Copyright
John Bunyan.

The works of John Bunyan (Volume 1) online

. (page 156 of 182)
Online LibraryJohn BunyanThe works of John Bunyan (Volume 1) → online text (page 156 of 182)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


footstool. Jn. xvi. 10.

This is that for the sake of which all are made
welcome, and embraced and kissed, forgiven and
saved, that come unto God by him. This is that
righteousness, that mantle spotless, that Paul so
much desired to be found wrapt in ; for he knew
that being found in that he must be presented
thereby to God a glorious man, not having spot,
or wrinkle, or any such thing. This therefore is
another of the Lord Jesus's legal qualifications, as
preparatory to the executing of his high-priest's
office in heaven. But of this something has been
spoken before ; and therefore I shall not enlarge
upon it here.

Third. When the high-priest under the law was I

VOL. I.



thus accomplished by a legal call, and a garment
suitable to his office, then again there was another
thing that must be done, in order to his regular
execution of his office ; and that was, he must be
consecrated, and solemnly ushered thereunto by
certain offerings, first presented to God for himself.
This you have mention made of in the Levitical
law ; you have there first commanded, that, in order
to the high-priest's approaching the holiest for the
people, there must first be an offering of consecra-
tion for himself, and this is to succeed his call, and
the finishing of his holy garments. Ex. xxix. 5-7, 19-22.
For this ceremony was not to be observed until his
garments were made and put upon him ; also the
blood of the ram of consecration was to be sprinkled
upon him, his garments, &c, that he might be
hallowed, and rightly set apart for the high-priest's
office. Le. viii. The Holy Ghost, I think, thus
signifying that Jesus the Son of God, our great
high-priest, was not only to sanctify the people
with his blood; but first, by blood must to that
work be sanctified himself; 'For their sakes,' saith
he, ' I sanctify myself, that they also might be
sanctified through the truth.' Jn. xvii. 19.

But it may be asked, When was this done to
Christ, or what sacrifice of consecration had he
precedent to the offering up of himself for our sins ?
I answer, It was done in the garden when he was
washed in his own blood, when his sweat was in
great drops of blood, falling down to the ground.
For there it was he was sprinkled with his blood,
not only the tip of his ear, his thumb, and toe, but
there he was washed all over; there therefore was
his most solemn consecration to his office ; at least,
so I think. And this, as Aaron's was, was done
by Moses ; it was Moses that sprinkled Aaron's
garments. It was by virtue of an agony also that
his bloody sweat was produced ; and what was the
cause of that agony, but the apprehension of the
justice and curse of Moses's law, which now he was
to undergo for the sins of the people.

With this sacrifice he then subjoined another,
■which was also preparatory to the great acts of his
high-priest's office, which he was afterwards to
perform for us. And that was his drink-offering,
his tears, which were offered to God with strong
cries. Ex. xxix. 40. Nu. xxviii. 7. For this was the place
and time that in a special manner he caused his
strong wine to be poured out, and that he drank
his tears as water. This is called his ullering, his
offering for his own acceptance with God. After
' he had offered up prayers and supplications, with
strong crying and tears unto him that was able to
save him,' he 'was heard' for his piety, fir his
acceptance as to this office, for he merited bis office
as well as his people, nc v. 7. Wherefore it fol-
lows, ' and being made perfect,' that is, by a com-
plete performance of all that was necessary for the
4, p



fir,c



THE SAINTS' PRIVILEGE AND PROPIT,



orderly attaining of his office as high-priest, 'he
beeame the author of eternal salvation, unto all
them that obey him.' He. r. ft

For roar better understanding of me as to this,
Bind that I speak of a twofold perfection in Christ;
one as to his person, the other as to his perform-
ances. In the perfection of his person, two things
•re to be considered; first, the perfection of his
humanity, as to the nature of it; it was at first
appearing, wholly without pollution of sin, and so
completely perfect; but yet this humanity was to
have joined to this another perfection ; and that
was a perfection of stature and age. Hence it is
said that as to his humanity he increased, that
is, grew more perfect. For this his increasing was,
in order to a perfection, not of nature, simply
as nature, but of stature. 'Jesus increased in
wisdom and stature.' Lu.ii. 52. The paschal lamb
was a lamb the first day it was yeaned ; but it was
not to be sacrificed until it attained such a perfec-
tion of age as by the law of God was appointed to
it. Ex. xii. 5, 6. It was necessary, therefore, that
Christ as to his person should be perfect in both
these senses. And indeed ' in due time Christ
died for the ungodly. ' Ro. v. c.

