Review of "The Revelation of Law in Scripture"

J. N. Darby.

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(Notes and Comments Vol. 5.)

{"The Revelation of Law in Scripture," by Patrick Fairbairn, D.D. The third series of the "Cunningham Lectures." Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 38, George Street. 1869.}

Dr. Fairbairn is infected with the desire of setting up man's part in divine things, and so below grace. He works in the boundaries fixed by nature.

Page 15. 'When, in respect to things above nature, God reveals His mind to men, He does it through men, and through men not as mere machines, unconsciously obeying a supernatural impulse, but acting in discharge of their personal obligations and the free exercise of their individual powers and susceptibilities.' As regards Old Testament Prophets, this is not true, and even in tongues in the New, and is bad as really rationalistic. He says: 'It is within the boundary lines fixed by nature, and in accordance with the principles of her constitution, alike in the mental and the material world, that the work of grace proceeds.'

Page 22. 'Man, as surely as he is a rational being, is the end of his own existence; he does not exist to the end that something else may be, but he exists absolutely for his own sake; his being is its ultimate object, consequently all should proceed from his own simple personality.' But relationship with what is? This quotation from J. S. Mill is the poorest sophism. Because the question is not an end out of himself, but in what relationship his perfection consists, or whether there is any. It is not only what may be, but what is. Besides it is deifying egoism - I must not care for my wife, nor for society - for 'man' says nothing really - we must say 'a man.' It denies all affections, or even common or social existence, otherwise it is not his own simple personality. But divine does not become human; for God is One, and lone man not. He says: 'The fundamental principle of morality may be expressed in such a formula as this, "So act, that thou mayest look upon the dictate of thy will as an eternal law to thyself." Thus the divine becomes essentially one with the human.'

Page 30. Referring to my paper 'On the Law,' he says: 'The Law, it is held, had a specific character and aim, from which it cannot be dissociated, and which makes it for all time the minister of evil.' But this is not so - the Law is not 'the minister of evil,' but the Law "worketh wrath."

2 Page 31. 'Distinguishing between the teaching or commandments of Christ, and the commandments of the law, holding the one to be binding on the conscience of Christians and the other not, is plainly but partial Antinomianism; it does not, indeed, essentially differ from Neonomianism, since law, only as connected with the earlier dispensation, is repudiated, while it is received as embodying the principles of Christian morality, and associated with the life and power of the Spirit of Christ.' He here does not even know what he is talking about. It is not law 'as connected with the earlier dispensation,' but law as a principle and system on which man may be placed as contrasted with redemption, grace, and the gift of life. Further, it is not received as embodying the principles of Christian morality, but human morality. God and love having come in, the path of the Christian, as expressed in the life of Christ, goes on much higher ground - not merely maintenance of human relations, however right, but "perfect as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." And, further, he has not an idea beyond amount of requirement and form of obligation of law, whereas the question is: Is law the form of obligation? He avoids, and professedly, defining what law is, i.e., an undeviating course imposed by the authority or power of another, and asks, 'How far has it varied in amount of requirement or form of obligation, at different periods of the divine administration?'

Page 33. 'The Protestant churches generally stand committed to the belief of the moral law in the Old Testament as in substance the same with that in the New, and from its very nature limited to no age or country, but of perpetual and universal obligation.' This supposes a moral law in the New, which is the whole question, and confounds the principle of law and the substance or contents of a law. 'Of perpetual and universal obligation' then brings in the authority or else confounds the relations, consistency with which the Law insists on, with its authoritative insistence on it. This is what he constantly confounds, though forced sometimes to admit the difference, i.e., that there is no formal law in the New Testament. But, besides, a new relation with God is formed in the New Testament, and this changes everything; of this he knows nothing. "Herein is love, not that we loved him, but that he loved us." And "We love him, because he first loved us" - not we ought, must. The Protestant churches have no doubt taken the Decalogue as the grand moral summary under which is all duty, and never really known the Christian position and new creation.

3 Page 34. 'Sin is but the transgression of law; where no law is, there is no transgression. So that when the Apostle again speaks of certain portions of mankind not having the law, of their sinning without law, and perishing without law, he can only mean that they were without the formal revelation of law, which had been given through Moses to the covenant-people, while still, by the very constitution of their beings, they stood under the bonds of law, and by their relation to these would be justified or condemned.' This, 'Sin is but the transgression of the law,' is a most mischievous heresy. Sin was there to take occasion by the commandment when it came. Of this I have spoken. 'No transgression,' no doubt. Hence we have here, 'can only mean.' All the account of man afterwards is as false and as mischievous as can well be. Impossible to conceive anything more bewildered, more complete following of his own thoughts without Scripture, than his view of Adam's position. He says: 'The original standing of our first parents must have been amid'! 'the obligations of law. And the question is what was the nature of the law associated with man's original state? And how far, or in what respects did it possess the character of a revelation?' A child could answer. They were formally forbidden to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Dr. Fairbairn tells us that it was 'in something else than what in the primeval records carries the formal aspect of law. It was mainly being created in the image of God.' Think of that being a law! And 'What does this import of the requirements of law, or the bonds of moral obligation?'

Page 37. 'Undoubtedly, as the primary element in this idea, must be placed the intellect, or rational nature of the soul in man; the power or capacity of mind, which enabled him in discernment to rise above the impressions of sense. Without such a faculty, there had been wanting the essential ground of moral obligation; man could not be the subject either of praise or of blame; for he should have been incapable of so distinguishing between the true and the false, the right and the wrong, and so appreciating the reasons which ought to make the one rather than the other the object of one's desire and choice, as to render him responsible for his conduct. In God this property exists in absolute perfection.' God had it always, he says, and so man must.

4 Now all this is excessive ignorance of divine truth, and in the teeth of Scripture, and shows he does not know what law means. It supposes man had the knowledge of good and evil before the Fall, which is false, that he had it to be like God in it. Whereas God says "The man is become as one of us, knowing good and evil." God did give a positive law which did not require that knowledge, but required obedience. There had been no harm in eating the forbidden fruit, if God had not forbidden it. It was a formal law, but the thing forbidden not wrong unless forbidden. It confounds a nature producing its fruits with a law, i.e., an imposed rule involving the authority or power of another in its true sense. In page 40, he does not stint to say, 'In the permission accorded to man to partake even of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, though with a stern prohibition and threatening to deter him from such a misuse of his freedom.' It is hard to suppose a greater proof of where moral law-defending leads a man. A permission with a stern prohibition shows a strange state of mind, but the meaning is evident. It was not a simple forbidding as test of obedience, but called for the reflective quality of man's mind to decide, on grounds of judged good and evil, what he ought to do. It is hard to conceive greater error than this part of the book. It shows the author, or his principles, incapable of any real scriptural or right thought on the subject. It is well that the system of Adam's having had the law thus - being only more fully developed at Sinai - should be brought out clear.

Page 38. But, further, the 'destination of man' is this rational development in knowledge. This is false two ways. It was not the destination of man, but something infinitely higher, and his destiny was in the Second Adam not in the first. Hence, in this system, the Second is a perfecter of the first by better motives and power, with 'potential pardon.' This faculty, however, was to 'secure the good he was capable of attaining.'

Then, page 39, he must have a will to choose - not obey. He says: 'For this there must be a will to choose, as well as a reason to understand - a will perfectly free in its movements, having the light of reason to direct it to the good, but under no constraining force to obey the direction.' If there is really a will, he has chosen. But a will to choose is independence of God. Not obligation to obey a will of our own! We have a will, but a will which is not a will to obey absolutely, as Christ, and nothing else is a fallen will. He would have a will to judge for himself on motives, that is, independently of God. If God be thought of, obedience or sin is the only thing. Adam was left free, i.e., not restrained in action and allowed to be tempted. Confidence and obedience (shown by prayer and hearing the Word) were the right path, as in Christ in the desert in opposite circumstances; man failed in both. But the moment he chose when God had spoken he was a lost being. But an image in which one cannot err, and the other can, is no real image of that in which he so can. He says: 'While God never can, from the infinite perfection of His being, do otherwise than choose with absolute and unerring rectitude, man with his finite nature and his call to work amid circumstances and conditions imposed on him from without could have no natural security for such unfailing rectitude of will.' God never chooses.

