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which we preach: that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God haih raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart, man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.'1 Such was the difference between the method of the law on the one hand, and that of the gospel on the other, for attaining righteousness: the one sought it by the multiplication of outward acts, which, how numerous soever, could not answer a single spiritual requirement; the other attained it by faith in Jesus Christ, which operated in the heart, and produced the internal conformity required. For, as we have already observed, even the moral parts of the law provided no efficient means for removing sin from the inind; and went no farther in effect than to condemn it, and thus to make its criminality the more manifest. If we mistake not, it is to this difference between the operation of the law and that of the gospel, that St. Paul alludes, when he reminds the Romans that the several condemning declarations which the law utters, 'it saith to them who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world become guilty before God. Therefore, by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in the sight of God; for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.'2 And he proceeds to say that this righteousness was attained through faith in Christ by all without distinction who believe, whether Jews or Gentiles; for in this respect there was no difference between them, all having transgressed, and all being freely justified from their past sins, by that faith which produced the righteousness required. And as he had just before asked, whether the Jews were indeed, as they conceived themselves, better than the Gentiles; he now showed from the foregoing considerations, that boasting was excluded by this common law of faith, which applied equally to boih, and by which alone either could become righteous.1 On the whole, he concludes that 'a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law,' that is, without regard to anything they had performed under the insufficient guidance of the law. God showed equal favor to the uncircumcised Gentile as to the Jew who followed after the law, for it was by the same principle of faith that he would justify both. The apostle adds that the very father of the circumcision, Abraham himself, who was known to have been pronounced righteous by God, could not on that account, glory over the Gentiles; for even he did not obtain his righteousness by the works of the law, but by faith. He had not been circumcised, but had been ' ungodly,' or (as it is generally understood by commentators,) an idolater, when he received that divine promise in which he believed, and his faith was counted to him for righteousness."
1 Rom. ix. 30—x. 10.
* Rom. iii. 19—21. We wish to make two remarks here: 1. There is evidently an allusion in this text different from that of the similar passage which we have quoted from Galatians; for if the contexts of the two places be compared, it will be seen that the scope of the apostle's argument embraces more in this, than in the other: including not only the ceremonial part of the law, but the moral also, by which was 'the knowledge of sin.' 2. Some critics, among whom are Beza, Locke, Taylor, Macknight, &c., think the law, mentioned here and in several other sentences in this paragraph, was not the Mosaic exclusively, but any law whatsoever, or law in general; and they allege the omission of the article in the Greek. But other critics, much better acquainted with the idiom of the Greek language, decide against them, that this circumstance is no proof. See Koppe Nov. Test. (in loco,) Rosenmuelleri Scholia in Nov. Test. (in loco, et in ver. 28.) Winer Grammatik des neatest. Sprachidioms, (S. 107, 109. Auflage 1830), and Middlelon on the Greek Article, (Part ii. on Rom. iii. 20.)
We have now brought forward all the leading passages in which St. Paul introduced the subject of the law. We have seen that he considered the righteousness, so called, which it actually produced in its followers, as not merely imperfect in degree, but as spurious in kind, consisting either in ceremonial observances, or in the heartless performance of outward acts, which of course would avail nothing to justification. We have also seen that he insisted on the other hand, that the genuine righteousness which the moral part of the law required, was to be attained only by the faith which purified the heart, or in other words, by the gospel which was a 'ministration of the spirit.' It must have been perceived, moreover, that he every where maintained or implied, contrary to the sentiment often imputed to him, that this genuine righteousness was necessary to justification; and if we examine the other parts of his writings, we shall find that he recognises this principle as frequently and as explicitly as any of the inspired teachers. It may seem needless that he should have labored with so much care to prove by argument, what is plain enough in itself at this day, that neither rites nor acts of mere outward compliance, could justify; but this impression will cease when we reflect that he was almost perpetually assailed by the stubborn Jewish prejudices, scattered far and wide, which regarded performances of this kind as indispensable to salvation. He saw some of his churches on the point of being drawn away by the delusion, and others deeply affected by it. Accordingly, it was only on such occasions that he introduced the language we have considered. Notwithstanding the noise it has made in later ages, and the absurd theories to which it has given rise, it belongs in reality to a mere controversy about the old Jewish law. It has no other immediate use to the Gentile Christians of the present time, than what may be derived from the abstract principle on which it is founded, and which is now understood: that there can be no obedience to God but from corresponding affections of the heart; and that these affections are to be produced by the influence of the gospel.
1 Compare ver•e 9 with 27. • Rom. iii. 22— iv. 10, &«.
H. B. 9,1.
Art. II. Explanation of Matt. x. 14, 15, and of the Parallel Texts.
'And whosoever shall not receive you nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.'—Matt. x. 14,15.
