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“ evidence of it; the evidence of testimony. He distinctly re« vealed the manner in which God would be worshipped, the “ efficacy of repentance, and the rewards and punishments of a “ future life. Thus, he was a prophet in a sense in which no 16 other ever was. To which is to be added, that he set us a “ perfect example, that we should follow his steps."

To this mediation of Christ as a prophet, it may perhaps be objected, that it was not necessary, because, by his own immediate operation, God might have communicated to mankind, at their birth, whatever knowledge of the doctrines, and precepts, and sanctions of religion was requisite. True, He could have done this; but the objector should recollect, that to instruct mankind in the knowledge of religion by the mediation of his Son, is analogous to the method in which God instructs them in the knowledge of the things pertaining to the present life. For, notwithstanding he could easily have brought the whole human species into the world, with the knowledge and experience of full grown men, he hath not thought fit to adopt that constitution, but bringeth them all into the world infants, ignorant of every thing; and maketh use of the mediation of their parents and teachers, for conveying to them the knowledge necessary to their conducting the affairs of the present life properly. Just so, God hath not thought fit to bring the human species into the world, endowed with the complete knowledge of spiritual and divine things; but, for their instruction in these matters, maketh use of the mediation of Christ, that is, maketh use of the labours of the holy prophets, apostles, and ministers of Christ, seconded by the influences of his Spirit. And where the instruction of prophets and apostles, and of the ministers of the gospel is withheld, Christ, in the course of his providence, raiseth up in every nation teachers from time to time, whose labours, likewise, he rendereth successful to a certain degree, by the influences of his Spirit. Wherefore, this method of instructing mankind in matters of religion and morality, by the mediation of Christ, being similar to the method in which God instructs them in the matters which relate to the present life, by the mediation of parents and teachers, it cannot be objected against as unworthy of God.

Secondly, For delivering mankind from the power of sin, and leading them to the practice of virtue, God appointed his Son's mediation as a King; that is, he hath made him governor of the world, and appointed him to erect a kingdom in it which is not of this world, and authorized him to govern it not by force, but by methods suited to that rational nature, and that liberty of action, wherewith he hath endowed men ; that becoming his subjects willingly, they may obey his laws from choice. This spiritual kingdom Christ hath erected, by uniting into one church or religious community, all those, who through his mediation as a prophet, being enlightened with the knowledge of true religion, have received his laws as the rule of their conduct. To this church Christ hath committed all those revelations which God hath been pleased to make to mankind, both in early and in later times, to be preserved for the benefit of the world.-- In this church also, Christ hath appointed the pure spiritual worship of God to be performed publicly, and a standing invitation to religion to be given to sinners to the end of the world, by ministers specially set apart to that office, to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Sa. tan to God. This church or religious community, Christ goyerns not only by laws written on the hearts of individuals, but also by laws written explicitly in his word.-With this church Christ is ever present in an invisible manner; and is gradually enlarging it, and thereby is extending his kingdom through the world ; and hath promised to protect it by his providence against its enemies, so that the gates of hell shall never prevail against it, in such a manner as to destroy it.-Besides this outward visible chuch, consisting of all who are favoured with an external revelation, and who profess to believe that revelation, Christ hath another church or kingdom, which likewise is not of this world, called his catholic invisible church, consisting of all persons scattered over the face of the earth, who live in obedi. ence to his laws written on their hearts, and who worship God by those natural acts of piety which right reason dictates. This church also Christ protects by his providence, so that it shall never perish. To the end of the world there shall still be men in every age and nation, who make conscience of knowing and doing the will of God according to the light afforded them by their own natural powers, and by such instructers as from time to time Christ raiseth up to teach them.-Lastly, Though great numbers of mankind, both in his visible church and out of it, do not obey the laws of Christ sincerely, yet as all are bound to obey him, they shall all be judged by him at last : and in such a manner, that his government will issue in infinite and endless happiness to the obedient, but in unspeakable misery to the obstinately rebellious. For Christ is gone to prepare a place for his people, and will return to take them to himself, that where he is there they may be also. At which time likewise he will send everlasting destruction on them who know not God, as well as on them who obey not the gospel of his Son.

