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CHAPTER XXIX.


Mediatorialism as a universal and practical Principle.


1.— In the posthumous work of Frederic Second of Prussia, entitled, “The History of my own Times,” is the following passage. After stating that Locke and Bayle had in part loosened and torn asunder the bandages of error, he adds: “Other sages also have appeared; such as Fontenelle and Voltaire in France; the celebrated Thomasius in Germany; Hobbes, Collins, Shaftesbury, and Bolingbroke in England. These great men and their disciples
“have given religion a mortal blow.” Such, in the time of Frederic the Great, as he is commonly designated, was the opinion of many. And indeed it is the opinion of many to this day, that philosophy is antagonistical to religion; that religion is destitute of a philosophic basis; and that its great and saving truths are likely to be unsettled and overthrown by the repeated and heavy assaults which philosophy makes upon them. So far from accepting such an opinion, we cannot doubt that philosophic inquiries, conducted with patience and candor, will ultimately show a very different result; and that philosophy, in the completion and just exercise of its own accepted cognitive methods, will be found standing strongly in the explanation and defence of religion, and not in antagonism to it. If it is admitted that religion, in being subjected to a philosophical analysis, is not explainable by the speculations of Hobbes and Condillac and of others of the so-called Materialistic School, some of whom are mentioned by the Prussian king; and if its problems are beyond the mastery of Fichte and Schelling and Hegel of a later day, and others who are their disciples or opposers, yet in the progress of time and in the necessary combination of the Sensuous and Super-sensuous philosophical Schools, and with the added light which is gently breaking from above in the profound teachings of Christ in the soul, the depths of religion, except so far as they are necessarily beyond the reach of finite faculties, will at last be fathomed, and its mysteries explained and made clear.

2.— The subject of this chapter is Mediatorialism; a subject which cannot be mentioned without at once leading our thoughts to Christ as the embodiment of the mediatorial principle. Mediatorialism is the name of the principle; Mediator is the name of the person or being mediating. And as mediatorship can exist practically and personally, only on the basis of a mediatorial principle or truth antecedently existing, the whole subject comes within the sphere and the recognitions of philosophy. In other words it is a part of the Absolute Religion.

It is conceded to the claims of philosophy, that one of its functions is to deal with principles, in distinction from forms and manifestations; including the relation of principles, whatever they may be, to their results. Philosophy, in the higher and diviner sense, which is the only true sense, so far from being at war with the massive and truly glorious dogmatisms of Christianity, shows the divinity of the wisdom which gives them their dogmatic form and place; and also defends them in the eternity and necessity of their subjective foundations.

3.— This subject presents itself in various aspects. Mediatorialism in its results is giving. To give, implies gifts in possession and as there is but one original source or fountain of such gifts, to give is primarily and eminently the prerogative of God. To give, inasmuch as God would not be God without giving, is an eternal Truth; the spirit of giving is the eternal Life; and mediatorialism, which is based upon the fact of innumerable diversities involving innumerable wants, is the WAY, by means of which the Life carries the Truth into effect. It is in this sense that Christ is called the Way, as well as the Truth and the Life. Standing in the relation of God “manifested in the flesh” or the God-man, and thus harmonizing mentally and physically with the attributes of the race, he stands in the position of the distributive channel of the measureless infinitudes of God into the finite measurements of all subordinate existences. Mediatorialism is an unalterable law. The Cross as a principle and mediatorialism as a principle, though the latter may be regarded as logically subsequent in time, and in some sense subordinate in position, are connected together in close and inseparable relationship as means and end. The goods of the universe, which exist necessarily in God as their source or fountain are, by the law of the Cross, to be distributed, and to manifest themselves in their appropriate forms and results, in all degrees of existence from the highest to the lowest.

4.— There are some things which are ultimate, and one is, that the infinitudes of God could not by any conceivable possibility find their way into the possession of finite beings, except by methods which recognize and harmonize with the fact of their finiteness. But the way from one to the other is founded in the nature of things, and is one of the products of “eternal generation;” grand, mysterious, intuitionally as well as scripturally revealed, and banishing forever all those doubts which would separate God from his children. God the Absolute and God manifested in the finite form, and manifested in part for this very purpose, are mediatorially united in Christ, and in a way so wonderful, that He lays one hand on the great Infinitude of existence, and with the other touches the poorest and lowest of human beings; and brings them into each other’s presence; and linking the last with the first, and the highest with the lowest, harmonizes the diversities of the universe.

