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Rom. vii, 14, &c. tions, carries with it the approbation of the human
mind; becaufe the fitness, the reasonableness, and propriety of this Law, and of the conduct required by it, is fully acknowledged by human reason : but our reason, that is the inward, the intellectual man; in opposition to the animal, the carnal, the outward man, as consisting of flesh and blood, and the appetites connected with them; the inward man, I say, not only consenteth to the (Moral) Law, that it is holy; and the commandment issued in consequence of it, holy, just, and good, i. e. beneficial, productive of happiness. But this reason with which God hath endued the hu. man foul, (and which constitutes man lord of the earthly creation,) delighteth in this (Moral) Law of God. It perceives indeed another Law, not of (not intended, or designed originally by its Creator,) but in its members: the carnal principle of pursuing present gratification, which not only opposes, but overcomes the Law of the mind, and brings men into captivity to the law of fin, (which is in our members) to the car. nal desire of indulging our fleshly appetites.-Did the
(Mosaic) Law then contribute to the sinfulness of the viii, 2.
Jewith people? Surely not. From this Law in our members, the Law of jin and death, we are made free by the Law of the Spirit of Life, that is, by the dispensation of the gospel, the glorious dispensation of the LORD of Life. This dispensation, the peculiar difpenfation of the LORD of GLORY, is called by St. Paul, Phil. ii, 16. the word of Life, (John vi. 33, 63. xvii. 2 AAs iii. 15.) in opposition to all former dispensations, which are styled the ministration of death, and the ministration of condemnation, viz. such dispensations as provided no general, or effectual atonement for guilt, and which therefore afforded no well grounded hope of pardon. For what the (Mosaic) Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, through the frailty of those who were appointed to make atonement, Heb, vii, 27. and therefore could provide no etfe&ual expiation for guilt, no facrifice with whose fufficiency. God had declared himself satistied, John iii. 16. and therefore upon whose efficacy men could securely rely-the gospel had effectually done : God having sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful fleth, and by a sacrifice for fin, condemning sin in the flesh; thus thewing his abhorrence of fin, yet confirming the validity of this sacrifice, by declaring, that whosoever believeth in Jesus, i. e. in his atonement, shall not only be forgiven, but have everlasting
life. i. e. be received into his favour. viii. 4. That in consequence of such faith, the righteousness
of the covenant of works, i, e, the EFFECTS of an unbroken obedience to the moral law of God, however this Nn2
Law Rom. viii. 4. Law might be made known, should be ATTAINED by
all who desire, and endeavour to comply with the gofpel terms of acceptance, Eph. i. 6. with God, but that such are carnally minded, i. e. such as neither desire, nor endeavour at this compliance, will not be accepted
by Him. ix. 4.
The giving of the (Mofaic) Law from Mount Sinai. ix. 31, 32.
But Ifrael, which followed after the Law of Righteousness, i. e. those Jews who expected acceptance by the observance of the (Mosaic) Law, Luke xviii. 9. have not attained to this acceptance with, i. e. Justitication before God; nor could they poflibiy attain it by an imperfect observance of this Law; for they fought it not by faith in the Melliah, but by their own defective compliance with the Mofaic ordinances, taking offence at the low condition of the Redeemer, Mait.
xiii. 55.--Mark vi. 5.--Luke iv. 22.--- John vi, 42. X, 4. 5. vii. 27. Christ is the (ultinate) end of the (Mosaic)
Law, for righteousness, i. e. for salvation, Matt. v. 17. that is, the gospel difpenfation was to compleat the difpensation of Moses, which was only a thadow (had only the form, but wanted the colours and relief, by which perfect resemblances are made,) of good things
to come. xiii. 8, 10.
He that loveth another hath fulfilled the (Chriftian) Law, of which the Apostle is plainly speaking in this places in oppofition to the Jewith traditions, Matt. v. 43—that is, hath acknowledged the Saviour, John
xiii. 35. Cor, vi. 3,6,7. The word Law in these verses, plainly means con
contending for matters of civil right, exhibiting claims for justice in gentile courts of Law.
