Page images

Gen. iii. 22.

be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father: even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: but when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law. To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."

Hence, the creation of mankind was not completed in Adam, but in the seed of the woman, Jesus Christ, who by promise bruised the serpent's head, by the fulfilment of the law; and the atonement made for mankind by his death, whereby we receive the Holy Spirit to subdue the spirit of the world-of malignity" and darkness that was upon the face of the deep," to replenish the world with the Holy Spirit of God, and bring the whole in subjection to him, in the fruits of good works.

Adam was created in the image of God, knowing good; but he had not the knowledge of the wiles of evil, and its consequent sorrows to man; and to know it, the penalty was, he should die by it; but being of the pure Spirit of God, when he transgressed, the wiles of evil he was, evidently, suffered to obtain, by the following words:" The Lord God said, Behold the man is become as one of us,

to know good and evil:"-" therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden:"-that is, he was shut out from the joys of the Holy Spirit of God, by the passions that formed the veils of malignity in the heart, which our Saviour had to remove by fulfilling the law: and "cherubims, and a flaming sword," were appointed over Adam and his posterity, "to keep the way of the tree of life."

Of the veil formed by the reign of the passions in the heart from Adam's transgression, St. Paul speaks; and of a part of the children of Israel not believing Jesus to be the promised Christ, whose Holy Spirit by grace removes it. He says: "But their minds 2 Cor. iii. 14. were blinded, (by the passions): for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ but even unto this day, when the law of Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart," from their belief of justification by the law. "Neverthe

less, when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.-Now the Lord is that Spirit" that takes it away; " and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" from the bondage* of the passions under the law.

St. Paul's epistle to the Romans explains, that the governments of the world are established to keep the way of the tree of life. "For rulers are Rom. xiii. 3. not a terror to good works, but to the evil.-For he

* Romans viii. 15.-"The spirit of bondage again to fear."

is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." So that the governments of the world are intended to restrain the evil passions of our nature,―to lead us into the purity of the Spirit of God: that is to say, by repressing evil, and supporting justice, and all the benevolent feelings-the fruits of good in the way of the "tree of life." And the word of the 2 Sam. xxiii.3. Lord, speaking in David, confirms it. "The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me. He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God."

This being, therefore, the true object of all governments, it is in accordance with the Mosaic law, and shows that all things concur, through Jesus Christ, to the end we are approaching; namely, our final redemption in the purity of the Holy Spirit of God, with the change of this world, and the heavens which surround us.

It is here necessary to observe, that the two veils before the altar were typical of the depraved condition of mankind, in reference to their knowledge, and entrance into the kingdom of heaven; therefore, as soon as our Saviour had made the full atonement Luke xxiii. 45. by his death, to redeem us, "The sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst :" and St. Paul, in his epistle to the Hebrews, refers

to the Levitical priesthood of Aaron-Who "offer Heb. viii. 4. gifts according to the law: who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God, when he was about to make the tabernacle." For see, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the


"Then verily the first covenant had also cere- Heb. ix. 1. monies of divine service, and a wordly sanctuary; for there was a tabernacle made, the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shew bread; which is called the holy: and after the second veil, the tabernacle, which is called the holiest of all."-" Now when these things were thus ordained, Heb. ix. 9. the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God: but into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people. The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all, was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: which was a figure of the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience, which stood only in meats, and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the day of reformation. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that

is to say, not of this building, neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal Heb. ix. 22. redemption for us."-" Almost all things are by the law purged with blood, and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true" tabernacle; "but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entered into the holy place every year with the blood of others, (for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world) but now once in the end of the world, hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment, so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."

The first veil is, therefore, removed from the hearts of christians, by the atonement made by Jesus Christ; and the second veil being ultimately removed, we must be in the joys of the Spirit of Heb. viii. 10. God:-" For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write

« PreviousContinue »