C H R I S T
By J O H N.B U N Y A N.
Published by E. Chandler, J. Wilson,
and C. Doe, 1692.
Published four years after John Bunyan's death.
[IV. EVERY SINCERE COMER CERTAIN OF SALVATION.]
herefore now I come to the fourth and last head, and that is, TO SHOW YOU THE CERTAINTY OF THEIR REAPING THE BENEFIT OF HIS INTERCESSION. 'Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.'
[Christ ever living is the safety of comers.]
The certainty of their reaping the benefit of being saved that come unto God by Christ is thus expressed: 'Seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.' The intercession of Christ, and the lastingness of it, is a sure token of the salvation of them that come unto God by him.
Of his intercession, what it is, and for whom, we have spoken already; of the success and prevalency of it, we have also spoken before; but the reason of its successfulness of that we are to speak now. And that reason, as the apostle suggesteth, lies in the continuance of it, 'Seeing he ever liveth to make intercession.' The apostle also makes very much of the continuation of the priesthood of Christ in other places of this epistle: he abides a priest continually, 'Thou art a priest for ever.' He 'hath an unchangeable priesthood.' (Heb 7:3,17,21,24) And here he 'ever liveth to make intercession.'
Now, by the text is showed the reason why he so continually harpeth upon the durableness of it, namely, for that by the unchangeableness of this priesthood we are saved; nay, saved demonstratively, apparently; it is evident we are. 'He is also able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.' For,
First, The durableness of his intercession proves that the covenant in which those who come to God by him are concerned and wrapt up is not shaken, broken, or made invalid by all their weaknesses and infirmities.
Christ is a priest according to covenant, and in all his acts of mediation he has regard to that covenant; so long as that covenant abides in its strength, so long Christ's intercession is of worth. Hence, when God cast the old high priest out of doors, he renders this reason for his so doing: 'Because they continued not in my covenant'; that is, neither priests nor people. Therefore were they cast out of the priesthood, and the people pulled down as to a church state. (Heb 7:6-9) Now, the covenant by which Christ acteth, as a priest, so far as we are concerned therein, he also himself acteth our part, being, indeed, the Head and Mediator of the body; wherefore, God doth not count that the covenant is broken, though we sin, if Christ Jesus our Lord is found to do by it what by law is required of us. Therefore he saith, 'If his children break my law, and keep not my commandments, I will visit their sins with a rod,' &c. But their sins shall not shake my covenant with my Beloved, nor cause that I for ever should reject them. 'My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. His seed will I make to endure for ever, his seed shall endure for ever.' (Psa 89:30-36) Hence, it is clear that the covenant stands good to us as long as Christ stands good to God, or before his face; for he is not only our Mediator by covenant, but he himself is our conditions to God-ward; therefore he is said to be 'a covenant of the people,' or that which the holy God, by law, required of us. (Isa 42:6) Hence, again, he is said to be our justice or righteousness; to wit, which answereth to what is required of us by the law. He is made unto us of God so, and in our room and in our stead presenteth himself to God. So, then, if any ask me by what Christ's priesthood is continued, I answer, by covenant; for that the covenant by which he is made priest abideth of full force. If any ask whether the church is concerned in that covenant, I answer, yea; yet so as that all points and parts thereof, that concern life and death everlasting, is laid upon his shoulders, and he alone is the doer of it. He is the Lord our righteousness, and he is the Saviour of the body, so that my sins break not the covenant; but them notwithstanding, God's covenant stands fast with him, with him for evermore. And good reason, if no fault can be found with Christ, who is the person that did strike hands with his Father upon our account and for us; to wit, to do what was meet should be found upon us when we came to appear before God by him.