5 Page 41. His statements as to immortal life are all wrong too. In the divine nature they are results! In man too they are results! Note "eternal life" is not noticed by him. He says: 'Blessedness and immortality are inseparable accompaniments of the divine nature, but rather as results flowing from the perpetual exercise of its inherent powers and glorious perfections, than qualities possessed apart - hence in man suspended on the rightful employment of the gifts and prerogatives committed to him.' Adam was not immortal - certainly a sinner. Now that is true as to bodily death as an effect of sin, but of that he is not speaking, for it would not apply to God. To show, too, how he does not get beyond the first man, the common idea of restoring the image is referred to - 'the restoration to the image of God, in the case of those who partake in the new creation through the grace and Gospel of Christ' - and 'knowledge is the product of illuminated reason.'

Page 43. Adam's state in innocence when fresh and pure is judged of 'from what we still know him to be' (not from Scripture). 'Sin, while it has sadly vitiated his moral constitution, not having subverted its nature, or essentially changed its manner of working.' (No wonder Dr. Fairbairn takes law!) This of course ignores the Scripture that he got the knowledge of good and evil in the Fall. Surely enmity against God is a subversion of our nature - not being possible to be subject to the law of God is an essential change. This is the secret of the mischief - no true sense of sin. He confounds responsibility, which arises from relationships, and in innocence were naturally walked in, with a law which imposes them, or rather conduct which fulfils them or results in punishment inflicted according to it by power. His quotation from Harless is right enough: 'There is something above the merely human and creaturely in what man is sensible of in the operation of conscience, whether he may himself recognise and acknowledge it as such or not. The workings of his conscience do not, indeed, give themselves to be known as properly divine, and in reality are nothing more than the movements of the human soul; but they involve something which I, as soon as I reflect upon it, cannot explain from the nature of spirit, if this is contemplated merely as the ground in nature of my individual personal life, which after a human manner has been born in me. I stand before myself as before a riddle, the key of which can be given, not by human self-consciousness, but by the revelation of God in His word.' But Dr. Fairbairn's inference to Adam's state is a denial of the effect of eating the forbidden fruit. Conscience, save in a figurative sense, is a law, because God has placed it as a monitor, taking care that when sin came in conscience should come in with it. But it is the opposite of true law - nomon me echontes (not having law) is the word. And God describes it by man's becoming "as one of us, knowing good and evil" in himself, i.e., not imposed by authority to which he had to answer as responsible. To apply such a thought to God is absurd. I could say, God was a law to Himself, just meaning He was under none, but that His own perfection made Him always act so and so. As a fact, man has the knowledge of good and evil which is not a law, even so in the sense of a rule, for it may be vitiated, as in Saul and millions else. "I thought I ought." But it is the faculty of making the difference and holding one thing for good, another for evil, making the difference between good and evil in my mind, whatever my rule may be. But you cannot speak of being 'subject and accountable,' when speaking of God. Obedience, conscience, and law, or the rule of conscience, are all distinct things. Obedience refers to authority - law to a rule imposed - conscience to my making a difference between good and evil, right and wrong in myself, if there was no authority, no obedience, no law. For that is as God does. He says: 'We are compelled to regard the absolute standard of right and wrong as constituted by the nature of the Deity.' The nature of the Deity as the absolute standard of right and wrong is all false till I get the Second Man, and supposes evil, as does revealed law after the Fall. For in God I have sovereign love, learnt in Christ's sacrifice, and I have divine purity in a nature which cannot sin. But to make a creature have the nature of the Deity as his absolute standard as such, falsifies duty, because God cannot be in the relations man is in, and duty flows from it. Hence, when the Decalogue is given, there is no revelation of God's nature at all, but simply the obligations of man's towards God and his neighbour. Christianity says, "Be ye therefore imitators of God as dear children" - when we are such, and gives Christ as the pattern - "perfect as your Father" - but He is it first. "God commends his love to us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." In Him were the two poles of perfection. Absolute self-sacrifice (not loving a neighbour as oneself, which is no divine perfection, and cannot be) for us - that is purely divine, no worthy object, but divine goodness; to God - that is absolute human perfection, divine indeed but still of and in a Man. The Law knew nothing of this, but man's duties where he was, but Christ was God manifest in the flesh, and that is our pattern. But he who so walks will have no law against what he does. Of this there is no thought in Dr. Fairbairn's mind.

7 Page 45. 'For what was the law, when it came, but the idea of the divine image set forth after its different sides, and placed in formal contrast to sin and opposition to God?' The Law being 'the idea of the divine image' is mere nonsense, if the Decalogue, as he says, is the grand display of it, for that image is not thought of in it, but man's duties towards God and his neighbour, which in the nature of things cannot apply to God. Much of, indeed all of it, in its nature supposes sin. And even when it is said, "Be ye holy," there is no thought of "as," but only "for," and perfection is "with Jehovah thy God," not "as." That is in principle in Christianity alone, because Christ was come, the Second Man, not the first. It is this that makes it so dreadfully false, and falsifies the nature of law. The first Adam is the history of responsibility in man innocent, and a sinner - the last, the Second Man, the display of God in man, the perfectly obedient Man. He was born under the Law, but He was much more than that - God manifest in flesh, and that is not law at all.

8 Again, 'Strictly speaking, man at first stood in law rather than under law - being formed to the spontaneous exercise of that pure and holy love, which is the expression of the divine image, and hence also to the doing of what the law requires.' But man was under express law at first, and is so spoken of in Hosea 6:7 and Romans 5, which quotes it.

Pages 46, 47. 'The law of the Ten Commandments was written on Adam's heart on his creation,' etc. This is simple, but well known nonsense. How could "Thou shalt not steal" be a law to Adam? Or "kill," or "lust"? It all supposes sin and a fallen state, and in principle so does every prohibition of evil, and indeed a command to love God. 'Binding to obedience' is all very well - that Adam's law did, but it did not suppose sin. The moment Scripture is owned, which expressly declares that man got the knowledge of good and evil by the Fall, and that this part, if they please to call it so, was acquired then, as Scripture expressly and in terms asserts, "The man is become as one of us," all this falls to the ground. He says 'God had furnished man's soul with an understanding mind, whereby he might discern good from evil and right from wrong; and not only so, but also in his will was most perfect uprightness (Eccles. 7:29) and his instrumental parts (i.e., his executive faculties and powers) were in an orderly way framed to obedience.'

Page 48. 'Understood after this manner, the language in question is quite intelligible and proper, though certainly capable of being misapplied (if too literally taken), and in form slightly differing from the Scripture representation; Rom. 2:14-15.' It is well it is admitted it differs slightly from Scripture representation - if it does, it is wrong, and wrong on a fundamental point; and Romans most assuredly, on which it is said to be built, does not speak of man before his fall. Again, wrong as he is, he is obliged to admit it is not 'properly a revelation of law in Adam.'

Pages 49-51. This is all imagination. 'Man possessed a sense of beauty as an essential ground of his intelligence and fellowship with Heaven. He was therefore to cultivate the feeling of the beautiful, by cultivating the appropriate beauty inherent in everything that lives.' Scripture history of development of art is Cain when he had lost God altogether. Why is this so given? The sense of beauty is of God, and finds it in its place in God's works, as Christ in the lily, not in Solomon. All this, too, makes the first man the object of God's designs and counsels - a fatal error, and a denial of the Cross. He says, 'Man was to trace, in the operations proceedings around him, the workings of the divine mind, and then make them bear the impress of his own'!

9 Pages 52, 53. 'Man had the light of Heaven within him, and of his own accord should have taken the course, which his own circumstances, viewed in connection with the divine procedure, indicated as dutiful and becoming. The real question is, did not the things recorded contain the elements of law? Was there not in them such a revelation of the mind of God, as bespoke an obligation to observe the day of weekly rest, for those whose calling was to embrace the order and do the works of God?' How different the Apostle on entering into God's rest! But note the admission that there ought not to be a law - 'there was no formal enactment binding the observance of the day on man, neither should it have been.' There were, he says, 'the elements of law.' The Sabbath was in no way a law. As Fairbairn justly says, 'law was not required while man was pure.' He would have enjoyed 'the sanctified day' with God, I do not doubt, if he had not sinned, but this just shows law was not the thing, save as test of obedience, till man was a sinner, and then, in fact, could only condemn. I have no doubt having part in the rest of God is the essence of blessing; but that is not the question, but law, and this he admits. it was not, but one of its elements, i.e., a thing law occupied itself about, but not law.