The Jewith) wife is bound by the (Mosaic) Law to her husband. All other wives are bound by that Law which gives validity to the marriage contract, whether
it be human or divine. viii. 20, 21. The Apostle clearly expresses in the next verse what
law he means. When St. Paul says, that to the Jews he became as a Jew, and unto them that were under the (Mosaic) Law, that he might gain such as were under that Law; he means that he reasoned with them, Acts xvii. 2.-xviii. 4. 19, upon principles taken from the Jewith Scriptures, in order to gain their assent to his Gospel, Rom. ii. 16-xvi. 25. But to Gentiles, who were not under the Mosaic Law, and who did not acknowledge the authority of the Jewish Scriptures, he reasoned upon the general principles of religion ; upon the obligations all men are under, to pay all due attention and regard to their Creator and Benefactor, Acts xiv. 17.-xvii. 23, &c. Thus shewing by the manner of his preaching, that he was not without (a due sense of) law to God, and by the subject of it,
1 Cor. yiii. 20,21. that he was under the conviction of faith in obedience
due to Christ. xiv. 21.
The Apostle ufes the word Law in this verse, as if it
were applicable to the whole of the Jewish Scriptures--xiv. 34. And in this verse, as if it were applicable to any part
of the Pentateuch. See Galat. iv. 21, 22, 30. XV. 56.
Any Law which thews the guilt of, or denounces
punishment to those who violate such law. GAL. ii. 16.
Works of the (Mofaic) Law --Works --that is, perfect, unbroken obedience to any law of God, Rom, ix. 82.
Alluding to the proofs of the truth of the Gospel taken from the Jewith Scriptures, John v. 19.-Acts
xvii. 11. ii. 21.
If righteousness i. e. falvation (fee Taylor's Key, p. Si5) come by the (Mosaic) Law, the facrifice and atonement of Christ are futile, insignificant, and lu
perfluous. iii. 2, 5.
Received ye the Spirit (the power of working miracles) by the works of the (Mofaic) Law---by your
obedience to its precepts ? 10, 11, 12, 13. In all these verses the Apostle plainly means the (Mo
saic) Law. iv. 5, 21.
Ye that desire to be under the (Mosaic) Law, do ye not hear the Law? The Apostle here applies the word
Law to the Pentateuch. · y. 3, 4. Here again the Apostle means the (Mosaic) Law.
All the Law-both the Mosaic, Levit. xix. 18. and
the Christian, John xiii. 35. V. 33,
No Law-No penal Law under any dispensation of
God. vi. 2.
The Law of Christ-the Gospel. vi. 13.
They do not keep the (Mofaic) Law. Eph. ii. 15.
The Law of Commandments, i. e. the rerbalm the (Mosaic) Law by the observance, or none observance of which all mankind were divided into Jews and Gen
'tiles. Phil. iii. 5, 6. 9. In these three verses by the word Law is evidently
meant the (Mofaic) Law. 1 Tim. 1, 7, 8, 9. The word Law can here only mean the Mosaic Law;
and by the right use of it-St. Paul means the use himself made of it, that of proving Jesus to be the Christ,
i. e. the Messias. HEB. vii. 5. The sons of Levi have a commandment to take tithes
according to the (Mofaic) Law. vii. 11.
Under the Levitical priesthood the (Jewith) people
received the (Mosaic) Law. vii. 12. The priesthood (the nature of the priesthood) being
changed, there must necessarily be a change (vous
not rõ vous) of Law, i. e. of the general dispensation. vii. 16. After the Law of a carnal coinmandment--after a
temporary dispensation : which had its completion (its full effect) in the present world.
For the (Mosaic) Law made nothing perfect-nothing which was to last ; which was to be of perpetual
duration, Heb. v. 6. -- vii. 17.
firmity) high priests.
In all these passages the word Law plainly means the ix. 22.
X. 28. Those who consider the effects of thus analysing the meaning of words whose fignifications become doubtful, by their being used in a variety of senses, cannot avoid seeing the advantages of this practice; nor of remarking, how much in all probability, the numerous controversies which have so much prevailed in the Christian Church, to its unspeakable detriment, would have been dimished by it.
OBSERVATIONS UPON THE HISTORY OF CORNELIUS.
