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the human nature that he has a fellow feeling of our infirmities, for it was as man that he suffered what we suffer; but his divine nature goes along with his human in pitying us, and is the source of the consolation by which we are supported.

The Scripture calls Jesus Christ the Mediator between God and man. Some have affirmed that he is also the Mediator of Angels, upon what authority they are best able to tell. The Bible does not say one word in their favour, and 10 dogmatize when it is silent, is surely to intrude into things not seen. All are agreed that he is not the Mediator of fallen angels, and an Apostle expressly assures us, that “ he did not help them," and therefore did not assume their nature. Another informs us, that, “ God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down into hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;''* that is, he placed them in very different circumstances from those of men, who were condemned as well as they, but not by an irreversible sentence; whereas angels are consigned to a state of hopeless misery. He determined from the beginning to admit no negotiation on their behalf. The peace having been broken, was never to be restored. He has exhibited in their doom an awful exanıple of severity, which will no doubt be productive of important consequences in the moral administration of the universe. The reason of this distinction between two classes of rebellious creatures we do not understand ; but while we see justice taking its course upon the one, and grace extended to the other, with what intense feelings of gratitude should we extol and magnify Him, who so loved the world as to give his only-begotten Son for its redemption! It is, then, of good angels that Christ is said to have been Mediator; and if you inquire in what way he could sustain this character in relation to beings, who, having never transgressed, had no need of his interposition? you will be told that he was not a Mediator of redemption to angels, but of preservation and confirmation. It was owing to him, that when others fell they stood, and by him such stability was given to the righteousness with which they were created, that they shall never lose it. If this doctrine be admitted, man will seem to have been hardly dealt with, who stood in as much need of such a Mediator as they, but not enjoying this benefit, yielded to temptation, and involved all his posterity in misery. The sovereignty of God may be deemed a sufficient answer to this difficulty ; but if we proceed to ask, what occasion there could be for a Mediator between God and innocent beings whom he loved, and upon whom he was ready to bestow every necessary blessing without solicitation? Whether the idea of a Mediator before any change had taken place in the original state of things, does not imply some imperfection in that state? and whether there is any thing in the constis tution of our Saviour's person, and in the new covenant, which bears the most distant relation to angels ? we shall not, I fear, receive a satisfactory answer. The truth is, that the opinion under review, is a mere conjecture, which does not receive the slightest countenance from Scripture; and when we go beyond the information which it gives, our speculations about angels are not more wise nor more worthy of attention, than the theories would be which in our idle hours we might form about the inhabitants of Saturn. The angels are said to be put in subjection to our exalted Redeemer; but this is very differ. ent from their being confirmed by hi.n in holiness, and refers to a different period of their existence. They are said also,-if we understand them to be " the things in heaven,”—to be in him “gathered together in one," with the things on earth it but the obvious and natural sense is, that they are united with the saints in one society, over which he presides. By him the enmity subsisting between angels and men was destroyed; for when men are reconciled to God, and renewed after his image, angels love them and minister • 2 Peter Ži. 4.

† Eph. i. 10. Vol. 1.-67

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to them, and will joyfully receive them into their everlasting habitations. There is no doubt that in consequence of the mediation of Christ the happiness of angels is augmented: the cause is not, that they were the objects of his mediation, or that as Mediator he did any thing with a dire. t view to their good, but that a new revelation was given of the Divine character and perfections which these holy beings contemplate with delight. Hence the joy which they expressed at our Saviour's birth : “ Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace, good will towards men.” If there are any other holy beings in the universe, this effect is not peculiar to angels; for the glory of God in redemption will increase the felicity of all to whom it is made known.

There is a question which relates to the commencement of the Mediatorial office, and which it might be improper to pass without notice, because it gave rise to a great deal of speculation not long ago, in one of the bodies into which our Church was then divided. It so happened that I paid little attention to it at the time, and am not acquainted with the arguments which were advanced by the opposite parties; but the one contended that Christ did not become Mediator lill his incarnation, and the other assigned an anterior date to his office. It is not a proof of the falsity of a doctrine, that it is held by persons many of whose other views are erroneous, because they who are often wrong, may sometimes be right. It will not, however, serve to recommend the opinion that the mediation of Christ commenced at his birth, to know that it is a doctrine of the Church of Rome, which has been condemned by Protestant Divines. Roman Catholics maintain that Christ is Mediator only as man, and therefore consider him as not having entered upon his office till he assumed our nature.

