J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 4.)
Morality is in connection with the relationships which God has formed in connection with the first Adam. These relationships God has fully sanctioned, for He formed them, sanctioned, I mean, in Christianity. But Christianity itself is the introduction of a new life, a new power, and of man, thereby, into a new creation entirely outside of all these relationships. This power may cause me to live out of the old creation and its relationships - know no man after the flesh - but sanctions them all as of God; so Paul, for example. By bringing in divine power and light, it has given a moral force to these old obligations, and hence a blessing to the world. But then the maintenance of the old relationships, however happy, is no proof whatever of an introduction into the power of the new. Husband, wife, parent, child, brother, sister are all relationships of the first creation. The order of the world morally depends on them, but one may walk in them all, and not belong to the new creation.
There are other duties which, though of the old creation, only belong to it as fallen, and as far as we know, and I think connected with man's becoming like God, but in evil. Property, and the relationship of master and servant - it is evident that this relates to a fallen state in us historically, but it seems to me to hang on what is divine, though abused by man. In the first place, the earth was given to the children of men, i.e. subjected to them - their title depending on God. But when man had separated himself from God, his will became a separate and wilful centre - he referred all to self, even the whole earth to himself if he could. This was restricted by government, and thus property exists. Hence the condition of property is according to the law of each country's government, and, where the government is absolute, is absolutely to the government. Theoretically so even in feudal law. It depends on the existence of government, or is, otherwise, mere appropriating will or force. Hence morality as to mensâ and thoro differs, as to its terms, not its principle, in each country. The rights of property are limited according to the laws of each country, not so the relationships God created, though laws may interfere with them as to master and servant, i.e., the relationships setting aside engagement, contract between two, etc.