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was born blind, he only asked him this question, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? and then discovers that he was the Person; and it immediately follows, that he believed and wore shipped him, John ix. 35, 37, 38. And there were many other instances of the like nature in the New Testament, in which persons believed in Christ, before he gave them a particular account of his design in coming into the world, barely upon his working miracles, which gave them a conviction that he was the Messiah ; whereas faith supposes not only a conviction that Christ is the Messiah, but a knowledge of his Person, and the offices he was to execute as such. This may very easily be accounted for, by supposing that the Jews had been before instructed in this matter, and therefore they wanted no new discoveries hereof; accordingly they believed in him, and worshipped him, as being induced hereunto, by those intimations that were given to them, under the Old Testament dispensation, that the Messiah, whenever he appeared, would be the Object of faith and warship,
[4.] Since the gospel is more clearly preached under this present dispensation, than it was before; this tends to aggravate the sin of those who despise Christ, as revealed therein, as our Saviour says, This is the condemnation that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil, chap. iii. 19. Before our Saviour's incar, nation, the Old Testainent-church might be said to reject the covenant of promise, or not regard the gospel contained therein; but, under the New Testament-dispensation, sinners reject the covenant of grace, as confirmed, ratified, and sealed, by the blood of Christ; and, as the apostle says, Count the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and therefore are thought worthy of much sorer punishment, Heb. X. 29.
Quest. XXXVI. Who is the Mediator of the Covenant of
Answ. The only mediator of the covenant of grace is the
Lord Jesus Christ, who being the eternal Son of God, of one substance and equal with the Father, in the fulness of time became man, and so was and continues to be God and Man, in two entire distinct natures, and one Person for ever.
Quest. XXXVII. How did Christ, being God, become Man?
Answ. Christ, the Son of God, became Man by taking to
himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived
by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance, and born of her, yet without sin. TEXT to the covenant of grace, and its various adminis
trations, we have, in some following answers, an account of the Mediator thereof, who is set forth in the glory of his Person ; the offices that he executes, and the estate in which he either was, or is, together with those accessions of glory, with which he shall perform the last part of his work in the close of time. The first thing to be considered, is the constitution of his Person, as God-man, Mediator; and here,
I. He is set forth as the only Mediator of the covenant of grace. How we are to understand his being Mediator, has been already considered *, and it was observed, that he did not make peace, by intreating, that God would remit the debt, without giving that satisfaction, which was necessary to be made, for the securing the glory of the divine justice. Herein we militate against the Socinians, who suppose him to be styled a Mediator, only because he made known unto the world those new laws contained in the gospel, which we are obliged to obey, as a condition of God's being reconciled to us; and giving us a pattern of obedience in his conversation ; and, in the close thereof, confirining his doctrine by his death; and then interceding with God, that, on these terms, he would accept of us, without any regard to the glory of his justice, which he is no farther concerned about, than by prevailing that it would desist from the demands which it might have made, and so pardon sin without satisfaction; But this is directlycontrary to the whole tenor of scripture, which represents him as giving his life a ransom for many, Matt. xx. 28. upon which account it is said he made peace through the blood of his cross, Col. i. 20. and that God brought him again from the dead through the blood of the ederlasting covenant, as the God of peace, Heb. xiii. 20. and, at the same time, appeared to be a God of infinite holiness and justice, and Christ a Mediator of satisfaction : But this will be farther considered, when we speak concerning his Priestly office t.
That which we shall, at present, observe is, that he is styled the only Mediator: Thus it is said, There is one Mediator between God and men, The man Christ Jesus, 1 Tim. ii. 5. In this we oppose the Papists, who greatly derogate from the glory of Christ by pretending that the angels, and glorified saints, are mediators of intercession, and that they not only offer up supplications to God in the behalf of men here on earth, but with them they present their own merits, as though Christ's
Sec Page 379. Vol. Į. See Quest, xliv.
redemption and intercession had not been sufficient without them; and accordingly a great part of their worship consists in desiring that these good offices may be performed by them, on their behalf, which I cannot but conclude to be a breach of the first, or, at least, let them put never so fair colours upon it, of the second commandment; which will be farther considered in its proper place.
The scriptures they bring, in defence of this practice, are nothing to their purpose. For whenever an angel is said to intercede for men, as it is expressed, 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 ? Zech. i. 12. or to be the object of their prayers, or supplications, as Jacob says, The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads, Gen. xlviii. 16. no other person is intended hereby but Christ the angel of the covenant. Another scripture, which they bring to the same purpose, is that, in which Moses says, Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, Exod. xxxij. 13. which they miserably pervert ; for Moses does not desire that God would hear the prayers that these saints made to him in the behalf of his church; but that he would remember the covenant that he made with them, and so accomplish the promises thereof, by bestowing the blessings that his people then stood in need of.
