W. A. (Willis Anselm) Jarrel.

Old Testament ethics vindicated : being an exposition of Old Testament morals ... and a vindication of Old Testament morals against infidelity online

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Online LibraryW. A. (Willis Anselm) JarrelOld Testament ethics vindicated : being an exposition of Old Testament morals ... and a vindication of Old Testament morals against infidelity → online text (page 1 of 21)
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BS 1199 .E8 J32 1882
Jarrel, W. A. 1849-1927,
Old Testament ethics





Exposition of Old Testament Morals ; A Comparison of Old Tes-
tament Morals with the Morals of Heathen — so-called —
** Sacred Books," Religions, Philosophers, and Infi-
del Writers; and a Vindication of Old
Testament Morals against Infidelity.


Author of " Election," •' Liberty of Conscience," etc., etc., etc.



Entered according to Act of Congress, by Rev. W. A. JARREL, in
the year 1882, in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

All right reserved.

"What then is unbelief? — 'Tis an exploit,
A strenuous enterprise. To gain it man
Must burst through every bar of common sense,
Of common shame — magnanimously wrong!

— Who most examine, most believe ;

Parts, like half sentences, confound." — Young.

** If to-morrow I perish utterly .... I shall care nothing for
the generation of mankind. I shall know no higher law than passion.
Moralitywill vanish y — Theodore Packer, an infidel.

" M7 TrZavacr^e ; ^Oeipovalv t/Otj XPV^^'^ S^uiXiai KCKal.'^ - Be not led as-
tray ; wicked communications corrupt good morals." — I Cor. 15: 23'


The subject of this volume — Old Testament Ethics — in the
' field of apologetics, has been almost wholly ignored or neg-

Excepting the work of Prof. Mozley, which has been pub-
lished since the first writing of this volume, there is no work
in the English language which especially treats of Old Testa-
ment Ethics. Prof. Mozley' s work covers but a very little of
the subjects of this volume. While Prof. Mozley' s work is
valuable as a historical work, is fraught with valuable thoughts
and arguments, its treatment of the subject borders too much
upon the rationalistic ground to be a safe book for the uncrit-
ical reader. The statement of Prof. H. B. Smith, in his late
** Apologetics" — "One thing is certain, that infidel science
will route everything excepting thorough-going orthodoxy. All
the flabby theories, and the molluscous formations, and the in-
intermediate purgatories and speculations will go by the board.
The fight will be between a stiff, thorough -going orthodoxy and
a stiff, thoroughing-going infidelity" — is as applicable to the
ethics of the Old Testament as to any other part of the battle-
field. While, in the study of Old Testament Ethics, we must keep
before us the fact, that it is germinal and preparatory to New
Testament Ethics, and, therefore, accommodated to its age,
like the New is accommodated to our age, we must firmly
maintain, from first to last, that its Ethics are as pure as the
New, as spotless as the throne of God. [See Chapter I. for
full explanation of this.]

On the canonical, textual and literary battle-field of the Old



Testament, the enemy's heavy guns have been silenced. The
school of Kuenen, Oort, Colenso, Robertson Smith & Co., is
but the dying echo of the heavy German infidel guns of the
generation just passed.

Upon the batde-field of physical science and religion the
past ten years have witnessed results equally satisfactory to
Christians. Recent letters to Dr. Moss — President of Indiana
State University — from Profs. J. W. Dawson, Peter G. Tait,
Daniel Kirkwood, Asa Gray, Benjamin Pierce, Joseph Le-
conte, James D. Dana, C. A. Young, men well known as
world-wide leaders in science, all prove, in the language of
Prof. Dana, it is not true ''that the majority of the recognized
authorities in physical science are hostile to Christianity. . . .
The whirlwind is passing; and it is now recognized by the best
authorities that science has no basis of facts for explaining the
origin of life from dead matter ; and that not a step has yet
been taken to fill up the interval between the higher brute
and the lower grade of existing man. We are now reaping
the benefits of the recent strife, by deriving therefrom clear
views of the limits of scientific inquiry, and of the interval
between the material and spiritual. These points are appre-
ciated ; faith will regain all she may seem to have lost, and go
forward to make new conquests."

Science, a scientific journal, lately comes out and says of
Herbert Spencer's foolishness: "His Atheistical -dogmas are
neither founded on scientific investigations, nor in harmony
with scientific discoveries. ... We ask that science shall
no longer bear the odium of Atheism."

