« AnteriorContinuar »
of the works of the law are under the curse Serm. Gal. ili. 10. And that the law entred that ^^the offence might abound, Rom. v. 20;^^*; that is to fay, not that it was designed to that end, but that in fact and by consequence it did become a means of aggravating sin and rendring it more exceedingly criminal; 'Tis true the Law did indeed appoint certain sacrifices of expiation for sin; but such as had not in themselves Any efficacy to expiate sin, any otherwise than as they typified that great sacrifice which was once to be offered for the Sins of the whole World: The Tabernacle was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices, which they offered year by year continually, make the comers thereunto perfeSl, Heb. x. 1. Hence though those good men who lived before the coming of Christ, were indeed justified;
S E R M. yet they are said to be justified, how? not VIII. by the works of the law, but by faith; as
*S^T\* St Paul reasoneth in his whole fourth Chapter to the Romans; His meaning is; They trusted not to ritual and ceremonious performances, but looked through the types and shadows of the law to the promised Messiah, being fully perswaded that what God had promised he would assuredly perform -y and this was counted unto them for righteousness. Thus of Abraham particularly 'tis said by the Apostle, that he was not jujlisied by the works of the Iawt so as to have wherewith to glory before Cod-j but that he was justified by Faith: and in like manner all the holy men, who lived under the law, did not expect to be justified in the sight of God by the works of the law, but by their faith in God, and trust in his promises. So the law was their Schoolmaster to bring them unto Christ; and though they knew that nothing in the law could of it self avail effectually to the forgiveness of sins, yet they continued with patience walking in the Commandments of God, and waiting
for for the consolation and redemption of 7/"-somrael; and accordingly when the fulness of VIII. time was come, God sent forth his Son, made [of a Woman, made] under the law, that he might redeem those that were under the law. yThe fewifo Law therefore, so far as it was distinguished from, and opposed to, the grace or gospel of Christ, was the fame with the original law of God in its full force and severity; and no flesh could be justified thereby.
%dly, Yet God never dealt with men, according to the strictness and severity of that Law, but always anticipated the favour of the gospel, and dealt with men according to the gracious terms of the new Covenant. Thus though no flesh could be justified by the law, yet both the Patriarchs who lived before the law (as I have already observed,) and all Holy men who lived under Law, were justified; and this their justification was by Faith, i. e. by the terms of that new Covenant, which in the fulness of time was to be promulged openly and plainly to the whole world. Wherefore, though the Law appointed no
S E R M. expiation for great and presumptuous Sim, VIII. yet Q0(j always pardoned Sinners upon their true repentance, (as appears in the cafe of David and others;) and as the times of the gospel grew nearer and nearer, began by degrees to declare by his Prophets, that he would do so. "David, when he had committed those crying Sins of Adultery and Murder, acknowledges that the severity of the law allowed no Sacrifice of expiation for him; 'Thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it tbee, but thou delightejl not in burnt-offerings, Ps. li. 16: Yet he hoped that upon his hearty repentance, forgiveness would not be impossible to be obtained at the Hands of God; A broken and contrite heart, 0 God, faith he, thou wilt not despise, ver. 17 j and the event discovered that he did indeed obtain it. And God afterward by the Prophet Ezekiel declared publickly to the whole people os the Jews, that when a wicked man turneth away from his wick' ednefs, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he should save his soul alive. Thus though the Law, strictly speaking, was in
force with its full severity 'till the appear- S E r M„ ing of our Saviour, yet God never dealt VIII, with men according to that severity, but ^"VNJ always anticipated the Favour of the Gospel, and judged men by the terms of the Covenant of grace. The Law was by Moses, Grace and Truth by Christ.'
4-thly, This new Covenant of grace, which, before the coming of our Saviour lay hid in the secret dispensations of God's mercy, and began in part and by degrees to be discovered, first by the obscure promises of a Messiah to come, and afterwards by the more plain declarations of the Prophets; was at our Saviour's Appearance openly established, and the terms of it publickly promulged to the whole World; so as to deliver men entirely from all fear of that rigour of the Law, which the Apostle stiles thestrength of Sin. This deliverance of men by the Gospel from the burden and. severity of the Law, the Apostle in the Tex't calls a Victory; and This Victory our Saviour obtained for us, principally by these two things; 1st, By giving himself a sacrifice