It is of imporiance to settle the meaning of terms, because when they are left vague and indeterminate, both parties may dispute with great vehemence, and seem to hold the most opposite creeds, while in reality there is no difference of sentiment. If by the mediation of Christ we mean his acts of humiliation, obedience, and suffering, we must say, that he became Mediator at his incarnation, because it was only in human nature that he could perform those acts. But, if we mean by his mediation, the whole of his agency in behalf of sinners, we must go back to the fall, and even into eternity, when the covenant was made between the Father and the Son. I can conceive some men who pride themselves in what they call metaphysical reasoning, (which, however, is often the working of a dark and bewildered mind,) to objeet that, as the Mediatorial office implies subordination, our Saviour could not sustain it while he remained, if I may so speak, in his pure Deity, unallied to an inferior nature. If there is any force in this argument, it will prove too much ; for the legitimate inference from it is, that still he is Mediator only as man; a position contrary to the doctrine of our Church, and 10 the most obvious conclusions from Scripture.

Those who claim the character of orthodox, and particularly such of them as aim at systematic accuracy, and delight in nice distinctions, have sometimes need to be reminded of their own admonition to hereties, not to allow reason to intermeddle with matters of pure revelation. It is of no consequence what may be the result of our speculations upon the nature and fitness of things; our faith in every point ought to be determined by the oracles of God. Now, if we consult the Scriptures with simplicity of intention, resolved not to cavil but to lear we shall discover not a few grounds for believing, that our Redeemer acted as Mediator prior to his coming in the fiesh. We shall find him acting towards men in the name of God, and towards God in the name of men, as he has acted since his incarnation. It is a mediatorial act, the act of a prophet, to reveal the will of God; and who needs to be told that he was the author of revelation under the old as well as the new dispensation? The prophets were his ministers as well as the apostles; and accordingly the Spirit And it ap

who spoke in them is expressly called the “Spirit of Christ.” * pears that he is called his Spirit, not merely because he testifies concerning him, but because he was sent by him. † Again, it is a mediatorial act, to exercise authority over the people of God, and to give laws for the regulation of their worship, and of their conduct towards God and man. It is the belief of Jews and Christians, that it was he, and not the Father, who promulgated the law to the Israelites in the wilderness, and as this opinion is consonant to his own declaration, that no man has at any time seen the Father, the Son being his representative to mankind, so it is confirmed by the proto-martyr Stephen, who, speaking of Moses, says, “ This is he that was in the church in the wilderness, with the Angel that spoke to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers, who received the lively oracles to give unto us."'But we read of none who spoke to him at that time but God.“ Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.''s Who then could this angel who is called Jehovah be, but the angel who assumed the same character, when he appeared in the burning bush, the angel to whom the power belonged of pardoning or retaining sin, a power completely divine ? This angel was God; but the title of angel or messenger implies, that he was acting in subordination to another, and destroys the argument that he could not be Mediator, till he had united himself to a created nature. And surely there is no difficully in conceiving a person to be officially subordinate to another, although in essence and original dignity he is his equal. To intercede for man is another act of mediation, which our Saviour performs in the heavenly state. In the first chapter of Zechariah, we find these words: “ Then the angel of the Lord answered and said, O Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem, and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?"|| It is most reasonable to think, that this was not a created angel, but the angel who spoke to Moses in Sinai, the second Person of the Trinity, to whom the administration of grace for the salvation of the church has been committed in all ages, and who was the immediate author of the ancient dispensation. This conclusion is strengthened by the fact mentioned in the preceding verses, that the messengers whom the Lord sent “to walk to and fro through the earth,” and who evidently signify the ministers of providence, are represented as giving an account to this angel of the execution of their commission. Surely they did not give the account to a creature, but to God, in whose service they were engaged. I have only to add, that to deny that Christ was Mediator before his incarnation, leads to the denial of the existence of any covenant or transaction respecting our redemption till that period; because in that transaction he must have appeared as the friend and surety of man, and, according to the hypothesis, he could not become such till he had assumed a nature capable of subjection and obedience.