Page 55. 'High as man's original calling was to preside over and subdue the earth, to improve and multiply its resources, to render it in all respects subservient to the ends for which it was made.' This, again, is a totally false statement of man's calling.

Page 57. Speaking of the command respecting the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he says, 'it served to erect a standard, every way proper and becoming, around which the elements of good and evil might meet, and the ascendancy of the one or the other be made manifest.' What elements of good and evil? This is talk.

10 Page 59. 'If grace should interpose to rectify the evil that had emerged, and place the hopes of mankind on a better footing than that of nature, this grace must reign through righteousness, and overcome death by overcoming the sin which caused it.' How 'by overcoming the sin'? It was by redemption.

Page 61. Here, again, we have this civilisation process as the purpose of God with innocent man. 'The charge given to man at the moment of creation, would necessarily have involved a continuous rise in the outward theatre of his existence; and it may justly be inferred, that as this proceeded, his mental and bodily condition would have partaken of influences fitted indefinitely to ennoble and bless it.' But what follows is worse, because restoration is made progressive, not a work of redemption. 'The progression had now to proceed, not from a less to a more complete form of excellence, but from a state of sin and ruin to one of restored peace, life, and purity, culminating in the possession of all blessing and glory in the kingdom of the Father.' Revelation of redemption might be progressive, and steps preparatory to it. He speaks of progress from sin to 'restored peace, life, and purity.' It is all a fable. Where is the Flood in this progress? It was a world apart before which ended there, and then the ways of God began, and 'it is the enlightenment and regeneration of the world on the principle of progression'! Really, God had given man up to a reprobate mind, calling Abram out apart. Thus page 63 shows how utterly false the whole system is. The total developed corruption of man without law, and the destruction of the world is ignored - a confirmed promise to one, to which law could not be added, which was the covenant of blessing in contrast with subsequent law, and the world, i.e., man apart from it, being given up. All God's ways are given up for a mere theory and fable.

Page 66. 'As regards the manner in which the call to imitate God's goodness, and be conformed to His will was to be carried out, it would of course be understood that, whatever was fairly involved in the original destination of man to replenish and cultivate the earth, so as to make it productive of the good of which it was capable, and subservient to the ends of a wise and paternal government, this remained as much as ever his calling and duty.' If so, Cain driven out from God did better than Abel. 'Man's proper vocation was not altered by the Fall,'! i.e., civilisation. "All that is in the world is not of the Father, but of the world." The rest of God was wholly lost in the first creation. Sacrifice, with death, was what God now owned. But, for Dr. Fairbairn, the rest of God remains.

11 Page 69. 'Somehow - apparently, indeed, in connection with the clothing of the shame of our first parents by means of the skins of slain victims - they were guided to a worship by sacrifice as the one specially adapted to their state as sinners. Here then, again, without any positive command, there was not law, in the formal sense of the term, but the elements of law,' etc. We have in the clothing of skins, and Abel, not law but death, and covering and acceptance in righteousness by grace through death, the very opposite of law, "for if righteousness came by law, Christ is dead in vain."

Page 70. This is a formal confession that there was no law till Moses. 'To speak of law in the moral and religious sphere - law in some definite and imperative form, standing outside the conscience, and claiming authority to regulate its decisions, as having a place in the earlier ages of mankind, is not warranted by any certain knowledge we possess of the remoter periods of God s dispensations.'

Page 70. 'With the majority of men, conscience and motives failed.' Were there some then with whom it did not fail? It was 'the weakness of our moral nature, the upper part giving way to the lower.' Where is enmity against God, and all concluded under sin? And is flesh lusting against the Spirit this state? Note he quotes it 'the flesh lusts against the Spirit' (sic).

Page 74. 'The melancholy picture drawn near the commencement of the Epistle to the Romans, as an ever deepening and darkening progression in evil, realises itself wherever fallen nature is allowed to operate unchecked. It did so in the primitive, as well as the subsequent stages of human history. First, men refused to employ the means of knowledge they possessed respecting God's nature and will, would not glorify Him as God.' All this progress and 'First' is a simple mistake. The statement is that, having degraded the idea of God in idolatry, God gave them up to degrade themselves.

Page 75. 'Not for many long ages - not till the centuries of antediluvian times had passed away, and centuries more after a new state of things had commenced its course - did God see meet to manifest Himself to the world in the formal character of Lawgiver … A proof, manifestly, of God's unwillingness to assume this more severe aspect in respect to beings He had made in His own image, and press upon them, in the form of specific enactments, His just claims on their homage and obedience!' This is really too bad systematising. God, unwilling to be so harsh as to be a Lawgiver when He had destroyed all the world but eight! At any rate it is a confession there was not a law. Then the separation of Abram from all the world in idolatry, even Shem's family (Joshua 24) is ignored. There is no scriptural recognition of idolatry before the Flood. But if law is a 'painful necessity,' how is it 'God's image, universal and Christian'?

12 Page 76. 'There was no law till Egypt, save blood for blood, and circumcision, but principles of law became manifestations of God's character to attract confiding love.' Was ever such confusion? Were these 'a painful necessity'?

Pages 78, 79. It is remarkable how the statements of Scripture are lost in vague generalities. But that is was 'not to occupy an independent place,' etc., is all false. He says: 'The law could not have been intended - the very time and occasion of its introduction prove that it could not have been intended - to occupy an independent place; it was of necessity but the sequel or complement of the covenant of promise, with which were bound up the hopes of the world's salvation, to help out in a more regular and efficient manner the moral aims which were involved in the covenant itself.' It was not against the promises of God, but it was on a different ground - doing, not faith in what Another had done. It was not to help out 'in a more regular and efficient manner' the promise. It was "added because of transgressions," came in by-the-bye "that the offence might abound," and it is monstrous to say that 'the ground of a sinner's confidence towards God, and the nature of the obligations growing out of it, remained essentially as they were.'

And (p. 80) citing Exodus 3:6-17, he says: 'When appearing for the purpose of charging Moses to undertake the work of deliverance, the Lord revealed Himself as at once Jehovah, the one unchangeable and eternal God.' 'And as soon as the deliverance was achieved, and the tribes of Israel lay at the foot of Sinai, ready to hear what their redeeming God might have to say to them, the first message that came to them was one that most strikingly connected the past with the future, the redeeming grace of a covenant God with the duty of service justly expected of a redeemed people.' But in Exodus 6 He declares He had not revealed Himself by His name Jehovah. And Sinai made all depend on "IF ye will obey my voice" - was not "of one" (Gal. 3:16), whereas the promise was a pure promise, dependent on God's fidelity only to the promise confirmed to Christ. This distinction is ignored. Israel's receiving the Law after redemption from Egypt, might show to a spiritual mind that man could in no way have to say to God on this ground, but does not touch the question of the ground on which he was then set, which was his own obedience, and blessing if it was found. In fact it is sovereign grace, and gracious discipline (including millennial government) up to Sinai, and then all was changed. They were to worship there, instead of which they got the Law and fell in the wilderness - for the same acts as before Sinai they were violently smitten. Even Moses, for one fault, could not go in - a sign of its bearing.

13 Pages 83, 84. 'In the personal announcement which introduces the ten fundamental precepts, it is that same glorious and unchangeable Being coming near to Israel in the character of their redeeming God. Redemption carries in its bosom a conformity to the divine order, and only when the soul responds to the righteousness of Heaven is the work of deliverance complete.' It put, as to Israel after the redemption, under the repelling terrors of exclusion from His presence, life before them and blessing on the strict condition of obedience, and in Law this was right (death and malediction if they did not).