And that God himself doth so understand this matter is evident; because he also, by his own act, giveth and imputeth to us that good that we never did, that righteousness which we never wrought out; yea, and for the sake of that transmitteth our sins unto Christ, as to one that had not only well satisfied for them, but could carry them so far, both from us and from God, that they should never again come to be charged on the committers, to death and damnation. (Rom 4:1-5) The Scriptures are so plentiful for this, that he must be a Turk, or a Jew, or an atheist that denies it. Besides, God's commanding that men should believe in his Son unto righteousness well enough proveth this thing, and the reason of this command doth prove it with an over and above; to wit, 'For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.' (2 Cor 5:19-21) Hence comes out that proclamation from God, at the rising again of Christ from the dead: 'Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.' (Acts 13:38,39)
If this be so, as indeed it is, then here lieth a great deal of this conclusion, 'he ever liveth to make intercession,' and of the demonstration of the certain salvation of him that cometh to God by him, 'seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.' For if Christ Jesus is a priest by covenant, and so abides as the covenant abides, and if, since the covenant is everlasting, his priesthood is unchangeable, then the man that cometh to God by him must needs be certainly saved; for if the covenant, the covenant of salvation, is not broken, none can show a reason why he that comes to Christ should be damned, or why the priesthood of Jesus Christ should cease. Hence, after the apostle had spoken of the excellency of his person and priesthood, he then shows that the benefit of the covenant of God remaineth with us, namely, that grace should be communicated unto us for his priesthood's sake, and that our sins and iniquities God would remember no more. (Heb 8:10-12; 10:16-22) Now, as I also have already hinted, if this covenant, of which the Lord Jesus is Mediator and High Priest, has in the bowels of it, not only grace and remission of sins, but a promise that we shall be partakers thereof, through the blood of his priesthood, for so it comes to us; then, why should not we have boldness, not only to come to God by him, but to enter also 'into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by that new and living way,' &c.
Second, But, further, this priesthood, as to the unchangeableness of it, is confirmed unto him 'with an oath, by him that said unto him, the Lord sware, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever.' This oath seems to me to be for the confirmation of the covenant, as it is worded before by Paul to the Galatians, (Gal 3:15-17), when he speaks of it with respect to that establishment that it also had on Christ's part by the sacrifice which he offered to God for us; yea, he then speaks of the mutual confirmation of it both by the Father and the Son. Now, I say, since, by this covenant he stands and abides a Priest, and since 'the Lord sware, and will not repent, saying, Thou art a priest for ever,' we are still further confirmed in the certain salvation of him that cometh to God by Christ.
The Lord, by swearing, confirmeth to Christ, and so to us in him, the immutability of his counsel, (Heb 6:16-18), and that he is utterly unchangeable in his resolutions 'to save them to the uttermost that come to God by Christ.' And this also shows that this covenant, and so the promise of remission of sins, is steadfast and unmovable. And it is worth your noting the manner and nature of this oath, 'The Lord sware, and will not repent.' It is as much as to say, What I have now sworn I bind me for ever to stand to, or, I determine never to revoke; and that is, 'That thou art a priest for ever.' Now, as was said before, since his priesthood stands by covenant, and this covenant of his priesthood is confirmed by this oath, it cannot be but that he that comes by him to God must be accepted of him; for should such a one be rejected, it must be either for the greatness of his sins, or for want of merit in the sacrifice he presented and urged, as to the merit of it, before the mercy-seat. But let the reason specified be what it will, the consequence falls harder upon the sacrifice of Christ than it can do anywhere else, and so also upon the covenant, and at last upon God himself, who has sworn, and will not repent, that he is a Priest for ever. I thus discourse, to show you what dangerous conclusions follow from a conceit that some that come to God by Christ shall not be saved, though 'he ever liveth to make intercession for them.' And this I have further to say, that the Lord's swearing, since the manner of the oath is such as it is, and that it also tended to establish to Christ his priesthood to be unchangeable, it declareth that, as to the excellency of his sacrifice, he is eternally satisfied in the goodness and merit of it; and that he will never deny him anything that he shall ask for at his hands for his sufferings' sake. For this oath doth not only show God's firm resolution to keep his part of the covenant, in giving to Christ that which was covenanted for by him, but it declareth that, in the judgment of God, Christ's blood is able to save any sinner, and that he will never put stop nor check to his intercession, how great soever the sinners be that at any time he shall intercede for; so that the demonstration is clearer and clearer, 'He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.'
