« AnkstesnisTęsti »
of sons, that for all our misery, yet our frail nature subsisteth with the Godhead, by a marvellous and unspeakable union and conjunction. But a question may here be moved, why this should be so ? How could it be so, that the Son of God should assume unto his Deity our nature, and become our Mediator ? Such a strange work (I confess) must needs be for a strange cause, as indeed it was for our redemption, to bring life unto us who have forfeited the same. Nay, there was no other way but this, that God should remain just and we acquitted : no other ransom could suffice but such an high prize.
For thus stood the case betwixt God and us. at variance with God, without any means of reconcilement, on our part. There cometh in in the meantime the middleman to take up the matter, by assuming unto himself these two offices. First he becometh our intercessor, to solicit and make peace for us ; secondly, he becometh our advocate, to plead the justice of our cause. He must in this (you see) first seek God's mercy, and then also challenge God's justice, what it can exact.
This variance betwixt God and man Job well showeth", where he affirmeth, that though he were righteous, yet he would submit himself to his judge, not answer and make replication. And again', “he is not a man as I am that I should answer him, if we come together to judgment, neither is there any umpire that should lay his hand upon both.” Old Eli alsok reproving his sons to this purpose telleth them, if one man sin against another, the judge shall judge it : but if a man sin against the Lord, who will plead for him, who will lay his hand upon both ? This is an hard and a strange matter. There must then of necessity be an Emanuel to plead our cause, who will not be ashamed for us to appear before the throne of justice, clothed with our nature, and there challenge righteousness for us, laying his hand upon both ; one hand upon the Father, whose wrath he appeaseth, keeping it from us, and the other upon us, whom he cherisheth from sinking under so great a burden, upholding us by his reconcilement. Yea such a one he must needs be, who first for intercession must be high in favour with God, who in himself, or for himself, hath no spot or blemish, who hath nothing to do for himself but all for us; whose person in the Father's sight is already accepted, and he well pleased therein, &c. Again such a one he must be, who is tender-hearted to us, in a compassionate feeling of our sorrows, taking part with us (as the apostle speaks) that we might obtain so much the surer deliverance and victory by his fellow feeling with us. The angels they could not, for they have enough ado to keep in for themselves, and we see those of them who have fallen have not the power to rise again, and intercede for themselves, much less for others.
i Job. chap. 9. ver. 32.
Job. chap. 9. ver. 15. * i Sam. chap. 2. ver. 25.
But our Emanuel, and elder brother Christ Jesus, he taketh us by the hand, and presenteth himself with us before the Father, saying, Behold O Father, here am I, and the children which thou hast given me, be pleased for my sake to pardon these, they are my brethren, and thou canst not be angry with them, unless thou be also angry with me, who am thy well-beloved Son. Here am I ready to satisfy thy justice for them. Neither was this indeed an easy matter thus to appear before God for us, for indeed if God, in the work of our redemption, had intended only one thing, viz., to be merciful, then it had not been so much. But as those who have eyes may easily see, God intended in this great work, to set not only his mercy but also all his other attributes on work; his justice, his power, his greatness, his anger, his goodness, &c. To this purpose the apostle reasoneth for the law, that the law, notwithstanding of mercym and forgiveness of sins, must have the own work, and not be in vain, and that the redemption purchased must not make void his justice, where after he had spoken of that redemption, and reconciliation set forth by God, through faith in Christ's blood, and the declaration of that righteousness, by forgiveness of sins passed through the patience of God, he addeth", to show at this time, this righteousness, that he might be just, and a justifier of him, who is of the faith of Jesus. Although therefore the Lord intend mercy, yet he will have us appear guilty, and as he is just, so his justice must not be in vain. Christ therefore thus standing for us, before his Father thus pleadeth our cause.
| Heb. chap. 2. ver. 14.
m Rom, chap. 3. ver. 25, 26.
