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How many the countenances to him entirely unknown! How many the names of which he had never heard ! How multifarious the personal and domestic circumstances to which he was a total stranger! It must be evident, therefore, that as there was no merit in his personal character, to avail any thing for the people ; so neither could there be efficacy in his official work. He could not carry the names, he did not know the persons; much less could he comprehend the diversified circumstances and wants of the people, in their individual capacity, when he went for them before God. His representation was figurative, not actual and efficacious. It availed for the people, only as they rose from the type to the promised antitype, and derived and enjoyed the anticipated virtue of his more perfect work.

If Aaron could but figuratively represent the people, who could assemble in one place, who spoke one language, whom in their congregated mass his eye could survey; how are the difficulties of actual representation multiplied, when the persons to be represented are scattered over the face of the earth; are infinitely diversified in their language, their national distinctions, their social, domestic, and personal circumstances! It is evident, that no human or angelic powers can be competent to the work. The human mind is bewildered at the very threshold of the subject, and labours in vain to stretch its thoughts over the extent of the scene which must be surveyed; and to rise to

a conception of what his powers must be, by whom the work can be efficiently performed. It comes however to the conclusion that he must be omniscient and divine, who can intelligently undertake it ; and when satisfied that this is the case with the Priest of the Christian church, we rest assured that his work, though to us unsearchable, must be perfectly discharged. We have the testimony of the Scripture to the fact, that he is omniscient and divine :'" In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."*

“ His eyes are as a flame of fire ;"4 and his own declaration is, “ All the churches shall know that I am he which searchest the reins and hearts.” I “ Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men,”was the language in which his assembled Apostles, reverently adoring the omniscience of his character, addressed their prayer to him. To omniscience there can be no confusion, no difficulty, no labour in the work; nor could be, even though there were as many inillions to be represented at one time, as there are individuals. In his divine perfection, the priest who intercedes for us, surveys the whole of those who come to God by him ; reads their hearts, as well as listens to the prayers of their lips; comprehends the character and the minutest circumstances of each individual of the immense but widely scattered multitude, and embodies the aggregate of the whole in one act of * John i. 1.

+ Rev. i. 14. | Rev. ii. 23.

§ Acts i. 24.

representation, as easily and perfectly as though it was but the case of one individual only, who required and enjoyed his exclusive attention and regard.

But then omniscience belongs only to him; and this statement, which is so obvious as to require no proof, at once supersedes the pretensions that are put forth, on behalf of the celestial patrons and intercessors, on which the members of the Roman-catholic church are accustomed to call. Which of these, supposing them all to be in heaven, (a case more than doubtful in reference to many who are in the calendar of saints,) have power to look down upon the earth, or liberty to visit it whenever they please ;-have eyes, with which they can look into the human heart ;—or ears, into which they can receive the sounds of the human voice; —or faculties, by which, without distraction, they can attend to the respective cases of hundreds or thousands, who, from different parts of the earth and the sea, may be calling upon them for succour, at the same period of time? Until these questions can be satisfactorily answered, and their commission to intercede for us, can be shown in some better authenticated, and more authoritative document than the pages of the Roman calendar, we must be content with one Mediator, the man Christ Jesus ; and rejoice in the assurance, that to his omniscient eye our whole case lies open, and in his exclusive appointment by the Father, all the wants which it can include have been contemplated, and for them full provision made.

III. The Priest who intercedes, kindly sympathises in the infirmities of all those who come to God by him,

If the Jewish high priest could not comprehend the wants and circumstances of the people individually whom he represented, much less could he become acquainted with the various emotions of their hearts, and sympathise in all the diversity of their feelings. He was indeed liable to mistake, in the individual cases which came occasionally before him, as well as to the indifference towards others, which is too common to our degenerate and selfish nature. Thus Eli mistook the case of Hannah, the mother of Samuel, and attributed to excess of wine the movement of her lips, which was produced by the sorrows of her heart.Comparatively few are the individuals who know how to speak a word in season to them that are weary, and soothe, by the exercise of sympathy, the heart which is suffering and oppressed. How much were the sorrows of Job aggravated, by the well intended, but unskilful addresses of the three friends, who came to mourn with him, and to comfort him. Susceptibility of feeling, experience of sorrow, acquaintance with our nature, in all the variety of its constitutional tendencies,-gentleness, patience, wisdom to select the time, and modify the manner, of pouring the balm into the wound, and binding up the broken heart,-are all necessary to him, whose work it is to comfort them that mourn.

Now these qualifications were displayed in their most perfect combination, by him who is the High Priest of the Christian church, during the period of his manifestation in the flesh. It was predicted of him, that he should not “break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax;" that he should " bind up the broken-hearted;" that he should “proclaim liberty to the captives;” that he should "give to them that mourn, beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." He opened his commission at Nazareth, by quoting the prediction, and extorting from unwilling witnesses the testimony, that it was fulfilled by the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. He commenced his sermon to the multitude upon the mount, with words more sweet and soothing to the troubled heart, than were the tones of David's harp, which could smooth the rugged brow of Saul, and calm the tumultuous passions of his breast. His gracious concern for

under the burdens which we are called to bear, and his commendation of himself to our confi. dence, were expressed in the invitation which he gave:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you; and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

In the sympathetic features of his character, he was fairer than the children of men, and therefore full of grace were his lips. His humanity was formed, not

us,

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