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taught in the Old Testament, and may be known even from reason. “I came not (says our Lord) to destroy the law or the prophets, but to fulfil."2 Still the doctrines of christianity apply the ancient precepts to new objects, which had previously been unknown, and which were introduced by christianity. Of this kind are the precepts which relate to the worship of Christ (3 42 &c), and to the duties of the church and her members ($ 105—107). These are indeed embraced in those moral precepts which enjoin the worship of God, and the relative duties of the members of the social compact in general. But they are placed in a new light by the doctrine concerning Christ, and the nature and constitution of the christian church. Some of the precepts of Christ, moreover, are entirely new and peculiar.3 Now all these laws of Christ constitute a legal code, the prescriptions of which we can and ought to obey. The salvation which is promised us by the doctrines of Christ is indeed of so exalted a nature and degree, that we could never expect to merit it by our works ($ 73, 118). Still, after it had been resolved upon that this salvation should be offered to guilty and imperfect man, the law ($ 67, 72) was given and published for a twofold purpose; in order that those who reject the doctrines of Christ," and habitually refuse to obey his precepts, may forfeit the offered salvation, and receive the punishment due to their
1 Rom, 2: 12-15. 1: 19–32. Phil. 4: 8.
2 Matth. 5: 17-19. Luke 10: 25-28. Gal. 5: 13-22. 1 Tim. 1: 8 11.
3 See $ 109, 113. Compare Reuss' Elementa Theologiae moralis, p. 190 &c.
4 Matth. 5: 19. 7: 24. Luke 10: 28. John 14: 21, 23. 15: 10, 14. 8: 51. Gal. 6: 2. 1 John 1: 5. 2: 3-6. 3: 6-10, 22. 5: 2. Heb. 10:36. James 2: 22-25. 2: 8 &c.
5 John 3: 18, 36. 2 Thess. 1: 8. Acts 13: 46. Mark 16: 16. Heb. 2: 13. 10: 26-31, 38.
6 Matth. 7: 21. 13: 41. Rom. 8: 13, 6, 7. Gal. 5: 19--21. 1 Cor. 6: 9 &c. 1 Pet. 1: 14-17. Heb. 12: 14. VOL. II.
iniquity; and that even those who obey the doctrines of Jesus, should partake of the salvation graciously bestowed on them, in a degree proportionate to the measure of their faithfulness and obedience. That the degree of their future happiness might be commensurate with the measure of their exertions to conform their lives to the standard of holiness proposed in the Gospel, a standard which indeed no christian, not even the most exalted, can ever perfectly attain. The law itself therefore, the requisition that we should never cease conscientiously to learn from our meek and lowly Teacher (Matth. 11: 29 &c), who well knew our infirmities, that we should unceasingly follow after holiness (Matth. 5: 6), and gradually press forward toward the mark of christian perfection set before us, cannot be regarded as unjust, or as being not suited to the infirmities of human nature. But in a very different point of view is the law considered, when it is said that Christ is the end of the law (or put an end to it, Rom. 10: 4. $ 114. Ill. 9), and that christians “ under the law," " are freed from the law.” Rom. 6: 14. 7: 1-6. Gal. 2: 19. 5: 18. We do, indeed, freely concede that in these passages the term “ law” does not signify merely the ceremonial laws of Moses, which of course are not obligatory on christians (John 4: 21. 93), nor the civil code of the Jewish legislator, which was neither applicable to other nations nor enjoined on them. It is evident from the context (Rom. 7: 7 &c.) that the moral part of the law, which christianity inculcates no less than the Mosaic system does, is meant in these passages (873. Ill. 3). But it must be remembered that, in the texts referred to, the law is not spoken of as a rule of life for persons who rely on the grace of God, and who are authorized to expect a salvation not to be purchased by their works; but is regarded as a law according to which rewards and punishments should be adjudged in so rigid and inexorable a manner, as to exclude all grace (Gal. 2: 21. 3: 10), and all reliance on grace. Gal. 3: 12. Rom. 4:14. That the law, when viewed in this light, is not applicable to us, and that, in opposition to this view of the law (zwois vouov 3: 21), we are, notwithstanding our guilt, liberated from punishment, and taught to expect, TTLOTEVELV an unmerited salvation through grace (v. 23. 4: 8. 3: 22, 26, 28, 30. 4: 5. 10: 4), that the love of God to his obedient Son Jesus is transferred to the friends of the Redeemer, and makes their imperfect obedience acceptable to God, all this we owe to the Lord Jesus, to that blessed Redeemer who has done so much for us. Rom. 3: 24 &c. 10:4. $ 117 &c. This,
1 Matth. 17: 17. 26: 41. Comp. 85.
2 Phil. 3: 12—15, “I count not myself to have apprehended-this one thing I do--I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” 2 Cor. 7: 1, “Let us follow after holiness in the fear of the Lord.” 1 Cor. 15: 58. 1 Thess. 4: 1, 12. Col. 1: 9. Eph. 4: 15. 1 Pet. 2: 2. 2 Pet. 3: 18, “ Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ-increase in the knowledge of God” &c.
