Imágenes de páginas

SECT. which we have been educated, doth indeed 1. proceed from God, is it poffible to con

ceive, that he should fend forth a new religion fubverfive of the former? Is the Almighty a man, that he fhould lie, or the fon of man, that he fhould deal treacherously with his people? That furely can never be we must therefore conclude, that what once was truth can never cease to be truth, and that one divine inftitution can never contradict or overthrow another.

Such a mode of arguing, confidered in the abstract, is doubtlefs, unanswerable; efpecially when Chrift had declared, that he came not to deftroy the Law, but to fulfil it but the misfortune was, the later Jews confidered their Law as a whole, inftead of a part; as a complete religion terminating in rites and ceremonies, and not as one highly typical and figurative, but yet only preparatory to a more perfect revelation of the will of God.

The Jewish and Chriftian difpenfations, when carefully examined together, form one beautiful and regular whole, the several parts of which perfectly and exactly coincide: or, as St. Paul illuftrates it, the


Law was the childhood of mankind; the CHAP. Gospel, the manhood: yet childhood and II. manhood, though fuch different stages of existence, form the life of only one human being h.

Thefe were the errors of the first converts to Christianity, and of the Jews, who remained obftinate in their unbelief; errors, however different in point of malignity, yet all contributing to destroy the true mode of connection between the Law and the Gospel.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]




SINCE the Jewish and Christian difpenfations are both of divine origin, it is not only neceffary that they fhould be free from mutual contradictions; but, also, that there fhould be fome bond of connection, by which they may be drawn into contact with each other. Did no fuch harmony exift, it would be difficult to answer the queftion, By what authority is the one fuperfeded, and its ordinances, allowedly proceeding from God, no longer obferved; while the other is adopted by the whole Chriftian world, as a ftandard of faith and practice? Were

Were not this question capable of an easy CHAP. folution, the Jews might with justice re- I.. proach us, as rejecting truth to embrace error, and as preferring the fictitious legends of impofture, to the wonders of genuine Revelation.

When man firft tranfgreffed the command of heaven, and forfeited his native innocence; though the fentence of death was pronounced upon him, yet its terrors were alleviated by the promife of the Meffiah. The remembrance of this prediction was carefully preferved by the ancient patriarchs, the expected Redeemer was prefigured by the Levitical ordinances, and the benefits of his death and paffion fhine with their full luftre in the facred volume of the Gofpel. Although the Almighty may, at different periods, have revealed his counfels to mankind with different degrees of clearness; yet the whole, both of the Jewish and Chriftian Scriptures, tend to the fame point, and unanimously affirm, that without fhedding of blood there is no remiffion of fins.

For what purpose then was the Law The end of eftablished? It was a fhadow of good blishment


the efta

of the Law.

- II.

SECT. things to come, ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator b; and a schoolmafter to bring us unto Chrift, that we might be juftified by faith .

From these affertions of the Apostle two propofitions may be deduced.

I. That the Law contains a fort of feenical representation of all the benefits enjoyed by Chriftians; fuch as, the gracious offer of mercy held out to them in the Gofpel, their redemption and justification by the blood of a Redeemer, and the continual support and influence of the Holy Spirit.

II. And that it is appointed to teach us our need of a Saviour, to act the part of a preceptor to all, who are willing to fubmit with humility to its divine instructions.

The decifion of the Church of England on this point is remarkably ftrong: "The «Old Teftament is not contrary to the "New; for, both in the Old and New

Heb. x. I..

• Gal. iii. 24.

b Gal. iii. 19.



« AnteriorContinuar »