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could it answer any purpose, I mean the law of Moses as it was given to the Jewish nation; that it could answer no purpose, but bad ones, which he had more than hinted in his former discourse, and by and by designed to affert in the strongest terms. He now proceeds to show, in what situation he and his countrymen were while they continued under it. : • He had faid, and proved, that they were held in close custody, confined, as it were, under a guard, that they could not exceed the bounds set them ; a state rather more disagreeable to mankind than open fervitude. But that same confinement was greatly for their interest: it was designed to continue but for a time until the feed pould come, by whom all who would accept of that favour were to be translated into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. This very naturally led him to another image, vers. 1. & 2. by which he represents their condition, viz. that of an heir in his childhood and ininority. However large the estate may be which he is heir to, yet until the time come that the father has set for his entering upon the disposal and management of it, he differs nothing from a VOL. III.
fervant, as our translators modestly render it: but the Apostle's word denotes a bondfervant, or what we call a Nave. The flave was secured in food and clothing, such as his master saw fit to allot him: And the richest heir has no more, except what is necessary for his education, and even that he has not at his own option, but what his tutors and curators, those whom the management of the inheritance is committed to, are pleased to chuse for him.
Such, he says, was the condition of all who were held under the law: they were in a state of infancy or nonage; and they were held in bondage, with what was equivalent to the drudgery of that ftate, learning the rudiments or elements of what they understood nothing of; but which yet were to be of use to them in their riper age. I need not add any thing to what I had occasion to observe on the former chapter. What we have here laid before us concerns the employment, or task rather, which they who were put under the guardianship of the law had imposed on them; and if we understand it right, we will need no further evidence
of their being what the Apostle calls them, little children, in a state of nonage, as we call it. :. Our translation makes but a very dark account of what they were in bondage under. The elements of the world, the Apostle's word, does indeed fignify the materials of which any thing is made, before they are put into their due form and order; but it signifies likewise whạt we call the rudiments or ground-work, the elements or fundamental principles of any art or science; and which are common. ly taught to make way for the more perfect knowledge of that art or science. And such they must have been: for they were .. designed to lead to Christ, and that high ftation in him which the child thu's kept ; in bondage was designed for. And such we find all the institutions and ordinances : of the law were; wisely framed into a compacted system for answering this purpose; and so necessary, that without some good acquaintance with these, it is hardly possible, I might' say altogether impossible, to attain a right understanding of the gospel of Christ, as might easily be shown almost in every instance. The L 12
whole of the New-Testament language is founded on Old-Testament usages; párticularly what relates to the fundamental doctrine of the priesthood and facrifice of Christ for the putting away sin. The whole ritual institutions were fubfervient to this purpose; and there is hardly one circumstance that is not alluded to in some part or other of the apostolical writings.'
Thus far all is plain and eafy. The only difficulty is, how the Apostle comes to call these divine institutions elements or rudiments of the world, when they answered the spiritual purpose of preparing and leading forward the student to the knowledge of Christ and his falvation ; his high office as Saviour, and his fpiritual kingdom. We need seek no further for the reason of this title. These fpiritual and heavenly things were figured, or we might fay, imaged, by sensible and material things. God showed Mofes in the mount a pattern of the tabernacle, and all its furniture contrived by himself, that is, by perfect wisdom; and gave him a charge to make all things exactly according to it. All the materials were earthly; the priests were men of the
world;' world; it ftood, the Apostle says, Heb. ix." 10. in meats and drinks, and divers wall ings;--the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer, Sprinkling the unclean : A worldly sanctuary, a worldly ministry, and a worldly service. A shadow indeed, and a sort of figure of good things, very burdensome, Acts xv. 10:and very unprofitable:“ for it was impossible that the blood “ of bulls and goats could take away sin," nor could all their washings cleanse from its defilement. The utmost effect of them was, “ to fanctify to the purification of the flesh," and put them in a capacity of approaching the worldly fanctuary, and drawing near to the material exhibition of the glory of God in the light of fire and cloud, as in the wilderness, and the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy-seat. .. Had the unhappy Jewish nation learned these rudiments to any purpose, they would have felt and groaned under their bondage; and (as those who understood them did) have looked and longed for the promised Redeemer, who was to bring in ever