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The ancient Covenant, though divine, was not to be perpetual. It is shown by the apostles, particularly by Paul, that its perpetuity was not contemplated by the prophets themselves. We will notice, in another place, some of the passages where this is made to appear. But we will first see what the Saviour himself says on the subject. "The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God is preached and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. Whosever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery; and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery." The meaning is, that the law and the prophets continued only to the time of John the Baptist. Had the Jews, therefore, put away the old system, and embraced another, before the time of John, they would have been like the man who put away his wife and married another. But now that the law was abolished, to adhere to it, is like marrying the woman that is put away from her husband. Paul speaks of the abolition of the law of Moses in the use of the same figure. "Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband, is bound by the law of her husband, so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then, if while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband be dead, she is freed from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Therefore, my brethren, ye are also become dead to the law, by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins which were by the law, did work in our members, to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held, that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter."
The views of the apostles concerning this subject, may be given under several heads. 1. They regard the prophets
as contemplating the removal of the old dispensation, and the establishment of another that should be more general in its application. Peter says, "All the prophets, from Samuel, and them that follow after, as many as have spoken, have foretold of these days." He says, too, that "of the restitution of all things, God hath spoken, by the mouth of all his holy prophets, since the world began." In one of his Epistles, the same apostle addresses his brethren in the following manner" Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls; of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you; searching what, or what manner of time, the spirit of Christ which was in them, did signify, when it testified before hand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that, not unto themselves, but unto us, they did minister the things which are now reported unto you, by them that have preached the gospel unto you, with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into." 2. They quote specific predictions from the prophetic writings. As understood by Paul, Moses and Isaiah make allusions to this subject thus;—" Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Isaiah is very bold and saith; I was found of them that sought me not. I was made manifest unto them that sought not after me. But to Israel he saith; All day long I have stretched forth my hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people." The same apostle quotes Hosea thus: "I will call them my people which were not my people, and her beloved which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass that where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there shall they be called the children of the living God."
It would be claiming too much, perhaps, to say that these, and like passages, all refer to the event to which the apostles apply them. Sometimes they no doubt use passages from the Old Testament in an accommodated sense, having in view some resemblance of the event to the language, or some analogy between the event and some other event originally had in view. Some of these passages, however, are genuine predictions. And it is certain
that the apostles regarded the prophets as having foretold the close of the Jewish economy and the establishment of the gospel. This is made too obvious to be doubted by the foregoing quotations, to which many more might be added. 3. The apostles make use of sundry arguments to set forth the same thing. That the Gentiles were not bound to keep the law of Moses, is argued by Peter, in a very conclusive manner, before a council of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. On the same occasion, Barnabas and Paul relate the wonderful things which God had done by their hands, among the Gentiles, in evident confirmation of what Peter had just advanced. James follows, with a similar opinion, and sustains his argument by a prophecy from the Old Testament, of similar import with those we have before quoted. The result was, that only a few things, required by reason and nature, as well as by the law of Moses, were enjoined on the Gentile con
The whole of the fourth chapter of Romans is devoted to the proof that men can be justified by faith without the deeds of the law. The argument is ingenious and conclusive. A few passages will show its nature and bearing. "Abraham believed God; and it was accounted to him for righteousness. We say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it reckoned? when he was in circumcision or uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, yet being uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all them that belive, though they be not circumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also. . . . . The promise that he should be heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith." Verses 3, 9, 10, 11, 13. The same argument is introduced in another place thus: "Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So they which be of faith are blessed
with faithful Abraham. . . . . If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." In view of all this, a very natural question would arise, why then the law? This Paul answers: "It (the law) was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come, to whom the promise was made." Verse 19. The inference is, that the seed, which is Christ, having come, the law is no longer of force.
Trusting that the foregoing discussion will not be wholly unprofitable or uncalled for, the writer would close by commending it to the candor and impartial judgement of "all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity."
W. E. M.
What must we do to be Saved?
UPON this point, as upon all the cardinal doctrines of the gospel, there is the widest diversity of opinion among the Christian sects. According to the popular Trinitarian theology, salvation is looked upon and taught as a rescue from an outward, impending doom; a protection from some dreadful penalty which will one day fall upon the unsanctified heart. All men, it is believed, deserve, or are exposed to, the eternal wrath of the Almighty, on account of their depravity; and if their peace is not made with God before their death, the possibility of rescue is forever closed. Our readers are aware that the word saved, or salvation, as it is used in most of the churches and by most Christians, instantly suggests the thought of danger in the next life, against which we must guard while the opportunity is given. The sum and substance of this view is, that men are here in life upon an errand ;—that heaven is set before them in the dim distance as a prize to be sought, while the lurid light of hell gleams as a beacon to be shunned. All the interest of life gathers around
success or failure in securing immunity from coming peril. Faith in Christ is defined to be the method by which the danger is averted from the soul. Acknowledgement of his atonement, and of our own impotence, is the passport to future bliss. The Church is the ark of safety which will bear us certainly to the distant and desirable shore. Salvation is deliverance from the doom which awaits the unregenerate in the life to come, and the price which is here paid for it is mysterious faith in the sacrifice of Jesus.
Now let it be understood, at the commencement, on what grounds we object to this theory or definition of salvation. We do not object on the naked ground that there are terrors connected with it. Trinitarianism does not overrate the danger of a bad, unchristian life. But it misunderstands and misstates the danger. It affixes a set of arbitrary terrors to an evil life, which are not to be visited upon the sinner until a distant day. It holds up sensual terrors, that blaze afar off; it bribes with the allurement of a good harbor from them in eternity, as the great motives to accept here the terms of safety. It degrades and brutalises the idea of Salvation, and makes the gospel an appeal to the lowest mercenary feelings of the soul.
Neither do we complain that this system points to a great difference in the future life between the good and the evil. We are ready to maintain that there will be in the future life a difference between the condition of the good and the evil,—a difference which will continue so long as the moral distinction continues. But we object that it does not see that, in this life also there is an equal difference between a true Christian and a depraved soul; that it so far debases virtue as to invent a set of outward pleasures in the next life to make virtue look desirable here; that it so far ennobles sin as to hold up a picture of penal terrors in the future, to make sin repulsive. This theory fails to recognise the infinite difference in the nature of things between goodness and vice, as sources of pleasure, and addresses men with the constant appeal that compliance with the terms of the gospel is the best bargain which the soul can make in the long run, and that sin is the worst investment for eternity.
We object to the Trinitarian estimate of salvation