CHRIST'S ROYAL PRIESTHOOD SUFFICIENT ENCOURAGEMENT FOR FAITH Heb. iv. 14 -
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens,
Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Our blessed High Priest has the names of believers
engraven on these three parts of His precious person: He has them engraven in
His heart; which points out His infinite love and boundless condescension. This
is to answer that which was typified of Him by the high priests under the law,
who had the names of the twelve tribes of Israel engraven on their
breast-plates of onyx-stones. And Christ has the names of believers engraven on
His .shoulders; which holds out His strengthening and supporting them in all
their temptations and assaults of the devil that they meet with. This is to
answer that which was typified of Him by the high priest under the law, of
having the names of the twelve tribes engraven on their shoulders, to be a
memorial before the Lord. Christ has the names of believers engraven on the
palms of His hands; which points out His everlasting remembrance of them. No
doubt this respect ought to engage our hearts, when Christ cannot catch by
force, He will catch us by deceit. Christ's love has not only an omnipotency,
but also a divine deceit and guile: "Therefore, behold I will allure her into
the wilderness"; or, as the word may be rendered, "I will deceive her in the
There are these three parts of Christ's office, His kingly,
priestly and prophetical office. His kingly office points out His absolute
dominion, and infinite sovereignty. His prophetical office points out His
infinite wisdom in teaching sinners; amid His priestly office points out His
boundless compassion and goodwill towards us. There is a great difference
betwixt our high priest and the high priest under the law, betwixt the high
priest under the New Testament and the Old Testament; for our High Priest was
both the sacrifice and the sacrificer. You know that Christ got and bought all
the lives of the believers, on His promise and bond, before God dealt so with
them, that He should suffer for them. Justice suffered Him a little, but at
last He perfected His work. Is there any difference betwixt them that were born
under the law and them that are born under the gospel? For ye know that, under
the law, there were sacrifices in Adam's time, in Noah's and Abraham's times;
and for four thousand years there were sacrifices, and the fire upon the altar
drank up the blood of lambs and goats; yet divine justice was never satisfied
till that spotless Lamb sacrificed Himself. Justice fristed [postponed] Christ
four thousand years; but at length He came and perfected the work of our
There is a great difference betwixt mans first and second
creation. We confess there was much love and wisdom manifested in mans
first creation; but that was all accomplished by a word of command. In the
second creation, however, there was not only infinite love, and wisdom, and
power, but much suffering and acting in this creation. But blessed be His name,
He has now perfected our redemption, and is now requiring that all these, for
whom He has laid down His life, and paid that ransom, may be in heaven with
But to come to that one thing which we intend to speak to, which
is, Christs priestly office, we are not intending to prosecute these
words any further, but as they give us ground to speak to this part of
Christs office, which I may say is the foundation of religion. And we
shall speak to these things:
First, what Christs priestly office does
comprehend, and how He executes it.
Secondly, we shall speak to this. What
are the properties of this our great high priest Jesus Christ.
what advantage follows to a Christian from Christs priestly office.
And, lastly, we shall speak a little to the properties and qualifications
of Christs priesthood.
And as for the first. His priestly
office comprehends these two things;
first, His offering up Himself a
spotless sacrifice for our sins. This part is pointed at, Heb. x, 4, 5, 6, 7.
Then said I, lo I come, I delight to do thy will, 0 Lord. Heb. v,
7, Who in the days of his flesh offered up strong prayers and
supplications to him who was able to save him from death.
thing, His offering up Himself for us imports, that He has taken upon Him the
office of high priest, blameless and harmless, and is made higher than the
heavens. Heb. vii, 16, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal
commandment, but after the power of an endless life. And it is from this
that Christ is called the Prince of Peace, in purchasing that precious peace
betwixt God and sinners; for in that day that there was a woeful diversion made
betwixt God and sinners, Christ did then begin His peace and reconciliation
betwixt God and us.
Now that which we shall speak to from this shall be to
some considerations, that may make this act of Christ most mysterious to you.
