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    CHAPTER 25. The Two Laws

    WE speak only of those laws mentioned in the Scriptures as connected with the government and redemption of man. Do the Scriptures recognize, as occupying this field, two laws, distinct in their origin, distinct in their nature, distinct in their office, and distinct in their duration? Or do they recognize but one law existing at any one time in the world, an indivisible whole, equally affected in all its parts by any changes or limitations?SYNPT 255.1

    1. What do we mean by the “two laws?”
    2. What two questions at once arise?
    3. How are they treated by different classes?
    4. What opinion does one class entertain concerning a law in the beginning?
    5. When was another law introduced?
    6. To what did it owe its origin?

    To these questions, different answers are given by different classes. One class hold that in the beginning there was a law given to man, moral in its nature and immutable and eternal in its principles; that after the fall of man, another law was introduced, owing its origin to this change in man’s relation to God, and of such a nature as to meet, for the time being, the requirements of the system of redemption then introduced. This law they hold to be the ceremonial and typical law, beginning with the patriarchal sacrifices, enlarged in the Mosaic dispensation, and reaching only to Christ, as it was simply designed to foreshadow and point out the real work of Christ for the salvation of men, and was the medium through which the people of the Lord could show their faith in a Redeemer to come. And when Christ, the antitype and substance, finished his work in this world in the days of his flesh, and opened the new dispensation, the types and shadows of necessity ceased to exist, and the law of ceremonies came to an end, being nailed to the cross. But this did not in anywise affect that other and higher law which antedated and outranked the ceremonial. That passed over into this dispensation unchanged; it still continues, and will endure, at least in its two great principles, which require us to love God supremely and our fellow-beings as ourselves, through all eternity.SYNPT 255.2

    7. What was its nature?
    8. What name is given to this law?
    9. How long was it to continue?
    10. What was its design?
    11. For what purpose did the people of the Lord use it?
    12. How did the work of Christ affect this law?
    13. How did it affect the first law?
    14. In what form and how long did this law endure?
    15. What view does another class hold in reference to law previous to the first advent?
    16. In this case, what did Christ’s death accomplish.
    17. And what law have we since the first advent?

    The other class hold that previous to the first advent of Christ there was but one law connected with the economy of grace; that the Bible recognizes no such distinction as moral and ceremonial; that those laws which are usually called moral and those which are called ceremonial belong to the same system, constituting an indivisible whole, all being, in the same sense, the law of the Lord; and that when Christ nailed a law to the cross, it included the whole, and swept from existence every law which God had given to man previous to that time, - all to which such distinctive appellations are given as moral and ceremonial, governmental and redemptive. Since the advent of Christ, we have, according to this scheme, another law, the law of Christ, enacted and of force this side the crucifixion.SYNPT 256.1

    The question, Which of these views is correct? is an important one. Momentous conclusions hang upon the answer. Mark them well. If the position first named is correct, the distinction between moral and ceremonial law is a legitimate distinction; and this distinction being allowed, it will not be disputed that the moral law is summarily contained in the decalogue, or ten commandments; and this law being immutable and perpetual, it follows that every commandment of the decalogue is still of binding obligation; and then the inevitable sequence is not far to reach; namely, that the very same day which the fourth commandment of the decalogue designates as the Sabbath of the Lord, must still be observed as such.SYNPT 257.1

    18. What follows from the first position?
    19. What follows from the second?

    But if the second view is correct, then the Sabbath commandment, with all other Bible laws then existing, was abolished at the cross; and we have now no Sabbath unless it can be shown that some law for such an institution has been enacted since the crucifixion of Christ. This conclusion all no-Sabbath men are anxious to reach; and some Sunday men are willing to take the same ground, as the most effectual way of disposing of the fourth commandment, hoping to be able to find other tenable ground upon which to rear the Sunday fabric.SYNPT 257.2

