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Such a gift and grant of pardon, and eternal life, we have held forth in the gofpel of Christ, proclaimed to the Gentile world in the testimony God has given concerning his Son, whom he has sent to be the Saviour of the world; where there is nothing, nor in this state of things can there be any thing necessary, but to believe the promise and grant as it stands in Jesus Christ, and to trust in the faithfulness of the great surety-priest, who stands obliged, by his office, to convey the bleffing, by giving eternal life to all that come to him. By the faith or belief of this te. stimony which God has given concerning his Son, and which the Apostle calls the faith of Jesus Christ, the. Gentiles had as full and as perfect a right to the promised life, as God could give: and when the Jews had made all that could be made of their law, they must either perish, or have recourse to the very fame grant of grace by which the Gentiles had their right to pardon and eternal life.
Thus we see how the Jews and how the Gentiles lived; and how the former, with all the distinguishing privileges they boasted of, while they despised the poor
uncircumcised Gentiles, were yet in never a whit better circumstances than they; for they were still finners, and more directly bound under the curse, until they took the same course the Gentiles did, for relief in Christ Jesus. How absurd, then, and foolish, must it have been, to attempt bringing the Gentiles into that situation under the law, which they found themselves obliged to forsaké, as unprofitable,.' and unable to perform what they thoughtlessly expected from it.
What the Apostle adds in verf. 17. has been somewhat differently understood. The words found very like the objection against the doctrine of grace, Rom. vi. 1. and may, in that sense, be consistent enough with the Apostle's views, and the . context. It has been, in all ages, the manner of those who oppose the doctrine of grace, and free justification, as the Apostle was stating it, to assume the air of great concern for holiness of life, and practical godliness, which, they think, cannot be sufficiently secured, but on the plan of what they call moral government, and the sanction of rewards and punishments. The Apostle shows at large, Rom. vi. &
vii. that the highest sovereignty of grace is so far from encouraging any to continue in fin, that it makes it impossible they should: and he says here, that would be to make Christ the minister of fin; ' which he rejects, as every one who knows him will, with abhorrence, and the utmost detestation.
As the Apostle had a fair and full view of the whole system of grace, as it stands in Christ Jesus, continually before him, it cannot be doubted, that he had this well-known calumny under his eye; and forms his discourse with such perfect caution, as to guard the truth of the gospel at all points, so as one needs no more but a fair view of it, to answer all exceptions that can be made against any part of it. Yet when one considers how the words before us stand connected, it would seem he had a more particular intention. He had been representing the absurdity of that enormous zeal the Judaizers were shewing for the law of Moses; that after all they did, or could do, they continued still to be sinners; and were so far from being justified by the law, that they were bound by it under the curse. From this unhappy state
he had shown there was no relief, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, receiving the free gift in him. But, might the Judaizers say, and it is likely they did say its what if those who have believed in Christ, and are justified by faith, are still found finners? And, no doubt, they thought, that neglecting, or not observing the law of Mofes in all points, which they foolishly imagined was to continue for ever, was certainly the greatest sin that could be committed. He answers shortly and strongly, as his manner was in such cases, by putting a question which determines the case at once, Is Christ the minister of fin? as it is plain he would be, if believing in him either led them into any fin, or gave the least handle to continue in it. He rejects the motion with abhorrence, God forbid; and all that know any thing of Christ, will join him cordially.
"It is of little moment to us, whether these words are a continuation of what he said to Peter in presence of the church at Antioch, or addressed to the Galatians, on occasion of that warm and convincing speech. But that they were said with a peculiar eye to the present question about
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the law, seems pretty evident from the reason he gives in the following verses : for so we see he introduces what he there says of his being dead to the law. It çannot be doubted, that what he says, verf. 18. he had destroyed, was imposing the Mosaic or Jewish law on the Gentile Christians. And thus his reasoning will issue in this, That Christ was so far from being the minister of fin, or leaving his disciples finners, that if he, or any one, should attempt to rear up that now ruinous and useless building, as the Judaizing teachers were attempting to do, they offered the greateft indignity to Christ which any creature can offer; and thus make themselves trangreffors, indeed of the most insolent and daring kind: for tcy say, that God's gift of grace can answer no purpose, and that Christ cannot save or justify a sinner, unless that law which he came to set afide, by fulfilling all the purposes of it, be brought in again to finish the work which, he tells his heavenly Father, he had himself finished, Tohn xvii. 4.
The Apostle assures the Galatians, that he never had, nor would have, any hand in such a mad project, nor would any