The Gospel of Israel, part 9 (the place of the Torah in the Church)

The Law in the Life of the Church
At long last I am finally in a position to make some provisional comments on Nathan Fellingham's excellent questions about the place of the Torah in the community of the Jesus' followers. Now this is going to be controversial because any view of the place of the Law in the ekklesia is controversial - even between Protestants of Lutheran and those of Calvinist inclination (and I always inclined towards Calvin).

Please note that my comments here are no more than simple indications of the directions in which I incline and not worked through arguments.

First, we must note that the Jesus-community was composed of both Jewish and Gentile believers. Traditionally Christians have not really considered the implications of this for the question at hand. I suggest that we need to be open to the possibility that the commands of the Mosaic Law applied to Jewish and to Gentile Jesus-believers differently.

Catholic theologian Bruce Marshall argues that if we believe that Israel's election is indeed permanent (and I suspect that most contemporary theologians do believe this) then the identification of the Jewish people as a distinct people must also be permanent and this requires a maintainance of the distinction bertween Jews and Gentiles. This distinction is most obviously maintained by Jews following Jewish law.

If Christians expect Jews who come to believe in Jesus to abandon Jewish halachah (and effectively become like Gentiles) - and historically this was the hope - then this hope is equivalent to the hope that Jews would cease to exist as a distinctive group. If all the Jews had actually converted to Christianity in the 4th C, say, then there would be no Jews left today. I think that such a situation would be theologically problematic in the extreme. I guess that God knew what he was doing when, in Paul's words, he temporarily hardened the the majority of Israel so that they would not believe the gospel.

The Torah was originally given to Israel and it was not expected that Gentiles were required to obey all of its precepts. The Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 ruled that Gentile Jesus-believers had the status of full community members without the need to be circumcised (i.e., to convert to Judaism and thus to place themselves under obligation to obey all the Mosaic commendments). The assumption behind the ruling was that the Jewish believers were under such an obligation.

It cannot be stated strongly enough that if the Jewish Jesus-followers knew that they did not have to obey the Torah then there would have been no question of Gentile Jesus-followers being required to. The very fact that there was a debate on the issue shows clearly that the Jewish Jesus-followers did obey Torah and saw it as an obligation.

It is also interesting to note how the situation changed between the first century Jewish-dominated church and the later Gentile-dominated church. In the 1st C the question was, 'Can a Gentile be a Christ-follower without converting to Judaism?' (The answer was 'yes'). Later the question became, 'Can a Jew be a Christ-follower without abandoning their Judaish way of life and becoming, effectively, Gentile?' (The answer, eventually, was 'no'). The latter question would have been utterly incomprehensible and verging on insane to the early believers.

Second, we must note that our evidence clearly indicates that Jewish Jesus-believers in the earliest Church did observe distinctive Jewish practices. The observed Sabbath (Acts 1:12), kept Jewish festivals (Acts 2:1; 20:16), prayed at the Jewish times of prayer (Acts 3:1), attended the Temple (Acts 2:46; 3:1), followed food laws (Acts 10:14), and met in its courts (Acts 5:12; 5:42). Some Priests and Pharisees joined them (Acts 6:7; 15:5) - something that would never have happened if their 'good news' was, "Follow Jesus and abandon the Law of Moses!"
  • Jesus himself was Torah-obedient (even if his interpretation of how Torah was to be applied was not identical with some of the other Jewish interpreters of his day). See an earlier post.

  • According to the book of Acts the early Jewish believers were Torah-obedient (see above). Perhaps most importantly for us this includes Paul - Acts is at pains to emphasize that, contrary to rumour, Paul was Torah-observant (Acts 21:20-26).

  • Early Church texts such as James, Matthew and Luke-Acts reflect a high view of Torah and its place in the Jesus-community.

  • The only major controversy surrounds Paul's letters and Hebrews. Paul very clearly believed that Gentiles should not be expected to obey all the commands of the Torah (but in this he was in agreement with the main body of early 'Christian' thought as exemplified by James in Acts 15) but what about Jewish believers? There is some evidence that he saw Jewish believers as obligated to obey the Torah. Mark Kinzer puts the argument together as follows (Postmissionary Messianic Judaism, 73):

1. Paul taught that all those who were circumcized at the time of their calling should remain circumcized (i.e., should affirm and accept their circumcision and its consequences). 1 Cor 7:18

2. Paul taught that all who are circumcised are obligated to observe the whole Torah (i.e., to live according to distinctively Jewish practice) Gal 5:3

We can possibly deduce from this that Paul thought that all those who are born as Jews are obligated to live as Jews. That would put him in the same camp as the Paul of Acts and of the other early Jewish followers of Jesus.