In the young sciences— if they may yet be termed sciences
—of Comparative Philosophy and Comparative Religion, the
investigations by such names as Max Muller, Legge, Bopp,
Wilson, Weber, etc. , and our own Whitney, have but added


to the same glorious result. And, now, from the grave of
thousands of years, the buried witnesses of Egypt, of the
Holy Land, as if summoned by Jehovah's trumpet, are arising
to rebuke the scoffer and strengthen ''the weak in the faith."
As "the stars in their courses fought against Sisera," so every
science, every real discovery, is joined with every other one
in war against infidelity. So much is this so, that a leading
American infidel, who, several years ago, proposed the erec-
tion, in Boston, of an altar "to the Unknown God," comes
home, from a two years' tour in Germany — I refer to O. B.
Frothingham — and says, "It is better to stop denying, and
wait for more light."

This volume is not intended to be an exhaustive treatment
of Old Testament Ethics. Yet it is believed that it will give
such a comprehensive view of the subject, that the reader who
masters it will have a more than common knowledge of Old
Testament Ethics. The work is designed to be all tha*- is
necessary to enable even the unlearned, in his own mind, to
reply to such ethical objections to the Old Testament as are
presented by the ablest infidels. At the same time, the work
can but give a clearer and more appreciative view of the New

Should Providence direct, the writer may, sometime, pre-
pare a book intended as only an exposition of Old Testament

Should this volume meet with a general reception, the
author may follow it with a volume, of the same size, now in
rough MS., upon the "Comparative Fruits of Christianity and

Praying that this humble offering may be blessed of the
Holy Spirit to Christian hearts and the opening of the eyes of
unbelievers, I am yours, W. A. Jarrel.

July, 1882.

The DEDiOATiof^,

To the memory of his motJier, who lately left hiniy to
*' sleep in Jesus^'' to his children^ this volimie is es-
pecially dedicated by the author^ their beloved father^
who woidd rather follow them to their graves than see
them infidels — with the prayer for the Holy Spirit to
early bring them to the Savior^ on whose bosom their

father has long rested from unbelief

W. A. J.

Old Testiheit Ethics Yitoicited.



The word ethics is derived from the Greek word, rjdog —
eefkos. The word, in the New Testament, occurs in only i
Cor. XV. 33. In lieu of "manners," it should be there ren-
dered morals. The word, in the Latin, for the same idea, is
moralis, whence is the English, morals. Ethics and morals,
therefore, are words for the same thing. In this book they
are used as synonymous. To stop a moment and notice the
distinction between morals and manners may be well. The
word manners is derived from the Latin word, fnanarius, signi-
fying art, style, varymg modes of action. [See Andrews'
Lat. Lex,, under manus.] ''Manners respect the minor forms
of acting with others and toward others ; morals include the
important duties of life. . . . By an attention to good
manners^ we render ourselves good companions; by an ob-
servance of good morals^ we become good members of society.
. . . The manners of a child are of more or less import-
ance, according to his station in life ; his morals can not be
attended to too early, let his station be what it may. 'In the
present and corrupted state of human 7nanners, always to as-



sent and comply, is the very worst maxim we can adopt. It
is impossible to support the purity and dignity of Christian
morals without opposing the world on various occasions.'" —
Cmhbe's Eng. Syno?iy??is. MatiJiers are forms, standards of
action, relate to only man, are made by society, subject to
variation and change, according to place, time and age, and
may often be disregarded, and, in many cases, should be
disregarded ; morals relate to God and man, are the dictates
of right, of God — of the moral law — and must be the same
for all people, for all times and ages, and can never be dis-
obeyed or disregarded without doing violence to our moral
nature, and incurring the guilt and the penalty due such trans-
gression. "Ethics includes chiefly the rectitude by which
man is put in relation, not only with his fellows, but primarily
with God." — Person of Christ, by Dorner^ Vol. /., Biv. \, p.
lo. See, especially, the third chapter of this book; also,
Harless' Sys. Chr. Eth., pp. 4-7. The Bible is essentially a
book of Ethics.

