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drew nearer and nearer. On the other, advert to the Baptist's intermediate ministry; to the palpably miraculous beginnings of Christianity, and its various reverence for established thingsfor existing customs and institutions. The appearance of consistency prevailing through all these several processes and preparative accommodations is something far too subtle for any compass of imposture, which could (by any possibility) have been devised by the first human authors of the Gospel. If we consider them as the connecting links between a natural dispensation and a spiritual, proceeding from the same divine mind; there is then to be perceived, in all, an exquisite and most appropriate grace of uniformity.
But enough has been said to explain that which it has been our purpose to represent; and it is expedient to bring the subject to a conclusion.
Such, then, is that general view of the agreement and difference between the Old and New
Testaments, for the description of which we have borrowed (diverting it from its original application) the Apostle's language; howbeit, that was not first, which is spiritual, but that which was natural; and afterward that which is spiritual ; and which appears so eminently capable of being entertained with advantage, towards a dutiful and submissive reception of the Gospel, as
the rule and law of life. Certain consequences, from hence resulting, which I am anxious to point out as worthy of attention, must be reserved for another Lecture.
Let it be permitted, at present, briefly to recapitulate these inferences:-how such view goes to invest the Gospel with the character and weight of a final dispensation, from which there is no appeal ;-how it implies, that in order to receive it effectually, we must receive it in that inner man, to which it is so pointedly offered ;how manifestly it requires of us, that we rise superior to the grossness of mere sensible things; as things whose value has been ascertained and fixed by positive experiment, and which are now to be regarded as belonging only to a step gone
by in the order of Providence ;-how it warns 2 Cor.v.7. us, by consequence, to live henceforth by faith,
and not by sight, for the life of sight is over ; Cf. Lect. iv. watching the wanderings of the intellectual will,
as well as of the moral, lest it should tempt us to strive against our Maker; being aware, that God hath placed therein a very main portion of our danger; and that while he has promised us the sure help of an omnipotent grace, if we are but willing to receive it, he has left it quite open to a diseased nature to refuse the means of health ;-lastly, how it awakens us to ponder, very thoughtfully and very honestly, whether even mere reason should not persuade us to per
Cf. Lect. iv part 1.
ceive and to acknowledge this; namely, that if no one submission of our natural will or private judgment be demanded of us by religion; then not only was the “ dispensation of the Spirit,” and the revelation of Jesus Christ, unnecessary ; but all revelation was, and is, unnecessary; nay, the existence of one only wise and supreme Governor of all things is unnecessary : for man, thus unbelieving, insubordinate, and independent, is, as it were, a God unto himself!
Now unto that true and only God, who of his infinite mercy hath called us out of such gross darkness as this into his marvellous light, to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, be ascribed, as is most justly due, all honour, and praise, and glory, now and for ever.
WE paused, in the last Lecture, at a point of comparison between the Mosaic and Evangelical dispensations, in contemplation of which it was suggested, that the prevalent apostasy under the later and more spiritual covenant, was an apostasy of that nature which might have been expected from analogy. It was represented (in contradistinction to the grosser sin of idolatry among the Jews) to be a more “spiritual and “ intellectual rejection of the Deity;" either wholly, or else in respect of his mysterious essence, as now revealed through the Gospel : which, of course, includes a rejection, to a corresponding extent, in either case, of his existing special revelation..
We now proceed to consider certain deductions from the view thus taken of Christianity, as the “ dispensation of the Spirit,” which were alluded to in the opening Lecture. And let the first be thus stated.,