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interest in God to procure it from him. But my business is to shew, that the Scripture every where appropriates this to our Lord Christ, who being God as well as man, knows our hearts, and hears our prayers, has merit enough to purchase, interest enough to procure, nay, power sufficient to grant and bestow whatever we ask and stand in need of. He is sure of good success, whatever cause and person he becomes an advocate for.
“Father, I know, that thou hearest me always,” says our Saviour, John xi. 42.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” Matth. xi. 28.
Again, John xiv. 6: “No man cometh to the Father, bu by me."
And Eph. ii. 18: “Through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
So Eph. iii. 12: “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.”
But there cannot be a clearer and fuller proof to this purpose, than 1 Tim. ii. 5: “There is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” And,
In 1 Cor. viii, 5, 6: “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or earth (as there be gods many and lords many), but to us there is but one God the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him ; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”
Here, in opposition to the Pagan idolatry, that, together with one supreme God, worshipped many other inferior deities, either as subordinate governors of the world, or as mediators and intercessors for them with the supreme God, the Apostle asserts, that to us Christians “there is but one God, the Maker of all things; and one Mediator betwixt God and man, the man Christ Jesus,” to be the object of our worship, In both which places, it is very evident the word εls, one, signifies one only, one Mediator, in the same sense that there is one God, and you may as well make to yourselves more gods than one, as more mediators than one.
Nor will their distinction of a mediator of redemption and a mediator of intercession be here of any use to them. For,
1. The Apostle asserts absolutely, without any reserve or distinction, there is one God and one Mediator. To distinguish where the Apostle does not, is not to speak the Apostle's sense, but their own, and to serve a cause instead of truth.
2. The Apostle opposes the one Mediator to the plurality of dæmons and mediators among the heathens : now all that the heathens attributed to their dæmons or mediators, was intercession only : so that this distinction, had it been thought of in that age, would have served the heathens' turn as well as the Papists, and it would have been as good an answer from the one as the other; Christ is a Mediator of redemption, but ours mediators only of intercession.
3. A mediator of mere intercession is a great lessening and reproach to the nature and perfections of God. It brings down God to the meanness of earthly princes, as if he, like them, dispensed his favours by the direction of others, and at their importunity ; as if he knew not when to do good, and was not always ready to do it, but wanted the information and solicitation of others; and governed himself more by measures taken from some favourites in the court of heaven, than by his own infinite wisdom and goodness.
We indeed are commanded to pray to God, to pray for others, and to beg one another's prayers : but this we do not to inform God, but to pay our homage and worship to him ; not as relying on any interest or power we or others can have in God, but on his goodness, and the truth of his promises, that reach alike to all good men; and in doing this, we give glory to God, by owning his absolute sovereignty over us, and declaring his goodness and faithfulness to the world : but to pray to saints and angels as mediators of intercession, is to suppose that they have upon the account of their own merit and worth, that power and interest in God, as seldom or never to be denied; or at least, that the surest and most likely way to obtain our petitions, is first to petition them to offer them up to God. But now the more of such power and interest we think they have in God, the more shall we place our hope and confidence in them; and the more we trust and depend on them, the less shall we trust and depend on God: and is not this to take from God, and give to his creature, and to divide our hope and confidence betwixt them ? and if faith and hope are any parts of religious worship, we give his glory to others, whilst we give part of that worship to them, that is solely and peculiarly God's.
4. No one can be a mediator of intercession, that is not a mediator of redemption too; to be a mediator of intercession in the behalf of an offending person to his provoked lord, it is requisite that he be no offender against him himself; that he has a greater interest in him than the person he intercedes for, that this interest is founded on the merit of some services performed to him ; by which services, the honour and reputation of his government is as much retrieved, as it was injured by the other's offence and disobedience, otherwise he is no more likely to prevail for him, than the offender is for himself ; having both by their sin forfeited their right and interest in God's favour, and not having done any thing to make that atonement for them, that his justice and wisdom, as Governor of the world, has made fit and necessary.
Now such a mediator or advocate with the Father in the behalf of sinful man can none be, but Christ our Lord, who, when by our transgressions we had provoked God, and brought contempt upon his laws and authority, suffered death to make a propitiation for our sins; and by his perfect obedience and sufferings, restored that honour and reverence to his authority and government that we had vilified and despised; and now in virtue of his meritorious blood he makes intercession for us, not as an ordinary supplicant, relying wholly on mercy, but as a powerful mediator, urging his own merits ; having purchased what he begs for, having atoned for what he prays for, his intercessions for us are never denied, nor our prayers in his name, for his sake.
