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ritual life. To the one he was the Messiah, to the other the Saviour. This distinction, this double character, as it was the consequence of the old institutions, was destined to disappear in their abolition. To the Hebrews who rejected the new dispensation, the Gospel was not glad-tidings, nor Jesus a King. By those who embraced it, the separation from the rest of their race, which had subsisted from their origin as a nation, was, as soon as Gentiles were united with them, found to be no longer necessary or practicable; and to them the Gospel appeared in its aspect of universality, and Jesus as a Saviour rather than as a King, as belonging to the whole world rather than to themselves. They saw that his office consisted in the introduction of a better system of religion than theirs ; a system sent as substitute for their own. All union between the believing and the unbelieving Israelites was therefore impossible. There could be no halting between two opinions. The advocates of the two systems were placed in direct opposition; and Jesus spoke truly when he said, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”
The systems are indeed as incompatible in their nature as unfitted by their form for a contemporaneous existence; and it is no more possible for a man to adhere to both, than for a pupil to attach himself to an elementary book while extending the application of the science it teaches to new objects. The Jewish law related to external obedience; the Christian made provision for the discipline of the heart. Infractions of the old law subjected the offender to death; but as no individual could have escaped the penalty by 'merit, a commutation of punishment was ordained, and sacrifices were accepted as an atonement. Infractions of the Christian law, which is spiritual in its nature and operation, can obtain pardon only by a spiritual act; and it was for the purpose of pointing out this distinction that the forerunner of the Messiah preached repentance to the Hebrews. Temporal rewards and punishments, near or remote, were the highest objects of hope and fear which original Judaism could present. Christianity not only revealed sublimer subjects of desire, but showed that lower objects might be regarded with feelings the very reverse of those which had hitherto been connected with them. It displayed the truth that temporal happiness may issue in evil, that the afflictions of life may prove to be blessings, and that they would no longer bear a strict proportion to the obedience either of a nation or of an individual; that, in short, they were abolished as sanctions. The distinguishing character of Judaism was its exclusiveness ; of Christianity, its universality. The one appealed to feelings peculiar to the descendants of one man; the other to desires common to the race. The one was based on facts interesting to those only whose experience bore a reference to such facts; the other was founded on principles congenial to all hearts, in all regions, through all time. When therefore the Jewish disciples of Jesus had learned from the Gospel the object and destiny of the ritual law; when they had witnessed the overthrow of the institutions which rendered them a separate people; when they recognised the provisions which had been made for rendering the new dispensation universal,--they gradually dismissed from their minds their narrow notions of the national sovereignty of Jesus, and substituted for them a nobler attachment to him as a spiritual Saviour. Having first regarded the Gospel in the aspect which was adapted to their peculiar circumstances, their views became gradually enlarged till they embraced it in its universal character; and those who at first received the glad-tidings of the kingdom, were eager, in course of time, to exchange them for the Gospel of life. We may see, as they saw, that the scene of the Messiah's supremacy was in the hearts of the faithful among the chosen people; that his glory consisted in his preeminent endowments from on high, in his distinction as the beloved Son of God, in his appointment to the office of Saviour. His reign began with the exercise of his extraordinary powers, and closed when that exertion became no longer necessary; when the first covenant was ended by the destruction of the holy city and
temple, when signs and wonders ceased, and Christianity had spread sufficiently to make its way by natural means alone. We can see yet more; for events have shown how the promises of Jesus were fulfilled. According to his promise, he had been with his disciples to the end of the age in manifest interpositions of the Holy Spirit, in evident watchfulness over the interests of his Church, in personal administration of its government by communication with its appointed agents. When the essential truth of the new dispensation was completely engrafted on that ofthe old, when it had also struck root vigorous ly in a fresh soil, the hand which planted, grafted and watered, was withdrawn, and the charge was committed to the sunshine and dews of heaven. These natural influences have done their work. The Gospel has spread, and shall spread till it shall prevail; for, by the influential nature of the Divine doctrine and law, the universality of Christianity is secured. The facts which it displays are of general interest, and the media through which its instructions are conveyed are universally intelligible. Since all men die, the fact of the resurrection is of paramount importance to all. As the parental and fraternal relations subsist wherever man is placed, the parables of the prodigal son and the offending brother come home to the hearts of all. The wind blows, the field-flowers spring, the light from heaven shines around the abodes of men in every land; and the spiritualizing associations with which Jesus invested them may therefore immortalize their beauty in every heart. Not less universally intelligible will be the purposes of the Supreme in his providence towards the human race, as comprehensively intimated in the following prophetic parable of Jesus.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who made a marriagefeast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage-feast: but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, “Tell those that are invited, Behold, I have prepared my dinner; mine oxen and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready; come to the marriage
feast.' But they made light of it, and went their way, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise: and the rest took his servants, and treated them shamefully, and killed them. But when that king heard of it, he was angry; and sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, “The marriage-feast is ready, but those who were called are not worthy. Go therefore into the branches of the ways, and as many as ye find call to the marriage-feast.' So those servants went out into the ways, and gathered together all as many as they found; and the marriage-feast was filled with guests.”
