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alted privileges; or to be able to furpass it's utmost 'ex's tent, by giving God more than all the Heart, or performing any duties that do not radically spring from an inward conformity to the Spirit of this Law.
The Apostle observes, Rom. v. 13, 14. that fin was in the world before the Law was given at Sinai, but as fin is not imputed where there is no Law, and yet the reign of death from the time of Adam to Mofes, proves it was imputed then; so it clearly follows that all through that period, Men were considered as under fome Law, which was evidently no other than that Law of Nature, or moral Law, of which we have been already speaking, whereby God requires to be loved with all the Heart, and that we should love our neighbours as ourselves. While God continues infinitely lovely, every rational Being must be under an obligation to treat him accordingly. The obligation remains. immutably upon Angels, Men and Devils. If the Enmity of the latter is become so great that they cannot abide him, they are so inuch the more wicked, and so much the more inexcusable. The Law makes no Allowance on account of our disinclination, be it ever so predominant. When God demands the heart, even the whole heart, and the whole strength, he is not to be understood as making our Inclination, but our natural Capacity, the measure of our Obligation. He does not barely intend that we Mould love him as much as we have a mind, but that we should love him as much as we can possibly love any object whatever, and far above every other object of our love.--And as to our fellowcreatures, we are bound to bear toward them the fins cerest good-will, and to desire their highest happiness, even as we do our own. Nor can we lawfully cease to love them, till we are assured, by the Event, that they are irreconcileable enemies to God and Goodness.
Thea Then, indeed, Love to God, to' Virtue and the Universe, will require that we love them no more. 1
Be it, then, ever remembered, that the Lacu of God is spirirual, however carnal we may be. It extends not merely to the outward Actions, but mainly to the Heart; to the very springs of action; taking notice of our motives and ends, and requiring them to be pure and holy. Pf. li. 6. Zech. vii. 5, 6. This Law is universal, extending to all rational Creatures. It is eternal and immutable. Too good to be repealed or altered. Whatever positive precepts God has enjoined upon any in the various periods of time, they derived their force from this primary obligation to Love and Obedience.-Lither additional favours, or peculiar privileges, or new manifeitations of the divine Glory, may call out our Love into new modes of action, but till the supreme Love, which the Law originally re. quired, will be the radical source of every right afiection or exertion, even in the blefied Inhabitants of Heaven itself,
It is time, however, I should proceed to observe, that the Term Law has, in many parts of Scripture, a different Acceptation, as referring not to the Law of Nature, but to the Covenant which Gou entered into with the People of Israel at Nlcunt Sinti. In this latter sense it is frequently used, especially in this Fpiltle, and in that to the Hebrews. It will be therefore highly expedient briefly to consider the nature of the SINAI COVENANT, as it will enable us to account the better for the Apofle's having occafion to propole the Query in the text, and also for his speaking fo differently concerning the Law in one sense of the word, to what he does in the other. When Jchovah brought the people of Israel out of
Egypt, he entered into Covenant with them at Mount Sinai, in which Covenant the whole nation were in cluded, even all the natural descendants of Jacob. He assumed the Character of the King of Israel, and condescended to become their political Head. He engaged to grant unto them a long and prosperous enjoyment of the Land of Canaan, which he had promised to their fathers, upon condition of their punctual observance of the Laws and Ordinances which he enjoined upon them. The obedience required, included not only an external conformity to the moral Law, delivered chiefly in a prohibitory form, in ten commandments, but also the observance of a great number of ceremonial inftiturions, which were designed to preserve them from the Idolatry of neighbouring nations, and were partly multiplied to punish their idolatrous worship of the golden Calf, as it is observed in ver. 19. The Law was added because of transgressions. I
Were it not for the finful blindness of the carnal mind, the transactions at Sinai, and the institutions there appointed, were well calculated to convince of fin, and also to prefigure the great Salvation. When
