« AnteriorContinua »
That we may be persuaded to repose confidence in the powerful efficacy of Christ's mediation, the scripture represents him as a king whom God hath set over his holy hill of Zion, to rule and govern his church and people, by his equitable laws. For “ to this end Christ both died, and rose again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living: who is gone into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, angels, and authorities, and powers, being made subject unto him. And he is head over all things to his church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”—This church Christ hath erected as his spiritual kingdom, by uniting into one religious community all those, who through his mediation as a prophet, have received the knowledge of true religion, and study to obey his commands. This church or religious community Christ governs, by the laws of conscience written on their hearts, and by the precepts delivered in his divine word. With this church, Christ is ever present in an invisible manner, gradually enlarging it, and thereby extending his kingdom throughout the world, till all nations become converts to the gospel. But, besides this external visible church, Christ has another church or kingdom which is not of this world, consisting of all good men who live according to the rules of rectitude, and endeavour to conform their hearts and lives more and more to the precepts of true religion.
The subjects of this spiritual kingdom are protected by their mediatorial king, so that no evil can befal them: they are preserved by his power from all the machinations of their enemies; so that none can pluck them out of his hand; and they are kept by his providential care, through faith unto salvation. This kingdom of righteousness shall continue to increase till the end of time, when Christ will be delegated to judge the world, and determine the eternal fate of angels and of men. For thus the scripture teaches : “ the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son, that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father : for Christ must reign, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet; then cometh the end, when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father; and when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”—Thus, it appears, that God hath committed the government of his church and people to Christ, as their mediatorial king, and confers through him all the blessings of salvation, pardon of sin, grace to assist us in the performance of our duty, the protection of his providence in this world, and eternal glory in the world to come. Thus, God hath appointed him as the medium of communicating every good and perfect gift, temporal, spiritual and eternal.
It is worthy of our attention and consideration, that this method of governing us by Christ, and bestowing the advantages we possess through his interposition, is analogous to God's natural plan of administering the temporal enjoyments of life. For we find that almost every benefit we receive in the course of providence, is procured for us by the instrumentality of others. Thus, our parents provide for us the necessaries and comforts of life in our infancy; our friends exert themselves to obtain an increase to our fortune as we advance in years; and the kindness of those who are bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, alle. viates our troubles in the hour of distress. All these persons in their various capacities, are means in the hand of God, of doing us good, and delivering us from evil; so that it seems to be the general plan of his dispensations, to confer benefits upon us through the interposition of others. And he continues the same method in bestowing the blessings of redemption ; for he has not granted them immediately from himself; but ordained that they should be conveyed to us through a Mediator. Thus, God is uniform in all the varied plans of his administration; he is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working. Thus, our Saviour is appointed, as the medium of obtaining all things pertaining to godliness; and he has fully accomplished all the offices of our Redeemer in the covenant of redemption. This will appear more evidently, if we consider,
III. The efficacy of his mediation, in promoting the end proposed.
66 He re
These ends were various and important, arising from the condition in which mankind were placed. We were brought into a state of guilt and condemnation by the transgression of our first parents ; but the mediation of Christ is intended to counteract the consequences of original sin: and, accordingly, the scriptures inform us, " that as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” As the corruption of human nature transmitted by Adam to his posterity subjected us to the curse of the broken law : so “ Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” moved the hand-writing” of divine justice, which was against us for the breach of the covenant of works, "and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”
Thus, the sentence of condemnation which had been passed upon mankind for the fall, has been removed ; and we are again placed by the mediation of Christ in a capacity of obtaining the divine favour and eternal life, which we had lost in the person of our first progenitor. But as we inherit a perverted nature, and fall into in. numerable trespasses, which still subject us to the wrath of God: therefore it was necessary, that the mediation of our Saviour should make some provision for the expiation of our actual guilt, and render it consistent with the di. vine rectitude to pardon us upon our repentance and reformation. This has been done in the person of Christ, who is appointed by God himself as a propitiation to satisfy the demands of the law, and bring in everlasting righteousness: so that God regards the obedience and death of Christ, as securing the honour of his laws, as effectually as if we ourselves had fully obeyed them, or suffered an adequate punishment for their violation.
In consideration, therefore, of the merits of Christ, our sins are pardoned ; and “ by the righteousness of one the free gift is come upon all who believe unto justification of life.” Thus, by the acceptance of our Mediator's righte. ousness in our behalf, “ God is just, and the justifier of those who believe in Jesus."
But, as our justification does not supersede our obligation to live soberly, and righteously, and godly : “ as we are called" in the gospel “ to be holy in all manner of conversation;" therefore the mediation of Christ, as our prophet, to teach us the will of God, is necessary and effectual for this purpose. Accordingly we are taught all the duties necessary for our salvation, both by his own instructions, and the precepts delivered by his inspired Apostles. The scriptures contain every truth requisite to direct our conduct uprightly in the present world, and teach us how to qualify ourselves for happiness in the world to come. They are the instructions of him, whose understanding is infinite, who knows what we must believe and do in order to salvation. To whom then, can we come or go, but unto him, alone; He has the words of everlasting life.
Moreover, his office of intercessor at the right hand of God is of the most powerful efficacy in procuring all the blessings of salvation of which we stand in need. is ever seated at the right hand of God, a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to his people, and the remission of their sins;" his intercession is always prevalent in our behalf; whatsoever he asketh of the Father for promoting our welfare is granted ; and whatever prayers we present to God in his name are accepted and answered. · This plan of appointing our Saviour an advocate for us in the court of heaven, displays both the goodness and holiness of God in a remarkable manner : his goodness, inasmuch as we his guilty creatures are thereby emboldened to approach the throne of grace through the mediation of his well-beloved Son whom he heareth always, and for whose sake he will receive our requests; and his holiness, inasmuch as we are thereby reminded of our sinfulness, and unworthiness, because God will not suffer us to ask any thing as of ourselves, but in the name of a Mediator. As our Saviour is therefore appointed the medium through whom we have access to God, we are taught to offer up all our prayers in his name, and to expect every blessing
of which we stand in need only for his sake.
“ Whatsoever,” says our Saviour, " ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you, that your joy may be full.”
As our Lord is not only our intercessor with the Father, but also our spiritual king, whom God hath invested with authority to prescribe laws for our conduct, to govern us in this world, and judge us in the world to come, the expediency of this mediatorial office also, will
from the following considerations. As he is man as well as God, he knows and sympathizes with the perverted state of human nature, and will make all due allowance for those infirmities and occasional deviations from duty, of which the best and most sincere are often guilty. As he is well acquainted with our incapacity to adhere to rectitude, without some special and powerful assistance to strengthen us with might in the inner man, therefore he commissions the Holy Ghost to dwell in our hearts, and by his secret influences to inspire us with good purposes, and resolutions, to suggest to us such motives as may enable us to maintain our integrity; and to invigorate us for the attainment of greater degrees of holiness, till we arrive at the measure of the stature of perfect men in Christ Jesus.
If we persevere in the paths of righteousness, he secures and protects us as a faithful sovereign, by making all things work together for our good, blessing us with such prosperity and happiness as may be conducive to our welfare, and assuring us of his favour and loving-kindness, by making his Spirit witness with our spirits, that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. But, if we renounce his authority and will not have him reign over us, if, instead of regulating our conduct by his laws, we will rather submit to the slavery of our lusts and passions, and follow after the devices of our own evil hearts : he will in the course of his providence punish us with the loss of his favour and protection, with temporal calamities, and spiritual judgments, till we are reclaimed from the error of our ways: or if we prove incorrigible, he will suffer us to fill up the measure of our iniquity, till