Saint Worship - Part 12

I have defended the invocation and intercession of the saints on the principle of mediation – the fact that God made His creatures media in developing and perfecting His works, i.e., in effecting their return to Him as their final cause, last end, or supreme beatitude. Does not this imply that the saints are mediators contrary to the assertion of Saint Paul: "There is one God; and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus"?

Strictly speaking, there is but one only mediator, the MAN Christ Jesus; I neither overlook nor contradict this fact. And yet there is a sense in which the saints do really share in the glory of the mediatorial kingdom, although they mediate only in Christ, and by virtue of their oneness with Him.

We have seen, as our faith teaches, that God is Trinity. It is essential to the conception of God, as self-sufficing and self-existent Being, being in its actuality and its plenitude, that He should contain in Himself, in His essence, His own principle, medium, end – that is, should be indivisibly Trine. These three relations in the divine essence our faith calls Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. [To recall what has already been said:] In creating the world the whole Trinity concurs, but the several Persons according to their respective relations to one another in the divine essence – the Father as principle, the Son or Word is medium, and the Holy Ghost as end, or consummation. In the second order, the return of existences to God as their last end, which is in some sense a new creation, and which Our Lord Himself calls the regeneration, the three Persons of the Trinity alike concur, for God is one, and the distinction of Persons in no sense impairs the unity of His Being; but they concur in diverse respects, as in the first order – the Father as principle, the Son as medium, and the Holy Ghost as end or consummation of the new creation.

But there is a remarkable difference between the first order, or procession, by way of creation, of existences from God as first cause, and the second order, or return of existences, by way of regeneration, to God as last end, final cause, beatitude, supreme good. In the first order the Son is the medium in His divinity alone, as the eternal Word Who was in the beginning, Who was with God, and Who is God; but in the second order He is the medium in His humanity, as the Word made Flesh, as God become man. There is one God, and there is one mediator of God and men, the MAN Christ Jesus. So that in the return of existences, in the regeneration, the creature is raised by the hypostatic union to the dignity of being the medium of its own redemption, regeneration, and final glorification.

In creation God acts solely in His divinity, for creatures do not and cannot co-operate in their own production from nothing. God alone, in his own inherent, essential, and eternal divinity creates; but in regeneration, which presupposes creation, the creature is united hypostatically to the Word, and co-operates with the divinity, and shares in the glory of [its] own completion and return to God. This is the mystery of godliness, of the Word manifested in the Flesh, which fills the angels with wonder and awe, and makes men tremble before the exalted destiny of their race and the glory and honor with which God, in His infinite love and infinite wisdom, crowns His creature man. In the regeneration man is on the side of God, co-operates with Him, and shares in His honor and glory . what more can even the infinite God Himself do? And well may it be said that the Incarnation raises the creative act to its highest possible power, for in it the Creator makes the creature one with Himself.

The Incarnation is the assumption by the Word of human nature to be really, truly, [hypostatically] the nature of God. The hypostatic union, or the union of the divine and the human, is by the creative act of God alone, in which, as I have said, the whole Trinity concurs, as in every creative act of God – and in it the creature has no agency, in no sense co-operates, for it is God Who assumes man, not man who assumes God. This act of union completes the first order, and inaugurates the second. But in this second order, inaugurated or founded by the Incarnation, the creature enters integrally into the mediator, and is active and co-operative in the work of mediation (as follows necessarily from the condemnation of the Monophysites and Monothelites, who absorbed the human in the divine). The mediator of God and men is the MAN Christ Jesus, the creature hypostatically united to the Creator.

The MAN Christ Jesus holds the same relation to the regenerated humanity that Adam holds to generated humanity, and hence the apostle calls Him the "second Adam." He is the father of the human race in the order of regeneration, as Adam was in the order of generation. As no one can be a man, or pertain to the human race in the order of generation, unless born of Adam, so no one can be a man in the order of regeneration, or, what is the same thing, the order of grace, unless born again of Christ, and made a new creature in Him. The birth from Adam is by natural generation and is therefore called natural birth, and the order of generation is commonly called the natural order, or simply nature. The birth from Christ, or the new birth in Him by the Holy Ghost, is spiritual, and by the election of grace; but it is as really a birth as natural birth, and as necessary in the order of return to God as is the natural birth in the order of the procession from God. And therefore, says Our Lord to Nicodemus, "Unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" – cannot enter into the order of regeneration, far less attain to God as his last end, as the fulfillment of his destiny, or his supreme beatitude.