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weapons of man's forging, and to a fire which is not kindled at God's altar, for the discomfiture or the destruction of those who gather not with us, or even of those whom we may rightly regard as the enemies of God and of the truth, we not only may, but as Christians we ought, to desire the speedy coming of that day when a final separation shall be made between the tares and the wheat, and when the angels—not men—shall receive the summons to gather the tares together, and to " bind them in bundles to burn them." (Matt. xiii. 30.)
In what manner the future satisfaction of the righteous in the destruction of the wicked is to be reconciled with their present earnest prayers, and anxious solicitude, and untiring efforts for their salvation, we are probably as unable to understand as we are to comprehend how it was that our Blessed Lord, when He had just spoken the awful words recorded in the 27th verse of the 19th chapter of St. Luke, "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me," forthwith proceeded to approach the doomed city and to pour forth over it, with tears, His compassionate lament, because the things which belonged to their peace were for ever hidden from the eyes of its inhabitants. It is sufficient for us to know that the utmost solicitude for the salvation of our brethren, the most fervent prayers, and the most unceasing labours for the promotion of their present and eternal welfare, are not only consistent with the entire acquiescence of the whole soul in the execution of God's purposes of vengeance, but have been exhibited in the most perfect form by One who has been revealed to us, not only as an atoning Saviour, but also as a righteous Judge. In exact proportion, then, as our wills become conformed to the Divine will; in exact proportion as we learn to !field the undivided homage of our whole souls to that reveation of the Divine will and purposes which is given to us alike in the writings of the Old and of the New Testament; in that same proportion we shall learn to believe that the claims of justice and holiness are in perfect accordance with the fullest manifestations of mercy and of love; and in that same proportion also, shall we become prepared, whilst yet on earth, to join in the new song which is alike the song of Moses, the lawgiver, and of the Lamb, the Redeemer; and in sight of those great and terrible judgments which are about to be poured out upon the world, of which the destruction of Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea was but a faint type and distant foreshadowing, to mingle our voices with those who, having learned the song on earth, shall hereafter attune it to "the harps of God," saying, "Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints." (Rev. xv. 3.)
THE TWO MINISTRATIONS.
No trait in St. Paul's character is more remarkable than his candour and impartiality. He always gives others credit for excellence as far as he can, and finds oftentimes a vantageground in this absence of mere partisanship. What he may have been by nature, we have less opportunity of judging, though it would not be difficult to sketch to ourselves his portrait; but grace certainly made him eminently candid and impartial. His sermon at Athens, his defence before Agnppa, his pleadings with his own countrymen, all bring out this characteristic; but perhaps nowhere is it more prominent than in the passage where he contrasts the two "ministrations, (2 Cor. iii. 9,) and seeks to reclaim the Corinthians from the bewildering influence of the Judaizing teachers, who had corrupted and perverted his simple message. He fully concedes that there was a glory in the Mosaic code and ceremonial; as though he would tell them, It is no wonder that you should have been drawn aside by what is so attractive; and then says to them in effect, I only wish to lead you to something higher, truer, and better.
Such a comparison between the two dispensations is as apposite now as then; and we venture to devote a few pages to the elucidation of three or four points of the remarkable parallel, or rather contrast, which he institutes between the economy of Moses and of Christ. He calls the one "the ministration of condemnation"—" the ministration of death written and engraven on stones"—"the letter"—"the Old Testament (or Covenant)." He calls the other "the ministration of righteousness"—" the ministration of the Spirit"—" the Spirit" (which we understand, with Bengel, as the Holy Ghost)—" the New Testament (or Covenant)." Many thoughts are suggested by this avTKtToixCa, a method so favourite with St. Paul.
There was a glory in "the ministration of Condemnation. The solemn utterance which spoke from Sinai, and not only pronounced the Law, but awarded death as the penalty of its violation, was surely a voice that spoke of God. It told of the inflexible truth, holiness, and justice of Him who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, "who looketh on the moon &nd it shineth not, and in whose sight the stars are not pure." All must feel that there is Divine Majesty in the announcement, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them." All hearts own that it is God who speaks in the sentence, "The soul that sinneth it shall die." Even when the voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars of Libanus, the voice of the Lord is a glorious voice. "But that which was made glorious, had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth." The curses of the Law, which spoke death and ruin to man, forfeited as is his life, merited as is his condemnation, give by themselves a partial, nay, when viewed alone, even an erroneous, view of the Divine Being. They tell nothing of His Love; and is not Love His very Name? Here, first and chiefly, is the superior glory of the Gospel. It is "the ministration of Righteousness." It tells how, whilst the law remains in all its sanctity, unimpeached and inviolate, man, the sinner, may be acquitted at its tribunal. Herein indeed is Love; but herein is glory too. It is a revelation of God's character, which wakes the praise of angels. Will God only pardon through the substitution of the innocent for the guilty, and must this innocent substitute be none other than His Well-beloved Son? Then, though the Law shows something of God's justice—and it is all that it does show—in the Gospel even that justice is declared still more solemnly. Add only that it is for rebels dead in law that this rescue is provided, and how ineffable the manifestation of the Divine Love! Hero is the full-orbed glory of God's harmonized attributes: "Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peaco have kissed each other."
