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God's word as any sin whatsoever ; as fearfully punished as any sin : that it is a sin that both riseth from unworthy thoughts of God, and increaseth these unworthy thoughts. It stupifies men, and takes away their reason: Isaiah xliv. 20. He (the idolater) feedeth of ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his own soul, net say, Is there not a lie in my right hand? But they that make thein, are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them, Psalın cxv. 8. The idol, and the idolater, are much alike. The idol is void of all natural life and sense, and the idolater is as void of all spiritual life and sense. Hath that man the soul and spirit of a man in him; hath he any sense of the majesty of the true and living God, who can call a log of wood, or a bit of bread, a god, and wore ship it? I have said the more of idolatry, because it is the sin most dishonourable to God, most destructive to the souls of men, and a dreadful stumbling-block to the Jews and Turks, who do justly abhor idols, for as blind and sottish as otherwise they be. Nor can any man wonder that they stumble at the name of Christianity, when they see the greatest part of such as profess that name, as much given to idolatry, as ever the Heathen were, either before or since Christ came into the world. This sin is also a disgrace to mankind, and a shameful defacing of that image of God in which he was first made ; when a man so debaseth himself even unte hell, (Isa. lvii. 9.), as to worship what either his own or other mens hands have made. Yet this sin of idolatry is a demonstration, that the light of nature, and the notion of a God, (notwithstanding all the weakness, darkness, and corruption mixed with it in fallen man), is deeply and strongly rooted in mens hearts, that they will rather take up with any thing for a God, yea, make a God to themselves, rather than have none. It is no rare thing, to see an idolatrous prince, who is as proud as Lucifer, and who saith in his heart as he did, Isa. xiv. 12, 13, 14.; and who hath pride and ambition enough to desire to be lord of the whole earth: yet such a wretch as this who is not worthy to live among his fellow-mortals, will humble himself, and kneel before a proud priest, confess his sins to him, and ask, and receive pardon from him, as from a God, and worship
the work of the meanest of his subjects hands. This was the proud boast in the last age, of a confessor to a great king, “ When I have my king on his knees before me, and my god “ (meaning the consecrated wafer) in my hands, what can I « not do ?” From such gods, such kings, and such priests, may the only true God deliver us, and all the nations on earth. But as long as the spirit of Demetrius prevaileth, Diana will not want a rich temple, and many wotshippers ; Acts xix. 25. re know that by this craft we have our wealth. For if false gods were not rich gods, and rich-making gods, they quickly would have neither priests, nor temples, nor worshippers. And quickly may it be, is the hearty prayer of every true Christian.
And this leads me to the point in hand, That the Lord Jesus Christ, God-man, and our Mediator, is the only true representative of God unto the church. God only makes himself savingly known to men in his Son Jesus Christ. Men that would know God savingly, worship God acceptably, and enjoy God for ever, they must seek and get all in and by Jesus Christ,
In handling of this, I would speak to two things. 1. The fitness of Christ to be God's representative to his church. 2. The glory of Christ in being so.
First, As to Christ's fitness to represent God unto men: It appears in three things.
1. In the divine dignity of his person. He is God's eternal Son, and God equal with the Father. I know that this rock, the church of Christ is built upon, is boldly struck at in these last and worst days. But we should know as well, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, Matth. xvi. 18. I would only say now, that that man or woman that owns the authority of the New Testament, (though Christ's Godhead shines very brightly in the Old Testament), and shall read but three first chapters, John i. Col. i. and Heb. i. and can say, that Christ is a mere man and creature, is under a judicial blindness. All that worship Christ, and call on his name in prayer, and deny him to be the true God, are guilty of idolairy. A mere creature, image and representation of God used
in worship is an idol. But the eternal Son of God, who is in his person the image of God and the character of the Father's person, is fit unspeakably to declare God unto men, John i. 18. He alone doth it, and none else can.
2. The Son's assuming man's nature unto his own divine person, makes him fit to represent God to men, John i. 1,-18. His being God-man, made him fit to represent God to nien, and to represent men to God. God is only to be savingly known by men, as he is a God in Christ ; and sinners are only accepted of God as they are in Christ. His human nature is a creature ; but the Son of God that assumed and dwelleth personally in this nature, is a divine person. It is not his nature as man, but his divine person dwelling in that nature, that doth make him the only right representative and image of the invisible God unto his church.
3. Christ's being installed in the office of Mediator, makes him fit to represent God unto men. He is the one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, I Tim. ï. 5. Such as, on this account, talk of Christ's being a God by office, know neither God, nor Christ, nor his office. Our Lord Jesus Christ is God in office; and to be worshipped by his people, as clothed withoit. In this office, as prophet, he represents and revealeth the mind and will of God, to be known and believed by the church; which is commanded by the Father to hear him, Matth. xvii. 5. As King, all judgment is committed to the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. And he that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which hath sent him, John v. 22, 23. And as Priest, as all in that office are taken from among men, and ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that they might both offer gifts and sacrifices for sins, Heb. v. 1.; so the Son was consecrated for this office by an oath, Heb. vii. 28. :and as Priest, he must have somewhat also to offer, Heb. viii. 3. ; which offering was himself, and this he hath offered, Heb. ix. 26. and X. 5,--10. And after this offering, he entered in, as Priest, into the holy place; even into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for 15, Heb. ix. 12, 24. And there he remains, and liveth for ever, to take intercession for 145, Heb. vii. 25. until he shall appear the second tirze, without
sin, unto salvation, Heb. ix. 28. Now, in this office Christ represents his church unto God; and in his prophetical and kingly office, he represents God unto his church. Both equally needful for our salvation, and both only performed by Jesus Christ as Mediator ; who only can represent God unto us, that we may savingly know God; and represent us so to God, that we may be graciously received by him. Wherefore, holy brethren, portakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus, Heb. iii. 1. Consider how fit he is to do all God's business with us, and all our business with God, for our salvation, and his Father's and his own glory. He is clothed with a most honourable office of Mediator, (the honour and work of which office no mere creature could bear and dispatch), furnished with all fulness for its discharge and management. This office he discharged when on earth, in our nature as man; and in the same nature, is doing what remains to be done in that office, in heaven. And this high officer, this man Jesus Christ, is God over all, blessed for ever, Rom. ix. 5. So that his fitness for making a true and saving representation of God to his people, is evident; but so great and glorious, that we cannot fully apprehend it by faith. We have in our Lord Jesus Christ, a Mediator between God and men, to take away
the breach that sin had made between them, and to make an everlaşting friendship; a Mediator so furnished for his office, that any may trust him in it. We have this Mediator in our own nature, a partaker of flesh and blood, as we be, Heb. ii. 14, 17. ; in all things made like unto his brethren, that he might be the fitter for us, and that we might be more familiar with himn. And this Mediator by his office, this real and true man by the taking of our nature, is God, the only begotten of the Father. Can any
make a doubt of this truth we are upon, That the Lord Jesus Christ, God-man, Mediator, is the true, real, and only representative of God to his church ?
So much for this first head.
Secondly, What is Christ's glory, in being God's representative to his church ? Herein he is exceedingly exalted. How greatly, is it expressed!, Eph. i. 20,--23. and in Phil. ii.