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my life, no man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself; I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again ;' John x. 17, 18. He might have been cruciated on the part of God, but his death could not have been an oblation and offering had not his will concurred. But he loved me,' saith the apostle, “and gave himself for me ;' Gal. ii. 20. Now that alone deserves the name of a gift, which is from a free and a willing mind, as Christ's was, when he loved us and gave himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour; Eph. v. 2. He does it cheerfully, • Lo, I come to do thy will, O my God;' Heb. ix. 10. and so his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree;' 1 Pet. ii. 24. Now this oblation or offering of Christ, I would not tie up to any one thing, action, or passion, performance, or suffering; but it compriseth the whole economy and dispensation of God manifested in the flesh, and conversing among us, with all those things which he performed in the days of his flesh, when he offered up prayers and supplications, with strong cries and tears, until he had fully by himself purged our sins, and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high ;' Heb. i. 3. “expecting until his enemies be made his footstool:' all the whole dispensation of his coming and ministering, until he had given his soul a price of redemption for many; Matt. xxvi. But for his entering into the holiest of holies, sprinkled with his own blood, and appearing so for us, before the majesty of God, by some accounted as the continuation of his oblation, we may refer unto,
Thirdly, His intercession, for all and every one of those, for whom he gave himself for an oblation; he did not suffer for them, and then refuse to intercede for them; he did not do the greater, and omit the less. The price of our redemption is more precious in the eyes of God and his Son, than that it should, as it were, be cast away on perishing souls, without any care taken, of what becomes of them afterward: nay, this also is imposed on Christ, with a promise annexed. • Ask of me,' saith the Lord, and I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession;' Psal. ii. 8. Who accordingly tells his disciples, that he had more work to do for them in heaven; - I go,' saith he, to prepare a place for you, that I may come again and receive you unto myself;' John xiv. 2, 3.
For as the high priest went into the second alone, once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and the errors of the people;' Heb. ix. 7. so · Christ being come a high priest of good things to come, by his own blood entered once into the holy place, having obtained for us eternal redemption ;' Heb. ix. 11, 12. Now what was this holy place whereinto he entered, thus sprinkled with the blood of the covenant, and to what end did he enter into it? Why,
he is not entered into the holy place, made with hands, which is the figure of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us ;' ver. 24. And what doth he there appear for? Why, to be our advocate to plead our cause with God, for the application of the good things, procured by his oblation unto all them for whom he was an offering; as the apostle tells us, “If any man sin we have an advocate with the Father, even Jesus Christ the righteous ;' 1 John ii. 1. Why, how comes that to pass ? He is a propitiation for our sins; ver. 2. His being idaouòs a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, is the foundation of his interceding, the ground of it; and therefore, they both belong to the same persons. Now, by the way, we know, that Christ refused to pray for the world, in opposition to his elect; 'I pray for them,' saith he, 'I pray not for the world, but for them thou hast given me out of the world ;' John xix. 9. And therefore there was no foundation for such an interceding for them, because he was not idaguos for them. Again, we know the Father always heareth the Son; For I know,' saith he, that he heareth me always;' John xi. 42. that is, so to grant his request, according to the forementioned engagement; Psal. ii. 8. and therefore, if he should intercede for all; all should undoubtedly be saved ; 'for he is able to save to the utmost, them that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them ;' Heb. vii. 25. Hence is that confidence of the apostle, upon that intercession of Christ, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth ; who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us;' Rom. viii. 33, 34. Where also we cannot but observe, that those for whom he died, may assuredly conclude he maketh intercession for them, and that none shall lay any thing to their charge ; which breaks the neck of the general ransom, for according to that, he died for millions, that have no interest in his intercession, who shall bave their sins laid to their charge, and perish under them ; which might be farther cleared up, from the very nature of this intercession, which is not a humble dejected supplication, which beseems not that glorious state of advancement, which he is possessed of, that sits at the right hand of the Majesty on high; but an authoritative presenting himself before the throne of his Father, sprinkled with his own blood, for the making out to his poeple all spiritual things that are procured by his oblation; saying, • Father, I will that those whom thou hast given me be where I am ;' John. xvii. So that for whomsoever he suffered, he appears
for them in heaven with his satisfaction and merit, Here also, we must call to mind what the Father promised his Son, upon his undertaking of this employment; for there is no doubt, but that, for that and that alone doth Christ, upon the accomplishment of the whole, intercede with him about, which was in sum, that he might be the captain of salvation to all that believe on him, and effectually bring many sons to glory. And hence it is, having such a high priest over the house of God, we may draw near with the full assurance of faith, for by one offering he hath perfected them that are sanctified; Heb. x. 13. But of this more must be said afterward.
