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appoint one of their own to do the same things that he hath done, namely, to offer sacrifice unto God?
The proof of this assertion lies in the latter part of these words, · By how much he was the mediator of a better covenant, established on better promises.' The words are so disposed, that some think the apostle intends not to prove the ex. cellency of the covenant, from the excellency of his ministry therein. But the other sense is more suited unto the scope of the place, and the nature of the argument which the apostle presseth the Hebrews withal. For on supposition that there was indeed another, and that a better covenant to be introduced and established, than that which the Levitical priests served in, which they could not deny; it plainly follows, that he on whose ministry the dispensation of that covenant did depend, must of necessity be more excellent in that ministry, than they who appertained unto that covenant which was to be abolished. However, it may be granted, that these things do mutually testify unto, and illustrate one another. Such as the priest is, such is the covenant; such as the covenant is in dignity, such is the priest also.
In the words there are three things observable.
1. What is in general ascribed unto Christ, declaring the na. ture of his ministry ; ' He was a mediator.'
2. The determination of his mediatory office, unto the new covenant; of a better covenant.'
3. The proof or demonstration of the nature of this covenant as unto its excellency; it was established on better promises.'
1. His office is that of a mediator, peritas, one that interposed between God and man, for the doing of all those things whereby a covenant might be established between them, and made effectual. Schlictingius on the place, gives this description of a mediator, Mediatorem faderis esse nihil aliud est, quam Dei esse interpretem, et internuntium in fædere cum hominibus pangendo ; per quem scilicet et Deus voluntatem suam hominibus declaret, et illi vicissim divinæ voluntatis notitiâ instructi ad Deum accedant, cumque eo reconciliati, pacem in posterum colant. And Grotius speaks much to the same purpose.
But this description of a mediator, is wholly applicable unto Moses, and suited unto his office in giving of the law; see Exod. xx. 19. Deut. v. 27, 28. What is said by them, doth indeed immediately belong unto the mediatory office of Christ, but it is not confined thereunto, yea, it is exclusive of the principal parts of his mediation. And whereas, there is nothing in it, but what belongs unto the prophetical office of Christ, which the apostle here doth not principally intend, it is most improperly applied as a description of such a mediator as he doth intend. And therefore, when he comes afterwards to de
clare in particular, what belonged unto such a mediator of the covenant as he designed, he expressly placeth it in his death for the redemption of transgressions, Heb. ix. 15. affirming that for that cause he was a mediator.' But hereof there is nothing at all in the description they give us of this office. But this the apostle doth in his, elsewhere, 1 Tim. ii. 5, 6. • There is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all. The principal part of his mediation, consisted in the giving himself a ransom, or a price of redemption for the whole church. Wherefore, this description of a mediator of the New Testament, is feigned only to exclude his satisfaction, or his offering himself unto God in his death and blood-shedding, with the atonement made thereby.
The Lord Christ, then, in his ministry, is called peritons, the mediator of the covenant, in the same sense as he is called, sy[vos, the 'surety;' whereof, see the exposition on chap. vii. 22. He is in the new covenant, the mediator, the surety, the priest, the sacrifice, all in his own person. The ignorance and want of a due consideration hereof, is the great evidence of the degeneracy of Christian religion.
Whereas this is the first general notion of the office of Christ, that which compriseth the whole ministry committed unto bim, and containeth in itself, the especial offices of king, priest, and prophet, whereby he dischargeth his mediation, some things must be mentioned, that are declarative of its nature and use. And we may unto this purpose, observe,
1. That unto the office of a mediator, it is required, that there be different persons concerned in the covenant, and that by their own wills, as it must be in every compact of what sort
So saith our apostle, 'a mediator is not of one, but God is one,' Gal. iii. 20.; that is, if there were none but God concerned in this matter, as it is in an absolute promise or sovereign precept, there would be no need of, no place for a mediator, such a mediator as Christ is. Wherefore, our consent in and unto the covenant, is required in the very notion of a mediator.
2. That the persons entering into covenant, be in such a state and condition, as that it is no way convenient or morally possible, that they should treat immediately with each other, as to the ends of the covenant. For if they are so, a mediator to go between is altogether needless. So was it in the original covenant with Adam, which had no mediator. But in the give ing of the law, which was to be a covenant between God and the people, they found themselves utterly insufficient for an immediate treaty with God, and therefore desired that they might have an internuntius to go between God and them, to bring his proposals, and carry back their consent, Deut. v. 23—27. And
this is the voice of all men, really convinced of the holiness of God, and of their own condition, such is the state between God and sinners. The law and the curse of it did so interpose between them, that they could not enter into any immediate treaty with God, Psal. v.3–5. This made a mediator necessary, that the new covenant might be established, whereof we shall speak afterwards.
3. That he who is this mediator, be accepted, trusted, and rested in on both sides, or by both the parties mutually entering into covenant. An absolute trust must be reposed in him, so that each party may be everlastingly obliged in what he undertaketh on their behalf; and such as admit not of his terms, can have no benefit, by no interest in the covenant. So was it with the Lord Christ in this matter. On the part of God, he reposed the whole trust of all the concernments of the covenant in him, and absolutely rested therein. • Behold,' saith he of him, 'my servant whom I uphold, mine elect in whom my soul delighteth,' or • is well pleased,' sy as evôoxnou, Malt. iii. 17. When he undertook this office, and said, · Lo I come to do thy will O God, the soul of God rested in him, Exod. xxiii. 21. John v. 20–22. And to him he gives an account at last, of his discharge of this thing, John xvii. 4. And on our part, unless we resign ourselves absolutely unto an universal trust in him, and reliance on him, and unless we accept of all the terms of the covenant as by him proposed, and engage to stand unto all that he hath undertaken on our behalf, we can have neither share nor interest in this matter.
