From The Works of the Rt. Rev. Charles C. Grafton (Volume 8),
edited by B. Talbot Rogers, New York: Longmans, Green, 1914, pp. 318-326
ADDRESSES AND SERMONS
The Right Reverend Charles C. Grafton, S.T.D., LL.D.
Bishop of Fond du Lac
transcribed by the Revd Donne E. Puckle, SSC
THE LAW AND GRACE
"The Law was given by Moses. Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ." - St. John I. 17
We have here presented the contrast between the Jewish and Christian system, the Law and the Gospel, the Old and New Dispensation. In what were they alike, and in what did they differ? First: in what they were alike. We must recall the fact that the Gospel was the outcome and development of the Law. It is a characteristic of all God's works, that one grows out of that which preceded it. The Gospel was not, therefore, something new and distinct from the Law. Our Lord said He did not come to destroy the Gospel. It was the unfolded flower of which the Law was the bud. Its outline was given, its character and power typified by that which preceded it.
Here are some particulars of the agreement:
(a) Visible Church. As the descendants of Abraham formed a visible nationality, having a common faith and government, so the spiritual descendants of Christ formed a visible society under the Apostolic faith and government.
(b) Priesthood. In the Old Dispensation, the Jewish people were a body of Kings and priests unto the Lord, and in like way the Christian people are called kings and priests; and as there was a special order in the Jewish nation set apart with special powers and functions, so now there are special kings and priests in the Christian Dispensation ordained with special duties and powers.
(c) Three Orders. As there were three orders in the Jewish ministry of High Priest, Priests, and Levites, so now we have the type fulfilled in the Christian three orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. The Church at Jerusalem was the Mother Church.
(d) Ordained. Again: we learn from the history of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, that no one could intrude upon the priestly office without the most terrible responsibility, so we find that no one in the Christian Dispensation taketh this honor unto himself, but he that was called of God, not merely interiorly called, but as was Aaron, who was consecrated by one who had received authority from God so to do.
(e) How. Again: under the Jewish Law, the ministerial office was continued by a carnal succession, and not committed to men here and there who might approve themselves as called by being fitted for the work, so now there is a spiritual succession. Each generation of priests under the Law begat the following generation, so each generation of priesthood under the Gospel begets its successors by ordination of the Bishops.
(f) Again: under the Law there were two forms of worship: that of the synagogue, which consisted of reading the Scriptures, exposition, psalms, and forms of prayer, and that of the sacrifice and glorious worship of the Temple. The two have been continued by us in the divine offices of Morning and Evening Prayer, and the Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Altar, etc.
(g) Again: as there was an ecclesiastical year with its procession of festivals looking to the coming of Christ, so now we have the series of festivals with set forth our Lord's Life and move about Him as the Son of Righteousness.
Thus the Christian Dispensation was built on the Old, it rose upon the old foundations, it was the Old glorified. It was like the six water pots whose water was turned into wine.
There was, however, one great and important difference. The Jewish ordinances could not convey grace. They were merely types and figures and pledges of what was to come. Christ instituted sacraments which were to convey grace and unite us to Himself. The two greater ones, and necessary to salvation, are Baptism and the Holy Eucharist.
The others which are not for all, but for certain states of life and needed under certain conditions, are Holy Orders, Confirmation, Absolution, Marriage, and Unction for the Sick. There are channels of grace. By these we are united to Christ, and the Christ Life flows into us. They are communications of the Precious Blood, of the power of the Resurrection; by them we are made sons of God, partakers of the Divine nature, and grow up by their power into the perfect man, into the fulness of the stature of Christ.
Here we find a distinction between the Protestant and Catholic systems. Baptism would only be by the Protestant regarded therefore as a sign, a pledge, a token, not necessary, and not as our Articles declare, "an effectual instrument of grace." Sectarianism having lost Bishops, who are the successors of the Apostles, lost the Apostolic rite of confirmation or laying on of hands; they therefore have deprived themselves of those gifts of the Holy Ghost that are bestowed thereby. From the loss of the Priesthood there naturally has followed the loss of the Real Presence of Christ's Body and Blood in the Eucharist. The precious Body and Blood of Christ are only there to them, in figure, or sign, not in reality. Through the loss of a priesthood by whom Christ conveys His word of pardon to penitent souls, absolution was lost. While we love all who call themselves Christians and have been baptized into Christ, we regret they have lost so many helps and gifts that the Gospel brings. In depriving themselves of the priesthood they have lost so many means of grace and made the sacraments of the Holy Communion and Baptism like Jewish ordinances. If St. Paul was again among us methinks he would exclaim as he did to the Galatians, "O foolish Christian, who hath bewitched you, that ye should have substituted Jewish ordinances for the sacraments of the Gospel." If our sectarian friends when preaching Christ to the unconverted, beg them to trust the testimony of so many millions who have found Christ and experienced religion, may we not ask them to consider and trust the evidence of so many more hundreds of missions of Church people who, whenever there is an apostolically descended priesthood, have found Christ's Body and Blood to be really present in the Holy Eucharist to their great joy and the perfection of their souls.
