Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

now null in fact, so also of right; for, as the Synod of Jerusalem determined, Gentiles are exempted from the observation of it: And, by the time Paul wrote to the Hebrews, Jews were exempted likeways. The legal teachers of that age made the observance of circumcision a part of their justifying righteousness: But, said the Apostle, " Behold, I Paul say unto you, That, if ye be circumcised, Christ stiall prosit you nothing: For I testify again unto every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole Law." But it is inconsistent with the goodness of God, and the pastoral care of our Lord Jesus Christ, to imagine that he removed a privilege from the Church, without substituting an equivalent in the place of it: , But there is no room for such an impeachment, as baptism takes the fame place, under the Gospel œconomy, which circumcision held in the Old Testament Church. Hence, the promise sealed by circumcision is now sealed by baptism: Said Peter, "Be baptized every one of you, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, For the promise is unto you, and unto your children." Now, this is exactly correspondent unto God's declaration respecting circumcision: "Thou shalt keep my covenant THEREFORE, thou and thy feed after thee, in their generations: This is my covenant, which ye (hall keep, between me and you, and thy feed after thee, Every man-child among you shall

be circumcised." As to the sacrament of

* Uuu the

the Lord's Supper, the Apostle declares, that it takes the place of the passover, in the Gospel Church, in like manner: "For even Christ, our paslover, is sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast}" namely, the Gospel feast. These Old Testament ordinances were abolished, of right, at the resurrection of Christ ; but, as it took some time to wean his ancient people from those things which once bore the stamp of his institution he exercised his sovereignty, in putting them off by degrees, until the destruction of Jerusalem; by which they

were also abolished in fact. The lawgiver,

as well as .the sceptre, are also now removed from Judah. The sceptre departed from the tribe of Judah and house of David, in the Babylonish captivity; and the lawgiver, or Sanhedrim, in the destruction of Jerusalem.: And with the latter, the instrument of government In the theocratical state, even the judicial law, as far as it was peculiar to the Jewish nation.

y. There was, in consequence of these things, a most favourable change as to the internal state of the Church, which likeways commenced at the resurrection of Christ. The New Testament Church excels the Old, in respect of the gracious communications of the Holy Ghost; Such as, light inward and subjective, corresponding to those superior mcaiures of external revelation which are be" stowed upon her in the books of the New

Testament:

Testament: "We all, with open face, (without the apparatus of typical glasses, or miniature drawings) behold the glory of the Lord, that we ma} be changed into the fame image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord." —The Gospel Church is likeways endued with superior measures of life and vigour. The Old Testament is styled the ministration of death; but this œconomy is eminently the "dispensation Of The Spirit; and the Spirit giveth life. We are not to imagine, that the former dispensation is denominated the ministration of death, as if all had been doomed to death who died under it; for it was the means of bringing many unto the full enjoyment of eternal life. Neither is it so called, as if it had denounced nothing but death; for it presented Life as well as Death,—the Blessing as well as the Curse, unto those ■who enjoyed the institutions of it.—But it bears the designation of the Ministration Of Death, as death was threatened in that part of it which exhibited the Covenant of Works, in its penalty and curse: The Covenant of Works (which, for Gospel ends, was exhibited in that dispensation) being greatly predominant in it. It bore this name also, as there were but sparing communications of the Holy Ghost, as a spirit of life in that dispensation. This was one cause of much deadness and langour among the worshippers. On the other hand, the power of Christ's resurrection is more U u u 2 abundantlv

abundantly felt since he rose from the dead: He has verified his promise, "Because I live, ye (hall live also." The liberty of the Gospel Church is also greatly enlarged beyond that of the former œconomy. Fear and bondage abounded under it; but liberty and confidence in this. Though there was a promise of payment of their debt, by the surety; yet, as it was not actually made, so there was an intimation of the debt-bond in the Law, which could not but strike the conscience with terror: But now the bond is taken up, and actually cancelled by the death of Christ. Instead of thunders from Sinai, we have an invitation from Zion, to draw near, with true hearts, in the full assurance of faith. There is an internal liberty of foul, corresponding to the external liberty from the ceremonial law, which consists in more clear and distinct views of the regenerating and justifying grace of God, revealed in the promises of the New Covenant. We find, indeed, many exalted instances of freedom in access, under the former œconomy, on special occasions; but, for the greater part, they were Oiut up in bondage, compared with the more glorious liberty of the children of God.——The Gospel Church is also favoured with more exalted measures of holiness and sanctification, as he gives more full and exact views of the standard of it in the person and law of our Lord Jesus Christ.

II. The

[ocr errors]

II. Th E peculiar Form of these divine grants demands our attention in the next place; and the Apostles, as well as the prophets, give us to understand, that they were given in the form of a Covenant: Said God, by Jeremiah, "Behold, the days come, faith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that 1 made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which covenant of mine they broke, although I was an huiband unto them, faith the Lord: But this (hall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, faith the Lord, 1 will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they mall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, sayingr Know the Lord: for they shall all know me from the least of them unto the greatest of them, faith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more*." And, lest we should have mistaken the meaning of this oracle, the inspired Apostle expressly applies it unto the Gospel reconomy: "For, if the first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second : For, finding fault with them, he faith, Behold, the

* Jer. xxxi. 31—34.

days

« AnteriorContinuar »