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would they do in the dry tree? Luke, 23:31. Indeed, if there were another plank to save after the shipwreck, any other way to be reconciled to God, besides Jesus the Mediator, somewhat might be said to excuse this folly; but you are shut up to the faith of Christ, as to your last remedy. Gal. 3:23. Oh take heed of despising, or neglecting Christ! if so, there is none to inter cede with God for you: the breach between him and you can never be composed. I remember, here, the words of Eli to his profane sons, who caused men to abhor the offerings of the Lord; "If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him; but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him?" 1 Sam. 2:25. The meaning is, that of common trespasses between men, the civil magistrate takes cognizance and decides the controversy by his authority, so that there is an end of that strife; but if man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat and arbitrate in that case? Eli's sons had despised the Lord's sacrifices, which were sacred types of Christ, and the appointed way that men had then of exercising faith in the Mediator. Now, saith he, if a man thus sin against the Lord, by despising the Saviour shadowed out in that way, who shall entreat for him? what hope, what remedy remains? It was a saying of Luther, Nolo Deum absolutum, "I cannot meet an absolute God;" that is, God without a Mediator. Thus the devils have to do with God; but will ye, in whose nature Christ is come, put yourselves into their state, and case? God forbid!
2. Hence also be informed, how great an evil it is to join any other mediators, either of reconciliation, or meritorious intercession, with Jesus Christ. Oh, this is a horrid sin, which both pours the greatest contempt upon Christ, and brings the surest and sorest destruction upon the sinner! I am ashamed my pen should write what mine eyes have seen in the writings of papists, ascribing
as much, yea, more to the mediation of Mary than to Christ, with no less than blasphemous impudence. How do they stamp their own sordid works with the peculiar dignity and value of Christ's blood; and therein seek to enter at the gate which God hath shut to all the world, because Jesus Christ the Prince entered in thereby. Ezek. 44:2, 3. He entered into heaven in a direct, immediate way, even in his own name, and for his own sake; this gate, saith the Lord, shall be shut to all others; and I wish men would consider it, and fear, lest while they seek entrance into heaven at the wrong door, they for ever shut against themselves the true and only door of happiness.
3. If Jesus Christ be the only Mediator of reconciliation between God and men, then reconciled souls should thankfully ascribe all the peace, favors, and comforts they have from God, to their Lord Jesus Christ. Whenever you have had free admission, and sweet entertainment with God in the more public ordinances or private duties of his worship; when you have had his smiles, his seals, and with hearts warmed with comfort, are returning from those duties, say, O my soul, thou mayest thank thy Lord Jesus Christ for all this! had not he interposed as a Mediator of reconciliation I could never have had access to, or friendly communion with God to all eternity.
Immediately upon Adam's sin, the door of communion with God was shut: there was no more coming nigh the Lord: not a soul could have any access to him, either in a way of communion in this world, or of enjoyment in that to come. It was Jesus the Mediator that opened that door again, and in him it is that we have boldness, and access with confidence. Eph. 3: 12. We can now come to God "by a new and living way, consecrated for us through the vail, that is to say, his flesh." Heb. 10:20. The vail had a double use, as Christ's flesh like
wise hath; it hid the glory of the holy of holies, and also gave entrance into it. Christ's incarnation so obscures the splendor of the Divine glory and brightness, that we may be able to bear it and converse with it; and it also gives us admission into it. Oh thank your dear Lord Jesus for your present and future heaven! Blessed be God for Jesus Christ!
4. If Jesus Christ be the true and only Mediator, both of reconciliation and meritorious intercession between God and men, how safe is the condition and state of believers! Surely, as his mediation, by sufferings, has fully reconciled, so his mediation, by intercession, will everlastingly maintain that state of peace between them and God, and prevent all future breaches. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." Rom. 5: 1. It is a firm and lasting peace, and the Mediator that made it, is now in heaven to maintain it for ever, "there to appear in the presence of God for us." Heb. 9:24.
5. Did Jesus Christ interpose between us and the wrath of God, as a Mediator of reconciliation? did he rather choose to receive the stroke upon himself, than to see us ruined by it? How well then doth it become the people of God, in a thankful sense of this grace, to interpose themselves between Jesus Christ and the evils they see likely to fall upon his name and interest in the world! Oh that there were but such a heart in the people of God! I remember it is a saying of Jerome, when he heard the revilings and blasphemings of many against Christ and his precious truths, "Oh that they would turn their weapons from Christ to me, and be satisfied with my blood!" And much to the same sense is that sweet saying of Bernard, "Happy were I, if God would condescend to use me as a shield." And David could say, "The reproaches of them that reproached thee, fell on me." Psa. 69:9. Ten thousand of our names are
nothing to Christ's name: his name is a worthy name; and there is no man that gives up his name as a shield to Christ, but shall thereby secure and increase its true honor.
FIRST BRANCH OF CHRIST'S PROPHETICAL OFFICE.
"A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me: him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.”—Acts, 3:22.
Having shown the solemn preparations, both by the Father and the Son, for the blessed design of reconciling us by the meritorious mediation of Christ, and taken a general view of the nature of his mediation, I proceed to show how he executes it in the discharge of his blessed offices of Prophet, Priest, and King.
His prophetical office consists of two parts: one external, consisting in a true and full revelation of the will of God to men, according to John, 17: 6, "I have manifested thy name to the men thou gavest me." The other in illuminating the mind, and opening the heart to receive and embrace that doctrine. The first part is contained in the words before us: "A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up," &c.
These are the words of Moses, recorded Deut. 18: 15, and here, by Peter, pertinently applied to Christ, to convince the incredulous Jews that he is the true and only Messiah, and the great prophet of the church, whose doctrine it was highly dangerous to contemn, though uttered by such humble individuals as were himself and
John. And it is well observed by Calvin, he singles out this testimony of Moses, rather than any other, because of the great esteem they had for Moses, and his writings, beyond any others. In these words Christ, in his prophetical office, is described; and obedience to him, as such a Prophet, is strictly enjoined.
1. We have a description of Christ in his prophetical office; "A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethen, like unto me."
"A Prophet," the Prince of the prophets, or the great and chief Shepherd, as he is styled, Heb. 13: 20; 1 Peter, 5: 4. It belongs to a prophet to expound the law, declare the will of God, and foretell things to come. All these meet, and that in a singular and eminent manner, in Christ our Prophet. Matt. 5: 21, &c.; John, 1:18; 1 Peter, 1 : 11.
A Prophet like unto Moses," who typified and prefigured him. But is it not said of Moses, in Deut. 34: 10, "that there arose not a prophet since in Israel, like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face ?" True, of mere men there never arose so great a prophet in Israel as Moses, either in respect to his familiarity with God, or his miracles which he wrought in the power of God: but Moses himself was but a star to this sun. However, in these following particulars Christ was like him: He was a prophet that went between God and the people, carried God's mind to them, and returned theirs to God, they not being able to hear the voice of God immediately: "According to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb, in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not again hear the voice of the Lord God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not." Deut. 18: 16. And upon this their request, God makes the promise which is cited in the text; "They have well spoken that which they have spoken: I will raise them up a Prophet like unto thee," &c. ver.