Page 85. Quoting Exodus 34:6-7, he says: 'It intimates, indeed, that justice could not forego its claims, that obstinate transgressors should meet their desert, but gives this only the subordinate and secondary place, while grace occupies the foreground.' As to Moses - his intercession spared the people for the time, but the revelation of grace would not clear the guilty (just what Christianity does) and the soul that sinned was to be blotted out of God's book, Moses not being able to make atonement for which he had gone up with a 'peradventure.' 'Justice could not forego its claims, but it gives this only the secondary place.' This is not Christianity, nor anything save governmental patience and goodness. Justice never foregoes its claims, cannot, but it is satisfied in Christ, not put in a secondary place, though grace reigns. To Moses governmental goodness was shown, but justice maintained its claims, and no atonement was made - each soul had to answer for itself. There is no sense of sin in this book. He says, citing these verses, 'Was this to act like One who was more anxious to inspire terror, than win affection from men?' 'Win affection from men'! It was said to Moses, who had found grace - if the people approached they died. Was not that terror? Yet, in page 86, he says it is 'a formal, stringent law.' It is not a question if there were promises - there were plenty, but on the strict condition of man's fulfilling the Law and obedience.

14 Pages 87, 88. 'It has ever been the maxim of all judicious and thoughtful commentators on the law of the two tables, that when evil is forbidden, the opposite good is to be understood as enjoined.' 'Opposite good to be understood,' is making a law and adding to God's, and in a general way falsifying it. Yet on this is founded here the introduction of the principle of love, though this is all ignorance of Christianity, because it is only love as duty upwards, or to a neighbour as oneself, the duty of the relationship, not divine goodness known and shown, which depends on none. The good Samaritan is the converse of the question asked, and the exchange of the Decalogue goes no further than love to a neighbour, in one word fulfilling it all (and as this was done in grace, the Law not needed) but neither reach the Christian principle of imitating God and giving up self. Yet he says, 'The Apostles freely interchange the precept of love with the commands of the Decalogue, as mutually explanatory of each other. And thus, in part at least, may be explained the negative form of the ten commandments.'

Page 90. 'The negative is doubtless in itself the lower form of command; and when so largely employed as it is in the Decalogue, it must be regarded as contemplating and striving to meet the strong current of evil that runs in the human heart.' That is, the Law of the Decalogue supposes sin, and could not be in Paradise.

Page 143. "The true import of the Levitical code is not seen on the curt statutes.' 'The occasional access of a few ministering priests into the courts of that worldly sanctuary - an access into its inmost receptacle by one person only, and by him only once a year - how imperfect an image of the believer's freedom of intercourse with God, and habitual consciousness of His favour and blessing!' I have nothing to say to this. 'Imperfect an image of the believer's freedom' was a sign given by the Holy Ghost that they could not go at all; Hebrews 9.

15 Before going further, I state that no Christian doubts that the contents of the Law are good - the Law, holy, just and good. Further, when God acts, He more or less displays His character, what He is, and, as a general principle, there must be goodness and lovingkindness, because these above all characterise Him. Even judgment will put an end to evil, be deliverance from evil, though in itself more purely righteousness. The Cross gives the whole truth fully. But all this is not the question, but what is, as such, Law? It is requirement from man, not the revelation of God. In its dispensation, a God who had delivered may have uttered it, but it is requirement from man of what he ought to do, or prohibition of what he ought not to do. In the Decalogue, save one commandment, or at most two (4 and 5) the latter - i.e., it supposes, and, in eight or nine tenths of it, speaks of sin. Obligation does not rest on law, but on relationship. Law maintains these - so does Christ, but on a different principle. God has formed men in certain relations to Himself and one another. A good nature - and man was so formed - would walk naturally in them, because it was a conscious relationship by Creation itself, and the communications connected with it. I add this, because always true with God, another being - it was needed and existed. Law takes up these relationships, with some other things consequent as facts on the Fall. Hence the Decalogue is not arbitrary, but God's maintenance of the relationships He had placed man in - in the circumstances in which he now found himself. It is a perfect rule for the child of Adam as he is, as a summary of positive duty, including all, we must add, what the Lord cites. But two things make the difference. It is law, not grace - secondly, grace has, though sanctioning all this, changed the relationship. We are God's children in grace, not Adam's. Though in the relationship, the obligation remains. Hence duty, and measure of duty, flowing from, existing in the relationship, the rule and measure is different. Grace says not, 'man must love God' - right, perfectly right, as that is as fact of duty, though hopeless for man in form - but "God loves," and "we" (not 'must') "love him because he first loved us." It is a new nature and a new relationship. Law is addressed to man in flesh, and tells him his duty and no more. Hence useful to judge.

16 Page 148. Quoting Deuteronomy 4:7-8, he says: 'Coming expressly from Jehovah in the character of Israel's Redeemer, the Law cannot be contemplated otherwise than as carrying a benign aspect, and aiming at happy results. Moses extolled the condition of Israel as on this very account surpassing that of all other people.' The Law being better to them as a nation than the heathen laws, and gods, has nothing to do with the question. The next class of passages he cites (Psalms 103, 119 and 147:19-20) is the renewed man delighting in the revelation of God's will and word, of which the New Testament even in Romans 7, speaks as clearly as these passages. But that is not being under law. The question is treated by Paul as the question of justification, and then of deliverance. But he does not really understand the question, nor any who take up law as he does.

Page 151. 'The people had just been rescued, it was declared, from Egypt, had been borne by God on eagles' wings, and brought to Himself - for what? Not simply that they might acknowledge His existence, or preserve His memory, in the face of surrounding idolatry, but that they might obey His voice and keep His covenant, and so be to Him "a kingdom of priests and an holy nation."' This is a wholly false quotation on the whole point in question. He says they were borne on eagles' wings that they might obey His voice, citing Exodus 19:4, 6, but verse 5 says "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice," etc., "Ye shall be," etc., i.e., makes all depend on the people's obedience. This one sentence shows where he is Nor, further, is there a word about 'reflecting His character,; nor 'holy as He is holy.' Holiness was required, because God was holy; 'as' is only in the Gospel.

Page 152. 'If the law had been aught else than a real disclosure of the mind of God as to what He demands of His people toward Himself and toward each other in the vital interests of truth and righteousness, it had been beneath the occasion.' It was the mind of God as to what He demands of His people towards Himself and the neighbour in the interests of righteousness ('truth' is too much - that came by Jesus Christ), but 'demands of righteousness on man' is not the reflection of God's character. So, when the lawyer asks: "Who is my neighbour," He does not say 'everybody,' but changes the whole aspect, and shows One who is a Neighbour towards another in grace, not who was his neighbour, but One acting in love to need - what Christ became in grace. The Law, so given, is treated as a thing come in by the bye, till the Seed came. All the notions founded on this romance of general progress are false. God could only raise the question of man's righteousness, for that was the Law, in a people separated out of the world to Himself - as progress with man, it would have falsified His knowledge of their lost estate (seeking the Lord did not) and that is just the root of this system. Hence it is given to a nation externally redeemed, and the question raised with an 'if.'

17 Page 153. 'It will not do to say, by way of explanation, that in rejecting Jesus they set themselves against the very Head of Theocracy, and so ran counter to its primary design; for it was not in that character that He formally appeared and claimed the homage of men, but rather as Himself the living embodiment of its great principles, the culmination of its spiritual aims.' It was just because the contrary was really true that He was rejected.

Page 155. 'Witsius finds in the precepts of the Decalogue the moral elements of the covenant of works; they only assumed somewhat of the appearance of the covenant of Moses to convince people of their sinfulness,' etc. This is just in the teeth of the Apostle.

Page 157. 'They' (Israel) 'were no more bound to seek righteousness by the law, than the young man was by our Saviour's saying to him, If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.' The Saviour in these words takes the Ten Commandments as the covenant of 'Do and live.'

Page 158. 'The law carried with it the bond of a sacred obligation which they were to strive to make good; and of any other meaning or design, either on God's part in imposing, or on their part in accepting the obligation, the narrative is entirely silent'! This is too bad. Their being a peculiar people depended on obeying His voice! That there were promises which faith could look to, and prophecy which preceded, accompanied, and followed it, is true, but this was not law nor determines its character, unless as being something else. The question is whether really we are to take the New Testament, or Dr. Fairbairn as the divine interpreter. To say that 'life took here precedence of righteousness' is too bad, when an Apostle tells us the righteousness of the Law speaks thus: "He that doeth these things shall live in them." I had rather have Paul than Dr. Fairbairn. The Lord does not say a word of the 'dowry of eternal life' - "all live unto him" - but proves the resurrection. It is a most mischievous perversion. He says, 'It carries in its bosom the dowry of eternal life; so that grace took precedence of law, life of righteousness.' To Abraham, further, it was unconditioned promise, and the uncircumcised was cut off from blessing which remained to others. At the Law, the covenant was absolutely based on the condition of man's obedience as its first principle. All this page is merely contradicting Scripture, and profound moral ignorance as to Scripture truth.

