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the world,” &c. Two things are implied here. First : His pre-existence. He came : Whence? Secondly: His choice. He came, He was not sent by force. These two circumstances mark off Christ's existence in this world from that of all mankind. We had no pre-existence; we had no choice as to whether we should be or not be, be here or elsewhere. -II. HERE IS A DIVINE MORAL PURPOSE, “ To save sinners.” Antecedently it might have been expected that any Divine message from Heaven would have been commissioned to destroy sinners. Sinners are lost. (1) Lost to true ideas of life-(2) Lost to right principles of action-(3) Lost to true sources of enjoyment. III. HERE IS AN EMPHATIC CHRISTIAN TESTIMONY. Paul—and we may regard him here as the representative of all true Christians—declares this fact to be a "faithful one, and worthy of all acceptation.” First: It is credible. An irresistible argument for its credibility may be based upon two things : (1) Upon its congruity with all inspired prophecy, human aspirations, and general history; and (2) Upon the restorative victories which in all subsequent ages it has incontrovertibly achieved. Secondly: It is acceptable. Worthy of an entire acceptation. , Why? (1) On account of its essential importance. There no fact equal to it--all the physical, social, political, and moral facts in the history of this planet pale in the light of this. This fact exhibits most of the divine character, and renders the most service to the race. It is worthy therefore of all acceptance. IV. HERE IS A NOBLE SPECIMEN OF APOSTOLIC
“Of whom I am chief,” Though in reality there might have been greater sinners than himself, yet he felt that he was the greatest. He tells us that he was a blasphemer," a "persecutor," and "injurious.” Notwithstanding this he obtained mercy. Let none despair.
SUBJECT : Divine Revelation more Glorious in Christ than in
“But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away : How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious ? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.” - 2 Cor. iii. 7-11.
Analysis of Homily the four Hundred and fifty-third.
THERE are three facts which the contextstrikes on our attention.
First: The Infinite Father has made a special revelation of Himself to His human offspring. This is a fact answering to the a priori reasonings, and profound intuitions of humanity, attested by the internal characteristics of the document, the testimony of all history, and the wonderful influence which, through all ages, it has exerted upon the opinions and feeling, the doings and destiny of millions. Secondly: That this special revelation of Himself has mainly come through two great general sources :-Moses and Christ. We say mainly, not exclusively, for He made some small portions of His special revelation, prior to Moses, and subsequent to Christ. But these two seemed to be recognized as the two chief recipients, representatives and reflectors of this special revelation. Thirdly : That the special revelation of Himself, as it came through Christ, far transcends in glory the form it assumed as it came through Moses. The essence of the revelation is the same, but the forms differ, and the forms it assumes through Christ are the most “glorious.”* This is the position which
* We very much question the propriety of representing the Old Testament as the law, and the New Testament as the gospel. The New is full of law, and the Old is full of gospel. The truth is, it is the one revelation in different stages of development.
the apostle maintains in the text, and which he evidently maintains, in order to indicate the superiority of the apostolic ministry to that of Moses and his followers.
Now we shall give our attention at present to the position itself, rather than to the particular purpose which the apostle maintains; and in dealing with this position there are two things to be observed :
I. THAT THIS SPECIAL
OF HIMSELF AS IT CAME THROUGH MOSES WAS GLORIOUS. This the apostle admits without a moment's question. “If the ministration of death engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance,” &c. There are at least four things which serve to impress us with “ the glory” of divine revelation as it appears in connexion with Moses and his dispensation :- First: The wonderful display of divinity attending the expression of it on Mount Sinai. The apostle seems to have had an eye to this in his reference to the supernatural brightness that rested on “the face of Moses." Ex. xxxiv. 29-30. What wonderful things did Moses bear and see during the forty days he was up on that mountain, which burned with mysterious fires, echoed with unearthly thunders, and trembled at God's presence.