Third, This unchangeableness of the priesthood of Christ dependeth also upon his own life: 'This man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.' (Heb 7:24) Now although, perhaps, at first much may not appear in this text, yet the words that we are upon take their ground from them. 'This man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood: wherefore he is able also'—that is, by his unchangeable priesthood—'to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.'
The life of Christ, then, is a ground of the lastingness of his priesthood, and so a ground of the salvation of them that come unto God by him: 'We shall be saved by his life.' (Rom 5:10) Wherefore, in another place, this his life is spoken of with great emphasis—the power of an endless life. 'He is made [a priest], not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.' (Heb 7:16) An endless life is, then, a powerful thing; and indeed two things are very considerable in it—1. That it is above death, and so above him that hath the power of death, the devil. 2. In that it capacitates him to be the last in his own cause, and so to have the casting voice.
1. We will speak to the first, and for the better setting of it forth we will show what life it is of which the apostle here speaks; and then how, as to life, it comes to be so advantageous, both with respect to his office of priesthood and us.
What life is it that is thus the ground of his priesthood? It is a life taken, his own life rescued from the power of the grave; a life that we had forfeited, he being our surety; and a life that he recovered again, he being the Captain of our salvation: I lay down my life that I may take it again: 'this commandment have I received of my Father.' (John 10:18) It is a life, then, that was once laid down as the price of man's redemption, and a life won, gained, taken, or recovered again, as the token or true effect of the completing, by so dying, that redemption; wherefore it is said again, 'In that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.' (Rom 6:10) He liveth as having pleased God by dying for our sins, as having merited his life by dying for our sins. Now if this life of his is a life merited and won by virtue of the death that he died, as Acts 2:24 doth clearly manifest; and if this life is the ground of the unchangeableness of this part of his priesthood, as we see it is, then it follows that this second part of his priesthood, which is called here intercession, is grounded upon the demonstrations of the virtue of his sacrifice, which is his life taken to live again; so, then, he holds this part of his priesthood, not by virtue of a carnal commandment, but by the power of an endless life; but by the power of a life rescued from death, and eternally exalted above all that any ways would yet assault it; for 'Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.' (Rom 6:9) Hence Christ brings in his life, the life that he won to himself by his death, to comfort John withal when he fainted under the view of that overcoming glory that he saw upon Christ in is visions of him at Patmos: 'And he laid his right hand upon me,' said he, 'saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth and was dead, and, behold, I am alive for evermore. Amen.' (Rev 1:17,18) Why should Christ bring in his life to comfort John, if it was not a life advantageous to him? But the advantageousness of it doth lie not merely in the being of life, but in that it was a life laid down for his sins, and a life taken up again for his justification; a life lost to ransom him, and a life won to save him; as also the text affirmeth, saying, 'He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.'
Again; it is yet more manifest that Christ receiving of his life again was the death and destruction of the enemy of his people; and to manifest that it was so, therefore he adds (after he had said, 'And, behold, I am alive for evermore. Amen'), 'And I have the keys of hell and of death.' I have the power over them; I have them under me; I tread them down by being a victor, a conqueror, and one that has got the dominion of life (for he now is the Prince of life), one that lives for evermore. Amen. Hence it is said again, He 'hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.' (2 Tim 1:10) He hath abolished death by his death (by death he destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil), and brought life (a very emphatical expression); and brought it from whence? From God, who raised him from the dead; and brought it to light, to our view and sight, by the word of the truth of the gospel.
So, then, the life that he now hath is a life once laid down as the price of our redemption; a life obtained and taken to him again as the effect of the merit that was in the laying down thereof; a life by the virtue of which death, and sin, and the curse is overcome; and so a life that is above them for ever. This is the life that he liveth— to wit, this meriting, purchasing, victorious life—and that he improveth while he ever so lives to make intercession for us.
