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mercies received. These, through the work of Christ,
have received their realisation in the Christian Church
in the only sacrifice which^ according to the teaching
of the New Testament, is acceptable to God ; not in
any partial offering on the part of the worshipper, but
in one far nobler and more perfect, viz., the consecra-
tion of a man's self, his soul and body, to be a
reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice to God in return
for the love of Christ for him. Christianity will accept
nothing less.

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5. Another idea^ which was fundamental to the
Old Testament dispensation, was that of a priesthood.
What does it imply ? That there is some feeling in
the inmost depths of the human spirit which suggests
the necessity of an intermediatory between God and
man, through whom alone he can make an acceptable
approach to God. All the priesthoods of the ancient
world were an imperfect attempt to satisfy this
feeling. I say " imperfect,'* because it is obvious that
the feeling could not attain its satisfaction in any
mere human priest, who, after all, was really as
imperfect as the worshipper. Priests of this kind
were priests by institution, and not by inherent right;
and, consequently, were incapable of any effectual
interposition. But the perfection of the person, work,
and sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the complete realisation
of the idea of the priesthood. He is, therefore, the
one Priest of the Christian Church through Whom
every man can draw near to God ; and as being the
perfect embodiment of the idea of priesthood. He has
abolished every other priesthood, whether of Divine or
human institution ; or, in the words of the author of
the Epistle to the Hebrews, "Such a High Priest
became us, holy, guileless, undefiled, separate from
sinners, and made higher than the heavens; yet
capable of being touched with a feeling of our
infirmities. Who needeth not daily to offer up sacri-
fices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins
of the people; but this He did once for all when He
offered up Himself." Having thus in His own per-
son realised the entire truth, which underlay the
idea of priesthood and sacrifice. He has rendered

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nugatory every priesthood and sacrifice but His

6. Jesus Christ, the Fulfiller of the moral utter-
ances of the Old Testament dispensation.

The word "fulfil," when applied to our Lord's
teaching, must be understood in the strict meaning of
the English word and of the Greek, of which it is
a translation, i.e,j that it fills up full, or completely
realises the idea which underlay the moral utterances
of the scriptures of the Old Testament, and frees
them from all their imperfections. Does our Lord's
teaching accomplish this ? I answer that His teach-
ing is a perfect embodiment of the whole duty of
man, whether due to God or to His brother man, than
which it is impossible to conceive anything higher
or more complete. To adopt the language of the late
Professor Mozley, "If there is anything in the teaching
of the Old Testament that is a falling short, which
goes a certain way, but not the whole way, as in the
imperfect law of marriage, in the imperfect law
of love, and in the law of retaliation, it is
assumed that the essence of the law is not all this ;
and that, on the other hand, what is perfect is the
law. We know noliiing from henceforth but the
perfect law commanding in the conscience ' Be ye
perfect, even as your Father Who is in heaven is

I have placed before the reader in the seventh
chapter of this work, in which I have considered
the evidential value of our Lord's moral teaching,

♦ " Ruling Ideas in the Early Ages, in their Relation to OM
Testament Faith," p. 105.




sufficient materials to enable him to appreciate the
mode in which He claims to be the Fulfilier of the
moral utterances of the scriptures of the Old Testa-
ment. I need not, therefore, repeat them here. It will
be sufficient in this place to refer to His teaching in
the first chapter of the Sermon on the Mount as an

In this discourse the Legislator of the kingdom of
heaven, instead of propounding a set of rules of duty,
pronounces His blessing on eight conditions of mind
as being the character fitted for citizenship in His
kingdom. He then proceeds to " fill up full " the old
law, which said, " Thou shalt not kill,'* by extending
it to any act calculated to do another harm. In a
similar manner, the old law prohibiting adultery is
extended from the actual act to the inmost thoughts.
The law which forbad perjury is to be realised in
simple truth-speaking ; the law of retaliation in doing
to another as a man would that another should do to
himself ; and the law which, while it required love to
a neighbour, allowed hatred to an enemy, by the duty
of loving enemies and praying for them. The same
principles pervade the entire discourse, the whole of
which is summed up elsewhere in the great utter-
ance, " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all
thy heart, mind, soul, and strength; and thy
neighbour as thyself."

7. Christ the Fulfilier of the prophetic utterances
of the Old Testament.

Two conceptions underlie nearly every one of the
prophetic scriptures of the Old Testament, viz., the
idea of a kingdom of Gk)d to be manifested in the




future, and that of a great Deliverer, Who was to
reign therein as its Messianic King. This kingdom
was for the most part conceived of by the prophets
as a state of things ^in which the old Theocracy, freed
from all the imperfections of the past, would receive
its complete realisation; in the blessings of which
the Gentile nations would participate ; and in which,
after a terrible destruction of the enemies of God,
righteousness and peace would reign supreme. Some
of the prophets, however, viewed this kingdom from
a higher standpoint, and contemplated it as a purely
spiritual kingdom, in which all ritual worship would
cease, and in which obedience would be rendered, not
to a mere written law, but would flow as a natural
result of the inward condition of the heart, as in
the following remarkable prediction of the prophet
Jeremiah : —

" Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will
make a new oov^iant with the house of Israel, and
with the house of Judah : not according to the
covenant that I made with their fathers in the day
that I took them by the hand to bring them out of
the land of Egypt ; which My covenant they brake,
although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord.
But this is the covenant which I will make with the
house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I
will put My law in their inward parts, and in their
hearts will I write it; and I will be their God, and
they shall be My people: and they shall teach no
more every man his neighbour and every man his
brother, saying. Know the Lord: for they shall
all know Me, from the least of them even to the

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greatest of them; for I will forgive their iniquity,
and their sin will I remember no more" (Jer.
xxxi. 31-35).

