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or as finking into the likeness of a weak and too in. dulgent Parent, who sacrifices his authority to the humours and vices of his Children? Shall we suppose the Almighty at first laid an inconfittent plan of Government, which he has been obliged to correct and amend, as conscious it was too rigid and severe? Or Mall we imagine, that his Love to his People has induced him to save them at the Expence of Law and Juftice, and to the dishonour of his own Crown and Dignity? God forbid, says the Apostle, and let every loyal Subject, let every filial heart lay Amen.
We have considered the term Law, as here including both the moral and ceremonial Law. Whether these are considered conjointly or separately, we fall find them in perfect harmony with the gospel. · Let us first view them conjointly, and here we will notice the grand argument of the apostle in the text, from the confideration of the insufficiency of the Law to give Life. The Gospel discovers a glorious method to accomplish a gracious design, which design could not have been obtained by the law, whether ceremonial or moral. Could the Justification of a Sinner have been effected by the law, it might then have taken just offence at the Gospel, as intruding into it's concerns, and invading it's peculiar province. Could the Law have alledged against the introduction of the Gospel, that the finner might have attained a title to eternal life by precepts as well as by promises, and that, therefore, the beitowment of the latter was unnecessary, we might on that supposition adnit a variance between them. But this never was the case. The Law is weak through the fiesh, and cannot justify an individual of the fallen race. It can therefore make no jult objection to the work being done by another hand. If any objection were made, the gospel has at once this for an.
fwer. If there had been a law given, which could have given life, verily righteousness should bave been by the Law. But the scripture hath concluded all under fin, If, therefore, men had not been justified by the Gospel, they could not have been justified at all. But the Law in itself has no such objections to make. It was only it's indiscreet advocates, or rather it's pretended friends, that entertained any such suspicions. The Law itself in no form is against the Promises.
On the contrary, it cheerfully gives place to the Redeemer, and finds itself fulfilled in him and magnified by him.
If it had been possible for the moral Law to have accepted a Sinner, upon the footing of personal but imperfect obedience; or if the additional observance of the ceremonial Institutions enjoined by Moses, could have made amends for moral defects; could it have been proved consistent with the divine Purity and Immurability, to have altered and lowered the original demands of the Law of Creation ; or could it have been agreeable to the divine rectitude and dignity to have set the old Law aside, and to have substituted another, whereby it would have been poslible for a finner to have been reconciled unto God, either upon easier or harder terins, than the perfect obedience which he at firlt required : if, I say, either of these had been possible; then, verily, righteousness should have been thus attrined. God would have spared his only begotten Son. He would not have shed his blood without occasion. For surely if the Death of Christ was not absolutely necessary to secure the honour of the divine Government in the Pardon of Sin, it will be for ever impossible to see either Justice, Wisdom or Love in that awful
Had it been possible for the Blood of Bulls or Goats to have taken away fin as well as the Blood of God's own Son, undoubtedly so great a Sacrifice would never have been appointed.
But no Law was given, nor could have been given, that could give the Sinner Lise. The moral Law de. manded our all for God, and it was naturally imposible we should give him more than our all. A frieter Law
could have done us no good. Repentance was already i 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 Junification, 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 dilhonourable 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 till 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 fo low as to require nothing but external obedience, without any real aim at the divine Glory; and then it would still have been ten thousand to one but we had failed, even in that outward performance of Duty which a bad man might possibly have performed. ' But surely it must have tended to God's dishonour to have promised eternal Life as the reward of obedience fo radically and effentially defective. The fact was, the moral Law never could give eternal Life upon
the condition of perfect obedience. But upon that footing it was too late for a Sinner ever to expect it, the Law having been already transgreffed 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 flead. Or that he who had threatened rational creatures with eternal Death in cafe of their Disobedience, would accept of so trivial a commutation as the momentary sufferings and death of a mere brute. How far must this have been from any tendency to convince his fubjects of the reclitude of his original requirements, or the heinous malignity of tranfgreffion. Those judaizing Teachers who attempted to propagate such a sentiment as this, abused the cer:monial Law in oppofition to the moral Law, as well as in opposition to the blessed Gospel, which it was it's chief honour to pre-figure.—1 may add, neither tlie 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 enfure the preservation 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 diffinetly, we fhall 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 Christianity. The ihele Mosaic CEcono
my 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. Almon all things by the Law were purged with blood, to sew that without shedding of blood there is no remission. It was therefore necessary, that the patterns of things in the beavens, fould be purified with ihr fe ceremonial purifications, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. Could ihe legal sacrifices have made a valid atonement, they would have ceased being offered, instead of being repeated year after year; but though it was not posible for the blood of brutes to take away fin 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 against the promises of God. For there can no more be an oppofition between the type and the antitype, than the prophecy can be against it's own fulfilment. 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 Economy 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 institution. But he only is a few who is one inwardly, &c. And