This life, then, is a continual plea and argument with God for them that come to him by Christ, should he make no other intercession, but only show to God that he liveth; because his thus living saith, that he has satisfied for the sins of them that come unto God by him. It testifies, moreover, that those—to wit, death, the grave, and hell—are overcome by him for them; because indeed he liveth, and hath their keys. But now, add to life, to a life meritorious, intercession, or an urging of this meritorious life by way of prayer for his, and against all those that seek to destroy them, since they themselves also have been already overcome by his death, and what an encouraging consideration is here for all them that come to God by him, to hope for life eternal. But,
2. Let us speak a word to the second head—namely, for that his living for ever capacitates him to be the last in his own cause, and to have the casting voice, and that is an advantage next to what is chiefest.
His cause; what is his cause? but that the death that he died when he was in the world was and is of merit sufficient to secure all those from hell, or, as the text has it, to save them that come unto God by him, to save them to the uttermost. Now, if this cause be faulty, why doth he live? yea, he liveth by the power of God, by the power of God towards us; or with a respect to our welfare, for he liveth to make intercession, intercession against Satan our accuser, for us. (2 Cor 13:4) Besides, he liveth before God, and to God, and that after he had given his life a ransom for us. What can follow more clearly from this, but that amends were made by him for those souls for whose sins he suffered upon the tree? Wherefore, since his Father has given him his life and favour, and that after he died for our sins, it cannot be thought but that the life he now liveth, is a life that he received as the effect of the merit of his passion for us.
God is just, and yet Christ liveth, and yet Christ liveth in heaven! God is just, and yet Christ our passover liveth there, do what our foes can to the contrary!
And this note, by the way, that though the design of Satan against us, in his labouring continually to accuse us to God, and to prevail against our salvation, seems to terminate here, yet indeed it is also laid against the very life of Christ, and that his priesthood might be utterly overthrown; and, in conclusion, that God also might be found unjust in receiving of such whose sins have not been satisfied for, and so whose souls are yet under the power of the devil. For he that objects against him for whom Christ intercedes, objects against Christ and his merits; and he that objects against Christ's intercession, objects against God, who has made him a priest for ever. Behold you, therefore, how the cause of God, of Christ, and of the souls that come to God by him are interwoven; they are all wrapt up in one bottom. Mischief one, and you mischief all; overthrow that soul, and you overthrow his intercessor; and overthrow him, and you overthrow even him that made him a priest for ever. For the text is without restriction: 'He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him.' He saith not, now and then one, or sinners of an inferior rank in sin, but them that come to God by him, how great soever their transgressions are, as is clear in that it addeth this clause, 'to the uttermost.' 'He is able to save them to the uttermost.' But if he were not, why did the King send, yea, come and loose him, and let him go free; yea, admit him into his presence; yea, make him Lord over all his people, and deliver all things into his hand?
But he liveth, he ever liveth, and is admitted to make intercession, yea, is ordained of God so to do; therefore he is 'able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him.' This, therefore, that he liveth, seeing he liveth to God and his judgment, and in justice is made so to do, it is chiefly with reference to his life as Mediator for their sakes for whom he makes intercession. He liveth to make intercession. And in that it is said he liveth ever, what is it but that he must live, and outlive all his enemies; for he must live, yea, reign, till all his enemies are put under his feet. (1 Cor 15:25) Yea, his very intercessions must live till they are all dead and gone. For the devil and sin must not live for ever, not for ever to accuse. Time is coming when due course of law will have an end, and all cavillers will be cast over the bar. But then and after that, Christ our high priest shall live, and so shall his intercessions; yea, and also all them for whom he makes intercession, seeing they come unto God by him.
Now if he lives, and outlives all, and if his intercession has the casting voice, since also he pleadeth in his prayers a sufficient merit before a just God, against a lying, malicious, clamorous, and envious adversary, he must needs carry the cause, the cause for himself and his people, to the glory of God and their salvation. So, then, his life and intercession must prevail, there can be no withstanding of it. Is not this, then, a demonstration clear as the sun, that they that come to God by him shall be saved, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them?
