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time determined the length of the mourning, as may be inferred from the common custom mentioned in Eccles. xxii
. 12—“Seven days do men mourn for him that is dead; but for a fool and an ungodly man, all the days of his life."
The passover was instituted during the departure of the Israelites from Egypt_“Ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever ; seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread.”—Exod. xii. 15. If a Jew were asked, at the present day, how long that feast was observed, he would probably answer that it was meant to continue a week; and yet the passover was appointed before the institution of the Jewish sabbath. Subsequently, when the whole congregation murmured in the wilderness for want of bread~" The Lord said unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day; and it shall come to pass that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.”—Exod. xvi. 4. Paley considers “the transaction in the wilderness here recited as the first actual institution of the Sabbath,” and consequently as the origin of the weekly division of time; on the contrary, the double provision on the sixth day seems to me to have been made in reference to the already existing division into weeks, and consequently to prove some previous distinction of the seventh day.
Some writers consider the system of weeks as a human device suggested by the planets, which have confessedly given names to the seven days; but the generality of Christians ascribe it to Almighty God,“ who made the heavens and the earth and all the host of them, and who blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Keysoe Vicarage, Beds.
W. B. WINNING, (To be continued.)
EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS.
SIR,— The peculiarity in St. Paul's style, brought forward in my last two letters, arranges and harmonizes the Triads of consecutive clauses which present themselves under different points of view, in the first three chapters of the Epistle to the Ephesians. These Triads of the apostle's knowledge in the mystery of Christ” occupy the whole of the doctrinal portion, and reveal how « all things," both in heaven and on earth, “work together for good" to us, who know ourselves, from the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, to have been “called in the same Christ into faithfulness," “into whom the Father has predestined us according to the good pleasure of his will.” To overlook so important an arrangement of the compound parts obscures the Revelation and deranges the harmony, which, on the admission of the peculiarity, pervades all “the economy of the mystery."
After the salutation on grace and peace in the introduction, St. Paul, in i. 3, 14, reveals that the Father has blessed us in all grace in heaven in Christ, “ in the same manner as He has chosen us in Him on
earth, to be us, holy and blameless before his face, in love; in consequence of having predestined us (1) into sonship by Jesus Christ ; (2) into Him (Christ) according to the good pleasure of his will; (3) into praising of the glory of His grace, in which he has made us accepted in the Beloved." He then goes on to infer (from the Father“ having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to his good pleasure, which he has purposed in Him (Christ), that in Him we have been called (1) into heirship ;* (2) into being us (faithfulness ; (3) into praising of the same glory,” into which He has predestined us.
In these Triads, the heirship, faithfulness, and gratitude, into which we have been called in Christ by the gospel
, respectively answer to, and develope to our minds, the Sonship, Christ, and the same gratitude, into which the Father has predestined us by His Son. The one are “ the riches of His grace, made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence;" and the other are the promised blessings and benefits of predestination, contemplated in the Divine mind. The apparent differences in the terms arise entirely from the different points of view in which we are made to stand in relation to them, and disappear so soon as this difference of vision is taken into account. According to the revealed Triad, we are the objects of predestination in the sight of God. He has “predestined us into Sonship by Jesus Christ." According to the inferred Triad, we are the subjects of vocation in our own sight; “ in Christ, we have been called into heirship.” This difference between divine revelation and human inference accounts for the differences between the Sonship and the Heirship, and between Christ and faithfulness.
Sonship is the relation of a son to a father: heirship is the rights and privileges of an heir during his sonship. As such, the Sonship, into which the Father has predestined us by his Son, is the relation which we, as one with Christ, in whom He has made us accepted, bear to the Father; and not that which Christ, as one with us, bears to Him, for He has predestined us into the Sonship; and not the Sonship into us, as some enthusiastically and vainly imagine. The lot, or "Heirship, also into which we have been called in Christ by the gospel, is “ the liberty of the glory of the children of God''+ during our sojourn upon earth, which our gratitude for God's grace makes known; for so soon as “ we who have first trusted," or brought forth hope, “in Christ, praise the glory of the Father's grace in which He has made us accepted in Hini," we are “ filled into all the fulness of God” (iii. 19); “put on the new man, which according to God has been created in the righteousness and holiness of the truth” (iv. 24); and become one with Christ, not only in a posteriori view of vocation, as “ fellow heirs in Christ by the gospel” (iii. 6), but also in a priori view of predestination, as the sons of God by his Son.