    Immense consequences, as the reader must now see, are thus suspended upon our views of this question. The subject of the two laws involves no less than the question of obedience or disobedience to one of the commandments of the great Jehovah.SYNPT 258.1

    Our opponents are not slow to see the strategic importance of this argument in its relation to the whole Sabbath question; hence they plant their heaviest batteries at this point, and expend the burden of their efforts in defense of the one-law view. If it can be maintained that the distinction mentioned in the foregoing paragraphs does not exist, Sabbath-keeping at once disappears from the list of Christian duties. If the distinction does exist, the perpetuity of the Sabbath is inevitably assured. No question, therefore, more vital to the interest of Sabbath-keepers can be proposed, nor one in the solution of which they should feel a deeper interest.SYNPT 258.2

    With the foregoing presentation of the question, we are prepared to state the proposition which it is our purpose to maintain. It is, that the Bible recognizes two laws as distinct from each other as black and white, daylight and darkness; that these two laws existed contemporaneously from the time of the introduction of the plan of salvation to the death of Christ, when one of them was nailed to the cross; while the other still continues.SYNPT 258.3

    20. What question does the subject of the two laws therefore involve?
    21. How do our opponents treat this question?
    22. How is the Sabbath affected by it?
    23. What proposition is here maintained?
    24. Why should this view be defended?

    This view will be defended as alone consistent with reason and revelation, as one which alone harmonizes the Scriptures, and puts into agreement with itself their testimony concerning the work of Christ and the plan of salvation. While the other view, that there was only one law previous to the death of Christ, which was at that time all abolished, making necessary a new enactment for whatever law we have since that time, is contrary to the plainest principles of God’s government, arrays Bible against Bible, and is utterly execrable in the conclusions to which it leads.SYNPT 258.4

    25. How may the one-law be characterized?
    26. What two facts appear at the very beginning?
    27. What questions does this suggest?
    28. what is the first count in the indictment of one-law theory?

    1. Two facts appear at the very threshold of this subject, which will be readily acknowledged by all. First, some laws which were binding in the old dispensation are binding in this dispensation. The laws, for instance, against murder, adultery, theft, blasphemy, and idolatry are still in force. There are, therefore, some obligations common to both dispensations from which the world could not, consistently with God’s government, for a single moment be released. Secondly, that which was abolished at the cross was an entire system. God did not single out and abolish portions and pieces of some arrangement or system, and leave other parts remaining. If there was but one law, it all expired at the cross. Now a question arises; namely, Was there ever even a human government guilty of such folly as to abolish a law which the State could not for a moment spare, and then re-enact it at the same instant, knowing before their action that when they had abolished it, they must instantaneously re-enact it? What kind of a farce would this be? And shall we charge God with folly as much greater than this as his laws are more sacred than human laws, and all the world is greater than a single State? This is what he did do, if he abolished all law at the cross; and he did there abolish all law, if there was but one law. But if there were some principles not abolished then, there was some law which did not belong to the system which then came to an end. But further, if there were laws in the old dispensation which could not be spared in this, and all must admit that there were, why should God abolish them? Can any one answer? If you say that they chanced to be in an imperfect system, which had to be taken out of the way, and which, of course, carried everything with it, then another question arises, Did not God know this? Could he not foresee the dilemma in which he would at length find the eternal principles of his government involved? Ought we not to be careful how we charge God with folly? And this is the first count in the indictment of the one-law theory; it charges an infinite God with infinite folly.SYNPT 259.1

    29. When did moral laws originate and how long must they continue?

    2. The laws against murder, adultery, theft, blasphemy, and idolatry have been referred to, as necessary in, and common to, both dispensations. Let us inquire into the origin of these principles. God, as our Creator, has a right to rule us. We, as his creatures, are under obligation to obey. There must be some law regulating this relation, and defining our duties. But man was not to be alone in the world. The earth was to be filled with inhabitants. All men would be under obligation to their fellow-men; and there must be some law regulating this relation also, and the duties growing out of it. Thus in two directions man was placed under obligation in the beginning; and these duties of God and to his fellow-men existed in the very nature of things; they began with man’s being, - a necessary concomitant of creation itself. And these laws must endure as long as these relations continue; and until the relations change, the laws governing them can never change.SYNPT 260.1

