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Chapter V. Argument.—But There Was a Limit to the Use of These Shadows or Figures; For Afterwards, When the End of the Law, Christ, Came, All Things Were Said by the Apostle to Be Pure to the Pure, and the True and Holy Meat Was a Right Faith and an Unspotted Conscience.

And thus there was a certain ancient time, wherein those shadows or figures were to be used, that meats should be abstained from which had indeed been commended by their creation, but had been prohibited by the law. But now Christ, the end of the law, has come, disclosing all the obscurities of the law—all those things which antiquity had covered with the clouds of sacraments. For the illustrious Master, and the heavenly Teacher, and the ordainer of the perfected truth, has come, under whom at length it is rightly said: “To the pure all things are pure; but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure, but even their mind and conscience is defiled.”53225322    Tit. i. 15. Moreover, in another place: “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused which is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer.”53235323    1 Tim. iv. 4, 5. Again, in another place:  “The Spirit expressly says that in the last days some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving by them which believe and those who know God.”53245324    1 Tim. iv. 1, 2, 3. Moreover, in another passage: “Everything that is sold in the market-place eat, asking nothing.”53255325    1 Cor. x. 25. From these things it is plain that all those things are returned to their original blessedness now that the law is finished, and that we must not revert to the special observances of meats, which observances were ordained for a certain reason, but which evangelical liberty has now taken away, their discharge being given. The apostle cries out: “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy.”53265326    Rom. xiv. 17. Also elsewhere: “Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.”53275327    1 Cor. vi. 13. God is not worshipped by the belly nor by meats, which the Lord says will perish, and are “purged” by natural law in the draught.53285328    [Or lower bowel, Mark vii. 19; Matt. xv. 17. See cap. i. note 7, p. 645, supra. It throws off refuse, leaving food only to the system.] For he who worships the Lord by meats, is merely as one who has his belly for his Lord. The meat, I say, true, and holy, and pure, is a true faith, an unspotted conscience, and an innocent soul.  Whosoever is thus fed, feeds also with Christ. Such a banqueter is God’s guest: these are the feasts that feed the angels, these are the tables which the martyrs make. Hence is that word of the law: “Man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”53295329    Deut. viii. 3. Hence, too, that saying of Christ: “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.”53305330    John iv. 34. Hence, 649“Ye seek me not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of my loaves and were filled.  But labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for the meat which endureth to life eternal, which the Son of man will give you; for Him hath the Father sealed.”53315331    John vi. 26, 27. By righteousness, I say, and by continency, and by the rest of the virtues, God is worshipped.  For Zecharias also tells us, saying: “If ye eat or drink, is it not ye that eat or drink?”53325332    Zech. vii. 6, LXX.—declaring thereby that meat or drink attain not unto God, but unto man: for neither is God fleshly, so as to be pleased with flesh; nor is He careful53335333    “Attonitus” is assumed to be rightly read “attentus.” for these pleasures, so as to rejoice in our food.53345334    [1 Tim. iv. 4; vi. 17. Against the Encratites (vol. i. p. 353), but not against moderation (vol. ii. p. 237, this series).] God rejoices in our faith alone, in our innocency alone, in our truth alone, in our virtues alone. And these dwell not in our belly, but in our soul; and these are acquired for us by divine awe and heavenly fear, and not by earthly food. And such the apostle fitly rebuked, as “obeying the superstitions of angels, puffed up by their fleshly mind; not holding Christ the head, from whom all the body, joined together by links, and inwoven and grown together by mutual members in the bond of charity, increaseth to God;”53355335    Col. ii. 18, 19. but observing those things:  “Touch not, taste not, handle not; which indeed seem to have a form of religion, in that the body is not spared.”53365336    Col. ii. 21, 23. Yet there is no advantage at all of righteousness, while we are recalled by a voluntary slavery to those elements to which by baptism we have died.

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