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count of his miraculous conception, and his resurrection from the dead; but he is the Son of God in a higher sense. He is “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made." How he was begotten we neither know, nor need to know; but that he as properly possesses the nature of God, as a child of man is possessed of the nature of man, is most clearly revealed in the word of God.
3. Our high priest has passed into the heavens. The open air is called heaven; the region of the stars is also called heaven; but the third heaven, to which the apostle Paul was caught up, is the heaven into which Jesus has passed. As the jewish high priest entered once a year into the holy of holies in the temple, to present before the Lord the blood of the yearly atonement, so Jesus has entered the holy place to present his blood before the Father on our account.
II. THIS SHOULD ENCOURAGE US TO HOLD FAST OUR PROFESSION,
i. We have a profession. We profess to have renounced the world, to believe in Jesus, and to love and obey God. We profess to be men of another world, and to have our treasure and our hearts in heaven. This is a high profession, and far more honourable than any other. Some pretend to conceal their religion, for fear of appearing hypocrites, when probably they have none to conceal; but, a real christian, comes boldly forward, and professes his Lord before men.
2. We must hold fast our profession. A mere profession is easily held fast; but the true idea of holding fast our profession, is, that we hold fast those things which we profess. We may naturally suppose that the primitive. christians, continually ext posed to insults, losses, banishment, and death, would not hold fast a profession after they had lost the possession of pure religion. The devil may tempt, lust may entice, and the world may frown; but let us hold fast. If we give way, we shall perish; if we hold fast, we shall be saved.
III. THE COMPASSION OF OUR HIGH PRIEST IS A FURTHER ENCOURAGEMENT TO HOLD FAST.
1. Our high priest is touched with a feeling of our infirmities. Here we have two negatives which amount to a positive assertion. “We have not one that cannot," is the same as if it had been said, we have one that can. The word infirmity means both weakness and affliction. Our high priest knows both; for his eyes are ever upon us.
He is touched with a feeling of
our infirmities; he commisserates our case, and sympathizes with us.
How is a tender parent touched with the sufferings of a child? Judge, ye fathers and mothers, who have suffering children. Jesus is thus touched when his followers suffer. When we are touched with a feeling of the sufferings of others, we hasten to their relief; and Jesus hastens to our relief. This is what is meant; for we cannot suppose that our high priest has now the painful feelings of humanity; but he has both power and willingness to come to our help. O christians, how great is this encourage ment! There may not be a man on earth who either knows your infirmities, or feels for you when they bów your spirits down; but you have a friend in heaven who knows all you suffer, who feels for you, and who will afford delivering grace.
2. He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. Are we tried with poverty? He had not, where to lay his head. Are we despised of men? He was both despised and rejected. Are we tempted by the devil? The devil tempted him in the wilderness of Judea. But temptation and sin are very different things. Sin is a transgression of the law; and if we do not transgress, whatever our temptations are, we remain innocent. Jesus was tempted;
but he was without sin. His nature was pure, and his obedience was perfect. Let us imitate him, and though we cannot expect a deliverance from temptation, while we remain in this world, yet let us seek a full deliverance from sin.
IV. HAVING SUCH A GREAT HIGH PRIEST WE MAY GO BOLDLY TO A THRONE OF GRACE, WHERE WE SHALL OBTAIN MERCY AND FIND GRACE TO HELP IN TIME OF NEED.
1. A throne of grace is set up. God, as the governor of all created beings, sits upon a throne of glory, which the weak eyes of men cannot now behold. A throne of awful justice will be set up in the day of judgment; but now our God is seated upon a throne of grace. The idea conveyed by this representation, is, that God is graciously disposed towards his rebellious subjects. God might command us to appear before a throne of justice, to receive that sentence of condemnation which our sins deserve. Were he to do so, we should approach with dreadful fear and terror. But, through a blessed Mediator, mercy is proclaimed, and the worst of offenders may obtain reconciliation.
2, We may come boldly to the throne of grace. All our prayers, whether private or public, should be addressed to God upon this throne. Let us come to it every day, and every hour. Coming boldly does not imply. impudence and audacity, but humble confidence. Let us not be afraid. Though we are sinners we have nothing to fear in coming to this gracious throne, It was set up for sinners. We go, not to a sin-avenging God, but to a sin-pardoning God, who waits with open arms to receive returning sinners.
3. We go to the throne of grace for mercy. Mercy is ever needful. The children of God have need of mercy. They may say daily, “ Forgive us our trespasses.
When we seek mercy at this throne, we are always successful. The words are not, come and ask for mercy, though that is implied; but come and obtain mercy. The apostle had no doubt of mercy being obtained by all who would humbly go to a merciful God. Go then, and he will blot out all your sins, and pardon all your iniquities.
4. We go to this throne for grace to help in time of need. Though there is no time in which we do not need the grace of God, yet there are some particular times in which we need it more than at other times. Thus when overwhelming temptations come—when terrible storms of persecution arise when poverty, hunger, and nakedness are our lot-when pain and