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admit the former alternative, I should beg to ask him whether they confirm the opinion that the precepts preached by Jesus are sufficient to lead men to eternal peace and happiness, or are a set of sentences delivered by him conform ably to the principles of his hearers, similar to other codes of moral law written by the ancient philosophers of Greece, Egypt, and India. The passages in question are as follow.
Mark XII. 29. Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like unto it, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandments greater, than these." Is there another commandment absolutely enjoining refuge in the doctrine of the cross so as to shew that these two commandments are insufficient for salvation and comparatively insignificant?
Matthew VII. 24. "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine (alluding to the precepts contained in Ch. V, VI, and VII) and doth them, I will liken him unto a wise man who F
built his house upon a rock &c." Are not these sayings declared by Jesus to afford a stable foundation on which may be raised the indestructible edifice of eternal life? John XV. 10. "If ye keep my commandments ye shall abide in my love." 14 Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you." I therefore again ask the Revd. Editor to shew a commandment of Jesus directing refuge in the doctrine of the cross in the same explicit way as he has enjoined love to God and to neigh bours, and obedience to his precepts as suffici ent means for attaining eternal happiness. Did not Jesus in MatthewXXV.31. et seq. by means of a parable in the description of the day of judgement, declare that acts of charity and be neficence toward fellow creatures will be accepted as the manifestation of love towards God, and be the sufficient cause of eternal life?
With a view to depreciate the weight of the following explicit promise of Jesus, "Do this and thou shalt live," the Editor interprets (509) that "Jesus taking him (the lawyer) on his own principles, as though he had been what he vainly imagined himself a sinless man who needed no saviour, directed him to the whole of the divine law adding, This do and thou shalt live," though he knew that it was utterly impos
sible for that lawyer to observe his instructions. The Editor however quite forgot that by his attempt to undervalue the precepts of Jesus, he was actually degrading the dignity of the author of them; for according to his interpretation it appears that as the lawyer tempted Jesus by putting to him a question which he thought the saviour could not answer; so Jesus, in return, tempted him by directing him to do what he knew to be impossible for man to perform, though this very teacher forbids others to shew revenge even to enemies. Did Jesus take also the scribe upon his own principles" by instructing him in these two commandments,*man who was never inclined to tempt Jesus, but having heard him reasoning, and perceiving that he had answered well, asked him which is the first commandment of ali"†; and wheu he heard the reply of Jesus he said "well, mas. ter thou hast said the truth,"-A man whom Jesus declared to be at least out of danger of hell from his acknowledgement of the truth of his precepts as the means of salvation telling him "thou art not far from the kingdom of heaven?" Did Jesus on the mount take also his disciples "upon their own principle" as though they had been what they vainly imagined, themselves sinless men who needed no saviour,
* Mark XII 29.
+ Mark XII, 28-34.
in directing them to his precepts, the observance of which he knew utterly impossible; and in holding out promises* of eternal salvation as the necessary consequence of their obedience to those sayings.Were we to follow the mode of interpretation adopted in this instance by the Editor, the Bible would serve only to suit our convenience, and would not be esteemed any longer as a guide to mankind; for according to the same mode of interpretation would it not be justifiable to explain Matthew XXVIII. 19. "go ye therefore and teach all nations baptizing them" &c. that Jesus took his apostles
upon their own principle" as firmly persuaded to believe in the sanctification attainable by the baptism introduced by John the Baptist, although he was aware that immersion in water could produce no effect in changing the state of the heart?
In reply to his question "did Jesus who knew the hearts of all, regard this lawyer as perfectly sinless, an exception to all mankind” (page 9) I must say that the context seems to me to shew that neither Jesus considered the lawyer to be a sinless perfect man (as is evident from his directing him to the scriptures
* Mathew VII, 24 and 25.
for a guide to salvation ("Do this and thou shalt live"; and. "Go and do thou likewise.") Nor did the lawyer vainly imagine himself a sinless man who needed no saviour, though he endeavoured to put the claim of Jesus to that title to the proof in these words "Master what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
Although I declared (in the Second Appeal page 6) that by the term "law" in the verse "If righteousness came by the law, Christ is dead in vain": all the commandments found in the books of Moses are understood; yet the Revd. Editor charges me with an unintelligible expression, and intimates his inability to ascertain whether I meant by law the ceremonial or the moral part of the books of Moses (page 507). I therefore beg to explain the verse more fully that the Revd. Editor may have an opportunity of commenting upon it at large. St. Paul, knowing the efficacy of the perfection introduced by Jesus into the law given by Moses, declares that had the system of the Mosaical law been sufficient to produce light among the Jews and Gentiles, without being perfected by Jesus, this attempt made by Christ to perfect it would have been superfluous, and his death, which was the consequence of his candid instructions, would have been to no purpose.