These men indeed, O Father, stand indebted unto thy justice, but such is their misery, that they are not able to satisfy thee, another therefore shall give thee satisfaction. I, O Father, will undertake to pay their debt, destroy not therefore the work of thine hands. Thou art not so rigorous, that the party indebted (since he is not able) must needs give satisfaction. I, thy wisdom, will in their nature pay all. The perfection of my obedience shall outstrip their disobedience, &c. And the parties thus relieved must have such an interest in him, who is the Mediator, that in justice, God cannot deny to impute unto them whatsoever he hath done, that all be as though themselves had done it. They must be mystically knit and joined unto him by a secret conjunction of faith and love by his spirit. Again for him he must have these properties : 1, he must be our Mediator and satisfy our debt with all satisfaction; 2, he must be such a one who is able to transfer, and convey his estate from himself unto them, who are of the blood royal, and of his kindred, he must interest them in his right.
First then he must satisfy our debts by justice; many think not so, but that his mere death without obedience, and satisfaction to the law, was sufficient. But we here see the contrary; we see Christ tied to the law, born of a woman, and made under the law. Now in the law must be considered two things : 1. Strict obedience, sound payment. 2. The penalty due to the breach of the law. First there must be full account, as at the beginning was due. By reason of our insufficiency, Christ giveth us a bill under his hand unto the Father, that all our debts are satisfied, all are reckoned up upon his score, and therefore now being in him, we need not fear.
n Rom. chap. 3. ver. 26.
Neither must we account of Adam's fall, as of a light confused sin, but as an heavy great sin, distinct (by reason of a breach). A particular thing, which must have a particular remedy. Christ, therefore, because Adam did not fulfil the law, he undertook to fulfil the same to relieve us, and that God's justice should not be in vain.
Secondly, the penalty due to the breach of the law, Christ, he also doth this: the Godhead and the manhood performeth this work, the Deity assisting the humanity, therein not to be overcome. And because the law in our weak nature could never thus have been satisfied (as the apostle speaketh) foro that which was impossible to the law, God sending his own Son, in the similitude of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, &c. First then the law exacteth satisfaction of the nature trespassing; that nature which transgressed must satisfy. Christ therefore he taketh upon him our nature, bindeth himself unto all, to satisfy whatsoever might be exacted of us by his cleanness and pureness, blotting out whatsoever stains or spots we are infected with in our nature. For it pleaseth him, as from Adam all of us are infected with the leprosy of sin, sending forth a spring of filthy corruptions, which cry for judgment and provoke God's vengeance ; so from him he sendeth forth a counter spring of his merits, obedience, and righteousness, satisfaction, and the like, which outrunning ours, and being of so infinite a value, and perfect, standeth betwixt God's wrath and us, making perfect atonement and peace, being as it were the mirror through which God beholdeth us and our actions, whom he also by degrees transformeth into his image by little and little, until at last this river of our corruptions be quite dried up in the ocean of
• Rom. chap. 8. ver. 3, 4.
his righteousness, as it were, hiding us in the holds of the rock, until by dissolution we be fully glorified.
But here a question, and that a great one, may be moved. What needeth all this stir for our Mediator of the second person in the Trinity ?
Why might not God have created a man without sin to have been our Mediator ?
I answer no, no man could have performed this work of the Mediator, and that for two reasons. The first, for what were that obedience but the obedience of one single man; and what were that to the obedience of so many due ? He might perhaps have saved one.
Secondly, I say, he might not have saved one, for how perfect soever we should imagine this man of our's, yet to the fulfilling of the law was due all that he was able to perform: so that whatsoever he was able to do must have all been for himself, nothing for others. But that man who must satisfy for others, although he be tied to the law, made under the law, yet we see that he must also be above the law, Lord of the law, &c. For concerning Christ our Mediator, although in this work he become a servant, and do service to the Father, yet is there a great difference betwixt his service and that of base men. For Christ took that him which was base, and which he needed not, and which was not belonging to him. So he was circumcised the eighth day, that he might, being born under the law, truly fulfil the same, &c. So? would he needs be baptized of John, who, when he was at first put back of John, answereth, let it be now, for so it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness, thereby giving witness to both Testaments, and that he came to receive both Jew and Gentile unto mercy.
Therefore it is certain, that although the human nature was base, yet might he (if he would) presently have sitten at the right hand of the Father in majesty and power, and that he had power of himself to take up and lay down his life. A
P Luke, chap. 2. ver. 21.
9 Matt. chap. 3. ver. 14.