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even set forth an air of seriousness and con- | teousness of God, and be made to acknow cern upon the men of other families,-when ledge, that those things which are highly you have witnessed the despair of friends, esteemed among men are in his sight an who could only turn them to cry at the abomination. When the judge and his atspectacle of his last agonies, and had seen tendants shall come on the high errand of how little it was that weeping children and this world's destinies, they will come from inquiring neighbours could do for him,--God,-and the pure principle they shall when you have contrasted the unrelenting bring along with them from the sanctuary necessity of the grave, with the feebleness of heaven, will be the entire subordination of every surrounding endeavour toward it, of the thing formed to him who formed it. has the thought never entered within you, In that praise which upon earthly feelings How powerless is the desire of man!-how the creatures offer one to another, we behold sure and how resistless is the decree of God! no recognition of this principle whatever; And on the day of the second death, will and therefore it is, that it is so very differit be found, that it is not the imagination of ent from the praise which cometh from man, but the sentence of God that shall God only. And should any one of these creastand. When the sound of the last trumpet tures be made on that great day of manifes awakens us from the grave, and the ensigns tation, to see his nakedness,-should the 'of the last day are seen on the canopy of question, what have you done unto me? heaven, and the tremor of the dissolving ele- leave him speechless; should at length, conments is felt upon the earth, and the Son of victed of his utter rebelliousness against God with his mighty angels are placed around God, he try to find among the companions the judgment-seat,and the men of all ages and of his pilgrimage, some attestation to the of all nations are standing before it, and wait- kindness that beamed from him upon his ing the high decree of eternity, then will it fellow mortals in the world,—they will not be found, that as no power of man can save be able to hide him from the coming wrath. his fellow from going down to the grave of In the face of all the tenderness they ever bore mortality, so no testimony of man can save him, the severity of an unreconciled lawhis fellow from going down to the pit of con- giver must have upon him its resistless demnation. Each on that day will mourn operation. They may all bear witness to apart. Each of those on the left hand, en- the honour and the generosity of his doings grossed by his own separate contemplation, among men, but there is not one of them and overwhelmed by the dark and the louring who can justify him before God. Nor among futurity of his own existence, will not have all those who now yield him a ready testia thought or a sympathy to spare for those mony on earth will he find a day's-man bewho are around him. Each of those on the twixt him and his Creator, who can lay his right hand will see and acquiesce in the righ- | hand upon them both.
The Necessity of a Mediator between God and Man.
"Neither is there any day's-man betwixt us, that might lay his hands upon us both."-Job ix. 33.
IV. THE feeling of Job, at the time of his tuagint version of the Bible, that amongst uttering the complaint which is recorded in all our brethren of the species, not an indithe verses before us, might not have been vidual is to be found who, standing in the altogether free of a reproachful spirit towards place of a mediator, can lay his hand upon those friends who had refused to advocate his us both. It is, indeed, very possible, that all cause, and who had even added bitterness this may carry the understanding, and at to his distress by their most painful and the same time have all the inefficiency of a unwelcome arguments. And well may it cold and general speculation. But should be our feeling, and that too without the the Spirit, whose office it is to convince us presence of any such ingredient along with of sin, lend the power of his demonstration it-that there is not a man upon earth who to the argument,-should he divide asunder can execute the office of a day's-man be- our thoughts, and enable us to see that, twixt us and God,—that taking the com- with the goodly semblance of what is fair mon sense of this term, there is none who and estimable in the sight of man, all within can act as an umpire between us the chil- us is defection from the principle of loyalty dren of ungodliness, and the Lawgiver, to God-that while we yield a duty as the whom we have so deeply offended; or members of society, the duty that lies upon taking up the term that occurs in the Sep-us, as the creatures of the Supreme Being,
