« AnteriorContinuar »
have hoped for thy salvation; I have done thy commandments.” And in another place, “I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord, and thy law is my delight.”
Nehemiah also, in ix. 13, 14, draws a distinction between the laws given on Sinai directly to the assembled people, and those given through Moses. Of the first description are the following :-“ Thou camest down also upon Mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes, and commandments, and madest known unto them thy holy sabbath.” These were not the laws which the Lord pronounced, by the mouth of Ezekiel, to be “ laws that were not good." These latter must be sought among the other class mentioned by Nehemiah,—" and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the band of Moses thy servant."
I must return, in a subsequent place, to this quotation of Nehemiah, to rescue it out of the hands of our adversaries, who have seized upon it to help to construct their batteries against the sabbath.
The subjects of this and the three preceding sections are so intimately connected, that I have been obliged, in some measure, to anticipate what more appropriately belongs to this. But I prefer submitting to the charge of repetition, to the omission of any remark calculated to elucidate the topic immediately before us. I shall not think it necessary, therefore, in the remainder of this discussion, to apologise for any repetition, which I may feel necessary for giving the question of the sabbath such a full investigation as its importance demands, and as may be unavoidable in following the miscellaneous objections of a number of authors.
The Archbishop of Dublin, Sanderson, Baxter, Barrow, &c. say
that the Mosaic law did not bind Christians, unless so far as we can prove that it has been sanctioned and adopted into the Christian religion. For our present purpose, I might join issue upon that principle. I admit as a general rule that the whole Mosaic law does not bind Christians; but I deny that no part of that law is binding. The national municipal law is not binding; the ceremonial and ritual law, which has been fulfilled, is not binding; but we know, from the Scriptures, that revelation was granted to the Israelites for the sake of the Gentiles, whom they were commanded to teach what had been entrusted to them for that purpose : they were not to give to a party, what was meant for mankind. If it had not been for their rebellions, which ended in their being cut off, they would have been the teachers of all other nations.
Our seventh “ Article of Religion' harmonizes with the principle I have laid down : • The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man; being both God and man. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the law given from God by Moses, as touching ceremonies and rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the civil precepts thereof ought, of necessity, to be received in any commonwealth ; yet, notwithstanding no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.
Exod. xix. 5, 6, God says to the Israelites, “ Ye shall be to me a kingdom of priests." This has no meaning, if it be not that they were to teach all other nations. But the occasion on which this was said was very remarkable: it occurs immediately after his saying, “ All the earth is mine," and immediately before his giving out the commandments on Sinai.
With regard to the underneath prophecies of Isaiah, we must bear in mind, that they were intended to prepare the Jews for the reception of the Messiah, and for co-operating with him; and, if it had not been their own fault, his predictions would have received their literal accomplishment. Isa. ii. 2: “ And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths, for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." These verses are repeated verbatim by Micah, iv. 1, &c.
Micah v. 7: 66 And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people, as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men; and the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people, as a lion among the beasts of the forest.”
Isa. xxv. 6, &c. : “ And in this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wine on the lees well refined. He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory: and the Lord God shall wipe away tears from off all faces, and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off the earth ; for the Lord hath spoken it.”.
In Isa. lvi. 7, the temple of Jerusalem is called “ the House of Prayer for all people."
And this text our Saviour particularly quotes, when the Jews profaned the outer court, because it belonged to the Gentiles.
Isa. lx. 2: “ For behold the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy ligbt, and kings to the brightness of thy rising: the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee; I will glorify the house of my glory. The isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee: and the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee; therefore thy gates shall be open continually: they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee, and all they that despised thee shall bow down themselves at the soles of thy feet: and they shall call thee the City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.”
Isa. Ixi. 6: “ But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord : : men shall call you the Ministers of our God. Ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. And their seed shall be known among
the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people : all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed.” And lxii. 2: “ The Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all the kings thy glory.” And verse 7: “ And give him no rest, till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”
How sincerely and heartily the ancient and godly Israelites desired the conversion of the Gentiles, may appear from the prayer which Solomon addressed to God at the dedication of the temple. 1 Kings viii. 41, 42, 43: “When the stranger shall come and pray towards this house, hear thou in heaven, that all the people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee as thy people Israel."
Thus, also, Simeon (Luke ii. 32) bursts forth into a hymn of praise and thanksgiving, that “ bis eyes had seen the salvation of the Lord, which he had prepared before the face of all people ; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel.”
The hundred-and-fifth Psalm is very strong on this subject; but, in order to know the particular purpose and object for which it was written, I must request my readers to look at it in 1 Chron. xvi. This psalm was composed by David, when he brought up the ark of God to the tabernacle he had pitched for it. It was written especially for the Levites, who were appointed to minister before the ark of the Lord, to be used by them before it, at the time of their ministration. The reader will not fail to see and admire, how closely the ark, and the commandments, and the everlasting covenant, and the Gentiles, are interwoven together in his mind, whilst he was composing this psalm. And let it be borne in mind that the ark before which this psalm was to be continually performed contained nothing but the two tables of the ten commandments.
15. “ Be ye mindful always of his covenant, the word