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LIV. MEDIATOR.

'For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.'

1 Tim. ü. 5.

This word occurs seven times, and is applied to the Saviour in four instances. It seems rather to designate an office of the Redeemer than a title, though it may be considered in either light with propriety.

There seems to be something in the human heart that leads man to look for a Mediator. Such are our imperfections and our guilt, that we seem to be deterred from coming immediately into the presence of an Omnipotent and Omniscient Being. We like some medium through which we can offer our homage. The mind loves to ascend gradually to a Being whom it is said the heaven of heavens cannot contain.' Such has been the feeling of man throughout the whole earth. Both Jews and Gentiles have a notion of a Mediator. The Jews call the Messiah, the Mediator or Middle One. The Persians call their God Mithras, a Mediator; and the demons, with the heathens, seem to be, according to them, mediators between the superior gods and men. Indeed, the whole religion of Paganism was a system of mediation and intercession. Among the Sabians, the celestial intelligences were constituted mediators; among other idolaters, their various idols; and this notion

still prevails in Hindostan and elsewhere. Sacrifices were thought to be a kind of mediators; and, in short, there has been a universal feeling, a sentiment never forgotten, of the necessity of an interpreter or mediator between God and man.'

But in what sense was Jesus the Mediator between God and men ? We are told that the word Μεσιτης, , Mediator, signifies literally, a middle person, one whose office it is to reconcile two parties at enmity. Suidas explains it by a peacemaker.

A monstrous error has been committed on the subject. It is said that "God was offended with the crimes of men: to restore them to his peace, Jesus Christ was incarnated; and being God and man, both God and men met in, and were reconciled by him!' Pollok says,

The Son of God,
Only begotten, and well beloved, between
Men and his Father's justice interposed ;
Put human nature on; his wrath sustained ;
And in their name, suffered, obeyed, and died.'

*

A more erroneous view of the office and mission of this Mediator, we think could not be conceived. The great Father has never been unfriendly towards man. The greatest enemy in the universe to the sinner is -himself. By his own transgressions, he kindles a hell within his own soul, where fiercer pains exist than were ever imagined by poets or divines.

We admit that the business of a mediator is to effect a reconciliation between parties, but then it should be remembered, that it does not always follow that both parties are unreconciled. A mediator may be as necessary where one party is wrong, as where

both parties are so. The great difficulty in the minds of many Christians is, that they suppose both God and man to be offended, or in an unreconciled state. The sinner, it is said, hates God, and then God hates him. The sinner has brought into existence a temporal evil, and to meet this, God hereafter brings on the sinner an evil that shall last as long as he himself exists! Yet, we are told, this Mediator is both God and Man, and came to effect a reconciliation in himself! It is singular to see how many errors will cluster around a single false doctrine ! There is, however, one glorious consideration connected with an opposite view of this subject; which is, that if we obtain one truth, many more will generally follow in its train. The great object of the Mediator between God and men was, to remove all impurity, or, in other words, to effect a reconciliation in the human heart. This doctrine is very clearly set forth by the Apostle: 'God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.'* Here we see the great work to be accomplished between God and the world. Can any doctrine be rendered plainer than that all the unreconciliation is on the part of man? There is all the wrath, and all the cruelty. Man has sublimated his worst passions, and placed them in the bosom of Deity, and then he has imagined a mediator necessary to remove that very wrath and cruelty which he himself has created !

Three views may be taken of our general subject : I. Jesus is the only Mediator.

II. He is a suitable, constant, and willing Mediator.

* 2 Cor. v. 19.

IIL. He is the Mediator both for Jews and Gentiles.

I. Jesus is the only Mediator. True, there had been many before the days of the man Christ Jesus; Moses was a mediator, Deut. v. 5. And we know not as there is an impropriety in saying that the prophets often acted in this capacity. They were certainly often commissioned to declare the great purposes of God, and to lead the people back to their Creator. But Jesus is the last and only Mediator between God and men. No other will ever be needed.

II. That Jesus is a suitable, constant, and willing Mediator. He possesses every qualification for the great work which he was sent to accomplish. He is suitable, because he needed not to atone for himself. He was tempted in all points as we are, and yet without sin. This Mediator was constant and faithful. He never faltered in his great work, from the very commencement. He interceded with man till the very last moment of his ministry upon the earth. The world never saw such a Mediator before. Such compassion, such purity, such love, was never before exhibited. Even his last breath was spent in pleading for his enemies : 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.'

III. Jesus was Mediator both for Jews and Gentiles. God sent him to reconcile all hearts, or, to use the language of an Apostle, 'for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.'* A glorious object indeed; one worthy of a God. For on any other supposition than universal reconciliation, it

* Eph. ii. 15, 16.

seems exceedingly difficult to understand the office of Mediator between God and men. Admit that Jews and Gentiles are ultimately 'to be gathered together in Christ,' and all seems plain. Then the whole mediatorial character of Jesus corresponds not only with the character of the Father who sent him, but with his own character as displayed during his ministry on the earth. Such then appears to be the nature of the mediatorial office.

In closing, we must observe, that there is a moral grandeur connected with the office of the Mediator, which no language can possibly describe. It rises from viewing the immensity of creation. When we view the unnumbered worlds, and systems of worlds, we are lost in surprise and wonder that so much care should be extended to that which we inhabit. God looked down from his throne and saw a rebellious world, and then commissioned his own Son to go and bring it back to holiness and truth. The Son, ever ready to 'do the Father's will, came on this errand of mercy, though he knew there was no other way to effect a reconciliation than to lay down his own life. How benevolent does God appear in this work ! What a loveliness in the character of the Mediator! The great work has been commenced. It will go on till 'every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.' 'For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.'*

* Col. i. 19, 20.

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