    All this, remember, before ever man has sinned. And if he had never sinned, these laws would have existed just the same. They would have gone with him, not only till he was confirmed in holiness and happiness, but through all eternity. And they would have been the only laws to which he was subject. Now, when man fell into sin, how did it affect his amenability to these laws? It did not affect it in the least, as it did not release him from any obligation to God or to his fellow-men.SYNPT 261.1

    Here, then, we have well-defined laws, occupying a specific field of their own, and regulating a distinct class of duties; laws which existed prior to the fall, independently of the fall, and which were not affected by the fall. These may be justly termed original or primary laws, which were in the very nature of the case, immutable and eternal.SYNPT 261.2

    30. How did man’s sin affect these laws, and his relation to them?
    31. What may these laws be called?
    32. What other laws sprung into existence when man sinned? and why?

    But just as soon as man had sinned, making redemption necessary to his salvation, and a plan had been devised for the accomplishment of a work of atonement in the hands of a mediator, another law sprung into existence as the immediate result of this work. For after this, if man would have the favor of God, it becomes necessary for him not only to obey the primary laws, which were in nowise relaxed, but also to conform to certain other requirements by which he was to express faith in a coming redeemer. This was the law of types and shadows, and was to be obeyed in the performance of certain typical ceremonies, rites, and offerings. Here was a law that owed its origin to the fall of man, and which could not have existed before; for a type pointing out a coming redeemer would have been an impossibility before such a redeemer was necessary to man’s future welfare. The object of this law was not to change or interfere with any of man’s primary duties to God or to his fellow-men, but only to show him the way back to God’s forfeited favor.SYNPT 261.3

    We now have before us two laws, distinct in their origin, distinct in their nature, and distinct in their design. The next inquiry will be whether they are equally distinct in the matter of their duration.SYNPT 262.1

    33. Could such a thing as a type or typical law have existed before the fall?
    34. What have we now before us?
    35. What is the next inquiry?
    36. What does Christ say of the law?

    We take our stand at the opening of this dispensation, and look at the work of Christ, and listen to the teachings of the first ministers of the gospel. Christ says: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Here is a law introduced, the perpetuity of which is taught in the most explicit manner so long as the heavens and the earth should endure, and until all the prophecies, some of which span the measureless cycles of eternity, should be fulfilled.SYNPT 262.2

    Shall we say that there was but one law in the world to this time? Then that law must continue to the end. It still endures. Every rite and ceremony, sacrifices and offering, is still in force, on this hypothesis; for not a jot or tittle of the law was to pass while heaven and earth endured. Absurd to say that this was spoken of a law, which, as a whole, or in any of its parts, was to cease at the cross, not more than three and a half years at most from the time when this language was spoken. To apply this language to the Mosaic law, with the understanding that that law was to cease at the cross, as some do, is to place the Divine Teacher in the following absurd position: He steps forth upon the stage of his public ministry, takes up a law which had continued unimpaired for nearly fifteen hundred years, and makes the most solemn asseveration that that law is still to continue without failing for three and a half years more! And he finds no way to measure this period, except by using an expression which covers the enormous duration of all coming time, “Till all things be fulfilled.” It would scarcely be possible for language to frame a greater or more wicked absurdity.SYNPT 263.1

    37. If there was but one law, what conclusion follows?
    38. Why not apply Christ’s words to the law of Moses?
    39. How were the followers of Christ to regard this law?

