Obrazy na stronie
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a Prince, has power with God and men, and prevaileth 8.”

4. Nor did.Christ interpose unnecessarily between God and us. There was an absoluté necessity for his friendly assistance to mediate a peace between heaven and earth. The whole world was in a state of actual rebellion against the Lord most high. Each individual of our species had revolted, and taken up arms against his authority". At this eventful moment, Jesus stepped forward as the repairer of the breach; otherwise the world must have perished through its crimes. He gave himself a propitiation for sin, to bring about our restoration to the Divine favour. And he succeeded in averting the wrath of God, procuring the remission of our offences, and in “ opening the kingdom of heaven to all believers.”

5. The advantages resulting from the mediation of our Lord are confessedly great. It is a source of the richest mercy, spiritual and temporal, to“ the saints and faithful in Christ Jesus.” To his redeeming love, they owe their present salvation from sin, as,

well as their hope of future glory. "He pitied them in their low estate.” He delivered them from a most degrading captivity, in order that he might “ bring them into the glorious liberty of the Children of God." In their natural state, “they were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, they who were sometimes afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ'.” “Now, therefore, they are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God." These were the immediate effects of his Gen. xxxii. 28. ”Ps. xiv. 2--4. Eph. ii. 12--18. "ib.9.-22. death ; for the moment he had paid the penalty of his people's transgression, God was pacified towards them, and was ready to confer on them every blessing suited to their relation to him.

6. When, however, Christ “ascended on high to take possession of his kingdom, he led captivity captive, and received gifts for men ; yea, even for the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among themk.” He rose to oceupy his mediatorial throne in heaven, until, by the exercise of his regal power, all his enemies shall be put under his feet. And when the purposes, for which he assumed this authority shall be accomplished," he will deliver up the kingdom to God, that he may be all in all?.”

Now, therefore, Christ sits on the throne of glory, as the King of Zion, possessing all power in heaven "and earth, regulating the affairs of his Church, and

using every circumstance, even the most afflictive, to promote its present and future welfare

7. But he rose not merely for himself, but as the representative of his people. “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.” He carries on, then, all the great objects of his mediation in heaven, from whence he has access by his Spirit to the hearts of all who know and love himo: . Previous to his removal from his disciples, he consoled them under the loss they would thereby sustain, by assuring them, that he left them for a time, in order to promote their felicity in a better state : " In my Father's house are many mansions : if it were not so, I would have told you. ' I go to prepare a place for you : 'and if I go * Ps. Ixviii. 18. Cor.xv. 24--29. "Eph. 1. 20--23. Rev.iii. 7. m Heb. ix. 24. n Mat. xxviii, 20.:

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prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.” Thus he is our Forerunner ; and is gone into heaven to possess it, as well in behalf of his redeemed people, as for himself?. When, therefore, the days of their pilgrimage are ended, “they shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads ; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away".' Consolatory truth! delightful expectation! How often should believers. comfort their souls with the thought, that their Redeemer is mighty, and will thoroughly plead their cause"; and that, after the lapse of a few years, they shall enter into the same rest as their glorified Lord !

In the mean time, whilst they dwell in this vale of tears, let them bear in remembrance, that, as the Head of the Church, their risen Lord pays especial regard to every member of his mystical body. "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arms and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young". Thus we learn the tender care which Christ manifests towards the sheep whom he hath bought with his blood. He keeps them night and day, lest any should hurt them. He acquaints himself with their varied wants, and promptly supplies them out of the inexhaustible fulness of grace which is deposited with him for the use of his people”. Do they require assistance to enable them to withstand temptation, and to persevere in well-doing unto the end ? their Intercessorknows all their difficulties, and affords them continued help. By his Spirit guiding them, » John xiv. 1-4. p Heb. vi. 19, 20.

9 Isa. xxxv, 10. Jer. 11,34.

Isa, xl. 10-12. sø John i. 16.

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they are safely conducted, and strengthened to run with patience the race which'is set before them; and thus they finally obtain the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." He sees the dangers to which they are exposed on his account; he knows that they have to combat the world, the flesh, and the devil : but he does not leave his beloved disciples to fight such potent enemies alone. He considers that they have no might to resist their adversaries, but that which they derive from him, “the great Captain of their Salvation;" and, therefore, he engages to share the perils of the conflict, and to lead them to victory and to glory: and hence the weakest as well as the strongest believers in Christ are emboldened, by his all-powerful aid, to march against the united hosts who assail them. "Out of weakness they are made strong, to put to flight the armies of Sátan.” Happy are they who confide in the power of the Saviour: under his protection they will be safe from the violence of every assault".

Further : Is the Church Militant exposed to numberless trials and afflictions ? then let its sorrowing members reflect upon the encouraging promises of Christ:" Because he hath 'set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him ; I will be with him in trouble ; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation ? Nor let thein doubt but that he will either succour them in the most trying circumstances in which they can be placed, or grant them a speedy deliverance. To every one of his people who are oppressed with difficulties, from which no human

Heb. i. 10. u Isa. liv. 17, ou Psalm xci. 14-16.

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power can extricate them, he speaks in this consolatory strain : "Fear not, for I have redeèined thee; I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned ; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee?

8. An important branch of Christ's mediatory office is, to intercede with God in behalf of his people; that they may receive those blessings which are adapted to their different circumstances. For them be pleads the merit of his cross, and exhibits the marks of his sufferings. He shews his wounded hands and feet; and his side opened by the unfeeling spear. These are arguments for the grant of spiritual mercies, which Heaven cannot resist. Accordingly, God, for Christ's sake, bestows on Christians continued supplies of grace, for completing the work of righteousness which his Spirit has begun in them ". Moreover, he presents their prayers, which, being perfumed with the incense of his merits, are accepted through him, and are returned richly freighted with heavenly blessings.

9. The mediation of Christ is a powerful means of procuring for us those temporal mercies which we receive. Through this channel all those good things, which are conducive to our present welfare, flow. Believers should highly esteem their earthly enjoyments, on this account; and refer the measure of them to God, who has promised that “ bread shall be given them, and that their water shall be sure". But, as the value of the soul so inuch ex

* Isa. xliii. 1-3. Eph. i. 11-15. 2 Pet. i. 1-5. ; Isa. xxxiii. 16.

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