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NEW EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE,
ON THE INTERCESSION OF CHRIST.
whom he sent into the world in the fulness of time; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost; who was born of a virgin: who was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross for the justification of his people; who rose again from the dead, and was exalted to the right hand of the Father; in that state of exaltation we believe he is indeed engaged in the gracious work of intercession with the Father of mercies,
[From a Circular Letter, drawn up by Mr. W. STEPHENS of Manchester, and addressed to the Baptist churches in the Lancashire and Yorkshire Association, 1812.] -BELIEVING the Scriptures to between himself and guilty man; the word of God, we believe it to be a fact, a scripture fact, that Jesus Christ, as the Saviour of men, is in the presence of God in Heaven, engaged in the great work of intercession on behalf of the children of men. The scripture testimony as to this fact is Heb. ix. 24. that Christ has entered into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; also ch. vii. 25. that he ever lives to make intercession for them that come unto God by him. This is the plain testimony of God upon the subject. Before our Lord left the world, he delivered this gracious promise to his disciples, John xiv. 16, 17. I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of Truth. As he cannot fail in any promise that he has made to his people, all who believe in him may be assured that he is in Heaven praying to the Father on their behalf. We cannot see Jesus thus engaged in the presence of God, for the place of his glory is not visible to mortal eyes; but, as it is, testified by God, who cannot lie, we believe it:-yes, that glorious person whom God chose, in his love to man, to the high office of Mediator be-sufficient for our hope and conso
It has not pleased God to inform us in his word of the particular manner in which Christ intercedes for his people; whether he prays to the Father for them in words, as he did when on earth, or whether in some manner that infinite wisdom may have determined upon: therefore we would not perplex you with the speculations of men on the subject; but exhort you to be satisfied with what God has in his wisdom revealed; persuaded that it is sufficient to answer all the purposes of his love.
It is necessary, brethren, that we should next call your attention to the eminent qualifications of Christ for the gracious work of intercession. The fact alone is not
nation of God, that without the shedding of blood there should be no remission; aud in vain would the Son of God appear in the pre
lation; we must believe that we have in Christ Jesus, a suitable intercessor, one in all respects qualified for the great work: for this is absolutely essential to the preva-sence of God for us, if he appeared lency of his intercession.
without blood; nor would it suffice if he appeared there with the blood of animals as the Jewish high-priest did, for the blood of bulls and of goats cannot take away sin-but he is eminently qualified for intercession on behalf of the guilty, because he appears in the presence of God for them, not with the blood of others, but with his own blood; that blood which he shed by the gracious appointment of God for the sins of his people. The priest himself is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world; ever appearing in heaven as the Lamb that was slain, and whose precious blood was shed for the redemption of the guilty.
Jesus Christ is qualified for making intercession with God on our behalf, by virtue of the office he fills, by the appointment of God, as the great High Priest over the house of God. It is in that office he officiates as making intercession. In that office he was typified by the High Priests under the law: like them he offered a sacrifice for sin; like them he appears in the holiest of all with the blood of that sacrifice: but they and their work were shadows of good things to come; Christ is the substance: they and what they did were types; Christ and his offering, and his appearing in the presence of God for us, are the antitypes. And the substance being And remember, dear brethren, come, the shadows are gone, and that the infinite wisdom of the Son the substance abides; for Christ is of God eminently qualifies him a Priest for ever after the order of also for the work of intercession. Melchisedec; possessing an un- He who pleads on behalf of others, changeable priesthood. As our should be perfectly acquainted great High Priest appears for us with their state and circumstances, in the presence of the righteous and also with the power of him God, the just lawgiver, on behalf with whom he pleads, to relieve of those who have violated his and save. Now, the Son of God law, and deserve the awful punish- not only knows perfectly well the ment which his justice threatened guilty and needy condition of sin against every offender, it is abso-ners, and all that is essential to their lutely essential to the success of his intercession, that it should be founded on a satisfaction made to divine justice, for the sins of those whose cause he has undertaken: for though the Son of God himself appears as the intercessor on behalf of the guilty, yet his intercession cannot be heard by the just and holy God, except he plead upon some ground that justice approves as well as mercy. The High Priest under the law was forbidden to appear in the holiest of all without blood which was offered for the sins of the people; for it was the righteous determi
salvation, but he possesses also the most perfect knowledge of the Father's purposes of grace; what he can do, what he is willing to do, what he has engaged to do, for the salvation of the objects of his love. In wisdom, as well as in every other divine perfection, he is the equal of the Father, and his intercession, therefore, will not come short of the Father's treasures of grace; and it need not exceed those treasures, for they who are interested in the mediation of Christ, need nothing but what the Father is willing to do for them according to his abundant
mercy in Christ Jesus. The Son knows that it is the good pleasure of his Father's will to bless his people, in him, with all spiritual blessings, and his intercession is bounded by nothing short of this. The eternal purposes of God's grace, in Christ Jesus, toward his people, and the intercession of Christ on their behalf, differ not in the least degree as to the number and nature of the blessings they comprehend. The infinite wisdom of the Son of God qualifies him for asking of God, on behalf of his people, all things that are included in that covenant of grace in which provision is made for a full and eternal salvation.
Our gracious Mediator is also admirably qualified for intercession, by the great love he has for all for whom he appears in the presence of God. The love that led him to undertake their cause, to be humbled, to suffer, and to die for their salvation, leads him also to plead their cause with the Father in his state of exaltation. A perfect knowledge only, on the part of an intercessor, would not suffice; for God would have perfectly known our state of need, though he had never loved us and determined on our salvation. An intercessor, in order so to engage in his work as to insure success, must abound in love towards us, must feel the most tender compassion for us, must enter into all the miseries of our condition, and in his great love, must ardently desire our full deliverance: He must be what the Son of God really is, according to the divine testimony, a merciful High Priest; one who loved his church and gave himself for it; one whose great love for his people is fully manifested in every part of his great work of mediation. And if his love for his people bore him through his work of humiliation, suffering, and dying, on earth, the same love will surely carry him through that part of his
mediation in Heaven, from which abasement, pain, and death, are altogether excluded: where all is exaltation, glory, and bliss. If his love did not fail him when he was made a curse for us, surely it will not fail him now, when, for the suffering of death he is crowned with glory and honour.
In considering the qualifications of Christ for the work of intercession, we should ever remember, brethren, that he appears in the presence of God for us, as the God-man, Christ Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Man, in one person; that before he thus appeared in Heaven for us, he dwelt upon earth, and was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin: consequently that he is touched with the feeling of our infirmities; that having himself suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted; that while he was assaulted by all the powers of earth and hell, he withstood all and remained holy, harmless, and undefiled, separate from sinners; and that having engaged in such a conflict, and obtained such a victory, he knows all the succours of grace that his people need in their state of warfare; he sympathizes with them in all their temptations and sufferings, for he was a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief.-This qualifies him in a high degree for the office of intercessor on behalf of those whose nature he bore in a state of humiliation, suffering, and strong temptation; whose present state upon earth is the same as his was in the days of his flesh. In this truth there is abundant consolation for all who in faith and patience are treading in the steps of Jesus.
The word of truth informs us, Heb. vii. 26, Such an High-Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. Christ was perfectly holy in his nature and life, altogether pure and free from the least taint of sin :