But another contrast is intimated. The "ministration of death" was " written and engraven on stones;" and this had a glory of its own, too bright for the steadfast gaze of the Israelites. The "epistle of Christ" was written "not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God; not on tables of stone, but on fleshy tables of the heart." In other words, one was a material, the other a moral, glory; one appealed to the senses, the other to the soul; one was outward and visible, the other inward and unseen. The elder Covenant had a grandeur of its own. It was given through the intervention (Siarayis) of Angels. There were the fire, and blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the trumpet sounding long, and waxing louder and louder. The face of Moses,'most divinely fair* (&oTerosr(j,0eiji), as wo are told he was before, shone anew with the light of heaven, when he came down from the mount; and he brought with him a heavendirected design for the structure and details of the Tabernacle —the curtains of fine twined linen, and blue and purple and scarlet, with cherubim of cunning work, the perfume of galbanum and stacte and onycha and frankincense, the high priest's ephod andbroidered robe and girdle and breast-plate of judgment with its Urim and Thummim, "made," it is expressly said, " for glory and for beauty." And 500 years afterwards, this pomp of outward circumstance reached its zenith in the still more gorgeous splendour of Solomon's Temple, when not only were the materials employed more costly, but the proportions of the Tabernacle were doubled, "according to the pattern which David had by the spirit of the courts of the house of the Lord." Here was enough to sway the sense and speak to the eye of the Israelite. But this glory was to be done away, and in its place was to come something infinitely higher and truer—that which should deal with man's spirit, speak to man's soul. It is true indeed, that, even as regards material glory, the Gospel Dispensation could produce its marvels too. There was the ministry of Angels; the Lord Christ's mastery over the visible powers of nature and the bodily frame of man; the solemn close of his life, the darkening of the sun and the rending of the rocks. Even the visible scene on Calvary had accompaniments of grandeur that might well vie with Sinai. But the lustre of the Gospel above the Law lies not in the seen, but in the unseen. The Lord is not in the wind, nor the earthquake, nor the fire, but in the still small voice. Surpassing in power, variety, and benevolence as were our Saviour's miracles, the truest greatness of His life is to be sought, not in the marvels that He did, but in what He was, and what He makes man. He was known to be the Messiah, not only because He opened blind eyes and raised the dead, but because the poor had the Gospel preached to them. He reared no temple; for, on the contrary, He introduced the hour when God's worship should no longer be confined to the mountain of Samaria or Jerusalem, no longer be local, but universal, when, far better, the true worshippers should worship the Father of spirits in spirit and in truth. He called not to swell His train, the singers to go before, nor the minstrels to follow after, nor the damsels in the midst to play with the timbrels. He chose the broken heart, the laden sigh, the smile of peace, in those whom He makes kings and priests to God—a company not visible to the eye of sense, but whose spirits ascend even now to the throne, and whose names are written in heaven. His visage was marred more than any man, and His form than the sons of men; but the look that melted fallen Peter's heart was something far above the brightness of Moses' face, though his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. And imposing as must have been the presence of the Jewish High-priest, when robed for the solemn ceremonial of the temple-worship; in the majesty of the Saviour's meekness, in His marvellous stooping from heaven to earth, in His silent patience under insult, and love strong as death, there is a stateliness of condescension, an inner glory and beauty, which far outshines all the externals of the earthly Zion, and justifies the lofty title, "the glorious Gospel of the blessed God." "Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed."
But the religion of the Old Testament times had its glory, inasmuch as it ever taught its disciples to be looking forward to something better and greater, and to Him that should come to introduce it. The creeds of old heathenism looked backward. Their golden age was past, never to return. But the Law and the Prophets had this special excellence, that they taught that the Desire of all nations was yet to come, and bade the people "believe on Him that should come after them." Tacitus tells us of the wide-spread persuasion emanating from Judaea of an universal monarch who was to come from the East, and that this was engendered "antiquis sacerdotum libris." Many there were, accordingly, "looking for redemption in Jerusalem," "waiting for the consolation of Israel," expecting that when Messias was come He would tell them all things. (John iv. 25.) Surely it was a glory to hold out such a hope to a blind desponding world. But if the hope was glorious, how much more its accomplishment. If it was good to foster the expectation, how far better to have it realized. And so it is. "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." The law was introductory, the Gospel is final. The law was the scaffolding, the Gospel is the building. No need now of meats, and drinks, and divers washings; for Christ is come. The New Testament interprets and completes the Old. We know what the institutions of Moses meant. Ritual, ceremony, history, triumphal song—all are clear in the light that streams from the Sun of Righteousness; all the lines converge to this centre; all is unlocked by this master-key. The Gospel is the crown and summit of all previous revelations, the substance of Mosaic shadows, the spirit of the letter, the antitype of the-type. The "ministration of righteousness exceeds in glory."
Again, there is a grandeur in the Moral Law. Its language with majestic sternness is,—Do this, and thou shalt live: transgress, and die. A rigidly just government, strictly repressive of offences, must always command our respect. An autocracy, which has the power to punish, and which does punish with undeniable justice and unfailing certainty, cannot fail to claim homage. It has a glory of its own. Power, even if it be mere physical force, has something in it sublime. But here its greatness ends; though it can coerce, it cannot reform; it may crush rebellion, it cannot engender loyalty. Herein, again, the glory of the " ministration of condemnation" pales before the glory of the "ministration of righteousness." "The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." The law is a mere outward counteraction of the internal corruption of man, a corruption which will not be cured from without; and hence, when it comes home to the conscience, it can only awaken a sense of spiritual death and merited unhappiness. But the Gospel gives