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required. The angels in heaven approach their God and Father without the intervention of a me diator; and so doubtless did man before sin bad disturbed this blessed state of amity. When the first Adam had broken the commandment, and forfeited the covenant, of his Creator, and so sin and death had entered into the world, to pass upon the whole race which was about to descend from him; then, and not before, was “ the second “Adam, the Lord from heaven,” promised to be “the mediator of a new covenant,” under the title of “ the Seed of the woman, who should bruise the serpent's head.” Thus the entrance of sin rendered the interposition of a mediator necessary : and the malignity or desert of sin alone required such an exalted mediator, and such a meritorious mediation, as the scripture reveals and proposes to us. For, if a righteous and holy God had not viewed sin as so evil in its nature and effects, that it would be utterly inconsistent with his glory to shew mercy to transgressors, unless some constitution of this kind were previously formed; that love, which provided the mediator, would have sufficed (so. to speak,) to induce him to pardon them without one. We must not, therefore, imagine that the mediation of Christ is needful in order to prevail with God to pity, love, and save sinners: on the contrary, we should consider it as the grand effect of his compassion and good will; and as intended to render the exercise of his plenteous mercy consistent with the honour of his justice, and conducive to the harmonious display of all his perfections.

Men had forfeited their Creator's favour and

deserved his anger by transgression : they had also lost his holy image, and become vile and miserable, even“ vessels of wrath fitted for destruction :" but it pleased their offended Sovereign,“ to the praise “ of his glory," and the display of his infinite and everlasting mercy and bounty, (for “God is love,") to purpose the reconciliation, recovery, and eternal felicity of an innumerable multitude of the fallen race. It did not, however, become him, as the infinitely righteous and holy governor of the universe, to shew such favour to the guilty and unholy, without adopting some decisive method of declaring his judgment concerning their crimes and deserts. Otherwise it might have been supposed that he did not utterly abhor sin ; that he meant to desist from the demands of his violated law that it needed not to have been made so strict : that it was not requisite for his rational creatures on all occasions to obey it, or that transgressors should be punished according to its sanction; and that it was owing to some other cause than his perfect justice and holy abhorrence of evil, that he so severely executed vengeance on some of his rebellious creatures. To obviate such conclusions, it became the glory of God to devise some plan, according to which the largest exercise of his pardoning mercy and saving grace, might consist with the most affecting display of his avenging justice and hatred of iniquity. For this purpose, as it is manifest from the scriptures, his infinite wisdom and love formed, and then revealed, the plan of a mediator, through whom a new covenant was proposed to sinners ; according to which all things pertaining to eternal life are freely bestowed,

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for his sake, on every one, without exception, who seeks them in the appointed way. Thus “the riches of God's mercy have abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence.] Through the intervention of a mediator sinners are saved : and yet God does not so much as seem to favour sin! nay, he in the most decisive manner shews his judgment of what punishment it deserves, his holy abhorrence of it, and his determination, in all possible cases, “ to magnify the law and make it honour

able!”

If, in discoursing on such subjects, we are constrained to accommodate our language and reasonings to the conceptions and usages of men ; we in this respect imitate the sacred writers, and can aptly express our meaning in the words which they have used before us : whereas those who object to these explanations are obliged to represent the style of scripture, as highly (if not absurdly) figurative; and frequently to caution their disciples against too literal an explanation of it: nay, it costs them much labour, as well as great ingenuity, to furnish such interpretations as accord with their rational' systems, and which common readers could never have thought of. And what is this, but an insinuation that the sacred writers have used language extremely suited to mislead the unlearned and simple part of mankind ? But, indeed, the apostle has shewn at large, that the mediation of Christ was intended especially to the end “ that God “ might be just, and the justifier of the believer;" that is, “ a just God, and a Saviour.”2

1

Eph. i. 7, 8.

2 Rom. iii. 20-26. Is. xlv. 21.

If we examine the subject more minutely, we shall find that the mediation of Christ is of that kind, which required such a person to sustain and perform it as the scriptures declare that he is.

If any one should interpose between an offended sovereign and his rebellious subjects, in order that, for his sake, exemption from punishment and the grant of valuable privileges should be conferred on them; he must stand high in the estimation of the prince, and be a person of known worth and dignity among all who are acquainted with the transaction : otherwise there would be no ground to expect that his requests would be attended to; nor would care be taken, if they were, to manifest the demerit of the pardoned offenders, or the clemency and bounty of their reconciled 'sovereign. But what man, or mere creature, could thus interpose between the infinite God and the apostate children of men ? Who could have thought of requesting that, for his sake and at his instance, all the crimes of those who came in his name should be pardoned, all their wants supplied, and all spiritual and eternal blessings conferred upon them? Would not such an intrusion have been considered as an act of rebellion, or at least a deliberate preference of the happiness of rebels to the glory of God? Who among the angels of heaven, or any of the creatures which God has made, could pretend to personal dignity, excellency, merit, or services, sufficient to authorise such a requisition? Or how could it have been imagined, that, if the Lord did not see good to spare and bless sinners, “ for his own name's

sake,” he would be induced to do it for the sake of a derived dependent being, who lived, moved,

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and existed in and by him alone? If it had been consistent with the display of his glory to save sinners without an atonement, he would not have wanted any external inducement to do it; but, if his honour and the salvation of sinners in this way were incompatible, who could possibly prevail with him to dishonour himself ? Or could any mere created being have undertaken to render the exercise of mercy and grace to sinners consistent with his perfect justice and the honour of his law ? Alas! their best services must all be due for themselves, and on account of benefits already conferred; even their own felicity, strictly speaking, must be gratuitous, not merited: nor hath one of them power to endure the punishment of a single transgression, without finally sinking under it ; for “ the wages of sin is death.”

of sin is death.” So that it cannot be conceived, that the office of mediator between God and man, which Christ performs, could possibly have been sustained by a mere creature ; or that any one had sufficient love to induce him to undertake it for the benefit of the unholy and rebellious. But when the eternal Son of the Father ; when He who created and upholds all worlds, for whom all things were made, and whom all angels worship, voluntarily engaged himself to mediate a peace between the offended Sovereign of the universe. and his sinful creatures; then “to the principalities

and powers in heavenly places was known the “ manifold wisdom of God ;” and all the holy intelligences, that ever have been or shall be made acquainted with this grand design, must perceive that his personal dignity and excellence, his ineffable union with the Father and relation to him,

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