« ПредишнаНапред »
Had CHRIST been to have introduced a new law, it must have appeared fomewhere in His commiffion: we have several transcripts of this, relative to all His offices, but not a fingle clause is there in any of them to † that purpose.
His commiffion as a priest appears in several parts
* In Deut. xviii. 18, 19. it is faid-I will raise them up a PROPHET from among their brethren, like unto thee, and I will put MY WORDS in His mouth, and He shall speak unto them ALL THAT I SHALL COMMAND HIM. And it fhall come to pass, that whofoever will not hearken unto MY WORDS, which He shall fpeak IN MY NAME, Iwill require it of him. And, ver. 15. The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a PROPHET in the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken. This general account of CHRIST's miffion as a Prophet, feems to militate against every idea of His setting up a new law of His Had He done this, He had not been like Mofes, who received the law from GOD, and delivered it to the people, but like Mahomet, who invented a new law of His own, in oppofition to the law of GOD, and imposed it upon his followers as containing the only true religion and worship: whereas the blessed JESUS gave this teft of His miffion, John iii. 34. He whom GOD hath fent, Speaketh the words of GOD-for the truth of this, His conftant appeal was to the writings of the Old Teftament.
I would recommend the confideration of what is here faid, to thofe, who talk of a law of the gospel, more pure and perfect than the law of Mofes. So fpake Socinus, and, after him, too many in this our day-I have heard this, from more than one pulpit.
+ If our bleffed SAVIOUR came to overturn the law of MOSES, it is a little extraordinary that he fhould give fo ftrict a charge to the multitudes, and to his difciples, to hear and practife it-(Matt. xxiii. I, 2, 3) Saying, the Scribes and the Pharifees (who were the ordinary teachers among the Jews) fit in MOSES' feat: ALL therefore WHATSOEVER they bid you to obferve, (that is, ALL that is agreeable to the law of MOSES) obferve and do.
parts of the Old Teftament, and is thus fhortly fummed up, Dan. ix. 24.-To finish the tranfgreffion-to make an end of fins-to make reconciliation for iniquity and (thus) to bring in everlasting righteoufnefs.-As a prophet, fays he, by If. lxi. 1. &c. The Spirit of the LORD GOD is upon Me, because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek: He hath Sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound: to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our GOD; to comfort all that mourn: to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the fpirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified. There is nothing about a new law in this part of OUR SAVIOUR'S commiffion.
As to His kingly office, on which He entered after His refurrection from the dead, when He had a name given Him above every name, that at the name of JESUS every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue fhould confefs that JESUS CHRIST is LORD, to the glory of God the Father-His kingdom was to be administered not by any new law, but by that which was from the beginning,
OUR LORD does not make the leaft exception, nor hint at the smallest innovation, but Tavla ira-omnia quæcunque-all things whatfoever-therefore, doubtlefs, relative to marriage, as well as to every thing else.
once written on tables of flone, but now to be written on the fleshly tables of the heart, 2 Cor. iii. 3. For thus faith the LORD-This is the covenant that I will make with the house of ISRAEL; after thofe days I will put MY LAW in their inward parts, and write IT in their hearts, and will be their GOD, and they shall be my people. Jer. xxxi. 33. Comp. Heb. viii. 10.
If CHRIST then gave a new law, or rule of life, He exceeded His commiffion, and we muft call in queftion His veracity, as well as His fincerity, in that declaration of His, Matt. v. 17, 18, 19. likewife as to what he fays, John xii. 49, 50. I have not spoken of MYSELF, but the Father which fent me HE GAVE ME A COMMANDMENT, what I should Say*, and what I should speak—and I know that HIS COMMANDMENT is life everlafting;(Comp. Rom. x. 5. Gal. iii. 12.) whatsoever I Speak therefore, even as the Father faid unto Me so I In exact Speak. See Deut. xviii. 18, 19. conformity with all this, it is faid, Heb. i. 1. GOD, who at fundry times, and in divers manners, pake in time paft unto the fathers by the
* If the Father gave CHRIST a commandment to declare that to be a mortal fin against the feventh commandment, which was uniformly allowed as innocent under the Old Testament, this muft infer either a change in the divine mind and will, or an abfolute contradiction: this laft is ufually got rid of, as the Mahometan doctors get rid of the contradictions in the Koran-by their doctrine of abrogation-for they pretend that "God commanded feve"ral things in the Koran, which, for good reafons,
were afterwards revoked and abrogated." Thus do fome of our Chriftian Doctors treat the Old Testament, in order to establish certain doctrines which they suppose to be taught in the New Testament respecting marriage,
Prophets, hath in thefe laft days Spoken unto us by His Son. Thefe words are expressly and particularly addreffed to the Hebrews; and the whole subsequent epiftle proves the uniformity and unchangeableness of the Divine will, and that the Chriftian difpenfation declared none other things than Mofes and the Prophets did fay fhould come to pass. Comp. Acts xxvi. 22.
But to return once more to oUR SAVIOUR's discourse with the Pharifees :-Can it be imagined that CHRIST, fo remarkable for his precifion, fo thoroughly accurate in all He faid on every other point, should use so little in this, as not to make Himself understood by His hearers? Nay-that He fhould obferve fo little precision, as not to defcribe an offence, which we are to fuppofe Him to condemn ? The most flagrant inftances, the most obvious and palpable definitions of polygamy cannot be understood from what He fays.-He that putteth away his wife, * by bill of divorcement, and marrieth another-does not defcribe a man's taking two wives together, and cohabiting with both; nor-a man's having a wife, and taking another to her, and cohabiting with both. Such was the Old Teftament polygamy, not the putting away one in order to take ano
*This is the fenfe of the word douσal. Matt. xix. 7, 8, 9; and it is to be remarked, that this ingredient of putting away, enters into the definition, and therefore into the very essence of the offence which CHRIST condemns; but it is very certain that it is not of the effence of polygamy, nor does it enter into the definition of it.
ther. I do not recollect a fingle inftance in which this was ever done during the whole adminiftration of Mofes, the Judges, or Kings, any more than a fingle inftance where polygamy was forbidden +. However the law of Mofes forbad what our SAVIOUR mentions, just as much as His words do. If a man once took a woman, he never (except for adultery) could put ber away all his days; and though Mofes fuffered, in order to avoid worse confequences, divorces for other causes befide adultery, by not bringing the offenders to condign punishment in every inftance, yet there never was an inftance when the law of GOD did not condemn them. As for polygamy, Jofephus says, and the Bible proves what he fays to be true, that-" It was the custom of the Jews to live "with a plurality of wives; he calls it
TaTpov-the custom of their country, deriv "ed from their fathers."-The fame historian, writing the account of GOD's giving the deceased Saul's wives to David, obferves, that, "GOD gave David many wives, which "he might justly and lawfully have." The Peficta, on Lev. xviii. calls it, notiffimum"
a thing moft notorious, that He who faid "it was forbidden to have more wives than * one, was entirely ignorant of the law." See Grot. de jure, lib. ii. c. 5. § 9. in the note k.
Is it then, without the higheft abfurdity, to be imagined, that CHRIST fhould mention
+ Unless we understand Lev. xx i. 13, 14. to forbid it in the cafe of the hi gh-priest, as the Jews commonly understood it.