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Heb. viii. 6, xii. 24. But as to his work of mediation, what it is, wherein it doth consist, on what account principally Christ is called our mediator, whether he be a mediator with God for us, as well as a mediator with us for God, and how he carries on that work,wherein he knows the difference between us and his masters about this matter doth lie,-he speaks not one word, nor gives any occasion to me to enter into the consideration of it. What I suppose necessary to offer to this head, I shall do in the ensuing discourse of the death of Christ, the ends thereof, and the satisfaction thereby.
And therefore I shall hereunto add his ninth chapter also, which is concerning remission of sins by Jesus Christ. The difference between his masters and us being about the meritorious and procuring cause of remission of sins by Christ, which here he mentions not, what is farther to be added thereabout will fall in also under the consideration of the death of Christ, and our justification thereby. His first question is altogether out of question, namely, “Who
" shall have remission of sins by Christ?” It is granted all, and only, believers. “He that believeth shall be saved; and be that believeth not shall be damned," Mark xvi. 16. “To as many as receive him, power is given to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name," John i. 12.
To his next question an answer may be given that will suit that following also, which is the whole of this chapter. The question is, “Doth not Christ forgive sins ?--A. 'Christ forgave you,' Col. iii. 13."
That Christ forgives sins is taken for granted; and yet forgiveness of sin is the supremest act of sovereign, divine power that God exerciseth in the world. Now, Christ may be considered two ways:1. Absolutely, as "God over all, blessed for ever.” So he forgave sins by his own original authority and power, as the lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy. 2. As Mediator, God and man; and so his power was delegated to him by God the Father, as himself speaks, Matt. xxviii. 18, “ All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth;" and chap. ix. 6, he saith that he had “ power on earth to forgive sins,"—that is, given unto him. Now, forgiveness of sins is either authoritative or declarative. The latter Christ delegated to his apostles and all their successors in the work of preaching the gospel, and it is such a power as a mere man may be invested withal.
That forgiveness of sins which we term “authoritative," being an act of sovereign, divine power, exercised about the law and persons concerned therein, may be said to be given to Christ two ways:-(1.) As to the possession of it; and so he hath it from his Father as God, as he hath his nature, essence, and life from him. Whence, whatever works the Father doth, he doth likewise,-quicken as he quickens, pardon as he pardons, -as hath been declared. (2.) As to the execution of it, for
such an end and purpose as the carrying on of the work of mediation, committed to him; and so it is given him in commission from the Father, who sent him into the world to do his will; and in this sense had he, the Son of man, power to forgive sins whilst he was on the earth. And to Mr B.'s ninth chapter this may suffice.
Of Christ's prophetical office. The eighth chapter in Mr Biddle is of Christ's prophetical office, or his entrance into a dealing with Christ in respect of his offices, as he hath done with him in respect of his person already.
His first question is,-
Ques. Is not Christ dignified, as with the title of mediator, so also with that of prophet?
Ans. Acts iii. 20, 22.
1. Mr B. tells us, chap. iv., that Christ is dignified with the title of God, though he be not so ; and here that he is dignified with the title of a prophet, but leaves it at large whether he were so indeed
We are resolved in the case. The first promise made of him by God to Adam was of him generally as a mediator, particularly as a priest, as he was to break the head of Satan by the bruising of his own heel; the next solemn renovation of it to Abraham was of him as king, taking all nations to be his inheritance; and the third by Moses, after the giving of the law, as a prophet to teach and instruct his redeemed people, Gen. iii. 15, xii. 2, 3, Deut. xviii. 18. And a prophet he is, the great prophet of his church; not only dignified with that title, but so he is indeed.
2. But says Mr B., "He is dignified with the title of a prophet as well as of mediator,”—as though his being a prophet were contradistinguished from his being a mediator. Christ's teaching of his people is part of the mediation he hath undertaken. All that he doth on their part in offering gifts and sacrifices to God for them, all that he doth on the part of God towards them by instructing and ruling of them, he doth as he is the mediator between God and man, the surety of the covenant. He is not, then, a mediator and a prophet, but he who is the mediator is the high priest and prophet of his church. Nor are there any acts that he exerciseth on the one or other of these accounts but they are all acts of his mediation, and of him as a mediator. Mr B., indeed, tells us not what he understands by the mediation of Christ. His masters so describe it as to make it all one with his prophetical office, and nothing else; which makes me somewhat to wonder why this man seems to distinguish between them.
