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to blame, it is the business of a Mediator to bring both parties to see their faults, to confess, reform, and make restitution, and so to make up. If one party is altogether right, and the other altogether wrong, then one party is to be wholly justified, approved, and commended, as publicly as the controversy is known, and the entire blame to be laid at the other's door ; who, if he can make no restitution, must suffer according to his desert, unless the mediator, or some other, will interest himself in his welfare, so as to become his sponsor, and answer in his stead. And if his crime is of such a nature, that his penitency can make no atonement, if ever he is forgiven and received into favour, it must be simply on the credit of his sponsor. But in the case before us, God was wholly right, and we were wholly wrong; and so much to blame, that our deepest penitency ought in reason and justice to be disregarded. However, so far were we from penitency, as rather to be disposed to justify ourselves, and lay the blame on God, and on his holy law. And our disaffection to the divine character and government arose even to enmity itself. When therefore the Mediator espoused bis Father's honour, and testified of the world, that their works were evil, they were angry, yea, they were enraged, and they put him to death as not fit to live. So far were they from a disposition to take the blame to themselves, confess, repent, return, and be reconciled. And this conduct of a set of men, who made very high claims to virtue, was but a specimen of that temper wbich is natural to all mankind. But what reason have mankind to be so disaffected to the Deity ?
God, an absolutely perfect, and infinitely glorious and amiable being, iufinitely worthy of supreme love and honour, and of universal obedience, the Creator and original proprietor of the Universe, as becomes him, assumes the authority of king and supreme governor over his own world, takes the throne, proclaims his divinity, saying, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no other God; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and yield an entire obedience to his will.Adding, he that doth these things shall live in them; but the soul that sins shall die. For us thus to love, honour, and obey him, is no more than
practical acknowledgment of his Godhead and Lordship ; it is no more than barely giving unto the Lord the glory due unto his name.
And this is all be requires, and it is our duty; and our obligations to it are infinite, and it is infinitely for our interest. So that our disaffection and rebellion are unreasonable, groundless, nay, infinitely criminal. To be disaffected and to rise in open rebellion, as we in this lower world have done, is a practical declaration in the sight of the universe, (and practice speaks louder than words,) that God's character is not good, and that his law is bad. Or in other words, it is a practical declaration, that he is not what he claims to be, by nature, Goj), an absolutely perfect, and infinitely glorious and atniable being, and our rightful sovereign.
To have given up his law, founded on bis Godhead and Lordship, and which only asserted his proper character and worth, and claimed his proper rights, had been a practical giving up of his divinity and supremacy, in favour of a disaffection absolutely groundless, of a rebellion infinitely unreasonable; a thing very unbecoming the absolutely perfect Being, at the head of the universe. Better, infinitely beiter, a whole race of such apostates be doomed to endless woes, as a public practical declaration of the infinite evil of their crimes.
The design of the incarnation, life, and death of the Son of God, was to give a practical declaration, in the most public manner, even in the sight of the whole intellectual system, that God was worthy of all that love, honour, and obedience, which his law required, and that sin was as great an evil as the punishment threatened supposed; and so to declare God's righteousness, and condemn the sins of an apostate world, to the end God might be just, and yet a justifier of the believer. And this he did by obeying and dying in our room and stead.
The Jewish dispensation, which was designed to prepare the way for, and to introduce the Christian, and which was a shadow of which Christ is the substance, was in its whole constitution purposely calculated to do honour to the divine law. The clouds, and the thick darkness, and the flame of a devouring fire on Mount Sinai, the thunders and the light
nings, and the voice of a trumpet exceeding loud, were in honour of the divine law; which was by God promulged to an assembly of men, women, and children, containing înear three million. An affair so grand as this had never before happened in this lower world. And all the variety of temporal curses enumerated and denounced against the transgressor, and all the variety of temporal blessings reckoned up and promised to the obedient, were in honour of the divine law. And the law being written with the finger of God on two tables of stone, laid up in the ark, and placed in the holy of holies, under the mercy-seat, the dwelling place of the God of Israel, was in honour of the divine law. And were all the sacrifices of atonement, the altars, the Priests, especially the High-Priest, dressed in his holy robes, holipess to the Lord written on his forehead, the names of the twelve tribes on his breast and on his shoulder, the blood of atonement in his hand, entering once every year into the holy of holies, into the immediate presence of God, to make atonement. Nor could any transgressor of the law, under that dispensation, obtain remission of sins without shedding of blood. A plain acknowledgment, that his blood deserved to be shed, who transgressed the law. And so a practical declaration that the law was holy, just, and good.