Now that this distinction between the law and the Gospels is not merely an academical one, is seen when we come to apply these principles to the great moral problems which concern ourselves and the Community.
Take the matter of Sunday observance. Why keep Sunday, and how shall it be observed?
There are good people who feel the whole Christian Church has gone wrong these nineteen hundred years in keeping the first day of the week and not the seventh. Now it must be argued that while there is a command to keep the seventh day, it is not said that it is the seventh day of the week; and so long as one day in seven is observed, the commandment is obeyed. Others have argued that it is impossible to say which is the seventh day, for if two persons should on a given Saturday start in different directions to go round the world, and keep their own reckoning of the seventh day, they should on their return, one having lost a day and one gained a day, be keeping, the one, Sunday, and the other, Friday.
But the better reason for keeping the first day is: that when God, through Moses, bade the Jews in memory of His work in Creation keep the seventh day, or Saturday, God through his Apostles changed this and established the first day of the week. It was taken because Christ rose on that day, and the new creation was inaugurated. Thus we find (Acts xx. 7) the disciples coming together to celebrate the Eucharist, "on the first day of the week."
But how shall we keep it? Shall we keep it as if it were the Jewish Sabbath? "The Lord's Day was never identified with the Jewish Sabbath, before the rise of Puritanism in the seventeenth century. The Puritan Divines said that the Lord's Day was in fact the Jewish Sabbath and all that is said in the Old Testament applies to it."
Thus without suspecting it, they took up about the Sabbath exactly the position which the judaising party in Galatia took up about circumcision. They said that a purely Jewish ordinance was a necessary element of the Christian life. If St. Paul could appear it is not unlikely he would have repeated his old exclamation: "Oh, ye well-meaning but foolish people, who hath bewitched you that you should revive a Jewish observance in the midst of Christendom."
St. Paul bids us reject the keeping of the Sabbath or the seventh day, as no longer of observance. He connects its keeping by Christians with that of the Jewish keeping the New Moon. "Let no man judge you in respect to an Holy Day, or a new moon, or of the Sabbath Days." In his eyes the Jewish Sabbaths are just as much of the discarded system of the ceremonial law, as was the observance of the new moon.
It is a day for devotion, for rest, for recreation, and all recreations are lawful which do not interfere with its primary purposes. The Church has kept the first day, and a Christian of the early centuries would not have the Lord's day worship in which the offering of the Holy Eucharist was omitted.
Again: consider the Temperance problem. The Church has her Temperance Society and all Christians feel the need of strength against temptations to intemperance, and lessening them. Sectarianism in its Puritan spirit strives to do this by force, or law, or prohibition. It is a judicial mode of dealing with a moral problem.
The Church looks rather to the aid of moral restraint, and to the aid of grace. The Puritan is wont to forbid the use of all fermented liquids as something wrong in itself. It has been known to quote such texts as "touch not, taste not, handle not," as favoring prohibition, whereas the mottos was a heathen one which St. Paul was condemning. It would not be in accord with the example of Christ, who turned the water into wine, to a very large amount, and bade its distribution at the Wedding Feast, to condemn as sinful that which He thus provided. It is indeed a matter in which the Christian is concerned and efforts should be aroused, and on which Christians should be allowed charitably to differ. Prohibition may be the better way to stem the evil in some localities, high licenses in others.
But let not those who favor prohibition condemn those who favor some other plan, and neglect the authority and example of Christ for their won practise. For great as is the evil of any fleshly sin, it often, by the shame it brings, leads to repentance; and in the next world, when free from our present bodies, we shall be free from its appetites; while on the other hand the spiritual sins of pride, self-sufficiency, etc., are more deadly because unsuspected and more lasting in their effects.
Again: in respect to the Church's discipline. In the early days of the race, God dealt with men as we deal with children. He laid down certain rules, and gave commands which they were to obey. Under the Law, men were told not to do this, not to do that. Under the Gospel, the standard of life is set before us in Christ, and grace given for its fulfilment.
Two errors have arisen in Christian times. Some have said because they were not under the Law but under Grace, moral law was no longer an obligation, and it did not matter how men lived, provided they were of the predestined, and saved by a legal fiction that Christ had paid the debt of all their sins.
The other and more popular error of our day has been for the sects to lay down certain laws of their own making, regulating Christian conduct. Christians were not to go to the theater, dance, play cards, or ride on Sunday. The spirit of this is a return of Judaism. The Gospel which has made us free, makes each Christian responsible according to his light. The world for the Christian consists in whatever his won conscience teaches him hinders his walk with God and his advancing in holiness, etc.
To sum up what we have said: In the moral order, the Gospel has made us free, free by the grace it gives us, to obey the law of our nature and of Christ. It is not only our acquittal before God by the merits of Christ, but it is a reception from Christ of grace by which we are enabled to keep the Law. Let us attempt through God's grace to advance, and sanctify the inward man.
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