However, sometimes it looks like he considered Torah-obedience merely optional for Jewish believers (Rom 14; Gal 2:11-14; 1 Cor 9:19-23). This is a very tricky issue but, following several NT scholars, I am inclined to think that traditional interpretations of these texts are mistaken (perhaps we could discuss that).

Third, our metanarrative suggests that it should not surprise us if early Jewish followers of Christ were Torah-observant. The 'new' covenant foretold by Jeremiah was all about the internalization of the Torah by the Spirit (see earlier post). The suggestion that the new covenant would lead to the abolition of the Torah would have struck them as out of synch with the Scriptures. (Of course, the way in which the Torah is internalized need not be identical for Jewish and Gentile believers.)

Fourth, the Torah can still have relevance for Gentile Jesus-believers even if they are not expected to obey all of the commandments literally. Here Richard Bauckham's comparison between the way that James applied the Torah to Jewish Jesus-believers and the way that Paul applied the Torah to Gentile Jesus-believers is suggestive. He argues that obedience to the Law as (i) motivated by a transformed heart, (ii) as summed up in the love commands, and (iii) as intensified by attention to motive - i.e., the Torah as mediated via Jesus' teaching - shaped the way that the Torah was applied by Paul to Gentiles and by James to Jews (Bauckham, James, 142-51). This would give a way in to the discussion.

We may add that many of the traditional Christian ways of reappropriating the Torah may actually find a place in precisely this context. Some commands, for instance, may be allegorized and spiritualized when applied to Gentiles.

So, at long last, I can suggest a reply to Nathan's question about a secular Jew converting to the Christ - should they be expected to follow Torah? I think that the answer is that if being united to Christ puts one in the place of either renewed Israel and the pilgrim nations then part of what it is for a Jew to embrace Jesus is to become part of the advanced guard of eschatological Israel. And this will involve practicing Torah.

Now it is possible for a secular Jew to become a Christian and in practice to enact the role of a member of the pilgrim nations. They are still united to Christ, by the Spirit, and still participate in the blessings of Israel's covenant-renewal. They will be saved on the last day just as much as a Gentile Christian will. However, it seems to me that such a way of walking with Christ is not to live up to the fulness of who that person is or is called to be.

(And in case you think that I am really a Gentile with circumcision-envy please let me assure you that I am very content as a Gentile and believe that the Gentiles have contributed many profound riches to the body of Christ. I love the Gentile spiritualities that have developed in the Cchristian traditions. These posts are simply intended as a corrective to what I see as historic Gentile Christian arrogance towards Israel flying in the face of Paul's warnings in Rom 11:13-24.)

But all my good Protestant friends are now asking about the place of works, faith, grace and so on in salvation. Here is my view: salvation is by grace alone, through trust in Christ and not by obedience to the Torah. However, as Jesus, James and Paul taught us, works of faith do play an important role in salvation - without them we are not saved. Faith without works is not saving faith.


Anonymous said…
Hey Robin,

Thanks so much for taking the time to throughly answer my question! I thought I'd better let you know that I have been following along. Obviously there are lots of things that are very involved in this progression, and there are certainly plenty of things that make me go mmm...not sure! But there also plenty of things that make me want to dig deeper and sharpen my understanding! I'm not totally convinced that Acts is 'at pains' to point out that Paul was Torah obedient. I think he did what it took at different times to win people for Christ.
When I read about Peter being told to 'Go Kill and Eat' I find it more credible to understand it as having significance to food, not just about the fact that God was now giving the Spirit to the Gentiles too (although It certainly has that significance to it) It would just seem a strange way to make that point considering the potential for confusion regarding food! But I'm also aware that you're tackling this whole subject in a much more holistic way, and I do definitely feel challenged to come to a greater understanding about the whole progression - even though I suspect I might land somewhere slightly different to you!!

Just curious, you mentioned Chris Wright very briefly. Have you read the Mission Of God? It's just that it's a book I plan to tackle soon - it's been recommended very highly. I imagine it must be covering a lot of this sort of stuff?