5.— What was true of Christ, with the limitations which naturally suggest themselves in connection with his special position and character, is true of his people. As was said of Christ, so it can be said of the true follower of Christ, “virtue goes out of him.” On the supposition that the true Life power is in him, which is of course involved in the fact of his being a true Christian, it will always be found, that he is a channel, a method of communication, a mediatorial gateway; and that he is so, not by a temporary and arbitrary arrangement, but by the constitution of things and the divine necessities of the case. So that men cannot look upon him without being blessed with the divine light which beams from his countenance; and they cannot talk with him without feeling almost sensibly the divinely inspirational weight of his words.

6.— There is one attribute of the mediatorial principle, which is worthy of special notice; it is the attribute or law of increase. The intuitional inspirations of Christ have announced this law in remarkable words; not the less striking perhaps, because they are negative as well as affirmative in the form: “He that hath, to him shall be given; and from him that hath not, shall be taken even that which he hath.” He who is not a true subject of mediatorial life, in not accepting the great law of instrumentality in goodness, cannot grow; but is deprived of the gifts, whatever they may be, which he already has. And the law of increase corresponds to this result; the increase in the power or capacity of the principle itself being greater or less, in proportion to the beneficial results attending its own practical exercise. He who does good, and every time that he exercises goodness, and in the degree that he does good, grows in the power of doing good, so that the benevolent activity of the soul is practically and resultingly the growth of the soul.

7.— How delightful is the thought, that it is our privilege not only to
be mediators, but to grow as mediators; not only to be channels of good to others, but by a fixed and ultimate law to become wider and deeper as channels; not merely to be the little rivulets that flow on with small results, but to swell into mighty rivers that nourish cities and nations, and float the commerce of the world.

8.— Such is the brief outline of the doctrine of mediatorship when, without any disrespect to the value of the dogmatical expression, it is subjected, in accordance with the progressive demands of the age, to the inquiries of analytic thought and reason. And we do not see that anything is lost by it. The mediatorial principle is a permanent and universal one; existing everywhere and under all possible varieties of circumstance.

9.— Humanity, in the consciousness of its great needs, calls for the announcement of spiritual truths, which shall be practically carried out. Mediatorialism is one of them. What the world wants to-day, and what, with its “Macedonian cry,” it calls for to-day, is mediators; men who are trained in the self-denying school of the great mediatorial captain and leader; men who, by the internal law of their being, are mediatorially alive. What but this great resource, can solve among other things the terrible social problems, which press upon our suffering race? The heart trembles when, joined below the surface of things, it everywhere beholds the social and moral volcano on which our present selfish society stands. The millions in our cities who are suffering in poverty and wrong and crime, are restlessly demanding the day of their redemption. There is no peace, but injustice. No justice but in the law of the Cross, which is practically useless, unless it is mediatorially complemented and carried out. Mediatorialism is Christ in action. The contest may be long and severe, but the benevolent principle of mediatorship, which, in receiving good only to communicate it, hears all groans and wipes all tears, will gently draw out the deep and smouldering fires which lie around and beneath us, and prevent the threatening convulsions.

10.— One of the results of the great principle of mediatorship is, that it associates us with angels. The mediatorial principle, in being a principle and not merely an event or incident, is not only eternal but universal. It is the law of men; it is also the angelic law; and is not more the true life of the earth than it is of the heavens. Angels, and all beings in the heavenly spheres, are the embodiments of mediatorial activity. The scriptures affirm it; and if they did not, it could not be otherwise. It is of these high and holy beings it is said, that they are “all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them, who shall be heirs of salvation.” So that it can be said in a true interior sense that, in becoming mediatorial, and in thus falling into the line of harmony with all good and useful activities whether above or below us, “ye are come unto Mount Sion and unto the city of the living God, and to an innumerable company of angels.”