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a promise of life to such as should keep them, and a curse on such as should be disobedient; to the end that they, being led thereby to an acknowledgment of the depravity of mankind, and consequently of their own, might have recourse to the righteousness of the promised Saviour ; and that they, and in process of time all other nations, might be led under the Gospel from the weak and servile rudiments of this elementary institution* to the full strength of the new creature, and a manly liberty worthy the sons of God. Heb. ix. 8, &c. as above. .
Intended for the Israelites alone. Exod. xix, 5, 6. if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people ; for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. Deut. iv. 45. these are the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which Moses spake unto the children of Israel, after they came forth out of Egypt. 1 Kings viii. 21. I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of Jehovah, which he made with our fathers when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.' Psal. cxlvii. 19, 20. " he showeth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel : he hath not dealt so with any
* It cannot be unknown by what expressions the holy apostle St. Paul spares not to explain to us the nature and condition of the law, calling those ordinances, which were the chief and essential office of the priests, the elements and rudiments of the world, both weak and beggarly.' Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty. Prose Works, I. 91. St. Paul comprehends both kinds alike, that is to say, both ceremony and cir. cumstance, under one and the same contemptuous name of "weak and beggarly rudiments.' Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes, IV. 338.
nation, and as for his judgments, they have not known them. This wall of partition between the Gentiles and Israelites was at length broken down by the death of Christ, Eph. ii. 14. until which time the Gentiles were aliens from the whole of the covenant, v. 12.· being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.' Acts xiv. 16, 17. who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways: nevertheless he left not himself without witness,' &c. xvi. 27, 28, 30.
that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us.....the times of this ignorance God winked at.
With a promise of life; namely, temporal life, as is obvious from the whole of the twenty-sixth chapter of Leviticus. Lev. xviii. 5. ye shall keep my statutes which if a man do, he shall live in them. Deut. vi. 25.
it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before Jehovah our God, as he hath commanded us. Gal. iii. 12. the law is not of faith; but the man that doeth them shall live in them. Though the law, however, does not promise eternal life, this latter seems to be implied in the language of the prophets. Zech. iii. 7. 'I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.' Luke x. 25–28. See also below, on the resurrection.
A curse on such as should be disobedient. Deut. xxvii. 26. 'cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. Gal. iii. 10. as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse ; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the law to do them.'
Acknowledging the depravity. Rom. iii. 20. by the law is the knowledge of sin.' iv. 15. the law worketh wrath.' v. 20. “ moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. vii. 5. when we were in the flesh, the motions of sin which were by the law did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. v. 7–9. “I had not known sin, but by the law : but sin taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence.' v. 12, 13. wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good : was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid : but sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good ; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. Gal. iii. 19. wherefore then serveth the law ? it was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made. Hence to those who are not yet regenerate, the law of nature has the same obligatory force, and is intended to serve the same purposes, as the law of Moses to the Israelites. Rom. iii. 19. we know that whatsoever things the law saith, it saith to them that were under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God,' compared with i. 19. that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God hath showed it them.
The righteousness of the promised Saviour. Hence Christ's invitation, Matt. xi. 28. come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;' that is, from the curse of the law. Hence also the conflict in the mind of Paul while under the
curse of the law, and the thanks which he renders to God for the atonement of Christ; Rom. vii. 24, 25.
wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?' x. 4. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Gal. ii. 11. 'that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident, for the just shall live by faith.' v. 13. •Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law.' v. 21. “if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. v. 22. "but the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe ;' concluded, that is, declared all guilty of sin. V. 24. "wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.' 2 Cor. ïïi. 6. the letter killeth,' that is, the letter of the law elsewhere called the elements) killeth, in other words, does not promise eternal life. Col. ï. 14. blotting out the hand-writing of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us.' Thus the imperfection of the law was manifested in the person of Moses himself; for Moses, who was a type of the law, could not bring the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, that is, into eternal rest; but an entrance was given to them under Joshua, or Jesus.* Hence Peter testifies that
* .... Therefore shall not Moses, though of God
Highly belov'd, being but the minister
Safe to eternal Paradise of rest. Paradise Lost, XII. 307. VOL. II.
eternal salvation was through Christ alone under the law, equally as under the gospel, although he was not then revealed : Acts xv. 10, 11. "why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? but we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. Heb. xiii. 8. • Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. For although, under the law, as many as were able to keep all the commandments were justified, the promise extended only to happiness in this life : Deut. vi. 24, 25. “Jehovah commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear Jehovah our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive,' &c. .... and it shall be our righteousness if we observe to do all these commandments. But what neither the law itself nor the observers of the law could attain, faith in God through Christ has attained, and that even to eternal life.