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science, we have seen. It has perplexed many others, as well, to understand how the low church party are able to reconcile their avowed convictions with the liturgy of their prayer book, particularly its baptismal formula; and how the high and broad sections of the same communion can square their beliefs and unbeliefs with the articles of their church. It is not our special calling to reconcile these discrepancies. Yet we have a common interest, with all other Christians, in the triumphs of a true Gospel and a spiritual religion. We do not expect perfection in the working of any ecclesiastical system. But surely the cause of " the common salvation” requires that the drawbacks be not too many and great in proportion to the moving forces; that the weakening and self-defeating elements of the system be not allowed to preponderate excessively. The position of the English church just now makes these suggestions pertinent. It has shown tendencies, for twenty years, to the two extremes of sacramentalism and of rationalism, which may well have alarmed the remnant of intelligent piety (and it is not small) within its pale. Is it to plunge into another apostasy, either of mere ritualism or of utter infidelity? Probably not, by any overt act. Yet these forces are working within its body mightily and portentiously. They are doing it immense harm. They threaten it untold trouble and evil. Dr. Newman's book will just now prove a weighty ally to Mr. Spurgeon's attacks upon the old church of the mother who bore us, but did not nurse us.
If God shall use these instruments and others to purge that church of its corruptions, and save it as a strong prop of his kingdom in the days to come, every heart that is loyal to Christ will rejoice. Our hopes, however, in this direction, are hardly so strong as are our fears. But we are curious to see what may come of the proposal of the low church to join with the dissenting bodies, in which we believe Dr. Pusey's strong antagonism to the Essayists and Reviewers has also placed him, to make a final effort for the deliverance of the Christian religion, in the British Islands, from its imminent perils.
THE SCRIPTURE DOCTRINE OF THE SPIRITUAL MAN.
EXEGESIS OF ROMANS VII. 14-23.
BY THE REV. E. P. MARVIN, YEDFORD, Mass.
The Scriptures were given for man's practical guidance, and were, of course, adapted to his constitutional nature. Hence, a knowledge of man's mental and moral capacities is essential to a right understanding of the Scriptures. It is, therefore, to be expected that the inspired writers define and establish the fundamental principles of the complex and mysterious nature of
So difficult is that nature to be understood in its relations to God, his law, and the world to come, that there is very little hope of agreement among men on religious doctrines until they are willing to find, and do find, in revelation, the elements of a reliable and authoritative science of man. In other words, man, in his fallen state, is not able to find, nor willing to accept, a true and definite knowledge of himself only as he comes teachably to the Word of God for such knowledge. It is in this direction, of the knowledge of what man is, and what are his needs, that theological science is chiefly to make advancements, and that more light is to break out of the Holy Scriptures. It has been too long practically denied that the Bible attempts to give man the elements of a mental philosophy which will correlate with the doctrines of the gospel system. The mistake has been in the dependence on pure reason for the discovery of man's constitution and nature, when, in fact, there are spiritual elements in the problem which none but God can furnish.
After a careful examination of this passage in Romans, in its connection, we have come to regard it as a profound analysis of man's nature and state, up to the point of, and for the purpose of showing man's utter helplessness in sin by reason of what he is in himself. The deliverance through Jesus Christ, in which the apostle triumphs at the close, is deliverance from a state of conflict and bondage of the human powers. After drawing the picture of the conflicting laws within man, and of his helpless
ness, the apostle cries out, in despair, while looking to man's capacities, "O, wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?” Then turning wholly about, he sees Christ Jesus as the all-sufficient deliverer, " I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
But it should be noticed that the deliverance through Jesus Christ here spoken of is not deliverance from the wrath of God. Jesus Christ did, indeed, by his death, satisfy divine justice, and so render it possible for God to pardon sinners. But the deliverance here is of another kind a deliverance from the sinner's own impotency by the Holy Spirit's power, through Christ's mediation. , " Ye must be born again." This impotency is his own guilt, since his conscience and reason approve the moral law which condemns him to death as a sinner. "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, just, and good.”