"Old Testament moraHty has essentially a preparatory
character — refers forward to a higher, and as yet to be ac-
quired, morality." — Wuttkes' Eth., Vol. /., p. 165. That
Wuttkes' words, quoted, express the position of representative
Christian scholars, of all ages, is certain to all who are ac-
quainted with biblical literature. On this, see Walker's Phil.
Plan Salvation, etc., etc. Please here read, carefully, the
ninth and the tenth chapters of Hebrews. In these chapters
the apostle forcibly teaches that the New Testament is the
Old, developed; that "the law;" /. e., the Old Testament,
"having a shadow of good things to come;" /. e., of the New
Testament. Inasmuch as the Old is the germ of the New,
the mission of Jesus was not to destroy, but to develop the
Old. He, therefore, says: "I came not to destroy the law
or the prophets, . . . but to fulfill. " — Matt. v. 17. The


Greek, here rendered ''fulfill" — nXrjQCjaal — -pleerosai — ''means
to fill, to make full, to fill up." — Liddell and Scotfs, Robinson! s
Greenfield! s^ Bagsters Lexicofts. It means to make full, with
the idea of development or ''evolution." The reader please
turn to Matt. xiii. 48; xxiii. 32; Luke ii. 40; iii. 5; ix. 31;
John xii. 3; xv. 11, 25; xvi. 24; Acts ii. 2, 28; v. 3, 28; Rom.
i. 29; xiii. 8; Gal. v. 14; Col. iv. 12; Rev. iii. 2. In these
Scriptures the word will be found rendered by such renderings
as, "to make full," "fill up," "complete." In the eighty-
eight occurrences of the word in the New Testament is the
idea of development.

By his expiatory and teaching life and death, our blessed
Savior fulfilled "the Law and the Prophets" — the Old Testa-
ment. In his teaching he developed the moral idea of the
Old to what we find in the New. Commenting on his words
just quoted, Stier says: "My coming is throughout and en-
tirely to conserve, to expand, and to fulfill all the rudiments
and tendencies toward the kingdom of God in humanity." —
Words 0/ Jesus, Vol. I., p. 136. Meyer, a "Rationalist," says
this fulfillment of the Old "is the perfect development of the
real essence of its precepts." So say the "Rationalists,"
Ewald, De Wette; so Olshausen, evangelical, et at. "And
not only in this expression, but everywhere in the gospel, the
Savior had no intention to teach anything entirely new, any-
thing for which some point of contact might not be found in
the Old Testament, and for which the Old Testament had not
prepared the way. It is not with rabbinical hair-splittings,
but with simple depth of insight, that he points out in the
Old Testament sayings and facts, truths which seem entirely
to transcend the stage of religious development which the Old
Testament had reached. . . . We must regard the TrXrjgovv
— pleeroun — as applying not only to the teaching of Christ, but
to the whole of his ministry in doing and in suffering." —


Tholuck's Ser. on Moimt, pp. 128, 129. The patriarchs had
very imperfect and some erroneous ideas of spiritual things. By-
mingling with the Egyptians four hundred and thirty years
(the majority of modern critics ma^intain that the sojourn in
Egypt was four hundred and thirty years ; of this number are
Delitzsch, Hengstenberg, Jahn, Kalisch, Keil, Eange, Ranke,
Winer, Tuch, Reineke, Rosenmuller, Knobel, Havernick,
Hofman, Gesenius, Ewald, Kurtz, Tiele, ei al ; several of
these are skeptics; and Paul, in Gal. iii. 17, probably stated
only a practical statement, or as Lange has it, he may have
regarded the death of Jacob as "the closing of the date of
promise." — Gen. xv. 13 ; Exod. xii. 40. — The Pent Vindicated^
by Green, p. 142), their children had fallen far below what
they were. So that, when God took them by the hand to lead
them out of Egypt, they were a morally debased people, sus-
ceptible to moral teaching in only a rudimental, imperfect
form. '*God can no more force an immediate moral enlight-
enment upon an existing age, and antedate a high moral
standard by two thousand years, than he can instantaneously
impart a particular character to an individual. He has en-
dowed man with intellectual faculties of a certain kind, which
move in a certain way, and with a gradual progressive motion
requiring time. . . . The natural motion of the human
understanding is by steps and stages ; one after another it is
weary, sinks back exhausted, and can not go farther just then,
but rests, and there is a pause in the progress until another
impulse comes ; and thus the work is accomplished gradually,
and some large and complete truth is at last arrived at. . . .
A revelation is accepted readily when it concurs with men's
wishes, but the understanding, when separated from the inclina-
tion, stops short and refuses to exert itself. . . . This instan-
taneous enlightenment of mankind by revelation is a wild
notion." — Mozley's Ruling Ideas in Early Ages, pp. 244-246.


