Gambar halaman

with a different virtue, and a different purpose; they are part of that body which is of Christ. He has taken possession of them, and made them spiritual.

I will add, in corroboration, that as other Prophets, so especially Malachi, the last of them, in whom, as being the last, we might expect some clearer intimations of the destruction of ordinances on Christ's coming, if they were to be destroyed, when prophesying of Gospel times and speaking of the preparation necessary thereunto, builds up, instead of pulling down, the ritual system. For instance, “Even from the days of your fathers," he says, “ye are gone away from Mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts." Again, as to the ordinance of tithes : "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine House, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” And as to the priesthood, far from its abolition, Christ was but to purify and refine it. “He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver.” Nor was He to abolish sacrifice, for the Prophet proceeds, “He shall purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. And what this offering was to be, the Prophet tells us, speaking of it as a rite of the Church in its universal or Catholic form. « From the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same, My Name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in

every place incense shall be offered unto My Name, and a pure offering';" that is, the offering of fine flour or bread. What is thus instanced from Malachi might be drawn out from other Prophets also.

7. It seems, then, that making what allowance we will for the changes which were introduced by the Gospel, which in point of knowledge, grace, and influence upon the world, were incalculably great, and cannot be overrated, yet as regards the substantial form of religion, ecclesiastical order, ritual, polity, observance, the change was not considerable. Indeed, religion viewed as an institution, and that of a social nature, does not admit of any great variety. As all civil governments are one in their great characteristics, as all sciences proceed on common principles, else they would not be called by that one name, so in one sense religion, wherever found, is one thing, and one thing only. A true religion is a religion based on truth, and a false religion is a religion based on falsehood; but they would not be called by the same name, unless there were a substantial agreement between them. And if true and false religions are like each other, as to their bodily substance, much more are Judaism and Christianity alike, which are both from God; and, consequently, Catholic Christians must not be surprised, if on their submitting to Christianity as a religion, and not as a mere philosophy, or an opinion, or a senti. ment, they are charged by those who do so treat it, with being Jews or even Pagans. 8. And what has just been said leads to another

i Mal. iii. 7. 10. 3; i. 11.

reflection. The Jews might quite as justly be charged with Paganism for their rites, as we with Judaism for ours; for ours are not so like the Jewish, as the Jewish were like those of the Pagans. This ought to be insisted on. It has been shown by learned men, that considerable portions of the Mosaic system were either taken from the heathen religions which surrounded it, or at least, from their likeness, must have had a common origin with them. In truth, Judaism was, in God's mercy, the correction, the restoration, of those degenerate and corrupt religions, just as Christianity is the development and spiritual perfection of the Jewish. Now, if it is a good argument against our Christian priesthood, Christian sacrifices, Christian Sabbaths, and Christian sacraments, that they are like ordinances of the Jewish Law, which came from God, much more would it be an argument against that Law in Samuel's time or David's, as infidels have made it since, that in some chief portions of it, it is like the paganism of Egypt or Syria. And if it is a good argument against our Church system, that St. Paul denounces Judaism, surely it is not a worse argument against the Jewish system, that Moses denounces Paganism. If St. Paul says of Judaism, “Let no man judge you in meat or in drink;" or, “Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years," I suppose Moses says still more sternly of Paganism, “ Ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire.

And if Moses adds the reason, as regards Paganism, viz. because they were dedicated to false

1 Deut. xii. 3.

gods; so does St. Paul give the reason, as regards Judaism, “which are a shadow of things to come.” And as the ordinances of the Jewish Church were not paid to false gods, though they were ordinances like the Pagan; so those of the Christian are not a shadow, though they are ordinances like the Jewish. And since, supposing in the time of Samuel or of David, a reformer had arisen to set things to rights out of his own mind, he might have forcibly urged against all that he found established-rite, and ordinance, and government—that it was like heathenism, and that Moses, speaking from Almighty God, had denounced heathenism, and that, therefore, the existing system could not come from heaven,-and yet this in truth would have been a very bad argument, therefore, let us not be moved from our steadfastness by the arguments of innovators and heretics, who pretend that the Church system is a corruption, because it is like the Jewish, which St. Paul repudiates. For it is not Jewish in spirit, though it is Jewish in certain externals; nor was the Jewish system Pagan in spirit, though it was Pagan in externals. time, God dwelt in the Jewish ritual, though it was like the Pagan; and now He dwells in the Christian ritual, though it be like the Jewish.

Forms are nothing without God's presence; but with His presence they are all things.

Thus then I answer the question, What is that substantial unity and identity of the Jewish and Christian Churches, since they so differ in their members, circumstances, and cbjects? Thus, too, I would answer that

At one

other question, How can the Jews be said to have rejected their Law, in rejecting the Gospel ? The Gospel is but a development of the Law; and creeds and systems may at first sight be very far removed from certain known originals, and yet, after all, be but developments of them.

on us now.

I conclude with one observation, viz. that a view of the Old Testament, such as I have been taking, makes it a book much more level to the comprehensions of the unlearned than the theories concerning it which have of late years prevailed. It is difficult to make an unlearned person understand, who comes to Scripture with reverence, that the commands of the Law are not binding

To tell him that the Sabbath is a mere type, and that it does not concern him, and that it now means merely a life of religion, is too subtle an idea for him; but to tell him that the Fourth Commandment does bind him (though it bind not in the sense in which it bound the Jews), approves itself to him as natural and true. It is a refinement, again, in his judgment, to tell him that the Jewish temple was a mere type of the communion of saints, and is not a model for our cathedrals and churches. In like manner, he will easily understand, if he is so taught, that the other precepts of the Old Testament apply to us Christians; that what is said about holy rites, and holy days, and holy persons, has a literal sense now, though not the particular sense it had before Christ came. Thus we see how inconsistent is the false philosophy of modern religion. It professes to give the Bible to the poor that they may judge

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »