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of but with all the horrors of despair, were they not soothed with the views of a throne of grace, which they seem so loth to owe their all to.
On these views it will be eafy to perceive the reason of the question the Apostle puts, verf. 19. and the juítness of what he gives in answer to it. That poor thoughtless people had so far loft sight of the promises made to the fathers, except that lowest one of the gift of Canaan, that they knew no other use of the law, but to make out a fort of a title to life by their obedience. He gives a very different account of that transaction: It was added, he says, because of tranfgreffons; or on account, as the particle may be rendered, i.e. for the sake of transgreffons. It might be asked, For the tranfgressions of what law or rule? for himself gives it as a plain truth, That where there is no law, there is no transgression. . And by the word he uses, the law was added, it appears there was something subfisting before that law which might have answered all the purposes of life without it, had it not been for transgressions. The native import of the word transgression is, going besides, or out of the way; which supposes such a way to be G g 2
fome how or other lying before them. Those interpreters who make what they call the moral law the rule, and that the turning off from, or transgresling it, is what the Apostle means, find themselves much difficulted to make good sense of the Apostle's words. For besides what this same Apostle tells us, Rom. vii. 7. et Jegg. the law was so far from mending the matter, that fin was rather irritated and strengthened by it; and all it could do was to discover fin, and slay the sinner. But if it even could do any thing, why was it limited to the time that the feed jould come, who had the promised blessing to bestow? as he plainly says it was.
This, if I mistake not much, gives the true key to what he says of the law, that “ it was added because of transgression." I need not observe, that it is the law of Moses he says was added; and that it is a system fo exactly framed by perfect wifdom, and so closely compacted, one part to answer another, and forward the design of the whole, that however different the parts may appear, yet they cannot be feparated or taken apart, without destroying the system. We must likewise carry along with
us the revelation of the system of grace in the first promise, the universal apoftafy which brought on the deluge, the renovation of the promise of God's Berith to Noah, who became heir to the righteousness of faith, the apostafy which foon took place among his descendents, and was like to become general, when God made a new grant of his Berith to Abraham in the promise of the feed. By the time the Israelites were brought out of Egypt, the apostasy had prevailed almost universally; and that the knowledge of God and his Berith, or eternal salvation ... in the promised feed, might not be entirely loft, that people were placed in the land of Canaan to be witnesses for him, and a law given them, bearing the most perfect representation that could be made of the state of mankind, as God had established it in the constitution of grace, or law of faith, as the Apostle calls it. The belief of the promise naturally, and I may say necessarily, inferred returns of gratitude and love. The transgressing this great law of love was strongly cautioned against in that part of the law which is called moral. Death was the penalty; the
most serious repentance could not secure pardon. Recourse must be had to the facrifice which God had appointed; and when that was wilfully neglected by any, that foul was to be destroyed without mercy. I need not 'spend words to show how all this was what the Apostle calls a figure for the time then present, Heb. ix. 9. and how well fitted for keeping up the knowledge of the way of life. But when the feed came, with the fullness of the blessing in his hand, there was no more occasion for figures and models. The way of life by faith in Jesus Christ, and the free sovereign gift of grace, was fairly laid open, and the whole counfel of God was notified to the world with the greatest plainness of speech. - What follows in this and in the next verse, which is visibly an inference from this, or rather the improvement of it to the purpofe he intended to serve by it, has occafioned a great variety of conjectures about the true sense and meaning. The word he uses, Saraytis, is somewhat ambiguous, and may be constructed, either to refer to the giving of the law at Sinai, or to the internal frame and constitution of it, and the order established by it.
Most interpreters take it in the first view, and find difficulties next to insuperable in almost every word. Our translators have made use of a word which is certainly too strong for the connection in which they have placed it. It was, say they, ordained by angels; which seems naturally to point us to them, not as ministers or servants, but either as the au- , thors and contrivers of it, or at least those by whose authority that law was given. But as this is too gross for any one to furmise, it could not be the meaning of the translators, much less that of the Apostle.
The furthest, then, that any one can venture to say, is, that it was given by the ministry of angels. But the difficulty casts up, What ministry, or what part to aslign them in that folemn transaction ? Moses, it is evident, takes no notice of any creature employed there, but thunder and lightning, flaming fire and thick smoke. And when he tells us expressly, that JEHOVAH spake all these words, it would seem too daring boldness for such a puny being as the most learned man is, to take upon him to say, it was not JE