*The Jewish dispensation . . . was both prospective and
present in its design ; ... it worked for a future end
while it provided also for the existing wants of man." — Ide77i,
p. 250. (While Mr. Mozley carries this position to a fatal
extent, his work is a valuable one, if read with a critical eye.)
The Bible reader will have the idea of this necessity of a pro-
gressive revelation impressed upon his mind, by calling to mind
the slowness and the backslidings of Israel through the wilder-
ness and through their whole history to the new dispensation.
Prof. Rufus P. Stebbins, D. D., an eminent, critical scholar,
who can not be well accused of ''orthodoxy," remarks:
*'The people were not able to understand or appreciate but a
a small part of them at first, and some portions of them were
very probably found impracticable or so burdensome as to
compel neglect." — A Study of the Pentateuch^ p. 220. If such
was their slowness and stubbornness against revelation in its
imperfect, rudimental form, a more developed one could have
effected only a failure, disastrous to the whole world.

To prepare them to receive the New, there were given
them typical atonement, typical penalties, typical priests, typi-
cal cleansings, typical salvation — a dispensation of object
lessons. To regulate their moral life, a moral law was given,
free from anything of an immoral nature, but so accommo-
dated to their understanding, feelings and customs as to reg-
ulate them, inculcating, at the same time, better things,
preparing them for revelation ''fulfilled." "The world was
treated for a period as a child that must be taught great prin-
ciples and prepared for events of infinite magnitude and
eternal interests, by the help of familiar and sensible objects,
which lay fully open to their view, and came within the grasp
of their comprehension. But now we have to deal with the
things themselves." — Typology of Scrip, by Fairhairn, Vol. /.,
/. 158. To point out some illustrations of things dimly re-


vealed : i. Some deny that the Old Testament teaches the
doctrine of future rewards and punishments, yet it is there ;
2, the doctrine of the Trinity, though in the Old, is not so
clearly taught as in the New; 3, the tripartite nature of man,
though in the Old, is not so clearly expressed as in the New;
4, demonology is not so clearly taught in the Old as in the
New; 5, the second coming of Christ is not taught so clearly
in the Old as in the New ; 6, the question of divorce is not
so clearly set forth in the Old as in the New.

Even the latter part of the New Testament is, in some
measure, a development of its first part. i. In the gospels
no clear distinction is made between the Txveviia — -pneuma — and
the 'ipvx^—psukee — the spirit and the soul. But in i Thess. v.
23; Heb. iv. 12 — which compare with Matt. x. 28, 39; xi.
29 ; xvi. 26, where no distinction is mentioned — a distinction is
forcibly made. 2. The commission was first confined to only
the Jews. — Matt. x. 5. 3. This commission was finally ex-
tended to the whole world. — Matt, xxviii. 19. 4. In the
first period of the New, the Spirit was given in a limited
measure ; but, finally, much more fully. This explains such
words as are found in John xiv. 25, 26; vii. 39, which a few
have supposed to teach that there was no Spirit in men before
the time therein promised — supposed that, in the face of such
as Matt. iii. 16; John iii. 34; iv. 23 ; vi. 62, ; Ps. li. 12; cvi.
33, ^/ al. The Spirit was not then given in such full measure
as at this promised time. 5. There are at least three periods
of development of the kingdom of God in the New Testament.
The first is, when it was set up ; the second, at the larger gift
of the Spirit on Pentecost ; the third, when Jesus comes in
his second coming. These periods are such that each suc-
ceeding one is spoken of as though wholly a new kingdom.
Compare Matt. iii. i; xi. 12; xxiii. 18; xxi. 31; xii. 28;
Luke xvi. 16; xi. 20; vi. 20, where it exists, with Mark i\t


i; XV. 43; Luke ix. 27, where, in promising a development
of this same kingdom, it, at first, would seem to be wholly a
different kingdom; and, farther, compare a third develop-
ment of this same kingdom — i Cor. xv. 50; Rev. xii. 9-1 1;
2 Tim. iv. I. 6. Everywhere in the Bible our present state
is recognized as imperfect, while with a pure revelation, only
an imperfectly developed one. As revelation, under the Old
Dispensation, met with such difficulty in leading, developing
the people that they never Hved fully up to its teaching, so it
is with revelation under the New. The best Christians fall
below the high standard of both dispensations.

