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But when Christ came to the Jews, he found them resting in a formal observance of the ritual law, and possessed with a belief of their federal title to exclusive salvation. Accordingly, the eventual object of his ministry, doctrinally considered, was the removal of these two errors. At the same time it was far from being his purpose to give a complete developement of Christian truth, during his personal ministry; and in particular one of the two doctrines just stated was only obscurely alluded to by himself, and was left to be more fully explained by the preachers who followed him. “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things.'
When he the Spirit of truth is coine, he will guide you into all truth' Agreeably to this design, the manner of his teaching was rather declarative than expository, rather to lay down general outlines, than a perfect and fully finished
• John, xiv. 25, 26. xvi. 13,
system. St. Mark's first description of it is very characteristic of his summary mode of preaching throughout the whole of his ministry,
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching (unpúrow, proclaiming) the Gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the Gospel?'. His lessons, says Paley :, did not consist of disquisitions; of any thing like moral essays, or like sermons, or like set treatises upon the several points which he mentioned. When he delivered a precept, it was seldoin that he added any proof or argument ; still more seldom that he accompanied it with, what all precepts require, limitations, and distinctions. His instructions were conceived in short emphatic sententious rules, in occasional reflections, or in round maxims.
In fact, so much did our Saviour leave to be explained and applied by the apostles, that infidel writers have taken occasion from thence to accuse St. Paul of having preached another Gospel. And as if to prove how secondary was his prophetical office in comparison of his priestly character, notwithstanding he was sent exclusively to the Jews, he preached little at Jerusalem, and seldom went thither, except when called to the celebration of the great feasts. He was more free in his communications in the single discourse with the Samaritan woman, than in all his discourses with his own countrymen during the whole of his ministry.
9 Mark, i. 14, 15.
* Evidences, ii. 49.
Since, then, Christ did not come as a propbet to explain fully his own dispensation, much less did he come into the world to condemn the world'. He was not yet invested with any judicial character; and therefore when the Scribes and Pharisees brought before him an offender for judgement, he declined interfering with functions which, by their own law, belonged to the civil magistrate. He came rather to magnify the patience and long-suffering of God in awakening sinners, and calling them to repentance, than to anticipate the season of punishment by an immediate sentence which, even had it been demanded from the purest motives, would have been contrary to the analogy of the divine judgements. There were many reasons which justified the wisdom of Providence in suffering the tares to grow together with the wheat until the harvest.
9 John, iii. 17. xii. 47.
A part of the object of Christ's mission unquestionably was to fulfil the law and the prophets. "Think ye not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil'. Now, in proportion as the Jews had departed from the spirit of their law, it is evident that they would oppose themselves the more strongly to a declaration of our Saviour, which had the effect of condemn- . ing the whole of their doctrine and practice. If they had not understood that the law was intended as a schoolmaster to bring them to Christ, and
1 Matt. v. 17.
only designed from the beginning to serve for a preparatory dispensation, as a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, they would listen with impatience to a teacher who annulled all distinctions of meats and persons, who abrogated cereinonies and long-established rites, and who even robbed their temple of the honour of being the exclusive seat of the national worship, a privilege which it had enjoyed from the period of its dedication. It happened, therefore, that notwithstanding the pains taken by our Lord to remove from their minds any ungrounded prejudice concerning the design of his mission, which might obstruct their belief, there was nothing that gave them more umbrage, or to which they more frequently objected, than to the interference of the principles of the new system, with the persuasions they had adopted under the authority of the old?.
2 Tillotson has been at some pains to show the unreasonableness of the conduct of the Jews, by instituting a comparison between the Jewish and Christian dispensations, wherein he follows the argument of the Apostle to the Hebrews,