Page images
PDF
EPUB

§ 93.

Collateral objects of the atonement.

There are various other benevolent objects, which were connected with the chief design of the death of Christ (1). Such were the termination of the Mosaic system of sacrifices (2), the abrogation (3) of the entire Mosaic (4) preparatory institutions (5), and the cessation of the distinction between the Jews and other nations (6). In addition to these effects of the atonement, other aspects of this event present themselves, which, though they would have been insufficient to induce God to sentence Jesus to so ignominious a punishment, could, nevertheless, well be combined with the main design of his death, after that event had been resolved on (7).

ILLUSTRATIONS.

1

1. The main design.—The apostle Paul declares (Gal. 2: 21), that the death of Christ would have been in vain, if it were not the ground on which our pardon is effected. But he, at the same time, infers (v. 11 &c.) that christians are no longer obligated to the observance of the Jewish ceremonies.

II. System of sacrifices annulled.--He (Christ) taketh away the first (sacrifices which are offered by the law), that he may establish the second (“I come to do thy will ”), by which will (concerning the offering up of the body of Jesus Christ once for all) we are sanctified—for by one offering, he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified But where there is remis

1 On the Design of Christ's death, p. 457. Comp. $ 73. Ill. 3 supra. VOL. II.

30

sion of sins, there is no more sacrifice for them. Heb. 10: 8— 18. Which was a figure for the time then present-appointed until the time of a better institution—But Christ came as Highpriest of future good things—by his own blood he entered once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption. Heb. 9: 9-12.

III. Abrogation of the ceremonial law.--Heb. 7: 12, now, if the priesthood is changed (transferred to Christ), it necessarily follows that the law (which admits of no other than Levitical priests) must also be changed. IV. Same subject continued.—

The Mosaic economy or the Mosaic law, is called the “Old” or “ first »2 covenant, in contradistinction from the “ New " or " second "4 covenant, which affords much greater privileges (Heb. 8: 6. 7:22), and is of eternal duration. Heb. 13: 20. 9: 12. “The one covenant," we are told, (Gal. 4:24)“ is from the Mount Sinai.” The ministry which, in 2 Cor. ch. 3, is placed in opposition to the ministry of the New Covenant, is termed “a ministry of the letter (v. 6) “engraven with letters on stone." v. 7. “ The reading of the Old covenant ” signifies “the reading of Moses." v. 14, 15. See also Heb. 8: 7, 9. 9: 1. A covenant is a solemn contract under certain conditions. The promise of Isaac's birth and the possession of Palestine, God confirmed to Abraham by the establishment of a covenant. Gen. 15: 4. 13: 9. In like manner, that subsequent legislation which was connected with this promise, was also represented as a covenant. Ex. ch. 24. And the same name is given to that new dispensation which God established for the benefit of all nations, through Jesus

[ocr errors]

1 2 Cor. 3: 14. Heb. 8: 13.

2 Heb. 8: 7–13. 9: 1, 13, 18. 3 Mark 14: 24. 1 Cor. 11: 24. 2 Cor. 3: 6. Heb. 8:8, 13. 9: 15. 12: 24; in all which passages the expression xawn diainun oceurs.

4 Ηeb. 8: 7, δευτερα διαθηκη.

[ocr errors]

Christ, the most exalted of all the descendants of Abraham, and which was the developement of that scheme which was begun by God with the promise of a son to Abraham. Morus, in his Epitome Theol. Christianae, says, “A covenant of God with man, is a promise of certain blessings, suspended on a condition. Formerly God promised to the Jews certain blessings, suited to them as a nation (temporal, civil happiness), if they would obey the laws of Moses. Now, he promises to all nations the pardon of sin, and eternal felicity, if they will believe.” In one passage, Heb. 9: 16, the New Covenant is, in the train of discussion, compared to a testament or bequest. Paul did not, however, intend by this comparison, that Jesus had to die in order that he might bestow on us an eternal inheritance. He had previously (ch. 8: 8-12) proved from the description of the New Covenant by Jeremiah, that God had promised redemption from the punishments of sin; and that this pardon required the death of Christ, he had previously shown from the idea of a priest (8: 3). For, according to Ps. 110: 4, a priest was required in the New Testament also. The reference to a testament, is merely a collateral idea, which resulted from the ambiguity of the word covenant, diainen; and the apostle does not dwell on it, but returns again (v. 18) to the principal feature of a covenant. Still, it was not unnatural to compare a covenant, which makes the inheritance of the family or people of God (Heb. 3: 6. 9: 15) dependant on the death of him who made the covenant, to a testament.

