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Bible Dispensations

By J.J. Haley


      The four ages or periods in the history of human redemption, spoken of as dispensations of Religion, are the Patriarchal, the Jewish, the Christian, and the Millennial; for all practical purposes, but three, as the millennium is but the final conquest and further extension of the Gospel age. These economies of God's dealings with the race mark the different stages in the progress of divine revelation and human salvation.

      The age of the Patriarchs, extending from Adam to Moses, and lasting, approximately, 2,500 years, according to the Usher chronology, is the dispensation of foundations and promises. The Jewish or Mosaic age, embracing a period of 1500 years, from Moses to Christ, is the dispensation of preparation and education. The Christian age, sometimes called the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, covering that period of time reaching from the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ to his second coming, is the dispensation of realization and the fulness of time.

      The thousand years of our Lord's personal reign on earth, called the millennium, which will extend from the beginning of his second manifestation to the close of the present world order of human affairs, may be regarded as the dispensation of consummation and final victory. As this age is still prophetic and does not come within the scope of possible historical treatment, it will not be considered at length in this paper.

      The dispensational book of the Bible is the epistle to the Hebrews. This inspired production of the first century, Pauline in substance if not in authorship, traces the history of God's redemptive manifestation from the initial "in" of Genesis to the final "amen" of Revelation.

      The author's point of view is that of the "Covenants," which he compares, somewhat in detail, for the purpose of demonstrating the superiority of Christianity and the Christian age over all preceding developments, as the finished product is more perfect than the different stages of its growth. The terminology of the Hebrew writer is sacrificial and [7] legal. He describes the Christian religion in terms of the Jewish temple and priesthood. These priestly phrases, temple metaphors, and the familiar words of a ceremonial faith, addressed to the Jewish people who could understand them, are everywhere penetrated and illuminated by spiritual and ethical conceptions of the New Age under Jesus Christ.

      The historical and spiritual attitude of the writer is pentecostal. Looking back from the viewpoint of the ratification of the New Covenant and the beginning of the church on the day of Pentecost, his enlarged vision takes in the entire field of a gradually unfolding redemption, and a progressive revelation, from Eden to the descent of the Holy Spirit, fifty days after the resurrection of Christ; and from this beginning of the New Dispensation on through the reign of Christ in the church to his second coming without a sin offering in order to complete eternal salvation. All dispensational distractions, peculiarities, and problems converge and culminate at Pentecost or emerge from it.

      Whether we look from this point of view back to the beginning or forward to the end, the history of this phenomenal day in the evolution of the Kingdom of God puts a key into our hands for the solution of all fundamental problems.

      1. The Covenant Problem.

      2. The Kingdom Problem.

      3. The Problem of the Holy Spirit.

      4. The Problem of Spiritual Power.

      5. The Ecclesiastical Problem--the Beginning of the Church.

      6. The Problem of Salvation.

      7. The Problem of the Ordinances.

      I. THE PROBLEM OF THE COVENANTS.

      In our book of the dispensations, chapter eight, the writer gives its an analysis of the characteristic differences between the old economics and the new under forms of the Mosaic and Christian Covenants. The purposes and peculiarities of the two are made to stand over against each other in contrast as proof and illustration of the superiority of the New Age under the reign of Christ.

      1. The essential inwardness and moral righteousness of the new covenant in contrast to the external and ceremonial character of the old. "I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts" (ver. 10). The covenant of circumcision, a patriarchal institution, was in the flesh; that of Mt. Sinai was inscribed on tables of stone; that of Mt. Zion on fleshly tables of the heart, the moral nature of man. As Paul said to the Corinthians: "For as much as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistles of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God, not on tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart" (2 Cor. 3:3).

      The terms of admission to the old legal and ceremonial dispensations were to be born in Abraham's house or to be bought with his money. The only conditions that ever conferred the right of initiation into the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants including proselytes and the natural descendants of Abraham, were fleshly descent, property, and circumcision.

      The terms of induction into the new and better covenant, the church of Christ, established on better promises, reach down to the deepest springs of the regenerate life, the new birth, the renovation of the soul, the purification of the heart by faith and love.