To the mediation of Christ as a king, for the purpose of de. livering mankind from the power of sin, and of training them to virtue, it hath been objected, that it is unnecessary, because, as God might have brought every individual of the human spe. cies into the world perfect in knowledge, so he might have brought them into the world perfect in virtue ; and if, afterwards, any of them had fallen into vice, he might have restored them by an immediate exertion of his own power, without having recourse to such a complicated constitution as the mediation of his Son. True. But it should be considered, that in the natural world nothing is brought to pass by an immediate exertion of the power of God, excepting what are called the laws of nature. All other things are accomplished by the intervention of means. For instance, Whatever hath life, is brought into the world by the instrumentality of parents, although God could have brought them into life merely by willing it. In like manner, he might have supported the life of animals by his own power, without the intervention of means, if he had so pleased. Yet he hath chosen to do it by food, to the production whereof a great variety of means are employed ; in each of which, his wisdom, and power, and goodness, are as much exerted and displayed, as they would have been, if the life of animals had been supported by an immediate exertion of his power, without any means.—This being the course which God follows in the administration of his natural kingdom, why should it be thought proper for him to follow a different course in the government of the moral world. As Taylor justly observes, in accomplishing his purposes, in the moral as well as in the natural world, by the instrumentality of means, God hath multiplied and beautifully diversified the displays of his perfections, in such a sensible manner, that the attention of his intelligent creatures is roused, their powers of contemplation are exercised, their admiration and gratitude are excited to a much higher degree, than if every thing in the natural and moral world had been produced without means. In this constitution, therefore, there is the greatest propriety, since it is impossible to turn our eyes to any part of either world, without beholding God in those multiplied and varied exertion's VOL. III.

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of his perfections, by which he accomplisheth his purposes. So that in both worlds God employs means, not because he is deficient either in wisdom or in power, but to multiply the instances of both; and, to set these before his rational creatures, as the most engaging subjects of contemplation, and the most powerful motives of action: A method of exerting his perfections more proper in the moral world than even in the natural ; because to render men accountable, it is necessary that they be induced by rational considerations, to become virtuous from choice.

: Thus, as Butler observes, it appears, that against the media. tion of Christ as a prophet and king, there lieth no objection,

but what may be urged with equal force against the natural providence of God.

SECTION IV.

Of the Objection to the Mediation of Christ, taken from the Dignity of his

Person. Notwithstanding all that hath been said in vindication of the mediation of Christ, there still remaineth one objection, which I have not hitherto mentioned, but which I have reserved last of all, to be treated of by itself, because being levelled, not against any one part of the mediation of Christ, but against the whole thereof, it requires to be completely discussed. The objection of which I speak, is that taken from the dignity of the Mediator, and the meanness of the creatures for whom his mediation was appointed.

In scriptures, the Mediator is said to be the only begotten Son of God, the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person ; the maker of all things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible ; and who having made all things, upholdeth them by the word of his power, and governs the whole as its Lord or proprictor. This great personage is said to have divested himself of the form of God, and to have appeared on earth in the likeness of man, and to have humbled himself still farther, by suffering the painful and ignominious death of the cross as a malefactor; and all for the purpose of saving the sinful inhabitants of this earth, which in comparison of the immensity of the universe, is as nothing; and who being, as is supposed, the lowest order of God's rational creatures, their salvation, it is affirmed, was an end too inconsiderable to merit that a person of such dignity should assume the human nature, and there in die

as a malefactor to accomplish it; and that, after his resurrection, he should continue 'united to the human nature for ever. These things, it is said, are so astonishing, that our understanding, dazzled and confounded by them, cannot conceive them to be possible.

This objection being considered by infidels as sufficient to overturn the gospel from the foundation, merits our attention ; especially as it is plausible, and at times hath occasioned doubts in the minds even of enlightened believers. To remove this embarrassing objection, let it be observed, that notwithstanding the mediation of so great a person as the only begotten Son of God for the salvation of the human species, may at first sight appear a transaction unworthy of him, on account of the low rank mankind hold in the creation, and on account of the small dimensions of the earth their present habitation, in comparison with the other orbs, which are supposed to be inhabited, and which compose the great system of the universe, the mediation of the Son of God for the salvation of such creatures, will not appear unworthy of him, if the importance of the human species, as rational creatures, is justly estimated, and the constitution of the earth their present dwelling place, is duly attended to.

And first, to begin with the earth the habitation of the human species, for whose salvation the mediation of Christ was appointed, it is acknowledged that, in respect of its magnitude, it holds but a middle rank even among the orbs of which our solar system consists. Nevertheless its importance, as the dwelling place of mankind, may depend, not so much on its relative magnitude, as on the exquisite contrivance of its parts, their nice arrangement, their apt union, and their suitableness to produce the ends for which they were designed. Judging of the earth according to this rule, although it now lieth under the curse of God, and bringeth forth to man nothing spontaneously but thorns and thistles, Gen. iii. 18. it was, in its primitive state, more excellent in many respects than it appears to be at present; as may be gathered from the excellence of its productions before it was cursed of God. Gen. ii. 9. Out of the ground made the Lord God 10 grow every tree that is pleasant 10 the sight, and good for fruit : the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, whose fruit, by the operation of God, possessed the noble quality of rendering those who ate of it immortal ; just as the present fruits of the earth, by the same operation, keep men alive for a țime: also it produced the tree of knowlegde of

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