Page:Tracts for the Times Vol 2.djvu/31

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
9
TRACTS FOR THE TIMES.

hear the church," is in no less strict accordance with the spirit of the Mosaic denunciation: "And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest (that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God), or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel" (Deut. xvii. 12.). The Christian "Church" seems thus to come into the place of the congregation of Israel; the Apostles, into the office of the Levitical priest and judge; and since their Master came to fulfil the law, they were to "do and teach" that law in his spiritual meaning. Now "the end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned; from which some having swerved," says the Apostle, "have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm." (1 Tim. i. 5–7.) This description of false apostles, the rivals of the true apostles of Christ, is equally applicable to those whom they were appointed to supersede. If we look to our Lord's Sermon on the Mount, we find how the Scribes "swerved" from the commandment in its true "end" and object; their explanations of the sixth and seventh commandments show how little they understood the spirit of the law of love. In that Sermon Christ's disciples are instructed how they are to fulfil the commandments: they are now directed how, as faithful ministers of God's word, they are to "do and teach" them, viz. by governing the Church of God according to the spirit of true brotherly love. Why had Levi been so grievously rebuked by the ministry of the last of the prophets? (Mal. ii. 1–9.) Why was not "the offering of Judah and Jerusalem pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years?" (Mal. iii. 4. comp. ii. 13.) They had forgotten the brotherly covenant which bound Israel together as children of one earthly parent, and one Father in heaven, who had a care for his "little ones," and would not that one of them should perish. "Have we not all one Father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers? Judah hath dealt treacherously, covering the altar of God with tears, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good-will at your