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frauds, and marriages. AH these laws, and this economy, had evident respect to Israel, as occupying the land of promise, and were of a subordinate nature. When Israel ceased to occupy this land; and was entirely new modified under the direction of Christ, these laws necessarily lost their authority. They cannot be obligatory upon christians in these days, nor determine the manner in which the christian church is to be governed. One great object of the Messiah's appearing, was to order and establish his kingdom forever. How he ordered it in this respect, we are to learn, not from the law which preceded; but froin. the appointments which followed. •
5. That which may be considered as Xhepenal part of the Mosaic institute, must be of that law which is abolished. No part of this penal code appears to have an establishment in the New. Testament It was evidently a system appropriate to the dispensation which preceded Christ's coming, and that state of the church which precluded the control of ordinary civil government. The covenant making no provision fortheae-* tual sanctification of all the visible members of the society, the entire moral purity of it was not secured. It was supposed, of course, that overt crimes might be committed, and that wrongs might be done. It was necessary that motives resulting from the exercise of immediate retributive justice, should be presented to prevent them. It was necessary that their influence should be counteracted, when committed. It was noless proper therefore, that the church should have the power of life and death in its hands, than that the civil magistrate should. If capital punishment be necessary in the one case, it might be in the other. The church is now in an entirely different condition from what it was at that period. It exists in a dispersed, moveable state, among the civil governments of the world. Thfe penal law is now inapplicable to its condition. Thfe ultimate exercise of power among christians, by the express direction of Christ, is confined to this.. "Let him be unto thee, as an heathen man, and a publican."
Other sorts of punishment can be inflicted by the civil magistrate only.
It is not to be Understood that all the positive precepts of the Old Testament belonged peculiarly to the" JSinai covenant. The sabbath, circumcision, and the passOVer, were positive institutions, and obligatory by positive precepts. It has appeared that these were established before the Sinai covenant was introduced. The prohibition of the use of blood, as food, was givefi before this covenant was established. This law, with that which respects Fornication, has an express confirl mation m the New Testament. The law which forbade the children of Israel to intermarry with the idolatrous people around them, seems to be a law which is attached to the church through every period of its existence. "Accordingly this also has an express confirmation in the New Testament. The 'laws in favor of the manumission, and kind treatment of servants, are evidently founded in humanity; and so far as they are. may be considered as explanatory of the general principle taught by Christ; "And whatsoever ye would that Wen shoirid do to you, that do ye also to them." The laws respecting usury and pledges, are plainly implied m the general christian law of brotherly love. To all duty of this kind, that precept of our Savior extends % "But love ye yout enemies, and do good, and lend., hoping for nothing again."'
'These precepts do not come under either of those characters which" have been given to the abolished law.,
Upon a general comparison of the two dispensations, that which preceded, and that which followed Christ, it is evident that in their moral nature, they are precisely the same. The one is not more spiritual than the other. The moral law has the same authority in both. Both are alike founded in grace: And the qualifications for membership are the same in the one which they are in the other. The only considerable difference which is to be observed, seems to be in the form, which the church, under the latter dispensation has assumed, and the great augmentation of light, and gracious influences which it has enjoyed. The Gospel has undoubtedly brought to the world a vast addition of light. The fulfilment of prophecies and promises, in a series of facts, has confirmed the truth of scripture testimony, and shewn more clearly to mankind the nature of the marvellous work of redemption. It has illustrated the glory of Jehovah's character, and brought life and immortality more clearly into view. It has multiplied motives to piety, and greatly increased the number of the subjects of it. The spirit is given in more plentiful effusions, and grace is more triumphant. But it has been shewn that this increase of light and grace, cannot be drawn into an argument against the identity of the Jewish and Christian church; Differences, as great in these respects, are observable in particular periods of the last dispensation. The difference between the states of the church in the elev. enth, and the sixteenth centuries, is at least as great as is to be observed between the two dispensations generally. And the difference between its present state, and that which is approaching, in the ingathering of the Jews with the fulness of the Gentiles, must be greater still.
This very interesting event, which is a leading subject of the faith and prayers of all the people of God, so far as it falls within the plan of this treatise, we will next briefly consider. .
Respecting the conversion of the rejected jferas, their restoration to the land, secured to them in the covenant, and the ingathering of tke fullness of the Gentiles; which events are to introduce the millennial glory.
IT may have been an objection in the mind of the reader to the theory which has been exhibited, that the posterity of Abraham have, in fact, been cast out for centuries, from the land of Canaan. This objection, which has considerable plausibility, ought to be obviated. It cannot be obviated, unless it can be made to appear, that the posterity of Abraham either do, or are yet to possess this land, according to covenant. It was given them, as an unalienble possession, by will. If it has been enjoyed but for a time, and this under great interruptions, and it is never again to come into their possession, some embarrassment will seem to attend the scheme which has been advanced.
Though interpretations of prophecy, not yet fulfilled, must always be in some measure doubtful; yet it is to be presumed, God has so far instructed us into the manner in which the covenant is to be executed, that no insuperable objection can lie against it.
It has appeared that the covenant absolutely secured a succession of pious persons, in the posterity of A braham, constituting the seed, in the proper, literal sense of that term ; and that of these, as heirs by natural descent, the kingdom of Christ primarily consists.
Such a succession must be supposed therefore in the Christian Church; though, since the distinction between Jew and Gentile is done away, we are incapable of pointing them out, as such. Our not being able to do this, is certainly not inconsistent with the supposed fact, that such a succession has taken place. The certainty of it rests upon the best foundation; that of covenant promise. We need only to be sure; and it is thought abundant proof has been furnished, that the promise is. absolute. Let tliere be but a remnant, and the promise stands. If there be not, God hath certainly cast away his people.
It is probably not possible to prove from history, th,# there has been yet any period of time, in which there have been no Christian believers within the limits of the land of Canaan. History favors the idea that there have ever been such, more or fewer. These, or some of them, may have been lineal descendants from Abraham. What can be more likely than this supposition? If so, then the seed designed in the covenant have nevt er been disseized of this inheritance,
If we look back to the period of the Bab3'lon}aj| captivity, we shall find reason to conclude, that dgring the whole of the time that captivity lasted, there was a remnant which continued to hold the possession. The seed were not ejected, Let us, to convince ourselves of this, here recal into view the passage in the 6th chapter of Isaiah. "Go and tell this people, Hea* ye indeed, but understsnd not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes, lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and uur derstand with their heart, and convert, and bet healed. Then said I, O Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the land be uterly desolate. And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. But yet, in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten, as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves ; so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof." This passage, though somewhat obscure, is clearly in favour of the idea to prove which it is produced. . The words, in it, must refer to the land, which was to be desolated. And the words a tenth, must refer to a favored remnant. The Ciqs?