Choose a topic from Part 2A:

98. The Old Law

1. The Old Law is the law of God as expressed in the OldTestament of the Holy Scriptures. The Old Law was meant to represspassion and prevent sin. It could not confer the grace that manneeds to reach his true end and goal. Such grace came with New Lawof charity, which is the law of Christ. Hence the Old Law was good,but not perfect.

2. The Old Law came from God; it was a divine law. Itdisposed and prepared men for the coming of Christ with his perfectlaw of charity. The imperfect serves to bring on the perfect, evenin the dealings of God with men. No art is learned except byprogressing from imperfect to more perfect and still more perfect,until perfection itself is achieved. And the same master who guidesa beginner, may guide him still as his work grows better; may,indeed, guide him until his work is roundedly perfect. So, by theOld Law, God guides man towards perfection, and continues to guidehim in the perfection of the New Law.

3. God gave the Old Law to man by his ministering angels.St. Paul (Gal. 3:19) says: "The old law was given by angels inthe hand of a mediator." But the New Law was given by Godhimself who became man to rule and save us.

4. It is fitting that the special people through whom theRedeemer was to come should, in the choice of providence, be madethe recipient of the Old Law.

5. In so far as the Old Law expressed precepts of thenatural law, it was binding on all peoples, Jew and Gentile. Butthe special prescriptions of the Old Law which were to sanctify theJews for the coming of Christ through their nation, were bindingupon the Jews alone.

6. The Old Law was suitably given at the time of Moses. Bythat time man had realized his great fault in rebelling againstGod; human pride had been humbled by crushing experience. And, lestthe fall of pride lead to despairing abandonment of efforts toserve God, the chastisement could not be too long continued. At thetime of Moses pride had been humbled, and, while vice was rampant,it had not yet thrown men into despair. The Old Law came in mosttimely manner to repress evil and to encourage good.

"God commands not impossibilities, but by commanding he suggests to you to do what you can, to ask for what is beyond your strength; and he helps you, that you may be able."
St Augustine

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"To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"Whom do you seek, friend, if you seek not God? Seek him, find him, cleave to him; bind your will to his with bands of steel and you will live always at peace in this life and in the next."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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