« PrécédentContinuer »
punish them, and at the same time employ them for the exécution of his purposes, hardened them, or gave them up to the power of Satan. But let me add, the Scriptures never testify that Judas had been from of old specially destined to betray Christ; but only in a general way that some one of Christ's companions should rise up against him. That Judas was the person, arose, as I have observed, from his antecedent wickedness 63,
OF JUSTIFICATION. SINCE I understand what faith in Christ is, and how får it is in our power, I wish you to explain to me what justification is which we obtain by that faith?.
Justification is, when God regards us as just, or so deals with us as if we were altogether just and inno
This he does in the New Covenant in forgiving our sins and conferring upon us eternal life.
Is no one justified then without faith in Christ?
No one whatever. But this must be understood of the time after Christ had appeared-in reference to which also those words of Peter (Acts iv. 12) are to be interpreted, that “there is none other name (besides that of Jesus) under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” For this cannot be af
63 It may be added, that in order to bring about this matter, and that the prophecies might thus be fulfilled, our Lord furnished him with the occasion when he committed the purse to the miser, and provoked his avarice by the loss of the three hundred de zarii, when he accepted such valuable ointment.-M. RUARUS.
firmed in respect to the time which preceded the appearance of Christ. For though all who at any time believed in God were justified through faith, as may clearly be gathered from the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, yet they were not justified by faith in Christ, but simply by faith in God. For though all are justified by faith in Christ, they are also justified by faith in God, provided they believe in God through Christ, but not else. Let it be added, that even that mode of justification by faith in God, once in use under the law, was not comprehended in the Covenant given by Moses, but depended merely on the grace of God; but that now the mode of justification by faith is comprised in the Covenant itself. Whence the apostle states (Gal. iii. 22 &c.) that faith came by the gospel.
But this opinion seems to be opposed by that passage in the Acts (chap. xv. ver. 11), where the apostle says that “through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved even as they,” the Fathers ?
In this passage the term FATHERS does not occur, the words are only even as THEY. noun they does not refer to the words immediately preceding, where the Fathers are mentioned, for the discourse did not relate to the Fathers, but to those more remote where the Gentiles are spoken of, who properly are here the subjects of discourse, and are before several times opposed to the believing Jews, &s the Jews are also to believing Gentiles. For thus we read (ver. 8, &c.)-“And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them (the Gentiles) witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us (Jews); and
And the pro
put no difference between us and them, purifying their (the Gentiles') hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God to put a yoke (the ceremonial law) upon the neck of the disciples (the Gentiles) which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved even as they;" namely, they of whom I have said that they were saved by the grace of Christ. Nor does it constitute any objection to this interpretation, that the word Fathers is nearer than the word Gentiles, as I have shown from the passages (Acts vii. 19; x. 6; 2 John 7), which I quoted formerly in a similar case. Nor even is it of any consequence that the pronoun THEY is here masculine, and the word GENTILES, in Greek, of the neuter gender, and that it should therefore seem that the pronoun THEY cannot refer to the Gentiles : for the term Gentiles is elsewhere also in the Scriptures (Rom. ii. 14; Matth. xvii. 19) joined to the masculine gender, or else relates to it. But if any one should object to refer the pronoun THEY to the word GENTILES, it may with propriety be referred to the word DISCIPLES, immediately preceding it, which is of the masculine gender as well as the pronoun. But it is certain that by disciples' believing Gentiles are here to be understood.
OF THE PRIESTLY OFFICE OF CHRIST.
I SEEM to have sufficiently understood those things which are comprised in the prophetic office of Christ; proceed to his other offices, the priestly and kingly, and I desire to know from yourself concerning which of these I ought first to inquire ?
The order of things demands that I should treat of the priestly office of Christ before his kingly office : for although while he abode on earth, and before his death, he executed both offices together, as far as was practicable in the condition of a mortal nature,-yet in his death he first became properly a victim, and having ascended into heaven he continually presents himself an offering for us, and appears in the presence of God as a priest : which offering and appearance were so pleasing and acceptable to God, and also so efficacious, that he thereupon invested Christ with all the power of saving us, constituted him our king and the head over all things, and consequently by him conferred salvation upon us. And he is styled a priest, and the priestly office is ascribed to him, that it might appear that he is a king through the grace of God, and that the grace of God is the sole fountain of whatever blessings flow to us from his kingly office, For God also is a king : the one God cannot however be at the same time king and priest : but it was necessary that a man should be raised by him to both these dignities for the good of men.
Wherein then consists the priestly office of Christ?
The priestly office of Christ consists in this—that he not only offered up prayers and supplications to God for himself and for us while he dwelt on earth, hut also sanctified himself and gave himself as an offering for us, shedding his own blood for our sins; and thus, after being restored to life by God and made immortal, he has by his own blood entered the holy celestial place, and offered himself to God, appearing for ever in his presence, and interceding for us : by which one offering of his he has obtained for all who believe in him eternal redemption, and deliverance from their sins.
Are all these things asserted of Christ in strict propriety of speech?
These things are spoken of Christ by way of comparison and likeness with the legal priesthood :-because, as under the Old Covenant the high priest, having entered the holy of holies, performed those things which pertained to the expiation of the sins of the people (Heb. ii. 17; iv. 14; v. l; ix. 24); so Christ has now entered into heaven, that he may there appear before God for us, and perform all things relating to the expiation of our sins. But though the offering of Christ is so denominated by way of similitude, it has nevertheless a real and a far more perfect sense than sacrifices and offerings properly so called,