Thanks again Robin. I look forward to some more dialogue!

Daniel said…
You mentioned Hebrews in the post but never directly spoke on how you would understand its message. I agree partly with you, I see Torah being followed by Jews until Hebrews. One of former profs did his dissertation on the this an he has convinced far. So how do see Hebrews?
Anonymous said…
Hi Robin. This has been an excellent series, and has prompted me to think about these issues in ways that I've never seen them before. I have a request, though. You said,

'Paul taught that all who are circumcised are obligated to observe the whole Torah (i.e., to live according to distinctively Jewish practice) Gal 5:3. We can possibly deduce from this that Paul thought that all those who are born as Jews are obligated to live as Jews. That would put him in the same camp as the Paul of Acts and of the other early Jewish followers of Jesus. However, sometimes it looks like he considered Torah-obedience merely optional for Jewish believers (Rom 14; Gal 2:11-14; 1 Cor 9:19-23). This is a very tricky issue but, following several NT scholars, I am inclined to think that traditional interpretations of these texts are mistaken (perhaps we could discuss that).'

I would enjoy hearing your reading of those passages. They do seem to pose a problem for your position regarding Jewish Christians.

Thanks for the excellent blogging Robin!
Mason said…
Very much enjoying this series, thank you for taking on a challenging topic and speaking openly on it.

I have a couple questions for you based on what I have read so far.

1. You made the point that Jewish believers continued to follow many distinctively Jewish traditions. Fair enough, that much is obviously there in the text, but it would seem they do so in a different way than they had before following Jesus as Messiah. For example the way Jesus reworks and refocuses what it looks like to follow the God of Israel (through for example the Sermon on the Mt) seems as if it would have direct relevance to Jewish believers, as would Peters sheet vision and Paul’s view of circumcision, so how much would things like food laws, Sabbath, the oral tradition etc be different for Jewish followers of Jesus than say Pharisees?
Also, they did indeed keep going to the Temple, but that is gone now. Do you think it will/ought to be rebuilt for Jewish believers to use? Would that not pose a dilemma to both how Gentiles should approach it and the idea of the superiority of Jesus’ priesthood?

2. If indeed you see a national future for Israel as in this statement
“The end-time restoration of Israel is anticipated in the community life of Jewish believers in Jesus but the full reality lies in the future”
then what do you see that as looking like? Does this in your exposition require some sort of Dispensational idea of a Jewish national millennium? I would really appreciate and enjoy hearing what you picture this future as being and how it does or does not fit with the normal alternatives given by today’s theological systems.
Again, great series.
The Pook said…
"We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone..." - Jean Calvin
Jim Deardorff said…
Hi Robin, you wrote:
Jesus himself was Torah-obedient (even if his interpretation of how Torah was to be applied was not identical with some of the other Jewish interpreters of his day). See an earlier post.

The earlier post I should perhaps have responded to was your Part 5, which spelled out your views on this. I believe that at least as strong a case can be made for the opposite -- that Jesus was not Torah observant, except for those pieces of the Torah he accepted as valid.

It is only from Luke that one reads of Jesus having been circumcised, and Luke's many differences from Matthew, purposeful alterations I would claim, lend no reason for blindly accepting any of his statements. It was desired, by the writer of Luke, who was the conciliator between Matthew and Mark, that Jesus have been an observant Jew. This of course was also desired by the writer of Matthew. Hence we should be very suspicious of Gospel statements that suggest Jesus was an observant Jew; e.g., if a source document indicated he had not been, it would have been redacted toward the opposite.

Even the Gospel writers allowed that Jesus, not the Torah, was lord of the Sabbath. His disciples, and hence Jesus too, evidently ate with hands "defiled." The Matthean verse that "the law" was valid down to the last iota perfectly fits the redaction profile of its writer. Jesus' attendance at various synagogues was for the purpose of teaching. We don't know that he "wore fringes on his garments," only that an ailing woman once touched the edge (fringe) of his garment. Though he approved of paying taxes to Caesar, he did not approve of the emphasis of the scribes & Pharisees upon tithing. In healing the leper and telling him to present himself to the priest (which would be necessary in order to regain a status of being "clean"), the add-on of offering a gift as commanded by Moses well fits into the writer of Matthew's great respect for Moses, and appears to be a redaction accepted by the writer of Mark. (The much improved solutions to the synoptic problem provided by a Modified Augustinian Hypothesis, i.e., priority of a Hebraic Matthew over Greek Mark, still stand unchallenged to my knowledge.) We don't know that Jesus said grace before meals; he didn't say any before the last supper, and the "blessings" given over bread and wine could well have been redactive inserts.