the I Mav not this expression, and that in Rom. v. 20. Tbe Law entered tbat ibe Offence might abound, indicate also the tendency of multiplied precepts to discover the depravity of the heart. Men are generally strangers to their own hearts, and unwilling to be. lieve they are so bad as the Scripture intimates. Might not God deal by them, therefore, as a Parent may be supposed to deal with an unduritul Child, who yet denied his bad difpofition, and was ready to plead that he loved his Father well enough, and knew not why he should harbour fo ill an opinion of him. “ Let me try him, then, says the Father; I will order him to do a number of easy things, which I have a full right to enjoin, and you will see what a disobedient Creature he is. Even though I promise such rewards as he could not claim, and that will more than recompense his labour, yet he will be negligent and dis. obedient.” So it was with the Jews, notwithstanding the temporal blenings graciou by connected with their obedience to the mosaic Law,
the divine Majesty was displayed in the promulgation of the Law, uttered with an audible voice from the midit of Aaming fire, it might well fill the camp with awe, and cause Moses himself exceedingly 10 fear and quake. The prohibiting form of that Law strongly indicated that it was given to Sinners, whose depraved Hearts were perversely disposed to the contrary evils. The tenth commandment, “ Thou shalt not covet," seems particularly designed to point out the spirituality of all the rest. However external obedience, might entitle the Jews, upon the footing of the national covenant, to a prosperous enjoyment of the earthly Canaan; they who, like David, not only regarded the letter, but entered into the spirit of the Law, would learn from it, that if God should enter into Judgment with them, upon the fooring of personal Obedience, no flesa could be justified in his fight. Pl. cxxx. 3. and cxliii. 2.And the lait of the twelve awful Curses, to which all the People, upon their entrance into the land of Canaan, were folemnly bound to say Amen, (Deut. xxvii. 26.) was suited, in an especial manner, to drive the Sinner to self-despair.
Jehovah, as King of Israel, required of every Jew, exa& external obedience to the whole Law given on Sinai, both as to it's moral and positive requirements; or else the forfeiture of the promised Land, and death itself could only be avoided by an atoning Sacrifice, even the offering of some living Creature in the Offender's stead, according to God's own appointments. And fo Jehovah, as King of the Universe, requires of every rational creature, perfect internal as well as external obedience to his whole revealed will; or else a fora, feiture of eternal life, and the positive suffering of eternal death, can only be avoided, by a Sacrifice of God's own appointment, even the Lamb of God, thac
the Sin of the World.* -- Almost ali things were, by the Law, parged with Blood; and without fredding of Bloud is no remition. But the Apoftle, in The Epiile to the Hebrews, especially in the ixth, Chapt. molt fully teaches us, that the principal design of the Jewish Priesthood, and their various Sacrifices, was to typity the Priesthood and Sacrifice of Christ. Their Ablutions and Offerings for fin, while they Strongly intimated the polluted, guilty State of the People, were appointed types of the blessings of
• The national Coucnant with Israel, though attended with a Republication of the moral Law in ten Commandments, is to he diftinguithet, on the one Hand, from that Law, as previ. ously binding on ail Markind. And, on the other hand, though it was attended with a difpenfation of Grace, (whin, however, did nicextend to all who were under ihe national Covenant, and did extend to some who were not under that Covenant:) it is reprelenied in Scripture as very diftinct from the Covenant of Grace, which Gidhead revealed .o Abraham 430 years before,
It affunded many emblems of the bleitings of Grace, and was deligned to be prepara:ory to the coming of the Metfiah, and the more full display cf his gl rious Salvation under the New Testament Difpenfation. But the Covenant at Sinai was made with all the feed of Israel, the maj vrity of whom, in every age, appear on have been dertitute ci real religion. Thereby carnal Men were admitted to peculiar privileges, upon the foot. ing of carnal qualifications. Merely to be delcended from Jacob, and ciicaincised in the fien, entitled to the enjoyment of ihe Privileges of that Covenant, upon the observance of it's external rites. 3 he very highest Offices in the Jewish Church, the Priesthood itself included, were claimed upon the ground of a carnal descent, without any regaid to the inward piety of the Candidate. It fecured only temporal bleflings ; it contained no promises of special grace or eternal giory: Both were enjoyed by many who lived under that dispenlation, but not upon the fooring of the national Covenant. The Claim of Believers, in that period, co spiritual and eternal Blefiings, was not founded on their Obedience to the Law of Mofes, but upon the gracious prom se which God had long before made to the fathers, and which thac Law was never designed to disannul. They who. yielded external Obedience in the Sinai Covenant, had a claim, upon that condition, to the enjoyment of the promised Land, and