The New Testament so much accommodates the moral law
to our condition, that many evils, imperfections, are now borne
with that in the final state v/ill not be known. ''Him that is
weak in the faith receive ye."— Rom. xiv. i. Some of the
Corinthian Church had become drunken at so holy a place as
the Lord's Supper; but Paul tenderly endeavored to reclaim
them. — I Cor. xi. 21. An incestuous man's membership
rather "puffed up" than humbled this church; yet Paul ten-
derly led them to do better. — i Cor. v. 1-13. Such evils
borne with, then, in the churches, many now borne with in
the best men, in the best churches, will not be known in the
finally developed Dispensation. — Rev. xxii. 3, 4; xxi. 1-5.
To every dispensation of God, on this sinful earth, are the
words apphcable : "I could not speak unto you as unto spir-
itual; "/.^., perfect, "but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ.
I have fed you with milk, and not with meat : for hitherto ye
were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able." — i
Cor. iii. i, 2. "I have yet many things to say unto you, but
ye can not bear them now." — John xvi. 12. 'T have many
things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of
hearing." — Heb. v. 11. We are but a step above those of
the Old Dispensation. We are walking only a little ; we are


but out of our "a, b, cs" into our ''abs." Perfect life, dis-
pensation adapted to only a perfect life we have not, could
not bear. The glory of the "better land" but faintly seen;
but clusters of its grapes brought across to us. The things
which Paul saw and heard, when ''caught up to the paradise
of God," he was not permitted to utter, doubtless because
we are not yet prepared to hear them. — 2 Cor. xii. 4. '■'■Now
are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we
shall be : but we know that when he shall appear we shall be
like him." — i John iii. 2. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear
heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things
which God hath prepared for them that love him. " — i Cor. ii.
c^^io. And, though "revealed" (next verse), they are revealed
but imperfectly.

This subject is a fascinating one, and can be here but suffi-
ciently touched upon to enable the reader to see the wisdom
of God's plan in making his dispensations but adapted to our
imperfect condition. As the old creation was progressive, so
is the new — redemption — progressive. Surely the skeptic,
who has so worshiped evolution in its very extreme form,
ought to appreciate the truth of this argument. Whoever
objected to the New Testament because but an imperfect rev-
elation adapted to our imperfect state ? Whoever objected to
the material creation because progressive in its work — from the
lower to the higher? Yet there would be as much wisdom in
either of these objections as there is in the objection to the im-
perfection of the Old Testament. Why not object to these, to
human, to parental government, to every progressive work,
whether human or divine, because not instantaneously Com-
pleted, and, therefore, for the time, imperfect? Let us, then,
remember that the Old Testament is only an imperfect dispen-
sation — an imperfect revelation — a little children's school. Yet,
let us remember, it can not contain anything unrighteous in its


nature or tendency. Like a government bearing with its citi-
zens, parents bearing with their children, the New Testament
bearing with its learners — all bearing, educating— the Old Test-
ament may seem to sanction, approve, etc., unrighteousness;
but it is only so in appearance. Of all wise governments, in
their infancy, it may be written: ''For the law having a
shadow of good things to come" can never be perfect. — Heb.
X. I. But let it be emphasized, that neither the Old nor the New
Testa??ient, because but imperfectly develofed morality and truth, is
any the less pure in nature and tendency. So far as developed,
both dispensations are as pure in nature and tendency as the
spotless nature of their glorious Author. I trust that the dif-
ference between an imperfectly developed law and a law of
imperfect morality is now made sufficiently clear.

Inasmuch as the Old is but the New in germ, Jesus says,
* 'Verily I say unto you. Till heaven and earth pass, one jot
or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law" — /*. e., the
Old Testament— "till all be- fulfilled."— Matt. v. i8. With
exclusive reference to the Old Testament, Paul says, "All
Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for
doctrme, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in right-
eousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly
furnished unto all good works." — 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17. Christ
and his apostles quoted, preached from the Old as infallibly
pure. Being the seed of the New, as the fruit is of the nature
of the seed, the Old could not be otherwise than pure. The
ablest Rationalist critics have seen the oneness of both Testa-
ments. In his Characleristik des Hebraismus, DeWette re-
marks: "Christianity sprang out of Judaism. Long before
Christ appeared, the world was prepared for his appearance;
the entire Old Testament is a great prophecy, a great type of
him who was to come, and has come. Who can deny that
the holy seers of the Old Testament saw in spirit the advent

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Online LibraryW. A. (Willis Anselm) JarrelOld Testament ethics vindicated : being an exposition of Old Testament morals ... and a vindication of Old Testament morals against infidelity → online text (page 1 of 21)