    This law was one which was to be obeyed and taught by all the followers of Christ, in all coming time, and which was the test, or standard, or righteousness. Verse 20. And a law regulating righteousness, or right doing, can be fulfilled only by rendering perfect obedience to its requirements. This is what the Lord was to do in reference to the moral law; for this law was in his heart (Psalm 40:8), and he was to magnify and make it honorable. Isaiah 42:21. It was a law which was in existence in the days of James, and which he instructed the disciples to keep, when he said, “If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well.” James 2:8. We fulfill this law by loving our neighbors as ourselves; and this is a continual duty; not one which we are to perform once, and by so doing forever abolish the law which requires it, according to the absurd one-law scheme.SYNPT 263.2

    40. For how long?
    41. Of what was it the test?
    42. How can such a law be fulfilled?
    43. How did David and Isaiah say the Lord would regard this law? References.
    44. What did James say of it?
    45. How is that law described which ceased at the cross?
    46. In what four great particulars are these laws distinct?

    But there was a law which ceased at the cross. It is called the “handwriting of ordinances,” and is said to have been “blotted out,” and “nailed to the cross.” It is called the “middle wall of partition” which has been “broken down;” a “law of commandments contained in ordinances,” which has been “abolished in his [Christ’s] flesh; ” the “enmity” which has been “slain” by the cross. And when these scriptures speak of the law which has been abolished, they tell us also what kind of a law it was. It was the “handwriting of ordinances,” not the “royal law,” of which James speaks. It was “commandments contained in ordinances,” not a law of righteousness, which regulates our duty to God and our fellow-men. It was a law which was a “shadow of things to come,” the body of which is “of Christ,” not the law which antedated all types and shadows. This reveals its true nature. It was the typical and shadowy system, which of necessity ceased at the cross, as a shadow ceases when the substance which casts the shadow is reached.SYNPT 264.1

    Thus, while it is declared of one law that it should endure while the heavens and the earth should continue, of the other it is declared that it was “slain,” “abolished,” “blotted out,” at the cross; and now for over eighteen hundred and fifty-one years, this law has not been binding upon mankind.SYNPT 265.1

    Having now found two laws between which there is a marked distinction most plain and unmistakable, first as to their origin, secondly as to their nature, thirdly as to their office, and fourthly as to their duration, it only remains to notice some of the antithetical expressions of the Scriptures which recognize this distinction, and which can by no possibility be harmonized on the one-law theory.SYNPT 265.2

    As it has been clearly shown that one of these laws is moral and the other ceremonial, these words will conveniently designate the laws referred to, as they are contrasted in the following paragraphs.SYNPT 265.3

    47. What is the distinction in their origin?
    48. What distinction in the manner in which they were given?

    Moral. - This law, regulating our duties to God and to our fellow-men, was a primary law, binding on man before the fall, would still have governed him had he never fallen, and was in nowise changed by the fall.SYNPT 265.4

    Ceremonial. - This law never would have existed had not man fallen. It was a law of service, by which man could return to the favor of God.SYNPT 266.1

    M. - Was spoken from Sinai by the voice of God and twice written upon the tables of stone by his own finger, being in this respect plainly distinguished from all other laws. Deuteronomy 4:12; 5:22.SYNPT 266.2

    C. - Was communicated to Moses privately, and was by Moses written with a pen in a book. Deuteronomy 31:9.SYNPT 266.3

    M. - Was deposited in the golden ark, the central object of God’s true worship in that dispensation, made expressly for its reception. Exodus 25:10-16.SYNPT 266.4

    C. - Was put into a receptacle by the side of the ark. Deuteronomy 31:26.SYNPT 266.5

    M. - Related only to moral duties. Exodus 20:3-17.SYNPT 266.6

    C. - Was wholly ceremonial, relating only to meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances. Hebrews 9:10.SYNPT 266.7

    M. - Was to be written, under the new dispensation, in the hearts of the disciples. Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:10.SYNPT 266.8

    C. - Was not to be written anywhere in this dispensation, but was blotted out and nailed to the cross. Colossians 2:14.SYNPT 266.9

    M. - Was written by nature in the hearts of the Gentiles. Romans 2:14.SYNPT 266.10

    49. What distinction in the place where they were kept?
    50. What distinction in the things to which they related?
    51. What distinction in the position they were to occupy in this dispensation?
    52. What distinction in their relation to Jews and Gentiles?
    53. What distinction in relation to Christ’s work on the cross?

