with a kingdom of exclusive temporal privileges, but with the alternative threat of an utter dissolution under the fiery judgment of God's wrath thereon in the day (or age) when he should make use of an election of grace therein to establish a new and everlasting covenant with the seed of Abraham by which Jew and Gentile should be spiritually made one in Christ, that all the families of man might be partakers of the promises made to Abraham's seed, as called through Isaac in Christ.
This gospel of the kingdom is by the Holy Ghost called an " everlasting gospel" (Rev xiv, 6) ; and St Paul certainly never preached the gospel of the kingdom as proclaiming a temporary and exclusively Gentile dispensation of Christianity, to be superseded by the gospel of another kingdom of exclusively Jewish privileges restored. On the contrary, after shewing in the most unecpiivocal form, and under many variations of proof, that Jew and Gentile were spiritually made one in Christ, under the gospel kingdom of God's new and everlasting covenant with the seed of Abraham, he provides for the security of that foundation against the recurring inroads of an anti-Christian Judaism (1 John iv, 3), by this solemn adjuration.—" Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto yon than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."
In a limited and figurative acceptation, the Christianity of ordinary life, individually and nationally, has often had so little of the true spirit of Christ's gospel therein, that it might ironically be called a Gentile Christianity, as corrupted by Gentile traditions ; even as the Mosaic law of sacrifice had been misunderstood by the Jews in a form, making their sacrifices as those of the heathen in God's sight. In correction of this evil, the world is no doubt doomed to undergo perpetual desolations, assimilated in character, and manifesting, as it were, an earthly eternity of the judgment which dates the beginning of the end of the world from the events of the Apostolic age.—Heb. ix, 26-28; 1 Peter iv, 7-19.
There is perhaps another sense in which the errors of Christians run parallel with those of Jewish exclusivencss in causing God's new Covenant with all Israel to be regarded as a kind of exclusively Gentile dispensation of Christianity, seeing that there are many amongst us who profess to believe that the Jews are without covenanted hope of participation in this salvation until they shall have assumed the name of Christians. But converts to a name, and proselytes to righteousness, may often be two widely different things ; and it is reasonable that we should always place more reliance on the spiritual mercy than on the nominal badge of which it must necessarily be the precursor. " For with the heart man believetli unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.'"
Many were brought nigh unto God in the spirit of a righteous faith, by the gift of the Holy Ghost, before the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch, Acts xi, 26. Again, if Jew and Gentile cannot, in any qualified sense, be made spiritually one in Christ, without also being one in name, why, both in history and prophecy, are the Jews, in all the lands of their foreign settlements, as at Jerusalem, continuously referred to as one particular family of the seed of Abraham, distinct from all others in some respects, even when living amongst them in political harmony, though " the obedience of faith " in the wisdom of God, when ordering their afflictions, as when surrounding them by mercies ?
There was a peaceful harmony of spirit between Daniel and the righteous of the Gentile world in the days of the Babylonian captivity, the devout Jews believing by faith that it was ordered " for their good (Jerem. xxiv, 5), and the righteous of the Gentile world appreciating (though imperfectly) their own blessedness therein, Dan. iii, 28-30 ; vi, 25-28. Isaiah also attributed the harmony of Jew and Gentile by a righteous faith in Messiah's day, to the then outpouring of God's spirit upon all flesh for their common good when subscribing themselves by different names. Thus, xliv, 3-6, " I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground : I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring : and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses."
" One shall say, I am the Lord's" (viz., of Messiah's people, and therefore a Christian) ; " and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob " (as if to mark his identity with the Jews of the twelve tribes, and with the expectation that the glory of their typical kingdom will be restored to them as Jews) ; " and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel," the prevailer,—to signify his preference to being identified in name with that regeneration of the kingdom of the twelve tribes which (pertaining equally to Jew and Gentile) constitutes the spiritual kingdom of Christ's everlasting gospel.
Though we "rejoice in the Lord " under the name of Christians, when righteously conforming to God's new covenant of mercy in Christ—preferring salvation only " by a way of holiness''—not presumed to be natural, but the gift of the Holy Ghost, as the imparted grace of Christ's spirit; the Jews, who manifest their faith in righteousness and good will towards man, do in fact interpret the moral ordinances of the Mosaic law in the spirit of Christianity, and not by the ritualistic qiiibbles of the anti-christian Jews, who made the word of God of none cffect by their traditions in the Apostolic ago.
We know, moreover, that Christ did not condemn the Jews of that generation for a righteous observance of the Mosaic law (John v, 45-47) but for coverings corruption of the moral law (Is. xxx, 1), by an unrighteoiis observance of the ceremonial ordinances instituted by Moses.
Thence arose that stiff-necked resistance of the Holy Ghost which Christ denounced as tending to demand his crucifixion. This it was which added the martyrdom of Stephen to that of God's former prophets.—Lukexii, 10 ; Actsvii, 51, 52, with Matt, xxiii, 34-39; and Rev. xviii, 24.
In the subjoined verses I have tried to express my thoughts on this subject briefly, for the purpose of a techuical memory, if clear enough :—
Was this article helpful?