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including a Summary View of the Patriarchal and Levitical Dispensations." By the Rev. David Russell, of Dundee. Both these works are replete with the most valuable and scriptural information ; and are powerfully fitted to preserve the mind from those vague and eccentric sentiments by which not a few seem to be carried away.
Note E. page 21.
Among the extraordinary sentiments against which we have felt called upon to enter our dissent, is that which asserts that the covenant mentioned by Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and declared by the apostle in the eighth chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews to have been established, is yet an object of expectation! This is judaising with a vengeance. I should not be surprised if we were soon called upon with the same confidence, and I am sure we might be with equal justice, to believe that Christ has not yet come in the flesh. If the new covenant has not yet come, then the sacrifice of the covenant has not been offered, the mediation of the High-Priest has not yet commenced, and the better promises all remain to be fulfilled. How different from this absurd and most pernicious representation of one of the most important parts of christianity is the following view of the promises of this covenant—of their connexion with each other, and of all with the sacrifice of Christ.
“ The writing of the law in the heart is mentioned, first, because it is the grand object of the divine intentions, being the principal end of the plan of mercy. It is effected by our being made, through the agency of the Spirit of God, so to feel the power of that revelation of the union of justice and mercy, which appears in the sacrifice of Christ, as that the heart is changed according
to the promises. The Spirit of God brings the mind to the truth, and causes the latter to produce the desired result. And he can easily do this by an influence which touches the springs of action in the heart, without doing the smallest violence to the moral nature of the subject of this influence, and without any consciousness on his part of an agency distinct from the operation of his own voluntary exercise. It is the office of the Spirit to take of the
things of Christ, and to shew them to the mind; and so - to influence it, as to impress it with the image of the divine
glory revealed in his work. By faith in this revelation of the character of God, as at once a kind Father and a righteous Judge, the heart is purified; for faith worketh by love, and overcometh the world. And as love to God and our neighbour is the fulfilling of the law, and since the principle of love leads to the study and the practice of every part of it, according as our circumstances may require, it is thus put into our minds, and written in our hearts. We come to the enjoyment of the next blessing also by the death of Christ; because it is by his blood that we are redeemed unto God, are consecrated to his service, and are called into his family, as a people separated to him, and united in holy fellowship with each other. And we come to the enjoyment of the last blessing, by being divinely taught the knowledge of his glory, as it shines in the face of our Lord Jesus Christ. And to know God as revealed in Him, and the harmony which subsists between the Lawgiver and the Mediator, in the salvation of sinners, is eternal life. Thus all the promises are accomplished by means of the propitiatory blood of the Saviour, as revealed in the gospel, and applied to the soul. These are promises worthy of God, and adapted to our wants. They include the illumination of the mind, the renovation of the heart, and the enjoyment of everlasting life.”-Russell's Familiar Survey, p. 151, 152.
Note F. page 27.
The whole of the apostle's reasoning in the third chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians, respecting the Mosaic and Christian dispensations, well deserves the attention of all who are engaged in studying the subject which is discussed in the Discourse. It seems evident to me, that he lays great stress on the difference between the ministration or service of the former covenant and that of the latter. He specifies Moses and the apostles respectively as the chief ministers of the two covenants; but I do not apprehend that his argument is meant to be limited to them. The whole Levitical ministration must be understood in the one case, and the whole evangelical ministration in the other. I am acquainted with no work in which the full force and bearing of this important chapter are adequately illustrated.
Note G. page 31.
The beautiful statement of new covenant privileges, given by the apostle in the verses quoted from the 12th chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews, has been greatly injured in consequence of its being very generally regarded as a description of heaven, or of a future state of things. Whereas it is evident, from the whole scope of the passage, that it is a description of what believers already enjoy. He expressly asserts, that we are come to that state which was prefigured by Mount Zion of old-to the city of which the earthly Jerusalem was a figure—the heavenly Jerusalem. We already have fellowship with the innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of the just made perfect, with the Universal Judge, and with the glorious Mediator. The spirit of the passage is on the whole well expressed in the beautiful hymn of Dr. Watts
« Not to the terrors of the Lord,
The tempest, fire, and smoke;
Which God on Sinai spoke.
But we are come to Sion's hill,
The city of our God,
And spread his love abroad.
Behold the innumerable host
Of angels clothed in light!
Whose faith is turned to sight!
Behold the blessed assembly there,
Whose names are writ in heaven;
Their vilest sins forgiven.
But one communion make;
And of his grace partake.
In such society as this
My weary soul would rest;
Must be for ever blest.”
Note H. page 54. The reference which I have made to the connexion that appears to obtain between certain views of the second advent of Christ, and the hope of the gospel, and especially to a mode of thinking and speaking about the separate state, I might easily justify by various references. I regret to be obliged to specify the production of such a man as the Rev. Gerard Noel as an illustration of the justice of my remarks; but as I have understood that the volume is not likely to be republished, I will abstain from quoting it. The following passages from Mr. Irving's Introduction to Ben
Ezra, sufficiently shew how low his notions are about the separate state. A man who believes so little respecting it, may as well, so far as influence extends, believe nothing at all.
“ Now in consequence of the far off and indefinite distance to which they have postponed the coming of the Lord, and from the annulling of the first resurrection to those who sleep in Jesus, there has been introduced to fill up the void of doctrine and argument, a most exaggerated, and I think erroneous idea of the separate state of the soul; which is forced to bear the burden of that glory and blessedness they have removed from the coming of the Lord, and the resurrection of his saints, and their glorious and everlasting kingdom. But do what they will, they cannot find one single scripture to bear them out in this vain attempt. For in scripture the state of the soul, where it is mentioned, is set forth to be a state of imperfection, as it needs must without the body, a state of longing, as it needs must, waiting for the body. But the truth is, that exceeding little is said concerning it, and for this simple reason, as I suppose, that nothing could be said which man can understand; for the actings and sufferings, the blessedness and the misery, of a disembodied soul, is what no man can conceive of, let him imagine, and let him fancy till the day of doom. But if you will remove the minds of the people from the materialism of man, as utterly contemptible, and if you will postpone the resurrection of the body indefinitely, and give us no material habitation afterwards on earth or in heaven, what have you left but to dress up to the fancy of the people this intermediate state of blessedness, and that state beyond the resurrection, which they seem to me to make as ill defined, and as undefinable as that which is on this side of it? In which attempt to reclaim this shadowy void, and turn it to christian uses, no one has laboured more than I did myself, in my argument on judgment to come, perceiving that, unless something