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NECESSITY OF A PERFECT DISPENSATION
LIKE THE CHRISTIAN,' ARGUED FROM
6, FORBIDS REVENGE. 7. ST; PAUL'S PA-
VERAL RESPECTS. CONCLUSION. THUS have we at length arrived, through Neceffity of the medium of type, prophecy, and prac-difpenfaticë, at the true connection between the the Chrif
Mofaical the imper
the Mo. faical.
sect. Mofaical and Christian dispensations. We
have seen that the former, instead of being
destroyed, has been fulfilled, having reMoof ceived the most glorious attestation of its
truth, by the completion of its ceremonies, and the accomplishment of its predictions. We have beheld in the Gospel the exactness of this completion ; and have observed that Moses and the Law were only a shadow of good things to come, preparatory to the manifestation of a greater Prophet, and a purer religion. Let us now finally consider the necessity of a perfe& dispensation like the Christian, in consequence of the imperfection of the Jewish.
1. The Law,
I. 1. The imperfection of the Mofaical in what' dispensation does not consist in its being perfe&t. inadequate to the end and design, with As being which it was promulged, but in its being of a whole. only one part of the grand revelation of
God's purpose to save mankind through the blood of the Messiah. In this sense, even Christianity itself, abstracted from Judaism, as it was by the Gnostics and other heretics, may be deemed imperfect. But, if the end alone of Judaism be considered, in that respect it doubtless, as proceeding from God, is perfect; for it certainly an
swered the design of its promulgation com- CHAP.
perfection, of which his nature is capable.
2. This dispensation is likewise imperfect in another respect : it is designed only calculated for a small nation, not for the whole world, small naIn fact, a part of its end was, to separate the Israelites from the rest of mankind, which it effectually accomplished. Hence many of its ordinances are of such a nature, that they are not calculated for
general observation. The Jews, for instance, were, commanded to appear personally in Jerusalem at their great festivals ; and if all men had been converted to Judaism, this law would have been equally binding
But it would be impossible for the greater part of mankind to repair to Jerusalem three or four times in the year; for if this was a necessary part of religion, the lives of half the world would entirely be spent in a weárisome, neverending pilgrimage.
superseded by their realities.
3. Lastly, most of the Jewish rites were iv. primarily memorials of their deliverance as
a particular people'; in this sense, thereAs having fore, it would be a manifest abfurdity for pical rites those persons to observe them, who had plished, and never experienced such deliverances, and
were not in the least interested in keeping up the recollection of them. And if they be taken in their figurative and secondary sense, it would be still more absurd, to be bound to an observance of the Thadows, when in poffeffion of the substance. Among other rites, circumcision was instituted for the express purpose of separating the defcendants of Abraham from every other nation: but when the wall of partition was broken down, a strange impropriety would have been committed, if every nation had adopted what was the peculiar and distinguishing badge of one alone.
II. II. An universal 'revelation is necessary Christianity perfect, by for an universal conversion of mankind. being in every ne- Hence, when the time appointed in the point the secret councils of God arrived, and when of the Law. the Gentiles were now to be called to the
same privileges with the Jews, a difpensation was youchsafed fully adequate to
this important end. Whatever were the CHAP. imperfections of the Law, their very opposites were the perfections of the Gospel.
1 Not bur
I. If the one was burdened with numberless rites and ceremonies, significant in- dened by deed, yet gendering to bondage; the other uses none, but such as are necessary for decency and good order, and blesses us with the enjoyment of a spiritual liberty, which we must not suffer to degenerate into licentiousness. Herein appears the ingratitude of those who abuse that liberty, having itching ears; and who weakly suffer themselves to be carried about by every wind of doctrine. Though we are subject to no other Spiritual head but Christ, and not to any one earthly bishop, as the Romanists falsely pretend; yet are we equally bound to preserve, as far as in us lies, the unity of Christ's church, and not to inflict fresh wounds on his precious body, by vain babblings, and diffenfions, and questions, which favour of worldly wisdom, not of heavenly
2. If the Mofaical dispensation was confined to one people, the Christian, like the for all manglorious luminary of day, extends its be