      This antithesis so vividly drawn is between a legal and a spiritual dispensation of religion, between the law and the Gospel, between the bondage of the letter and the freedom of the spirit. Law is compulsory and operates from without; the Gospel of the new covenant is voluntary and operates from within. Law rules by force; the gospel of the grace of God rules by love. Law, therefore, can punish but it cannot reform; the gospel reforms, but it does not punish. Law is coercive; the gospel is persuasive. Law appeals to the fear of physical punishment; the gospel appeals to reason and conscience, and has behind it a fund of motives drawn from two worlds. The law may keep outward order but it cannot produce an inward change. It may cage the lion but cannot change him into a lamb. Compulsion may force a temporary change of conduct; but it cannot produce a permanent change of character. There can be no change of heart, no transformation of character, no inspiration or exaltation of life, unless it begins from within. This is the philosophy of the declaration, I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts, and I will be to them a God and they shall be to me a people."

      2. The universality of the knowledge of God in the new covenant against a limited and partial knowledge under the old, "They shall not teach every man his fellow citizen and every man his brother, [8] saying know the Lord, for all shall know me from the least to the greatest of them" (ver. 11). This universal God-knowledge which shall characterize the New Dispensation is predicated only of the covenanters; not everybody in the world shall know God, but everybody in the covenant shall know him.

      This stands out with undoubted clearness when we consider the contrast in the mind of the writer. The old covenant with which he is here contrasting the new had thousands of unconscious infants in it who did not know their right hand from their left, and who had to be taught by their fellow citizens and their brethren to know the Lord, as soon as they were capable of apprehending religious truth; and there were also multitudes of wicked men who disregarded and rejected the moral provisions of the covenant, and hence had no experimental knowledge of God.

      In sharp and striking contrast to these classes, the one ignorant of God from unconsciousness and the other from wickedness, the writer says, in the new and better covenant there will be no necessity to teach its subjects to know the Lord, for God-knowledge is the first condition of entrance, hence all shall know Him from the least to the greatest.

      3. Complete redemption in the plenary remission of sins over against the partial "and temporary pardon of the legal dispensation of Moses. "For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and their sins will I remember no more" (ver. 12). The sinless purity and perfect spirituality of the High Priest of the New Age, his perpetuity in office and the nature of his offering, enabled him to free the conscience of the sinner by a perfect pardon, and to become the author of eternal, not temporal salvation, to all them that obey. The forgiveness of sins under the Aaronic priesthood was temporary and partial.

      The business of a legal scheme of salvation is to inflict penalties for all failures to keep the law, not to be merciful to the iniquities of its subjects. In the redemptive purpose that God was working out through the ages the chief design of the law was to demonstrate the impotency of legalism to free the human soul from the consciousness of sin. This could only be done by the sacrifice of our Lord's humanity on the altar of his divinity, perfecting thereby the divine arrangement that enables God to have mercy on our unrighteousness and to remember our iniquities no more forever.

      4. The New Covenant had been enacted when the Hebrew epistle was written. "He is (present tense) the mediator of a better covenant, which hath been (past tense) upon better promises" (Heb. 8.6). As the Christian Dispensation embodies and represents the New Covenant, the covenant as a matter of course began with the dispensation. Hence when the church was organized on the Day of Pentecost, A. D. 34, the covenant was established and ratified. This can be shown by a comparison of the conditions and characteristics sties of the covenant with the facts that transpired on Pentecost as recorded in the second chapter of Acts.

      a. "With the house of Israel and the house of Judah" (Heb. 8:8).

      "Jews devout men," "Ye men of Israel hear these words" (Acts 2:5, 22).

      b. "I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts" (Heb. 8:10).

      "When they heard this they were pricked in their heart" (Acts 2:37).

      c. "All shall know me from the least to the greatest" (Heb. 8:11).

      "As many as gladly received his word were baptized" (Acts 2:41).

      d. "Their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more" (Heb. 8:12).

      "For the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38).

      e. The shedding of Christ's blood connected with the establishment and ratification of the New Covenant (Matt. 26:18, 27, 28). So the new and better covenant prophesied by Jeremiah and historically described by the writer of the Hebrew letter was incorporated into the Christian Dispensation on the Day of Pentecost, the beginning of our Lord's earthly reign through his church.

