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In this way,
are they (said he, addressing himself to the unbelieving Jews,) which testify of me.”Consequently
believed Moses, ye
would have believed me; for he wrote of me." John v. 39. 47.
And we will venture to say, Christianity will never be so well understood, as when the Old and New Testament are so brought together, as mutually to illustrate and confirm each other. Christianity was taught, in those days when it was best understood. The Epistle to the Hebrews furnishes the intelligent reader with the most compleat specimen of this mode of teaching. In that epistle, we have the observation of an old Father of the Church verified. “ What (says Justin Martyr) is the law? The Gospel predicted.—What is the Gospel ? The law fulfilled.” Correspondent with which observation, is the assertion of St Chrysostom; that “ two covenants, two handmaids, two suitors attend upon our Lord. Christ is announced in the Prophets. Christ is preached in the New Testament. The Old Testament declared beforehand the New; and the New interpreted the Old.”
These two covenants, which met together in Christ, were typified by the two sons, born to Abraham; the one by à bond-maid, the other by a free woman: “ which things (says the Apostle) are an allegory;" that is, these two sons, born of two different mothers, are intended figuratively to represent the two different states of the Jewish and Christian Dispensation : the former a state of bondage, under the law delivered from Mount Sinai, in which the Jews lived; the latter, that state of freedom under the Gospel, into which all members of the Christian Church are admitted. Whoever, therefore, does not understand the nature of these two dispensations, together with their relative connection; the one considered as preparatory and introductory to the other; the former as the enslaving letter, of which the latter is the spiritual accomplishment; he will not only be unqualified to appreciate the “ liberty wherewith Christ hath made him free;" Gal. v. 1. but will be also unfurnished with that most powerful argument in support of Christianity, which is to be drawn from the concurring evidence,
which the different dispensations of Divine Wisdom bear to the same general plan of Redemption.
When our Blessed Saviour appeared in the flesh, the people to whom he came received him not.---Men for the most part disbelieve truth, because they have first embraced error, and cannot part with it. This was the case with the Jews at the coming of our Saviour. A general igncrance of the spiritual meaning of the promise made to Abraham, and of the typical service of the law delivered by Moses, joined with an ill-founded prejudice in favour of their own particular condition, led them to mistake the character, in which the Messiah was to appear, not less than the object of his mission. They erred, (as our Saviour told them) not knowing the Scriptures."
Those who, in these enlightened days of the Gospel (as they are called) reject the Religion of a crucified Redeemer; setting up in its place the idol of the Imagination; that spurious offspring of modern philosophy, the Religion of Reason, (as it is falsely styled ;) which has neither priest, sacrifice,
nor intercessor belonging to it, may trace up their infidelity to the same origin. They also err, because they know not the Scriptures. And it is that information which is to be derived from a comprehensive view of the Patriarchal, Jewish, and Christian dispensations, by considering the Old Testament as preparatory to the New, and the New as compleating the Old, which furnishes the most effectual means of bringing either Jewish or Christian unbeliever to the knowledge of Salvation. . Sacrifice was the essence of the Law. Sacrifice is also the essence of the Gospel : for without shedding of blood, there is no remission either for Jew or Gentile. By the blood shed on the Cross, believers of every description are made partakers in the same mysterious plan of redemption. Both Jewish as well as Christian infidel (if such a contradiction in terms is to be admitted,) inay therefore be led from the Jewish Temple into the Christian Church; from the shadows of the law to the realities of the Gospel ; from the figures of the Old Testament, to their spiritual accomplish
ment in the New. Where there is not an evil heart of unbelief, such a process from Judaism to Christianity, regularly pursued, will not fail, in God's time, to lead to conviction.
But, alas ! with respect to the Christian unbeliever, we have much more to fear than to hope. After the fulness of Revelation which has been vouchsafed to him, in rejecting the peculiar doctrines of the Cross, he appears to rank with those who “ tread under foot the Son of God, and count the blood of the covenant 'an unholy thing." “ If the light that is in us be darkness, how great is that darkness.” Matt. vi. 23. And if the holy Spirit alone can lead us out of the darkness of nature; into the light of Grace, there is no reason to expect that those who deny his inspiration, will ever be led by him.
Of the unbelieving Jews better. hopes may be entertained.
For though they may be said, in a sense, to have quenched the light of Israel, still they have not so compleatly extinguished it, as to prevent its renewal., A time, we are given to understand, will come, when according to