« السابقةمتابعة »
benevolence of character which was so conspicuous when he was on earth, gives assurance to the most timid of his followers, that he will be prompt to recompense every endeavour to obey him, and to serve his cause. Offenders themselves may be assured, that he will not indulge to vindictive wrath, but he will be inclined to merey, as far as the plans of divine justice will admit. May we not also suppose, that judgment is committed to the Son, in order to mitigate, as much as possible, the awefulness of the solemn scene? We were informed in the Jewish history, that the terror which accompanied the promulgation of the moral law, from Mount Sinai, was insufferably great; so that "the people said unto Moses, speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die." If such an intermediation was desirable, simply upon the promulgation of the moral law to the Jewish nation, the sanctions of which were confined to temporal concerns, how much more desirable, when a strict scrutiny shall be made into the individual observance of these laws, and the infinitely more momentous sentence of condemnation or acquittal is to be pronounced?
Thus have we endeavoured to investigate the nature of the mediatorial office of Christ, as it appears to us to be clearly stated in the sacred writings. We have compared the Scriptures with themselves, traced the conformity subsisting between the language which was currentunder the former dispensation, and the current language under the covenant of grace. have also shewn, that the propositions we have advanced, harmonize with the principles which the God of nature has implanted in the human breast; and upon which he has acted in the usual tenor of his conduct with the human race. We have scrupulously adhered to the rules which we had prescribed for our own observance. We have been cautious not to build upon occasional, or metaphorical expressions, but we have been attentive to the constant reiterated language of Scripture. The principles advanced, clearly appear to us to be most rational in themselves, most honourable to the moral attributes of the Deity, and most consistent with the character of the great, the universal Father.
We trust that we have, under this article, also displayed another characteristic excellency in the Christian revelation, in the appointment of such a Mediator between God and man; the native excellence of whose character, the perfec
tion of whose obedience, whose benevolence towards the whole human race, and the greatness of whose sufferings for their sakes, so far exceeded all that has been done and suffered by the preceding prophets, or intermediates between an offended God and sinful man.
In our conceptions, those statements which we have considered as strictly scriptural, are striking manifestations of the wisdom and goodness of God, in the adopted mode of reconciliation. They unite the affection of the Parent with the venerable characters of the Legislator and Judge. They indicate an abhorrence of the offences which compassion resolves to pardon. Such a degree of punishment is inflicted, as evinces that no one can violate the divine laws with impunity, although mercy forbids the punishment to be commensurate with the demerit of the transgressor; for then would human happiness be annihilated. The sentence of condemnation, denounced against sin, will be executed; for every soul that sinneth shall die. The supreme Governor has been just to his threatenings; but he has mitigated the sentence, which might have been eternal death; and he is become the justifier, passing a sentence of final acquittal, upon all those who believe and obey. We are thus made sensible of the
enormity of our offences, by the mode of our acquittal. We are kept at a distance, as unworthy to approach the throne of heaven, without a righteous intermediate, to whom the whole merit of our pardon is ascribed. Our advocate with the father, by submitting to a death from which he was morally exempt, has purchased a right to become the captain of our salvation. By his resurrection from the dead, he has not only relieved every doubt, respecting a future state, but he has given every assurance to the sincere penitent, that his penitence is accepted; for the supreme Parent hath entered into a solemn covenant, in which he engages, that all who believe in his Son shall have everlasting life.
The Father of mercies not only thus promul gates his hatred of sin, but also his love of goodness. He recommends his Son to the attention of the whole human race, with the complacency of a Parent. "This is my beloved Son, hear ye him." He confers exemplary honours upon exemplary virtue; for, in reward to his obedience, he hath exalted him to be a Prince and a Saviour, and appointed him to be his vicegerent in the kingdom of heaven. The mediation of Christ is calculated, as it was ordained, to call forth every devout affection; substituting
flattering to their pride. The figurative language of the ancient prophets, induced the Jewish nation to hope, that the deliverance would be of a temporal nature. Nor was it probable that they would think otherwise; for as they were not conscious of the bondage of sin; as they cared little about a future state of existence, concerning which nothing was absolutely promised, or clearly revealed; and as they were, at the period to which some of the prophecies pointed, under the Roman yoke, it was natural to expect that this Prince and Saviour would enable them to regain their liberty, and restore to them a splendour, equal to that which they had enjoyed in the days of Solomon.
It was through the medium of these expectations, that the Saviour was enabled to lay the foundation of his spiritual kingdom by imperceptible degrees; and without those commotions which would have been opposite to its nature and object. It was by virtue of these prepossessions, that so much attention was paid to him by the people in general, when he appeared among them as a prophet sent from God, working miracles to prove the divinity of his mission; otherwise they might all have been of the same opinion with his enemies,