"Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us."
THE great question of men in all ages was: "--Who shall ascend into the Heavens for us?" Who shall break the great barrier, which separates us from the Invisible Ruling Power--from that pure and holy Being, of Whom our consciences speak, before Whom they tremble?" In this question the great contradiction was implied, that the man felt he belonged to this heavenly world,--that it was his proper home,--that he could not live without God; and that he was a. hopeless exile,--that he must wander abroad, and find comfort where he could, amongst things which were beneath him, and for which he did not inwardly care,--that God and he must be at strife, now and for ever. This was the mournful wail which was going up from the whole heathen world; which was expressed in every kind of sacrifice that cried for mercy to gods conceived or inconceivable; which was expressed in every form of sensual indulgence and gratification; the heart testifying: "We must have earth, for we cannot find heaven; we must eat husks of swine to the fill, for, oh! how dreadful it is to remember, even for a few minutes, that we have the responsibilities of men--of spirits!"
And this was the answer: "The Father of all, Who seemed at so vast a distance from you, is that cold dreary heaven, and yet Whom you tremble lest you should encounter in every dark night, beside every tomb,--Whom you dread as the Author of your misery and death, as One, Who may inflict a deeper misery, a more hopeless death, upon you hereafter,--has sent His Only-Begotten Son, to take your nature upon Him, to die your death. He has been here in these dark nights, amidst these tombs; He has been in the tomb; He has risen out of it; He has gone, not into some figurative holy place, but into the actual holy place, which your hearts tell you of, which all temples and altars and priests witness of. Christ is with God His Father. And now the Father, in Whose Presence He is, declares that Sacrifice of His to be the bond of peace between Him and you. That is the pledge and witness of His covenant with you,--with your own very selves,--with that in you, which has shrunk from Him, which has wished that it could banish Him. The blood, not of goats nor calves, but of His own Son, of the Eternal Mediator between Him and you, is the assurance that He regards you as His sons and daughters,--that He gives you the Spirit of His Son in your hearts,--that your sins and iniquities He remembers no more."--Sermons on Sacrifice, p. 175.