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of the praying of Moses and the burning of incense by Aaron real exceptions to the universal truth, that atonement, to be beneficial to any party — to operate really and individually as an atonement for him, must be made by the party himself: for, in these instances, the party benefitted was the whole congregation, of which both Moses and Aaron were a portion. So, also, in the atonements made by Phinehas and by David. Thus ricarious atonement - and especially atonement made by one being's suffering the punishment due to another, is a thing utterly unknown to the Scriptures, and for which no real countenance whatever can thence be drawn.
Perhaps this may be called, by persons unacquainted with the whole of our sentiments, denying the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. It has, however been shown previously, that no class of professing Christians acknowledge his atonement, properly understood, more sincerely or gratefully than we do. As we have seen, the atonement of Jesus Christ is the reconciliation effected between man, or human nature, generally, and the Lord, or the Divinity; and that is what the Apostle means when he says, that by Him“ we have received the atonement.” By assuming Humanity, purifying and .glorifying it in himself, the Lord put all mankind in a state capable of salvation, and assumed to himself the Divine means necessary for that purpose.
But whether any particular individual is, by these means, and .by this atonement, finally saved, or not, depends upon the use
and application of them made by himself. Man, individually, must make atonement, or enter into reconciliation with God, for himself, according to the modes which, we have now seen, are prescribed for the purpose in the law of Moses, when spiritually understood : otherwise, the atonement or reconciliation made for human nature, or for the whole human race, by the assumption and glorification of Humanity by Jehovah in the person of Jesus Christ, will, as far as such individual is concerned, have been made in vain. Man must acknowledge from the heart, that he receives all his life, and especially his spiritual life, from the bounty of the Lord, and that, unless he makes such acknowledgment, he cannot retain it; as represented by the offering of the half-shekel as atonement-money.
He must feel that it is through the operations within him of the Divine Truth, represented by Moses and his prayer, and of the Divine Love represented by Aaron and his sacred fire, that he obtains remission of his transgressions and deliverance from their fatal consequences. He must consent to renounce his darling evils, as represented by the execution of the daring transgressor by Phinehas, and that of Saul's sons by David, in order that he mav escape from the grievous injury and eternal ruin which, by
conniving at and cherishing them, they would bring upon him. He must confess from the heart, on emerging from spiritual trials, that it was by the Lord's power that he was brought through them in safety, and that all the acquisition of goods and graces which, in consequence, enrich his soul, are of the Lord's pure bounty; as expressed by the offerings of a valuable spoil made by the Israelites on their all returuing safe from the war against Midian. He must reject his evils to hell, from whence they come, acknowledging that that is their home, and that they must be separated from him, that hell may not become his final home also; as represented by the sending of the scape.goat, representatively loaded with sins, into the wilderness. And he must worship the Lord from the affections of innocence and charity represented by the various animals offered in sacrifice. All these are things which, it is perfectly plain, man himself must do; though, as he will most heartily and gratefully acknowledge, by power given to him by the Lord; and sincerely doing them, they will be accepted to make atonement for him. But all this would have been impossible, had not the Lord effected a general atonement for all, by uniting Humanity with Divinity in his own Person, and thus putting man in a condition to receive those saving aids and graces, of which his Divine Humanity is the only Source.
THE ATONEMENT, SACRIFICE, AND MEDIATION, OF JESUS CHRIST.
The Mediation of Jesus Christ.
The Mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ is, unquestionably, a doctrine of the Scriptures, directly asserted in plain terms, and referred to, or assumed as true, by nany other less express declarations of the Lord himself and his Apostles. Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that this doctrine, as commonly held and maintained, is one of those which create, in many minds, a great prejudice against the Christian Religion, and which promote, or confirm them, in their denial of the Scriptures as a Revelation from God. It is affirmed by Deists, that
the doctrine of the Mediation of Jesus Christ, supposes, in the first place, that the Essential Nature of God is something very different from love, since, if God truly were love, he could not require the intervention of another to induce him to show mercy towards his creatures: and still less could he require the presence of such a Mediator continually, continually to keep him in forgiving disposition to which he had been brought, and to remind him (as if Omniscience could forget) of the wants of his creatures, and their need of his pity and compassion. They also contend, that it supposes the actual existence of two Divine Beings: for to affirm, they say, that the various Per. sons of the Trinity make and are but one God, bears contradiction on the face of it, when One is described as entreating the mercy of the other for the human race, and the other grants his mercy in compliance with such entreaty. Besides, they allege, it is a further absurdity to call these two equal Persons: when the power of giving or withholding what is solicited abides with one of them alone, and the other only obtains the benefits which he desires for the objects of his kind solicitude, by continual and urgent entreaty:
