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in future. Now these are the very things specified in our text, as to be asked by us in the name of our High-priest with boldness and confidence: and we are assured, that they shall be granted, both in the time and measure that we need them. We are not to be accounting any thing too great to ask, because there is nothing too great for him to give. We
are not to be straitened in ourselves, seeing that we are not straitened in him.” We may “ ask what we will; and it shall be done unto usk.” However “ wide we open our mouth, it shall be filled!." Let our need of mercy be ever so great, shall obtain mercy;" and our need of grace ever so abundant, the supply shall be proportioned to our need. If we want grace to sustain suffering, to fulfil duty, to transform the soul into the Divine image, “ Ask and have,” is the Divine command: and our boldness in asking cannot be too great, provided it be of a right kind: it must not be of an unhallowed and presumptuous cast; but duly tempered with penitential sorrow, and patient resignation. Then it may rise to a confident expectation, and a full assurance of faithm.] But whilst we are thus encouraged to draw nigh to
God, let us LEARN, 1. That nothing is to be obtained without prayer
[It is not the death of Christ as our sacrifice, nor the intercession of Christ as our great High-priest, that will save us, if we do not pray for ourselves. Though he is on a throne, and that throne is a “ throne of grace,” we shall receive no benefit from his power or grace, if we do not sue for it in earnest and believing prayer. His offices are not intended to supersede our endeavours, but to encourage them, and to assure us of success in the use of the appointed means. Those are always characterized as enemies, who call not upon God:” and we are warned plainly that we cannot have, if we neglect to ask". The means must be used in order to the end; and it is only in, and by, the means, that the end can ever be attainedo.' Hear this, ye who neglect prayer, or draw nigh to God with your lips only and not with your hearts! Unless " in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, you make your requests known unto God,” you can never experience his blessing upon your souls, nor ever behold the face of your God in peace.]
2. That in all your addresses to God your eyes must be directly fixed on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Mediator and Advocate
k John xiv. 13, 14. 1 Ps. lxxxi. 10. m Heb. X. 19-22. n Jam. iv, 3.
• Matt. vii. 7, 8.
[When the high-priest was passing through the vail into the holy of holies, the eyes of all were fixed on him as their mediator; and from his intercession all their hopes were derived. And how much more should our eyes be fixed on the Lord Jesus Christ as our Advocate and Intercessor! It is in his name that we are taught to offer our supplications P: and it is through his intercession alone that they can come up with acceptance before Goda. Seek then at all times to realize this in your minds: and beg of God to make you deeply and abidingly sensible of it: for “then only do you honour the Father, when you thus honour his dear Son";" and then only will the Father be glorified in you, when he is thus honoured and glorified in the person of his Son®.]
3. That when you thus approach God in and through his Son, all doubts of acceptance must be put away
[We are not to be wavering in our minds when we draw nigh to God. To doubt either his power or his willingness to help us, is to disparage both the Father and the Son: and prayers offered with a doubtful mind will never bring with them an answer of peace. It is quite a mistaken humility that leads persons to question whether such sinners as they can find mercy; or whether the grace of Christ can be sufficient for them. All such doubts betray an ignorance of Christ, and his Gospel. If he be not the Son of God, equal with the Father, then we may well doubt his ability to help: or if his sacrifice and intercession be not the appointed means of salvation for the whole world, then we may ask, Can he save such a guilty wretch as me? But if all has been ordered of the Father, and the whole work of redemption has been executed by the Son, then must we“ not stagger at any of the promises, but be strong in faith, giving glory to Godu." And according to our faith, so shall it be done unto us.] *
P John xvi. 23–26. q John xvi. 6. r John v. 23. & John xiv. 12.
t Jam. i. 6, 7. u Rom. iv. 20. * If this be the subject of a Charity Sermon, the following may be inserted in the place of the last inference.
3. That whilst we derive such comfort from bim, we should labour to imitate his example
[He suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should " follow his steps.” He requires us to “ love one another, as he has loved us ;" and, if need be, to “lay down our lives for the brethren." And is there not a call for our sympathy at this time? (Here set forth the particular occasion and urgency of it.) Let us then shew that we
possess the mind that was in Christ Jesus," and labour to the uttermost to extend to our brethren such aid as shall be suitable and sufficient for them.]
CHRIST BENEFITED BY HIS OWN SUFFERINGS.
Heb. v. 7-9. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had
offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.