Considering the doctrines which have prevailed in christendom, it is by no means surprising that this text has been commonly understood to refer to a day of judgment in the immortal world. The future tense of the verb, shall be, seems to favor such an application, when considered in connexion with some of the most striking circumstances of the subject. When our Saviour spoke these words, Sodom and Gomorrah had for ages ceased to exist in this world; and still he said, 'it shall be more tolerable for' them in the day of judgment, than for the cities which should not receive his disciples, nor hear their words. Accordingly, it is contended, the judgment here mentioned must bd in the future world, where alone Sodom and Gomorrah, long since perished, could then be arraigned. Such has been the almost unanimous conclusion of those who already admitted the doctrine itself, especially among the common class of readers.
But general as this consent has been, some of their most judicious commentators and some of their best critics in the original languages, have been convinced, against their prejudices, that the text ought to be applied otherwise. This will appear from the quotations which we are about to adduce from Dr. Hammond, Bishop Pearce, Dr. Seiler, Gilbert Wakefield, and Dr. A. Clarke. Dr. Hammond was of the church of England; and though his works are now superseded in a great measure by others, they still hold a rank among standard authorities. Bishop Pearce, also of that church, was perhaps the soundest critic it has produced. He was the intimate friend of Sir Isaac Newton, and one of the first scholars of his age in ancient literature, profane as well as sacred. Dr. Seiler was a standard German critic, and author of a commentary on the New Testament. Gilbert Wakefield was an English Unitarian, celebrated for his extensive knowledge of the Greek langunge, and well known by his translation of the New Testament. Dr. A. Clarke, lately deceased, was, in point of Biblical literature, the most eminent writer of which the Methodist church could ever boast. We now lay before the reader their exposition of the latter part of the text.
Dr. Hammond expresses its meaning in the following paraphrase: 'I assure you, the punishment or destruction that will light upon that city, shall be such that the destruction of Sodom will appear to be more tolerable than that.' He then refers to what he had said in another place on the phrase, kingdom of God, where he thus quoted and explained the text: ' Verily, I lay unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom in that day (i. e. not in the day of judgment to come, for that belongs to each particular person, not whole cities together, but) in that day of the kingdom of God, tlianfor that refractory city. God's dealing with Sodom in the day of their destruction with fire and brimstone, shall be acknowledged to have been more supportable, than his dealing with such contumacious impenitent cities of Judea.'—Paraphrase on Matt. x. 15. and Annotations on Matt. iii. 2.
Bishop Pearce says, 'In the day of judgment: i. e. in the day of the destruction of the Jewish state, called the coining of the Son of man, verse 23.' He adds, in a Note, ' The sense of this verse seems to be this. that which formerly bcful Sodom and Gomorrah, was more tolerable than what shall befall this city. That the day of judgment, here mentioned, is to be thus understood, appears from what is said concerning Capernaum, in chap. xi. 23, compared with verses 22 and 24, of the same chapter. Univ. Hist. v. iv. p. 210.'—Commentary and Note on Matt. x. 15.
Dr. Seiler says, ' Perhaps in this passage Jesus had a view to the terrible events which were coming on those cities and their inhabitants in the approaching war, and which were such as the people were then accustomed to regard as divine judgments.' He indeed thinks it also possible that Christ may have referred to a judgment in the next world.—Setter's JVcue Testament, zu Matt. x. 15.
Wakefield translates the text thus: 'Verily I say unto you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in a day of judgment, than for,' &-c. And he adds this Note: '^v -/^i^a .x.faius, in a day of vengeance, punishment, or trial. This is undoubtedly the genuine sense of the phrase, which has not the least reference to the day of general judgment. All that our Saviour intends to say is, that when the temporal calamities of that place come upon it, they will be more severe than even those of Sodom and Gomorrah. See this phrase employed in precisely the same meaning, by the LXX. in Prov. vi. 34, where, instead of xgiisus, Aquila and Theodotion have ixSixijdeus: Isa. xxxiv. 8, and my commentary on this place. Our Saviour, I apprehend, had Jerusalem principally in view in this declaration.'—Wakefield's New Testament, Matt. x. 15, and Note in loco.
Dr. A. Clarke says, 'In the day of judgment: or, punishment, xgidiug. Perhaps not meaning the day of general judgment, nor the day of the destruction of the Jewish state by the Romans; but, a day in which God should send punishment on that particular city, or on that person, for their crimes. So the day of judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah was the time in which the Lord destroyed them by fire and brimstone from the Lord out of heaven.'—Commentary on the New Testament, on Matt. x. 15.
To the foregoing we may add the Unitarian authors of the 'Improved Version' of the New Testament, and Mr. Kcnrick, a Unitarian commentator, all believers in the common doctrine of a day of future judgment. The former translate the text, after Wakefield's manner, thus: 'Verily I say unto you, It shall be