    C. - Was a middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles. Ephesians 2:14, 15.SYNPT 266.11

    M. - Christ did not come to destroy this law (Matthew 5:17), and hence did not destroy it.SYNPT 267.1

    C. - Christ did destroy, by abolishing it (Ephesians 2:15), and nailing it to his cross. Colossians 2:14.SYNPT 267.2

    M. - Was to remain unchanged even in a jot and tittle, as long as heaven and earth should endure. Matthew 5:18.SYNPT 267.3

    C. - Was to last only till the time of reformation by the coming of Christ. Hebrews 9:10, 11.SYNPT 267.4

    M. - Christ was to magnify and make it honorable (Isaiah 42:21), which he did by recognizing it authority, obeying it perfectly, showing its exceeding length and breadth, and then dying for those who had transgressed it, thus testifying by the most solemn scene ever witnessed on earth by men or angels, that the claims of that law could never be relaxed.SYNPT 267.5

    C. - Christ disannulled this law. Hebrews 7:18. It does not magnify and make honorable a law to show that there are reasons why it should no longer exist. This cannot, therefore, be the same law as the one mentioned before.SYNPT 267.6

    M. - Was to be kept and taught throughout this dispensation by all the disciples of Christ. Matthew 5:19.SYNPT 267.7

    C. - Was not commanded the disciples to keep at all, according to the decision of the council at Jerusalem. Acts 15:24.SYNPT 267.8

    54. What distinction in regard to the time they were to endure?
    55. What distinction in Christ’s treatment of them?
    56. How were the disciples to regard them through this dispensation?
    57. How are they each affected by faith in Christ?

    M. - Is not made void by faith in Christ, but is established thereby. Romans 3:31.SYNPT 267.9

    C. - Is made void by faith in Christ. Galatians 5:4.SYNPT 268.1

    M. - Was the “law of liberty.” James 2:12.SYNPT 268.2

    C. - Was a “yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1.SYNPT 268.3

    M. - Was a law in which the apostle Paul took great delight. Romans 7:22.SYNPT 268.4

    C. - Was a yoke too grievous to be borne, either by Jews of Christians. Acts 15:10.SYNPT 268.5

    M. - Was a law spiritual holy, just, and good. Romans 7:12, 14.SYNPT 268.6

    C. - Was a law which was carnal, weak, and unprofitable, and made nothing perfect. Hebrews 7:16, 18, 19.SYNPT 268.7

    M. - Was a law of which David writes, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” Psalm 19:7.SYNPT 268.8

    C. - Was a law which, not being perfect itself, could not make its subjects perfect. Hebrews 10:1.SYNPT 268.9

    M. - Was the “royal law;” that is, the law of the Great King, perfect, spiritual, holy. James 2:8.SYNPT 268.10

    C. - Was a law of commandments contained in ordinances, called “the enmity” (Ephesians 2:15, 16), was weak and unprofitable (Hebrews 7:18), and was only temporary. Hebrews 9:10.SYNPT 268.11

    M. - Is a law obedience to which is a condition of entering into eternal life. Matthew 19:16-19; Revelation 22:14.SYNPT 268.12

    58. How do they compare in respect to liberty and bondage?
    59. How did the apostles regard these laws respectively?
    60. How do they compare in their nature?
    61. What is each able to accomplish?
    62. What difference in rank between these two laws?
    63. What different results follow dependence on them respectively?