Fourth, The duration of Christ's intercession, as it is grounded upon a covenant betwixt God and him, upon an oath also, and upon his life, so it is grounded upon the validity of his merits. This has been promiscuously touched before, but since it is an essential to the lastingness of his intercession, it will be to the purpose to lay it down by itself.
Intercession, then, I mean Christ's intercession, is, that those for whom he died with full intention to save them, might be brought into that inheritance which he hath purchased for them. Now, then, his intercession must, as to length and breadth, reach no further than his merits, for he may not pray for those for whom he died not. Indeed, if we take in the utmost extent of his death, then we must beware, for his death is sufficient to save the whole world. But his intercessions are kept within a narrower compass. The altar of burnt-offerings was a great deal bigger than the altar of incense, which was a figure of Christ's intercession. (Exo 27:1, 30:1, Rev 8:3) But this, I say, his intercession is for those for whom he died with full intention to save them; wherefore it must be grounded upon the validity of his sufferings. And, indeed, his intercession is nothing else, that I know of, but a presenting of what he did in the world for us unto God, and pressing the value of it for our salvation. The blood of sprinkling is that which speaketh meritoriously, (Heb 12:24); it is by the value of that that God measureth out and giveth unto us grace and life eternal; wherefore Christ's intercessions also must be ordered and governed by merit; 'By his own blood he entered into the holy place, having [before by it] obtained eternal redemption for us,' for our souls. (Heb 9:12)
Now, if by blood he entered in thither, by blood he must also make intercession there. His blood made way for his entrance thither, his blood must make way for our entrance thither. Though here, again, we must beware; for his blood did make way for him as Priest to intercede; his blood makes way for us, as for those redeemed by it, that we might be saved. This, then, shows sufficiently the worth of the blood of Christ, even his ever living to make intercession for us; for the merit of his blood lasts all the while that he doth, and for all them for whom he ever liveth to make intercession. Oh, precious blood! oh, lasting merit!
Blood must be pleaded in Christ's intercession, because of justice, and to stop the mouth of the enemy, and also to encourage us to come to God by him. Justice, since that is of the essence of God, must concur in the salvation of the sinner; but how can that be, since it is said at first, 'In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die,' unless a plenary satisfaction be made for sin to the pleasing of the mighty God. The enemy also would else never let go his objecting against our salvation. But now God has declared that our salvation is grounded on justice, because merited by blood. And though God needed not to have given his Son to die for us that he might save us, and stop the mouth of the devil in so doing, yet this way of salvation has done both, and so it is declared, we are 'justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past - to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.' (Rom 3:24,25) So, then, here is also a ground of intercession, even the blood shed for us before.
And that you may see it yet more for your comfort, God did, at Christ's resurrection, to show what a price he set upon his blood, bid him ask of him the heathen, and he would give him the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. (Psa 2:8) His blood, then, has value enough in it to ground intercession upon; yea, there is more worth in it than Christ will plead or improve for men by way of intercession. I do not at all doubt but that there is virtue enough in the blood of Christ, would God Almighty so apply it, to save the souls of the whole world. But it is the blood of Christ, his own blood; and he may do what he will with his own. It is also the blood of God, and he also may restrain its merits, or apply it as he sees good. But the coming soul, he shall find and feel the virtue thereof, even the soul that comes to God by Christ; for he is the man concerned in its worth, and he ever liveth to make intercession for him. Now, seeing the intercession of Christ is grounded upon a covenant, an oath, a life, and also upon the validity of his merits, it must of necessity be prevalent, and so drive down all opposition before it. This, therefore, is the last part of the text, and that which demonstrateth that he that comes to God by Christ shall be saved, seeing 'he ever liveth to make intercession for him.'
I have now done what I intend upon this subject when I have drawn a few inferences from this also.
[Inferences from the certainty of benefit from Christ's Intercession.]
