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as needing reconciliation; a certain service is required for this purpose, it may be in the way of negotiation and persuasion simply, or it may be in the way of work, obedience, sacrifice, atonement; and to meet this requirement, under such purely outward view, Christ is regarded as assuming the character of a day's man or arbitrator, and as coming between the parties thus in order to bring them together. He may be considered a mere Prophet, in the Unitarian sense, who saves by his excellent doctrine and holy example; or he may be allowed to be far more than this, a Saviour possessed of truly Divine powers, according to the orthodox faith, by the mystery of the incarnation, who takes away sin by suffering the penalty of it in his own person; but still in either case, the thing done has its proper seat and substance in the relation of the parties concerned by itself considered, while Christ as the doer of it stands always as it were on the outside of the transaction, in the character comparatively of an instrument or servant to his own glorious work. Now every such view of redemption we hold to be more or less inadequate and false; and it is of the utmost consequence, we think, that attention should be fully fastened on the point, for the purpose of promoting a more just apprehension of this great inystery in its true nature and power. The Mediation of Christ, we say, holds primarily and fundamentally in the constitution of his person. His Incarnation is not to be regarded as a device in order to his Mediation, the needful preliminary and condition of this merely as an independent and separate work; it is itself the Mediatorial Fact, in all its height and depth, and length and breadth.
“His name of Mediator,” says our author, “is not bestowed by reason of any work, in which He was occasionally or partially occupied; it sets forth that office, which resulted from the permanent union in one person of God and Man. For the benefits which He bestows upon man's nature result from his being the link wbich binds it lo Deity. The salvation of Adam's race depends upon the influence of that higher nature, which has been introduced into it from above. This gift was first bestowed upon humanity in the Person of Christ, that from Him it might afterwards be extended in degree to all His brethren." He is accordingly not a Mediator, but the Mediator between God and Man; as Paul, 1 Tim. ii. 5, allows one only, in such way as to exclude all others. There may be a number of relative mediators between God and men, but there can be only one who is the absolute junction and union of the two parties thus distinguished. “ Christ is the real bond by which Godhead and hu.
manity are united. And this arises not from any technical and artificial appointment; He bears this name, because He is what it expresses. His title follows from His nature, as effect from cause, as consequent from antecedent. He truly is what no other is, or can be beside Him, the Pattern Man, the second Adam; therefore no other can take his place among the generations of mankind." The Mediation of Christ is his actually binding the nature of God and the nature of Man into one life, in his own person.
“For this cause the Son of God consented to become the Son of Man: When Thou tookest upon Thee to deliver man, Thou didst not abhor the Virgin's womb.' Moses acted as mediator, Christ became one." The Christian faith, as set forth by the universal Church from the beginning, looks first accordingly not to our Lord's acts so much as to the mystery of his personality. “It has sometimes been asked why our Lord's Atonement is not inserted in the Creed, in such express words as his Incarnation. The reason is, that our Lord's Atonement may be admitted in words, although those who use them attach no christian sense to the doctrine which they acknowledge; whereas if the doctrine of our Lord's Incarnation is once truly accepted, His Mediation follows as its necessary result. So that the Church was guided by Divine Wisdom, to make this article of our Lord's real nature the criterion of her belief, the articulus stantis aut cadentis ecclesiæ : it holds a leading place in the profession which in all ages has been required at Baptism; and the early believers gave a token of their reverence, when on declaring that He was made man,' they were wont, with one consent, to bow the knee and worship.” Christ's person is thus at once the centre and comprehension of all functions discharged on God's part towards man, or on man's part towards God. He is the sole channel of grace, and the only medium through whom our prayers can ascend acceptably to heaven. “ This is the place wb ein heaven and earth are connected; the bridge which joins them together. He is the door, the way, the truth, and the life.”—P. 170-173.
It makes all the difference in the world for our theology, whether the Christian Salvation be apprehended as a living fact thus starting in the person of Christ, or as an arrangement or economy simply in the Divine Mind which Christ came into the world to serve in an outward and instrumental way. Every evangelical doctrine becomes different, as seen either from the one of these points of view or from the other. It is not enough that the articles of our faith may carry in any case separately an orthodox sound; all depends on the order in which they are
bound together, the principle from which they proceed, their interior genealogy and connection as parts of a common whole. The most orthodox formula may be full of heresy, if abstracted from the real ground of Christianity, and made to stand before us as a naked word or thought in some other form. The true order of the Christian faith is given in the Creed. All rests on the mystery of the Incarnation. That is itself Christianity, the true idea of the Gospel, the new world of grace and truth, in which the discord of sin, the vanity of nature, the reign of death, are brought forever to an end. Here is an order of life which was not in the world before, the Word made Flesh, God and Man brought into living union in the person of Jesus Christ, as the nucleus and fountain of salvation for the race. He is the Mediator, because God and Man are thus in a real way joined together and made one in his person. The primary force of his character in this view, the power which belongs to him to make reconciliation and atonement, lies in the fact that the parties between whom he mediates are in truth united first of all in the very constitution of his own life. He is in this way the actual medium of their conjunction. The mission of salvation which he came to fulfil was not indeed at once completed by the mystery of the hypostatical union ; his Mediatorship involved a his
2 tory, a work, the execution of prophetical, priestly, and kingly offices, a life of suffering and trial, the atonement, the resurrection, the sitting at the right hand of God, from whence he shall come to judge the world; but all this only as the proper and necessary result of the first mystery itself, the entrance of the Divine Word in a living way into the sphere of our fallen Humanity. This brought heaven and earth together in the very heart or centre of the world's life, and carried in itself the guaranty that all which was required to make the union permanent and complete should in due order be triumphantly accomplished. Conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ must necessarily suffer also and die, but only that by doing so he might conquer death, and bring in everlasting righteousness and immortal life for the nature he came to redeem and save.