What overwhelming display of glory there must have been when the Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them, when He shined forth from Mount Paran, and came with ten thousands of His saints, and when from His hand went : “fiery law.” Ex. xix. and xx. Heb. xii. 18—22. Another thing which serves to impress us with its glory is :Secondly: The magnificence of its religious scenes and celebrations. The Temple, how splendid in its architecture, materials, and furniture! The priesthood, how imposing in their costume and their services !—The psalmody, how sublime! &c. Glorious things are spoken of the city of the living God. Thirdly: The stupendous miracles that stand in connexion with it. The wilderness was the theatre of great wonders, –
the water from the rock, the manna from Heaven, the mystic pillar, the dividing the Red Sea and the Jordan. What wonders too in Canaan, by the hands of Elijah, &c. Fourthly : The splendid intellects which were employed in connexion with it. The unequalled philosophy of Solomon, the lofty poetry of David, the majestic eloquence of Isaiah, the gorgeous imagery of Ezekiel, the profound melting strains of Jeremiah, &c. Divine revelation, as it stands in connexion with Moses, is associated with the most brilliant of human geniuses. For these reasons, amongst others, we say with Paul, that divine revelation, as it stands in connexion with Moses, was “glorious.”
II. THAT THOUGH RIOUS AS IT APPEARS IN CONNEXION WITH MOSES, IT IS MORE GLORIOUS AS IT APPEARS IN CONNEXION WITH CHRIST.
6 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious.' I shall confine myself entirely to the text for points to illustrate this position, points which appear to me to have been in the mind of the apostle when he penned these words. First: The Christian form of Divine revelation is more adapted to give life than the Mosaic. Its design in both undoubtedly was to give spiritual life. As it stood with Moses at its head, it was well charged with Divine words, which were "spirit and life." And millions, I will hope, were quickened by it. But notwithstanding this, men so frequently died spiritually under its influence, that Paul calls it, "the ministration of death.” The Jews exalted the letter, that killeth above the spirit that giveth life, and became so thoroughly the creatures of verbality, form and routine, that they died spiritually. They became a nation of formalists,-a “valley of dry bones." Compare the effect of the words of the revelation as it came from Christ, addressed by Peter on the day of Pentecost, to the moral effect of the preaching of any of the prophets under the law, and you will find that the one may justly be called a “ministration of death” as compared with the other. Secondly :
The Christian form of divine revelation is more emphatically spirit than the Mosaic. It is called here “the ministration of the spirit.” There was much spirit in the Mosaic form, it was full of the elements of eternal truth, ethical and religious, but not so much spirit as you have in it, as it stands associated with Christ. Christianity throbs through every sentence with the eternal spirit of truth. Then, too, the smaller amount of the spirit in the Mosaic was so overlaid with ceremony that it was almost buried out of sight, whereas the greater amount of the spirit of truth in connexion with Christianity is stripped almost entirely of ceremony. Baptism, and the Lord's supper are all. So that you may with propriety and emphasis call Christianity spirit as compared with the Mosaic revelation. Thirdly: The Christian form of divine revelation is more restorative than the Mosaic. The apostle speaks of one as the ministration of “condemnation," and the other, that of “righteousness.” The word righteousness would be as correctly rendered, if not more so, “justification,” and this would make the antithesis more direct.
While men were justified by the Mosaic revelation they were more frequently condemned. His revelation had an aspect of terrible severity. What fearful maledictions it contained. Contrast, for example, the “
of Moses in Deut. xxvii. 15-26, with the beatitudes of Christ, Matt. v. 3—12). Fourthly: The Christian form of divine revelation is more lasting than the Mosaic. “For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.” The great principles of truth contained in the Mosaic will never be done away; they are taken up in Christianity and will abide for ever. But all that was local, circumstantial, and ceremonial, is done away. Moses is no longer our master. Christianity is the permanent system. It is the final revelation of God to our world. There is nothing to succeed it.
Such then is a brief illustration of the apostle's position, and the subject in conclusion serves several important purposes :--First: It serves to expose the absurdity of making