1 Foedus Dei cum hominibus, est promissio bonorum cum conditione, Olim Deus promiserat nationi Judaicæ bona buic nationi proprie destinata, si Mosaicam legem observarent. Nunc promittit omnibus nationibus veniam peccati felicitatemque sempiternam si TLOTEVOWO1, p. 160. See Meyer's Dissert. foederis cum Jehova notionem in V. T. scriptis frequentissime obviam illustrans, Goettingen, 1797.

V. Subject continued.—Gal. 2: 14—19. I regard the word “law" (vouos v. 16, 19) as signifying not merely the ceremonial law; for it evidently means every precept which connects our salvation with the observance of certain duties, with works and not faith. Still, the general proposition, that we cannot obtain salvation by the observance of the law, includes the particular truth, that we are not to perform the ceremonial precepts with a view of obtaining a title to salvation by them as some of the Jews vainly recommended. Acts 15: 1. If then the observance of them is obligatory on christians at all, there must be some other ground on which the obligation rests. But this was not the case, inasmuch as it could be proved that those ceremonies had only a conditional necessity for a certain time, that the views which led to their establishment, were of such a nature, that after the introduction of the new economy by Jesus Christ, they would rather be injurious than beneficial; in short it can be proved that they were preparatory to the advent of the Saviour (Gal. 3:19, 23), and therefore necessarily fell to the ground when the new economy was established by Jesus himself. Gal. 3: 25, but since faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster (or pedagogue, one who has the care of youth.) 4: 5. Heb. 8: 7–13, for if the first (covenant) had been faultless, then would no place have been sought for the second—he hath made the first old. The following remarks are made in explanation of Gal. 4: 4, 5, in the Programma de consensu epistolarum Pauli ad Hebraeos et Galatas : God sent his Son into the world, not only as a man, but as a Jew, who was under obligation to observe the Mosaic institutions (“ born under the law"), to purchase specifically for the Jews the right of filiation, and thus to deliver them from the law ένα τους υπο νομον εξαγοραση. For he delivered them from the dominion of the law, by liberating them from the fear of the punishment of the law, through his atonement, and by thus inspiring them with a filial disposition. How much less, then, could the other christians, who had been gentiles, and for whom Christ had also purchased the right of filiation, be brought under obligation to observe the Mosaic law when they embraced christianity ? Eph. 2: 15, 16, having abolished the law of commandments in ordinances. Col. 2: 14,“ God blotted out the handwriting (the Mosaic law) by letting Christ be crucified ;-he, as it were, nailed them to the cross of Christ (he destroyed the validity of the law).” The death of Christ, by which we obtain the pardon of our sins, renders superfluous the propitiatory sacrifices which prefigured the more perfect sacrifice, Christ himself (v. 17,) which are a shadow of things to come, but the body [substance) is Christ. The Mosaic law, in general, would fall to the ground with the Levitical sacrifices, as it was so closely interwoven with the laws concerning priests and sacrifices.1

1 On the Design of the death of Christ, p. 443. 2 Michaelis Dogmatik, $ 165.

VI. The wall of partition between the Jews and other nations broken down.—Ephes. 2: 13 &c, he (Jesus Christ) is our peace, who hath made both one-having, in his flesh, abolished the enmity-having slain the enmity on his cross. Col. 2: 14, “the handwriting (the Mosaic law), the ordinances of which prevented our union with the Gentiles." John 11: 51, Jesus Christ should die not only for the (Jewish) nation, but also that he might gather together in one the children of God that are scattered abroad.

VII. Secondary collateral designs of the atonement.--The confirmation of the doctrines of Jesus, and the exhibition of an obedience to God of a peculiar kind, belong to this class.2 An

1 Dissert. I. in Epist. ad Coloss. Not. 87 &c. 92 &c. 2 The Design of the death of Jesus, p. 442.

« PreviousContinue »