« PreviousContinue »
which they had fallen from the Love of God) Sermon and to be a Means of recovering them from I^^vnj this Apostasy; for a mere external Obedience was not the End of the Law, any farther than such Obedience was an Expression and Test of their Love of God, which our Saviour styles thejirfi and great Commandment: TheyMatth. were to be a People consecrated toGodxxu-38" according to that very significant Memento, written on the Mitre of Aaron, — Holi- £X°d. ness to the Lord; and to have the Lordxxwl]i-36. for their God meant nothing less than to have him for the sole Happiness of their Lives, and Object of their Affections, as \#pll as for their Lawgiver and Governour. Nor is it to be doubted, that many of those Rites and Ordinances, which seem to have little or no Relation to a spiritual Worship, were yet calculated for that End, by serving as Emblems of some divine Truth, to represent the distempered Condition of human Nature, to separate them from the Commerce and Pollutions of the Heathens, or some way to engage their Attention in such a manner as might lead them to the Love of God, or keep them from any Hindrance to it. Certain it is, that the Rite of Circumcision, which had been initj.j I 3 stituted
Sermon stituted long before, is interpreted both by »v~v~v Moses and St. Paul, as a Figure of inward Deut.x.6. pm-jj-y 0f Heart j and those only weje 29. called true Jews by the latter, which were) Ibid. such, not outwardly, but inwardly. Ws know, therefore,1 that the Law was spiritual, and required inward Purity, as well as outward Practice, according to that Command of the Lord by Moses to the Children- joi. Levit, Israel, Ye shall be holy; for 1, the Lord your xyf'z' God, am holy. , n \>
But this being the Cafe, hovy comes it to pass, that Justification was not by the Gal. ii. 16. Law j for it is written, By the Works of the. Law sloall no Flesh be jusified. St. Paul has satisfied this Question, where he tejl§ Rom. viii. us, that the Law was weak through the Fly!}. \b vii 12 ^e Commandment was indeed, holy, juft, and good, and the Law a perfect Rule of l\). *. 5. Duty, and the Man that did the things coVt tained in it, Jhould have lived by them .»..: B(\\t where was the Man, the Man Chrift Jesus excepted, that ever did them? The Weakness of the Flesh, the Impotence of fallen Nature, was such, that no Man ever did or could pay that perfect Obedience, which the Law required; and so all came under the Gal. iii. Curse of it j for it is written, Cursed is every »o. 2' one tote ihat cofitinueth not in all things which are Ss*m°» written in the Book of the Law to do them, /yv Herein then the Law failed, in that it gave not Strength to those that were under it, to'pay that perfect Obedience, which it exacted; and yet passed Sentence of Death, in Case of Disobedience, and so became the Ministration of Condemnation. But2 c<w- "iwere not Sacrifices appointed by the Law, in Cafe of Transgressions, and thereby a Cure provided for the Disease? They were indeed appointed; but, alas! they went but a little Way towards the Cure wanted; they could only sanclify outwardly to the pu-Heh. 'verifying of the Flejh; but could not take1^' x away Sin, nor make the Comers thereunto Ib. x. i. perfeSi. The Blood of Bulls and Goats could not wash inherent Corruption, and purge the Conscience from dead Works. -— No, if costs more to redeem a Soul from .Death; and, were it to left to that, it mufiN-drx..$. be let alone for ever.
- -Thus far then the Matter seems not tended; and the Law, instead of being Gain, has brought Loss to the Soul; for, under this View of it, Sin is become exceeding sinful; and, as the Sting of Death" Cor. xv. if'Sin, so the Strength of Sin is the Law.*'
I 4 The
'sermon The Light it gives,serves to set ourTranfgres^./-VV fions before us, in full View, with aggravated Guilt; and Sin, followed by Conviction, comes home with double Force, and gives the Soul a deeper Wound. May we not then recur to the former Question, and ask, "To -what thcnserveth the Law? The Answer to which is the second End assigned by St. Gal. iii. Paul to that Dispensation: 'The Law ivas z+' cur School-majier to bring us unto Chrjii: .> < . >
. Though the Law and the Gospel stand distinguished under different Titles, and as different Covenants, yet are they but two Manifestations of the one great Scheme of the Redemption of the World by Jesus Christ. The former, in every Part of it, points and leads to this End. The Law, in its Time and Place, was the Twilight of the Day of Grace; and the Shining of the Exod. .Face of Moses, as that of the Morning-Star, *xxiv. 35. Harbinger to that Sun of Righteousness, Ma!. iv. 2. which afterwards arose with Healing in his Wings. If we trace back the mighty Deliverer to the first Promise of his Coming, we shall find Christianity nearly as old as the Creation; and I make no Doubt of the Truth of this Assertion, That, from the Account of the Fall to the End of the Book
4>£Qene/it, every principal Narrative has a Sermon special Reference to Christ, and our Re-^/sj demption by him; and that some Part or other of this great Mystery is signified and represented to us all along under the Truth of the History. But to return: - The Law served as a School-master to bring such as were under it to Christ, chiefly by the condemning Power of it j for as many as were under the Law, were under Gal. iii. the Curse of it. The Sin of Adam-<m& be-10icome the Sin of every Man's own Person; and Death, both temporal and eternal, had passed upon all, by the double Right and Title of original and actual Sin. But, be-r; , ;' hold the Wisdom, and Power, and Goodness of God! .who out of Weakness, orr daineth Strengths and turneth the Powers of Death and Satan to the Destruction of their own Kingdom; for the poor helpless Soul, finding the Sentence of Death in itself, sinking under the Terrors of the Law, and the dreaded Wrath of a sin-avenging God, and despairing to obtain Salvation by its own Righteousness, casts itself upon the Mercy of God, as desirous to have it in the way of Free-gift: And in this State of Anguish and Rom. v. Distress the Ceremonial Law comes in to its *'