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will which moves heaven and earth, which gives laws to angels, and rules the courses of the world. It is a wonderful gift of God to man, of which we that know so little must needs speak little. (To be at the centre of that motion, where is everlasting rest; to be sheltered in the peace of God; even now to dwell in heaven, where all hearts are stayed, and all hopes fulfilled. "Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee."
1 Isaiah xxvi. 3.
THE INTERCESSION OF CHRIST THE STRENGTH OF OUR PRAYERS.
HEBREWS Vii. 24, 25.
This Man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them."
THE Church on earth, in its mysterious probation, is waiting without the veil, until the day of Christ's coming, while He, in the presence of God, is carrying on the work He began on earth. He is gone up on high to accomplish His mediatorial office in our behalf. When He ascended into heaven, He began His intercession with the Father. "This Man," says St. Paul, that is, the Man Jesus Christ, who in our very manhood ascended up above all thrones, dominions, and powers; above cherubim and seraphim; above the nine orders of angels; above all created spirits, to the throne of the Eter
nal, and to the right hand of God;-" this Man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood."
He is the one true Priest, of whom all priests that came before Him were but shadows, faint and fleeting, dying and succeeding the son to the father from generation to generation: but He being eternal, hath a true and eternal priesthood. He is not Priest only but Sacrifice, the one true oblation offered by Himself unto the Father,—a sacrifice, like Himself, almighty and eternal.
The fulfilment of His office as High Priest required that He should appear for us in the presence of God. In the Law this was foreshadowed by typical acts once every year. On the great day of atonement, the High Priest took the blood of the sacrifice, and entered in, alone, within the veil to sprinkle it before the mercy-seat, and to intercede for the sins of the people. Our Lord, by His death and ascension, fulfilled these types; for after He had shed His own blood for us, He went within the veil, that is, into heaven itself. He is gone up to stand before the true mercy-seat, in the true temple of God. "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us."
1 Heb. ix. 24.
And as He passed through the veil of the heavens into the holy place, so He has opened for us a way; "a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh." By which St. Paul means, that His incarnation is an avenue or path for us to God; that through His flesh we have a way and a plea by which to draw nigh to His Father and our Father, to His God and our God. There is in the Divine presence a Man to whom we are united, through whom we may approach the throne of God. This is what our Lord meant when He said, “I am the Way;" that is, by His incarnation, by our union with Him, and by the gift of His merits to us.
The types of the law further shew us that He is gone into heaven to intercede in our behalf, that is, to stand between God and man as an Advocate and a Mediator. His office of Intercessor is so full of divine mysteries of grace, that to understand it as we ought, we must, under the guidance of His truth and Spirit, dwell for a while upon the depth of its meaning.
He intercedes for us chiefly in two ways.
1. First, by the exhibition of Himself, in His Divine manhood, pierced for us, raised, and glorified. His five blessed and holy wounds are each
one a mighty intercession in our behalf. The glorious tokens of His Cross and Passion, exhibited before the throne of God, plead for us perpetually. The one great atonement, the one great sacrifice, offered with shedding of blood once upon the Cross, and now offered perpetually, is a continuing sacrifice. His very pre
sence in heaven is in itself an intercession for us. His sacrifice on the Cross, though perfected by suffering of death only once in time, is in its power eternal. Therefore it stands a divine fact, ever present and prevailing, the foundation and life of the redeemed world—before the throne of God.
2. But further, we are told in holy Scripture that He intercedes, that is, that He prays for us. This is a vast mystery, of inscrutable depth. As God, He hears our prayers; as our Intercessor, He prays in our behalf.
How are these things to be reconciled? And how are we to understand that He who is God Himself can pray? Is not prayer a mark of inferiority, and a sign of humiliation? How can He who is co-equal with the Father and with the Holy Ghost be any way inferior? or how can He bear mark of humiliation in His glory? To To pray, is the token of need and of infirmity; at least, of a desire which the intercessor cannot grant himself.