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[Entered at Stationers' Hall.] INSTITUTES

THE EDINBURGH PRINTING COMPANY,

12, South St David Street.

OF

THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION.

BOOK SECOND

CONTINUED.

CHAPTER XII.

CHIRIST, TO PERFORM THE OFFICE OF MEDIATOR, BEHOVED

TO BECOME MAN.

The two divisions of this chapter are, I. The reasons why our Mediator behoved to be very God, and to become man, sec. 1-3. II. Disposal of various objections by some fanatics, and especially by Osiander, to the orthodox doctrine concerning the Mediator, sec. 4—7.

Sections. 1. Necessary, not absolutely, but by divine decree, that the Mediator

should be God, and become man. Neither man nor angel, though pure, could have sufficed. The Son of God behoved to come down. Man in innocence could not penetrate to God without a Mediator,

much less could he after the fall. 2. A second reason why the Mediator behoved to be God and man,

viz., that he had to convert those who were heirs of hell into

children of God. 3. Third reason, that in our flesh he might yield a perfect obedience,

satisfy the divine justice, and pay the penalty of sin. Fourth
reason, regarding the consolation and confirmation of the whole
Church.
VOL. II.

A

4. First objection against the orthodox doctrine: Answer to it. Con

firmation from the sacrifices of the Law, the testimony of the Pro

phets, Apostles, Evangelists, and even Christ himself. 5. Second objection : Answer: Answer confirmed. Third objection :

Answer. Fourth objection by Osiander: Answer. 6. Fifth objection, forming the basis of Osiander's errors on this subject :

Answer. Nature of the divine image in Adam. Christ the head

of angels and men. 7. Sixth objection : Answer. Seventh objection : Answer. Eighth ob

jection : Answer. Ninth objection: Answer. Tenth objection : Answer. Eleventh objection : Answer. Twelfth objection: An

The sum of the doctrine.

Swer.

1. Ir deeply concerned us, that he who was to be our Mediator should be very God and very man.

If the necessity be inquired into, it was not what is commonly termed simple or absolute, but flowed from the divine decree on which the salvation of man depended. What was best for us, our most merciful Father determined. Our iniquities, like a cloud intervening between Him and us, having utterly alienated us from the kingdom of heaven, none but a person reaching to him could be the medium of restoring peace. But who could thus reach to him ? Could

any

of the sons of Adam ? All of them, with their parent, shuddered at the sight of God. Could any of the angels? They had need of a head, by connection with which they might adhere to their God entirely and inseparably. What then? The case was certainly desperate, if the Godhead itself did not descend to us, it being impossible for us to ascend. Thus the Son of God behoved to become our Emmanuel, i.e. God with us; and in such a way, that by mutual union his divinity and our nature might be combined ; otherwise, neither was the proximity near enough, nor the affinity strong enough, to give us hope that God would dwell with us; so great was the repugnance between our pollution and the spotless purity of God. Had man remained free from all taint, he was of too humble a condition to penetrate to God without a Mediator. What, then, must it have been, when by fatal ruin he was plunged into death and hell, defiled by so many stains, made loathsome by corruption ; in fine, overwhelmed with every curse? It is not without cause, therefore, that Paul, when he would set forth Christ as the Mediator, distinctly declares him to be man. There is, says he, “one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Tim. ii. 5.) He might have called him God, or at least, omitting to call him God he might also have omitted to call him man; but because the Spirit, speaking by his mouth, knew our infirmity, he opportunely provides for it by the most appropriate remedy, setting the Son of God familiarly before us as one of ourselves. That no one, therefore, may feel perplexed where to seek the Mediator, or by what means to reach him, the Spirit, by calling him man, reminds us that he is near, nay, contiguous to us, inasmuch as he is our flesh. And, indeed, he intimates the same thing in another place, where he explains at greater length that he is not a high priest who “ cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin,” (Heb. iv. 15.)

2. This will become still clearer if we reflect, that the work to be performed by the Mediator was of no common description : being to restore us to the divine favour, so as to make us, instead of sons of men, sons of God; instead of heirs of hell, heirs of a heavenly kingdom. Who could do this unless the Son of God should also become the Son of man, and so receive what is ours as to transfer to us what is his, making that which is his by nature to become ours by grace? Relying on this earnest, we trust that we are the sons of God, because the natural Son of God assumed to himself a body of our body, flesh of our flesh, bones of our bones, that he might be one with us; he declined not to take what was peculiar to us, that he might in his turn extend to us what was peculiarly his own, and thus might be in common with us both Son of God and Son of man. Hence that holy brotherhood which he commends with his own lips, when he says, “I ascend to my Father, and your Father, to my God, and your God,” (John xx. 17.) In this way, we have a sure inheritance in the heavenly kingdom, because the only Son of God, to whom it entirely belonged, has adopted us as his brethren; and if brethren, then partners with him in the inheritance, (Rom. viii. 17.) Moreover, it

It was

was especially necessary for this cause also that he who was to be our Redeemer should be truly God and man. his to swallow up death : who but Life could do so? It was his to conquer sin : who could do so save Righteousness itself? It was his to put to flight the powers of the air and the world: who could do so but the mighty power superior to both ? But who possesses life and righteousness, and the dominion and government of heaven, but God alone? Therefore, God, in his infinite mercy, having determined to redeem us, became himself our Redeemer in the person of his only begotten Son.

3. Another principal part of our reconciliation with God was, that man, who had lost himself by his disobedience, should, by way of remedy, oppose to it obedience, satisfy the justice of God, and pay the penalty of sin. Therefore, our Lord came forth very man, adopted the person of Adam, and assumed his name, that he might in his stead obey the Father; that he might present our flesh as the price of satisfaction to the just judgment of God, and in the same flesh pay the penalty which we had incurred. Finally, since as God only he could not suffer, and as man only could not overcome death, he united the human nature with the divine, that he might subject the weakness of the one to death as an expiation of sin, and by the power of the other, maintaining a struggle with death, might gain us the victory. Those, therefore, who rob Christ of divinity or humanity, either detract from his majesty and glory, or obscure his goodness. On the other hand, they are no less injurious to men, undermining and subverting their faith, which, unless it rest on this foundation, cannot stand. Moreover, the expected Redeemer was that son of Abraham and David whom God had promised in the Law and in the Prophets. Here believers have another advantage. Tracing up his origin in regular series to David and Abraham, they more distinctly recognise him as the Messiah celebrated by so many oracles. But special attention must be paid to what I lately explained, namely, that a common nature is the pledge of our union with the Son of God; that, clothed with our flesh, he warred to death with sin that he might be our triumphant conqueror;

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