3 Michaelis' Dogmatik, $ 165. 4 Gal. 5: 13, 14, 16, 19--23. 6:2.
, instead of diminishing, strengthens our obligation to strive with all our might to be conformed to the will of our Benefactor, who does not exact a perfect obedience from us, but requires only a persevering and sincere zeal to improve by his instructions (Rom. 6: 15, 14. 7: 4, 6. $ 119-121). But the Mosaic law? itself, as well as the law of Christ, was not given in order that men should or could by perfect obedience to it, merit that eternal salvation promised in the Gospel. Its object was to prevent the commission of crimes at least of the grosser kind (1 Tim. 1: 9), and thereby to preserve the external character and security
11 Pet. 2: 5. See $ 95. Ill. 4. Compare Melanchthon's Loci theol.
2 Gal. 3: 21, “ The law could not succeed in effecting the salvation of any person, ουκ εδυνατο ζωοποιησαι.» comp. Ηeb. 7:19, ουδεν ετELELWOEV Ö vouos. Comment. in loc. note c.
3 On the Design of Christ's death, p. 444--448.
of the Jews, and thus, as long at least as the general aspects of their law were preserved and publicly obeyed, to make them the actual possessors of the earthly advantages promised them ; and at the same time, to lead the more reflecting Israelites to a knowledge of their sinfulness (Rom. 3: 20), to excite in their breasts a stronger desire for the grace of God, and to serve as a standard at which their exertions for the attainment of moral excellence should aim. The necessity of divine grace must certainly have appeared more evident to the reflecting Israelite, as the promises and threats of the Mosaic laws taught him, that if God suspended even the temporal prosperity of his people on obedience to his commands, much more would their eternal salvation depend on a still more rigid observance of all his precepts, and as he was convinced of the truth, that the ceremonial sacrifices were insufficient to prepare him for the future world." $ 120. 11.3. But as the Jews in general, regardless of their depravity (Luke 18: 11), and relying on the observance of the ceremonial laws, vainly hoped to be able, by obedience to the Jaws of Moses, both to escape punishment and to obtain future salvation, and as they were induced by this false belief, to reject the instructions of God relative to the salvation offered through Christ, and to the divine command that we should rely on his merits (Rom. 10: 3. § 120. Ill. 3); the apostle Paul deemed it necessary to declare that it is impossible for fallen man, by observance of the law, to merit exemption from punishment, or future salvation. Hence, he informs them, that Christ has opened another and a better way to salvation, a way of justification, not by our own merits, but by [faith] reliance on the merits of another; and that he had annulled the former way,
1 The work on the Design of the death of Christ, p. 446_-448.
2 Gal. 4: 5. Rom. 3: 27, 19 &c. Matth. 19: 16--20. Comment, on Hebrews, p: 150. Storr on the Design of the death of Christ, p. 448—452.
which, in itself considered, is indeed good, but is impracticable for sinful man. Rom. 10: 4 &c. Whatever be the way in which we become acquainted with the moral law, whether it be through the instrumentality of the Mosaic institution, or of reason, or of the christian doctrines, if we consider the observance of that law as the only condition and the meritorious cause of the christian's exemption from punishment and attainment of happiness, thus considered, the moral law has nothing to do with the Christian (§ 24). But in another aspect of the moral law, it does of course refer to the Christian. It is through the aid of this law, that we are to learn to see our depravity, oir imperfection, and our need of divine grace. We are, moreover, to make it the rule of our life, the standard by which all our efforts for the attainment of moral perfection are to be regulated.
this depends, not only our attainment of salvation in general, but also the particular degree in which it shall be bestowed upon us; although the salvation itself is a gracious one, and far transcends our deserts. 1
Relation between our reformation and the attainment of salva
From the preceding discussions, it is evident, that that faith which, to all those who have heard the Gospel, is the condition on which an unmerited salvation is bestowed on them, cannot even exist except in connexion with a true reformation of life
1973. Ill. 1. See also Storr on the Design of Christ's death, : 6, 19.