The Beginnings of Christianity

By George P. Fisher | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV.
THE SEPARATION OF THE CHURCH FROM THE TEMPLE.

CHRISTIANITY was born of Judaism: it was the offspring of the Old Testament religion. How was it to break from the leading-strings of its parent, and to realize in consciousness the new and independent attributes that belonged to it? How was it to cast off the trammels that lay upon it of necessity at its origin, and to go forth in the freedom of its universal office as a religion for the world?

It might be expected, on a superficial view, that Christ would so explicitly define the relation of the new to the old, that no error and no perplexity could exist upon the question, and no interval be required to effect the transition. But to emancipate Christianity from its connection with Judaism by a mere dictum, to produce so momentous a change by a word of command, would not only contradict the usual methods of Providence, but violate the very nature of Christianity as a system resting on the intelligent apprehension of truth. A sudden, violent rupture with the Old Testament system was not a thing to be desired. Rather were the old things to pass away, not as the result of a fiat, but by the natural expulsive power of the new. It was not a method of antagonism and destruction, but of fulfilment. Hence Christ set forth the seminal ideas of the new kingdom, and left them, through the Spirit and the agency of Providence, to produce in their own time

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