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from Deut. xxx. 6; and again with the brief, but comprehensive and characteristic, description given of those who had experienced this circumcision of the heart, “ We are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." (Phil. iii. 3.) Now, without further enlarging upon the interpretation of these passages, is it not evident, that the same inward and spiritual change, wrought by the influences of the same Divine and Holy Spirit, issuing in the works of love and obedience and devotedness to God, is spoken of both in the Old Testament and in the New ?
Neither let it be objected, that influences and operations are ascribed to the Spirit in the New Testament, whose offices, or existence, (as some, perhaps, might say,) is not acknowledged in the Old. Some of the passages already quoted from your own Scriptures are sufficiently strong and clear upon this subject : but, to cut off all occasion of dispute, one or two more may be added. Observe how the Spirit of the Lord is described by Isaiah, “ The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD.” (Is. xi. 2, 3.) And what operations are ascribed to Him by Zechariah ?
“ I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the SPIRIT of grace and of supplications ; and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.” (Zech. xii. 10.) That this is a mourning for sin, is plain from the promise made to these mourners, which immediately succeeds ; “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.” (Zech. xiii. 1.) These operations are also ascribed to the Holy Spirit in the
6. The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my Name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
- And when he is come, He will reprove
the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement." “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth.” (John xiv. 26, xvi. 8. 13.) These passages are quoted, as further illustrating the office of the Spirit, in producing the inward change of which we have been speaking. But the passages, in which great and important operations are ascribed to the Spirit of the Lord, are numberless; and His agency is as clearly insisted upon in the Old Testament as in the New.
Here also we might fitly institute a comparison between the principles and nature of that practical godliness, which results from the renewing influences of the Spirit, as declared in the Old Testament and the New. The principle of entire, devoted, thankful, and filial obedience to the Divine Wisdom and Authority is the same. And the law, which is written in the hearts and minds of the true and spiritual worshippers of God, is the same. It is a law of love, which may be summed up in two commandments : “ Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one LORD. And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might,” (Deut. vi. 4, 5,) and again, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Lev. xix. 18.) These are quoted once and again by our Lord himself, (Matt. xxii. 37–39, Mark xii. 28—34, Luke x. 25-28,) with the emphatic declaration, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Mat xxii. 40.) And we might carry on these comparisons to a very great length; and show, very clearly, that, in respect of morality, the religion of the Old Testament and of ihe New, is truly and substantially the
The same high standard and example is set before us in both, as the object of our endeavours and desires-even the spotless purity of God Himself, “ Ye shall be holy : for I the Lord your God am holy." (Lev. xix. 2, 1 Pet. i. 15, 16.) “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”. (Mat. v. 48.) And this commandment was also especially addressed to your great forefather Abraham : “I am the Almighty God: walk before Me, and be thou perfect." (Gen. xvii. 1.)
That the development of the foregoing principles is more full and
clear in the New Testament than in the Old-That a more excellent and real sacrifice is provided—That the Holy Spirit is more fully and freely promised–The harmony of the Old and New Testaments
upon other points—The true reason why this is not observed. Here, then, is a brief view, taken from the holy Scriptures, of the grand principles of your religion, and of ours. Neither can there be any thing more important than these four points. They comprise the Essentials of Religion. And, on these, how exact is the agreement between the representations of the Old Testament and those of the New! The principles, I say, are the same. The only difference is, in the development of them—which, in the New Testament, is more full, clear, and connected.
1. Because all that was signified and prefigured, in all the multiplied rites and sacrifices of the Mosaic Lan, is embodied in Christ; in Whom, as in a focus, meet all the scattered rays of divine truth and glory, which were before divided and dispersed and dimly seen-here a little, and there a little. Those rites and ceremonies were shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” (Col. ii. 17.) He is at once the Priest and the Sacrifice, the Altar and the Ark of the covenant: the bird that was slain for sin, and the living bird which, stained with the blood of the sin-offering, rose and soared away, bearing upward to heaven the tokens of a full atonement made. He “was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” (Rom. iv. 25.) And, owing to the dignity of His Person, such was the unspeakable value of His Sacrifice, that, thereby, those blessings are substantially obtained and secured to us, which were only dimly shadowed forth by the sacrifices of the Law: “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” (Heb. x. 4.) But it may be justly argued: “If the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from
dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. ix. 13, 14.) Indeed, the multitude and repetition of those sacrifices is a sufficient proof of their inadequacy, considered in themselves. But they pointed to that great and glorious Messiah, to whom your fathers looked forward with earnest expectation, who, being “cut off, but not for Himself," was appointed “ to finish the transgression, and to ke an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness :" (Dan. ix. 2426,) and who, according to the prophecies, appeared once, in the fulness of time, to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. “God hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. v. 21.) For “ when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the Law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Gal. iv. 4, 5.) In their reference to this one Sacrifice consisted the true value of all the sacrifices of the Law; and, therefore, when a sufficient time had been allowed to proclaim the excellence and sufficiency of this one offering to the people of Israel at large, God took care, in His providence, that all the offerings of the Law should cease.
Observe also, that, in this one Sacrifice, of such infinite dignity and value, we have an intelligible manifestation of the union and harmony of those Divine Perfections, which was, indeed, strongly and clearly asserted under the former dispensation, but could not then be clearly seen or understood. In the death and sacrifice of His only begotten Son, we have at once the brightest display of God's holy abhorrence of all sin, and His boundless compassion to lost and perishing sinners. Here God appears indeed, sinner's friend, and sin's eternal foe.” And, to sum up all, this display of boundless and unmerited mercy—even to the chief of sinners, is (in the wisdom and power of God) the appointed and effectual mean of making them holy; for by the cross of Christ we are crucified to the world, and the world unto us. (Gal. vi. 14.) “ The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom. viii. 2-4.) It is the constraining in, fluence of the dying love of Christ, and of the tender mercy of God revealed in this His unspeakable gift, that makes sin hateful, and holiness lovely in our eyes; and so sweetly disposes and inclines our hearts to forsake all sin, and to follow after that holiness, without which no man can see the Lord. Thus is the New Testament the completion of the Old,-as presenting to us, in the Person, work, and sufferings of Christ, all that was declared in the Law, but not explained ; and all that was proved to be wanting for our peace and salvation, but not obtained.
2. In addition to this consummation of the doctrine and design of Sacrifice, and (therein) the last and brightest display of the glory of the Divine Character, we have also in the New Testament, a more clear, and free, and encouraging promise of the Holy Spirit. Upon this point it is only necessary to state some of the declarations of that Mediator and Redeemer, through Whom, and for whose sake, this precious gift is bestowed. . “ Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth ; and he that seeketh findeth ; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.-For if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him ?” (Luke xi. 9, 10, 13.) “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If
any thing in my Name, I will do it. If ye love me keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you
for ever ; even THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him : but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless : I will come unto you.—The Holy Ghost WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY Name, He shall teach you all things, &c." (John xiv. 13—18, 26.) The Holy Ghost, indeed, is the great promise of the New Testament, even as the Messiah was the great promise of the Old; and we are assured,