SECTION III.-Four Questions of Orobio.
Having now reviewed the course of Providence in its dealings with your nation, we can recognise the design of its separation from the rest of the world with a degree of assurance amounting to certainty. It appears that there was an original equality among all the people of the earth; that this equality was disturbed for the sake of advancing by peculiar methods the spiritual progress of one nation ; that this nation was made an instructor of the rest of the world, by the peculiar manifestations it presented of a Divine Moral Government; that, on occasion of the completion of the scheme of Providence towards them, a great division took place in this nation,-one portion of it readily acquiescing in the intention of the Supreme that their peculiarity should be abolished, (not by casting them back among the Gentiles, but by raising the Gentiles to a participation of the crowning blessings conferred by Revelation,) and the other portion, refusing thus to acquiesce, and being therefore subject in themselves and their descendants to awful sufferings in the dissolution of their State, and to subsequent degradation and the manifold evils of hope deferred, uncheered by signs from the Almighty, and perplexed by the obscurity in which their fate is involved. Reasoning from the past, we may clearly discern what are further the designs of God
towards his offspring. If the latest revelation he gave be evidently adapted for a perpetual spread and development, it follows that this revelation must sooner or later be embraced universally; that it shall be conveyed to regions where it has not yet been heard of; that it shall at length approve itself to those who reject it through prejndice or mistake; and that it shall in time be clearly apprehended by those (and they are a multitude,) who receive it mixed up with corruptions which impair its value and veil its beauty.
As Christianity has ever been presented to your observation thus mixed up with its corruptions, it is not to be wondered at that its simplicity of truth has been unapparent to you, and that your objections to the system remain in full force. Those objections are indeed, for the most part, unanswerable; but then they relate, so far as they are unanswerable, to the corruptions of the Gospel, and not to the Gospel itself, which in its essence is nearly, if not absolutely, unknown among you. According to your idea of the Gospel, it declares Jesus not to be the son of David, a branch of the root of Jesse; it declares the Supreme to have imputed mortal sin to the whole race, and after thousands of years had elapsed, to have removed the evils of this imputed sin by imputing an overbalancing righteousness; it declares the future state to be not a state of proper retribution, but that its fate will depend on certain kinds and degrees of faith. These, and many other things, which have been offered to you as Christianity, are no more to be found in the Gospel than in the Law or the Prophets; and the most enlightened of your advocates, Orobio, did rightly in pressing for a reference to the origin of these doctrines. If his appeal had been candidly listened to, and fairly answered, by all who have attempted to get rid of his questions, the true source of the worst corruptions of Christianity might have been made known in many high places where those corruptions still prevail, and the countrymen of Orobio might now be rejoicing in new truths to which they have not yet found access. It is in entire accordance with our plan to refer to the four questions in which Orobio has concentrated