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for the redemption of "transgressions which were under the first covenant." This seems to be a republication of the promise of eternal inheritance, or of the dialŋen of promises to Abraham.
Viewing now these two remarkable passages together, we seem to arrive at the same two, and only two distinct dispensations, covenants, or testaments-namely, first, the covenant of promises made to Abraham, and republished anew in the death of Christ for the redemption of transgressions; secondly, the covenant of the law superadded to the former, for a time, because of transgressions. Or the statement may be reversed: We have two covenants namely, The first covenant, with transgressions under it, said in the Hebrews to have been dedicated anew by Moses with blood; being also that called, in Galatians, the law, added because of transgressions, ordained by means of a mediator. Next, the new or second covenant, that of promise, republished by it, made with Abraham and his seed, and sealed in his death; of which Jesus is expressly said to be the Mediator.
-1 Comparing these two covenants together, they seem both to have a double aspect. The first covenant, that of the law called in Hebrews, first, and old, seems to refer to the original law of works, broken by the transgressions of Adam and his posterity, and to be expiated by the redemption of the death of Christ. But it seems also to refer to the dedication anew of that law, added, as "if a second dispensation, by Moses, because of transgressions; those very transgressions above, which it was necessary to explain and bring home to the conscience and fears of the Mosaic worshipper. -The true second covenant; that of promise, was clearly revealed of old to Abraham, as a remedy and a blessing, after his conscious experience, doubtless, of the transgressions under the first covenant. It was, however, republished and ful
filled at the time, and by the death, of Christ; and in this sense is properly called the new covenant; as indeed it is in itself posterior to the first covenant of works: the one having respect to Adam perfect, the other to Adam fallen.
Enough, then, may be here said thoroughly to reconcile, as well as to set in a clear light, the several declarations in the Epistles to the Galatians and to the Hebrews. But some general remarks, tending to further elucidation, are now to be added.
1. Our translators have committed an error, which they very seldom do ; and a very considerable one, though in goodly company with others, in translating dianкn covenant in Galatians, and testament in Hebrews. Their impression, no doubt, was that which added, it may be said, inextricable confusion to the passage in Hebrews as it stands—namely, that a testamentary bequest is the allusion intended in the passage; for which there is, it is presumed, no possible ground, together with most insuperable objections against it.
2. The skilful and correct notation of the Apostle in both the Epistles is much to be observed. He does not to the Galatians call "the law" by the term dialŋen; because he speaks of it only as a superadded dispensation for a time, and not as a republication of the first covenant of works, which is the view taken of it in the Hebrews. On the other hand, he does not to the Hebrews call the original "promise of eternal inheritance," at first, by the term dialŋen; because it did not become technically a covenant, till it was actually sealed and fulfilled in the death of Christ; which death was throughout the Hebrews the very point of its comparison with the first covenant. Hence the word diabŋkn, covenant, occurs only once to the Galatians, in application to the ancient and unbroken line of promises, all centering in the one Seed, even Christ. It occurs,
however, in its proper place twice to the Hebrews, where the whole question of atonement is more fully brought forward, and both covenants in all their circumstances brought under view; having been reserved in its application to the covenant of promise, till the mention of its being sealed by the death of Christ. So by Christ himself this dispensation is denominated at his death Rain diaŋên (Matt. xxvi. 28). 3. It might have been very difficult beforehand to have determined the proper use of the word "transgressions," as used to the Galatians, and implying a reason for the addition of the law by Moses. But "the temporary restraint of the Jewish people by its means from transgression," as the expression is understood by some persons, can surely appear no longer a necessary or right interpretation, when we consider the use of the same word, in the parallel passage, by the same Apostle to the Hebrews. The sense has been justly expressed by others,
It was added because the Israelites were transgressors as well as other men, to shew them their sins, and the punishment incurred by them." Thus did the law or "first covenant" shew the transgressions which were redeemed or atoned for by means of death under the "new, or second covenant."