      II. THE PROBLEM OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

      The conception of the reign of God over human affairs, known as the theocratic government of the world, is as old as humanity, as old at least as God's first revelation to man. The monotheistic revelation of Genesis, the disclosure to the earthly patriarchs of the one true and living God, his personality and righteousness, brought with it the right of the Infinite to reign and rule in and through and over all men who on earth do dwell.

      The religion of the patriarch was individual, domestic and tribal. Like all eastern sheiks he was the father of his family, the shepherd of his flock, the [9] prince of his tribe, the king of his kingdom. As representative and mouth-piece of God he exercised the functions of prophet, priest, and king to his contemporary descendants. In the capacity of prophet he was the organ of revelation and the teacher of his children; as priest he erected altars and offered sacrifice in atonement for the sins of his people; as prince of his tribe he exercised authority and commanded obedience in the name of God. Under the patriarchal regime the conditions of salvation were faith, obedience, and sacrifice.

      The dispensation of Moses brought with it the reorganization of the theocratic life and government of the patriarchs, in the living of the law, in the consolidation of the twelve tribes into a single nationality, in the distribution of patriarchal offices into distinct and separate classes of official representatives of the divine administration. Sages arose who taught the people wisdom, prophets who interpreted the law, and delivered God's messages direct from Himself, the inspired men of the nation; priests who officiated at the altar of sacrifice and devotion, judges who ruled in the place of God till the inauguration of the monarchy four hundred years after Sinai.

      The evolution of the kingdom under the law had reached a stage of growth and promise in the days of Daniel which led him to prophesy that the God of heaven, in the days of the king of the Roman Empire, would set till a kingdom, supernatural, universal, perpetual, indestructible, so dominant and powerful as a moral force as to grind to pieces all opposing kingdoms. When Christ began to announce: "The Kingship of God is at hand," "the reign of heaven draws near" there can be little doubt that he was profoundly impressed with Daniel's prophetic ideal of the future theocracy, then due to appear. Nor call the fact be called in question that Christ's interpretation of the new kingdom to be "set up" "in the days of these kings," went far beyond Daniel's as a revolutionary if not original conception.

      The magnificent and incomparable ideal of the universal reign of God in the human soul, a kingdom of heaven coextensive with humanity, a perpetual fountain of inspiration, lifting men ever-more into higher and diviner relations, a glorious brotherhood bound together by ties of allegiance to a common fatherhood, with no creed but love to God and man, and no law but the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus--this vastly enriched and spiritualized conception of the kingdom originated with the prophet of Nazareth, and has no parallel in human history. "A kingdom founded in peace and maintained without carnal weapons, a kingdom in the world and yet not of the world, a kingdom within the sphere of other kingdoms yet threatening them with no violence, infringing on the prerogative of no earthly potentate or king, and looking to no revolution to further its interests or to extend its dominion," such was the wonderfully beautiful and amazingly attractive conception of Christ, born in his own soul, or brought with him from heaven, and absolutely without a precedent in the annals of time.

      The Messianic reign began to materialize in the organic manifestation of the Kingdom of the first Pentecost after our Lord's resurrection. The church is established, the theocracy becomes a Christocracy, and the kingdom enters upon the last stage of its earthly career.

      III. THE PROBLEM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

      The Spirit of God in the Old Testament is all indirection for God. The Spirit of God is the life of God, his vital energy, his inmost self. As the spirit of a man is the man, so the Spirit of God is God. The inspired men of the Old Testament did not conceive of the Holy Spirit as a person distinct from God. All of the references to the Spirit in both of the Old Dispensations may be easily remembered as effluence, affluence and influence. The Spirit of God in the Old Scriptures is represented as the energy of God flowing from him, or flowing upon things and persons, or flowing into the personality of men. In creation the Spirit was effluence and affluence in the manifestation of the energy and vitality of God. It flows from God, it flows upon the waters, and it creates life and gives expression to the mind of God in the order it brings out of chaos. In the prophets the prevailing aspect of the Spirit is affluence. It came upon Balaam, upon frenzied Saul, upon Elisha in double portion.

      In addition to these there is a higher view in the Old Testament when the vital energy of Jehovah becomes an influence in the prophets. Joseph was "a man in whom the Spirit of God is." This usage of the prophets in which they refer to the Holy Spirit as the essence of Deity, God in terms of energy, in forms of vital activity, continues through the Old Testament and up to the 14th chapter of John's [10] Gospel in the New. Here for the first time "it" becomes "he."

