« PreviousContinue »
for whom this is done, and to whom the benefit of it shall belong
When, therefore, the Son of God undertook the office of Mediator between God and man, “ he took not on him the nature of angels,” as he meant not to mediate in their behalf, but he assumed the human nature. And this renders it very obvious, and for us natural to conclude, that all he did and suffered on earth, and all he now performs in heaven, in the character of Mediator, was exclusively intended for the benefit of men, whose nature he bears, for whom he mediates, and to whose account the whole will be imputed; that is, to such of them as avail themselves of his mediation. For if men, who have this divine constitution stated to them with suitable evidence, do not approve of the Mediator, but reject his interposition, they of course exclude themselves from the benefit of it.—We shall, therefore, in the two following Essays, consider more particularly the righteousness and atonement of our great Mediator, and his continual intercession in heaven for us. It is, indeed, almost impossible to discourse in general concerning his mediation, without in some degree adverting to these subjects; but it would be improper any further to anticipate them in this place.
It does not seem necessary to attempt a laboured proof, that our Lord's mediation is of that nature, and instituted for those purposes, which have been
stated. The general language of Scripture conveys this idea of it, to those who understand and believe it in it's obvious and literal import. In particular, the scope of the apostle Paul's reasoning, in the epistle to the Hebrews, establishes the doctrine under consideration. Was Moses a typical mediator, at the giving of the law, that through his intervention the national covenant might be ratified between God and the people? This only shadowed forth a better covenant, founded on better promises, which Christ hath mediated between the Lord and his spiritual Israel: and “this Person was counted worthy of more honour “than Moses,” being a “Son over his own
house,” which he had builded; whereas “ Mo
ses was no more than a servant,” or even a part of the house itself. Were the high priests, of the order of Aaron, typical mediators between God and the people, in virtue of their perpetual sacrifices and the burning of incence? The insufficiency and unprofitableness of such mediators, and of all their sacrifices and services, 'must be shown, to make it manifest, that “ another Priest
'must arise, after another order;" whose dignity, excellency, and invaluable ministrations might really effect those ends, which the other merely prefigured and represented, as in a picture, or rather as an indistinct and feeble shadow. For through Him believers have access granted them to
* Heb. i. 1-6.
the mercy-seat of God, in the holy places not made with hands: whereas before, the very shadow of this blessing was concealed by the veil, and none might approach to it on pain of death, but the high priest alone; nor be on more than one day in a year, with the blood of the sacrifices and the burning of incense. What do all these arguments (which fill up more than half the Epistle) signify, but that Jesus is such a Mediator as has been described ? “There is then one Mediator be“tween God and man; even the Man Christ “JESUS.” No doubt he is truly man, and performs his mediation in human nature; for he assumed our flesh for this very purpose: but the apostle by declaring him to be the one Mediator, excludes all other Mediators. Moses and the priests of Aaron's line were, in a certain sense, mediators between God and man;
believer when he prays for others, in some degree interposes his requests between God and them, to seek mercy in their behalf. Yet Christ is the only Mediator; because he alone is capable of, and appointed to perform, such a mediation as hath been described, in virtue of his personal dignity and the ransom which he hath made. “Through him we have "access to the Father.” “He is our Peace-maker:"
our Advocate with the Father.” He says, “I am “the Way, and the Truth, and the Life, no man * cometh to the Father but by me:” so that no "1 Tim, ii. 5, 6.
2 John xiv. 6. Vol. V.
man, who rejects the mediation of Christ, ever did, or ever will, find acceptance with God. We must come to God in his name, asking all blessings for his sake, and presenting all our services by his hands, and through his intercession, even“ giv“ing thanks to God and the Father through “ him.”
In this view of the subject, we may consider Christ as the Mediator between God and man, in such a sense, that no sinner on earth can be found to whom we may not propose all the benefits of his mediation; provided he truly come to God by faith in Christ; whereas fallen angels, and those who have died in their sins, are wholly excluded from this benefit by the very
constitution of the covenant which he mediated. But all other mediators, and all attempts to approach God without a Mediator, are an affront both to the Father and the Son; even as the sacrifices, which the Israelites offered contrary to the law, were an abomination to the Lord. As, therefore, we must shortly meet our offended Sovereign at his awful tribunal; let us now avail ourselves of this inestimable appointment; and constantly approach his throne of grace, through our “ faithful and mer“ciful High Priest” and Mediator, “ that we may “ obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every 6 time of need."
On the Merits and Atonement of Christ.
The opinion that the Deity might be appeased by expiatory sacrifices, has been very widely diffused among the human race: and the attempt has generally been made, by shedding the blood, and burning a part of the body, of some useful animal. This notion and practice seem very remote from the dictates of our natural reason; and it is extremely improbable, that they should have been the result of men's invention. We may therefore most rationally conclude, that it is wholly the doctrine of revelation, and the appointment of God, handed down by tradition, from the progenitors of our race, to the several branches of their posterity: and it is certain that we meet with it in the Bible immediately after the entrance of sin. When Cain's oblation of the first-fruits of the earth was rejected, and Abel's sacrifice of the firstlings of the flock was accepted; we may natùrally conclude, that the latter was presented according to the divine appointment, and that the former was not. But if we enquire into the rea