First, then, hence I infer that the souls saved by Christ are in themselves in a most deplorable condition. Oh, what ado, as I may say, is here before one sinner can be eternally saved! Christ must die; but that is not all; the Spirit of grace must be given to us; but that is not all;—but Christ must also ever live to make intercession for us. And as he doth this for all, so he doth it for each one. He interceded for me, before I was born, that I might in time, at the set time, come into being. After that, he also made intercession for me, that I might be kept from hell in the time of my unregenerate state, until the time of my call and conversion. Yet again, he then intercedes that the work now begun in my soul may be perfected, not only to the day of my dissolution, but unto the day of Christ; that is, until he comes to judgment. (Phil 1:6) So that, as he began to save me before I had being, so he will go on to save me when
I am dead and gone, and will never leave off to save me until he has set me before his face for ever.
But, I say, what a deplorable condition has our sin put us into, that there must be all this ado to save us. Oh, how hardly is sin got out of the soul when once it is in! Blood takes away the guilt; inherent grace weakens the filth; but the grave is the place, at the mouth of which, sin, as to the being of sin, and the saved, must have a perfect and final parting. (Isa 38:10) Not that the grave of itself is of a sin-purging quality, but God will follow Satan home to his own door; for the grave is the door or gate of hell, and will there, where the devil thought to have swallowed us up, even there by the power of his mercy make us, at our coming thence, shine like the sun, and look like angels. Christ, all this while, ever liveth to make intercession for us.
Second, Hence, also, I infer that as Satan thought he struck home at first, when he polluted our nature, and brought our souls to death, so he is marvellous loath to lose us, and to suffer his lawful captives now to escape his hands. He is full of fire against us, full of the fire of malice, as is manifest—
1. Not only by his first attempt upon our first parents, but behold, when the Deliverer came into the world, how he roared. He sought his death while he was an infant; he hated him in his cradle; he persecuted him while he was but a bud and blossom. (Matt 2) When he was come to riper years, and began to manifest his glory, yet, lest the world should be taken with him, how politicly did this old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, work? He possessed people that he had a devil, and was mad, and a deceiver; that he wrought his miracles by magic art and by the devil; that the prophets spake nothing of him, and that he sought to overthrow the government which was God's ordinance. And, not being contented with all this, he pursued him to the death, and could never rest until he had spilt his blood upon the ground like water. Yea, so insatiable was his malice, that he set the soldiers to forge lies about him to the denial of his resurrection, and so managed that matter that what they said has become a stumblingblock to the Jews to this very day. (John 10:20, 7:12, Matt 9:34, John 7:52, Luke 23:2, Matt 28:11-15)
2. When he was ascended to God, and so was out of his reach, yet how busily went he about to make war with his people. (Rev 12) Yea, what horrors and terrors, what troubles and temptations, has God's church met with from that day till now! Nor is he content with persecutions and general troubles; but oh! how doth he haunt the spirits of the Christians with blasphemies and troubles, with darkness and frightful fears; sometimes to their distraction, and often to the filling the church with outcries.
3. Yet his malice is in the pursuit, and now his boldness will try what it can do with God, either to tempt him to reject his Son's mediation, or to reject them that come to God by him for mercy. And this is one cause among many why 'he ever liveth to make intercession for them that come to God by him.'
4. And if he cannot overthrow, if he knows he cannot overthrow them, yet he cannot forbear but vex and perplex them, even as he did their Lord, from the day of their conversion to the day of their ascension to glory.
Third, Hence I infer that the love of Christ to his, is an unwearied love, and it must needs be so; an undaunted love, and it must needs be so. Who but Jesus Christ would have undertaken such a task as the salvation of the sinner is, if Jesus Christ had passed us by? It is true which is written of him, 'He shall not fail, nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth,' &c. If he had not set his 'face like a flint,' the greatness of this work would surely have daunted his mind. (Isa 42:1, 50:6-7)
For do but consider what sin is from which they must be saved; do but consider what the devil and the curse is from which they must be saved; and it will easily be concluded by you that it is he that full rightly deserveth to have his name called Wonderful, and his love such as verily passeth knowledge.
Consider, again, by what means these souls are saved, even with the loss of his life, and, together with it, the loss of the light of his Father's face. I pass by here and forbear to speak of the matchless contradiction of sinners which he endured against himself, which could not but be a great grief, or, as himself doth word it, a breaking of heart unto him; but all this did not, could not, hinder.