THE priestly office, as marked out by God, belonged exclusively to the tribe of Levi. Yet our Lord, though he was not of that tribe to which the priesthood appertained, was truly and properly a High-priest. He was constituted a priest of a different order from that of Aaron, and executed the duties of the priesthood in a far different manner than it was possible for any other person to perform them. He offered not the blood of bulls and of goats, but his own body, for the sins of the world. The Apostle describing the manner in which he ministered, sets before us, I. His conduct under his sufferings
Never were the sufferings of any creature comparable with those of Christ
[His bodily sufferings perhaps were less than many of his followers have been called to endurea; but those of his soul were infinitely beyond our conceptions: the assaults of Satan, and the wrath of God, combined to produce that bloody sweat in the garden of Gethsemane'.]
Under them he poured out his heart in prayer unto his heavenly Father
[He never lost sight of God as his Father, but addressed him with the greater earnestness under that endearing titled:
a It is possible indeed that the perfect temperature of his body might give a more exquisite sensibility to the organs; but this is no where affirmed in Scripture.
b Ps. xxii. 14, 15. with Matt. xxvi. 38. c Luke xxii. 44.
d Mark xiv. 36.
he knew that his Father was " able to save him from death ;" he therefore repeatedly besought him to remove the bitter cup, and urged his petitions with strong cries and floods of tears;” not that he repented of the work he had undertaken; but only desired such a mitigation of his sufferings as might consist with his Father's glory, and the salvation of men“.]
Nor did he desist from prayer till he had obtained his request
[Him the Father always heard, nor was an answer now denied him: he was delivered from that which he chiefly deprecated'. Though the cup was not removed, he was not suffered to faint in drinking it: he was strengthened by an angel in answer to his prayers, and clearly shewed what an answer he had received, by the dignified composure with which he immediately resigned himself into the hands of his enemies.]
His sufferings indeed could not be dispensed with; but they were amply recompensed by, II. The benefit he derived from them
The benefits accruing to our Lord from his own sufferings were, 1. Personal
[It was necessary for him as our High-priest to experience every thing which his people are called to endure in their conflicts with sin and Satan! Now the difficulty of abiding faithful to God in arduous circumstances is exceeding great: this is a trial which all his people are called to sustain, and under it they more particularly need his almighty succour; this therefore he submitted to learn. Though as the Son of God he knew all things in a speculative manner, yet he could not know this experimentally, but by being reduced to a suffering condition; this therefore was one benefit which he derived from his sufferings. He learned by them more tenderly to sympathize with his afflicted people, and more speedily to succour them when imploring his help with strong crying and tears k.]
e John xii. 27, 28. As a man, he could not but feel, and as a good man, he could not but deprecate, the wrath of God: but he desired nothing that was inconsistent with the Divine will, Matt. xxvi. 39.
i The learned differ about the sense of drò tñs kúlaseias ; some translate it pro reverentiâ, others ex metu. See Beza on Heb. v. 7. & Luke xxii. 43.
h John xviii. 4-8, 11. i Heb. ii. 17.
k Heb. ii. 18.
[As the priests were consecrated to their office by the blood of their sacrifices, so was Jesus by his own blood'. From that time he had a right to impart salvation : from that time also he exercised that right. The persons indeed to whom alone he is “ the author of eternal salvation,” are, “ those who obey him." Not that they possess this qualification before he vouchsafes his mercy to them; but he invariably transforms his people into his own image, and makes them, like himself, obedient unto death m.] We may LEARN from hence,
1. What we should do under sufferings, or a dread of God's displeasure
(We should not hastily conclude that we are not his children": we should rather go with humble boldness to God as our Fathero; we should plead his gracious promises P; nor can we possibly be too earnest, provided we be content that his will should be done. (Alas! that there should be so little resemblance between our prayers and those of Christ !) We should however consider that as the best answer to prayer, which most enables us to glorify God.] 2. Whither to go for salvation[The Father
“ able to save his Son from death," and doubtless he can save us also; but he has exalted his Son to be a Prince and a Savioury. To Christ therefore we are to go, and to the Father through Christ". In this way we shall find him to be the author of eternal salvation to us®.]
3. What is to be our conduct when he has saved US
[Jesus died “ to purchase to himself a peculiar people zealous of good works." We must therefore obey him, and that too as willingly in seasons of severe trial as in times of peace: we must be content to be conformed to the likeness of our Lord and Master. Let us be faithful unto death, and he will give us a crown of lifet.]
1 Τελειωθείς Sometimes means consecrated :" see Heb. vii. 28. m Phil. ii. 8. n Heb. xii. 6.
• Luke xv. 17, 18. p Ps. 1. 15. q Acts v. 31.
Eph. ii. 18. 8 Heb. vii. 25. t Rev. ii. 10.