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as well as his boundless power, love, and holiness, rendered him in all respects the proper person to accomplish it, and bring it to a happy and glorious event ; and that he alone was competent for such an undertaking
If a mediator was to be constituted for such ends as have been stated, it must be proper that the Lord should choose and appoint him to this important office. “No one taketh this honour to “ himself, but he that is called of God.” A selfappointed mediator must be deemed an intruder. The criminals could not reasonably expect to have the nomination of him : they had no just ground of complaint ; the whole design must be formed for their relief and advantage ; the rights and glory of God must be first considered and secured in the execution of it; and he alone could know whom it became him to trust with so vast a concern as involved in it, not only the interests of his universal kingdom, but the eternal honour of his own great name. We know to whom he hath committed this office; and we are sure, from the event, that he saw none else in heaven or earth, whom he could so properly have appointed to it : for he does nothing in vain, and would not have sent his only begotten Son on a design, which one of his servants could have executed with the same success and advantage. But we may undertand enough in this matter to perceive, that it would have been highly improper for the infinite God to have appointed a mere creature to this office, and to have intrusted his own glory, the salvation of innumerable souls, and the interests of his everlasting kingdom, into such hands. In this grand
concern“ he puts no trust in his servants, and his angels he charges with folly."!
At the same time, however, this mediator is in all respects suited to our case, and worthy of our confidence. If it had been revealed that God would deal with us through a mediator, and we had been required to look out for one on whom we could most entirely and unreservedly depend, when eternal happiness or misery was at stake, what could we have done? We could never have intrusted such an important cause in the hands of any mere man: nay, the more we had considered the matter in all its difficulties and consequences, the greater hesitation should we have felt to confide it to the hands of a mere creature. For all are changeable ; and we should have been apprehensive, lest some want of power, love, truth, wisdom, or constancy, should defeat the whole, when our eternal all was at stake. Yet we could never have thought of such a mediator as our offended God hath himself provided, appointed, and revealed; who is “the same yesterday, to-day, 6 and for ever,
,” “ the true and the holy One," “ Emmanuel,” “ God over all, blessed for evermore."
Here we can have no ground for fear: unbelief alone can hesitate.
He whose power sustains the universe is able to save our souls in all possible cases. He, who is worthy to be intrusted with the rights of God and the eternal glory of his name, must also be worthy to be intrusted with our immortal interests ; (for our rights in this respect are all forfeited :) and he who,
1 Job iv, 18.
perfect in justice and purity himself, could so pity and condescend to guilty polluted creatures as to undertake such an office wholly for their benefit, cannot want love to accomplish whatever is wanting for the eternal salvation of all who accept of his mediation.
But the appointed method, in which this great mediator performs his most gracious design, has laid a still more firm foundation for our unshaken confidence. It was proper that the terms of our reconciliation should be proposed by our God himself: and, as these had respect to the mediator, they required him to assume our nature into personal union with his Deity ; that, as “God manifest “ in the flesh,” he might stand related to us also, in the most intimate manner, as our brother, “ bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh ;” and that so he might properly represent us, undertake our cause, as interested in it by the ties of one common nature, and encourage our most unlimited confidence in his compassion and love. Thus hath he humbled, “ emptied,” and impoverished himself. As they in behalf of whom he mediated
were partakers of flesh and blood, he also took
part of the same :” “he is not ashamed to call “them brethren;" and, as his union with the Father, in the divine nature, renders him a proper person to vindicate his rights, and display his glory ; so, in virtue of his union with us in the human nature, we may most cheerfully rely on him to take care of our immortal souls. This also shews the propriety of his interposing in our behalf: for some connexion or relation is supposed to subsist between the mediator and those for
whom he acts : else why does he solicit for them, rather than for others in similar circumstances ? And, even if the plea be supported by some payment or satisfaction made ; it seems proper that there should be a ground on which to determine 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 as-, sumed 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
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 its 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 Moses 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 incense? The insufficiency and unprofitableness of such mediators, and of all their sacrifices and services, must be shewn 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 the mercy-seat of God, in the holy places “not made with hands :” whereas, before, the very shadow of this blessing
1 Heb. iii. 1-6.