Most of the prophetic scriptures are not equally
clear as to the purely spiritual character of this king-
dom, as in the utterance above cited ; but they all
concur in the anticipation of a future kingdom of God,
incomparably more perfect than anything which had
existed in the past ; and to this anticipation they clung,
notwithstanding all the disappointinents of the present.
Let it be observed that every one of these predictions
was uttered long centuries before the birth of Jesus
Christ. Has, then, the underlying idea of these utter-
ances of the prophets received its realisation )

I answer that it is an undeniable fact that long
centuries after the date of these utterances Jesus
Christ has founded a kingdom, the object of which is,
not only to realise the idea of the old Theocracy, but
the highest anticipations of the prophets. The nature
of this kingdom, the opposition which it had to over-
come, and the work which it has accomplished, I have
already set before the reader in numerous places of
Part I. of this work. I have only further to observe
that, although it has not yet realised in fact the
fulness of the prophetic delineations, yet it does so in
the fundamental principles on which it is based ; and
that it is at the present moment actively engaged in
leavening with those principles the whole lump of

Further: these Scriptures present us with two
distinct delineations of its Messianic King, viz., one in
which He is depicted as a triumphant Conqueror, Who,

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after the destruction of His enemies, would establish
the reign of righteousness and peace ; and the second,
in which He is depicted as a Sufferer even unto death,
Whose sufferings were to be undergone for the sake of
others, and by means of which He was to achieve a
glorious triumph, and become, in right of inherent
worthiness, the King of the kingdom of Grod. Not to
mention numerous other scriptures, both these deline-
ations of Him pervade the prophet Isaiah ; the latter
under the designation of the " Servant of Jehovah,"
the different delineations of Whom, whatever may
have been their primary reference, have unquestion-
ably received their perfect realisation in the person
and work of Jesus Christ, in His sufferings, death, re-
surrection, and His present kingship in the kingdom
of God. The fact that the prophetic delineations of
the suffering Christ have received their realisation in
the person of our Lord may full well be accepted as
a pledge that everything which is spiritual and
eternal in these delineations of the triumphant Christ
will in due time receive its accomplishment.

The space at my command renders it impossible
that I should enter on the consideration of special
prophecies. The greatest of them, however, I have
already considered in the second chapter of this book,
— ^a prophecy which has been so completely realised in
this our day, that those who are unconvinced by its
fulfilment will remain unconvinced by the fulfilment
of every other.

Let me now briefly sum up the prophetic argu-
ment, and set before the reader its conjoint force.
The Old Testament, many centuries before the birth




of Jesus Christ; announced that it was the Divine
purpose at some period of the future to set up
a kingdom of God, and the advent of its Messianic
King, Such a kingdom has been set up by Jesus.
Christ, in which He reigns as King. It affirms,
that a prophet should appear like unto Moses..
A multitude of prophets have appeared, but the
only one who bears this resemblance to Moses i&
Jesus Christ. It has described a person of exalted
holiness, and possessing a superhuman character, as-
suffering for others. The full conception of such a-
character is realised in Jesus Christ, and in Him
alone. It announces a Messiah, Who was to be a
royal priest. Jesus Christ has assumed this office,,
and nullified every priesthood and sacrifice but His.
own. The Jewish dispensation consisted of a mass
of rites, symbols, shadowy representations, and cere-
monies. Jesus Christ and His Church are the em-
bodiment of the reality which underlay them, and
have rendered them for all future time as useless as
it would be to hold up a candle to the noonday sun.
Its great kings and prophets earnestly longed for
better things to come. These aspirations have received
their satisfaction in the person, actions, and teach-
ing of the Divine Man. The teaching of the Old
Testament, while it was founded on eternal truth,
bears evident marks of imperfections; owing to the
necessity of accommodating it to the low moral con-
dition of the times. Jesus Christ, in His teaching
and character, is the embodiment of the ideal after
which the law and the prophets were dimly groping.
In a word, the whole of the typology, prediction,

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and the moral teaching of the Old Testament,
and the earnest aspirations of its great characters,
converge in a common centre in the one great
Catholic Man, Jesus Christ our Lord, in Whom,
and in Whom alone, they receive their adequate

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Online LibraryCharles Adolphus RowA manual of Christian evidences → online text (page 14 of 16)