And there are two other scriptures that are often cited by the Papists, to this purpose, which, they think, can hardly be taken in any other sense ; one is in Rev. v. 8. where it is said, that the four beasts, and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints; and the other is in chap. viii. 3. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer ; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints, upon the golden altar, which was before the throne. It must be allowed, that there are many passages, in this book, which hard to be understood; but there are none contrary to the apalogy of faith, or derogatory to the glory of Christ, as the sense they give of these scriptures is; and therefore we must enquire, whether they may not be understood otherwise by us? It is said, indeed, the four beasts, and four and twenty elders, had golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints ; but it is not fully determined whether, by these beasts and elders, are intended the inhabitants of heaven, or men on earth. If it is only an emblematical representation of those prayers that are directed to God from the church in this world, it is nothing to their purpose. But we will suppose that, by these beasts and elders, here spoken of, who fell down before the Lamb, are meant
the inhabitants of heaven : nevertheless, we are not to understand, that they are represented as praying for the saints here on earth; for the golden vials full of odours, are only an emblem of the prayers that are put up by the saints here on earth, which God accepts of, or smells a sweet savour in, as perfumed with odours of Christ's righteousness. This may be illustrated by those political emblems, that are used in public solemnities; such as the coronation of kings, in which the regalia are carried by the prime ministers of state, not to signify that they have any branch of kingly dignity belonging to them: but the whole ceremony is expressive of his honours and prerogatives, who is the principal subject thereof; so when the heavenly inhabitants are represented, in this vision, in such a way, as they are here described, it only signifies, that the prayers, which are put up by God's people here on earth, through the mediation of Christ, are graciously heard and answered by him.
As for the other scripture, in which it is said, Another angel stood at the altar, and there was given him much incense, that he should offer it, with the prayers of all saints, that is generally understood, by those who do not give into this absurd opinion of the Papists, as spoken of our Saviour, and then it makes nothing to their purpose, but rather militates against it. But if it be objected, to this sense of the text, that our Saviour cannot properly be called another angel, and therefore it must be meant of one of the created angels; the sense but now given of the foregoing scripture may be accommodated to it, and so the meaning is, this angel, or one of the angels, stood at the altar before the Lamb, and, in an emblematical way, is set forth, as having incense put into his hand, which he presents to him; not as offering it up for himself, but as signifying that it was for the sake of Christ's merits, that the prayers of his people, here on earth, ascended with acceptance in the sight of God. And it is as though he should say to Christ, “ The incense is thine, " thou hast a right to the glory thereof; and therefore let all “ know, that this is the only foundation of the church's hope, * that their wants shall be supplied by thee.” So that this does not give the least countenance to the Popish doctrine, of there being oiher mediators between God and man besides our Lord Jesus Christ.
Some of the Papists, indeed, are sensible that this opinion tends to detract from the glory of our great Mediator, and therefore they chuse rather to assert, that the saints and angels are mediators between Christ and men, so that we are through their means, to have access to him, and by him, to the Father : but, since Christ not only condescended to take our nature upon him, and therein to procure redemption for us ; but invited his people to come to him; and since it is said, throug! him we have an access unto the Father, Eph. ii. 18. and no mention is made of any, by whom we have access to Christ ; and our access to God is founded only in his blood, we have nothing else to do, but, by faith, in what he has done and suffered to draw nigh to God, as to a Father, reconciled to this great and only Mediator.
II. This Mediator is described, as to his Person, as God incarnate, or, as it is expressed, the eternal Son of God, of one substance, and equal with the Father, who became Man, and that, in the most proper sense, by assuming to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, which are the two constituent parts of man. Here we are to consider,
1. The Person assuming the human nature. He is styled the eternal Son of God, of one substance with the Father, and, with respect to his personality, equal with him.* This is the same mode of speaking that was used by the Nicene fathers, in defence of our Saviour's divinity against the Arians, which we have largely insisted on, in our defence of the doctrine of the ever-blessed Trinity, and having also explained what we mean by Christ's Sonship, as referring to his Person and character, as Mediator,f we shall add no more on that subject at present, but take it for granted, that our Saviour is, in the most proper sense, a divine Person, and shall consider him as assuming the human nature ; accordingly we may observe,
(1.) That it was the second Person in the Godhead who was incarnate, and not the Father, nor the Holy Ghost. This we affirm against the Sabellians, who deny the distinct Personality of the Father, Son, and Spirit; and assert that the Father, or the Holy Ghost, might as truly be said to have been incarnate, as the Son, since their Personality, according to them, is not so distinct, as that what is done by one divine Person, might not be said to have been done by another.
(2.) It follows, from hence, that the divine nature, which belongs in common to the Father, Son, and Spirit, cannot be properly said to have been incarnate. It is true, we read, that God was manifest in the flesh, 1 Tim. iii. 16. and elsewhere, that in him, namely, in the human nature, dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead, Col. ii. 9. from whence some take occasion to conclude, that the human nature was united to the Godhead, or that the Godhead of Christ was said to be incarnate: but if this be asserted, it must be with caution and a distinction. I cannot therefore suppose, that the Godhead absolutely considered, but as including in it the idea of its subsisting in the Person of the Son, was incarnate ; which is very well es
* See Vol. I. Page 243. + See Qriest. ix, x, xi. # Vide the note, Vol. I. Page 279. For this reason, the Sabellians are often called, by ancient writers, Patrinassiane,