      The Holy Spirit in the New Testament is the same as the Spirit of God in the Old Testament up to the 16th verse of the 14th chapter of the fourth Gospel. In the annunciation according to Matthew the angels say: "Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, power of the Highest shall overshadow thee." The absence of the article before "Holy Spirit" and "power" might at least have arrested the attention of Trinitarian students. It was natural that in the long course of ascription of personal attributes to the Spiritual energy and activity of God it should come at last to be clothed in the characteristics of complete personality. There was deity and personality in the Old Testament view of the Holy Spirit, but it was the deity and personality of God--not of another person distinct from him.

      The phenomena of Pentecost in connection with the coming of the Spirit, sustain, in several aspects of its work, the Old Testament and synoptic view, not yet definitely settled into the language of personality. The first manifestation of the Spirit was the sound from heaven, as of the rushing of a mighty wind filling the house in which the apostles were assembled, a symbol doubtless of the free, forceful, and independent action of the Spirit in the inspiration and salvation of men. The miraculous tongues appeared "parting asunder like as of fire," a figure descriptive of the illuminating and purifying power of the divine energy present in the disciples. "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance." The mental illumination and moral transformation of the apostles by this experience certainly had intelligence and personal force behind it, but when the Spirit appears as it does in this connection in the form of a baptismal element, this particular aspect of its work cannot be conceived as personal.

      The most conspicuous, significant, and far-reaching event, that marks the beginning of the Christian Dispensation here at Pentecost, is the appearance of the Holy Spirit as a baptizing element and Christ as the administrator of a new spiritual baptism, at once the characteristic distinction and peculiar glory of the New Reign of God in Christ. In all subsequent time as far as the inspired record carries us the Holy Spirit is referred to as the personal leader, advocate, comforter, and sanctifier of the New Age.

      IV. THE PROBLEM OF SPIRITUAL POWER.

      "But ye shall receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon you; and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Of the Pentecostal fulfillment of this promise we have spoken in part, but the dynamic power of the new spirituality in the work of saving mankind, requires further emphasis and illustration.

      All three of the synoptic writers give fresh accent to the fact that Christ's work is to be distinguished by a communication of the vital energy of God so full and forceful as to be comparable to a baptism in or a filling of the soul with the divine nature, the very Spirit of God, over against, for purposes of comparison, the ministry of John the Baptist, whose characteristic symbol of authority was baptism in water.

      The fourth gospel carries the same contrast, except that John refers to the chief work of the two administrations as a birth instead of a baptism. The Harbinger's baptism, a birth of water, Christ's baptism, a birth of the Spirit, the same in meaning as the synoptic comparison of John's baptism in water and Christ's baptism in the Holy Spirit, both binding on Nicodemus, and both binding on us, with certain modifications in reference to the first; but in reference to the second, as we have already indicated, Christ's supreme distinction is as the administrator of and baptizer in the Holy Spirit.

      The phrase "baptize in the Holy Spirit," is simply a metaphor drawn from John's literal baptism in water. Baptize in the Greek language means to be enveloped in the baptizing element, and as candidates for the Harbinger's immersion were completely in the hands of the baptizer, and were totally submerged in the element of his baptism, so the subject of Christ's baptism, the human spirit, is completely in the hands of the administrator of the spiritual sacrament, our Divine Lord, and hence the very name, baptism in, not of, the Holy Spirit. When a man yields himself absolutely and wholly to Jesus Christ the Spirit comes into his soul with overwhelming power, the vital energy and life of God takes possession of him, he is filled with it, and his soul is baptized in it, and this is the baptism of power in the Holy Spirit, and it is not temporary, but eternal, beginning with Pentecost. When a man is penetrated, illuminated, dominated, possessed, controlled, and energized by the Holy [11] Spirit, he is the subject of our Pentecostal spiritual sacrament administered by the Son of God himself, and we can say of him adequately and truly that he is pure in heart, holy in character and mightily effective in service for God and humanity.

