Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

delightfully conversing with him; yea, he sinned while as yet his creation-mercy was fresh upon him: and in this sin was most horrible ingratitude ; yea, a casting off the yoke of obedience almost as soon as God had put it on.

2. It implies a necessity of satisfaction to the justice of God. For the very design and end of this mediation was to make peace, by giving full satisfaction to the. party that was wronged. The Photinians, and some others, have dreamed of a reconciliation with God, founded not upon satisfaction, but upon the absolute mercy, goodness, and free-will of God. But, as one has well said, "concerning that absolute goodness and mercy of God, reconciling sinners to himself, there is a deep silence throughout the Scriptures :" and whatever is spoken of it, upon that account, is as it comes to us through Christ. Eph. 1:3-5; Acts, 4:12 ; John, 6:40. And we cannot imagine, either how God could exercise mercy to the prejudice of his justice, which must be, if we must be reconciled without full satisfaction; or how such a full satisfaction should be made by any other than Christ. Mercy, indeed, moved in the heart of God to wretched man; but from his heart it found no way to vent itself for us, but through the heart-blood of Jesus Christ; and in him the justice of God was fully satisfied, and the misery of the creature fully cured. And so, as Augustine speaks, "God neither lost the severity of his justice in the goodness of mercy, nor the good. ness of his mercy in the exactness of his severity.”

But if it had been possible that God could have found out a way to reconcile us without satisfaction, yet it is past doubt now, that he has determined and fixed on this

way. And for any now to imagine to reconcile themselves to God by any thing but faith in the blood of this Mediator, is not only most vain in itself, and destructive to the soul, but most derogatory to the wisdom

and

grace of God. And to such I would say, as Tertullian to Marcion, whom he calls the murderer of truth,

Spare the only hope of the whole world, O thou who destroyest the most necessary glory of our faith!” All that we hope for is but a phantasm without this. Peace of conscience can be rationally settled on no other foundation but this; for God having made a law to govern man, and this law being violated by man, either the penalty must be levied on the delinquent, or satisfaction made by his surety. As well no law, as no penalty for disobedience; and as well no penalty, as no execution. He, therefore, that is to be a mediator of reconciliation between God and man, must pay a price adequate to the offence and wrong; and so did our Mediator.

3. Christ being a Mediator of reconciliation and intercession, implies the infinite value of his blood and sufferings, as that which in itself was sufficient to stop the course of God's justice, and render him not only placable, but abundantly satisfied and well pleased, even with those that before were enemies: as Col. 1:21, 22, " And ye that were sometime alienated, and enemies in your minds by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy, and unblameable, and unreprovable in his sight.” Sure ly, that which can cause the holy God, justly incensed against sinners, to lay aside all his wrath, and take an enemy into his bosoin, and establish such an amity as can never more be broken, and joy over him with sing. ing, as Zeph. 3 : 17, must be a most excellent and effi. cacious thing.

4. Christ's being a Mediator of reconciliation, implies the ardent tender love and large pity that filled his heart towards poor sinners. For he not only mediates by way of entreaty, going between both, and persuading and begging peace; but he mediates, as already shown, in the capacity of a surety, by putting himself under an

obligation to satisfy our debts. Oh how compassionately did his heart work towards us, that when he saw the arm of justice lifted up to destroy us, he would in. terpose himself, and receive the stroke, though he knew it would sink him to the grave! Our Mediator, like Jonah, his type, seeing the stormy sea of God's wrath working tempestuously, and ready to swallow us up, cast in himself to appease the storm. I remember how much that noble act of Marcus Curtius is celebrated in the Roman history, who being informed by the oracle, that the great breach made by the earthquake could not be closed except something of worth were cast into it, heated with love to the commonwealth, went and cast in himself. This was looked upon as a bold and brave adventure. But what was this to Christ?