And there are more mysteries in this one act than we could well explain, though
we had eternity to make a commentary on it. The first consideration is this, to
look on that divine harmony and sweet consent that was among all the persons of
the blessed Trinity, that Christ should accomplish this work of dying for
sinners; there was not one negative to this. Was not the Father, the first
Person of the blessed Trinity, most willing for this? Hence it is called the
Fathers will, Psalm xl, 8, I delight to do thy will, 0 my
God; and in Heb. x, 7, 9, Then said he, Lo, I come (in the volume
of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, 0 Lord.
these three things that may evidence the Fathers consent to this blessed
First, that God the Father manifested much love to His Son,
because of His doing this work, John x, 17, Therefore doth my Father love
me, because I lay down my life: as if Christ would have said, The
Father loved me; and the reason why He loved me is, because I lay down my life
for my sheep.
There is this second thing that speaks the
Fathers consent to the work, viz., these great promises were given to
Christ in the covenant of redemption, if He would lay down His life an offering
for sin, as Isa. liii, 10, He should see his seed, he should prolong his
days, and the pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hand.
there is this, lastly, that points out the Fathers consent to this
work; and it is this, the great reward that He gave to the Son after the
accomplishment of this great work. Phil. ii, 9, 10, Wherefore God hath
highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name, that at the name of
Jesus, every knee should bow, in heaven and in earth. As likewise it is
clear from Heb. ii, 9, But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than
the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour.
And was not the Son, the second Person of the Trinity, most willing to
accomplish this work? We hope none will dispute His willingness, for oftentimes
He says, speaking about this work, I delight to do thy will. And
Luke xii, 50, I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I
straitened, till it be accomplished? As it were, He could not tell the
pain He was in till He was in pain; He longed to be lifted up between heaven
and earth, and to have that said, It is finished. And was not the
third Person of the blessed Trinity most willing and content? Which He doth
evidence, not only in that He furnished Christ with all gifts for this work,
Isa. xlii, 1, Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my
soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him:; but likewise He
manifested His will in this, that when Christ was under His sorest exercises,
He was comforted by the consolation of the Spirit of God.
There is this
second consideration to point out the mysteriousness of this act of
offering up Himself for us, and it is this - Consider the highness of this
person, and the deepness of His sufferings. Put these two together, and this
will make you fall into a sea of wondering. 0 beloved, was not this mighty
condescension, that He who was clothed with light as with a robe, and that He
who was clothed with the garments of immortal glory, that He should have
clothed Himself with that clothing of the nature of man? That He who was
dwelling in light inaccessible, that He should now dwell in the tents of
mortality? And is not this a mystery, that He should descend into hell that we
might ascend into heaven? And that He lay three days in the grave, that we
might live with Himself in heaven through all the ages of eternity? And is not
that a mystery, that the Ancient of Days, and Father of Eternity should become
a child, and know an end of life and beginning of days? 0 Christians, bathe
yourselves in the sweet thoughts of God incarnate; and if any of you come to
plumb this deep, ye shall be like the shipmen, Acts xxvii, 28, the more and the
farther ye go into this deep, ye shall see the more wonders there.
there is this last consideration that makes this act of Christ more mysterious,
and it is this - What was the end of Christs coming into the world, and
of offering Himself up for us a sacrifice? It is set down in Rom. viii, 3,
God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin,
condemned sin in the flesh. Might not Christ have come to condemn
sinners? But, 0, here is infinite love! He came to condemn that which condemned
us. And I would only say this to you, shall neither the conquering grace of
Christ, the restraining grace of Christ, nor the pardoning grace of Christ,
provoke you to love Him?