is, in respect of the spirit of allegiance which government over the universe that he has gives it all its value, fallen away from, by formed. It is laying those paltry accomevery one of us,--should this conviction plishments which give you a place of discleave to us like an arrow sticking fast, and tinction among your fellows, before that work its legitimate influence, in causing us God of whose throne justice and judgment to feel all the worthlessness of our charac-are the habitation, and calling upon him to connive at all that you want, and to look with complacency on all that you possess. It is to bring to the bar of judgment the poor and the starving samples of virtue which are current enough in a world broken loose from its communion with God, and to defy the inspection upon them of God's eternal Son, and of the angels he brings along with him to witness the righteousness of his decisions. Sin has indeed been the ruin of our nature-but this refusal of the Saviour of sinners lands them
And, in fact, by putting the Mediator away from you,-by reckoning on a state of safety and acceptance without him, what is the ground upon which, in reference to God, you actually put yourselves? We speak not at present of the danger of persisting in such an attitude of independence, in a perdition still deeper and more irrecoof its being one of those refuges of treache-verable. It is blindness to the enormity of ry in which the good man of the world is sin. It is equivalent to a formally anoften to be found,-of its being a state nounced sentiment on your part that your wherein peace, when there is no peace, performances, sinful as they are, and pollulls him by its flatteries unto a deceitful|luted as they are, are good enough for hearepose. We are not at present saying how ven. It is just saying of the offered Saviour ruinous it is to rest a security upon an im- that you do not see the use of him. It is a posing exterior, when in fact the heart is provoking contempt of mercy; and causing not right in the sight of God, and while the the measure of ordinary guilt to overflow, reproving eye of him, who judgeth not as by heaping the additional blasphemy upon man judgeth, is upon him, or how poison- it, of calling upon God to honour it by his ous is the unction that comes upon the soul rewards, and to look to it with the complafrom those praises which upon the mere cency of his approbation. exhibition of the social virtues, are rung We cannot, then, we cannot draw near and circulated through society. But, unto God, by a direct or independent apin addition to the danger, let us insist upon proach to him. And who in these circumthe guilt of thus casting the offered Medi- stances, is fit to be the day's-man betwixt ator away from us. It implies in the most you? There is not a fellow-mortal from direct possible way, a sentiment of the suffi- Adam downward, who has not sins of his ciency of our own righteousness. It is ex-own to answer for. There is not one of pressly saying of our obedience, that it is them who has not the sentence of guilt ingood enough for God. It is presumptuously scribed upon his own forehead, and who is thinking that what pleases the world may not arrested by the same unscaled barrier please the Maker of it, even though he him- which keeps you at an inacessible distance self has declared it to be a world lying in from God. There is not one of them whose wickedness. There is an aggravation you entrance into the holiest of all would not will perceive in all this which goes beyond inflict on it as great a profanation, as if any the simple infraction of the commandment. of you were to present yourselves before It is, after the infraction of it, challenging him, who dwelleth there, without a Mediafor some remainder or for some semblance tor. There lieth a great gulf between God of conformity, the reward and approbation and the whole of this alienated world; of the God whose law we have dishonour- and after looking round amongst all the ed. It is, after we have braved the attribute men of all its generations, we may say, in of the Almighty's justice, by incurring its the language of the text, that there is not a condemnation, making an attempt upon the day's-man betwixt us who can lay his hand attribute itself, by bringing it down to the upon us both. standard of a polluted obedience. It is, after msulting the throne of God's righteousness, embarking in the still deadlier enterprize of demolishing all the stabilities which guard it; and spoiling it of that truth which has pronounced a curse on the children of iniquity, of that holiness which cannot dwell with evil,-of that unchangeableness which will admit of no compromise with sinners that can violate the honours of the Godhead, or weaken the authority of his
What we aim at as the effect of all these observations, is, that you should feel your only security to be in the revealed and the offered mediator; that you should seek to him as your only effectual hiding-place; and who alone, in the whole range of universal being, is able to lay his hand upon you, and shield you from the justice of the Almighty, and to lay his hand upon God, and stay the fury of the avenger. By him the deep atonement has been rendered.
ters, and all the need and danger of our circumstances,--then would the urgency of the case be felt as well as understood by us, -nor should we be long of pressing the inquiry of where is the day's-man betwixt us that might lay his hand upon us both!
