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The Church and the World.

"After that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?"—GAL. iv. 9.

T is a doctrine frequently used by St. Paul, I need

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scarcely say, as by the other sacred writers, that the New Covenant of the Gospel has superseded the Jewish Law and all its ordinances; that by Baptism all who believed, Jews as well as Gentiles, were rescued through Christ from all elements of this world, and therefore from the Jewish Law, which henceforth had no

power over them. This he expresses in the text, in which he rebukes the Galatians for wishing to return to the bondage of Judaism, after they had known the God of grace. Again, he says to the Colossians, "If ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances?" Again, to the Romans he says, "Ye are 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." Again, "Now we are delivered from the Law, that being dead wherein we were held;

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that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." And again, "There is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before, for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the Law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did. . . . The Law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the Law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore1." And in token of this, when our Lord gave up the ghost upon the cross, the veil of the Temple was rent in twain; for the sanctity of that Holy Place hitherto had been, but now was no more.

Such is the great doctrine which was of especial interest when St. Paul preached, ere yet the Temple was destroyed by the Romans; viz. that though we must be children of Abraham, if we would be saved, yet it is faith that makes us children; though we must be of Israel to be elect, yet that the election follows the line of the spiritual Israel, the line of Christ, the chosen Seed, and of those who are born of the Spirit of Christ; that though we must belong to the Church of God, yet that that Church is now no longer local or at Jerusalem only, but is to be found and may be propagated in all lands; that though we are under the Law, yet it is the new, or Gospel Law, which we are under, not the Law of the Letter, the Law of Moses; and "in that He saith a new Covenant, He hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away 2 The Law of Moses then has failed and is gone, because Christ has come.

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1 Col. ii. 20. Rom. vii. 4. 6. Heb. vii. 18, 19. 28.

2 Heb. viii. 13.

Now when this is said, it is sometimes asked, "If all this be so, if the Jewish Law is dead, how could it ever have been alive? If the Law ever had power, it must have been a power from God, and if from God it must abide. Either it is not from God, or it could not come to an end. Either it never lived, or it never died. How can the appointments of the Law be what St. Paul calls them in the text, 'weak and beggarly elements,' or 'rudiments of the world,' or 'dead ordinances,' if they were divine? and that they were divine the New Testament as well as the Old assures us.

This is a question which I shall now attempt to answer.

The case then seems to be as follows:-Almighty God, in what He has graciously done for man from the beginning, has not acted against the appointments of this world, but through them. He has made those things, which in themselves were weak and unprofitable, good by His blessing; but when He withdrew His blessing, they were weak again. The Jewish polity was an element of earth, made divine by His presence, and while His presence lasted; when He withdrew it, it was again earthly, as it had been at first. Let me explain myself.

I mean this::-When God would raise up a people to be a witness of His name, He did not send on earth a race of Angels, He did not frame a polity such as man had never seen, but He took a polity of earth, and breathed His Spirit into it, that it became a living soul. Of course the Jewish government and nation were in many respects peculiar and unlike the nations around them; but they were peculiar much more

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in the object aimed at, viz. the worship of the true God, than in the means of promoting it. Unbelievers have been very eager before now to make out that many parts, if not the whole, of the law and customs of Moses are to be found in other nations. Thus, for instance, the rite of circumcision, which God gave to Abraham, is found to have existed among the Egyptians and elsewhere. And this holds good of a great number of the Jewish rites and usages. Accordingly, unbelievers have said with scorn, "This, then, after all, is your singular people; this is what their claim to a divine origin ends in! No part of Judaism is original; it is taken from the Egyptians and their other neighbours: it is not divine." And they have gone on to consider the Jews and to place their history in a mere secular light, and with a good deal of success. They have shown that the nation had its rise and fall like other nations, that the same political principles were in operation, the same events occurred. They have treated of the rise of the monarchy as a natural result of existing causes; and of the revolt of the tribes under Jeroboam, as a natural and justifiable revolution. They have spoken of the wealth of the Jews, and of their trade, and of their wars, and of their agriculture, all in the same worldly way, philosophically, as they have called it, and with no little disdain and superciliousness.

But in all this they have missed what was the real peculiarity of Judaism. Certainly it was, for the most part, moulded on the model to which other Eastern nations were conformed; but it differed from them in this, that, however much it was the same outwardly, there was a different principle within it. An invisible

Divine Agency was at work there, giving it an object distinct from all other polities, and drawing it up towards God. It had an external aspect, and an inward. To men of the world it looked like a polity of this world; but to the pure in heart, and to them whose eyes were opened, it would seem to be, what it really was, a minister of God. To men like Saul and Ahab it was but an earthly kingdom. Probably they saw no kind of difference, they were not sensible of any difference, between the Temple at Jerusalem, and the heathen temple at Gaza or Ascalon, or the house of Rimmon, or of Ashtaroth, the goddess of the Sidonians, except that the latter might please their taste better; as the altar at Damascus approved itself to King Ahaz. They were not aware of any thing in the Holy Land which was not in Syria or Philistia. Miracles were not so common as we are apt to suppose. They looked at Jerusalem, and its priests, and its temple, and its ceremonies, very much as worldly men regard the Church Catholic in this day, as a mere establishment.

Further, such being God's pleasure, the Jewish polity being, like other polities, and in itself, and apart from His presence, but an element of the world, would have a beginning and an end, a rise and a fall. All powers have come to an end, and so did the Jewish; I mean, from the natural progress of events. This is a circumstance which especially deceives the unbeliever. He thinks he sees in its mutability and mortality a mark that the Jewish nation was but like other nations, and that God did not reveal Himself in and through the Jews. He sees that natural causes did work a beginning

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