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passed upon all men. And this is all the work of covetousness, the work of lust in the flesh.
Again the children of Israel fell a lusting in the wilderness, and tempted God, so God gave them their hearts' desire; but they were not estranged from their lust, but while their meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God fell upon them, and he slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel, and they buried them there. And he called the name of that place Kibroth-hattaavah, which signifies the graves of lust, because there they buried the people that lusted (Num. ii and Ps. 78: 18-31). This is referred to by Paul as follows (1 Cor. 10:5-6), “But with many of them God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
Now these things were our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.”
Lust therefore may be defined as the desires of the heart and of the mind for things which God hath forbidden. These desires may be restrained and controlled, but they cannot be extinguished, because they are innate and natural to the flesh, and therefore Paul said, “If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, we shall live” (Rom. 8:13). And he says again (Gal. 5:17), “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Therefore we are required to crucify the Aesh with the affections and lusts, and so Paul said of himself, “I keep my body under, lest, while I preach to others, I myself become a cast-away.”
Now, therefore, from the stringency of the terms of justification contained in the law, no man could, through that means, attain unto the recompense of the reward, but fell under condemnation through inability to come up fully to its just requirements, and therefore it is written in the hundred and forty-third Psalm (verse 3), “In thy sight shall no man living be justified.” This oracle Paul quotes to prove the above doctrine as follows, “ For by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal. 2:16).
Again Paul says, “If there had been a law given which could have given life (eternal life), verily righteousness should have been by the law " (Gal. 13:21); and again he says (2:21), “I do not frustrate the grace of God, for if righteousness came by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Now the force of Paul's argument here is clearly seen, for if it were true, as the Jews, the scribes and the Pharisees maintained, that life and the inheritance could be obtained through the law, then there was no need for Christ at all, and consequently he died in vain; for if the inheritance could be obtained through the law, of what need was he? But the man who does not comprehend these things naturally inquires, Wherefore then serveth the law?
WHEREFORE THEN SERVETH THE LAW” First, By the law is the knowledge of sin; the knowledge of sin is manifested in this way. When a man sees that through his inability by and of his own works to meet the just demands of God's holy law, so as to secure the inheritance, it teaches him this important lesson, that if he is to be saved
at all it must be through some other means than by the works of the law, for says Paul, “As many as are of the works of the law are under the
(Gal. 3: 10). Consequently Paul says (3:22), “The scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”'
Again, he says in his letter to the Romans (3:9), “What then? are we (Jews) better than they (Gentiles) ? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.” And we may inquire, Where had he proved this? Evidently in the first part of this very letter (1: 18-20); and it is further evident from other Scriptures which he then cites, for he adds (11-18) as it is written: First, in the fourteenth and fifty-third Psalms, " There is none righteous, no not one, there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God; they are all gone out of the way; there is none that doeth good, no not one”; second (Ps. 5:9), * Their throat is an open sepulchre, with their tongue they have used deceit ”; third (Ps. 140:3), “The poison of asps is under their lips”; fourth (Ps. 10:7), “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness "; fifth (Isa. 59: 7-8), “Their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their ways, and the way of peace have they not known"; sixth (Ps. 36:1), There is no fear of God before their eyes."
From the above quotations from different parts of the law, Paul declares as follows, "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law” (Rom. 3:19). And who were under the law? No nation but the house of Israel, who entered into covenant with God, and who said, “All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient" (Exod. 24:7). Now these quotations which Paul makes as above from the Jewish Scriptures condemn all Jews who are under the law, and out of their own law, as Paul says, “That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (Rom. 3:19).
This is wherein the law was a snare and a trap by which the scribes and Pharisees, and those who sat in the seat of Moses, were taken, for this feature of the law they discerned not, and because they were evil and had made God's law void by their traditions, and because they had resisted and killed many that God had sent unto them to warn them of their evil ways, therefore God gave them over to blindness and hardness of heart so that the very law that they trusted in became their condemnation. As Paul said (Rom. 7: 10), “The commandment which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.” Life indeed was offered to those who kept the law, but death was the penalty for failure in one single jot or title, and as no one could keep it perfectly, all without a single exception fell under its condemnation, and that proves the truth and force of the law written in the hundred and forty-third Psalm (verse 2) which said, “In thy sight shall no man living be justified."
God's object, therefore, was to include all under sin, that he might have mercy upon all, both Jew and Gentile alike. This is God's judgment, therefore says Paul, “Let God be true, but every man a liar, as it is written (Ps. 51:4), That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” The Pharisees and lawyers made a liar shows, by his death, saying, “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all, while the testator liveth (Heb. 9: 16-17).
Here then is the secret why the covenant made with Abraham is now called the New Testament. It was now at Christ's death for the first brought into force, so as to be able to convey the things promised therein to the heirs. From the time that it had been made and confirmed, for more than two thousand years it had lain barren and unproductive, till Christ the testator came, and newly brought it into force by his death. The things, therefore, of this covenant we will now proceed to elucidate more fully, and first we will consider the making of the covenant.