By him the mystery has been accomplish-I could not hold him, ascend to the throne ed, which angels desired to look into. By of his appointed mediatorship; and now he, him such a sacrifice for sin has been offered, the first and the last, who was dead and is as that, in the acceptance of the sinner, alive, and maketh intercession for transevery attribute of the Divinity is exalted; gressors, is able to save to the uttermost and the throne of the Majesty in the hea- all who come unto God through him; and vens, though turned into a throne of grace, standing in the breach between a holy God is still upheld in all its firmness, and in all and the sinners who have offended him, its glory. Through the unchangeable priest- does he make reconciliation, and lay his hood of Christ, the vilest of sinners may hand upon them both. draw nigh, and receive of that mercy which has met with truth, and of that peace which is in close alliance with righteousness; and without one perfection of the Godhead being surrendered by this act of forgiveness, all are made to receive a higher and more wondrous manifestation; for though he will by no means clear the guilty, yet there is no place for vengeance, when all their guilt is cleared away by the blood of the everlasting covenant; and though he executeth justice upon the earth, yet he can be just while the justifier of them who believe in Jesus.
But it is not enough that the Mediator be appointed by God, he must be accepted by man. And to incite our acceptance does he hold forth every kind and constraining argument. He casts abroad, over the whole face of the world, one wide and universal assurance of welcome. "Whosoever cometh unto me shall not be cast out." "Come unto me all ye who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” “Where sin hath abounded, grace hath much more abounded." "Whatsoever ye ask in my name ye shall receive." The path of access to Christ is open and free of every obstacle, which kept fearful and guilty man at an impracticable distance from the jealous and unpacified Lawgiver. He hath put aside the obstacle, and now stands in its place. Let us only go in the way of the Gospel, and we shall find nothing between us and God but the author and finisher of the Gospel,-who, on the one hand, beckons to him the approach of man with every token of truth and of tenderness; and, on the other hand, advocates our cause with God, and fills his mouth with arguments, and pleads that very atonement which was devised in love by the Father, and with the incense of which he was well pleased, and claims, as the fruit of the travail of his soul, all who put their trust in him; and thus, laying his hand upon God, turns him altogether from the fierceness of his indignation.
But Jesus Christ is something more than the agent of our justification,--he is the agent of our sanctification also. Standing between us and God, he receives from him of that Spirit which is called the promise of the Father, and he pours it forth in free and generous dispensation on those who believe in him. Without this spirit there
The work of our redemption is every where spoken of as an achievement of strength-as done by the putting forth of mighty energies-as the work of one who, travelling in his own unaided greatness, had to tread the wine-press alone; and who, when of the people there was none to help him, did by his own arm bring unto him salvation. To move aside the obstacle which beset the path of acceptance; to reinstate the guilty into favour with the of fended and unchangeable Lawgiver: to avert from them the execution of that sentence to which there were staked the truth and justice of the Divinity; to work out a pardon for the disobedient, and at the same time to uphold in all their strength the pillars of that throne which they had insulted; to intercept the defied penalties of the law, and at the same time magnify it, and to make it honourable; thus to bend, as it were, the holy and everlasting attributes of God, and in doing so, to pour over them the lustre of a high and awful vindication,-this was an enterprise of such height, and depth, and length, as no created being could fulfil, and which called forth the might and the counsel of him who is the power of God, and the wisdom of God. When no man could redeem his neigh-may, in a few of the goodlier specimens of bour from the grave,-God himself found our race, be within us the play of what is out a ransom. When not one of the beings kindly in constitutional feeling, and withwhom he had formed could offer an ade-out us the exhibition of what is seemly in quate expiation,-did the Lord of hosts a constitutional