ACTS X. THE notion that
men may, and actually do merit of God (as frequently supposed by many perious) is very pernicious. To imagine that the service of men, or even of angels; is beneficial to God, and in justice merits wages, or that every inttance of obedience, conveys a right to a positive reward, is unwarrantable, and contrary to Scripture. But to fuppote further, that finners, by a partial obedience, merit forgivenets of their numerous breaches of God's law, nay, acquire a right to the positive reward of eternal life, is an astonishing prefumption in the eye of reaton, and a blasphemous position in that of revelation : it is indeed to set aside the redemption of man by Christ Jelus, to count the blood of the covenant, an unholy, or at least an infignificant thing, and to do despite to the Spirit of Grace.
But do not fome, to avoid one extreme, run into another ? denying that a difference of moral character, either is, or has been, in any instance, the ground of the favour of God in His dispensations of either temporal, or spiritual blellings, at least of His bleflings in this world. But surely the Scripture History affords us many examples of eminent persons, concerning whom God has been pleased to declare, that their piety, their obedience, or faith in Chrift, has made them objects of distinguished favours favours granted indeed in this prefent life, but for the most part favours of a spiritual nature, and which, in their consequences, extended to the highest of all bleflings--life eternal. Not that the persons fo distinguished were perfect characters, or had a right to demand such blellings; or that all whole moral character (for aught we know-) might be equal, have had equal blessings betłowed upon them; much less can we infer, that because God has selected fome pious persons, and has made them objects of His favour, while he employed them as fit instruments of His gracious pur: poses to mankind, that therefore we may (in right of that lanctity of moFals, we are pleased to assume to ourselves) deniand the kingdom of hea
ven: vainly arrogating that as a right due to our merit, which at best was a mercy or a favour bestowed upon the most excellent of the saints of old. This was plainly the case with Abraham. God was pleased to call himn out of the idolatrous family, in which he was born and educated, to promise that he should become a great nation, and that he thould be a bletfing, Gen. xii, 2. And God has been pleased to acquaint us with one reason, why he was selected for this favour, viz. his religious character. “For I know him that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judga ment,” Gen. xviii, 19. And when God was afterwards pleased to make a further trial of his faith, and obedience, by requiring him to give up his son ;. God expressly says to him, “ For because thou haft done this thing, and haft not withheld thy fon—thine only ton, that in blessing I will bleis
and in thy feed thall all the nations of the earth be blessed, BECAUSE thou hast obeyed my voice." And there is no reason to doubt, but that God, as an especial favour, did at that time fully reveal to Abraham the day of Christ, Nor must we forget how often Christ says to those whom He healed,
Thy faith hath made thee whole ; nay, what is more, thy faith hath saved thee.” To fay with Hervey, Dial. x. p. 347. Edit. Edin. “ That it was not faith, but Christ who wrought the cure,” is mere quibbling. Nothing can be more plain than that, the faith of the diseased persons the faith and extraordinary love of Magdalen, made them proper objects of divine mercy. Nor need we doubt, that a genuine faith in Christ does now make us objects of God's favour, or that good '
works, the fruits of faith, are pleasing and acceptable to God: Not that any works of ours can endure the severity of God's judgment, procure for us remission of fins, or intitle us to eternal life.
The History of Cornelius is a case so full to the point, that we shall consider it particularly : and surely no fact can be related more clearly, and fcarcely more circumftantially. Nor is the moral of the History obscure. Yet it has been strangely perverted to favour opinions, the very reverse of
It is used by some as an instance, that morality, without faith in Christ, is sufficient for salvation. By others, that morality is of no account with God, under the Christian dispensation : and while some would have us forget, that Cornelius ever became a Christian, others would persuade us that he was always a Jew, compleat in every thing but circumcifion*. Thus defeating the main end of the narration, which was to thew that the heathen, (perions ignorant of the Jewith laws and customs) might nevertheless be admitted into the Christian covenant.
The Angel says to Cornelius, “ Thy prayers, and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.” A memorial of what? Why plainly of the piety of Cornelius towards God, and of his charity towards men. His piety and charity are here plainly reprefented, as the ground of an extraordinary favour at that time vouchiàfed to him. And what was that faYour? Why a miraculous call to the Christian faith in this world, and in confequence of that faith, to Christian salvation in the life to come.
It is by no means here said, that Cornelius obtained present forgiveness of fins, or future happiness for his moral character, or for his merit, how
its plain import.
* Theological Miscellany for March, 1786.