      The incarnation brought God into human life, the resurrection of Christ opened the spiritual world, which poured itself into this world in a stronger and steadier tide than had ever been known before, so that the very air enveloping the earth became instinct with God; the atmosphere of Palestine was electric with spiritual power, so that a touch at almost any point brought the impact and shock and thrill of the new life. To be sure we have to reckon with the miraculous phenomena of the baptism in the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and afterwards, but this was not the principal thing. It was neither the permanent, the spiritual, nor the convincing element of that baptism. The mental illumination of the apostles, their instantaneous moral transformation, the spiritual transfiguration that came to them that day, the more than wonderful change from ignorance to knowledge, from cowardice to heroism, from wavering weakness to the stuff that martyrs are made of--this was the arresting feature of Pentecost, second only to the greater miracle of converting five thousand men in two sermons. Tongues and other supernatural signs were temporary and occasional manifestations, which might or might not follow the filling of the Spirit.

      Not only did Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as instructed by the Harbinger and the Savior himself, regard this abundant action of the Spirit, figuratively called a baptism, as the characteristic and universal feature of Christ's reign, but Peter, interpreting the prophecy of Joel, so regards it; and Paul said to the Thessalonians: "Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit," and to the same people in another place: "Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance." We are not surprised, in view of considerations like these, that Christian thinkers should refer to the Christian age as the Dispensation of the Holy Spirit.

      V. THE ECCLESIASTICAL PROBLEM--THE BEGINNING OF THE CHURCH.

      The old efforts, to trace the church, as an organized institution, to the Garden of Eden, to the time of Abraham, to the dispensation of Moses, to the days of John the Baptist, have been universally discredited. The Christian Church is now known to be the exclusive product of the Christianity of Christ and the apostles, and to have come into organized existence on the first Pentecost after our Lord's resurrection.

      Jesus declared during his personal ministry that he would build his Church on the rock of his supernatural character and claims, and one of the apostles writing long after Pentecost affirmed that the one foundation had been laid in Zion. On this initial day of the New Age, when disciples had been made by the preaching of the gospel, the next step in the divine procedure was the organization of a Christian Society.

      This new society was not an ordinary social compact for selfish ends, but an organism as vital as the organism of the human body. After personal conviction of the truth, and a personal confession of faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, repentance toward God, and personal submission to the initiating ordinance of baptism, men and women were received into the new social order, the Church of the living God, which thus became the pillar and foundation of the truth.

      This first congregation of Christians, the prototype of all the rest, and of the Christian Society at large, was a body of converted and consecrated men and women called together to develop and strengthen the spiritual life of its members, and to bear witness for Christ in the salvation of their fellow men. The ritual of this first apostolic church was the perfection of simplicity and spiritual opportunity: "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching, and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and the prayers" (Acts 2:42).

      The form of government and administration adopted, under the fostering care of the Holy Spirit, was all amalgam of the Jewish Synagogue and Greek democracy. The elders or older men came by a kind of natural prescription to exercise authority in the village and in the Synagogue. The Jewish Christian Church was modeled after the Synagogue; hence its superintendence by old men, its eldership rule. This method of rule, however, was modified by the introduction of Greek democratic ideals. The election of the seven men to serve tables was the first recorded concession to democracy. The ultimate authority under God rested with the people, and this carries with it by [12] necessary implication the right of initiative, referendum, and recall, so popular in political circles of our day. Officialism in the first church was reduced to its lowest terms.

      An office was not an empty title or an instrument of authority. It was a service to be rendered, a work to be done, nothing more and nothing less than this. Elders bishops or pastors were appointed to teach, train, and develop the spiritual life and usefulness of the people; deacons were called to look after the finances and benevolences of the congregation, the business and philanthropic side of its work; evangelists were sent forth as recruiting officers to convert sinners and organize churches.

      This was a complete and perfect organization for the ends and purposes for which the church had been brought into existence; there is nothing to be added to it and nothing to be taken from it till the end of time. This is the instrument of the Kingdom of God, created by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, to mark and signalize the beginning of the New Dispensation, the third and last but one, of the ages covered by the annals of human redemption.

      VI. THE PROBLEMS OF SALVATION.

      Deliverance from sin and its consequences, and the restoration in man of the lost image of God, has been the outstanding problem of all dispensations of religion. The first Messianic promise given at the time of the Fall, was a promise of salvation; "The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." All promises given to patriarchs and prophets, caught up and foreshadowed by the law, were redemptive in purpose and outlook. All provisions and practices of the Divine Legation of Moses contemplate as their end the salvation of man in body, soul and spirit. John's theme in the wilderness was the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

      Christianity as expounded and interpreted by Christ and the apostles looks to the one supreme consummation of delivering man from his sins and making him righteous. All redemptive adumbrations, promises and prophecies of the Old Testament run like a golden thread through the two preceding dispensations, culminating on the day of Pentecost in the going out of the law, and the coming in of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its accomplished and realized completeness.