4. A mediator must be a middle person between both parties entering into covenant, and if they be of different natures, a perfect, complete mediator ought to partake of each of their natures in the same person. The necessity hereof, and the glorious wisdom of God herein, I have elsewhere at large demonstrated, and shall not, therefore, here again insist upon it.
5. A mediator must be one who voluntarily, and of his own accord, undertaketh the work of mediation. This is required of every one who will effectually mediate between any persons at variance, to bring them unto an agreement on equal terms, So it was required that the will and consent of Christ should concur in his susception of this office; and that they did so, himself expressly testifieth, Heb. x. 5-10. It is true, he was designed and appointed by the Father unto this office, whence he is called his servant, and constantly witnesseth of himself, that he came to do the will and commandment of him that sent him. But he had that to do in the discharge of this office, which could not, according unto any rules of divine righteousness, be imposed on him without his own voluntary consent. And this was the ground of the eternal compact that was between the Father and the Son, with respect unto his mediation, which I have elsewhere explained. And the testification of his own will, grace and love in the susception of this office, is a principal motive unto that faith and trust which the church placeth in him, as the mediator between God and them. Upon this his voluntary undertaking, doth the soul of God rest in him, and he reposeth the whole trust in him, of accomplishing his will and pleasure, or the design of his love and grace in this covenant, Isa. liii. 10-12 And the faith of the church, whereon salvation doth depend, must have love unto his person inseparably accompanying of it. Love unto Christ is no less necessary unto salvation, than faith in him. And as faith is resolved into the sovereign wisdom and grace of God in send. ing him, and his own ability to save to the uttermost, those that come to God by him; so love ariseth from the consideration of his own love and grace, in his voluntary undertaking of this office, and the discharge of it.
6. In this voluntary undertaking to be a mediator, two things were required.
First, That he should remove and take out of the way, whatever kept the covenanters at distance, or was a cause of enmity between them. For it is supposed that such an enmity there was, or there had been no need of a mediator. Therefore in the covenant made with Adam, there having been no variance between God and man, nor any distance, but what necessarily ensued froin the distinct natures of the Creator and a creature, there was no mediator. But the design of this covenant, was to make reconciliation and peace. Hereon therefore depended the necessity of satisfaction, redemption, and the making of atonement by sacrifice. For man having sinned and apostatized from the rule of God, making himself thereby obnoxious unto his wrath, according unto the eternal rule of righteousness, and in particular into the curse of the law, there could be no new peace and agreement made with God, unless due satisfaction were made for these things. For although God was willing, in infinite love, grace and mercy, to enter into a new covenant with fallen man, yet would he not do it unto the prejudice of his righteousness, the dishonour of his rule, and the contempt of his law. Wherefore none could undertake to be a mediator of this covenant, but he that was able to satisfy the justice of God, glorify his government, and fulfil the law. And this could be done by none but him, concerning whom it might be said, that God purchased his church with his own blood.
Secondly, That he should procure and purchase, in a way suited unto the glory of God, the actual communication of all the good things prepared and proposed in this covenant ; that is, grace and glory, with all that belong unto these, for them, and on their behalf, whose surety he was. And this is the foun. dation of the merit of Christ, and of the grant of all good things unto us for his sake.
7. It is required of this mediator, as such, that to the parties mutually concerned, he give assurance of, and undertake for, the accomplishment of the terms of the covenant, undertaking on each hand for them.
First, On the part of God towards men, that they shall have peace and acceptance with himn, in the sure accomplishment of all the promises of the covenant. This he doth only declaratively, in the doctrine of the gospel, and in the institution of the ordinances of evangelical worship. For he was not a surety for God, nor did God need any, having confirmed his promise with an oath, swearing by himself, because he had no greater to swear by.
Secondly, On our part, he undertakes unto God for our acceptance of the terms of the covenant, and our accomplishment of them, by his enabling us thereunto.
These things, among others, were necessary unto a full and complete mediator of the new covenant, such as Christ was. And,
Obs. VII. The provision of this mediator between God and man, was an effect of infinite wisdom and grace; yea, it was the greatest and most glorious external effect that they ever did, or ever will, produce in this world. The creation of all things at first out of nothing, was a glorious effect of infinite wisdom and power. But when the glory of that design was eclipsed by the entrance of sin, this provision of a mediator, one whereby all things were restored and retrieved into a condition of bringing more glory to God, and securing for ever the blessed estate of them whose mediator he is, is accompanied with more evidences of the divine excellencies than that was; see Eph. i. 10.
Two things are added in the description of this mediator. 1. That he was a mediator of a covenant.
2. That this was a better covenant than another, which respect is had unto, whereof he was not the mediator.
1. He was the mediator, are Inans, of a covenant. And two things are supposed herein.
First, That there was a covenant made or prepared between God and man; that is, it was so far made, as that God who made it, bad prepared the terms of it, in a sovereign act of wisdom and grace. The preparation of the covenant, consist. ing in the will and purpose of God, graciously to bestow on all men the good things which are contained in it, all things belonging unto grace and glory, as also to make way for the obedience which he required herein, are supposed unto the constitution of this covenant.
Secondly, That there was need of a mediator, that this covenant might be effectual unto its proper ends, of the glory of