3. Many more notions of Mr B.'s masters are here omitted; as, that Christ was not the prophet of his people under the old testament, though by his Spirit he preached even to those that were disobedient in the days of Noah, and it was the Spirit of Christ that was in all the prophets of old, whereby God instructed his church, 1 Pet. iii. 19, 20, i. 11;—that he is a prophet only because he hath given unto us a new law, though he promise effectually to open blind eyes, and to send his Spirit to teach us and to lead us into all truth, giving us understanding that we may know him that is true, Isa. lxi. 1; Luke iv. 18; John xvi. 7-13; 1 John v. 20. But he lays dirt enough in our way, so that we shall not need farther to rake into the dunghill.
4. I should not have thought that Mr B. could have taken advantage for his end and purpose from the place of Scripture he mentions, Acts ïïi. 20, 22, “Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me,” but that I find him in his next query repeating that expression, “Like unto me," and wresting of it to be the foundation of a conceit plainly jocular. Christ was like to Moses as he was a prophet, and like to Aaron as he was a priest, and like to David as he was a king; that is, he was represented and typified by all these, and had that likeness to them which the antitype (as the thing typified is usually but improperly called) hath to the type: but that therefore he must not only be like them in the general office wherein the correspondency doth consist, but also in all the particular concernments of the office as by them administered, is to confound the type and the antitype (or rather thing typified.) Nor do the words used, either by Moses, Deut. xvii. 18, or by Peter, Acts iii. 22, intimate any such similitude or likeness between Christ and Moses as should extend to such particulars as are afterward intimated. The words of Peter are, “God shall raise you up a prophet, ws gué," rather“ as he raised up me,” than "like unto me," not the least similitude being intimated between them but in this, that they were both prophets, and were both to be hearkened unto. And so the word used by God to Moses, 7i07, “ sicut te” (“a prophet as thou art”), doth import, "I will raise up one that shall be a prophet as thou art a prophet. The likeness is only in the office. For such a similitude as should give the least occasion to Mr B.'s following figments there is no colour. And so the whole foundation being rooted up, the tottering superstruction will easily fall to the ground. But then to proceed:
Q. Forasmuch as Christ was to be a prophct like unto Moses, and Moses had the privilege above other prophets that God made not himself known to him in a vision, nor spake to him in a dream, but face to face, as a man speaketh to his friend, and showed to him the similitude of the Lord, Exod. xxxiii. 11, Num. xii. 6-8, can you tell any passage of Scripture which intimateth that Christ did see God before the discharge of his prophetical office ?
A. John vi. 45, 46, “ Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is from God, he hath seen the Father."
1. This passage is indeed very pretty, whether the principles or the inferences of it are considered.
The principles of it are sundry:-(1.) That God hath a bodily shape and similitude, face and hands, and the like corporeal properties;' (2.) That Moses saw the face of God as the face of a man;" (3.) That Christ was in all things like Moses, so that what Moses did he must do also. Therefore, (1.) Christ did see the face of God as a man; (2.) He did it before he entered on his prophetical office; whereunto add, (3.) The proof of all, “No man hath seen the Father, save he which is from God." That is, Christ only saw the face of God, and no man else, when the ground of the whole fiction is that Moses saw it before him!
2. Of the bodily shape of God, and of Moses seeing his face, I have already spoken that which Mr B. will not take out of his way. Of Christ's being like Moses something also hath now been delivered.
That which, Exod. xxxiii. 11, in the Hebrew is DOPLN D'Ppanim el panim, the LXX. have rendered évários śwriw, that is, “præsens præsenti," "as one present with him;" and the Chaldee paraphrast, "verbum ad verbum,”—that is, God dealt with him kindly and familiarly, not with astonishing terror, and gave him an intimate acquaintance with his mind and will. And the same expression is used concerning God's speaking to all the people, Deut. v. 4; of whom yet it is expressly said that they saw no likeness at all, chap. iv. 12.
