The golden censer.—Hebrews 9:4.
It is blessed, my soul! to behold the numberless types and shadows “of good things to come,” which the Church of old contained; and it is blessed to see them all fulfilled in Christ, the substance. Jesus, thy Jesus, in his glorious high-priestly office, is at once the censer, the incense, the high-priest, and offering, and is now unceasingly engaged in carrying on the glorious purposes of his redemption, “by appearing in the presence of God for us.” He is the “mighty Angel” spoken of, (Rev. 8:3.) For upon the “golden censer” of his own merit and righteousness, and by the efficacy of his own glorious person, are all presentations made. “No man cometh to the Father, but by him.” But coming by him, and in him, and through him, all thy poor offerings come up “for a memorial before God.” And what is the much incense here spoken of, but the merits of that finished salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ, which hath indeed a fulness, yea, a redundancy of fulness, infinitely more precious and costly than ever can be compensated in blessings bestowed thereby upon his people, in time, and to all eternity. This was beautifully represented in the Jewish Church. The incense was composed of sweet spices, which made a fragrant smell through the whole temple. And what was the offering of Christ, but “an offering and sacrifice to God, for a sweet-smelling savour?” And if the incense in the Jewish temple was always burning, what was this but a representation of the everlasting priesthood of Christ, “who ever liveth to make intercession for his people?” And as the incense was burning within in the temple, while all the people were at prayers without, what a lively representation was this of our High-Priest in heaven, in this great office of a priest upon his throne, to offer upon the golden altar of his divine nature the prayers of his redeemed upon earth, to give acceptance to their persons and their offerings, by the much incense of his own merits and blood! My soul! look up this evening, look up both night and morning, and with the eye of faith behold this almighty Angel of the new covenant thus appearing in the presence of God for thee: into his almighty hands do thou commit and commend thine all; neither thy person nor thy poor offerings can find acceptance but in him, the beloved. He is thine Altar, thy Priest, thy Sacrifice, thine Incense, thine all; by virtue of whom, God the Father hath respect to his everlasting covenant, and dispenseth grace in this life, and glory in that which is to come. Hail! thou glorious, gracious, great High-Priest of a better covenant, founded upon better promises than that by Aaron! Oh! for faith to apprehend thee, to exercise faith upon thy person, work, and righteousness, and every day, and all the day, both night and morning, to come to God by thee, perfectly assured “that all that do come, thou wilt in nowise cast out.”