      All time before had been prophetic, preparatory, and educational until the fulness of the time, Peter standing up on the great Pentecostal day, after the crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and coronation of King Messiah, he proclaimed the message of salvation, complete and universal, to the men before him. An analysis of this inaugural sermon of the New Age gives us for the first time the gospel way of salvation.

      1. Absolute belief and trust in the crucified, resurrected, ascended and coronated Prince of Life, announced by the Holy Spirit from heaven to be both Lord and Christ.

      2. Repentance of the individual and the actual turning away from sin.

      3. Baptism of the penitent believer in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of sins.

      4. Gift of the Holy Spirit, the promised unction to those who shall all know.

      5. The universality of the promise of salvation to those who comply with its terms.

      At this beginning time and beginning place of the new church of the Holy Spirit, it was inevitable and altogether fitting that the gospel in its simplicity, fulness and power should be laid down by inspiration for help and guidance for all time to come. No honest preacher or inquiring sinner need ever go wrong in his understanding of gospel conditions of salvation, as long as the historic message of Pentecost lies before him in an open Bible.

      VII. THE PROBLEM OF THE ORDINANCES.

      No change in the progress of the dispensations has been more marked and manifest than the change in religious rites and symbols. Symbolic and ceremonial religion, beginning with the patriarchs, grew into an elaborate and ornate ritualism in the time of Moses, and especially in the later Judaism of the time of Christ. The Levitical law with its more than six hundred ordinances, with many added traditional forms, had overlaid and smothered out the spirituality of the Kingdom with symbols and ceremonies. The beginning of the new Spiritual reign on the Day of Pentecost witnessed the abrogation of the ceremonial law, and all of the elaborate symbolism of the Mosaic economy, and gave particular prominence to the doctrine that the Kingdom of God is not in rites and ceremonies, but in righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

      The law that went forth from Zion, and [13] the word of the Lord front Jerusalem, was not a sacramental interpretation of religion. Only two ordinances were incorporated into the new regime that went forth from the first Pentecost. Baptism and the Lord's Supper; and these in the light of all that followed are to be regarded as spiritual, not ritual sacraments. Whether or not John's baptism was an adaption of Jewish proselyte baptism, the baptism of the New Covenant, first administered by the apostles on the day of Pentecost, was taken over in subject, action and design from the administration of John.

      Christian baptism, therefore, as it appears here at the beginning of the New Age, with the authority of Christ stamped upon it, was immersion of a penitent believer into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). The outward form of this sacrament was the symbolic and pictorial method of giving expression to the moral and spiritual act of self-surrender to God and self-consecration to His service. Inward moral cleansing of which baptism is the outward sign and visible expression, is a condition precedent to the remission of sins, and therefore not inconsistent with an ethico-spiritual religion.

      "The breaking of bread," known as the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, like baptism, was incorporated into the worship of the primitive church, beginning with the organization of the mother church in Jerusalem. It was instituted by our Lord the evening before he suffered and these were the sacramental words he spoke. "This is my blood in the new covenant shed for many for the remission of sins; drink ye all of it." "This is my body broken for you, do this in remembrance of me." "This impressive and beautiful ordinance was observed at first in a daily sacramental or sacrificial meal from house to house.

      When the rapid growth of the disciples and the disruption of the church by persecution rendered the daily observance of this holy institution no longer possible, it was identified with the Lord's Day and observed once a week. Since this union the Lord's Day has commemorated the Lord's resurrection, and the Lord's supper his crucifixion, and those two are the fundamental redemptive facts of our holy religion. After all, however, the greatest difference between Christianity and preceding dispensations of faith, and the most luminous ground of its superiority, is the personality of Jesus our Master and Savior. "I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh to the Father except by me.

      "Bible Dispensations." Doctrinal Helps. St. Louis, MO: Christian Board of Publication, 1912. Pp. 7-14.

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