18 So page 163. 'Access continually lay open to them to God.' Quite the contrary. Individual faith in promise might go to God, but the law, tabernacle and all said, Death if you come near. God did not come out - man could not go in. In Christ, God did come out, and - blessed be God - Man is gone in. The Holy Ghost signified this by the veil. We have boldness to enter into the holiest by a new and living way, consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh, and we draw nigh. And even in the sacrifices, they were in contrast with Christ - a remembrance of sins still there - now perfected for ever, never to be remembered.

Page 164. 'The moral barrier raised in defence of the truth by the Decalogue preserved the better portion of the covenant-people from the dangers which in this respect beset them - preserved them in the knowledge and belief of one God, as sovereign Lord and moral Governor of the world.' That God called out Abraham to preserve the knowledge of one God is surely true, that that the Law was given to maintain this, but what was 'the better portion of the covenant-people'? Was it the Law made them so, or sent Paul to Mars' hill? The Law could have preached no such sermon. It had priests (because they could not go to God) not ministry. The captivity of Babylon was what ended Israel and took the throne away. Paul preached Jesus and the resurrection. This was his defence, not his sermon; and he refers not to law but to the judgment of the world by Christ, and resurrection as the proof. That the Jewish system preserved the knowledge of the true God, through grace, by its better portion, I do not deny. And of course, God was known by faith as the Redeemer, the Hope of Israel. It is not the question what Israel had, but what is law? The promise of the woman's seed, and even the promise of Abraham's was before law, and on their faith always rested, where it was more than governmental, where full grace was needed, else Moses and responsibility, and these are never confounded. Psalm 119 is the Law written in the heart (and prophetically, with all the Psalms, belongs to that time) that is on the face of it, and to quote it thus is to confound the new covenant with the old. The 'better portion' had it so written, but that is not law in the sense of Sinai. That was written on stone. All this is simply confounding grace and law, the old covenant and the new. We have other things too.

19 Page 167. 'The want of right views of sin cleaves as a fundamental defect to all ancient philosophy.' Yes, and to all modern philosophy too.

Page 176. Note. 'Phil. 3:6. That Paul speaks thus of his earlier life from a Pharisaic point of view, is evident from the connection; as he is avowedly recounting the things which had reference to the flesh (v. 4) and which gave him a merely external ground of glorying. It is further evident, from what he says of his relation to the law elsewhere, when he came to a proper understanding of its real import (Rom. 7); and also from the utter want of satisfaction, which even here he expresses, of his former life after the light of truth dawned upon his mind (v. 78).' No doubt, but this is "We know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin." It is not only grace but Christianity alone which can speak thus. You never get 'flesh' thus distinguished from 'me' in the Old Testament. It is Christian knowledge learned through the exercises of Romans 7, and only fully, save in despair, or all but despair, when we have the Holy Ghost, through redemption, which Israel had not. Besides, the remark in the note is not true - Paul was blameless as to the Decalogue, save when the tenth commandment came, spiritually understood. So the Lord with the young man.

Page 177. 'The covenant of Sinai - taken by itself, simply as the revelation of law - 'genders to bondage'; Gal. 4:24. Paul does not say 'taken by itself'; he says it does so. Under age, sons did not differ from servants, had not the spirit of sons. And Dr. Fairbairn has to admit that sons are of 'the covenant of promise alone, not by that of law.' Why then so many words?

20 Page 178. 'The law which could condemn but not expiate their sin, cried for vengeance with a voice that must be heard, and wrath from heaven fell upon them to the uttermost.' It was the rejection of Christ, not the Law which brought vengeance on them. Babylon had done that, though none would come, but it is rejecting the Son which causes the labourers' city to be burned. It was stumbling on the Stone. "If I had come among them," says the Lord, "they had not had sin."

Page 180. Nothing can exceed the inaccuracy of this man's mind. He says: 'There can be no doubt that the law, taken in its entireness, and as forming the most prominent feature in the economy brought in by Moses, however wisely adapted to the time then present, was still inlaid with certain inherent defects, which discovered themselves in the working of the system, and paved the way for its ultimate removal. As an economy, it belonged to an immature stage of the divine dispensations, and as such was constituted after a relatively imperfect form.' The Law in its entireness, here only a 'prominent feature in the economy, was inlaid with certain inherent defects!' Now the Law of God itself had no defect in it. In the next sentence he says it is 'an economy.' Yet 'the institutions and ordinances were associated with it'! And 'a change must somehow be introduced into the divine economy'! What was changed? The Law as a moral thing, for the institutions were only associated with it? All his book is to prove the contrary. It is really teaching the Law, and not knowing what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But it is the natural effect of his system.

Page 181. 'Whatever the contents of law, simply as law, written on perishable materials, it has a merely outward and objective character … without any direct influence over the secret springs and motives of conduct.' Well! some say, But how then was it to do so much good to man, save convincing him of sin?

Pages 182, 183. Which is true that 'law supposes the will of man inwardly obstinate, rebellious, averse to all obedience,' or 'the elements of good are all there, though existing in comparative feebleness, and by means of discipline are stimulated'? They talk too of the 'ancient believer.' The question is with man, not with the believer. A new nature delights in law, but it is new.

21 Page 185. Moses did not give 'intimations of its imperfect character,' but plain statements of Israel's wickedness, and of God's way for His own glory.

Page 189. Here the Law is 'considered as a national covenant'! I do not expect him to understand the Psalms or Ecclesiastes. In the latter, Jehovah does not enter - it is man and God, till the last conclusion. In the Psalms, this varies prophetically, according to Israel's place. But all this part which refers to the subject of Hebrews, not Romans, Galatians, and 2 Corinthians 3, I say nothing of. The progress in the Psalms and Prophets, though Dr. Fairbairn understands nothing of their real import, no one doubts. But this has nothing to do with what is 'The revelation of law.' The Psalms contain lovely expressions of faith and confidence in God and Jehovah who governs, but the relation of a child with a father is never found, nor a feeling which distinctively belongs to it. The difference is sensible, and if piety has been nourished by them, Christianity has been Judaised.

Page 212. We have here the excessively low idea of Christianity, cause and effect too of these wretched views, 'a vivifying pulse felt through society, and humanity springing aloft into a higher sphere, a new career of fruitfulness in intellectual and moral action.' 'A real reform' though for, I must say, decency, 'salvation work' is named with 'the better spirit growing out of it.' It is all pleasing the spirit of the age. It was an 'undertaking, for which Christ seemed unfit'!

Page 215. 'The condition of affairs immensely aggravated the difficulty of the undertaking for Him; so that the wisdom, the resolution, the power to carry it into execution, was of God!' Is this really redemption in Christ?

Page 216. 'Not only were the materials for all provided by Christ in His earthly ministry, but the way also was begun to be opened for their proper application and use; and what was afterwards done in this respect by the hands of the apostles was merely the continuation and further unfolding of the line of instruction already commenced by their Divine Master.' This is partially true. Hebrews' truth takes this ground, and in some degree Peter. But then Hebrews puts all into heaven, and shows the contrast much more than the comparison; a veil - but now rent - to show that they could not go in, now that they can; sacrifice - but then repeated, to show sin was not put away, now, not repeated, because it is; and so on. But, as to the Church, and the mystery, the Apostle declares they were wholly hidden, as they must have been. So, when Christ was on earth, He never calls Himself the Messiah, save to the woman of Samaria, and, once morally rejected, tells His disciples not. He is Son of Man, and Son of God. When He takes that character, He is not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and forbids His disciples to go to Samaritans or Gentiles. That He fully owned the Law and the Prophets is quite clear. But all the higher teaching of Christianity was not in the Prophets, as is distinctly affirmed.

22 Page 217. 'Identifying Himself with the Temple, He declared that when He fell, as the Redeemer of the world, it too should virtually fall.' It virtually fell! It is really a romance.