Hence, there is this other way of looking at the matter, which also takes into account that Jesus, if his original name had been that and not Immanuel, had been raised in Galilee, known as the land of the gentiles. With this interpretation, it was the writer of Matthew who was Torah-observant.
Robin Parry said…

Thanks. You are right to be cautious - fools rush in where angels fear to tread. It was all rather rushed (and foolish?) so there are plenty of specific texts that I'd need to look at more carefully to justify some of the claims that I make. (I am currently going over Romans again to see whether it fits with what I have suggested or not.)

A thought on Acts 10. The text can be read as a negation of Israel's food laws but I don't think it ought to be. Some observations.

1. a side-issue: It is interesting that Peter is appaled at the idea of eating non-kosher food claiming never to have done it. So that clearly indicates that the early Christians, at least up until that point, kept kosher laws.

2. The vision was symbolic and clearly required interpretation. Peter saw this - he realized that it was not about food but about people. It was not about what you eat but who you eat with. So if it does have implications for kosher food laws those would be indirect implications and not direct implications of the vision.

3. If the vision was about the end of food laws for Jewish believers then God was COMMANDING Jewish believers to eat non-kosher food. He was not saying that they could follow kosher laws as a matter of cultural practice or preference if they wanted. He was ending the practise. Yet our evidence from Acts and Paul's letters suggests that Jewish Jesus-believers did continue to follow food laws (whether as a matter of obligation or, on trad Christian interpretations, inidividual preference). So the Church essentially disobeyed the vision even by allowing Jews to maintain their traditional practise. Either that or they realized that it was not literally about food laws.

I have read several of Chris Wright's books (though not that one). He is excellent. Indeed, as far as OT ethics goes, he is, in my view, without peer. I have read some of his work on a biblical theology of mission and it is excellent so I have no doubts that the book in question is well worth a read.
Robin Parry said…

I intend to look at Hebrews more closely. I am reluctant to say much before I do. A few brief and tentative thoughts:

The challenge facing the community to whom the letter is addressed seems to be a temptation to abandon 'Jesus-Judaism' for 'non-Jesus Judaism' (not that of abandoning Christianity for Judaism - at least if we are using those terms in their post-NT senses). Christians often read Hebrews as if the audience had left Judaism (the land of shadows) to become Christians (the land of substance) and now they are tempted to return. But what if the situation is not that they abandoned Judaism but embraced a particular version of it? - the Jesus version. Would that effect the way we interpret the old covenant/new covenant contrasts?

Hebrews does not criticize the Mosaic Torah apart from the sacrificial cult and even there the cult is still viewed positively as a shadow of the real sacrifice. It was designed by God and its weaknesses were intended so as to point to the fuller reality in Christ.

The question for me is this: had the recipients of the letter withdrawn from Jewish practices (including those of the temple cult)? Perhaps, but then they were following a different route from that of the Jerusalem Church led by James and from Paul. James, Paul and co agreed that Jesus was the sacrifice for sin pictured in the Temple sacrifices but they had no qualms about taking part in Temple sacrifices at the same time. Christ fulfilled those sacrifices in a climactic way but they could still take part in the 'shadow' now appreciating the 'substance' to which it points. Were the recipients in Hebrews the same? Was the danger not that of taking part in the Jewish cult per se but that of abandoning the Messiah and embracing a Christ-less version of the cult? This would indeed be to turn the salvation-historical clock back.

(In part it depends if Hebrews is pre or post 70AD).

I am really not sure. I plan to get to Hebrews some time.

Robin Parry said…
John O.

I'd be happy to but not immediately. It all takes a while. I recently read a superb Cambridge PhD by David Rudolph (a Messianic Jew) who plausibly handled all of those texts. I may simply tell you what he said about them (that would be quicker).

