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And Scripture confirms this in passages innumerable. (Job xi. 7, 8; Ps. xix. 1-4; xxxiii. 9; cii. 25, 26; Luke i. 37; Rom. i. 20.) Essentially united with his power are all the other divine perfections, as his omnipresence, (Jer. xxiii. 24; Ps. cxxxix. 1. 10;) his omniscience, (Heb. iv. 13,) his unalterableness, (Ps. xc. 4,) his wisdom. (Ps. civ.) His goodness we experience daily, though we are loth, through the perverseness of our nature, to acknowledge it. (Ps. xxxvi. 6; Matt. xix. 17.) We accuse him with the evils we endure, and forget the benefits we receive at his hands. We can neither benefit him by our virtues, and yet he recompenses us; nor harm him by our misdeeds, and yet those very misdeeds may, through his merciful appointment, prove benefits, if they bring us to a sense of our dependence upon him, in the same way that children depend upon their father. Let us therefore do as David did, (Ps. xvi. 8)—“ Set the Lord always before us; because he is at our right hand, we shall not be moved.” His goodness implies his holiness, for he cannot behold evil; (Habak. 1. 13; 1 Pet. i. 15, 16 ;) and his holiness his justice, which
requires that every one should receive according to his works. And yet how extensive is His mercy, (Ps. ciii.) when we con- 207. sider that we are hourly offending Him ; (Ps. vii. 11 ;) for “ He willeth not that a sinner should die, but rather turn from his wickedness and live. (Ezek. xviii. 27.) How boundless is that mercy, when we come to look into the scheme of redemption, even with the dim eyes of mortals. (John iii. 16.) His lovingkindness not altered, though ages had passed since the coming of our Saviour was first foretold ; (Gen. iii. 15;) his forbearance not exhausted. Though age after age had witnessed the ingratitude of his people, He, at the appointed time, sends his only Son ; and even then, though expected to appear, though miraculously proclaimed when born, (Luke ii. 9–14,) and though he had been on earth about thirty years, unknown, (Luke ii. 23; John i. 40–46,) He condescends to look over this careless indifference with which men viewed his goodness towards them, and again, as we have seen, not only proclaims the Messiah afresh at Christ's baptism, but makes such a manifestation of the divine Persons and power, that no possible
God the Son.
mistake could occur as to the merciful intent of the Most High.
We next acknowledge our belief in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord. All Protestant churches, of the orthodox faith, are agreed in recognising, under that denomination, an actual generation, as far as such a term can apply to the divine nature; and in virtue of which, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, our Saviour Jesus Christ, participates with the Father in the divine nature, which has existed from all eternity. Our church thus understands this great mystery in her articles of faith and catechism, which is founded on the words of Scripture, which say, (Ps. ii. 7; Heb. i. 5) “ The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my beloved Son, this day have I begotten thee!” And again, (John v. 26,) “For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in himself.” Jesus Christ being therefore the Son of God from all eternity, could not become so, either by his incarnation, or by any of the consequences which followed it, such as his sufferings, his resurrection, and ascension, which were only so many manifestations of his being the Son
of God. It is in this sense that the angel said to Mary, (Luke i. 35,) “ Therefore that holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” It is also thus that are explained many passages of Scripture, such as John i. 14; Rom. i. 4, &c. Again, when Jesus Christ claimed, for (John v. 23) the Son the same honours which are due to the Father, does it not follow that He is God himself? And lest he should shock his unbelieving hearers by such an assertion, he kindly and humbly refers, in the same discourse, as to a stronger evidence than his own, to the witness of God himself, who in the Scriptures 5 testifies of Him.” (John v. 31. 37. 39.)
From the foregoing account of our Saviour, 209. considered as God himself, we may
in some measure (for we never can do it sufficiently) appreciate his great love of us, his great condescension and humility, who, for our sakes, (as the Nicene creed, used in the communion service, expresses it,) and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was made man. (John i. 14; Phil. ii. 6.)
It is to Him, as man, that the creed re- Jesus Christ fers, when it goes on to say, “Who was con- 210.
ceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, &c. &c.; and here, as man, begins his
office of Mediator between God and man." 211. (1 Tim. ii. 5, 6; Gal. iii. 19.) That office,
as the word implies, consists in one person putting himself between the party offended and the offender, for the purpose of reconciling them, or in doing still more, as our Saviour did, by incurring himself, voluntarily, (John x. 18; Ephes. v. 2) the punishment due to the guilty-in fact, substituting himself, innocent, for the guilty. It is
through man's faith in that mediation that he Justification. is said to be justified, or in a state of justifi212. cation. (Rom, v. 1.) He relies for salvation
upon no merits of his own, upon obedience to no law, either ceremonial or moral. He consents to accept salvation upon a self-denying tenure, upon the merits of Christ alone, (Titus iii. 5—7.)
In this substitution or sacrifice consists the Atonement. atonement or satisfaction which Jesus Christ, 213. in his capacity of Mediator, made to the
offended majesty of God for the sins of the
Death of Jesus Christ.
Thus the sacrifices, under the Mosaic law, were to the intent of makiug the victim bear the punishment which the offender acknowledged to deserve.