Again, as there was a perfection of person, or of
nature and personage in Christ, so there was to be
a perfection of performances in him also. Hence
it is said, that Jesus increased in favour with God;
Lu. iL 52. that is, by perfecting of his obedience to
him for us. Now, his performances were such as
had a respect to his bringing in of righteousness
for us in the general ; or such as respected pre-
parations for his sacrifice as a high-priest. But
let them be applied to both, or to this or that in
particular; it cannot be, that while the most part
of his performances were wanting, he should be as
perfect as when he said, • The things concerning
me have an end.' Lu. xxii. 37.

Not but that every act of his obedience was
perfect, and carried in it a length and breadth
proportionable to that law by which it was de-
manded. Nor was there at any time in his obedi-
ence that which made to interfere one command-
ment with another. He did all things well, and
bo stood in the favour of God. But yet one act
not actually all, though virtually any one of
his actions might carry in it a merit sufficient to
aatiary and quiet the law. Hence, as I said, it is
told OB, n.,t only that he is the Son of God's love,
but that he increased in favour with God; that is,
by a -..in- on in doing, by a continuing to do that
always that pleased the God of heaven.

A man that pays money at the day appointed,

billing, or one pound, and

h not until he hath in current coin told

over the whole sum to the creditor, does well at

the beginning ; but the Bret shilling, or first pound,



not being the full debt, cannot be counted or
reckoned the whole, but a part ; yet is it not an
imperfect part, nor doth the creditor find fault at
all, because there is but so much now told ; but
concludes that all is at hand, and accepteth of this
first, as a first-fruits: so Christ, when he came
into the world, began to pay, and so continued to
do, even until he had paid the whole debt, and so
increased in favour with God. There was theu a
gradual performance of duties, as to the number
of them, by our Lord when he was in the world,
and consequently a time wherein it might be said
that Christ had not, as to act, done all, as was
appointed him to do, to do as preparatory to that
great thing which he was to do for us. Where-
fore, in conclusion, he is said to be made perfect,
' and being made perfect, he became the author
of eternal salvation to all them that obey him.'

He. v. 9.

It will be objected, then, that at some time it
might be said of Christ that he was imperfect in
his obedience. Answ. There was a time wherein
it might have been said, Christ had not done all
that he was to do for us on earth. But it doth not
follow thereupon, that he therefore was imperfect
in his obedience ; for that all his acts of obedience
were done in their proper time, and when they
should, according to the will of God. The timing
of performances adds or diminishes as to the per-
fection of obedience, or the imperfection of it. Had
these Jews killed the passover three days sooner
than the time appointed, they had transgressed.
Ex. xii. 6. Had the Jews done that on the fourth
day to Jericho, which was to have been done on
the seventh day, they had sinned. Jos. vi. io-ic Duty
is beautiful in its time, and the Son of God observed
the time. * I must,' saith he, ' work the works of
him that sent me, while it is day,' that is, in their
seasons. You must keep in mind that we speak
all this while of that part of Christ's perfection,
as to duties, which stood in the number of per-
formances, and not in the nature or quality of acts.
And I say, as to the thing in hand, Christ had
duty to do, with respect to his office as high-priest
for us, which immediately concerned himself; such
duties as gave him a legal admittance unto the
execution thereof; such duties, the which, had they
not orderly been done, the want of them would
have made him an undue approacher of the pre-
sence of God, as to that. Wherefore, as I said |
afore, by what he did thereabout, he consecrated,
or sanctified himself for that work, according to
God, and was accepted for his piety, or in that he
feared and did orderly do what he should do.

Fourth. The next thing preparatory to the exe-
cution of this office of high-priest was the sacrifice
itself. The sacrifice, you know, must, as to the
being of it, needs precede the offering of it ; it



OR THE THRONE OF GRACE.



667



must be before it can be offered. Nor could Christ
have been an high-priest, had he not had a sacri-
fice to offer. ' For every high-priest is ordained
to offer gifts and sacrifices ; wherefore it is of ne-
cessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. '
Tie. viii. 3. And I bring in the sacrifice as the last
thing preparatory, not that it was last, as to being,
for it was before he could be capable of doing any
of the afore-named duties, being his body, in and
by which he did them, but it was the last as to
fitness ; it was not to be a sacrifice before the time,
the time appointed of the Father ; for since he had
prepared it to that end, it was fit as to the time
of its being offered, that that should be when God
thought best also. He. x. 5.