With this heirship, or lot, the context always combines the idea of vocation. Hope of His calling, (i. 18.) Fellow heirs by the gospel, (iij. 6.) Called in one hope of your calling, (iv. 4,) &c. &c. I have followed the Vulgate in combining them in this passage.
† Rom. viii. 21.
Again, our faithfulness, into which we have been called in Christ by the gospel, not only puts on Christ, as one with us, but also“ fills us into all the fulness of God,” as one with Him; for faith is the mean, " by which Christ dwells in our hearts,” and becomes one with us, in order that we may not only “comprehend” the grace of God, and " experience the love of Christ,” but also “that we may be filled into all the fulness of God” (iii. 17, 19), and thereby become one with Christ, and spiritually take up the position, in which the two views meet; for “the man, Christ Jesus, is the one Mediator between God and men” (1 Tim. ii. 5), in whom the Father has “made us accepted in his Sonship, which Sonship also he has made to abound toward us in all the wisdom and the prudence of our heirship, i. e., in all the liberty of the glory of the children of God. “ Into this lot we have been called in Christ,” by the gospel ; and personal gratitude, from being present with us, is, on that account, common to both points of view. According to the peculiarity, our personal gratitude is that personal benefit which not only makes known to us our heirship in Christ, but also assures us of the Sonship, in which the Father has made us accepted in the same Beloved; it is that holiness in love which makes known to us that we are blameless before God's face in love.
If, then, the Triad of predestination corresponds with that of vocation in all its component parts, it follows that the three personal ends and characteristic marks of election-our blamelessness before God's face, our faithfulness, and our holiness, in love, i. e., spiritually discerned and gratefully acknowledged, as experiences of Christ's love (iii. 19)—respectively correspond with the Sonship, Christ, and the gratitude of predestination ; because they are respectively our heirship, faithfulness, and the same gratitude, into which we have been called in Christ by the gospel; and the ways in which predestination into grace and vocation into favour reciprocally develope themselves. The subsequent context fully proves this conclusion,
I. To be “ blameless before God's face in love” is to know what is the hope “of His calling in" ourselves, “ the holy" (i. 18). In other words, our blamelessness before God's face in love, is personal blamelessness spiritually discerned and gratefully acknowledged. As such, it is our comprehension of grace-of freedom from the penalty of sin, that we have been called into heirship in Christ," and “ are fellow heirs in Christ by the gospel" (iii. 6), because the Father has predestined us into sonship by Jesus Christ.
II. To be “ us in love” is“ to know what is the exceeding greatness of the Father's power to usward, who believe according to the influence of the might of His strength, which he has influenced in Christ (i. 19, 20). It is to know that we are the faithful in Christ Jesus” (i. I), from “having been grounded and rooted in love," from our "experience of Christ's love" (iii. 18, 19). In other words, our faithfulness in love is personal faithfulness, spiritually discerned and gratefully acknowledged. As such, it is our learning of Christ and putling on of the new man in Him; that “we have been called in Christ into faithfulness," and "are of the same body in Christ by the gospel"
VOL. V.-Jan. 1834.
(iii. 6), because the Father has“ predestined us into Christ according to the good pleasure of His will.
III. To be “holy in love” is to know what are the riches of the “glory of the Father's inheritance in” ourselves, “the holy” (i. 18). In other words, holiness in love is personal holiness, spiritually discerned and gratefully acknowledged. As such, it is our experience of peace, of freedom from the power of sin, that we have been called in Christ into praising of the “ Father's glory,” and “are partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel” (iii. 6), because he has “predestined us into the same praising of the glory of His grace, in which He has made us accepted in the same Beloved.”
Hence, the three consecutive clauses both of revealed predestination and of inferred vocation respectively correspond with the three personal ends of election, spiritually discerned and gratefully acknowledged; and this conclusion proves the statement of the proposition (i. 3, 4), that “the Father has blessed us in all spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, in the same manner as He has chosen us in Him, on earth to be us, holy and blameless before His face, in love."
