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from the Law, but an anticipation, as I Se RM. have said, of the mercy of the Gospel. VIII
. The Law itself was not therefore the less severe, because the indulgence of the Gofpel extended itself backward even under the times of the Law; neither is the mercy of the Gospel to be therefore the less magnified, because it is no other than what had in effect before been indulged under theLaw. For since the one was in itself really as severe as it is described, and had no indulgence but what was borrowed from and founded upon the other, there is no reason at all why this should be considered when the one is spoken of in opposition to the other; which is the state of the Apostle's argument: and therefore he most reasonably aggravates the severity of the Law, and upon the comparison most jusly magnifies the mercy and favour of the Gospel : Gal. ii. 21. If righteousness came by the Law, then Christ is dead in vain.
2dly, From what has been said, we may learn, that the whole design and effect of the Gospel, was not to destroy, but
SER M. to fulfil the Law. The whole design of it VIII.
all God's dispensations with mankind, is to prevent or destroy Sin. This the Law was to do originally, by requiring perfect and unsinning obedience : But when instead of this, it only concluded all men under Sin; the design of the Gospel was to effect the same, by requiring and by accepting Repentance ; which being no other than renewed obedience, 'tis plain the Gospel does not destroy, but establish the Law. The severity indeed of the Law was so far to be qualified by the indulgence of the Gospel, that it might not be
any longer the Strength of Sin : But the Gospel did not take away
the obligation of the Law, so as the cause and the occasion of finning. The moral Law denounced a Curse against every one that continued not in all the works thereof to do them; and the Gospel delivers all those from this Curse, who by true Repentance renew their Obedience: The Ceremonial Law was an insupportable burden of rites, insufficient of the themselves to make any expiation for fin; L.
to be itself
and the Gospel, by exhibiting the true Serm.
VIII. and sufficient expiation, has delivered all men from the burden of this yoke. Aș therefore those persons (Judaizing Chri
stians) in the primitive times were very : unreasonable, who contended that any of
these ritual observations were of necessity to be kept up after the coming of Christ; so those perverters of Christianity in later ages are on the other side much more unreasonable, who contend that the moral
Law has been abolished by Christ. The - Gospel accepts indeed the terms, of Faith
and Repentance; but 'tis only for the sake
Ser m. but he that doth the Will of my Father which
and tells us that we must deny ungodliness and
Lastly, FROM what has been said, we SERM. may learn to reconcile the Severity and VIII. the Compassion of God; the Severity, in giving a Law, which required finless Obedience; and the Compasion in mitigating it, by the Grace and Mercy of the Gospel; Which Grace extended itself backwards to good men under the Law; and the Severity will reach forward to the impenitent under the Gospel. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! To conclude therefore, Let us then heartily set about the reformation of our lives, and by obedience to God's commands indeavour to walk worthy of that religion we profess, adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Let us consider and admire the infinite wisdom and mercy of God, in restoring men to a capacity of attaining that happiness by the obedience of the second Covenant, which they utterly forfeited by the transgression of the first; and let us not frustrate the grace of God by the disobedience of our lives, least there re