Robin Parry said…
m slater

1. I think that Christ-faith most certainly did change the way that Jews lived and understood Torah. As you say, Jesus interpreted Torah in a certain way and that hermeneutic was continued in the church (in the gospels, but see too 1 Peter, Paul and James for exemplifications of the same approach). There was not a single Jewish way of doing Torah in the Second Temple period - the church represented one such way. It was quite a different way from the Pharisees and even more different from Sadducees and Essenes. Also, Jewish believers saw in Christ the fulfilment of what their scriptures were about. The meaning of their festivals, sacrifices, prophetic hopes, etc, etc. They saw their Jewish tradition through a new filter - Jesus the Messiah. All of it took on new configutrations after that. But none of that led them to think that they were called to abandon the Torah. To flesh out the details is something of a research project I have not undertaken.

2. The Temple. That is interesting. I am torn in several ways on this one. First, at a pragmatic level, I think it would be a big mistake to try and rebuild the Temple. It is politically insane. In fact, politically wrong. Theologically I see Jesus and the community of his body as the eschatological Temple so we can get by without a literal temple. But, I part company with those who think that IF there was a rebuilt temple then it would pose a threat to Christian theology. I don't see that. Jesus and the early believers saw no conflict between taking part in temple sacrifices and belieiving that Jesus was the true sacrifices to which these sacrifices pointed. That said - I think that this is a tricky one and I am not quite sure what to think about it. I do plan to ponder it some more when I get some time. It is a good Q.

3. To be honest my inclinations have always been amillennial (but not dogmatically so). My encounters with premillennialism were mostly with nutty versions and these completely put me off. In fact I do not even believe in the rapture so I am neither pre-mid- or post-. The rapture is simply unbiblical (I am with N.T. Wright all the way on this one).

However, I was impressed some years back with a book by J. Webb Mealy (or something like that) called "After the Thousand Years". It defended a non-nutty premillennial reading of Rev 20 in a pretty convincing way (more convincing than the amillennial interpretations which do flap around in desparation here ... though ONLY here). So I would be happy to be an historic premillennialist.

Basically I see the restoration of Israel as occurring at the parousia. I imagine that we then move into new creation. If you wish to add a millennium in there then that's OK with me but I am inclined to think that we don't need one. (I may be wrong).
Robin Parry said…
the pook

And Calvin was spot on! I found Paul Rainbow's book ("The Way of Salvation") on justification and works in Paul and James to be exceptionally helpful on this issue. It also makes much more sense of Jesus' teaching (on which I found Alan Stanley's book, "Salvation is More Complicated than you Think", very helpful even if I did not agree with all of it)

Robin Parry said…

You raise a lot of issues! But you do agree with me that the Jesus presented in the gospels was Torah-observant. You think that this was the redactional work of the evangelists rather than indications of the historical Jesus but you concur that he is presented that way (for the most part). That's a good start and, for most Christians, if Jesus was presented as Torah-observant that is enough because we trust the gospels as divinely authorized accounts of Jesus.

But that is not to suggest that the points you raise can be ignored. I will not deal with them blow by blow but simply make a couple of general points.

Of course, I do not share your suspicions about the gospels. You seem to read them with a hermeneutic that says that anything that makes Jesus look like a 1st C Jew must be the work of the gospel writers and anything that makes Jesus look un-Jewish is probably authentic (a radical form of the criteria of dissimilarity). To my mind this is a very odd hermeneutic and one almost guaranteed to distort historical reconstructions. Jesus was a first century Jew so discovering evidence that he lived as a 1st C Jew is exactly what we would expect to find. On what reasonable grounds do we treat all such evidence with suspicion and a priori dismisable?

Now Jesus' interpretation of Torah was not the same as some other groups around at the time and so there are issues where he was in genuine disagreement with them (on some he was more 'conservative' than them and on other he was more 'liberal') but all of that makes sense within the world of second temple Judaism.

A Torah-observant Jesus is historically plausible. What is not plausible is an anti-Torah Jesus wandering around in 1st C Palestine and attracting followers (followers that we know from other sources were not anti-Torah).
The Pook said…
There is no discrepancy between Paul and James. It's not as though one is by faith and the other by works. No, James and Paul are fellow soldiers, it's just that they are standing back to back fighting attacks from opposite directions. James is predominately fighting against licentiousness, Paul mostly against legalism.

James is no legalist. We mustn't take Ja 2:14-26 out of its context in the overall message of the letter. After all, if you did the same to Paul in Romans, by isolating chapter 6, you would come to much the same conclusion.