In the Triad (i. 5,6), according to the peculiarity, predestination into personal gratitude is the revealed consequence of predestination “ into Christ, according to the good pleasure of the Father's will;" and this again is the renealed consequence of that into divine grace, by Jesus Christ. But although scripture thus far enlightens our path in the investigation of the counsels of the Most High, yet we ought to remember that the light, thus given, is reflected on our field of vision, and that we can only see the spirit of this a priori view of God's good will toward us, THROUGH the truth of the a posteriori view of His dealings with us, which meets us face to face in “ the economy of the fulness of the times,” and stamps the impression of itself upon our hearts. In the a posteriori view taken by St. Paul, i. 11, 12, i. 18, 20, and iii. 6, we see the reflected light of the a priori view in i. 5, 6; and know, from our experience, of the things that belong unto our peace, that “ we have been called in Christ into heirship, faithfulness, and gratitude,” by the gospel ; in consequence of the Father having predestined us into sonship, Christ, and the same gratitude. But the revelation on peace (ii. 14, 17) receives a stronger reflection from predestination, than appears in any of the foregoing passages. This passage also, like those, resolves itself into a Triad of consequences, and receives a stronger reflection, because the description is more elaborate, and gives an account of the means which have been resorted to and employed to bring “into the economy of the fulness of the times,” and to make known to us," the promised blessings and benefits of the predeterminate counsels.
I. Jesus Christ has “abolished the law of commandments, in ordained sacraments,* in order that He fas Christ Jesus, ii. 10) might create the two nations, Jews and Gentiles) in Himself into one new man. In one baptism, therefore, we, whom the Father has predestined into sonship by Jesus Christ, have been created in Christ Jesus
Theodoret, Theophylact, and many others, thus render the passage.
into the one new man, and “sealed in Him in the Holy Spirit of promise into gratitude" (i 13, 14).
II. Jesus Christ“ has destroyed in His own flesh the enmity, in order that He [in the same flesh, and as Christ Jesus) might reconcile both (denominations-circumcision and uncircumcision) in one body to God by the cross.” In Christ the man's nature, therefore, we, whom the Father has predestined into Him (Christ], have been reconciled in one body (church) to God by the cross.
III. Jesus Christ, having come, has preached peace to the two; for by Him both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” In one Holy Spirit of Promise, therefore, in whom we have been sealed in baptism, we, whom the Father has predestined into gratitude, have access to Him by His Son, by whom also He has predestined us into sonship.
Hence « one baptism” is the ordained mean by which we have been admitted into heirship, faithfulness, and gratitude : for, according to St. Paul, this ordained sacrament, in which our Saviour has abolished the Mosaic ritual, not only personally admits us into gratitude and the one body of Christ, but also spiritually seals us in the one Lord, “ whom the Father has given to be Head over all the things to the church, which is His body (i. 22, 23); and also in the one Holy Spirit of Promise, “ in whom we have access into the Father.” The one baptism, therefore, is not only " the earnest of our promised inheritance, until the redemption of the keeping alive"* (i. 13, 14), but also the sealing and delivery of the bond of peace, “ in which we are to endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit,” (iv. 3); for in our acknowledgment of this part of the economy of the mystery of Christ we, who have been called in Christ into heirship, and whom the Father has predestined into sonship by Jesus Christ, know that we have been “ created in Christ Jesus into the one new man.'
Ephes. i. 3-14, literally translated, and subjected to the restrictions imposed by the peculiarity in consecutive clauses, and by the distinction between the person of the Father and the office of our Lord, shews that “IN CHRIST THE WHOLE BUILDING, fitly framed together,” BOTH IN DESIGN AND EXECUTION, “groweth into an holy temple in the Lord; in whom also the personally holy,” so soon as they are spiritually enlightened, are “ builded up together into a tabernacle of God in the Spirit,” (ii
. 21, 22). As touching predestination, the passage, thus translated and restricted, will be found to reinstate the Son of God in his office of the promised and predestined Messiah," in whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed,” (Gen. xxii. 18); although it does not meet with and decide the metaphysical questions of fate and free will; but leaves them exactly where it finds them, undecided and untouched. The peculiarity prevents us from enthusiastically confounding personal gratitude in ourselves with Divine grace in Christ; and the distinction prevents us from superstitiously confounding the office of our Lord with the person of the Father, so as to