Forth from this sublime Fact proceeds the presence of the Holy Ghost, the power of a new creation in the world, the mystery of the Church, one, holy and catholic, and the whole process of salvation from the remission of sins in baptism on to the resurrection of the last day. The sense of Christ's Person, as the true bond that reconciles God and Man, brings along with it all this faith ; and no article, we repeat it, deserves to be considered part of the Christian Creed, which comes not to be of
force in this order and on this ground. The early Church stood here on the true foundation. The Creed, as held from the beginning, forms the true and only legitimate basis of Christian orthodoxy. It needs, in this view, no condescending indulgence, no apology, no qualification, no surreptitious foisting of a new and better sense into its ancient phraseology. Any modern system which finds this necessary, however creditable and plausible it may appear in other respects, stands convicted by the very fact of being itself in a false position. No doctrine can be valid and worthy of trust in the world that comes from Christ, which is not inwardly rooted in the Christological mystery of the old Creed. As an abstraction, a thing of mere thought and notion, supposed to hold in the relations of God and man out of Christ, and beyond the power of the concrete Fact embodied in his person, all pretended orthodoxy is reduced at last 10 a mere empty sham. Even as it regards the nature of God or the nature of man separately taken, our faith and science become truly christian, only when they are conditioned by a lively apprehension of what has come to pass in Christ. Where sympathy with the Creed is dull, and inward sense for its grandeur gone, there may still be much talk of God's attributes and works in a different view, of election and reprobation, of man's natural depravity, of justification by faith, regeneration, and other such high evangelical themes; but there can be no really sound and vigorous theology at any point. We will not hear, in such case, those who pretend to plant themselves on the authority of the Bible, while they are guilty of such palpable falling away from the mind of the Church in the age when the New Testament was formed; for the very point here to be settled, is the true sense and meaning of the Bible; and what we maintain is, that the early Church is more to be trusted than they are, in regard to what constitutes the primary conception of Christianity, which must serve as a rule to guide us in the proper study of the Scriptures. The Bible rests on Christ. Light is not more necessary for seeing the world, than the idea of Christ is for reading the true mind of God in his written word. The indwelling Creed, in this view, must underlie our use of the Bible, if it is to be at all just and safe. To say otherwise, is to subordinate the Bible to that which is not original Christianity, the thinking of this man or that, or the thinking of a sect in no union with the fact of the Christian faith as it stood in the beginning; and surely when it comes to this, there ought to be no great dissiculty, one would think, in deciding which alternative it is the part of wisdom, not to say faith, to choose. However grating it may sound to some ears, the truth needs to be loudly and constantly repealed: The Bible is not the principle of Christianity, neither its origin, nor its fountain, nor its foundation. For the opposite imagination is not by any means an innocent or powerless error. It strikes at the essence of Christianity, which is neither doctrine nor law but living grace, and tends to resolve it into a mere abstraction, a theory, that has its being in the world in men's thoughts mainly, and not in any more substantial form; which, carried out to its legitimate end, is just what we are to understand by Rationalism. It is of the utmost account to see, on the contrary, that the principle of Christianity is the Lord Jesus Christ himself, the Word made Flesh, the Christological Fact underlying, as in the Creed, the new heavens and the new earth. With the sense of this old faith in the mind, no difficulty whatever is found in recognizing it as the true voice also of the Bible. It springs into view from all sides; and the only wonder is, how it should be possible for any, under the power of the uncatholic theory, not to perceive and acknowledge its force. Christ is always, in the New Testament, the sum and substance of his own salvation ; the way, the truth, the life; the divine xarannayn, reconciliation or atonement, in whom God appears reconciling the world to himself (2 Cor. v. 18, 19); the victory over death and hell; the true ladder of Jacob's vision, by which the heavens are brought into perpetual free and open communion with the earth. He is the Peace of the world, the deepest and last sense of Man's life, by which all its other discords are harmonized, in the deep toned diapason of its real union with God.
II. This conception implies that the sense and power of Man's life universally considered come to view only in Christ; on which account the mystery of the incarnation, as revealed in his person, is no isolated portent or prodigy, but a fact that holds in strict organic and historical continuity and unity with the life of the human world as a whole. In no other view can the mystery be regarded as real. Christ is indeed the entrance of a new life into the world, the Word clothing itself with flesh; but he is this, at the same time, in the way of an actual, and not simply apparent, entrance into the world. He was no theophany, but a real and proper man, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. In this character however he could not be merely a common man, one of the race as it stood before. Such a supposition would belie the other side of his being. As the beginning of a new and higher creation, his entrance into the world must be of universal force, a fact of force for humanity in its collective view.