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abolish, and since the weak eyes of men cannot look directly on the divine light in its full clearness, therefore, God has brought our race through certain stages of moral and religious development, till finally the Saviour bimself appeared, and the mystery of redemption in which are bidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, Col. 2: 3, was fully disclosed. This determines our view of the conduct of the people from whom the salvation was to proceed, John 4: 22 ; of the counsels which imparted it; of the arrangements which were entered into in regard to it, and of the writings in which these things are recorded. Thus the exhibitions of the divine will, from which proceeded the determination respecting redemption, are ever becoming clearer ; and the wisdom by which this salvation was accoinplished, has made out in the writings of the Old and New Testaments one code of divine revelations, which display to us the preparations made by God for our redemption from beginning to end in connection. These preparations must be so apprehended by us, that we can rightly understand the last and highest of them, and so that the coming of Christ will operate on us in the same manner as it did on his first disciples. Since Christ found his people prepared for himself by means of these holy writings, and since he had, in his own behalf, a greater witness than that of Moses and the prophets --even the testimony of God in the works which were appointed unto him to fulfil, John 5:36, so the effects of the one are by no means to be separated from those of the others. As Christ was thenceforth preached unto the heathen, they at the same time received the writings of the Old Testament; to these, in addition he annexed the annunciation of the gospel, and even after this had gained an entrance, it would be difficult to reckon how many were won to the faith by means of the Old Testament, or by it were confirmed ;-in respect to which many explicit testimonies both of modern and ancient times have come to us. What is so connected in contents and in effect, we may be allowed to discriminate, though not to divide. And since we are now to distinguish, and to inquire, how far the Old Testament can be regarded as the rule of faith and life for Christians, we may consider the question under two divisions.
1. The Old Testament contains divine revelations and precepts. But God can reveal nothing which is not true: he can order nothing which is not holy and good and important for those who seek information in respect to truth and goodness.
Yet every thing is not revealed at the beginning. Till man is susceptible of higher manifestations, God must condescend to his infirmity; the divine precepts must always be adapted to man's actual progress in education, until he is ripened for a more perfect state. Hence we must compare the earlier revelations and ordinances with the later—those of the Old Testament with those of the New, and give attention to the points where the former are true and valid, where they are fully interpreted and completed, where they are modified or abolished.
In this, however, is rather contained a necessity to come to a reply to the proposed inquiry, than the answer itself. This can be stated precisely
2. In a direct and obvious canon : The information and the precepts of the Old Testament are of authority for us so far as they point to one and the same religion contained in the Old Testament as is contained in the New; they are not of validity so far as the religion of the Old Testament stands in opposition to that of the New.
It is, indeed, in itself clear, that the christian life and consciousness, so far as it differs throughout from those of the pious Israelites, can draw no nourishment from that by which the latter was ordered or exhibited ; but whatever sentiment or knowledge does not contribute to advance us in the faith, to which God has called us through Christ, cannot be regarded as intended by him for us.
Now the religion of the Old and New Testament is one in relation to its monotheistic-dogmatic character, i. e. it is such a religion as elevates itself to the recognition of one true God, which lies at the foundation of the most important motives of our moral consciousness, and which, ripened into reflection, was sufficient to enable an individual, in the rejection of polytheism, to strive after the truth. We are also to bring into account the materials for the development of the religious consciousness which exist in monotheism. Also, as the code of precepts expands itself, we are to consider the subjective principle of religious earnestness and love of truth which are therein predominant. This brings us to the perpetual validity of the instructions of the Old Testament in respect to universal religious truths, the being of God, bis will, works and attributes,-likewise the universal rules and precepts which are set up for the direction of men as called to act or to suffer ;-instructions and precepts which are presupposed in the New Testament, although
there illustrated in a more complete manner, and brought forward in connection with the peculiar truths of Christianity and by them more exactly defined.
Still, whatever may be these peculiarities, we are by no means to place the New Testament in opposition to the Old. The instructions and preparations of the latter are not merely jotroductory steps to Christianity, but contain Christianity itself in a certain sense, whatever may be their introductory character. As preliminary to what is not yet completely fulfilled, they are only that in which lies the germ, in which still, though the perfect accomplishment is not yet reached, there is a capacity in itself for further enlargement and development; and whatever is essential to religion as it were completes itself in Christianity ; or, as we may further expand the idea, whatever belongs to the essential conditions of our salvation cannot be entirely wanting in a religion revealed by God. We see, indeed, in nature how the inferior forms of animal organization point to the highest - to the type of the human form. Thus the Jewish religious community differed from the Christian in its mingling with political affairs, in its reference to the particular relations and needs of this people, in its temple-service and priesthood. Still, here we find as it were a preformative influence. The religious condition of the Jews conceals under a sensible covering the essential ideas of a christian theocracy, of which Christ is to be the head. In the religious life of a pious Israelite we recognize the elements of a spirit kindred to ourselves. In short, we see Christianity in a certain sense previous to Christ. But in order to place together in its appropriate light the real differences between the Old and New Testaments, we must anticipate a little what is in the sequel still further illustrated.
