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and that a pure religion should overflow the earth as a mighty stream.
Wo unto you, that desire the day of the Lord ! to what end is it for you? The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light-even very dark, and no brightness in it. I hate, I despise your feast-days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt-offering's and your meat-offerings, I will not accept them : neither will I regard the peace-offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs, for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.'
VII. The prophetic canon closes with Malachi ; and the same doctrine respecting the ceremonial Law is still inculcated.
1. Through this prophet, God reproaches the Jews on account of their totally mistaking the intention of the Law; while, at the same time, they are so blinded by spiritual pride as not to perceive their error.
He then foretells their consequent rejection, and announces the conversion of the Gentiles.
If I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name : and ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar, and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, the table of the Lord is contemptible
-I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles : and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering : for my name shall be great among the Heathen, saith the Lord of hosts."
2. In another passage Malachi represents it as a part of the office of the Messiah, to purify and refine the ritual law, and to teach men to sacrifice in righteousness.
But who may abide the day of his coming ? And who shall stand, when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
VIII. From these remarks it appears, to use the language of our Church, that The Old Testament is not contrary to the New : for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man.3
The Patriarchs lived by faith ; their descendants journeyed through the wilderness by faith; and, both now and to the end of the world, the Christian warrior, armed with the shield of faith, advances to the spiritual combat. Christ is equally
1 Mal. i. 6--11.
Mal. iji. 2, 3.
the end of the ceremonial and the written Law. His advent; his one sacrifice of himself once offered for the sins of all mankind; the preaching of the Gospel; the transitory nature of the Law; the call of the Gentiles ; the rejection and final conversion of the Jews : are all predicted, with astonishing accuracy, under the Mosaical dispensation. We, who live during the latter days of God's covenant, have seen the accurate completion of all these prophecies, except the last; and we cannot doubt, but that it likewise will be accomplished, when it shall seem good unto the Almighty.
In the mean time, it is our duty to await the event with a lively faith and bumble confidence in the promises of God our Saviour, ever returning thanks, that, through his mercy, we the Gentiles are not faithless but believing.
SECT. V. .
THE · PRACTICAL CONNECTION OF THE LAW
AND THE GOSPEL.
THE LAW IS A SCHOOLMASTER TO BRING US
Few errors are more common among those, who rest satisfied with only an indefinite comprehension of the Christian scheme, than that of imagining the power of the Law to be totally abrogated by the Gospel. Persons of this description suppose, that in the Law indeed God required unsinning obedience; but, finding that men, by reason of their frailty, were unable to perform it, he was pleased to lower his requisitions, and, instead of a perfect, to enjoin only a sincere observance of his commandments.
The usual way of expressing this crude notion is in some such terms as the following.
God is merciful, and man is weak. Nothing therefore is required under the Christian dispensation but sincerity ; and, provided only we do our best, we are sure of salvation. The ancient statutes of Moses are now abolished ; and Christ has promulged a new law, in which the former. strictness of God's justice is abated.
However plausible this system may appear to a superficiał observer, it is fraught with error and replete with danger. A contemptuous neglect of the Law is superinduced; and the Antinomian beresy again makes its appearance in a more decent and less suspected garb. Instead of the absurd doctrine of salvation to be acquired by a bare belief notwithstanding a subsequently wicked and impenitent life, the equally absurd doctrine of salvation through the abstract mercy of God is here advanced upon similar principles : and they, who are often the foremost to expose the shocking tendency of the one, rush headlong into the errors of the other.!
may not be amiss, before the subject be discussed at large, to give a brief statement of the difference between Christianity and the two heretical extremes of Antinomianism and Self-righteousness.
Antinomianism maintains the doctrine of salvation by bare speculative belief-Christianity maintains the doctrine of salvation BY FAITH ONLY IN THE MERITS OF CHRIST, which faith, however, as necessarily produces good works, as a healthy tree does fruit-Self-righteousness maintains, that the cause meritorious of salvation is partly faith, and partly good works.