Page images

again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.(a). So that we see even his death and resurrection avail nothing without his intercession. This important article was prefigured under the Jewish dispensation by the High-priest entering into the Sanctum Sanctorum, once a year with incense, and the blood of a victim which had been offered for the sins of the people. (b) • THE apostle beautifully comments upon that important circumstance, and observes, Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are figures of the tree"; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. (c)

How clear a view had the prophet of this pleasing, this soul animating truth? · After giving us a most affecting description of the amazing sufferings of our blessed Lord, he closes the tragic scene, thus, He was numbered with the transgressors, and bore the sin of many, and made intercession for transgressors. (d) A sweet truth indeed! a truth in which our consolation abounds; so that we may say, Seeing we have a great High-priest that is passed into the heaven, Jesus the Son of God; let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we - Inay obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. . .

Rom. viii. 34, 35, (b) Exod. xxx. 10.: s . (c) Heb. vii. 24. (d) Isa. liii. 12.

II. `I COME to consider the gifts which it is said he received, and which the apostle says, He gave to men. As man, he received, for that very purpose, that he might give them to men. All are included in one, namely, the gift of the Holy Spirit. .

1. THE spirit enlightens the mind, by 'which we see our deplorable and lost condition, by nature and practice. By this divine light we discover our darkness, and see that we have erred and strayed from the path of righteousness like lost sheep, being by nature children of wiath, even as others. By this light we see into the emptiness of the world, that it can no more satisfy us, than air can satisfy our hunger, or dust quench our thirst.

THE spirit of man is an active principle, and must seek its felicity, either in the substance or the shadow, either in the gold or the glitter; but by this heavenly illuminator we see that all is vanity and vexation of spirit. The very bible is a sealed book, till this day spring from on high opens our eyes, and then we read to profit.

THE same blessed spirit discovers the devices of satan, so that we may escape the snare of the fowler and not be taken captive at his will.

2. The same heavenly agent works conviction in us, by which we feel as well as see. This is called, awaking out of sleep. Till this is the case we are little more than

speculators in religion, and that is worse than speculating in trade; for although the latter generally terminates in bankruptcy; yet sometimes the insolvent debtor recovers, and honestly clears his way; but when the former fails, he falls into endless ruin. But now, being feelingly convinced, he is in good earnest, he strives to enter the strait gate; he works while it is called to-day, well knowing the night will come when no man can work.

BEHOLD now he prayeth; before he only said his prayers, and so was satisfied, but now he wrestles with the God of Jacob, and will not go without a blessing. He breaks off his pleasing sins, and profitable sins also; or even that which gave him a cast of credit in the eyes of carnal men.. .

In times past, if he heard the gospel, he heard as a critic, or else in a dull, unmeaning, formal manner; but now, he hears for eternity, well knowing that faith comes by hearing, and labours to hear so as to live. In short, his soul is athirst for God, for the living God, and nothing can satisfy him short of the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sin.

3. By the same spirit we are enabled to believe to the saving of the soul. Great and excellent things are attributed to faith. By faith we are justified, and have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. By faith we obtain promises, and indeed

we cannot receive them without faith. By the shield of faith we quench all the fiery darts of the enemy; we wax valiant in fight, and turn to Hight the armies of the aliens. Believing in the Lord is understood by "those strong expressions, eating the flesh of Christ, and drinking his blood, without which we have no life within us.

THE believer is passed from death unto life, the unbeliever shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. He that believeth sets to his seal that God is true, he that believeth not, makes God a liar. From this description of the matter, it is easy to see that the faith of the gospel which, justifies the ungodly, works by love and purifies the heart; is not a set of tenets, or a repetition of creeds; no, it is a divine principle, it is the power of God unto salvation.

But no man can truly believe, any more than he can call Jesus Lord, but by the Holy Ghost; and therefore stands upon the foundation laid in Zion, namely, the life and death, the resurrection and ascension of the ever adorable Redeemer. ;

4. He gave those gifts unto his servants by which they might edify others. Hence he gave some apostles, some prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, all of which were necessary to build up the church of the living God. Not that the Almighty needs any of these, because he can carry on his own work without them. But

he is pleased to employ men, as well as angels, in his work ; and an high honour it is to be employed in his meanest services, if any part of his service can be deemed mean. But whomsoever he calls he fits for the work; as different workmen are employed in building a palace, and every man is proper for his office; so it is in the building the church of Christ, the palace of the great king of glory. All are not apostles, all are not prophets, nor is there any need they should ; there will be plenty of work for inferior officers. It is true, in the first planting of the gospel, God gave these extraordinary gifts, and there appeared a necessity for them; as the servants of God had to go among distant nations, it was necessary that they should be capable of speaking to them in their own native language; and for the confirmation of their faith, God gave them other miraculous gifts, particularly that of healing the sick, and curing various complaints. It is easy to see such works of mercy would conciliate the minds of the people to their doctrine. Besides, as it seemed to be the time when the powers of darkness triumphed over mankind in the most absolute manner, it was necessary that the servants of the most high should have the power of controlling them, and their human agents also. Hence our Lord said, In my name shall they cast out devils ; they shall speak with new tongues ; they


« EelmineJätka »