5. Christ being a Mediator between God and man, implies, as the fitness of his person, so his authoritative call to undertake it. But having already discussed this more largely, let us proceed to inquire,

III. How it appears that Jesus Christ is the true and only Mediator between God and men. I reply,

1. Because he, and no other, is revealed to us by God. And if God reveal him, and no other, we must receive him, and no other as such. Take but two Scriptures at present, that in 1 Cor. 8:5, The heathen have "gods many and lords many," that is, many supreme powers and ultimate objects of their worship: and lest these great gods should be defiled by their immediate and unhallowed approaches to them, they invented heroes, demi-gods, and intermediate powers, as agents, or lord mediators between the gods and them, to convey their prayers to the gods, and the blessings of the gods back again to them: "But unto us,” says the apostle, " there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we by him,” that is, one supreme essence, the first spring and fountain of blessings, one Lord, Jesus

Christ,” that is, one Mediator, " by whom are all things, and we by him.” By whom are all things which come from the Father to us, and by whom are all our addresses to the Father. So Acts, 4 : 12, " Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." "None other name,” that is, no other authority, or rather, no other person authorized under heaven: for heaven is not here opposed to earth, as though there were other intercessors in heaven besides Christ : no, no, in heaven and earth God hath given him, and none but him, to be our Mediator. One sun is sufficient for the whole world ; and one Mediator for all men in the world. Thus the Scriptures affirm that this is he, and exclude all others."

2. Because he, and no other, is fit for, and capable of this office. Who but he that hath the Divine and human nature united in his single person, can be a fit days-man to lay his hand upon both? Who but he that was God, could sustain such sufferings as were, by Divine justice, exacted for satisfaction ? Take a person of the greatest spirit, and lay upon him for an hour the sorrows of Christ, when he sweat blood in the garden, or uttered that heart-rending cry upon the cross, and he must melt under it as a moth,

3. Because he is alone sufficient to reconcile the world to God by his blood, without accessions from any

other. The virtue of his blood reached back as far as Adam, and reaches forward to the end of the world; and will be as fresh, vigorous, and efficacious then, as the first moment it was shed. The sun makes day before it actually rises, and continues day some time after it is set : so doth Christ, who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. So that he is the true and only Mediator between God and men: no other is revealed in Scripture; no other is sufficient for it; no other needed beside him.

IV. The last thing to be explained is, in what capacity he executed his mediatorial work; and we affirm, according to Scripture, that he performs that work as God-man, in both natures. Papists, in denying Christ to act as Mediator, according to his Divine nature, at once despoil the whole mediation of Christ of all its efficacy, dignity, and value, which arise from that nature. They say, the apostle in my text distinguishes the Mediator from God, in saying, "there is one God and one Mediator." We reply, that the same apostle distinguishes Christ from man, in Gal. 1 : 1, "Not by man, but by Jesus Christ." Doth it thence follow that Christ is not true man? or that, according to his Divine nature only, he called Paul ? But what need I stay my reader here? Had not Christ, as Mediator, power to lay down his life, and power to take it again? John, 10:17, 18. Had he not, as Mediator, all power in heaven and earth to institute ordinances and appoint offices ? Matt. 28 : 18; to baptize men with the Holy Ghost and fire ? Matt. 3:11; to keep those whom his Father gave him in this world ? John, 17 : 12; to raise up the saints again in the last day? John, 6:54. Are these, with many more I might name, the effects of the mere human nature ? Or, were they not performed by him as God-man? And besides, how could he, as Mediator, be the object of our faith and religious adoration, if we are not to respect him as God-man?

INFERENCE 1. It is dangerous to reject Jesus Christ, the only-Mediator between God and man. Alas! there is no other to interpose and screen thee from the devouring fire, the everlasting burnings! Oh " it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God !” And into his hands you must fall, without an interest in the only Mediator. Which of us can dwell with devouring fire? Who can endure everlasting burnings? Isa. 33: 14. You know how they scorched the green tree, but what

« AnteriorContinuar »