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end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness; by bearing the punishment due to our sins, in his own body upon ibe
tree, he bath taken away the curse which was due to us for our sins; and having justified us freely by his blood, he now pleads his all-sufficient merits before the throne of God, in order that the grand design of his sufferings and death may be fully accomplished in us.
And we may be well assured, his design is, that we may be saved to the uttermosi, saved at ail times, and on all occasions, saved through life, and in death, and to all eternity. That is to say, that we may be sared throughout the whole course of our life, proving the sufficiency of his grace to enable us rightly to perform every religions and relative duty, to observe every holy precept of his blessed word, and so to spiritualize the whole frame of our souls, that his commands may be no longer grievous to us; to save us from our enemies, and from the band of all that hate us: and, so to strengthen us, by the might of his Holy Spirit, in our inward man, that we may bear up under every affliction, every cross, or distressing trial, which
befal us, and that our minds may be sa fortified by the power of his grace, that satan may never preyail against us, or cast us down from our stedfastness; but that we should stand as an iron pillar, or as a wall of brass, against the face of our enemies; and to encourage and comfort us, under all our trials, the Apostle reminds us, that we have not an Highpriest, who cannot be touched with a feeling of our infirmities, onc who does not know how to'sympathize with us, but one who was in all points tempted, yea tried and afflicted as we now are, yet without sin.
What a never-failing source of divine consolation is here! Jesus our Redeemer, who hath bought us with his blood, is passed into the beayens, where he is even now pleading for us before the Father's throne; and of him it is said by the prophet, “ In all their afflictions he was afflicted, and by the angel of bis presence, be saved them."
He was once a man of sorrows, and was fully acquainted with human griefs, he knoweth all our infirmities, and remembereth that we are but dust, and could once say with truth, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man bath not where to lay his head." In consideration of the incorceivable sorrows and afflictions, which for our sakes be endured, well might that holy man of God, the late Dr. Watts' teach ys to sing
He in the days of feeble flesh,
« Pour'd out his cries and tea s; « And in his mcafure feels afresh,
“What every member bears." And hence we ought to be encouraged, to believe and expect, that as he intercedes for us with his Father Father, with his God and our God; we shall be made more than conquerors over all the powers of darkness.
But the grand design of his intercession is, that we may be saved to the uttermost; that the image of God may be again impressed upon the soul ; or as the Apostle expresses it, “ we may be fanctified throughout body, soul, and fpirit.” In this we see the peculiar glory and excellency of the Gospel Dispensation above that of the law: For we are told, “the Law made nothing perfect; but the bringing in of a better hope, by the glorious Gospel, did;" that is, did make perfect. O yes, faith the Apostle, “By one offering, he hath perfected for ever them who are sanctified.” Again, he informs us, "the way into the holiest of all,” into the highest and holiest state of grace, “was not made manifest while the first tabernacle was standing.
But now that life and immortality are fully brought to light, we may have boldness to enter into the holiest of all, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, his fesh ; let us therefore draw near with a true, or sincere heart, in full assurance of faith," having clear views of the precious promises of God, and of his faithfulness in accomplishing them, “having our hearts sprinkled from an evil, or guilty conscience, by the blood of Jetus, and our bodies washed with pure water.". Here the Apostle opens to us the grand design of God, and clearly unfolds the mystery of man's redemption, that as the veil of the temple was rent in twain, from the top to the bottom, when our blessed Lord expired upon the cross, so that the holy place, and all those facred things which it contained, especially the mercy seat of God, were exposed to open view: So likewise at the same time, and what is of infinitely greater importance to us, and what this was only a type of, the way into the higheft, holiest, happiest state of grace, and the way into heaven itself was made manifest to all who fly for refuge to lay hold upon this blessed hope which the Lord hath set before them. And more especially, he who is already justified freely, is called upon to come up higher, and to press into this glorious liberty of the fons of God, that he may þe cleansed from all What may
filthiness of the fileth and spirit, and may perfect holiness in the fear of God. And surely we cannot doubt, but he who so loved us as to lay down his own life, in order to redeem us from all iniquity, and who ever liveth to make intercession for us, must be ever ready to execute his own designs, to fulfil the promises he hath made, to those who have living faith in his Name.
Herethen, in the words of the text, the Christian is considered as being made acquainted with the nature of the work of redemption, with the design of the death and intercession of Christ, and having a lively sense of his want of that grace, which wholly fanctifies the soul, he earnestly prays, “Set me as a seal upon thine heart: Let me experience all the benefit of thy intercession: Let me be supported under every trial, comforted under every affliction, delivered out of every temptation, and wholly fanctified by the power and grace of thy Holy Spirit.” O happy, highly-favoured souls, who are thus privileged, who thus draw near to God, being interested in the intercession of his dearly-beloved Son. not such persons expect to receive at the bountiful hand of God, who is not only rich in mercy to all who call upon him; but who hath pleasure in the prosperity of them that sear him, and whose only begotten Son is now pleading in their behalf before his throne?