Page 219. 'It was in His memorable Sermon on the Mount that our Lord made the chief formal promulgation of the fundamental principles of His Kingdom.' Principles of His kingdom truly - not of His Church, and chiefly the character of those in Israel who could enter. There is no question of redemption in it, but what characters could enter into His Kingdom - doubtless, if entered, they guide us in it. But Christ was showing the king of people that suited His kingdom; but neither redemption nor the Church. He was in the way with Israel, and righteousness preceded entering.

Pages 220, 221. All this is excessively paltry. 'The difference in the external scenery alone, in the two mounts'! 'Sinai less perfectly a mountain than a lofty and precipitous rock'! The 'Alps unclothed - stripped of all verdure and vegetation,' etc. 'When Galilee was a well-cultivated and fertile region, and the rich fields which slope downwards to the lake were seen waving with their summer produce,' etc., etc.

Page 222. Speaking of the giving of the Law from Sinai, and the Sermon on the Mount, he says: 'The difference between the new and the old is relative only, not absolute. There are the same fundamental elements in both, but these differently adjusted, so as fitly to adapt them to the ends they had to serve, and the times to which they respectively belonged.' What were the 'promises in the law'? Long life in the Land! Let anyone read the Beatitudes and see the spirit looked for in man for blessing (not required as law at all) and put the Ten Commandments beside them, and say if the same fundamental elements 'are in both,' but these differently adjusted.' In the first place there are no relationships referred to. A state of soul is described which the Lord pronounces blessed - nothing is required. There is instruction, warning, no grace announced, but the character described which suited the kingdom, if they would enter, which was just going to be set up.

23 Pages 223, 224. 'Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets, I came not to destroy but to fulfil.' This latter expression must be taken in its plain and natural sense. It means simply to substantiate, by doing what they required, or making good what they announced. 'The law is fulfilled when the things are done which are commanded,' etc. Then if fulfilled, it is not 'putting others under it,' and it is the sense. But he does not see that the Lord all through is describing the previous character among the Jews, to which entrance into the Kingdom should belong. That Christ maintained the authority of Law and Prophets no one doubts, and, as far as fulfilled, they are fulfilled in Him. The question is, Does He put us under the Law as law?

Page 226. 'The kingdom, as to the righteousness recognised and expected in it, was to rise on the foundation of the law and the prophets.' This is exceedingly vague, as his statements are, and hard to take hold of. At any rate, it is not said anywhere, and it is not Christian ground. Now "without law" (choris nomou) righteousness of God is revealed. As to the Decalogue, they are not 'the fundamental statutes of the Kingdom.' This is wholly false. The Law and the Prophets were until John, since then the Kingdom of God is preached. The Sermon on the Mount is Christ's giving to His disciples, when multitudes thronged, the principles of which any of the Jews could enter. There is not a word of redemption, nothing whatever of Christianity as such, nor of Christian doctrine, nor of grace - not one word. The Jews had other ideas. These are His authoritative ones as to what characters suited His kingdom, and nothing more, including the heavenly part in case of persecution, which is supposed even in Daniel. Christ fulfilled the law no doubt - He was born or came under it; that does not say He put us under it after He was risen and no longer under it, having borne its curse. And the kingdom had taken a wholly new form, the King being rejected and hid in God. And as no redemption, no grace is mentioned in the Sermon, but the rock is unquestionably personal obedience. It must be supposed that one may disobey a little and get in, only having a little place! Supposing a great one was disobeyed? If it is said 'shut out,' what is the ground and measure of Christian entrance into the kingdom? That Christ as I said confirms the law and prophets by His authority, for they can by Him be confirmed as they were by the Transfiguration, no one doubts. The whole law in every part is fulfilled - ceremonies in the substance - in Him; and He, not our obedience is the end of the Law for righteousness. Some things might be carried higher, but not broken. It is Christ giving the true character of what He will have for the kingdom, not grace and redemption. But he knows nothing of the different positions in which Christ stood as the Christ or as Saviour. Pages 226, 227 are a mere muddle of contradiction from the false position he has taken.

24 Page 228. 'After so solemnly asserting His entire harmony with the law and the prophets, and His dependence on them, it would manifestly have been to lay Himself open to the charge of inconsistence, and actually to shift the ground which He professedly occupied in regard to them, if now He should go on to declare, that, in respect to the great landmarks of moral and religious duty, they said one thing, and He said another.' But He says nothing of harmony but of fulfilling. What means 'His dependence on them'? One thing is clear - personal righteousness is the ground of entrance into the Kingdom, and, when Christ is dealing with Israel as such, this is the ground He takes, and that He does in Matthew to the end of chapter 12. The disciples were to enquire who in city or village were worthy, and go there, not seek sinners, nor go into the way of the Gentiles or city of the Samaritans. Is this the Gospel? If a Jew had taught against any commandment of God, he was going against God's authority - if it amounted to hating his enemies in given special cases, and, as such, was.

But it imports to give the true character of this Sermon on the Mount for its own sake, and as the stronghold of the legalist. That the Christian can learn there what is pleasing to the Lord, is not the question - that is clearly so from even the Law - but what is its true character, and whether it puts us under law? In Matthew, Christ is seed of Abraham, seed of David, Emmanuel, Jehovah the Messiah come into Israel, sent to the lost sheep there, and first even to the nation, born King of the Jews. It is not, as Luke, first the Jewish Remnant, and then the Son of Man traced up to Adam. It was Jehovah, the Saviour to save His people from their sins, before whose face John went to prepare His way, announcing the axe at the root of the trees, and the kingdom just going to be set up. And even he declared, not for Pharisees and Sadducees. The Lord then by His ministry having attracted the crowds, for chapter 4 gives the whole public ministry of the Lord, gives to His disciples, but in the audience of all, what was the character of those who would have a place in the kingdom. But, save supposing the kingdom announced, there is not a word of Gospel in it. It is those who already there amongst the Jews were fit for the kingdom. So chapter 5:25-26, is the history of the Jews. The Lord was in the way with them. If need were, the end of Luke 12 proves it distinctly. And He tells His disciples how they were to behave in taking their place. Every Jew knew there was the olam hoveh (this age) under the law, and olam habba (the coming age) under Messiah. These are the rules for having part in the latter, the Father's name being withal revealed, but the kingdom not set up. He was rejected, and redemption came in, but of this we have nothing here.

25 As to details. It is clear He was not, as Jehovah-Messiah, come to set aside His own law, and His own prophets. He came to fulfil them - not impose on others in continuance, but fulfil them. As I have said, of all the ceremonial part He was the substance and fulfilment. Then as to commandments, personally of course He fulfilled the Law. But even when He says: "But I say," He is not taking up the Law to spiritualise it. In two cases only, He takes up one of the Ten Commandments, murder and adultery, but only as essential parts of His own morality, and given as applying to the state of a man, not his acts, as all through, for this is His subject. And where He seems to change it, yet He fulfils it. Israel was divorced for their sins, yet He returns to God's original institution which was in the Law too, and will own Israel as Ish (man) and Hephzibah (beloved of God) making good God's own institution, when the governmental force of the Law has run its course, from Babylon till He takes His power and Israel has paid the last farthing. And breaking or annulling "one of the least commandments" is the same maintenance of the Law in all its integrity, and "least" is merely fully enforcing it, for if Christ came to fulfil it, he went against it, was going against Jehovah, and the very thing He came for. But the word "least" is merely to answer to "least," for either it gives a measure and he who taught against the least would get in, beyond that not - which is monstrous - or else he who annulled a greater would be less than he, still in the kingdom. But this is not the thought. "Least" echoes "least," and it is maintaining every jot and tittle of the Law, even the smallest, which I fully believe, but to be fulfilled by Christ, not carried on, though many things in it may abide, but it must (genetai) never be set aside, but fulfilled by Christ as God's own word. But to say 'Christ only brought out the true contents of the Law,' is simply ignorance of what Christianity is, for grace and truth came by Him. The Law, as a rule, is what man should be for God - Christianity is what God is for man, and God in Man, and that is our full pattern, and this in general character (not in redemption, and giving up self consequently man's part) - we have in the Sermon on the Mount, far away from Law; chap. 5:44-48. In this, Christ was in life before redemption. But for us the full character is also what He did in redemption; Ephesians 5:1.

