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IT is obvious that a personality constituted as we have seen the Lord Jesus to be, must have a significance for the entire human race. It is as evident that this significance must be sought in that point in which the being and nature of such a personality is most essentially comprised and concentrated. Now the earthly. life of Jesus, from its commencement to its close, the purpose to which it was entirely devoted, was to make the true relation to God and to His fellow-men a living reality. Hence, too, His life-task, and the aim of all His outward acts, was to bring men in this highest of all respects into their right position, and thus to found their true, their imperishable happiness on God, the source of all life and blessedness.

This, however, was to be accomplished, not in a race in whom the Divine image was still pure and unobscured,—the moral power, vigorous and unscathed. It was to be effected in one in which sin had attained a supremacy, which had eclipsed the image and the knowledge of God, in which the true fellowship with God had been destroyed, the moral powers enslaved, and a principle of discord and ruin introduced even into the relations between man and man. Hence what was needed could not be merely to give greater firmness and stability to a bond of Divine fellowship already in existence, and to cherish and render still more energetic a life already based on such communion. The question, on the contrary, was to form afresh the bond which sin had destroyed,—to plant anew, in the midst of a sinful condition, an entirely new life. The question was to bring about a re-union with 208God, to produce a new creation of human life—new to its very roots and sources; and this could only be effected by actually breaking the power of sin, and doing away with its guilt,—by taking away all that was either destructive or obstructive. For such a purpose, the influence of instruction and example, though of the most perfect kind, was by no means adequate. On the contrary, an atonement, a redemption, a mediation, were of absolute necessity. This being the case, it is evident that the being who is to intervene between the holy God and the sinful race of man, for the restoration of true and vital fellowship between them, can be none other than one standing in a relation towards God which is uninterrupted by sin, and at the same time impelled by holy love to enter into the very depths of human nature, and to take its entire condition upon himself. Jesus is such a being, by reason of His sinless perfection; and it is this very quality that makes Him capable of being the one mediator between God and man.

If it be then asked what was needed for the purpose of bringing the human race, which through sin had become estranged from God, and at variance among themselves, into saving fellowship with God, and of laying in that race the foundation of a truly satisfactory state of life, the reply, if it is to be at once complete and particular, must embrace the whole work and scheme of salvation. We may, however, reduce that which falls within our present aim to a few general essential features. These seem to us to be the following: first, the revelation of the will of God to all men, so far as this is necessary for their salvation (knowledge of the method of salvation); secondly, the removal of all that separates the sinner from God, and the establishment, in its place, of a new life of fellowship with God (atonement and redemption); thirdly, the institution, upon this foundation, of a community whose aim and purpose should be wholly of a religious and moral character,—a community of fosterers 209and guardians of the new and Divine powers (foundation of the kingdom of God and of the Church); and fourthly, the assurance to the living members of this community of a final victory over all opposing powers, and of eternal glory (pledge of eternal life). All these we find in the Person of Jesus Christ. But we find them only in so far as He is sinless, and should not be able to find them in Him unless this were really the case. Had He been a man with the slightest taint of sin, He would not have been able to fulfil these necessary conditions. As the sinlessly perfect One, however, who stands in that oneness with God which He Himself asserts, He is, in the most direct manner, the personal revelation to us of the nature and will of God,—the true mediator between sinful man and the holy God; the royal founder of the kingdom of God and the Church, the highest of human communities; and the perfect pledge of everlasting life, and glorious victory to this community, and to its members united to Himself by a living faith.

We shall now proceed to consider Him in each of these several aspects.

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