Behold then, here is the high-priest with his
sacrifice ; and behold again, how he comes to offer
it. He comes to offer his burnt-offering at the call
of God; he comes to do it in his priestly garments,
consecrated and sanctified in his own blood ; he
comes with blood and tears, or by water and blood,
and offereth his sacrifice, himself a sacrifice unto
God for the sin of the world ; and that too at a
time when God began to be weary of the service
and sacrifices of all the world. 'Wherefore when
he cometh into the Avorld, he saith, Sacrifice and
offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou
prepared me,' thou hast fitted me; 'in burnt-
offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no
pleasure ; then said I, Lo I come, in the volume
of the book it is written of me, to do thy will,

God.' He.x. 5-7.

[Christ the sacrifice as ivell as the high-jmest, and
how he offered it.]

Thus you see our high-priest proceeded to the
execution of his priestly office ; and now we are
come to his sacrifice, we will consider a little of
the parts thereof, and how he offered, and pleads
the same. The burnt-offering for sin had two parts,
the flesh and the fat, which fat is called the fat of
the inwards, of the kidneys, and the like. Le. Hi.
12-I6. Answerable to this, the sacrifice of Christ
had two parts, the body and the soul. The body
is the flesh, and his soul the fat ; that inward part
that must not by any means be kept from the fire.
Is. liii. 10. For without the burning of the fat, the
burnt-offering and sin-offering, both which was a
figure of the sacrifice of our high-priest, was
counted imperfect, and so not acceptable.

And it is observable, that in these kind of offer-
ings, when they were to be burned, the fat and
the head must be laid and be burned together ;
and the priest ' shall cut it into his pieces with his
head and his fat ; and the priest shall lay them in
order on the wood that is on the fire which is upon
the altar.' Le.i.12. To signify, methinks, the feeling
sense that this sacrifice of his body and soul should
have of the curse of God due to sin, all the while



that it suffered for sin. And therefore it is from
this that this sacrifice has the name of burnt-
offering, it is the burnt-offering for the burning,
because of the burning upon the altar all night,
until the morning; and the fire of the altar shall
be burning in it.

The fat made the flame to increase and to as-
cend ; wherefore God speaks affectionately of the
fat, saying, The fat of mine offerings. And again,
' He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall
be satisfied. ' is. liu. 10-12. The soul-groans, the
soul-cries, the soul-conflicts that the Son of God
had, together with his soul-submission to his Fa-
ther's will, when he was made a sacrifice for sin,
did doubtless flame bright, ascend high, and cast
out a sweet savour unto the nostrils of God, whose
justice was now appeasing for the sin of men.

His flesh also was part of this sacrifice, and was
made to feel that judgment of God for sin that it
Avas capable of. And it was capable of feeling
much, so long as natural life, and so, bodily sense,
remained. It also began to feel with the soul,
by reason of the union that was betwixt them both;
the soul felt, and the body bled ; the soul was in
an agony, and the body sweat blood ; the soul
wrestled with the judgment and curse of the law,
and the body, to show its sense and sympathy,
sent out dolorous cries, and poured out rivers of
tears before God. We will not here at large
speak of the lashes, of the crown of thorns, of how
his face was bluft* with blows and blood; also
how he was wounded, pierced, and what pains he
felt while life lasted, as he suffered for our sins ;
though these things are also prefigured in the old
law, by the nippiug or wringing of the head, the
cutting of the sacrifice in pieces, and burning it in
the fire. Le. i. Now, you must know, that as the
high-priest was to offer his sacrifice, so he was
to bring the blood thereof to the mercy-seat or
throne of grace, where now our Jesus is ; he was
to offer it at the door of the tabernacle, and to
carry the blood within the veil ; of both which a
little.

[Christ a willing and an effectual sacrifice.]

1. He was to offer it, and how? Not grudg-
ingly, nor as by compulsion, but of a voluntary
will and cheerful mind: 'If his offering be a burnt-
sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without
blemish ; he shall offer it of his own voluntary will.'
Le. i. 3. Thus did Christ when he offered up him-
self, as is manifest by that which follows. (1.) He
offered a male, 'himself,' without blemish. He.vU.27.
(2.) He gave himself a ransom ; he 'gave his life
a ransom.' lut. xx, 2s. (3.) He laid down his life of
himself. Jn. x. is. Lu. xii. 5. (4.) He longed for the
day of his death, that he might die to redeem his



* Exposed to violence— blindfolded or hoodwinked.— Ed.