It may safely be inferred, I think, from these things, that the mediation virtually commenced before our Saviour was made flesh, and dwelt among us in a visible form. I admit that, till he descended to the earth, that constitution of person, which the office required, was wanting, and some of its most important duties could not be performed; but, to conclude that, therefore, he performed none of them, would be illogical, and contrary to the evidence produced. When he assumed the body which God had prepared for him, as he came to do the will of God, so he was in a condition to fulfil it in every particular, to obey, to suffer, and to die. At his baptism, he was formally invested with the office, or more accurately, he was publicly recognised as the Mes. siah; and he dedicated himself to the service of his Father, in the work of our salvation. The visible descent of the Spirit upon him, was a symbol of • 1 Pet. i. 11. † Lecture xxxiii. p. 156.

# Exod. xix. 19 Acis vii. 38. i Zech. i. 12.

the ample qualifications with which his human nature was supplied, and a voice from heaven attested the Divine approbation : “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

How long Jesus Christ will continue to discharge the duties of his office, is a question about which there is a diversity of sentiment. The common opinion is, that the office will be perpetual. It seems reasonable to believe that, as by him sinners are reconciled to God, and admitted into communion with him, he will be the medium of intercourse even in the heavenly state. With this idea those passages of Scripture are understood to accord, which represent him as a Priest for ever, as ever living to make intercession, and ascribe to him an eternal kingdom.* On the other hand it is contended, that the office may be conceived to cease when its design is fully accomplished; that our Saviour having been appointed Mediator to bring sinners to God, and to a state of perfection, there will be no cause that he should any longer sustain that character, when all the saints have been redeemed from the earth, and being not only justified, but free from the slightest taint of sin, will have no need of an intercessor, and may hold immediate intercourse with the Holy One. The Scripture appears to favour the idea of the termination of his office, by saying, that when the end comes he will deliver up the kingdom to the Father, and be subject to him, and that then God will be all in all. † Those who maintain the perpetuity of the mediation, besides being influenced by what they deem scriptural authority, are actuated by zeal for the honour of our Saviour, which seems to them to require that he should forever relain an office which has reflected so much glory upon him, and without which the happiness of the righteous could not be secured. Those who adopt the opposite opinion do not consider it as derogating from his glory in any degree, and persuade themselves that nothing can give a more exalted idea of his mediatorial character than to believe, that he has so perfectly re-united God and his sinful creatures, that his farther interposition is unnecessary. The work will stand upon the solid basis which he has laid, will need no repair, nor the constant care of the Architect to prevent it from falling into ruins. It is formed of such durable materials, and compacted with such skill, that it will last for ever. I have given you a general account of this controversy, but reserve the discussion of it to another opportunity, when it will again occur.

The wisdom which is displayed in the mediation of Christ, is worthy of the highest admiration. Human wisdom would have been confounded by the question, Who shall repair the breach between heaven and earth? Who shall engage his heart to approach to God, in the name of the guilty ? A creature was too mean, and too weak, to undertake the arduous enterprise, and a Divine Person was too great, and too remote from us, to appear upon our side. The mediation is the work of Him who is wonderful in counsel, and who proposes the noblest ends and the fittest means.

What glory does the mediation reflect upon our Redeemer! Standing between heaven and earth, he conducts a negotiation, on which depend the interests of both. He stands alone ; his own arm brings salvation, and of the people there is none with him. The work which he is performing, surpasses every other in its nature and consequences. To him are committed the care of the Divine honour, and the happiness of the human race, and by him are all things made new; human nature is raised from the ruins of the fall, paradise is regained, and the everlasting triumph of righteousness and truth over error and sm, is secured. • Heb. vi. 20. vii. 25. Luke i. 33, &c.

+ I Cor. xv. 24–28.

END OF VOLUME FIRST.

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