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v, 18, 19: Heb. 1, 8, 9 ;) it characterized every particular of our Lord's moral conduci, was maintained by him unbroken through a long course of unspeakable humiliation and suffer. ing, and was finally consummated in his cruel and shameful death.
Such was the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ ; and such is the righteousness, therefore, which, through faith, is imputed to the Christian. A very slight degree of reflection on the divine nature and infinite dignity of the Son of God, as well as on the perfections of his human character, may serve to convince us that as, on the one hand, he was, on account of his spotless innocence, entirely suited to be a sacrifice for sin, so, on the other hand, his fulfilment of the whole moral law, and more especially his obedience unto death, were infinitely meritorious in the sight of God the Father. When, therefore, we read that the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to the believer, we may reasonably understand such a doctrine to import, that we are not only saved through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but rewarded through his merits. Our sinfulness may properly be said to have been imputed to Christ, because, when he underwent the penalty which that sinfulness demanded, he was dealt with as if he had been himself the sinner ; and it is, I apprehend, on a perfectly analogous principle that his righteousness is said to be imputed to us; because, through the boundless mercy of God, we are permitted to reap the fruits of it. We are regarded as if, like him, we were absolutely guiltless, and are, therefore, delivered from everlasting punishment. We are graciously accepted, as if, like him, we had meritoriously fulfilled the whole law of God; and are, therefore, rewarded with never-ending felicity. Thus it is, that, in consequence of his union through faith with Jesus, the Head of the Church, the Christian is not only protected from the pains of hell, but is in possession of a well-grounded claim on the joys of heaven. Thus it is that " grace" reigns “through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord :" Rom. v, 21.
As the blood of Christ is effectual for the cleansing away of the believer's guilt, and his righteousness all-sufficient for meriting the believer's reward, so it is another most important feature in the glad tidings of the Christian dispensation, that Christ is himself the unfailing protector and advocate of his people.
Such an office he maintained, with a perfect consistency, during his continuance on earth. The little company of his
faithful disciples were, in his presence, safe from every danger, He led them about, he instructed them, he gathered them under his sheltering wing; he defended them from the power of their enemies, so that no evil befel them ; (see John xvii, 12;) and, more especially, he poured forth on their behalf, and on behalf of all those who should afterwards believe in his name, his effectual and authoritative petitions before the Father's throne of grace.
“ I pray not for the world,” said Jesus in that solemn supplication which appears to have concluded the course of his ministry, “but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine”.
I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word:" John xvii, 9. 20. Such was our Lord's description of the persons on whose behalf his prayer was offered. And what was that prayer? that the Father would keep them in his own name" keep them from the evil''-sanctify them through his truth-bind them together in the fellowship of the Gospelbring them into a holy union one with another, in the Father and the Son-and, finally receive them that glory which
for Jesus himself, in the mansions of bliss. “Father,” he said, “ I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am ; that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me :” ver. 24.
But, the advocacy of Jesus was far indeed from being restricted to the period of his mortal humiliation : he continues to exercise the same gracious office in the kingdom of his glory. “If any man sin,” said the apostle John to the catholic church, at a period subsequent to the ascension of Jesus,
“ If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous :" 1 John ii, 1. In this respect, as well as in many others, “ God hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead;" (1 Pet. i, 3;) and we may well adopt the language of the apostle Paul : “ If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled unto God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life:” Rom. v, 10. Jesus Christ was not only “ delivered for our offences,” but “ raised again for our justification :" iv, 25. Having for ever put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, “ the Great Prince which standeth for the children of the Lord's people,” (Dan. xii, 1) hath entered, "not 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 :" Heb. ix, 24.
The office of an advocate or patron, in ancient times, was one of great importance. He was the perpetual protector of
his client; and, as occasion required, he was always ready to defend his cause, to confute and rebuke his accuser, or to intercede for his pardon : and Jesus, in his priestly and mediato.rial character, is the advocate of his people, because he is ever engaged in protecting them from danger, in counteracting the accusations of their cruel adversary, in pleading their cause, and in offering intercession for them to the Father Almighty. He is the perfect antitype of the high-priest of the ancient Hebrews, respecting whom we read as follows: “And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel, in the breastplate of judgment, upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord, continually. And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummin; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart when he goeth in before the Lord ; and Aaron shall bear the judgment
the children of Israel upon his heart, before the Lord, connually:" Exod. xxviii, 29, 30,
That Jesus Christ, who is a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec—the king of righteousness, and the king of peace-is enthroned at the right hand of the Father, and there presides perpetually, as a sure protector and defender, over the house of God, the whole family of believers, is a doctrine which has been fully considered in a former Essay, and on which, therefore, we need not now insist.
