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minds, that we may not perceive this mediator that was given. We see in the beginning of the gospel that there were many hereticks, who believed the angels to be advocates. St. Paul, speaking of such, saith, Col. ii. 18. "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind." St. Paul giveth such honour to Jesus Christ, that all other intercessours and advocates must give way, and he be received as the only Saviour.
For forty years past, a man might as soon have heard Mahomet called the Saviour of the world, as the Son of God named as a mediator and advocate among the papists. And at this day, if any of us call Jesus Christ a mediator and advocate, they will immediately commence quarrelling with us, wishing to know whether we mean that Christ is the only advocate, or that the Saints are advocates likewise. If we endeavour to maintain the dignity of the Son of God, they are displeased with us: let us therefore be armed with the doctrine of the apostle, which teacheth us that we cannot come nigh to God, only through the mediation of Jesus Christ.
The papists are so impudent, and past shame, (I mean their doctors,) that when they wish to prove the matter which they have forged against the pure doctrine of the gospel, they say, "it is true that there is a mediator, but he is not the only one : for when we call a man one, it is not understood that he only is in the world, and none else!" But is not that which St. Paul saith in this place, that there is one mediator, as true as that where he saith, there is one God? It is the just vengeance of God, seeing they have endeavoured to take away the office of mediatorship, that they should be brought into shame and ignominy because they have dishonoured the Son of God, the Lord of glory; him to whom the
Father commandeth both great and small to do homage; before whom all knees must bow, and in whose person we must worship the majesty of our God.
The papists acknowledge Jesus Christ to be the only mediator of redemption; that it is he alone that redeemed the world: but as touching intercession, that he is not alone, that the Saints who are dead have this office as well as he. The apostle saith, that we were redeemed by the blood of the Son of God, therefore we must pray for all the world; for there is one mediator that hath opened the way whereby we may come to God. Jesus Christ is not only called mediator because he hath made reconciliation by his death, but because he appeareth now before the majesty of God, that we through him may be heard; as St. Paul showeth in the 8th chapter to the Romans: Jesus Christ hath therefore redeemed us by his death and passion, and now maketh intercession for us before God.
When we are exhorted to pray one for another, it is not diminishing the office of our Lord Jesus Christ, but that through his means we may all be made one together. When a man prayeth for himself, he ought also to include in his prayers the whole body of the church; that we may not separate that which God hath joined together. The doctrine of the gospel must be our rule and guide: doth that lead us to departed Saints? doth it appoint them for our patrons and advocates? No, no there is not a syllable in holy writ that maketh mention of it. It is true, that while we live in this world, there ought to be mutual charity between us, and every one ought to pray for his neighbours; but if I do any thing more than the scripture directeth me, I go astray. In the law it was said, that the people should not come near the sanctuary, but should tarry in the
court; and that no man should enter into it, but him that offered the sacrifice. Even so let us consider our own unworthiness; knowing that we are not only earthly creatures, but that we are full of sin, having become polluted and unclean in Adam; therefore we can bring nothing to recommend us to God, because we are not worthy to open our mouths before him let us then acknowledge our disease, that we may come to the remedy. And what is this remedy? It is to have our Lord Jesus Christ for our High Priest; he who shed his blood, and gave himself a ransom for all. Therefore, let us not doubt but that God is now merciful to us, seeing Christ hath reconciled us to him, by virtue of his death and passion.
As the High Priest bore the names of the children of Israel upon his shoulders, and had before him a tablet which contained twelve precious stones, signifying the twelve tribes of Israel, even so Jesus Christ bore our sins and iniquities upon the cross, and now beareth us, as it were, in his heart: this is the foundation upon which we stand. Therefore, let us not doubt but that we shall find favour with God, if we come to him in the name of this mediator. We must not devise advocates and patrons after our own notions, but content ourselves with the simplicity of holy writ. Jesus Christ is called the mediator, not only because he maketh intercession for us at present, but because he suffered for the sins of the world.
Therefore, let us learn to glorify God, and thank him with all humbleness, because it hath pleased him to draw us out of the abominations of the papists, that we may be stirred up to walk in fear and carefulness. Seeing it hath pleased God to give us such an advocate and mediator as his own Son, let us not be afraid to come and present ourselves before him, and call upon him in all our necessities: not that
each one must do so privately, for himself alone, but let us all pray to God for the whole body of the church, and for all mankind.
When we pray to God, our prayers must be sanctified and consecrated by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have no need of the sprinkling of the pope's holy water; but the price of which St. Paul speaketh, must make satisfaction for us before God. We may rest assured that God will not cast away the sacrifice, whereby he hath become reconciled to us, but will be content therewith. When we pray, if we do not ground ourselves upon the death and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, we must needs be in doubt and perplexity; and thus all our prayers will be vain and unprofitable. The scripture informeth us, that if we do not pray in faith, we shall not be profited thereby.
Who gave himself a ransom for all: when the apostle speaketh thus of our Lord Jesus Christ, he abaseth whatsoever men might presume upon, relative to their own satisfactions, as they term them. This is a point well worthy of note: for the world hath abused itself at all times, by endeavouring to please God with trifles. Behold the heathens! they were sensible that they could not call upon God unless they had some mediator: they therefore had their intercessours, by which they devised a thousand ways to find favour with God. The papists endeavoured to please him by washing and purifying themselves; which was but an apish imitation of that which God had appointed the fathers: where he made use of these corruptible elements, to draw them to Jesus Christ. When they came to the temple of Jerusalem, the water was ready, even at the entrance, that every one might purify himself, and thus come near the majesty of God: but this remedy was not in the water, which was a corruptible
element, but it was a figure of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us abuse ourselves no more, by thinking that we can purchase God's favour by any ceremony or trifle of our own; for we should have been cast off and utterly condemned, had it not been for the atonement made by the blood of Jesus Christ. Here our whole trust lieth, and by this we are assured that our sins are absolved. The papists say that original sin is forgiven us in baptism: and if there should be a Jew or Heathen baptised at the age of twenty, thirty, or forty years, the sins which he had committed during his life, would then be forgiven him but if after we are baptised, we fall, and commit sin, we must not expect to find grace and pardon unless we bring some recompense.
The papists are constrained to confess that they cannot thoroughly recompense God as they ought, and that it is impossible for men to make payment to him in all things: therefore they add another sup-ply; which is, the blood of martyrs, and the keys of the church; (the power given to priests.) Thus they destroy the ransom which was made for us by the death and suffering of our Lord Jesus, trusting in their own performances and works of supererogation; and if there be any thing wanting, the blood of martyrs, and the keys of the church, fill up the account. Behold what horrible blasphemy!
Doth St. Paul speak here of a ransom that was made for little children only, and for those that are not baptized? Nay, on the contrary, he comprehendeth all faults which make us guilty before God; for the way is open whereby we may come to him by prayer, and find mercy. The ransom of which St. Paul speaketh, reacheth to all our sins; we must therefore have recourse to it from day to day, and place all our confidence therein. It is not only in this place that holy writ directeth us to the death