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Gentile churches; and that, when he had, as on this occasion he certainly had, the strongest temptations to have been filent on that head. i . But what he said to Peter, the terms in which he rebuked him, and the reasons with which he supports his rebuke, fets this yet in a stronger light; and was, at the fame time, most proper to recover those of the Galatians who were drawn into the snare, and to support and strengthen the hands of those who stood. He lays the foundation of it in a fuppofition, which he well knew Peter neither would nor could deny, viz. 'that he lived as the Gentiles do, though he was a natural Jew, and had all the advantages the law could give; so that nothing could be more absurd, than for him to put the Gentiles

under a necessity of living as the Jews do. i No body will imagine that he meant

to say, that Peter lived in the same manner the Gentiles did in their natural state, while they were without Christ, strangers to the covenants of promise, without hope, and without God in the world, as himself describes their unhappy state, Eph. ii. 3. They were the Christian Gentiles, such

VOL. III. 0,: . . of of them as had believed in Christ, he means; strangers indeed to the Jewish law, and expecting no manner of ad-' vantage by it ; but far from being in a hopeless condition, as they were before they believed in Christ, in whom all the promises are yea, and in him amen. In him they had all, and greatly more than the most perfect observers of Moses's law had to expect by their most punctual obedience.

Thus we find himself explaining his meaning, verf. 18.; where it appears, that he did Peter no injury when he said, he lived as the Gentiles did; and said no inore than himself was very ready to acknowledge, and had acknowledged in the most open and avowed manner. The great point, which all mankind, Jews and Gentiles, are most deeply concerned in, was then, and ever will be, How a finner can be secured in the pardon of sin, and acquire such a right to eternal life, as that he may appear with confidence before the great Sovereign Judge. The Jews, in the unhappy state the bulk of that nation was in, from the time they


had lost the right knowledge of the law
given to their fathers by Moses, and the
promise made to their father Abraham,
had nothing left them but the bare letter;
where there was no promise of any thing
but the bare pardon of fin; no security a-
gainst relapses, nor any assurance of any
happiness beyond the grave; which be-
trayed the sect of the Sadducees, the most
learned among them in the letter of the
law, into that Atheistical notion, that
death and the grave made a final end of
the man. For that was the uniform tenor
of their law, leaving no room nor allow-
ance for repentance, amendment, or any
of those other falvos men have invented,
to sooth themselves into foolish and
groundless hopes of, they know not what:
« For it is written, Cursed is every one
“ who continueth not in all things writ-
" ten in the book of the law to do them."
And such is the nature of that curse, that
it never leaves the unhappy subject on
which it once rests, until it be absolutely
destroyed. This appears abundantly from
what we have recorded in the Old-Testa-
ment history: and yet more from this,
that this fame curse of the law, is the con.

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stitution and righteous fentence of the great sovereign of heaven and earth, and which can no more fail of its effect than the God of truth can lie. He can raise the dead finner, slain by the curfe of his Taw; but he has precluded himself from saving him from death. As then it is a certain, and universally acknowledged truth, that all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, it would have been a plain truth, though it had never been taken notice of before Paul said it, “ That “ by the deeds of the law no flesh living

“ can be justified: but indeed the Pfal· mist had said it very long before him,

Pfal. cxliii. 2. “ Enter not into judgement '" with thy servant; for in thy fight no “ fesh living can be justified.”

There is hardly a word in the Bible, (as indeed there is none of greater importance to mankind), which has occafioned more jangling and dispute than the word justify; and yet hardly can any thing be plainer than the thing meant by it. Were the text just now quoted from the Pfalmift duly considered, I am pretty sure it would determine the, whole affair. It is an appeal from a judgement-feat to a

throne .

throne of grace; from a court of justice,
where strict law is the rule, to a court of
grace, where law has no place, but free
fovereign grace and merciful kindness is .
the only measure : thither the man who
ftands condemned in law, must have his
recourse, or perish. The mercy and good-
ness of the divine nature may give some
faint glimmerings of hope; but nothing
can give any tolerable confidence, but an
express: declaration of the sovereign, and
an express grant of pardon and eternal
life, upon the convicted criminals appeal
to a throne of grace. Justifying implies
more than bare pardon. It supposes a ju-
dicial procedure; according to which none
can be justified, but such as have a right
to live, and some righteousness to 'plead
upon. “Had there been a law given that
could have given life," the Apostle.
says, “ righteousness might have been
“had by a perfect conformity to that
“ law.” But he takes it for granted, that
there was no such law; for the law of
God, in whatever view we take it, con-
demns and curses the sinner: but the great-
eft finner ever was may acquire a perfect
right, by the free pardon and grant of life.


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