    C. - Is a law which, if we depend on the keeping of it, will cut us off from Christ, the source of life, as shown by many scriptures already quoted.SYNPT 268.13

    M. - Is the law by which the world will be judged at the last day. James 2:12; Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14.SYNPT 269.1

    C. - Is a law by which no man can be judged. Colossians 2:16.SYNPT 269.2

    M. - Is designed to secure to man the crowning blessing of entering through the gates into the heavenly city. Revelation 22:14.SYNPT 269.3

    C. - Is a law which is declared to be against us contrary to us. Colossians 2:14.SYNPT 269.4

    It is unnecessary to extend this list to any greater length. If any man can scale this multiplied line of defenses behind which the argument is entrenched; if he can show that a law is at the same time in existence and not in existence, moral and ceremonial, perfect and imperfect, spiritual and carnal, for us and against us, abolished and not abolished, eternal and temporary, - then his logic may essay anything. He can show that there is no difference in character between false gods and the true God, no difference in duration between a month and a century, no difference in color between white and black, no difference in illumination between daylight or darkness, or do any other impossible thing.SYNPT 269.5

    But it is claimed that this very law which we call moral has been abolished; as, -SYNPT 269.6

    64. What difference between them in respect to being judged by them?
    65. What is to be secured by them?
    66. Can all these testimonies refer to one and the same law?
    67. What must be proved, if there is but one law?
    68. How is Luke 16:16 explained?

    1. Luke 16:16: “The law and the prophets were until John; since that time the kingdom of God is preached.” True, but this does not say that the prophets and the law ceased with John, but only that we have something additional now. Before John, law and prophets; since John’s time, law, prophets, and gospel.SYNPT 269.7

    2. Acts 15. This is usually referred to, to show simply that the Sabbath is not now binding. But it will be seen on examination that the enumeration leaves out other essential precepts, which all admit to be now binding. Hence the moral law is not the subject of this chapter.SYNPT 270.1

    3. Romans 6:14: “Not under the law, but under grace.” This simply means that we are not under the condemnation of the law, but under the favor of God, who grants us pardon through the sacrifice of Christ. But we are not, therefore, at liberty to break the law which condemns lying, stealing, killing, etc.SYNPT 270.2

    4. Romans 7:1-6. In Paul’s illustration here given, it is not the law that dies in any case, but the first husband. With this fact kept in mind, this scripture can never be tortured to testify for antinomianism.SYNPT 270.3

    5. Romans 10:4: “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Very well; but how about those who do not believe? Think of that. “End” here simply means “object,” in the sense of design or purpose. James 5:11.SYNPT 270.4

    69. To what law does Acts 15 refer? and why?
    70. Explain the terms “under law” and “under grace.”
    71. What mistake do our opponents make on Romans 7:1-6?
    72. What does the word “end” mean in Romans 10:4?
    73. what is Paul’s argument in 2 Corinthians 3?
    74. What can be said of the constitutional difference between moral and ceremonial law?

    6. 2 Corinthians 3: “The ministration of death written and engraven in stones.” To this our opponents usually add immediately, “was done away.” But the passage does not so read. It was the “glory” of that dispensation which was to be done away, being swallowed up in the greater glory of this dispensation, as the light of the moon is swallowed up in the light of the sun. The quotation given above is elliptical. It means the ministration of that which was engraven in stones. A law and the ministration of that law are two things. See on this text, Clarke, Bloomfield, Alford, and Olshausen.SYNPT 270.5

    In conclusion we have only to say that between moral and ceremonial laws there is a difference which exists in the very nature of things, - a difference which no logic can confound, no chemistry destroy. There is a difference between oil and water, between daylight and darkness. A ceremonial law is not a moral law, and can never be made such. And we almost feel that an apology is due to the reader for even so brief an effort to prove so simple a proposition.SYNPT 271.1

    But some one may still say, I cannot see it so. Let us tell you, friend, what you need to cause you to see it: not stronger logic, nor clearer argument, nor a greater amount of testimony; but a loving, obedient, loyal heart, which says to the Lord Speak, for thy servant heareth; show me the way, and I will walk therein, however heavy the cross or great the sacrifice.SYNPT 271.2

    75. What is the trouble with those who cannot see it?

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