virtue; and man, thus standawaken the sword of vengeance against his ing over us in judgment, may pass his verfellow. When there was no messenger dict of approbation; and all that is visible among the angels who surrounded his in our doings may be pure as by the opethrone, that could both proclaim and pur- ration of snow water. But the utter irrechase peace for a guilty world,-did God ligiousness of our nature will remain as manifest in the flesh descend in shrouded entire and as obstinate as ever. The alienamajesty amongst our earthly tabernacles, tion of our desires from God will persist and pour out his soul unto the death for us, with unsubdued vigour in our bosoms; and and purchase the church by his own blood, sin, in the very essence of its elementary and bursting away from the grave which principle, will still lord it over the inner
man with all the power of its original as- | lessons from the quarter whence the human heart derives its strongest sensations,-and we refer both to your own feelings, and to the history of this world's opinions, if God is more felt or more present to your ima
If nature and her elements be dreadful,
cendency,-till the deep, and the searching, and the pervading influence of the love of God be shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. This is the work of the great Mediator. This is the might and the mys-ginations in the peacefulness of spring, or tery of that regeneration, without which the loveliness of a summer landscape, than we shall never see the kingdom of God. when winter with its mighty elements This is the office of Him to whom all power sweeps the forest of its leaves,-when the is committed, both in heaven and in earth,- rushing of the storm is heard upon our who reigning in heaven, and uniting its windows, and man flees to cover himself mercy with its righteousness, causes them from the desolation that walketh over the to flow upon earth in one stream of celes- surface of the world. tial influence; and reigning on earth, and working mightily in the hearts of its peo-how dreadful that mysterious and unseen ple, makes them meet for the society of Being, who sits behind the elements he has heaven, thereby completing the wonderful formed, and gives birth and movement to work of our redemption, by which, on the all things! It is the mystery in which he one hand he brings the eye of a holy God is shrouded,-it is that dark and unknown to look approvingly on the sinner, and on region of spirits, where he reigns in glory, the other hand, makes the sinner fit for the and stands revealed to the immediate view fellowship, and altogether prepared for the of his worshippers,-it is the inexplicable enjoyment of God. manner of his being so far removed from that province of sense, within which the understanding of man can expatiate,—it is its total unlikeness to all that nature can furnish to the eye of the body, or to the conception of the mind, which animates it,-it is all this which throws the Being who formed us at a distance so inaccessible,-which throws an impenetrable mantle over his way, and gives us the idea of some dark and untrodden interval betwixt the glory of God, and all that is visible and created.
Now, Jesus Christ has lifted up this mysterious veil, or rather he has entered within it. He is now at the right hand of God; and though the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person, he appeared to us in the palpable characters of a man; and those high attributes of truth, and justice, and mercy, which could not be felt or understood, as they existed in the abstract and invisible Deity, are brought down to our conceptions in a manner the most familiar and impressive, by having been made, through Jesus Christ, to flow in utterance from human lips, and to beam in expressive physiognomy from a
Such are the great elements of a sinner's religion. But if you turn from the prescribed use of them, the wrath of God abideth on you. If you kiss not the Son while he is in the way, you provoke his anger, and when once it begins to burn, they only are blessed who have put their trust in him. If, on the fancied sufficiency of a righteousness that is without godliness, you neglect the great salvation, you will not escape the severities of that day, when the Being with whom you have to do shall enter with you into judgment; and it is only by fleeing to the Mediator, as you would from a coming storm, that peace is made between you and God, and that, sanctified by the faith which is in Jesus, you are made to abound in such fruits of righteousness, as shall be to praise and glory at the last and the solemn reckoning.
