Obrazy na stronie

But no Law was given, nor could have been given, that could give the Sinner Life. The moral Law de. manded our all for God, and it was naturally impossible we should give him more than our all. A frieter Law could have done us no good. Repentance was already required, though not by the letter of the Law, yet by

the spirit of it. For it must have followed from Love * to God, if any true Love had remained after we had

once offended him. But this could not avail for our Juftification, unless repentance could be proved to be either the complete Righteousness of the Law, or the whole Curse of the Law.-A milder Law would have been infinitely dishonourable to God, as it would have left it implied that he had before been chargeable with tyranny, in exacting more than his due, or threatening the Sinner with more than he deserved. It would have implied that Sin was not such a mighty evil as the old Law had supposed, and that God had guarded his Law by a Sanction which it would have been cruel to have put into execution. Besides, the moral Law was, and Itill is, level with our natural capacity, and if it mult be levelled with our moral capacity, i. e. with our inclinations, how low must it link then! Alas, it must have been brought so low as to require nothing but external obedience, without any real aim at the divine Glory; and then it would fill have been ten thousand to one but we had failed, even in that outward per. formance of Duty which a bad man might possibly have performed. But surely it must have tended to God's dilhonour to have promised eternal Life as the reward of obedience so radically and effentially defective. The fact was, the moral Law never could give eternal Life but upon the condition of perfect obedience. But upon that footing it was too late for a Sinner ever to expect ?t, the Law having been already transgressed by his


disobedience, and he being exposed to it's just but awful penalty. .

As to the ceremonial Law, that was never calculated to give eternal Life, except only as directing to the Lamb of God who taketh away the fin of the world.It would be offering the greatest Injury to the divine character to suppose the blessed God who had originally required perfect Obedience, and internal Conformity to his holy Will, would now be satisfied with mere outward Ceremonies in it's stead. Or that he who had threatened rational creatures with eternal Death in cale of their Disobedience, would accept of so trivial a commutation as the momentary sufferings and death of a mere brute. How far mult this have been from any tendency to convince his subjects of the reclitude of his original requirements, or the heinous malignity of transgression. Those judaizing Teachers who attempted to propagate such a sentiment as this, abused the cer:monial Law in oppofition to the mora: Law, as well as in opposition to the blessed Gospel, which it was it's chief honour to pre-figure. I may add, neither the moral nor ceremonial Law provided spiritual Life for a Sinner. They contained no promises of divine Influence effectually to incline to obedience. Even the former, when Man was in Innocence, did not ensure the presérvation of his spiritual Life, or the continuance of that holy disposition of which he was then possessed. And if the Law could not preserve Life, much less could it communicate it to one dead in Sin.

If we view the ceremonial Law distinctly, we hall find that however abused by it's ignorant partizans, it was never really opposite in itself to the Promises of God, but in various respects subservient to them. The true System of Judaism was preparatory and not con. tradictory to Chriftianity. The whele Mosaic Economy tended to prove the need of the Gospel Method of Salvation, by the Sacrifice of the eternal Son of God. And it contained a great number of typical Institutions, which, though they could not make the Attendants upon them perfect, prefigured a better hope. Almosi all things by the Law were purged with blood, to shew that without shedáing of blood there is no remillion. It was therefore necessary, that the patterns of things in the beavens, should be purified with these ceremonial purifications, but tbe heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. Could ihe legal facrifices have made a valid atonement, they would have ceased being offered, instead of being repeated year after year; but though it was not possible for the blood of brutes to take away sin effectually and eternally, they were lively types of that one offering of the blood of Jesus, whereby he hath perfected for ever them that were sanctified, Heb. ix. 22, 23. X. 2, 3, 14. In fact, “almost every " part of the ceremonial law, besides it's other pur" poses, was intended to typify either the Messiah, or “ The Characters of the Subjects of his kingdom, or “ the blesings of the Christian dispensation.” Viewed, therefore, in its original design, it was not at all agair.lt the promises of God. For there can no more be an opposition between the type and the antitype, than the prophecy can be against it's own fulfilmenr. It was the highest Glory of these Shadows to be turned, as it uere, into Substance, by the Appearance of God our Saviour. But when the Sun of Righteousness was fully risen, the Light of the Moon was withdrawn. The Mosaic @conomy gave place to a more spiritual dispensation, under which none are to be accounted in covenant with God on the footing of birth, blood, or mere outward conformity to any positive inftitution. But he only is a Yeru who is one inwardly, &c. And


the blesings belonging to fuch, are infinitely preferable to any which the feed of. Jacob, according to the flesh, could claim upon the ground of the Sinai Covenant, being spiritual, inamissible and eternal.

If we view the moral Law distinctly, there can be no contradiction between that and the Gospel, because the latter gives to the former it's utmost claims, and effectually provides for it's being honoured and obeyed. The moral Law was fully eitablished, yea, magnified and made honourable, by the perfect and glorious obedience of the Son of God, who came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfil it. The deliverance of Be. lievers from the Penalty of the Law, is in a way in. finitely honourable to the Law, so as to prove the Equity even of the penal fančtion, by fhewing that God had only threatened the finner with his real due; and that, in so doing, he had done as he would be done by; seeing he fpared his own Son, when he became Surety for Sinners, no more than he would have fpared the Criminals themselves. And thus the Believer's Title to eternal Life, reflects honour upon the Law, being given as the reward of perfect Obedience to it's holy Precepts, even the Obedience of the Son of God in human Nature, who cheerfully complied with it's utmoit requirements, and made it his meat and his drink to fulfil all it's Commands. This glorious Obedience is at once the Matter of our fuftification, and the Pattern of our San Etification. So that the Apolle, in the very same Chapter (Rom. iii.) where he had so strenuously pleaded, That a Man is justifie ! by Faith without the deeds of the Law, might well lay, Do we then make void the Law through faith? God forbid. Yea, we establish the Law.

The Gospel Method of Salvation is every way to the Law's Advantage. What human Law would object to

a Prince

[ocr errors]

a Prince becoming Surety for a Beggar, when, with.. out this Substitution, all the satisfaction the Law could have had, would have been to shut up a miserable pennyless Culprit in prison for life. The only dificul. iies were, to find a Surety of fufficient Worth and Ability; and of sufficient Goodness and Grace; who yet should be near enough of kin to them to whom the Law had been given, and by whom it had been broken; and who also should be properly authorized to act as the Sinner's Surety. But infinite Wisdom has found such a Ransomer. He is able, he is willing, he is rich enough and kind enough; he is near enough related to us, and he is properly authorized. And the Law has nos a Word to offer by Way of Objection. [I hope, poor Sinner, you have none.] His Obedience hath brought unspeakably more honour to the Law than our's could have done. God never had such a Servant beside. He boasts of him, he delights in him, he de. lights to honour and reward him. He calls on Heaven and Earth to look at him; “ Behold mine Elect Servant, in whom my Soul delightech ; and see by the Reward of his Obedience, how much I delight in Righteousness.”-So also his Sufferings are a far stronger Teltimony of God's hatred of Sin than our's would have been, had we suffered the Vengeance of eternal Fire. : The Law then is not against the Promises, nor are

the Promises against the Law. The Gospel is against the Sinner's Justification by the works of the Law: But why? Because the Law itself is against it. 10 would be altogether inconsistent with the immutable Perfection of the Law, and so infinitely to the dishonour of the Legislator. But are the promises againti che Law? God forbid. The whole Law is summed up in one word, “ Love.And can the Gospel of Christ be opposite to the Duty of Love?? Surely Jesus, by


« PoprzedniaDalej »