Join to all this, his everlasting intercession for us, and the effectual management thereof with God for us; and, withal, the infinite number of times that we by sin provoke him to spue us out of his mouth, instead of interceding for us, and the many times also that his intercession is repeated by the repeating of our faults, and this love still passes knowledge, and is by us to be wondered at. What did, or what doth, the Lord Jesus see in us to be at all this care, and pains, and cost to save us? What will he get of us by the bargain but a small pittance of thanks and love? for so it is, and ever will be, when compared with his matchless and unspeakable love and kindness towards us.
Oh, how unworthy are we of this love! How little do we think of it! But, most of all, the angels may be astonished to see how little we are affected with that of which we pretend to know. But neither can this prevail with him to put us out of the scroll in which all the names of them are written for whom he doth make intercession to God. Let us cry, Grace, grace unto it.
Fourth, Hence again I infer that they shall be saved that come to God by Christ, when the devil and sin have done what they can to hinder it. This is clear, for that the strife is now, who shall be lord of all, whether Satan, the prince of this world, or Christ Jesus, the Son of God; or which can lay the best claim to God's elect, he that produceth their sins against them, or he that laid down his heart's blood a price of redemption for them. Who, then, shall condemn when Christ has died, and doth also make intercession? Stand still, angels, and behold how the Father divideth his Son 'a portion with the great'; and how he divideth 'the spoil with the strong: because he hath poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors, and bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.' (Isa 53:12) The grace of God and blood of Christ will, before the end of the world, make brave work among the sons of men! They shall come to a wonderment to God by Christ, and be saved by a wonderment for Christ's sake—'Behold these shall come from far: and lo, these from the north and from the west, and these from the land of Sinim.' (Isa 49:12)
Behold, these, and these, and these shall come, and lo, these, and these, and these from the land of Sinim! This is to denote the abundance that shall come in to God by Christ towards the latter end of the world—namely, when Antichrist is gone to bed in the sides of the pit's mouth; then shall nations come in and be saved, and shall walk in the light of the Lord. But, I say, what encouragement would there be for sinners thus to do if that the Lord Jesus by his intercession were not able to save 'even to the uttermost' them that come unto God by him.
Fifth, hence again I infer that here is ground for confidence to them that come to God by Christ. Confidence to the end becomes us who have such a High Priest, such an Intercessor as Jesus Christ; who would dishonour such a Jesus by doubting that, that all the devils in hell cannot discourage by all their wiles? He is a tried stone, he is a sure foundation; a man may confidently venture his soul in his hand, and not fear but he will bring him safe home. Ability, love to the person, and faithfulness to trust committed to him, will do all; and all these are with infinite fullness in him. He has been a Saviour these four thousand years already—two thousand before the law, two thousand in the time of the law— besides the sixteen hundred years he has in his flesh continued to make intercession for them that come unto God by him. Yet the day is to come, yea, will never come, that he can be charged with any fault, or neglect of the salvation of any of them that at any time have come unto God by him. What ground, then, is here for confidence that Christ will make a good end with me, since I come unto God by him, and since he ever liveth to make intercession for me. Let me, then, honour him, I say, by setting on his head the crown of his undertakings for me, by the believing that he is able to save me 'even to the uttermost, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for me.'
Sixth, Hence also I infer that Christ ought to bear and wear the glory of our salvation for ever. He has done it, he has wrought it out. 'Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.' Do not sacrifice to your own inventions, do not give glory to the work of your own hands. Your reformations, your works, your good deeds, and all the glory of your doing, cast them at the feet of this High Priest, and confess that glory belongs unto him—'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.' (Rev 5:12) 'And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his Father's house, and offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons.' (Isa 22:24) Oh! the work of our redemption by Christ is such as wanteth not provocation to us to bless, and praise, and glorify Jesus Christ. Saints, set to the work and glorify him in your body and in your souls; him who has bought us with a price, and glorify God and the Father by him. (1 Cor 6:20)