It is with pain, my candid and reflecting brethren, that I remind you of these objections which the enemies of the Christian religion make to the doctrine of the Mediation of Jesus Christ: and it is with more pain that I add, that all which they allege respecting it is but too well-founded, as it regards the doctrine as generally taught. I have looked over many of the modern expositors of Scripture, in hopes that I should find in some of them a view of the subject which would not be liable to such objections : but I have looked in vain. All that I have consulted represent the matter precisely as it is represented in the statement I have just given as the objections of the Deist: all decidedly regard the Mediation of Jesus Christ as the interference of One Divine Person with another in the way of request and entreaty. And some greatly exult in, and dwell largely on the circumstances of, such a mode of mediation. The more reluctant they can represent the One Person to be persuaded, and the more urgent and even servile the other in persuading him, the greater honor they think they do to both. They describe the Mediator as pleading his merits, and even displaying before the eyes of the Father his yet open wounds, to move him to have mercy. Consider the subject seriously, ye Candid and Reflecting! The mediation of Jesus Christ, is, most unquestionably, a genuine Scripture doctrine : but is it not truly lamentable, that it should be so set forth in the doctrines received as those of the Christian Religion, to be made actually monstrous in the eye of Reason, and to give such
specious “occasion to the enemies of God to blaspheme?” Ought not everyone who is concerned for the honor of God, and for the vindication of his Word, and of the Christian Religion as founded upon his Word, eagerly to accept a view of the subject, if one can be presented, which upholds the doctrine of Mediation as actually true in itself, but removes this gross and degrading mode of considering it? which accepts what is truly given respecting it in Scripture, evinces this to be in full harmony with all the genuine perceptions of Reason, and proves it to be completely consistent with the
pure mixed goodness of Deity, with the Supreme Divinity of Jesus Christ, and with the Absolute Unity of the Divine Person and Essence? I do not, however, desire, to carry you away by your feelings or your wishes. Look candidly, and cautiously, if you please, at the view of it which we accept as part of the doctrines of Faith and Life to be held by the New Church signified by the New Jerusalem : consider the nature of the Scripture style and phraseology; weigh the testimony of Scripture, and examine the explanations of it, as we offer them to you: and then decide, either for the view of the doctrine of Mediation which divides the Divine Being into two completely separate Persons, of opposite natures, or for that which requires to support it only One God, and he a God of love, in One Di. vine Person. According to the view which has been largely supported in the preceding Section, it was the One Jehovah who assumed Humanity in the Person of Jesus Christ; and the Humanity thus assumed is what is properly called in Scripture the Son of God. When, as we have seen, the angel announced to Mary his approaching birth, he said, “ The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Most certainly, it was not the essential Divine Nature of the Lord that was born of the Virgin Mary, but only the Human Nature : but that which was to be born of her was to be called the Son of God: this title then is properly, as we have fully evinced, the name of the Lord's Human Nature. This Human Naturę it was, as we have seen in the First Part of this Section, which became, or was made, a sacrifice to God; the meaning of that phrase being, a thing devoted, consecrated, and hallowed to God. This, we have fully ascertained, was the case with the Lord's Human Nature, when it was completely glorified, or sanctified, or so assimilated to the Natur : of the Divine Essence itself, as to form completely one Pe 'son therewith, com. prehending the wliole of it in itself as th: body comprehends the soul, being made the full and adequate Drgan for its opera
tions upon human minds, adapting those operations to tne state in which the human mind now stands, so as to render them far more efficacious in restoring degenerate man to his proper order, than could be the case with the operation of the pure Divinity unclothed and unmodified by a Glorified Humanity ; just as the body of man is the full and adequate organ for the operations of his soul, adapting those operations so as to produce effects upon the objects of this natural world around it, in a manner which it would be impossible for his soul alone to accomplish, unclothed with the body.
As man was created in the image and likeness of God, and thus has a trinity in himself of soul, body, and their operative energy, formed after the image of the Trinity in his C eator of Divinity, Humanity, and their Operative Energy, so may we discern in man, likewise, an image of the mediation of Jesus Christ. Man's body operates as a medium, by which his soul acts upon persons and things around him; and by which, again, impressions from these are conveyed to his soul : thus, man's body is, in both respects, the medium of communication between his soul and things around it. Just so, the Glorified Humanity of Jesus Christ is the medium by which the Divine Essence acts upon man, and by which, again, man has access even to the Inmost Divine Essence. In both respects, then, as conveying the gifts of salvation from God to man, and as affording to man access to God, - the Glorified Humanity of Jesus Christ is the medium of communication. The analogy is most perfect and complete. As man's soul, without his body, cannot communicate with the world ; and objects in the world could not make their state, their presence, nor even their existence, known to his soul, — the body being a medium expressly formed for communication with the world, and given to the soul for that purpose ; so, when man had sunk into the natural state in which he now exists, the pure and unclothed Deity could no longer operate upon him in a saving manner, and he could have no access, no adequate communication with, the Author of his existence. Therefore Jehovah, out of his infi. nite love to mankind, clothed himself with Human Nature; and having glorified that Human Nature by wonderful divine means, so as to make it the express image, and adequate instrument of action, of his Essential Divinity, he has provided an eternal Medium of communication between himself and his
The operation, then, of this Glorified Human Form, which has become the Investiture, and, as it were, the very Body, of the Godhead, in affording to man the means of approaching to God, and in conveying the gifts of salvation, - the commit. nications of the Holy Spirit, from God to man, is what is