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gantly the expense which God and Christ bestowed on our deliverance, and therefore the love of both towards us : for a deliverance may possibly be accomplished without love, and particularly without great love ; but the deliverance which is procured at the expense not of money but 6 much more of his own blood,” could not be effected without the highest love.
What say you to these things, that Christ is the mediator between God and men, and the mediator of the New Covenant ? (Heb. xii. 24; viii. 6; ix. 15; I Tim. ii. 5.)
Since we read that Moses was a Mediator (that is, between God and the people of Israel, and of the former Covenant), and as it is certain that he made no satisfaction to God for the sins of the people,it cannot be inferred from the circumstance of Christ's being a mediator between God and men, that he made the alleged satisfaction for the sins of all men.
Why then does the Scripture give to Christ the title of Mediator?
When Christ is called a Mediator, with the word Covenant subjoined, it is to be understood, that in establishing the New Covenant he was the medium between God and men, in proclaiming to them the perfect will of God, in confirming it, and at length sealing it with his blood. But when Paul, while about proving that “ God will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth," says, “ For there is one God," that is the Creator and Lord of all men, “and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” who, because he is a man, has an union of nature with other men, and therefore no man ought to be rejected by him; nothing hinders but that the apostle may be supposed to refer in the title Mediator not only to the office of Christ which he formerly sustained in the establishment of the Covenant, but also to that which he now holds ; with which he connects it so much more stronglyteaching that all men have access to God not only by the covenant made by Christ, but also by Christ himself, now living, acting, and reigning in heaven ; that is to say, as he hears their vows and prayers, and does every thing for them with God. For Moses also, acting as the shadow and type of Christ, was in such respects a Mediator as not only to declare the will of God by the law delivered by him to the Israelites, but also to approach the presence of God in the name of the children of Israel, who through him applied to God for, and obtained, what they wished.
What say you to this, that he reconciled us to God?
First, That the Scripture never asserts that God was reconciled to us by Christ, but that we were reconciled to him; which indicates no wrath on his part, but our aversion to him, and our enmity against him. Wherefore the satisfaction, which they fancy, can by no means be inferred from any of those passages. Secondly, it is expressly asserted in the Scriptures (2 Cor. v. 18; Col. i. 20, 22), that God has reconciled us to himself. Whence it would follow that God himself had made satisfaction to himself.:
What think you concerning this reconciliation ? That Christ Jesus showed to us, who, on account
of our sins, were enemies of God, and alienated from him,—the way whereby we might be turned to God, and thus be reconciled to him; and strongly impelled us to this by his death also, wherein appeared the great love of God towards us.
What say you to this, that the Lord Jesus is called a Propitiation (1 John. ii. 2)?
That what they assert is not to be inferred from hence, because the Scripture declares (Rom. iii. 25), as the apostle expressly speaks, that God himself hath set forth Christ for a propitiation; and John writes (1 Epist. iv. 10), “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his son to be a propitiation for our sins.” And in the next place, because even the cover of the ark, to which Paul alludes (Heb. ix. 5; Exod, xxv. 22), is called a propitiatory (or mercy-seat), when nevertheless it is evident that this in no way gave satisfaction for sins, except in so far as an offering was appointed by God to be presented there for obtaining the forgiveness of them. Lastly, it is one thing to give satisfaction to any one in the way contended for, and another to render him propitious : since he who is rendered propitious, or is appeased, may remit much of his just right; but he who is in this way satisfied remits nothing.
What is your opinion concerning this matter?
When Paul says (Rom. iii. 25) that God hath set forth Christ to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, his meaning is, that Christ has, by the will of God, shed his blood for the sins of all men. Wherefore, whoever would experience God propitious,
and obtain the forgiveness of his sins, must come to Christ through faith in him. This is the only refuge of all sinners. But when John calls him the propitiation for our sins, he means that our sins are expiated by him. For the Greek term (inaruos) which in Latin is rendered propitiatio, frequently denotes in the Holy Scriptures expiation, or a deliverance from the guilt of sin. Hence our sins are said, Heb. ii. 17, [according to the original] to be PROPITIATED, that is EXPIATED.
What answer do you make to those testimonies wherein it is declared that the death of Christ was figured and shadowed forth by the sacrifices of the Old Covenant?
In the first place, it must be considered that in the sacrifices the death of Christ merely and by itself, was shadowed by the death alone of the victim, and principally of that which was sacrificed annually, and with the blood of which the high priest entered into the holy of holies. But as this slaughtering of the victim was not the whole of the sacrifice, but only a certain commencement of it (for the sacrifice itself was certainly then made and completed, when the high priest entered with the blood into the holy of holies, as the author of the epistle to the Hebrews testifies, chap. ix. ver. 7), so also the death of Christ was not the whole of his expiatory sacrifice, in the sense in which that author also understands the sacrifice of Christ, but a certain commencement of it: for the sacrifice was then offered when Christ entered into heaven-concerning which you shall hear presently. Besides, it would not follow from the type of the sacrifices, that God was, by the death of Christ, satisfied for our sins in the sense contended for, since the Scripture never inculcates that those sacrifices had the effect of satisfying God for sin, and reason evidently teaches quite the contrary. If, however, it ought to be inferred from the sacrifices of the law, as from a type, that Christ made satisfaction for our sins, it is necessary that those sacrifices should have had some power of satisfying God. For there must necessarily exist a likeness between the figure and the thing figured. Wherefore from the type of the sacrifices, the contrary ought to be inferred: that is to say; as those sacrifices were not made properly speaking for the payment of sins, but for the remission of them, so also the death and sacrifice of Christ were designed, as the Scripture every where testifies, for the remission of sins, and not literally speaking for the payment of them.
What then do you think of those sacrifices ?
Principally this, that by those sacrifices the sins of God's people, which were expiable by them, were expiated in the manner which the law permitted : that is to say; those sacrifices being offered, their sins, in respect of some temporal penalties, were by the favour and appointment of God remitted.
OF FAITH. Having thus far treated of the precepts and promises of God, I wish you now to explain to me the way and manner whereby we are to conform to both.