According to the views which many persons take of man's faculties and state, nothing needed to be done in order to the practicability of salvation, but to make a satisfactory atonement to divine justice, in some sense. This being done, they hold that the sinner has the power practically of originating his own act of will, accepting the provisions of salvation ; and that, should this impotency exist so that the sinner can truly say, "For to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good, I find not; For the good that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do ;” then his responsibility and his guilt would end. But does not a fair exegesis of this passage show that there may be guilt where the whole moral nature is enslaved, that other law in the members warring against the law of the mind, and bringing the soul into captivity to the law of sin which is in the members ? Does not a fair exegesis also show that such is man's moral nature that he can not keep the law which he really approves, and of course can not receive Christ savingly, however much his mind may approve him and his atonement, without deliverance from his own bondage in sin by a power from without and above him? This is the question before us, is not thus much revealed by the Holy Ghost, whatever theories of men it may cross, or however hard it may be to fully understand, or however complex it may seem to render the science of man?
In evolving the passage before us, the first question arises in regard to the exact meaning of the words " law" and " spiritual,” in the 14th verse : "For we know that the law is spiritual.” Nópos, literally, usage, custom, is, in the New Testament, more commonly applied to the Mosaic statutes, and, hence, has given some countenance to those interpreters, such as Grotius, Beza, Bloomfield, and others, who regard the ceremonial law as chiefly in the mind of the apostle throughout this chapter ; and that he was especially addressing Jewish Christians. But the word is sometimes applied in the New Testament to the moral law, as in Romans ii. 14, "For when the Gentiles which have not the law,” &c. The whole scope of the passage seems to require that vóp.05 should mean the moral law, and that all Christians are addressed. What reason is there why sin must have dominion as long as he is under the ceremonial law? In the seventh verse, the tenth commandment is directly introduced ; " For I had not known lust except the law had said, 'Thou shalt not covet.”” How can we suppose the apostle to say, "I had not known sin but by the ceremonial law”!
And how are we to suppose sin as taking occasion by the ceremonial commandment, working in the apostle all manner of concupisence! Might not a carnal mind readily comply with the Jewish ordinances, their deeper meaning as related to the Gospel not being seen ; while the spiritual precepts and terrible threatenings of the moral law naturally excite the depravity of the heart by their contrariety to it. To imagine that there is something very desirable in that which is forbidden, is the common experience of the race whose progenitors could not be contented with all the fruits in Eden, but must taste the one which was strictly forbidden. Indeed, confining rojos to the ceremonial law seems impossible when we hear the apostle say, "For without the law, sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” For in another place the apostle affirms that, " by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin ;” and that * sin was in the world until the ceremonial) law,” and that consequently " death reigned from Adam to Moses.” The first three verses do indeed suggest the ceremonial law, but as there is no sign of transition from the ceremonial to the moral, it is
natural to understand the reference in the first three verses to marriage under the ceremonial law, the apostle borrowing from it an apt similitude in illustration of his main purpose.
With this view of yópos, we are not left in doubt in regard to the meaning of πνευματικός and σαρκικός ; and indeed much light is thrown upon all that follows. The ceremonial law was chiefly the opposite of spiritual. It required external observ
It is true that these observances had in them, more or less obscurely, a spiritual meaning; but as the apostle says in Heb. x. 1, the ceremonial law had only "a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things”; and, the observances under it " can never make the comers thereunto perfect.” The Mosaic law is often thus spoken of depreciatingly, and it is not like the apostle to call it spiritual ; but the moral law is primarily and chiefly spiritual. Its violation is chiefly committed by the spirit, as our Saviour expounds it when he says that adultery may be committed by looking; and murder is, essentially, in the heart. The moral law, given by Him who is " a spirit, to beings chiefly of a spiritual nature,” aims directly at inward and spiritual righteousness. John Calvin says this phrase, " the law is spiritual,” signifies
“That it requires not only the obedience of the soul, the understanding, and the will, but even an angelic purity, which, being cleansed from all the pollution of the flesh, may savor entirely of the spirit.”
Dr. Robinson translates trevatixós in this connection, "according to the mind and will of the Spirit.”
We take the idea of the apostle to be, that the law is spiritual in the sense that it demands absolutely perfect and sinless obedience, and that it demands this of the spirit of man.
Human laws, indeed, relate to designs and intentions, as opposed to fortuitous events ; but only to such designs and intentions as have been manifested in outward actions. But the law of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”; and being a transcript of the character of the infinitely pure God, it can demand nothing less than absolutely perfect obedience.
These two points being established, viz: that the moral law