Now that which secondly we shall speak to
shall be this, to point out these advantages that flow to a Christian from this
part, viz., Christs priestly office, His dying for us. And there is
this first advantage, Christs death is the evidence of our
justification, and the cause of our sanctification, and the pledge of our
glorification, and the hope of our eternal and complete victory, and the door
of hope that shall make you sing, 0 death, where is thy sting? 0
grave, where is thy victory? There are these four streams whereby we are
brought to paradise. There is His justification, whereby He justifies us; there
is His sanctification, whereby we that lay among the pots are made white as a
dove; and His wisdom, whereby we are conducted to heaven; and His redemption,
by His complete victory. And for the first, is it not clear that Christs
death was an evidence of our justification? Heb. ix, 12, Neither by the
blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, he entered in once into the
holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. And in verse 26,
But now once in the end of the world, hath He appeared, to put away sin
by the sacrifice of himself. By the solid faith of Christs death we
may answer all objections. If ye could multiply objections throughout eternity,
ye could have no answer but this, Christ hath died and is risen again. His
resurrection is a great pillar of justifying faith; Rom. v. 1, Therefore
being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus
Christ. All objections are answered in this, Christ has died and, risen
again, Rom. viii, 34, Who is he that comdemneth? It is Christ that died,
yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, making
intercession for us. Chapter v, 10, For while we were enemies, we
were reconciled by his death. Faiths great pillar, whereon it
is founded, is Christs resurrection. And is not the death of Christ that
which is the cause of our glorification? ITch. ix, 14, How much more
shall the blood of Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself
witlìout spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the
living God? And Gal. vi, 14, where, speaking of the cross of
Christ, he says, By whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the
world. Also 1 Peter, i, 18, 19, For as much as ye know, that we
were not redeemed with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of
Christ, and 2 Cor, v. 14, 15, For if one died for all, then were
all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live should not live unto
themselves, hut unto God. Likewise is not Christs death the pledge
of your glorification? Did not Christ wear a crown of thorns, that ye might
wear a cro\vn of immortal glory? And did He not wear a purple robe, that ye
might wear that robe of His righteousness? If Christ ascended up, then
certainly He will draw all His members after Him. And likewise, Christs
death is the door of hope that ye have, to overcome your lusts. There is this
that speaks Christs victory, that He has in His person overcome
principalities and powers, and has made an open shew of them. He has likewise
overcome death and the grave; and that is an evidence of your victory and
overcoming; for there is a great correspondence betwixt the head and the
There is this second advantage that comes to a person from
Christs death, and it is this - It may he a strong argument to embrace
and entertain Christ. It may stir us up to that duty, Song v. 2, Open to
me, my sister, my spouse, for my head is filled with the dew, and my locks with
the drops of the night. If Christ has died and now risen again, will not
that persuade you to love Him? 0 what arguments will do with you? Does not the
five wounds of His blessed body preach this doctrine to love Him?
is this third advantage, that if the sufferings of Christ were believed, it
were a compendious way to bring your souls under the constraining power of His
love, 2 Cor., v. 14, For the love of Christ constraineth us. There
is a sweet constraint of His love that it layeth upon the judgment, and that it
lays on the affections: Christs love lays a constraint on a
Christians judgment, that he thinks Him alone excellent; and it lays a
constraint on his affections, and makes them burn within him, for love to enjoy
the person loved.
There is this fourth advantage, that the way to
heaven is now made manifest through the sufferings of Christ, Heb., viii, 8, 9,
I will make a new covenant with them, not according to the covenant that
I made with their fathers. Believe it, there was a greater difficulty for
Christians to go to heaven under the Old Testament dispensation than under the
New. Christ is now crucified before your eyes; so that we are not to exercise
faith in Christ as yet to come, but as already come; and certainly the sin
against the gospel shall be greater than it was under the law.
advantage is this, that if once ye believed that Christ died for sinners,
then your unbelief would be put to an end. 1 Tim., 1, 15, This is a
faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the
world to save sinners, and then he subjoins, of whom I am
chief. And the great ground on which we say this is one of these two: If
once you believe that Christ came over that infinite distance that was betwixt
Him and man, how easily, think ye, that He will come over that infinite
distance that is between you and Him? And there is this ground likewise, that
Christs love is that which will bring your souls to the necessity of this
love, and the impression of the preciousness of Christ, of Him who has
perfected the work of your redemption.
The last advantage that comes
to the person from Christs death is, it is an excellent way for a
Christian to bring his soul to a divine detestation and hatred of sin, 2 Cor.
v. 15, That we should not live unto ourselves,For as Christ hath
suffered for us, let us arm ourselves with the same mind, to cease from
sin. And there are these two things in Christs death to make sin
most hateful to you: First, if ye look to the burden of sin, think ye
not that it was a heavy burden that made Him cry out, I am troubled, and
exceeding sorrowful? And was it not an infinite weight that made Him say,
If it be possible, let this cup pass from me? And the second
thing which may make sin hateful to you is, to look on these sufferings
because of sin. May ye not suppose that the justice of God was highly offended?