Before we conclude, we shall just advert to another sense, in which the Mediator between God and man may be affirmed to have laid his hand upon them bo h:-He fills up that mysterious interval which lies between every corporeal being, and the God who is a spirit and is invisible. No man hath seen God at any time,-human countenance. and the power which is unseen is terrible. So long as I had nothing before me but Fancy trembles before its own picture, and the unseen spirit of God, my mind wandered superstition throws its darkest imagery over in uncertainty, my busy fancy was free to it. The voice of the thunder is awful, but expatiate, and its images filled my heart not so awful as the conception of that angry with disquietude and terror. But in the being who sits in mysterious concealment, life, and person, and history of Jesus Christ, and gives it all its energy. In these sketches the attributes of the Deity are brought down of the imagination, fear is sure to predomi- to the observation of the senses; and I can nate. We gather an impression of Nature's no longer mistake them, when in the Son, God, from those scenes where Nature who is the express image of his Father, threatens, and looks dreadful. We speak see them carried home to my understanding not of the theology of the schools, and the by the evidence and expression of human empty parade of its demonstrations. We organs, when I see the kindness of the speak of the theology of actual feeling, Father, in the tears which fell from his Son that theology which is sure to derive its at the tomb of Lazarus,-when I see his
justice blended with his mercy, in the ex- I see it in his unaltered form when he rose clamation, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem," by triumphant from the grave; I perceive it Jesus Christ; uttered with a tone more in his tenderness for the scruples of the tender than the sympathy of human bosom unbelieving Thomas; and I am given to ever prompted, while he bewailed the sen- understand, that as his body retained the tence of its desolation, and in the look of impression of his own sufferings, so his energy and significance which he threw mind retains a sympathy for ours, as warm, upon Peter, I feel the judgment of God and gracious, and endearing, as ever. We himself, flashing conviction upon my con- have a Priest on high, who is touched with science, and calling me to repent while his a fellow feeling of our infirmities. My soul, wrath is suspended, and he still waiteth to unable to support itself in its aerial flight be gracious. among the spirits of the invisible, now reposes on Christ, who stands revealed to my conceptions in the figure, the countenance, the heart, the sympathies of a man. He has entered within that veil which hung over the glories of the Eternal; and the mysterious inaccessible throne of God is divested of all its teriors, when I think that a friend who bears the form of the species, and knows its infirmities, is there to plead for me.
And it was not a temporary character which he assumed. The human kindness, and the human expression which makes it intelligible to us, remained with him till his latest hour. They survived his resurrection, and he has carried them along with him to the mysterious place which he now occupies. How do I know all this? I know it from his history; I hear it in the parting words to his mother from the cross;
The Folly of Men measuring themselves by themselves.
"For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves; but they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are nỰC wise."-2 Corinthians, x. 12.
an example, it is safe for him to allow in himself an equal extent of indulgence; and to go the same lengths of laxity or transgression; and thus, instead of measuring himself by the perfect law of the Almighty, and making conformity to it the object of his strenuous aspirings, does he measure himself and compare himself with his fellow-mortals,-and pitches his ambition to no greater height than the accidental level
ST. Paul addressed these words to the members of a Christian congregation; and were we to confine their application to those people of the present day, who in circumstances, bear the nearest resemblance to them, we would, in the present discourse, have chiefly to do with the more serious and declared professors of the Gospel. Nor should we be long at a loss for a very observable peculiarity amongst them, against which to point the admonition of the which obtains amongst the members of his Apostle. For, in truth there is a great dis-own religious brotherhood, and finds a quiet position with the members of the religious repose in the mediocrity of their actual world, to look away from the unalterable accomplishments, and of their current and standard of God's will, and to form a stand-conventional observations. ard of authority out of the existing attainments of those whom they conceive to be in the faith. We know nothing that has contributed more than this to reduce the tone of practical Christianity. We know not a more insidious security, than that which steals over the mind of him who when he looks to another of eminent name for godliness, or orthodoxy, and perceives in him a certain degree of conformity to the world, or a certain measure of infirmity of temper, or a certain abandonment of himself to the natural enjoyments of luxury, or of idle gossiping, or of commenting with malignant pleasure on the faults and failings of the absent, thinks, that upon such
There is much in this consideration to alarm many of those who within the pale of a select and peculiar circle, look upon themselves as firmly seated in an enclosure of safety. They may be recognized by the society around them as one of us; and they may keep the even pace of acquirement along with them; and they may wear all those marks of distinction which separate them from the general and unprofessing public; and, in respect of Church, and of sacrament, and of family observances, and of exclusive preference for each other's conversation, and of meetings for prayer and the other exercises of Christian fellowship, they may stand most decidedly out