« PreviousContinue »
is Chrift. 17. And this I say, that the covenant that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
T Had occasion to observe, from the acI count the Apostle gives of Abraham, and those who were his children by faith, that from the first promise made upon the entrance of sin, and the revelation of the conftitution of grace, there was established one uniform order, in which, and in which only, any of the finners of mankind could be sustained as righteous; or, which is the same thing, have a right to eternal life, in the righteous judgement of God. But by what he had said of the curse, under which the law bound all the transgressors of it in any the least point, it might have been deemed impoffible that any one could be saved. The import of the curse was death; and that puts an end to life: thence it must be concluded, as we find the appointment runs, that all men must die. And in this sentence the Gentiles, though they had
nò pofitive law inferring it, were as deeply concerned as the Jews. So that to every created understanding, the total destruction of the human race must have appeared absolutely inevitable.
. But what is impossible with man, and appears fo to every creature, is quite easy with God. The interposal of the promifed feed folves all difficulties; and the Apostle gives it in one short sentence, I Cor. XV. 21. “ As by man came death, by man “ came also the resurrection of the dead;" the fame which he here fets before us, Chrift hath redeemed us from the curse of the law. And never did the weakness and perverseness of human wisdom appear in a stronger light, than in the almost numberless questions and controversies that have been raised on this important subject, on which all the hopes of mankind, for time and eternity, must be founded. We are indeed directed “ to contend " earnestly for the faith once delivered to “ the faints;" but we must be sure first, that what we contend for is this fame faith, and not cur own interpolations and additions to it. The faith in this grand article is fo fully, and so plainly, deliver
VOL. III. Cc
ed in the record we have of it, that no fober Christian needs to give himself any trouble about what learned men have said upon it; which one may say with confidence has contributed greatly more to involve and darken, than to give any further light into the truth as it is in Jesus. · The Apostle informs us here, that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law; and also tells us how he did it, viz. by being made a curse for us; or, literally, he bought us up out of, or from under, the curse of the law. The original curse struck at all the life which lidam had; and especially that which he conveys to us. That doom is fixed and irreversible; and we find it so in fact. When Christ then is said to redeem, or buy up, his people from under the curse of the law, it cannot be understood to mean, that he defigned by it, either to save them from dying, or to restore them to that paradisiacal life which the curse destroyed; but that he delivers them out of that state of death which the curse had brought them into; and which is done, by putting them in possession of an incomparably higher and better life, conveyed by the
free sovereign gift and grant of the only proprietor of it.
“ But it became him, by whom, and “ for whom, all things are, in bringing ma-: “ny sons unto glory, to make the Captain “ of their falvation, their Redeemer, per“ fect through sufferings.” Sin must be condemned and destroyed; and that cannot be done but by the destruction of the finner. Death does that effectually. But it was necessary, that either the finner should be held under death, or that fin should be condemned in a more folemn manner. This was shadowed first in the Old-Testament sacrifices, and the grant of forgiveness annexed to them. But when the ever-blessed Son of God condescended to take upon himself the character of a priestintercessor, and offered himself a sacrifice for sin, laid down his life, gave it a ransom for the lives and souls of finners, or, to fay all in one word, was made a curse for them, it became a juft and a righteous thing with God to forgive the finner, and to raise him up to everlasting life. The grant was cleared of the burden that lay upon it, and carries a full and perfect ; ¢ ¢ 2
right to life to every man who will consent to hold it by this new tenure.
These are plain things ; and will yet be more so, if we carry along what our Lord told his disciples, of the Father appointing or making a grant of the kingdom to him; and compare what he says to his Father, John xvii. of his finishing the work which was given him to do, with the account the Apostle John gives of the testimony of God concerning his Son, 1 John v. 11. But these we do not stand on here: what I mention them for is, to settle the grand point, “ That all things " are of God," and take their rise in his eternal counsels, and unchangcable purposes. And if we will take our Lord's word for it, and the joint testimony of all his apostles, the whole proceeded from, and was designed to prove and commend the astonishing love of God, and his everblessed Son, his perfect image in all respects, and especially that of his love; such love as proves him to be essential love: “ God so loved the world,” John iii. 16.; “ God commendeth his love to us,” Rom. v. 8.; “ Herein is love," i John iv. 10, And the proof of all is no other than this,