26 The comment on 'To the ancients' is also quite wrong; Matthew 5:21 (for I read "to the ancients," but it is only in words there the first time). He says 'Commentators are still divided on the construction here, whether the expression should be taken in the dative or ablative sense - to the ancients, or by them. "It has been said," is clearly what is in the Law, though not all Decalogue. But Christ, though confining Himself to Jewish allusions, Sanhedrim, etc., gives His own full estimate, and, as I have said, takes up the person's state, not relative acts, which the Law did not, though the spiritual man - "We know" - may use the tenth commandment thus. If it was said by the ancients, there might be some ground, but Dr. Fairbairn justly takes it as "to," and I suppose the Lord alluded to glosses when He cited a commandment there is no ground for.

Page 230. "But I say unto you." 'Never on any occasion did Jesus place Himself in antagonism to Moses; and least of all could He do so here, immediately after having so emphatically repudiated the notion.' It has nothing to do with antagonism, speaking of the state and not merely the acts. Nor is it 'clearer light thrown on the meaning of its precepts.' When the Apostle would take up the Law to probe, he does not 'spiritualise' the sixth or seventh, but quotes the tenth commandment. All this is fancy.

27 Pages 232, 233. 'The Decalogue itself, and the legislation growing out of it, were in their form adapted to a provisional state of things; they had to serve the end of a disciplinary institution, and as such had to assume more both of an external and negative character. It was only what might have been expected in the progress of things - when that which is perfect was come - that while the law in its great principles of moral obligation and its binding power upon the conscience remained, these should have had an exhibition given to them somewhat corresponding to the noonday period of the church's history, and the sonlike freedom of her spiritual standing.' All is dreadfully vague. How does 'the law in its great principles of moral obligation, and its binding power on the conscience remain,' when it was 'imperfect, negative and provisional'? Moral obligation was before the Law. The Law comes as a measure and rule of it. If the authority and obligation to obey were not there, the Law could not have been given. The Law does not produce it as a principle, but gives a measure of it in fact, and puts righteousness on the ground of man's accomplishing it. It is the poor man's ignorance of this which falsifies all his views, and it is not merely 'good to be done' scarcely once, and then only as imitating their Father - it is the state of soul. He says, 'The mind is turned considerably more upon the good that should be done, and less upon the evil to be shunned.' The measure of the Sermon on the Mount is perfect purity - no ill-will - a single eye - in a word, a perfect inward state and motive as to man, and then being perfect as to love, as God is, in dealing with others. It has nothing to do with comparative degree.

Page 235. He says the Sermon on the Mount 'places the Christian on a much higher elevation than that possessed by ancient Israel as to a clear and comprehensive acquaintance with the obligations of moral duty.' His mind cannot get beyond obligations of moral duty. Was it the obligation of moral duty made Christ give Himself for us? Yet it is made expressly a pattern for us. The free activity of divine love does not enter his thoughts. No doubt He obeyed in doing it, but was it 'legal duty and nought else'? As to the Sabbath, it was not instituted by law at all. Law took it up. The Lord's word is not 'It was imposed by law,' but "made for man." It was the sign of the covenant with Israel under the Law. At the beginning it was sanctified as God's rest. Man never entered in nature into that, and as he could not in nature, Christ passed the Sabbath in heaven or the grave, and resurrection, the base of our hope, became the base of the Lord's day - earnest of a heavenly rest, not of the earth or nature, and that is most precious; but Creation-rest, or rest of God in Creation is impossible. This was proposed in law. Hence the Lord says, in a passage wholly perverted by Dr. Fairbairn, when they accused Him of breaking the Sabbath, "My Father worketh hitherto and I work." God cannot rest in sin, but grace in the Father and Son can work in the midst of it, and that is our part. And He had just gratuitously made the poor man (whose case represented the poor man under the Law) carry his bed on the Sabbath. What is remarkable is this - under law no new particular institution or system was introduced in the details of Exodus or Leviticus, without introducing and insisting on the Sabbath. The truth is, it is an immense thing - the sign of God's people having part in God's rest - while in the New Testament, the Sabbath is never mentioned but to cast, so to speak, a slight on it. In the Sermon on the Mount it is not mentioned. There is the fact - Christ would not call Himself superior to morality, He does to the Sabbath. He proved they were hypocrites, on their own ground, but what gave occasion to this provoking them in taking pains to slight their respect for this.

28 Nor (p. 237) does the Lord ever refer that I remember, to 'legal authority for the Sabbath.' However wise it may be to give 'one day in seven,' it was never the ground of the Sabbath, but God's rest, God's people then having a part in it. And to rest when God worked, and to work when God rested, and talk of 'one day in seven being due to God' is losing sight of all its import. If it be God's work, we ought to work every day. If it be part in God's rest, we must have it where God's rest is - this is gone in corrupted Creation. Jesus has given it us in Spirit in His resurrection, not as a law but introduced by redemption and death. But 'important interests of men' (p. 236) is all Dr. Fairbairn can see. Therefore 'Its sacred repose must give way to the necessary demands of life, even animal life.' But the Lord was not approving the Pharisees, but making them ashamed of their hypocrisy. Very likely they did right, but the Lord was making no 'enlarged intelligent rule' by it, but appealing to what they did, and was done, in the Temple itself. He never gives any instruction how to keep the Sabbath, only asserts "It is lawful to do good."

29 Page 238. 'The Sabbath yields, it must be observed, only for the performance of works not antagonistic, but homogeneous, to its nature.' What are works of men homogeneous to rest? "Made for man" then belongs to man! Why stone a man for gathering sticks then? But it is not 'for man,' but for One particular Person, the Son of Man is Lord of it to dispose of it. But would He say this of murder, stealing, parents, etc., in a word, of abiding moral obligations? And who is to put the limits? And what are the limits, if he has 'a right to order everything'? 'Made, as the Sabbath was, for man, there necessarily belongs to man, within certain limits, a regulating power in respect to its observance.' Where is it said 'The Lord transferred it from the last day of the week to the first'?

Page 239. 'It is a memorial of the paradise that has been lost, and a pledge of the paradise to be restored.' That is a joyous day, a hallowed rest! And if lost, never to be regained, no return to the tree of life, or entrance into the rest of God. This the Law proposed - Do and live. Christ in death showed it could not be, and a heavenly rest could not be shown by God's rest in Creation, or founded on what ruled on that basis. But it was no 'memorial of paradise lost,' nor does Scripture ever hint, in any shape, at its being 'a pledge of the paradise to be restored.' And how the truth slips out! 'Restored' - what Paradise could be restored? Is heaven and glory, a Paradise restored! He is in the first man on earth, and so looks for what can never be. Resurrection takes us into a new world, life, and scene. It restores nothing. It may be the base of an earthly rest of which the Sabbath was a sign, but that is another thing.

Page 240. 'Not only did our Lord affirm, that 'on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets,' but that 'there is none other commandment greater than these' - evidently meaning that in them was comprised all moral obligation.' A summary of law comprises all moral obligation! I refer to it as showing that the free activity of grace never enters into his mind, self-sacrifice never - in a word, what is properly Christian, never. I admit that this comprises it all as mere legal obligation, and all the Law and the prophets hang on them, but not Christianity. If a man walks in the Spirit, he will do it - that is the Christian assertion, but because he is not under law.

30 Page 241. 'Christ affirmed, in connection with the two great comprehensive precepts of supreme love to God, and brotherly love to man, that if the commands were fulfilled, life in the highest sense, eternal life, would certain be inherited.' Now Christ carefully avoids, on the contrary, saying eternal life, though the young man did. And the assertion 'if the commands were fulfilled, eternal life would be inherited,' is very serious. It is "the gift of God through Jesus Christ," and "He that hath not the Son of God hath not life." It shews that he is out of the doctrine of Christianity altogether. When they asked what to do, He says, "This do, and thou shalt live, if thou wilt enter into life." They did ask concerning things to be done. But the Lord takes care to correct one, and assure him that there was none good but God, and the other that a neighbour was not to be looked for, but exhibited in active grace. But to say that 'on fulfilling those commands all right to the possession of life in God's kingdom has been suspended' is very serious, and that, when righteousness is to be attained to ground a title to eternal life, Christ points enquirers to the Law, is really the denial of all Gospel truth. And if 'the revelation of law was comprehensive of all righteousness,' how came it Paul would not have it, but God's instead - not get his own perfected but another instead?