should rather, by associating it with "Mediator," have seen at once it could not mean a testator:"" for what testator of a will," as Macknight properly asks," was ever mediator to his own testament ?" Mediator and Disposer are here evidently identical; and both are belonging to Christ, whose death was necessary by virtue of those offices. This therefore at once leads to the view of the ancient mode of striking a covenant, which was ratified, confirmed, or disposed and set, by a mediating sacrifice. The sacrifice was stricken as the Mediator and Disposer; Mearns and Acadeμevos. To use the latter word in a passive sense, seems to be peculiar to Macknight, meaning the "appointed" sacrifice. The sense is unaltered, but the grammar undoubtedly is corrupted, by the change. The word seems uniformly middle or active; and is once used in a passage of Appian, given by Scapula, and quoted by Pierce and Parkhurst in the very sense of the "Pacifier.". · bad- dongy
5. The use of Mediator by the Apostle to the Galatians may possibly from hence be illustrated; though it is difficult there to determine any thing. "Mediator" is, by the same Apostle, when writing to the Hebrews, applied to Christ, the mediating, disposing, or pacifying sacrifice. Is it not therefore probable that he uses the same word analogously to the Galatians? The law was ordained, diarayel, by angels, in the hand," or by the means, " of a mediator." "Now the mediator is not of one, but God is one." The law, though not diariheθεμενος as a διαθηκη was still διαταyeç as a kind of covenant, and so called to the Hebrews; and, being of that nature, required a Mediator, a Disposer, or Pacifier, between the contracting parties, whose death should seal their contract. What death then was there under the Mosaic Law, to answer this, condition? Neither that of Moses surely, nor of the high priest, But let the
4. The use of the term, "mediator," is here to be examined. In Galatians, the law, or "first covenant," was ordained "by means of a mediator ;" and the "mediator is not of one." In Hebrews, we read that "Jesus is the Mediator of the new covenant;" where it is implied also, that as a Mediator died: which, however, in the next verse leads to the open declaration, that "wherever there is a covenant, there must always be the death of the testator, re diabeμeve." Hence the Mediator, and the diabeμevos are by implication the same: and whilst our translators, by taking diabeμevos [Disposer] alone, have rendered it by "testator:", they
figures within a few verses of each other, as the close observers of the original cannot fail of having frequently remarked. With no direct necessity in argument, for introducing the subject of a Mediator at all in the latter verse, the Apostle yet seems to have recurred in his own mind to that unity of mediation which, as being the one seed of Abraham, he had attributed to Jesus in the former sense: and that recollection seems to have suggested to his mind this rapid parenthesis in verse 20: "Now the mediator [of the law] is not of one, [as the seed of Abraham, namely, Christ, is one seed], but of many "[sacrifices,&c.]
Apostle to the Hebrews reply to the question: "A covenant is of force over the dead...whereupon neither the first covenant was dedicated anew without blood. For when Moses had spoken, &c. he took the blood of calves, and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the covenant which God hath enjoined to you." Do not these words of the Apostle necessarily lead us to the conclusion, that the blood of the sacrifices, or rather the sacrifices themselves, formed the mediator of the law, or the "first covenant;" as Jesus himself constituted the Mediator of the "new covenant."
Now, says the Apostle, speaking of the mediator of the first covenant, or law, "The mediator here, is not of one: but God is one." The mediator of the law was not of one, but of many sacrifices, making up together the one mediatorial office. But God, when he undertakes to be his own Mediator in covenant with man, is one-not that he should offer himself often, as "the high priest entereth into the holy place with the blood of others ...but now, once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." The difference in the two cases, if requiring illustration, might be illustrated by the ordinance of the two goats for a sin-offering (Levit. xvi. 8-10). On reading this passage, are we not struck at once by a possible analogy in it with the expression of the Apostle: "Now the mediator [of the law] is not of one; but God is one ?"
The reference to a numerical unity in a former verse, to which allusion has already been made, here also comes in to assist in illustration. "He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ" (Gal. iii. 16). This very much agrees with the usual practice of St. Paul, who often repeats expressions and
Leaving to your readers to form their own conclusions from the above comparison, I will only add, that if any light shall have been added to the admitted duty and advantage in scriptural studies, of comparing spiritual things with spiritual; or if any confirmation shall have been afforded to the acknowledged fact of St. Paul having been the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, as well as of others more clearly bearing the sign manual of his authorship, one great end will have been attained for which this communication has been offered.
THE FEAR OF DEATH IN BELIEVERS.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
As the design of the Gospel is to "bring life and immortality to light," it would almost seem a natural effect of its influence in the soul to dissipate the fears of death. There is an obvious inconsistency, which the scorner does not fail to remark, in professing to have an "inheritance," "a treasure," and an eternal "rest" in heaven, while, at the same time, we approach the confines of our "Father's house" with reluctance and dismay. The prospect of earthly good raises hope and confidence just in proportion as
it is near and accessible: why should not the same rule invariably apply with regard to "the things which are eternal ? "
Besides, the word of God abounds with explicit declarations, to the effect that the believer needs not be, and therefore ought not to be, the subject of painful anxiety with regard to death, whether in distant prospect or upon its near approach. It is declared, that one of the great designs to be accomplished by the incarnation of the Son of God was to dissipate the fears of death :"Forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that, through death, he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their life-time subject to bondage" (Heb. ii. 14, 15: see also Isai. xliii. 1, 2; Hos. xiii. 14; Psa. xxiii. 4, lxxiii. 26; Rom. viii. 38, 39; 1 Cor. iii. 22; Phil. i. 23; 2 Tim. iv. 6).
The death-beds of some of the most eminent saints of the present age have been such, as rather to afford a contrast to these cheering promises, than an illustration of them. They have been rather exceptions than examples: and, if my limited acquaintance with the church of Christ has led me to a just conclusion, the servile fear of death is a spectre which destroys the peace of numbers who are spiritually united to the Saviour, and is the terror of the church at large.
