Obrázky na stránke

unbecoming a divine Person; and this is what is plainly the sense of those scriptures, in which the Spirit is said to intercede for us. As for Christ's intercession, it consists, indeed, in his praying for us, * rather than enabling us to pray; therefore it was requisite that he should be Man, in order thereunto.

Object. 2. It is generally supposed, that Christ made incescession for his people before his incarnation : Thus we cannot but conclude, that he is intended by the angel of the Lord, who is represented as pleading for Israel; O Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem, and upon the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years > Zech. i. 12. and also as pleading in their behalf against the accusations of Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord, which hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee: Is not this a brand which is plucked out of the fire ? chap. iii. 2. If therefore he made intercession at that time, when he had no human nature, his incarnation was not necessary thereunto.

Answ. Though we allow that Christ is often represented, in the Old Testament, as interceding for his people; yet these expressions are either proleptical, and do not denote, so much, what Christ then did, as what he would do, after he had assumed our nature ; or they imply, that the salvation of the church, under that dispensation, was owing to the intercession that Christ would make after his incarnation, as well as to that satisfaction which he would give to the justice of God in our nature; so that Christ, in those scriptures, is represented as procuring those blessings for his people, by what he would, in reality, do after his incarnation, the virtue whereof is supposed to be extended to them at that time : He did not therefore formally, but virtually, intercede for them; and consequently it does not prove that his incarnation was not necessary for his making that intercession, which he ever lives to do in the be. half of his church.

It is farther observed, that it was requisite that our Mediator should be Man, that he might have a fellow-feeling of our infirmities : Thus the apostle says, He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, having been, in all points ; in his human nature, tempted like as we are, yet without sin, Heb. iv. 15. As God, it is true, he has a perfect, namely, a divine knowledge of our infirmities, but not an experimental knowledge thereof; and therefore, in this respect, had he not been Man, he could not have been said to sympathize with us herein; and therefore his compassion towards us, has this additional motive, taken from his incarnation : It was in this respect that he kad the passions of the human nature, and thereby is induced,

* And in presenting his glorious body with the marks of suffering.

from what he once experienced, to help our infirmities, as being such as he himself condescended to bear.

And to this it may be added, as a farther consequence of his incarnation, that we are made partakers of the adoption of sons, and have comfort and access with boldness, to the throne of grace. This the apostle also gives us occasion to infer, from his being made of a woman, and made under the law, not only that he might redeem them that were under the law, but that we might receive the adoption of sons, Gal. iv. 5. and encourages us, from hence, to come boldly to the throne of grace, Heb. iv. 16. As Christ's Sonship, as Mediator, includes his incarnation, and was the ground and reason of the throne of grace being erected, to which we are invited to come; so, he being, in the same respect, constituted Heir of all things, believers who are the sons of God, in a lower sense, are notwithstanding, styled, Heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, Rom. viii. 17. He is the Head and Lord of this great family, who purchased an inheritance for them, and they the members thereof, who, in the virtue of his purchase, have a right to it; therefore his incarnation, which was necessary hereunto, was the great foundation of our obtaining the privilege of God's adopted children, and of our access by him to the Father. We first come by faith to him, who, if we allude to Elihu's words, was formed out of the clay, and therefore his terror shall not make us afraid, neither shall his hand be heavy upon us, Job xxxiii. 6. and through him, we come to God, as our reconciled Father.

III. It was requisite that the Mediator should be God and man, in one Person. Had his human nature been a distinct human Person, the work of our redemption would have been brought about by two persons, which would each of them have had the character of Mediator, unless two persons could be so united, as to constitute but one, which is no better than a contradiction. And it is farther observed, in the answer under our present consideration, that there were works to be performed, proper to each nature: in the human nature he was to perform every thing that implied subjection, obedience, or suffering; and though none of these could be performed by him, in his divine nature, yet an infinite worth, value, and dignity, was to be added thereunto, which was not so much the result of any thing done by him in that nature, as of the union of the human nature with it; upon which account, the obedience he performed, had, in a relative sense, the same value, as though it had been performed in his divine nature; and, upon this account, it is said, that God purchased the church with his own blood, Acts xx. 28.

And to this we may add, that as each nature was distinct, and their properties not in the least confounded, as was before observed; so we often read, in scripture, of distinct properties

attributed to the same person, which are opposed to each other, namely, mortality and immortality, weakness and omnipotency, dependence and independence, &c. which could not be, with any propriety of speaking, applied to him, had he not been God and man, in the same person. This is generally styled by divines, a communication of properties,* concerning which we must observe, that the properties of one nature are not predicated of the other; as the Lutherans suppose, when they conclude, that the human nature of Christ is omnipresent, upon which their doctrine oi consubstantiation is founded; but we assert, that the properties of one nature are predicated of the same person, to whom the other nature also belongs ; so that when we say the Person, that was God, obeyed and suffered; or the Person, that was man, paid an infinite price to the justice of God, we are far from asserting, that the Godhead of Christ obeyed, or the manhood merited ; t and this is the necessary result of his two natures being united in one Person. There are two things observed, in illustrating this matter.

1. That the works of each nature must be accepted of God for us, as the works of the whole Person, or of the same Person; therefore, if the nature that obeyed and suffered had been an human person, his obedience and sufferings could not have been of infinite value, or accepted by God as a sufficient price of redemption ; for they could not have had this value reflected on them, had they not been the works of a divine Person : and those rays of divine glory, that shined forth in his human nature, could have no immediate relation to it, had it been a distinct Person from that of his Godhead.