THE SAINTS' PRIVILEGE AND PROFIT,



all



people (5.) Nor was ,1C cvcr s0 J°- vfl11 in a11 ,us
life, that we read of, as when his sufferings grew
; then he takes the sacrament of his body and
to hi 8 own hands, and with thanksgiving
lira it among his disciples; then he sings an
hymn, then he rejoices, then ho comes with a 'Lo,
I come.' the heart, the great heart, that Jesus
bad for us to do us good ! lie did it with all
-ire of his soul.
L'. lie did it, not only voluntarily, and of a free
will, but of love and affection to the life of his ene-
mies. Had he done thus for the life of his friends,
it had heen much ; but since he did it out of love
to the life of his enemies, that is much more.
' Scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet
peradventurc for a good man some would even dare
to die ; but God commended his love toward us, in
that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.'

llo. v. 7, 8.

3. lie did it without relinquishment of mind,
when he was in: no discouragement disheartened
him ; cry and bleed he did, yea, roar by reason of
the troubles of his soul, but his mind was fixed ;
his Father sware and did not repent, that he should
he his priest ; and he vowed, and said he would
not repent that he had threatened to be the plague
and death of death. Ho. xiH. 13, U.

4. He did it effectually and to purpose: he hath
stopped the mouth of the law with blood ; he hath
so pacified justice, that it now can forgive; he
hath carried sin away from before the face of God,
and set us quit in his sight ; he hath destroyed the
devil, abolished death, and brought life and immor-
tality to light through the gospel; he hath wrought
such a change in the world by what he has done
for them that believe, that all things work together
for their good, from thenceforward and for ever.

[CJirist the altar.]

I should now come to the second part of the
office of this high-priest, and speak to that ; as
also to those things that were preparatory unto his
executing it ; but first, I think convenient a little
to treat of the altar also upon which this sacrifice
was offered to God.

Some, 1 conceive, have thought the altar to be

cross on which the body of Christ was cruci-

:. when he gave himself an offering for sin; but

they are greatly deceived, for he also himself was

the altar through which he offered himself; and

this is one of the treasures of wisdom which are

hid in him, and of which the world and Antichrist

are utterly ignorant. 1 touched this in one hint

before, hut now a little more express. The altar

is always -renter than the gift; and since the gift

was the body and BOUl of Christ— for so saith the

w himself for our sins' — the altar

most he something else than a sorry bit of wood,

than a cursed tree. Whcreforo 1 will say to



such, as one wiser than Solomon said to the Jews,
when they superstitiated the gift, in counting it
more honourable than the altar, ' Ye fools, and
blind, for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar
that sanctifieth the gift?' Mat.rriii. is, 19.

If the altar be greater than the gift, and yet the
o-Ift so great a thing as the very humanity of Christ,
can it — I will now direct my speech to the greatest
f 00 l — can that greater thing be the cross ? Is,
was the cross, the wooden cross, the cursed tree,
that some worship, greater than the gift, to wit,
than the sacrifice which Christ offered, when ho
gave himself for our sins ! idolatry, blas-
phemy ! *

Quest. But what then was the altar i Answ. The
divine nature of Christ, that Eternal Spirit, by and
in the assistance of which he ' offered himself with-
out spot to God ;' he, through the Eternal Spirit
' offered himself.' He. ix. u.

1. And it must be that, because, as was said,
the altar is greater than the gift; but there is
nothing but Christ's divine nature greater than his
human ; to be sure, a sorx*y bit of wood, a tree,
the stock of a tree, is not.

2. It must be this, because the text says plainly
' the altar sanctifies the gift,' that is, puts worth
and virtue into it; but was it the tree, or the God-
head of Christ, that put virtue and efficacy into
this sacrifice that he offered to God for us ? If
thou canst but tell thy fingers, judge.

