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with a future state, with immortality, with heaven and God. The whole of the Mosaic dispensation is evidently intended to bear upon this point of elevating and spiritualizing the mind, though its author was honoured only to lay the wide and divinely planned foundations, and prepare for the future structure; just as he was honoured only to lead that people to the borders of the long-desired land of promise, and to see its glory and riches from afar. But the whole of that celestial and living superstructure was in perfect and visibly advancing harmony with the original plan.
Having extended our argument, however, so far, the only thing we can now do, is to show the preparatory nature and designed bearing of the whole of the system of the Old Testament upon the perfected and promised dispensation of the Gospel. The very nature of the religion was local, and limited, and partial. Its design was to preserve truth on the earth, till mankind had been tried, in their folly and in their wisdom, whether they would or could, of themselves, search after and discover God, and truth and happiness, by separating and fencing off, with an impenetrable barrier, a chosen body of witnesses to maintain the truth of the promises, and receive the successive additions which were to be made to it, and so be able to verify the whole to the world, when the time for its universal extension should be come. The religion of truth, in its full perfection, from its very nature, and in the will of God, was intended for all the world of moral and intelligent beings; but many of the rites of this preparatory plan could only be intended for a limited extent of the earth. Yet from the
very commencement of the selection, it was announced to Abraham that it was intended to be a blessing to all the families of the earth. The sceptre of separate power was not to depart from that people till Shiloh came, to whom the gathering of the nations should be. Moses announced that another and a greater prophet should arise after him, to whom they should listen in every thing. To David it was declared, that to one of his descendants the heathen should be given for an inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession. In fact, almost every one of the prophets speak of the abrogation of these temporary institutions, and of the covenant made with their fathers at Sinai--of days of glory and universal dominion-of days when all men should know the Lord, and his law should be written in their hearts when the mountain of the Lord's house should be established upon the the hills, and all nations should flow into it.
Now, this calling of the Gentiles, this universal extension of the truth to all nations, is altogether inconsistent with the constant permanence of that system of local ceremonies and necessarily limited rites. The necessity and the wisdom of this partial and limited demonstration of the moral government of God we have already seen, and thence concluded the divinity of its origin. And when we consider the circumstances of the world, when that preparatory system was designed and predicted to end, as universally sending up the call of erring and suffering humanity to the throne of heaven for a more powerful and holier principle of directing truth than man had been able to devise--when we look at the ruinous and judgment-shaking, or overthrow of all the most ancient governments of the world, we will be led to the conclusion that this was the most appropriate period chosen in the council of heaven to open up to perishing and self-ruined man the fountains of eternal and healing truth. From the banks of the Ganges to the shores of Britain, the colossal and iron tread of despotic and unresisted power had trampled down the secure and hitherto unexplored forest and mountain wildernesses of barbarism. And though that corrupt and decaying age of Roman greatness could teach almost nothing noble or good, still in the providence of that eternal wisdom, which uses the designs of the worst to execute and advance its own schemes, the highway of the nations was thus opened up for the passing to and fro of an army of conquerors and civilizers, whose victories and triumphs, under the captainship of the Prince of Peace, are yet to reconvert this Aceldama, this blood-stained earth, into the Paradise of Eden, where God himself shall delight, as he has also promised, to dwell.
We say then, in conclusion, that the whole of the old dispensation bears upon it a multitude of undoubted marks of divine wisdom and goodness; that without it mankind would have been totally given over to gross ignorance and barbarous idolatry, that a knowledge of God and of his moral government, and of the moral responsibility of man, would have been for ever lost; and the inhabitants of earth capable of loftiest ascent and unlimited spiritual improvement would have, gradually or rapidly, but still irrecoverably, sunk into a state of savage brutishness, perhaps more hateful, and certainly more ferocious, than that of the beasts that perish. We are fully aware, indeed, that the shallow-minded, or even the profound reasoners, arguing upon the probable destinies of the world, from the acknowledged occasional efficiency of principles, which
seem or are assumed to be of mere human discovery, or of the demonstration of natural reason, will represent such an assertion as the effect of narrow and prejudiced bigotry. But looking at the history of this world's doings and researches in the way of moral truth, as these are represented to us in that history of humanity, which we trust we have proved lays unquestionable claims to have come from the records of eternal truth, we cannot come to any other satisfactory conclusion. Christianity, dispensed by the ministry of the Apostles, was truly the salt of the perishing and corrupting earth. Those elementary truths, which from the beginning were thrust upon the reluctant minds of the self-deifying inhabitants of this earth by terrible judgments, certainly preserved the vanishing light of life in the memory and belief of man. Creator and Ruler of the material and moral world, maintained that light of truth among us for the purpose of demonstrating and making known to all created intelligence, as we have reason to believe, the grand principle of his moral rule, that justice and mercy meet together, righteousness and truth embrace each other. This great and all-important character of the eternal Jehovah, the only true God, is continually, and in a countless variety of shapes, brought forth in fuller and more convincing development, as we trace downward the history of this heaven-preserved truth; and at last, those types and shadows of spiritual things, which, like the ever-burning lamps of the temple, having the oil of heaven poured into them, served to give light to man in the dark night, or dim dawn of truth, were all removed, when the Eternal Sun of unborrowed light and truth rose upon the world, and brought life and immortality clearly to light in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
THE DIVINE AUTHORITY
BY DAVID BOGUE, D. D.
These things are written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life through his name.
JOHN XX. 31.
THOMAS AFFLECK; WAUGH AND INNES; AND
THOMAS IRELAND, JUNIOR;