; guilt is a hurden, but they cannot throw it off; lusts are strong and uneasy,
bat they are not able to master them; and this presses them sore.This meekness comprehends,
5. A sense of the absolute need of a Saviour, and of help from heaven: 2 Cor. iii. 5, " But our sufficiency is of God." The pride of