3. The altar was it of old that was to bear up
the sacrifice until it was consumed; and with refer-
ence to the sacrifice under consideration, the tree
could not bear up that ; for our sacrifice being a
man, consisting of soul and body, that which could
bear him up in his suffering condition, must be that

* Protestants can have little idea of the idolatry used in
the Church of Rome. Something may be gathered from the
following directions, given in a very beautiful office for Good
Friday, corrected by royal authority, in conformity with the
breviary and missal of our holy father Pope Urban VIII.,
printed at Paris by Posset : —

'The priest having retired a little behind the altar, the
deacon takes the cross (a plain wooden cross without the
figure), covered with a veil, and gives it to the priest, who
turns to the people and shows the top of the cross, before
which they all prostrate themselves and kiss the ground, sing-
ing Ecce liijnum crucis. He then removes the veil from the
right limb of the cross, and lifts it up, singing, still louder,
Behold the wood of the cross; again the people prostrate
themselves. The priest then comes to the middle of the altar,
and taking off the veil, exhibits the wooden cross to be adored;
then setting it down, he goes on his knees, and rising, takes
off his shoes and approaches the cross to worship it, making
three genuflections, and kisses it. All the clergy who are
present take off their shoes, prostrate themselves, worship and
kiss the cross ia the order of their dignity. All the officers
of the church, and all the people, follow in the same manner
to adore it, while solemn music and chanting attends and com-
pletes the ceremony.' Thus a wooden board, made into the
shape of a cross by some joiner, receives Divine honours. Talk
not of heathen idols. Who can wonder that honest John
Banyan felt indignation, and exclaimed, ' idolatry 1 blas-
phemy.' — Ed.



OR THE THRONE OF GRACE.



669



that could apply itself to liis reasonable and sensible
part for relief and succour, and that was of power
to keep him even in his spirit, and in a complete
submissiveness to God, in the present condition in
which he was ; and could the tree do this, think
you ? Had the tree that command and govern-
ment of the soul and sense of Christ, of the reason
and feeling of the Lord Jesus, as to keep him in
this bitter suffering, in that evenness and spotless-
ness in his torment, as to cause that he should come
off this great work, without the least smell or tang*
of imperfection? No, no; it was through the Eter-
nal Spirit that he ' offered himself without spot to
God.'

Quest. Wherefore then served the cross? Answ.
I ask, and wherefore then served the wood by which
the sacrifices were burned ? The sacrifices were
burned with wood upon the altar; the wood then
was not the altar, the wood was that instrument
by which the sacrifice was consumed, and the cross
that by which Christ suffered his torment and afflic-
tion. The altar then was it that did bear both the
wood and sacrifice, that did uphold the wood to
burn, and the sacrifice to abide the burning. And
with reference to the matter in hand, the tree on
which Christ was hanged, and the sacrifice of his
body, were both upheld by his divine power ; yet
the tree was no more a sacrifice, nor an altar, than
was the wood upon the altar ; nor was the wood,
but the fire, holy, by which the sacrifice was con-
sumed. Let the tree then be the tree, the sacri-
fice the sacrifice, and the altar the altar ; and let
men have a care how, in their worship, they make
altars upon which, as they pretend, they offer the
body of Christ ; and let them leave off foolishly to
dote upon wood, and the works of their hands : the
altar is greater than the gift or sacrifice that was,
or is, upon it.

[Hoio Christ executes the office of high-jviest.]

We come now to the second part of the office of
this high-priest and to show how he performeth
that. In order to which, I must, as I did with
reference to the first, show you what things, as pre-
paratory, were to precede the execution of it. We
have here, as you see, ' our passover sacrificed for
us,' for our encouragement to come to the throne of
grace ; and now let us look to it, as it is presented
in the holiest of all, and to the order of its being
so presented.

1. First, then, before there was anything further
done, I mean by this high-priest, as to a further
application of his offering, the judgment of God
was waited for by him, with respect to his estima-
tion of what was already done, to wit, how that



* An extraneous taste that leaves a sting behind, as, ' She
had a tongue with a taug.' ' The wine has a tang of the
cask.' — Ed.



was resented t by him; the which he declared to
the full by raising him from the dead. For in that
he was raised from the dead, when yet he died for
our sins, it is evident that his offering was accepted,
or esteemed of value sufficient to effect that for the
which it was made a sacrifice, which was for our
sins ; this, therefore, was in order to his being ad-
mitted into heaven. God, by raising him from the
dead, justified his death, and counted it sufficient
for the saving of the world. And this Christ knew
would be the effect of his death, long before he



Online LibraryJohn BunyanThe works of John Bunyan (Volume 1) → online text (page 156 of 182)