Page 242. "The law made nothing perfect." But he has no idea of the difference between obligation being enforced as founded on relationship, and the sovereign grace of God in redemption which has brought in a new thing, a new life, God's righteousness, and glory its result. It was not 'faulty as to man's relationship,' and speaks of nothing more, but revealed nothing of God's sovereign grace, in God laying a new foundation on what He did, and making that the rule. 'Christ had a mission ruled by the prescriptions of law. The work of Christ as Redeemer neither was, nor could be anything else than the triumph of righteousness for man over man's sin.' This statement is monstrous. Christ's mission ruled by the prescriptions of law! And His work of Redeemer nothing but the triumph of righteousness for man over man's sin! Is it not striking that, in speaking of Christ's work and redemption, no mention of love or grace comes in? It is 'the prescriptions of law,' 'the triumph of righteousness over man's sin'!

31 Page 243. Save the fact of the sinlessness of Jesus, all Dorner's statement is false. He says, 'His spirit was full of peace and undisturbed serenity. He knew Himself to be committed to suffer, even to the cross, and He actually expired in the consciousness of having at once executed the purpose and maintained undisturbed His fellowship with God.' 'Jesus was conscious of no sin, just because He was no sinner. He was, though complete man, like God in sinless perfection; and though not like God incapable of being tempted, nor perfected from His birth, and so not in that sense holy, yet holy in the sense of preserving an innate purity and incorruptness, and through a quite normal development, in which the idea of a pure humanity comes at length to realisation and prevents the design of the world from remaining unaccomplished.' The design of the world was not in Jesus down here, but in Jesus risen and glorified, and Head over all. Here, and till He died, He was alone. He was perfect and, because He manifested God, rejected of men, and redemption was needed if any were to have a part with Him. And is it not singular that he can say 'undisturbed,' when the essence of the Cross was, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me"?

Page 245. 'Could such an one really be subject to the law? Was He not rather above it'? 'When His work of obedience was reaching its culmination, He was ready to perfect himself through the sacrifice of the cross.' As to being under the Law, not a word is needed. He was genomenos hupo tou nomou (born under the Law). Is He now, is the question. It is now we are connected with Him by redemption. 'To perfect Himself' is a very objectionable expression, as is indeed, 'Not in that sense holy.' He was as holy when born as all through.

Page 248. That Christ bore the curse of the Law is unquestionable, but the statement here I reject altogether - 'On what could the stern necessity rest, but the bosom of law whose violated claims call for satisfaction?' Has God no claims, no judgment of sin till He has imposed a law? Scripture is clean and diligently against it. And even with this it is far from all - He glorified God by His death, and obtained glory with God for man, which no satisfaction of claims of law could do. Law never promised it, nor gave a title to it. It is deplorable and low system.

32 Page 250. While holding the main point of a judicial act, and 'the cup that justice mixed,' and the real bearing of our sins, and holding to the importance of holding and expressing it as clearly and positively as possibly can be, it is needed for my peace and God's glory, making the mere curse of the Law, and its violation, the extent and measure of Christ's sacrifice, a most poor and lame statement. It is striking that the thought of a sacrificial victim, or the love of Christ in giving Himself for us, are wholly absent from his thoughts of Christ's death. A vague expression of the display of God's love in Christ is found, but the love of Christ the Victim, He who offered Himself up without spot to God, has no place at all, and, as a doctrine, this absence of all allusion to sacrifice, and only taking the curse of the Law (which is not immediately the idea of a sacrificial victim) makes the whole doctrinally most defective. The burnt-offering is lost - the fullest, greatest character of sacrifice wholly gone, even the meat-offering disappears, and the sin-offering shorn of a vast part of its value, not alluded to at all, no sacrifice, nor the idea of sacrifice, but all that is alluded to only a partial fulfilment of the sin-offering. I repeat, the atoning, propitiatory, vicarious character of Christ's work, in presence of God's judgment of and against sin, His righteous judgment, Christ's bearing my sins there and consequently suffering, drinking the cup, cannot be too firmly held. All the fine-spun theories are only setting aside the truth. If Christ was doing atoning work for my sins, bearing them under the present judicial action of God's righteousness, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani, are the most precious words ever uttered. But if it was 'personal state, and pattern of devotedness' merely, or the like, then they are saying that the One Just Man was forsaken of God at the end, and His faith failed when fully tried (a mere blasphemy) and Stephen's death and many a poor saint's is much more perfect and beautiful. But faith knows that they were, in joy, because Christ could only utter them as bearing their sins. Then all is in its place - the Just for the unjust, and they brought to God.

Page 253. 'Whatever distinctly belongs to the Christian Church - whether as regards her light, her privileges, her obligations, or her prospects - it springs from Christ as its living ground; it is entirely the result of what He Himself is and accomplished on earth.' What is 'springing from Christ as its living ground'? Nothing from Christ surely, but from His death, i.e., all relationship between God and the first man, or effort to reclaim him closed, and he treated as lost. For Dr. Fairbairn, it is vaguely 'is and accomplished on earth.' Vagueness itself - as different from Scripture as possible, but beyond ordinances, and the moral law, he is unable to get. The mystery hidden from ages and generations, or even what is heavenly he is ignorant of as the child unborn.

33 Pages 256, 257. Dr. Fairbairn, though he speaks of Paul at the end on the very lowest ground that he takes, the Galatians, never once gets on the ground of Paul's own teaching, and historically gets to the sheet and Cornelius (p. 255) which did not touch the question of the Church. So 'The cycle of Christian instruction on the subject was completed by the explanation given in the Epistle to the Hebrews,' in which neither the Father nor the Church is ever mentioned (save chapter 12, as in heaven in time to come) and where Christians are seen on earth with a Christ (with whom they are not one in heaven) and the question is if a man can approach God, and it is shown how.

Page 264. 'Let a man examine himself (viz., as to his state and interest in Christ), and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup.' All right in general as to ordinances. I do not admit his theory as to sacraments, de facto it is true of the Lord's supper; but even here his habits of thought have misled him, and he is as usual inaccurate. If "examine himself" is 'as to his state and interest in Christ,' it could not be "and so eat," but "see if you are to eat," but it is not our question here. No doubt his views of baptism are the Reformation view. But they are surely false. He says it is 'not absolutely originative, or of itself conditioning and producing the first rise of life in the soul, but bringing it forth into distinct and formal connection with the service and kingdom of Christ.'

Page 266. His quotations (Acts 15:7-9; Rom. 6:4-5; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 3:21; John 3:18 - 36; 2 Cor. 10:17) have nothing to do with the matter, and do not speak of what he refers to, and those which do he cannot account for.

Page 267. He has no idea of the Gospel beyond 'the word of the kingdom,' and calls it 'the Gospel of Christ's glory.' He says: 'The grand ordinance, which has to do with the formation of Christ in the soul, or the actual participation of the life that is in Him, is this word of the kingdom - the Gospel, as the apostle calls it, of Christ's glory'; 2 Cor. 4:4.

34 Page 268. It is curious how the work of Christ in redemption is left out in the citation from Hare's 'Victory of Faith' - strikingly so. Thus he adds 'what springs from faith secures the imperishable boon of eternal life.'

Pages 269, 271. Nothing can be more striking in its way than the manner in which the Apostle seeks to put in the strongest contrast, law and grace, law and faith, one being man for God, the other God for man, and the manner in which this book seeks to mix them up. 'The law of faith,' an expression of which the force is evident, makes faith a law because people ought to believe. He cannot deny that Christianity is carefully put in another way, still it is this, and this by the deplorable principle that there is no obedience but by law. So that "this is the work of God that ye believe" is that believing is a law. I admit men are bound to believe, but to make therefore faith itself a law is deplorable ignorance. So that 'The provision of grace and blessing in Christ, and the way in which this comes to be realised in the experience of men, has the essence and force of law' - consequently "worketh wrath" if we are to believe an Apostle. The consequence is natural enough - Christ 'at infinite cost has wrought out the plan of our salvation'!