James speaks of "the testing of your faith" (1:3); the wisdom that God gives "generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him" which is an allusion to Daniel 1 and 2, where God graciously saves his people when they pray to him, and to Psalm 51, that great penitential acknowlegement that our salvation and wisdom are from God alone. James 1:3-12 is all about faith. James 1:17 says "Every good and perfect gift is from above..." and verse 18 that God "chose to give us birth through the word of truth..." a clear indication that he believes the same about our salvation as John (John 1:12-13) and Paul (Titus 3:4-7). And I could go through the rest of the epistle in the same way. James, Peter, Paul, John, and indeed all the New Testament writers are agreed that salvation is by God's grace alone through faith in Christ. But that faith bears fruit.
Jim Deardorff said…
Hi Robin,

Thanks for finding the time to respond ro my comments in addition to the preceding ones.

Jesus was a first century Jew so discovering evidence that he lived as a 1st C Jew is exactly what we would expect to find. On what reasonable grounds do we treat all such evidence with suspicion and a priori dismisable?

There's a good deal of evidence, which mainstream scholasticism either ignores or downplays, indicating that Jesus had traveled to India and back before his Palestinian ministry, and for years studied under key Hindu and Buddhists masters of that day -- the so-called "lost years." There's a good deal more to it than just the 1894 find of Nicolas Notovich, which was improperly dismissed by certain scholars.

The evidence that he survived the crucifixion and went on, traveling with mother Mary, Judas-Thomas and another, from Anatolia, points along the Silk Road, and in Kashmir, is even more extensive.

Hence there are many red flags that should fly in the way of trusting the Gospels as divinely authorized accounts of Jesus.

We can agree that the man known as Jesus had a stepfather with a Jewish lineage, was raised in Galilee land of the gentiles, and for several years engaged in an intensive ministry to the Jews. But I'm afraid that's it, other than agreeing that the writer of Matthew was of strong Jewish background.

Oh, I'm sure we also agree that Paul sincerely thought that Jesus had died at the crucifixion and had been resurrected, while realizing that he had been a Pharisee who must have been raised to believe in resurrection, and that Paul was an influential speaker and writer.
Robin Parry said…

I am sorry but I just don't know how to reply to that. It is so far off my radar that it does not even register as a view to engage with. I am aware of no scholars of repute who defend such views (possibly this reflects my ignorance but I have read a fair bit of historical Jesus scholarship so I am not totally ignorant). The scholarly mainstream of historical Jesus scholarship is quite diverse with some rather different Jesuses on offer but none of them look like the one that you are suggesting. I cannot help but suspect that you are bypassing major pieces of plausible evidence which scholars take seriously for good reason in favour of rather thin pieces of possible evidence. To my mind the only way to get an unJewish Jesus is by dismissing almost all the evidence that we have available about Jesus. One would need excellent reasons for doing so. I am not an expert on the Jesus-the-Indian-Sage hypothesis (though I have heard it) but I would be very surprised if there was any strong evidence for it.

Don't know what else to say - sorry. One has to make judgments on what issues to invest time looking into and I may be mistaken but I simply cannot imagine that this is an hypothesis that I can afford the time to investigate. :-(

Kind Regards,

Jim Deardorff said…

It probably takes an independent scholar to look into this other evidence. What would happen to formal Christianity if enough "reputable" scholars were to look into the evidence and notice that it all makes sense? It would not be in their best interests to do so, to say the least! And for those who are theologically committed Christians, it might be damaging.

Should you have any specific questions about this evidence, from those links, you can let me know privately.
The Pook said…
There is a very good reason no reputable scholars support this view. And that isn't it.
Anonymous said…
I believe it's too hasty to say that Paul clearly thought Gentiles need not be Torah obedient. For one thing, this overthrows centuries of Christian scholarship, as evidenced by Article 7 of the 39 Articles, for example, " Christian man whatsoever is free from the commandments which are called moral."

Charles Simeon had some very excellent insight on this in Vol 15 of Horae Homiletica (pg 165-66)

"Our blessed Lord, in fulfilling the law, has abrogated it as a covenant; and has obtained for us a new and better covenant, of which he himself is the Surety. As a rule of conduct, the law does, and ever must, continue in force; because it is the transcript of the mind and will of God, and contains a perfect rule for the conduct of his creatures:"

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