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Phoenice and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none, but unto the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene; which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord. Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church, which was in Jerusalem; and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord". Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, it was necessary, that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo! we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. Be it known, therefore, unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. Unto me who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ". SECT. 10. The change of the dispensation; the aboli
tion of the Levitical law; and the decree concerning Gentile converts, particularly the proselytes of the gate.
And certain men which came down from Judea, taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When, therefore, Paul and Barnabas had no small dissention and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the Apostles and elders, about this question. And when they were come to Jerusalem,
Acts, xiii. 46, 47.
§ 9. Acts, xi. 19–23.
■ Eph. iii. 8.
§10. Acts, xv. 1, 2.
Acts, xxviii. 28.
there arose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees, which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the Apostles and elders came together to consider of this matter". And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up and said unto thein, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago, God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the Gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bear them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us, and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear*. Then pleased it the Apostles and elders, with the whole. church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch, with Paul and Barnabas, and wrote letters by them after this manner: forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised and keep the law; to whom we gave no such commandment; we have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall tell you the same things by mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well.
Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house'. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ was a Son over his own house; whose house are we. For every high priest
Acts, xv. 4-6.
• Acts, xv. 27, 28, 29.
Acts, xv. 7-10.
* See the speech of the Apostle James on this occasion, Acts, xv. 13—21.
Acts, xv. 22, 23, 24.
Heb. iii. 5, 6.
taken from among men, is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins". And no man taketh this honour unto himself but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an High Priest; but he that said, Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec1. If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change of the law. For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before, for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope'. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold the days come, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah ". In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth, and waxeth old, is ready to vanish away". For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices, which they offered year by year continually, make the comers thereunto perfect. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared me; in burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second'.
h Heb. v. 1.
Heb. vii. 18, 19. • Heb. x. 1.
1 Heb. v. 4, 5, 6.
*Heb. vii. 11, 12.
n Heb. viii. 13.
4 Heb. x. 9.
SECT. 11. The superior glory of the dispensation of the Gospel above that of the law.
Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? for the woman which hath an husband, is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then, if while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto Goda.
Now of the things which we have spoken, this is the sum; we have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices; wherefore, it is of necessity, that this man have somewhat also to offer ". But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. If the ministration of death written and engraven in stones, was glorious; so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away; how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory; much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious, had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious".
§11. Rom. vii. 1—4.
2 Cor. iii. 7-11.
Heb. viii. 1, 2, 3. c Heb. viii. 6.
SECT. 12. Jews and Gentiles have equal access to the privileges of the church of Christ.
Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? For we say, that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised; that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also". For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel; neither because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children; that is, they who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For in Jesus Christ, neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but faith, which worketh by love; but a new creature. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost". For we are the circumcision which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh". For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him; for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus"; where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision, nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Chist is all and in all. Ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise'.
Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew *.
§12. Rom. iv. 9, 10, 11.
k Rom. xi. 1, 2.
b Rom. ix. 6, 7, 8.
h Col. iii. 11.
c Gal. v. 6. & ch. vi. 15. f Rom. x. 12, 13.
1 Gal. iii. 28, 29.