5. We may observe therefore, that the Scripture makes Christ's intercession to depend on his propitiation ; so it follows in this chapter, ver. 6, the Apostle having said there is one Mediator, adds, “who gave himself a ransom for all.” So Rom. viii. 33: “who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? it is God that justifieth ; who is he that condemneth? it is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” So 1 John ii. 1, 2: “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins."
This may farther appear from the analogy there is and ought to be betwixt the Jewish and Christian worship; St. Paul frequently in his epistles, especially that to the Hebrews, makes the legal priesthood typical of the evangelical: now if under that dispensation the priests were not to make intercession for the people, without a sacrifice first offered up, to atone and propitiate for their sins; then it follows, that under the Gospel we can have no other Mediator than one, who brings a sacrifice along with him; and that only has our Lord done, who is both our priest and our sacrifice, who hath offered up himself on the cross a sacrifice for our sins, and now intercedes in the merits of his own blood, and the propitiation he hath made.
Thus, as you see, the Apostle in this text excludes wholly angels and saints from being mediators of intercession. I shall only add, that in another place he as plainly condemns it, and forewarns Christians against it; 1 Tim. iv. 1, “ Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils,” Διδασκαλίας Δαιμονίων, the doctrine of dæmons, that is, of worshipping dæmons as mediators between God and man.* This is an exact prophecy of what the Church of Rome teaches and practises as to the worship of angels and saints departed, but the Apostle calls it an apostasy or departing from the faith of Christ.
The conclusion of all is this: we believe that the blessed saints and angels love us, pray for us, are willing to help us, and do what they can and are permitted to do towards our happiness ; but from hence it does not follow that they are so concerned in the government of the world, and administration of human affairs, as to make it lawful for us to make them sharers with God in any part of his worship : they have not, as we know of, a general and universal knowledge of us and our condition; they have no power of themselves, either to hear or help us; without God's leave, if not without God's command, they can do nothing; and therefore whilst we honour their memories, and bless God for what grace and glory he hath bestowed upon them ; we, as the holy Scripture hath taught us, think ourselves obliged religiously to adore and pray to God alone.
SOLI DEO GLORIA.
* Mr. Mede on the place.
THE WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH OF ROME JUSTLY CONDEMNED, AS DIRECTING THE WORSHIP OF IMAGES AND RELICS.
THE FALLIBILITY OF THE ROMAN CHURCH
FROM THE MANIFEST ERROR OF THE SECOND NICENE AND
TRENT COUNCILS: WHICH ASSERT THAT THE VENERATION AND HONORARY WORSHIP OF IMAGES, IS A TRADITION PRIMITIVE AND APOSTOLICAL.
THE PREFACE TO THE READER. To that which I have said in the close of this Discourse, touching the infallibility of the second Nicene Council, and her authority in proposing articles of faith, interpreting of holy Scripture, and in declaring what was the tradition of the Church of Christ, I think fit here, by way of preface, to add these things :
1. That if she hath a just and an assured title to these privileges, then must she be infallible in the interpretations of these following Scriptures.
*« Let not a clergyman, from the time present, be placed in two Churches, this being an argument of filthy lucre, and
* Κληρικός από του παρόντος μη κατατασσέσθω εν δυσίν εκκλησίαις εμπορείας γάρ και αισχροκερδείας ίδιον τούτο, και αλλότριον εκκλησιαστικής συνηθείας ηκούσαμεν γάρ εξ αυτής της κυριακής φωνής, ότι ου δύναται τις δυσί κυρίοις δουλεύειν, ή γάρ τον ένα μισήσει, και τον έτερον αγαπήσει» ή του ενός άνθέξεται, και του ετέρου καταφρονήσει: έκαστος ούν κατά την Αποστολικήν φωνήν, εν ω έκκλήθη, εν τούτω οφείλει μένειν και προσεδρεύειν εν μία εκκλησία. Τα γάρ δι' αισχροκέρδειαν γινόμενα επί των εκκλησιαστικών πραγμάτων αλλότρια του θεού καθεστήκασι. 2 Nic. Conc. Can. 15. [Labbe, Concil. vol. 7. p. 609. Lut. Ρar. 1671.]