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changeth not. I He is the same yesterday, to day, and for ever : § and with him there is no variableness, neither fhadow of turning.* Consequently, Revelation itself muft resemble it's Author, in the most perfect Confistency. Every part of God's Word must be of a piece with the seft. And every part of a divine Revelation must be of Importance. We may also juftly expect that the more important any parts of that Revelation
the more evidently will their agreement appear. So that if there should be found some seeming Contradictions in Scripture that are not easily to be cleared up, they must probably relate to affairs of less comparative Confequence; but the capital Branches of a Revelation that is truly from God, can by no means appear oppofite to each other, if they are examined with Attention and Integrity.
Supposing then the divine Inspiration of the Scrip. tures, the proofs of which are numerous and conclusive, farely nothing can be of greater Importance, than a right understanding of the L AW of God, and of his. glorious GOSPEL, which are both fo largely treated of in the sacred Writings. Indeed the greatest Part of the bible may be assorted under these cwo heads. A right underitanding of these, (issuing in a cordial Conformity to the one, and a genuine Compliance with the other,) includes the whole of Religion. The Knowledge of the Law and Gospel must therefore be of the utmost Importance. And both having one Author, they muit needs be consittent with each other.
But however harmonious the Law and the Gospel are in reality, it appears that some in the Apostle's days were ready to consider them as opposite to each other. They were jealous of the Gospel, as though it was inconsistent with the honour of the Law, and under that
Idea I Mal. iii. 6. § Heb. xii. S.
* James, i. 17.
Idea opposed the Apoftle as one who made void the Law through Faith. But he rejects that Insinuation with Abhorrence, Rom. iii. 31.-And in like manner he here oppofes the Sufpicion, That the Law was against the promijes of God. Though yet, after all, there are too many to be found, even in the present day, who would really frustrate the Grace of God, under pretence of magnifying the Law; and others who would truly make void the Law, under colour of exalting divine Grace. Thefe latter especially have often attempted to bring in Paul himself as their Patron and Abettor, but with how little ground the whole tenor of his writings will manifest.
It must, nevertheless, be acknowledged, that this Apofle, in different parts of his inspired writings, expresses himfe!f in such a manner concerning the Law, as that a superficial Reader might be ready to conclude, that his diminutive Expressions in some places, could hardly be made to accord with his most respectful Language in others. But more judicious Enquirer's will be naturally led to examine, if he always uses the word Law in the same Sense; for, if the Term itself has not always the same meaning, we cannot wonder that, when used in different Senses, it should be treated in a different Manner.-- It will be therefore needful, in order to a clear understanding of the Apostle's writings, as well as of other Scriptures relative to this important fubjeci, carefally to enquire into the meaning of the term, to notice it's different acceptations, and then to. éxamine into the drift and scope of the passage under: confideration, that we may determine in what fense it is there used. To the fame end it will be very useful to consider the Persons immediately addressed, and the apparent occasion of the respective Epiftles. To each of these circumstances we will endeavour to pay atten.
tion in the following discourse, wherein I shall attempt, Pirl, To consider the meaning and import of the Apotle's Query in the Text. Is the Law against the Promises of God? And, Secondly, attend more imme. diately to his own Answer to this Query, with the Reasons annexed. God forbid, faith he, for if there had been a Law given, which could have given Life, verily Rigbreoujres bad been by the Law. But the Scripture hath concluded all under Sin, that the Promise by Fairb of Jesus Cbrift might be given to them tbat believe.
I. I begin with considering The Meaning and Import of the Query in the Text, Is the Law then against the Promises of God? To which End it will be needful to alcertain what Law is here intended to take a short view of the Promises of God and then to enquire, What Occasion was there for so much as making it a question, Is the Law against the Promises of God?
1. By Law is universally understood a rule of Ac. tion. And no one will raise a doubt but that the Law in the Text, intends the divine Law, or a Law given by God. In order, therefore, to our entering fully into the Import of the Text, we may profitably take a ge. neral survey of the conduet of God in the charaéter of a Law.giver, and confider what Law or Laws he has ever given to Man.
That the Creator of all should assume the reins of Government, and act the part of a Legislator, was not an arbitrary Step, but as essential to the good of the universe, as it was necessary for the display of the di. vine Glory. We cannot rationally conceive of the allperfect Creator, giving Existence to intelligent creatures, and then leaving them to act without role, as though they were independent of their Maker and ac