And answerable to the spirit of that dispensation, the whole congregation of Israel were by the divine direction led, on their entering into the holy land, to Mount Gerizzim and to Mount Ebal ; and while the curse of the law against the transgressor was proclaimed aloud, all the congregation answered, AMEN, as a most public and solemn declaration, that the law was holy, just, and good. Nor could a Jew without this acknowledgment, with any consistency, present a bull or a goat, to die in his stead, and make atonement for his sins.
But all the honours done to the divine law under that dispensation were but shadows, but mere shadows. They had no substance in them. They were acknowledgments too mean to be of any avail. They were of no weight at all to counterbalance the reproach cast on the divine Majesty by sin. And therefore the blood of bulls and goats could not (and pras is not g
es demon was not sufficient to burn, nor
Hient for a burnt-offering.
* • *.Birliod, antecedent to his incarnation,
They had no dignity, no worth, no
***** 3 av his Father, “Sacrifice and offering
4.24** 46 answer the end. Mine ears hust thou
* * * master did his servant's, who of his own
7. Ne my master and will be his servant for
work, and thou hast accepted the offer,
Then said I, lo, I come, I delight to do nature
Lynladiny law is within my heart." Compare Exod.
Ps. xl. 6, 7, 8. Heb. x. 5, 6, 7.
righteousness. And because he thus voluntarily grated the honour of his Father's government, and con
sin in the flesh on the cross, because he thus loved terusness and hated iniquity, therefore was his Father will pleased, smelt a sweet savour, exalted his Son, and bea eine propitious to an apostate, sinful, guilty world, through
For he, being God as well as man, was worthy, was of erficient dignity, and his obedience and sufferings of sufficient weight in his Father's sight.
The import of that perfect obedience to his Father's will, in our stead, through the greatest trials, which the Son of God incarnate performed, was, that “ God was worthy of supreme love and honour, and of universal obedience, from his creature man." The import of his sufferings in our room, in which he was made a curse to redeem us from the curse of the law, was, that “the curse of the law was strictly just, and such as became his Father to threaten and to execute." The import of his appearing in the presence of God in heaven, with his own blood, to make intercession for transgressors, is, that “ he does not, nay, cannot, desire any favour to be shown to sinners under a notion that the law is too severe: but only as being considered holy, just, good, and glorious, worthy to be magnified and made honourable by the blood of the Son of God.” And the justice of the divine law will appear in & striking light, when he who thus honoured it in his own per
son on the cross, and thus honours it at his Father's right hand in heaven, appears to put it in execution at the last day on his near relatives, his brethren according to the flesh ; who would never own the goodness of the law, nor take the blame of their disaffection and rebellion to themselves, and on this foot despised and rejected the glorious grace of the Gospel, And all holy beings will echo to the last sentence, and with the highest approbation join to cry, AMEN, HALLELUJAH : while the smoke of their torment ascends for ever and ever.
Thus the whole mediatorial scheme is designed, and in its own nature adapted, to do honour to the divine law.
And to do honour to the divine law was the only thing that rendered the mediatorial office and work of Christ needful in order to the salvation of sinners. For God was not an un righteous Being, and so could not be disposed to hold his creatures bound by a bad law, unless his Son would die to procure their relief. Nor was the goodness of the divine nature so small, that he could not find in his heart to show mercy to sinners, unless his Son, to move his compassions, would die for them on earth, and plead their cause in heaven. Had the law in fact been bad, it had been the most honourable thing in the divine Majesty to have laid it aside expressly as such, and no mediator had been need ful in the case ; and had there been no bar in the way of the honourable exercise of divine grace to a guilty world, infinite goodness, by, a sovereign act, might at an infinitely less expense, have pardoned and saved all the human race, and all the labours and sufferings of his Son to make atonement had been needless. God did not want a heart to do us justice. Nay, God had an heart overflowing with infinite goodness; witness the gift of his Son. And so no mediator was needful to move the divine compassions, much less to prevent his being too severe with us. Yea, a mediator for any such purposes had been an infinite reproach to the deity. A mediator therefore was needful, in order to the salvation of sinners, for no other purpose, but to do honour to the divine law, which we had dishonoured by our sins. And thus he asserted the divinė character, vindicated the rights of the Godhead, declared the righteousness of the divine government, condemned sin, laid all the