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CHA P. II.

ERROR RESPECTING THE CONNECTION OF

THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL PECULIAR
TO THE JEWS. 1. THE GREAT BODY OF
THE JEWISH NATION. 2. THE JEWS WHO
EMBRACED CHRISTIANITY DURING THE
MINISTRY OF OUR LORD. 3. JEWISH
CHRISTIANS AFTER THE DEATH OF OUR
LORD.

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& THERE is yet another error respecting connection the connection of the Law and the Gofof the Law and the Gof-pel, in which many of the primitive Jewpel peculiar to the Jews.ith Christians were involved, and in which

the whole body of the Jewish nation, as is still the case with their descendants, was deeply immersed. Through the prevalence of this error, they totally mistook the intent of the Law, supposing it to be a perfect whole, when, in reality, it formed only the first half of God's gracious covenant with man. .

1.

The great 1. The Jews, a gross and sensual peoJewith na. ple, had, long before the time of Christ,

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accustomed themselves to consider the chaP. splendid festivals, bloody facrifices, and nu- 11. merous ceremonies of their law, as really , and intrinsically pleasing to God, notwith

standing the frequent and express declarations of their prophets to the contrary a. Owing to this persuasion, they could not bear the idea, that it was ever to have an end ; still less could they conceive it poffible, that the Messiah himself should be the instrument of its diffolution. From the figurative and ecstatic language of the inspired prophets, when they painted, in glowing colours, a victorious and warlike prince, 'sprinkled with the blood of his enemies, and triumphing over the proftrate Gentiles, they imagined, that these predictions were to be literally, instead of spiritually, fulfilled b. They anticipated with joyful expectation the moment, when their conqueror and deliverer was to appear, and

a. This assertion is not to be taken in its strictest and most absolute sense; for many of the Jews did look forward through their ceremonial law, to its completion in-the Mes. liah. Vide infra, Sect. II. Chap. V. .

It is possible indeed, that these predictions may relate to the second advent, in which case they will, in fome measure at least, be fulfilled literally. But whatever be the true interpretation, the Jews were clearly mistaken in applying them literally to the first manifestation of the Messiah.

rescue

sect. rescue them from the yoke of the Ro1. mans. They had not sufficient purity of

heart, to pray humbly to God, that he would be pleased to liberate them from the heavy bondage of sin, and the corrupt appetites of their nature; that he would teach them, instead of being subject to a round of ceremonies, fignificant indeed but highly burdensome, to offer up to him the lively sacrifice of thanksgiving, and to bear the badge of circumcision in their hearts.

Far different thoughts from these were they accustomed to cherish; thoughts equally abhorrent from the wisdom and the goodness of God. They vainly hoped, that the temporal glory of the second temple would be greater than that of the first; and that the splendid pageant of festivals and ceremonies would be once more presented to their longing eyés, with a lustre, superior even to the pomp and majesty of the reign of Solomon. They grossly and impiously fancied, that the King of Glory, the Seed, in whom all nations should be blessed, was to descend from heaven, for no other purpose, than to gratify the pride and evil in-, clinations of the stock of Abraham. Under his banners they were to go forth con

quering

quering and to conquer ; the blood of the chaP. fain was to mark the progress, and the II. groans of the dying were to celebrate the triumphs of the Prince of Peace. The vanquished Romans were in their turn to bow . the neck before the lordly Jews; and the earthly Zion, enriched with the spoils of the whole world, was to be the seat of universal empire. The desire of all nations was to be the perfecutor and enslaver of mankind; and Israel alone was to be exalted in that day, at the expence of suffering humanity.

- As this disposition of the Jews is clearly Thewn, on the one hand, by their rejection of the true Messiah, who would not flatter their ambitious views, and who constantly asserted, that his kingdom was not of this world ; so is it no less shewn on the other, by the readiness with which they listened to false Christs, who never failed to promise them fovereign sway, as the only method of gaining their affections. Once indeed, during the life of Jesus, the people, astonished at his miracles, but still under the influence of this mistaken notion, would have made him king by force : but this he could not suffer, either consistently with

the

sect, the nature of his real kingdom, or without 1. encouraging and promoting their error.

The strange perplexity, into which the Jews were thrown at the sight of his miracles, while they were unable to reconcile the humble appearance of our Lord with the pompous expectations which they had formed of the Messiah, is strikingly defcribed in several parts of the Gospel. They were unwilling to give up their preconceived opinions, though they knew not how to account for such an exertion of supernatural power, by any person inferior in point of dignity to the Messiaho. As the Jews, in the time of our Saviour, could not bear to imagine, that the Law of Mofes was ever to have an end; fo is their posterity equally blind to the connection, which subsists between the two dispensations.

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2. The sentiments of those Jews, who The Jews embraced Christianity during the ministry Chriftianity of our Lord, are nearly allied to the preduring their vailing notion of a secular deliverer. The our Lord. national error respecting the character of

the Messiah infected even the Apostles,

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Lord.

c See John vii. and xii.

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