Isa. liii, 10, Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him.
shut up our discourse, we shall say to you these things: First, that Christ,s
dying, is the immediate object of justifying faith. And the grounds of this
assertion are these: That which formally justifies a sinner, must be the proper
object of faith; therefore, it is Christ considered as dying. And there is this
ground likewise, that Christ, as dying, is the proper object of justifying
faith, and it is, that Christ, as in His relative excellencies, is the object
of faith more than in His absolute excellencies; that is, Christ as He is God
to us in these excellencies, more than the excellencies in Himself.
is this second thing that I would say, and it is this, that a Christian should
be much in the consideration of the eternity of this design of Christs
dying, to be much in the consideration of the depth, and height, and length,
and breadth of this design, that, ere ever the mountains were brought forth,
this was decreed in heaven, that Christ behoved to die. And would ye know what
was Christs exercise before the world was made? Ye may see it in Prov.
viii, 30-31, Rejoicing in the habitable parts of the earth; and his
delights were with the sons of men. 0! the believing of this would bring
us to the faith of these two things; to the faith of the infiniteness of His
love, and the freeness of His love.
Likewise consider the height of His
love, and the depth of His love; and that shews itself in this, in fixing such
desires of His on such wretches as we are. Do ye not think, that if Christ
should come a-suiting, He should have wooed such as were more fit than we were?
But that He should have pitched His love on us who were clothed with sinfulness
and necessity, having only these two ornaments to commend us to Him, who were
wallowing in the mire; Ezek. xvi, 7, 8, Thou has increased and waxen
great, and art come to excellent ornaments, whereas thou wast naked and bare;
and when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, I spread my skirt over thee,
and covered thy nakedness.
Then consider the breadth of His love,
which vents itself in this, that He shouldhave chosen us of all nations to be
His first-born, and to set His delight upon us.
And now we shall shut up
all with these three words:
(1) Were ye ever, through the consideration of
His death, constrained to sit down and put your mouth in the dust?
ye ever, on consideration of His death, constrained to love him, and cry out,
His love to us has been wonderfully great, passing the love of
(3) Were ye never constrained to wonder at that union betwixt
Him and us? Was never the death of Christ an effectual means to unite you to
Christ by these two chains, faith and love?
And now I would point out the
difference betwixt faith and love uniting to Christ.
And, first, faith is
as the nail that unites the soul of a Christian to the soul of Christ, and love
is the hammer that rooves [drives home] that nail, and fastens it.
second difference is this; faith does draw the first lineaments and image of
Christ upon a soul, but love perfects this image.
The third difference is,
faith is that grace that is most sober in its actings; but love is most
impatient in its actings. And faith may be called a rational grace. Believe it,
it is no blind bargain to take Christ upon implicit faith. We shall give you
this description of love. Love sets the soul in a sweet travelling towards God,
as the centre and sweet rest of all. Love can find no rest in anything besides
And the last difference is, faith is that grace that first discovers
the excellency of Christ to a Christian; but love solaces itself in these
discoveries. Loves is born blind, and it knows nothing of itself, but when
faith has discovered the excellencies of Christ, and cries forth, It is
good for me to be here, and to make a tabernacle, then love subscribes
and seals that with an oath. Love has two idols, impatience and desire; it is
impatient till it enjoy, and desires when it is enjoyed. Love is like the
horse-leech, it cries, Give, give. It knows not what it is to be satisfied.
And would ye know when shall the first day of loves satisfaction be?
Certainly it shall be in that day when we shall be standing within the gates of
the new Jerusalem. That day shall be the first day of loves satisfaction.
This is clear from Psalm xvii, 15, I shall be satisfied, when I awake,
with thy likeness. And that shall be when faith passes into possession,
and hope into fruition and enjoyment of Jesus Christ, and faith and hope shall
flee away and be no more; when we shall be made to walk by sight and vision,
and not by faith. Christ was content to live thirty-three years amongst us,
that we might live an eternity with Him. When they were going to make Christ a
king, John vi, 15, He fled unto the mountains; but when they were going to put
acrown of thorns upon His head, 0 how willing was He to that! And with what a
divine submission and delight took He it! And yet how is Christ undervalued and
slighted by us! Is He not wonderfully undervalued when He is sold for thirty
pieces of silver! I fear there are many here that would sell Him for thirty
pieces; yea, I fear, many would sell Him for less; only I would say to such,
let them beware and stand in awe any more to slight Jesus Christ. 0 slighters
and under- valuers of God, beware lest your destruction and everlasting
desolation be suddenly approaching and drawing near. 0 Christians, shall never
Christ be accounted precious by us? Blessed be the person whose portion and lot
Christ is, and let all the congregation say, Amen. But cursed be that person by
whom Christ is not accounted precious, and let all the congregation say, Amen.
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