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And what the Jew saw in Aaron, we now contemplate in our High Priest. We see before us a Saviour, ready to interpose on our behalf; to stand between the dead and the living, clothed in the garments of his own all perfect righteousness; to place upon the censer the incense of his own merits; to offer as our atonement his own most precious blood. "He saw that there was no man, and he wondered that there was no Intercessor; therefore, his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him 1."
Surely, these are surprising and overwhelming contemplations! circumstances of most tremendous import! enough to make the heart of every man, at all conversant with his own state, or his own danger, at all acquainted with his present condition, or his future prospects, to hope with fear, to rejoice with trembling. If no intercessor had come, if no salvation had appeared, if man had been left
1 Isaiah lix. 16.
to struggle, as best he could, with the deadliness of his manifold corruptions; then must the floods of ungodliness have rolled onward unrestrained; then must the kingdoms of this world have become -not the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ-but the undisputed territory of Satan, the acknowledged seats of the empire of darkness. Then must death, eternal as well as temporal, have settled upon all the nations; and that wailing and gnashing of teeth, that worm which dieth not, that fire which cannot be quenched, now reserved only for the finally impenitent, must have been the portion of every child of man, without reprieve and without mitigation.
Now, however, we possess a gracious and glorious assurance of perfect and entire remission and forgiveness; and we hail the blessing of the Christian covenant:-we hail him, who has taken upon himself the office of reconciliation, who has come with the message of pardon and of peace; and the soul, thus renewed by his influence, and restored to a state
of acceptance, begins to feel the invigorating sensation of health throughout its frame, and springs forward to embrace and welcome the glorious hope of life. He, who when on earth gave sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf, and cleansing to the leper, and healing to the sick, and life to the dead, can also open our eyes, unclose our ears, purify our souls, restore our health, and raise us from spiritual death, unto the life of righteousness. But he, who thus gives sight, and hearing, and cleansing, and health, and life, also bids us, "Go, and sin
The all-sufficient fact, then, which the Gospel communicates, and which it was the purpose of the Almighty to typify and shadow forth by the terrific scene which we are now considering, is this: "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. That the world through him might be saved 1." And it was not whilst 1 St. John iii. 16, 17.
man was righteous, whilst he yet stood in all the glory of sinless perfection and unspotted purity, that this offering was made, that this "free gift came;" but, "God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Well may we, in truth, pursue the argument of the apostle, and say; "Much more, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For, if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life "
Immense was the ransom which has been paid for man; stupendous was the sacrifice which obtained for our High Priest the right to intercede; infinitely precious were those merits which made his mediation effectual; and great, proportionably great is our hope, our confidence, our assurance. When he asserts his title to interpose with the Father on
1 Romans v. 8-10.
behalf of his disciples, it is as one having authority. "Father, I will that they whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory'." When he pleads, it is as one who knoweth that the Father heareth him always. He claims as his peculiar inheritance the creation which he has redeemed, and views as his peculiar province the kingdom which he has won. With this knowledge, this certainty of redemption, the sting has been taken away from death, the victory has been wrested from the grave; for he stands between the dead and the living, and darkness has fled and despair has fled, and faith, and hope, have arisen upon the Christian's soul, and a voice has proclaimed in the blessed accents of mercy, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee'." "Thus saith thy Lord, the Lord, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of
1 John xvi. 24.
2 Isaiah lx. 1.