Christianity requires, that along with the consciousness of our sinfulness, of our desert of punishment, as well as of our impotence, we should embrace Christ with a full faith, in order that we may be happy and blameless in his strength, through whom God has reconciled the world unto himself, and gives unto us a bigher power through which we overcome sin. Now what is peculiar to this faith is, that it leads us to Cbrist. Therefore, that which summons us to believe is the recognition of the divine mercy in Christ — the gospel in its appropriate sense as
Or as Melancıbon says: “Ever since the creation of man, there has been one and a perpetual church of God.”
the means by which christian piety is produced in us,—and is the substance of the New Testament. But faith cannot of a superior kind without a higher development of the mo consciousness, which is indeed advanced by it, but which is P supposed to a certain degree. Now, can any one perceive worth and greatness of the divine mercy, who is not deeply i pressed with the fact that the anger and wrath of God are rected against us on account of our sins, who does not ackno ledge with deep pain the greatness of his guilt? How can o seek for higher aid, who has not learned by experience tl he cannot help himself? Indeed, would not faith in redem tion, instead of giving consolation to the sorrowful and despa ing, rather afford aid to the thoughtless, and be a sort of off to man for his imperfections, while he is a stranger to the a guish of a terrified conscience and to true repentance ? Hen the gospel first exerts a saving influence when man has be brought through another school — the school of the law, whi places before him the strictness of the divine command and t severity of the divine justice. This for the Israelites was t school of the Mosaic, divine economy — the cardinal idea of t Old Testament.
Still, God did not permit them to want revelations of mer and grace, though in a great degree in the form and under ti shadow of the law. Yet, this legal, sacred economy with ceremonies and observances was arranged, not merely th through these external means, a revelation of God might maintained and that purity preserved which he requires of h people, but also in order that the repentant sinner might be le to him to seek through him freedom from guilt and pollutionthe emblem of the greater sacrifice which was afterwards to ! offered up for the sins of the world. It was under the shado of the law ;-so that the posterity of Abraham, being held to gether by a covenant embracing political and religious regula tions, might not only retain a belief in the true God, while rel gion degenerated and became disfigured by the general preva lence of idolatry, but also that a prospect might be kept ope towards the more perfect revelation, and that circumstance might be in readiness for the Redeemer to commence his benevo lent labors. Under the protecting shadow of the law, the gern of faith in the divine mercy was preserved and developed it self-a faith, indeed, which from the beginning had not refer ence merely to the existing time, but extended into futurity
and gradually passing over the limits of the law, and evermore forming itself in such a manner so that in the end nothing was wanting to bring the true Israelite to Christ, but the joyful <vonzauer, John 1: 42, 46.
Promises had been made to the patriarchs besides those which received their accomplishment during the lives of their descendants. Moses had given the sustaining hope of higher reveladons to such as might be anxiously waiting for them, when he referred the people to a prophet 'who should come after him. The ideal image of a theocratic king which hovered before the risce of the holy songsters in their hymns, was of a loftier kind than could be realized in David or Solomon. Still less could circunstances, as they presented themselves in the following peniod of degeneracy and degradation, satisfy the earnest, longing mind of the pious and wise among the people. The harder the fortunes were which pressed upon them, the firmer and Bore trustingly they fastened on a condition of things delineated a prophecy, where God, having forgiven his people, would send them a Saviour, not merely from external oppression and poverty, but also from their religious and moral degeneracy ;not simply to restore the ancient religion in its purity, but to establish a new covenant, his Spirit being poured out upon all, and all nations being led to know him. These prophetic delineations are such that we are led to the conclusion, that even aben the prophets had in their minds persons or events of their van tirnes, the Spirit which was in them, 1 Pet. 1:11, intended and foretold something different. This longing hope for a future salvation, this dwelling on the image of a perfect theocraT, which found constantly new nourishment in the predictions of the Old Testament, and which could be shaken by no mistake respecting the true time, (a mistake which has been noteed as not uncommon in respect to human nature,) while 1 did not remain free from impure mixtures, still maintained its foundations in truth. This has always remained a peculiarty in the Jewish people ; a trait in the highest degree remarkable, which, as it appears to us, must lead them sooner or later from Moses on to Cbrist.
We thus find announced in the Old Testament, not merely the divine mercy' in general, but mercy in its reference to a future
, more perfect revelation of the same as it appeared in Christ; and also the idea, which could not feel itself to be satished in the existing religious constitution, but which hoped for