To trace the evil to its source is the more requisite, because the explanations too often given are, I conceive, unsatisfactory if not inapplicable. To lay the fault upon the nervous system, is to make the promise of God of none effect to this class of sufferers: unless, indeed, we are prepared to shew that the promises of the Gospel were either not designed originally to extend to the believer when he most requires them; that is, in sickness and depression; or that they are CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 348.
really inadequate to contend with the disorders of the nerves and brain!
With equal want of success shall we attempt to draw an imaginary line between the physical and the moral fear of death; between the dread of death itself, and apprehension for its consequences. The fear of death is, in general, a compound of these two anxieties: and it may be questioned whether the former-that is, the mere instinctive dread of pain and dissolution-could ever assume a very formidable aspect, if it were not assisted by the latter. But the question is, not how the disease originates, but whether the Gospel does not afford a remedy of infallible power, and, perhaps, universal application.
I will now endeavour to specify a few of the leading causes of this fearful disorder of the soul. The ordinary sources of mental disturbance in the prospect of death I pass by without remark. It is of the dread of death, not in the gay, the worldly, or the lukewarm, that I speak: our inquiries will be confined within a closer range; it will embrace those causes only which may exist in connexion with consistent and decided piety.
1. Defective views of the Saviour are a prolific source of such misgivings. Nor is this an error to which the real Christian is at all times superior. That simple, cordial trust in Christ which places man in a condition to receive the fulfilment of the promises, is, perhaps, one of the last and highest of the attainments of the believer. In the early stages of his Christian life, he is constantly disposed, through the mere effect, it may be, of a corrupt nature, and confirmed men. tal habits, to withdraw his dependence from the cross of Christ. a moment of alarm he flies, with an alacrity almost instinctive, not to it but from it. There is something to the inexperienced Christian at once so new and hazardous in simple faith, that, although the judgment 5 C
approves, the active powers rebel. Thus, in the hour of devotion he places himself implicitly under the Saviour's guidance, and acknowledges his own total helplessness; but in the hour of trial, especially if it be unlooked for, he is distrustful and alarmed, and takes refuge in the crazy fortress of human reasonings and self-sufficient resolutions.
Thus, if "the fears of death get hold on us," instead of humbly relying on the Saviour, and gathering consolation from the assurances of his word, we allow the mind to dwell upon the subject in all its most distressing forms: we speculate and reason, where we ought to trust. We call up the phantoms of the charnel house; or, looking inward, we gaze upon the more frightful forms of our natural corruption, when our business is to flee for security beneath the shield of One who is the Conqueror of death and hell. With all this is mingled a copious infusion of those waters of bitterness, the anxieties arising from our personal demerit, and our painful sense of it. In such a state we are utterly disqualified to enjoy the peace of God. We have surrounded ourselves with the sparks of our own kindling, when it was our privilege to "walk in the light of the Lord." We agitate the waters, and complain that they are troubled. We retire from the guardianship of Christ, and are alarmed to find ourselves in a tempestuous night, upon the wide ocean of uncertainty.
2. In such a state of mind we are peculiarly exposed to the violence of temptation; and this appears to be another source of disquietude. We need not be surprised that our spiritual enemy should display more than even his wonted skill and vigour, when he assaults us with these weapons. Death is his grand engine; his last resource, his masterpiece of policy. "The power of death" was his by right; or at least, by unchallenged tenure, until the Son of God “ destroyed him." He will still, as it were, brandish the
weapons he is not allowed to hurl, and flash the lightning, although the thunderbolt no longer follows it. May not many of the true servants of God, who are constantly depressed, thus trace their sufferings to the devices of their spiritual enemy? Happily, no doubt, for us, we are kept in ignorance of the mode in which Satan finds access to the soul; and in many cases it is impossible for the most experienced Christian to ascertain the existence of external temptation with such precision, as to distinguish it from the self-originating movements of his own mind. Hence much confusion arises; and it is probable that the believer often charges himself with guilt, when he has only been assailed by the accuser of the brethren and, like his Master, has been tempted, " yet without sin."
I know not then, how we may infallibly discover whether our fears of death are the consequence of Satanic influence or not. May we not be justified in suspecting at least that such is the fact, when, after a close and solemn investigation, we cannot trace them to any other source; to a defect of faith, or an inconsistent profession?
When the servile fear of death is the effect of temptation, it will often happen, that if we are unacquainted with the source of our disquiet, we shall rather aggravate than remove it. Farewell to our tranquillity, if we charge the nervous system, or indict the imagination, with the fault; or if we seek in society, or medical assistance, that relief which only the Physician of the soul can bestow. Our great enemy will perceive with exultation, that our convulsive struggles entangle us more firmly in his web; that they exhaust our strength, and confirm our depression, without so much as adding to our experience.
3. A third cause of this distressing evil may perhaps be found in the peculiar character which is stamped upon the religion of the times.
Between the religion of Usher, Howe, and Baxter, and that of the