2. It is farther observed, that those works, which were performed by him in each nature, are to be relied on by us, as the works of the whole Person : this reliance contains in it an instance of adoration, and supposes the Person, who perforins them, to be God, which he was not in his human nature; therefore we are to adore our Mediator, and rely on the works performed by him, in his human nature, as he is God and man in one Person. As we have sufficient ground, from scripture to conclude, that the Mediator is the Object of divine adoration; so we are to depend on him, as a divine Person, for salvation; and our worship herein does not terminate on his human nature, but on his deity: but, if his human nature had been a distinct human person we could not be said to adore him that died for us, and rose again; so that, upon all these accounts, it is necessary that he should be not only God and man, but that these two natures should be united in one Person.

* See Vol. I. page 261.

# This is generally sigled, by divines, Comraunicatio idiomatum in concreto, non in abstracto.

Having considered our Mediator as God and man, in one Person, we are now to speak of him as having those glorious titles and characters attributed to him, expressive of his mediatorial work and dignity; accordingly, he is variously denominated as such in scripture: sometimes he is called, Lord, Phil. iv. 5. at other times, Jesus, Matt. i. 21. and elsewhere, The Lord Jesus, Acts ix. 17. and also, The Lord Christ, Col. iii. 24. and, in other places, The Lord Jesus Christ, chap. i. 2. He is called Lord, to denote the infinite dignity of his Person, as God equal with the Father; which name is given him in the New Testament, in the same sense, in which he is called Jehovah in the Old, as has been observed under a foregoing answer,* and to denote his divine sovereignty, as the Governor of the world, and the church, and particularly as executing his kingly office as Mediator; and, in the two following answers, he is described by his mediatorial characters, Jesus, and Christ.

Quest. XLI. Why was our Mediator called Jesus?
Answ. Our Mediator was called Jesus, because he saveth his

people from their sins. QUEST. XLII. Why was our Mediator called Christ? Answ. Our Mediator was called Christ, because he was anoint

ed with the Holy Ghost above measure, and so set apart, and fully furnished with all authority and ability, to execute the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King of his church, in the es. tate both of his humiliation and exaltation.

I. UR Mediator is very often called Jesus in the New

Testament, which name signifies a Saviour, as it is particularly intimated by the angel, who gave direction, that he should be so called, before his birth, Matt. i. 21. and he is not only styled our Saviour, but our Salvation, in the abstract: thus the prophet, foretelling his incarnation, says, Behold, thy Salvation cometh ; his reward is with him, and his work before him, Isa. lxii. 11. and, when Simeon held him in his arms, he blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Luke ii. 28–30. He is a Saviour, as he brings about salvation for us, and we attain it by him; and he may be styled our Salvation, as our eternal blessedness consists in the enjoyment of him. Salvation contains in it a preserving and delivering us from all evil, which some call the negative idea thereof, and a conferring on us the greatest good, which is the positive

* Seç Pol. I. page 296. 306.

idea of it. In saving us from evil, he is sometimes said to deliver us from this present evil world, Gal. i. 4. and elsewhere we are said to be saved from wrath through him, Rom. v. 9. and, as all the deliverance we experience, or hope for, is included in the word Salvation, so are all the spiritual blessings wherewith we are blessed, in this, or a better world; and, upon this account, he, who is the purchaser and author thereof, is called Jesus.

1. Since Christ is called Jesus, let us be exhorted to take heed that we do not entertain any unworthy thoughts of him, or that salvation which he hath procured, by supposing it indefinite, or indeterminate, or that he did not come into the world to save a certain number, who shall eventually obtain this bless. ing; but that he is the Redeemer, and consequently the Saviour of many that shall finally perish, which is little better than a contradiction. And let us not suppose, that it is in the power of man to make his salvation of none effect; for whatever difficulties there may be in the way, he will certainly overcome them, otherwise he would be called Jesus, or a Saviour to no purpose; and therefore they, who suppose him to be the Saviour of all mankind upon this uncertain condition, that they improve their natural powers, or the liberty of their will, so as to render his purpose, relating to their salvation, effectual, which otherwise it would not be, do not give him the glory which belongs to him, as called Jesus.

2. Let us take heed that we do not extenuate his salvation to our own discouragement, as though he were not able to save, to the uttermost all that come unto God by hiin, or did not come into the world to save the chief of sinners; or we had certain ground to conclude our case to be so deplorable, as that we are out of the reach of his salvation.

3. Let none presume, without ground, that he is their Saviour, or that they have an interest in him as such, while in an unconverted state ; or vainly conclude, that they shall be saved by him, without faith in, or subjection to him.

4. Let this name Jesus tend to excite in us the greatest thankfulness, especially if we have experienced the beginning of the work of salvation; and let such encourage themselves to hope, that having begun the good work in them, he will finish it, when he shall appear, a second time, without sin, unto salvation.

II. Our Mediator is called Christ, or, as it is generally expressed in the Old Testament, the Messiah, which signifies a person anointed: thus it is said, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ, John i. 41. or, as it is in the margin, the anointed. And, as anointing was made use of under the ceremonial law, in the public inauguration and inVOL. II.

I i

« PredošláPokračovať »