If from the likeness mentioned there must be a sameness asserted unto the particular attendancies of the discharge of that office, then Christ must divide the sea, lift up a brazen serpent, and die in a mountain, and be buried by God where no man could ever know. Moses, indeed, enjoyed an eminency of revelation above other prophets, which is called his conversing with God as a friend, and beholding him face to face, but even in that wherein he is exalted above all others, he is infinitely short of the great Prophet of his church: for Moses, indeed, as a servant was faithful in all the house of God, but this man is over his own house; whose bouse we are, Heb. üi. 5, 6.
3. This figment is for ever and utterly everted by the Holy Ghost, John i. 17, 18, where he expressly urges a dissimilitude between Moses and the only-begotten Son in that particular wherein this gentleman would have the likeness to consist. “Herein,” says Mr B.,
· See chap. iii. 1 'Aπό εικόνος ου γνωρίζεται, οφθαλμοίς ουχ οράται, ουδενί οικι.-Antiphanes. de Deo. * “ Facie in faciem, ita ut homines cum hominibus colloquentes solent: quod refer ad vocum perceptionem distinctam; non ad conspicuum aliquod. Nihil enim viderunt." - Grot. Annot. in loc.
“is Christ like to Moses, that as Moses saw God face to face, so he saw God face to face." "No," saith the Holy Ghost; "the law, indeed, was given by Moses, but no man hath seen God at any time; the onlybegotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” It is true that it is said of Moses that “God spake to him face to face,”-that is, in a more clear and familiar manner than he did to other prophets,—though he told him plainly that he should not, or could not, see his face, Exod. xxxiii. 18-23, though he gave him some lower manifestations of his glory: so that notwithstanding the revelations made to him, " no man hath seen God at any time, but the only-begotten Son." He who is of the same nature and essence with the Father, and is in his bosom love, he hath seen him, John vi. 46; and in this doth Moses, being a man only, come infinitely short of the only-begotten Son, in that he could never see God, wbich He did: which is also asserted in the place of Scripture cited by Mr B.
4. To lay this axe, then, also to the root of Mr B.'s tree, to cut it down for the fire: The foundation of Christ's prophetical office, as to his knowledge of the will of his Father, which he was to reveal, doth not consist in his being "taken up into heaven," and there being taught the will of God in his human nature, but in that he was the “ only-begotten Son of the Father," who eternally knew him and his whole will and mind, and, in the dispensation which he undertook, revealed him and his mind, according as it was appointed to him. In respect, indeed, of his human nature, wherein he declared and preached the will of God, he was taught of God, being filled with wisdom and understanding by the Spirit, whereby he was anointed for that purpose; but as the only-begotten Son in the bosom of the Father, he always saw him, knew him, and revealed him, Luke iv. 18; Isa. lxi. 1; Heb. i. 9.
I shall only add, that this fancy of Mr B. and the rest of the Socinians (Socinianism being, indeed, a kind of modest and subtile Mohammedanism), of Christ's seeing God, as did Moses, seems to be taken from, or taken up to comply with, the Alcoran, where the same is affirmed of Mohammed. So Beidavi on these words of the Alcoran, "Et sunt ex iis quibuscum locutus est ipse Deus.” Saith he, “Est hic Moses; aut juxta alios Moses et Mahumed, super quibus Pax; Mosi Deus locutus est ea nocte, qua in exstasi quasi fuit in monte Sinai. Mahumedi vero locutus est illa nocte, qua scalis cælo admotis, angelos vidit ascendere, tunc enim vix jactum duarum sagittarum ab eo fuit." How near Moses came is not expressed, but Mohammed came within two bow-shots of him ! How near the Socinian Christ came I know not, nor doth Mr B. inform us.
1 “Socinismus est verecundior aut subtilior Mahumetismus. Censemus scripta Socinianorum ad Turcismum proxime accedere."--Censu. Facult. Theol. Leyd., anno 1598.