THE MAKING OF THE COVENANT
The promises made to Abraham did not assume the definite form of a covenant until the things transpired which are written in the fifteenth chapter of Genesis. In the twelfth chapter the Lord had said unto Abraham, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Abraham obeyed the voice of the Lord, for says Paul, “ By faith Abraham, when he was calle
to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise” (Heb. 11:8-9). After Abraham and his wife, and Lot, his brother's son, had entered the land of Canaan, it is said (Gen. 12:7), “The Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.” Again, when Lot separated from Abram and removed to the plain of Jordan, the Lord said again to Abram, “Lift up now thine eyes and look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall also thy seed be numbered. Arise, walk through the land, in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee (13:14-17).
These were exceeding great and precious promises which God was making to Abram. Afterwards, when he returned from the slaughter of the kings, Melchisedec, king of righteousness and king of peace met him, and brought forth bread and wine, as Christ, who is made a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec, did also to his disciples on the night in which he was betrayed, saying of the bread, “This is my body," and of the wine, " This is my blood of the new testament." Abram being a prophet would no doubt discern the same things in the bread and wine which Melchisedec brought forth for him, for Melchisedec was a priest of the most High God. And
it was indeed fitting that an immortal priest of the order of Melchisedec should meet Abram and bless him, in view of the fact that the covenant that God was then making with Abram was, in after times, when brought into force by the death of Christ, to be administered by the Melchisedec order of priesthood, a much higher order than the Levitical priesthood, as we hav already shown elsewhere. Melchisedec blessed Abram and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth, and blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he (Abram) gave him tithes of all ” (14: 18-20).
"After these things," we are told in the fifteenth chapter of Genesis, "the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus ? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in mine house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels, shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness. And he said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it."
The Lord had now promised Abram a number of times that he would give him this land for an inheritance, and although Abram did not doubt the promise, for it has just been said that he believed in the Lord, inasmuch that his faith was counted to him for righteousness that is, forgiveness of sins — yet he appeared desirous that God would give him some token by which he might be sure that he himself, personally, would inherit that land, and therefore he said, “ Lord God whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” The Lord, in answer to Abram's request, gave him a very notable sign by which he might know that he personally, as well as his seed, would inherit that land, which is as follows. Beginning at verse 9 it is said, " And the Lord said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove
And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.” During this sleep, indicative of death, the Lord made known to him what should befall his posterity after he should die in peace in a good old age and be gathered unto his fathers: that they would serve strangers in a land not theirs, and in the fourth generation his seed would come hither again, that is, the fourth generation counting from the one existent when they went down to Egypt, where they sojourned 430 years to a day.
These therefore were long generations, reaching considerably over a hundred years. The Lord spake to Abram as follows, in this vision (verse 13), “Know of a surety that thy
of God, for God had by the law included the whole house of Israel under sin, and required them to be baptized with the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, and did not even exempt his own son from that baptism; but says Luke (7:30), “The Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him ” (that is, of John). They claimed to be righteous in open defiance of God's righteous judgment, whose law includes all under sin. Therefore Jesus said to them, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."
The first covenant, then, was intended to include all under sin, and to teach men that their salvation must be a matter of mercy on God's behalf, and not as a reward for doing, or rather attempting to do the works of the law. Therefore the terms of salvation in the new and better covenant were based upon mercy and forgiveness of sins, and justification by faith, as it is written in the prophets, “The just shall live by faith” (that is, have eternal life). And the faith here set forth which is acceptable with God is an honest and hearty belief of the word and promises of God, and a ready and willing obedience thereto, called the obedience of faith. But before considering the inheritance, and the terms and conditions of heirship contained therein, we wish to speak of some general and important features of this covenant, for although this is called the new covenant, yet it had an important history before ever the old covenant existed at all, the last act of which was performed 430 years before the law was given, that is, 430 years before the old covenant was made and entered into at Mount Sinai.
THE NEW COVENANT The Scriptures are so constituted as to bring into exercise the reasoning powers of men, and when men find what may at first sight appear to them as being contradictory, or unreasonable, if they would have but the good sense to attribute these apparent (for they are only apparent) contradictions, to their own want of knowledge of the things under consideration, and then search diligently for the true solution of the matter, by comparing the different portions of the Holy Scriptures which treat upon the same subject, they would evince far better judgment by so doing, and propably be able by their own investigations to find the true solution of the difficulty.
The Bible is the book of God, and the wisdom displayed therein is as much above the combined wisdom of all the philosophers and wise men of the world, as the heavens are higher than the earth. And the wisdom of God as displayed in these covenants challenges the admiration and wonder of every wise man who has studied them. These covenants were made in the early ages of mankind, back in the times of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Moses, the mediator of the covenant from Mount Sinai. They were not intended for one single period of the world's age, but they were intended to reach down to future ages down to, and beyond the times of Christ, and his coming was to develop a change and reformation, and fulfillment in the one, and to bring into force the other. For Jesus himself said, “ Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets, I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” Again says Paul, “The law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.”