The believer is also represented as praying, “Set me as a feal upon thine arm;" as the metaphor is of a very different kind, something different is intended. It is worthy our observation, that as the Jewish High-priest bore the names of the twelve tribes of Israel upon his breast, as before observed, so likewise he bore them
his shoulders, for there were two precious stones placed in the shoulders of the ephod, which, as well as the breast-plate, he wore on those folemn occasions, and in these stones the names of the twelve tribes were also engraven. By the arm of the Lord, when that expression is ufed in Holy Scripture, we are to uiderstand his almighty power: And when it is said, that the Lord brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt with ań high hand, and with an out-stretched arm, we are to understand his exerting that power in the extraordinary deliverance of his people. Perhaps the words of the prophet Isaiah may cast some degree of fight upon the words of the text, "Sion said, God hath forsaken me, and my God hath fore! gotten me.'
It is answered, “Can a womau forget her fucking child, that she should not have compassion upon the fon of her womb - They may forget, yet will I never forget
thee ; for I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands, and thy walls are continually before me." Tiere the expression is strongly figurative. We well know, that God hath not an hand of flesh and bones, as we have : But he gives us to understand that he hath his children as much in remembrance, and infinitely more, than we should have the dearest friend, whose name we had actually engraven, or written upon the pain of our hand. So here the Christian is considered as praying, “Set me as a seal upon thine arm;"! Let ine be as effectually remembered by thee, as if I was set as a seal upon thine arm, so that thy omnipotence may be exerted in my behalf. This sense of the words
with that gracious declaration, “ The eternal. God is thy refuge, and underneath thee are the everlasting arms; He shall thrust out the enemy, before thee, and shall say, Destroy." Here then the believer may be considered as praying for dia vine protection, and divine support.
For divine protection : And who is sufficiently sensible of the power, the malice, and subtilty of our spiritual enemies ; Surely, if the Lord was not on our side; and did he not make bare his arm on our account, we could not maintain our ground against them for one moment. But being sensible of our own weakness, of the danger that awaits us, and that we can only be kept by the power of God, we pray with the church in the text, " Set me as a seal upon thine arm.” “ The Name of the Lord is a strong tower, and the righteous run into it, and are safe :" But it is certain that we can be safe no where else but there. Wbile we abide under the shadow of the Almighty, while we rest under the guardian care of our God, we shall be protected; and while we have an entire confidence in him, we may say, with the Apostle, “ And who is he that shall harm you, if ye are followers of that which is good ?"
As we have continual need of divine protection, so we have equal need of divine support. “Many are the troubles of the righteous," saith the sweet singer of Israel: The truth of this every experienced Christian well knows. “Man is born to trouble, as the sparks Ry upward;" and there is no rank or degree of men whatsoever, if they live any considerable time in this world, but they must, whether they will or no, witness the truth of these words.. T'he trials of the Christian are not only such as are common to all men, but many of them are peculiar to himself. Satan will variously tempt and try the most faithful followers of God: And for the exercise of their faith and patience, for the trial of their graces, and for the manifestation of his own wisdom, porer, and goodness, the Lord permits them to be variously exer. cised. The Christian, deeply sensible of this, prays, "Set me as a seal upon thine arm : Let me be supported under every distressing trial; as my day is, so let my strength be: Let me be favoured with thy gracious presence, in all my temptations, in all the deep waters of affliction, and on all occasions : Let thine everlasting arm be beneath thy helpless creature, that I may be brought safely through the fire and water, into the wealthy place." Thus let the believer pray to him who is mighty to save, and strong to deliver, and he will surely find all the support he stands in need of. This brings me to consider,
Secondly, The unconquerable nature of divine love, considered as communicated to the believer : “ Love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave ; the coals thereof are coals of fire. which hath a most vehement flame : Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it !”
Some apply these words to our blessed Redeemer, and consider them as descriptive of his love to mankind. If considered in this light, they are certainly true, but they do not fully express the truth : For his love towards us was not only strong as death, but stronger than death. His love, we know, brought him down from heaven, and led him to endure the contradiction of sinners against himself, being despised and rejected of men. But his love towards us led him to encounter death, in its most terrible form : for he freely took our curse upon himself; and added to all the pain, shame, and bitter anguish, which must attend any one dying under such circumstances, and in such a manner as our Lord did ; he had to endure the displeasure of God towards rebellious man, considered as our Representative, or considered as dying in our stead. Never did that king of terrors assume so dreadful, so formidable an appearance, as when the Lord of Life and Glory had to encounter bim. Though he foresaw, and was perfectly acquainted with all this, yet such was the love of pity wherewith he loved us, that he was a volunteer in this bard and painful service. The language of his very soul was, even when his sufferings were at the height, “ Father, not my will, but thine be done." So that his love to lost mankind was stronger than death.
But these words appear to me to be descriptive of the power of divine love, considered as communicated to the