That he rebukes and confounds the accuser of his brethren is unquestionable, on the general principle that it is he who bruises the serpent's head, and destroys “the works of the devil :" 1 John ili, 8. “ The Lord rebuke thee," said the Angel of the Covenant to Satan, when the latter was accusing Joshua the priest" The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan, even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee : is not this à brand plucked out of the fire ?” and to Joshua, who was standing before him, “clothed in filthy garments,” he said, • Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment :” Zech, iii, 1–4. May we not collect from this remarkable narration, that the mighty Advocate, who still pleads for his people against their malicious adversary, rests their defence on the atonement made by his own blood shedding, and graciously covers them with the spotless robe of his own righteousness? Thus it is that the blessings, which Christ died to purchase, he lives to apply.
Finally, that his perpetual intercession is offered on our account to the Father Almighty, and is all-availing for the safety of his faithful followers, both here and hereafter, is to be concluded on the clearest scriptural evidence. “ Who shall lay
any thing to the charge of God's elect ?'' said the apostle Paul in the triumphant language of Christian confidence- 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. “ This (man) because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing HE EVER LIVETH TO MAKE INTERCESSION FOR THEM : vii, 24, 25. Having cited these explicit and powerful passages, I have now, in conclusion, to remark, that the intercession of Christ has not only its own direct efficacy, but is the means of procuring acceptance for the prayers of his people.
The spiritual sacrifices” of the church on earth are acceptable to God, by Jesus Christ :” (1 Pet. ii, 5 ;) and we may reasonably conclude, that our almighty Intercessor was represented by the angel in the Apocalypse, who appeared in the character of a priest, standing before the altar, with a golden censer in his hand. “And there was given unto him, said the apostle, “ much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints ascended up before God out of the angel's hand!” Rev. viñ, 3, 4. The prayers of the saints are offered by the Redeemer on the altar of God—but that which alone imparts to them the fragrance of a sweet-smelling savor, and renders them acceptable to God, our heavenly Father, is the incense in which they are inveloped-the incense of the intercession of the Redeemer himself.
On a brief review, then, of the contents of the present sec. tion, we may recollect, first, that the righteousness declared to be imputed to the believer in Jesus is the righteousness of Jesus himself ; that this righteousness consisted in his absolute freedom from sin, and in his perfect and meritorious fulfilment of the law of God; that it is said to be imputed to Christians, because, in virtue of their union by faith with the great Head of the Church, they reap the fruits of it ; for they are not only saved from hell, as if they were as innocent as Christ, but are rewarded with heaven, as if, like Christ, they had perfectly fulfilled the law. Secondly, that he who thus procured for us, by his own blood-shedding and obedience, the gift of eternal life, is our never failing defender and advocate at the right hand of God; that, as he protected his people, and prayed for them while he was with them on earth, so now, in the glory of his kingdom, he is ever engaged in our support and defence,
in answering and rebuking our adversary, in presenting and perfecting our prayers, and in saving us by bis own continual and all-powerful intercession.
What, then, are the practical lessons to be deduced from these scriptural doctrines? They are lessons of hope, and joy, and encouragement. When we are lumbled before God in the view of our own imperfect services, let us cast ourselves on his mercy, and repose on the righteousness of our Redeemer! When we are surrounded with many conflicts—when Satan is desiring to " sift” us as “ wheat — let us remember the gracious words of Jesus to Peter, “I HAVE PRAYED FOR THEE, that thy faith fail not :” Luke xxii, 31, 32. Let us console ourselves with the well-grounded assurance, that, as long as we are humbly endeavouring to persevere in the faith and patience of the saints, so long are we the subjects of an advocacy not to be defeated, and of an intercession all-effectual for our help and salvation !
ON THE SCRIPTURE DOCTRINE OF THE SPIRIT.
In the view which, in a former Essay, we took of mankind in their unregenerate condition, we traced the sure evidences both of their moral darkness and of their moral death. Man without grace (whether he is possessed of outward information or not) is, in the first place, devoid of any profitable, saying, knowledge of God and his truth ; and, in the second place, he is “ alienated” by his wickedness from “ the life of God," and “ dead in trespasses and sins."
Although, therefore, the Supreme Being has gaciously provided for our indemnity, through the sacrifice, and for our eternal happiness, through the merits, of his Son, it is nevertheless certain, that no man can be saved while he continues in his carnal state-in his original, fallen, condition. Those who are still sitting “ in darkness and under the shadow of death,” are destitute of all capacity " for an inheritance with the saints in light.” Those whose spirits are defiled and polluted, and whose prevailing tendency is to wrath, malice, envy, lasciviousness, or covetousness, are even here “ aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,” and unfit for all communion with their God and Father. Much less are they prepared to participate in the pure joys of the glorified church-in the society of just