The peculiar actions of the Holy Spirit in this business. In few words we may consider, the actions of that agent, who in order is the third in that blessed one, whose all is the whole, the Holy Spirit, who is evidently concurring in his own distinct operation, to all the several chief or grand parts of this work, we may refer them to three heads.
First, The incarnation of the Son, with his plenary assistance in the course of his conversation whilst he dwelt amongst us; for his mother was found εν γαστρί έχουσα, “ to have conceived in her womb of the Holy Ghost;' Matt. xviii. If you ask with Mary, how that could be, the angel resolves both her and us, as far as it is lawful for us to be
acquainted with these mysterious things; Luke i. 35. “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.' It was an overshadowing power in the Spirit, so called by an allusion taken from fowls that cover their eggs, that so by their warmth young may be hatched; for by the sole power of the Spirit was this conception, who did incubare fætui, as in the beginning of the world. Now in process as this child was conceived by the power, so he was filled with the Spirit, and waxed stronger in it, Luke i. 80. until having received a fulness thereof, and not by any limited measure in the gifts and graces of it, he was thoroughly furnished and fitted for his great undertaking.
Secondly, In his oblation, or passion, for they are both the same, with several respects, one to what he suffered, the other to what he did with, by, and under those sufferings; how by the eternal Spirit he offered himself without spot unto God; Heb.ix. 14.whether it be meant of the offering himself a bloody sacrifice on the cross, or his presentation of himselfcontinually before his Father, it is by the eternal Spirit. The willing offering himself through that Spirit, was the eternal fire under this sacrifice, which made it acceptable unto God. That which some contend, that by the eternal Spirit is here meant our Saviour's own Deity, I see no great ground for: some Greek and Latin copies read, not as we commonly, tveúuatos αίωνίου but πνεύματος αγίου, and so the doubt is quite removed, and I see no reason, why he may not as well be said to offer himself, through the Holy Spirit, as to be decreed to be the Son of God, according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead;' as Rom. i. 3. as also to be 'quickened by the Spirit;' 1 Pet. iii. 18. The working of the Spirit was required as well in his oblation as resurrection, in his dying as quickening.
Thirdly, In his resurrection, of which the apostle, Rom. viii. 11. ‘But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.' And thus have we discovered the blessed agents and undertakers in this work, their several actions and orderly concurrence unto the whole, which though they may be thus distinguished, yet they are not so divided, but that every one must be ascribed to the whole nature, whereof each person is in solidum partaker. And as they begin it, so they will jointly carry along the application of it unto its ultimate issue and accomplishment, for we must 'give thanks to the Father who hath made us meet (that is, by his Spirit) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son, in whom we have redemption through his blood even the forgiveness of sins;' Col. i. 11–13.
The means used by the fore-recounted agents in this work. Our next employment, following the order of execution, not intention, will be the discovery or laying down of the means in this work, which are indeed no other but the several actions before recounted, but now to be considered under another respect, as they are a means ordained for the obtaining of a proposed end, of which afterward. Now because the several actions of Father and Spirit, were all exercised towards Christ, and terminated in him, as God and man, he only, and his performances, are to be considered as the means in this work, the several concurrences of both the other persons before mentioned, being presupposed as necessarily antecedent or concomitant.
The means then used or ordained by these agents for the end proposed, is that whole economy or dispensation carried along to the end, from whence our Saviour Jesus Christ is called a Mediator; which may and are usually, as I mentioned before, distinguished into two parts. First, his oblation ; Secondly, his intercession. By his oblation we do not design only the particular offering of himself upon the cross, an offering to his Father, as the Lamb of God without spot or blemish, when he bare our sins or carried them up with him in his own body on the tree; which was the sum and complement of his oblation, and that wherein it did chiefly consist; but also his whole humiliation, or state of emptying himself, whether by yielding voluntary obedience unto the law, being made under it, that he might be the end thereof to them that believe; Rom. x. 4. or by his subjection to the