Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” lv. 4, 5. a witness to the people,” &c. lvi. 3, &c. “neither let the son of the stranger

speak, saying, Jehovah hath utterly separated me from his people.” lxvi. 21. “I will also take of them for priests and Levites, saith Jehovah.” Jer. iii. 17. “all the nations shall be gathered unto it,' xxv. 8, &c. “ because ye have not heard my words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north Hagg. ii. 7. “ ne desire of all nations shall come.” Zech. viii. 20. “ there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities.”

On the introduction of the gospel, or new covenant through faith in Christ, the whole of the preceding covenant, in other words, the entire Mosaic law, was abolished. Jer. xxxi. 31– 33. as above. Luke xvi. 16. " the law and the prophets were until John.” Acts xv. 10. “now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear ?” Rom. iii. 21.

now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested.”' vi. 14. “ye are not under the law, but under grace.” vii. 4. ye also are become dead te the law by the body of Christ, that should be married to another, even to him that is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” v.

[ocr errors]

ye

6. now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held, that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” In the beginning of the same chapter the apostle illustrates our emancipation from the law by the instance of a wife who is loosed from her husband who is dead. v. 7. I had not known sin but by the law, (that is, the whole law, for the expression is unlimited) for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” It is in the decalogue that the injunction here specified is contained ; we are therefore absolved from subjection to the decalogue as fully as to the rest of the law.9 viii. 15. “ye have not received the spirit of bondage

9 This opinion, that it was inconsistent with the liberty of the gospel to consider the decalogue as a law binding on Christians, is probably the reason why Milton forbears to mention it, where Michael describes to Adam the civil and ritual commandments delivered to the Jews. The omission is too remarkable not to have been designed, considering the noble opportunity which would have been afforded for enlarging on its moral precepts. See Paradise Lost, XII. 230--248.

again to fear.” xiv. 20. “all things indeed are pure,” compared with Tit. i. 15. “ unto the pure all things are pure ; but into them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure, but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” 1 Cor. vi. 12. “all things are lawful to me, but all things are not expedient; all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” x. 23. “all things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient ; all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” 2 Cor. iii. 3. “ not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.' v. 6—8. “ministers of the new testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life : but if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious .... how shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious ?” v. 11. “if that which was done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth glorious.” v. 15. "the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished.” v. 17. “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature ; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Gal. iii. 19.“ wherefore then serveth the law? it was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come, to whom the promise was made.” v. 25.

after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” iv. I, &c. the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant.... until the time appointed of the father : even so we, when we were children, were in bondage, under the elements of the world ; but when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were uder the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Compare also v. 21, addressed to those who desired to be under the law; and v. 24, of Hagar and Sarah,“ these are the two covenants; the one from the mormt Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar .... but Jerusalem which is above.” v. 26. "is free :” hence v. 30. “ cast out the bondwoman and her son ; for the son of the bondwoman shall not be lieir with the son of the freewoman.” v. 18. “if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." Eph. ii. 14, 1.5. “who hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us, having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of conimandments contained in ordinances.” Now not only the ceremonial

code, but the whole positive law of Moses, was a law of coinmandments, and contained in ordinances; nor was it the ceremonial law which formed the sole ground of distinction between the Jews and Gentiles, as Zanchius on this passage contends,' but the whole law; seeing that the Gentiles, 12,

were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenant of promise,” which promise was made to the works of the whole law, not to those of the ceremonial alone; nor was it to these latter only that the enmity between God and us was owing, y. 16. So Coloss. ii. 14-17. “blotting out the hand-writing of ordinances that was against us

.. he took it out of the way,” &c. Heb. vii. 12, 15, 16. “the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also in the law.... there ariseth another priest, who is made not after the law of a carnal commandment.” v. 18. "there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before, (that is, of the commandment of works) for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof." viii. 13. “in that he saith, a new covenant, he hath made the first old ; now that which decayeth and waxeth old, is ready to vanish away.” xii. 18.

ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words ; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more....

.... but ye are come unto mount Sion .... and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant."

It is generally replied, that all these passages are to be understood only of the abolition of the ceremonial law. This is refuted, first, by the definition of the law itself, as given in the preceding chapter, in which are specified all the various reasons for its enactment: if therefore, of the causes which led to the enactment of the law considered as a whole, every one is revoked or obsolete, it follows that the whole law itself must be annulled also. The principal reasons then which are given for the enactment of the law are as follows; that it might call forth and develope our natural depravity; that

1 Dissidii causâ sublatâ, h. e. lege rituum, animisque pacatis et inter se amicis. Zanchius in loc.

. Therefore was law giv'n them to evince
Their natural pravity by stirring up
Sin against law to fight.

Paradise Lost, XII. 287.

&c. 56

2

by this means it might work wrath ; that it might impress us with a slavish fear through consciousness of divine enmity, and of the hand-writing of accusation that was against us; that it might be a schoolmaster to bring us to the righteousness of Christ; and others of a similar description. Now the texts quoted above prove clearly, both that all these causes are now abrogated, and that they have not the least connection with the ceremonial law.

First then, the law is abolished principally on the ground of its being a law of works; that it might give place to the law of grace. Rom. iü. 27.“ by what law ? of works?

nay,

but by the law of faith.” xi. 6. “if by grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace.” Now the law of works was not solely the ceremonial law, but the whole law.

Secondly, iv. 15.“ the law worketh wrath ; for where no law is, there is no transgression.” It is not however a part, but the whole of the law that worketh wrath ; inasmuch as the transgression is of the whole, and not of a part only. Seeing then that the law worketh wrath, but the gospel grace, and that wrath is incompatibie with grace, it is obvious that the law cannot co-exist with the gospel.

Thirdly, the law of which it was written, “the man that doeth them shall live in them,” Gal. iii. 12. Lev. xviii. 5. and, “cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them,” Deut. xxvii. 26. Gal. iii. 10. was the whole law. From “ the curse of this law Christ hath redeemed us," v. 13. inasmuch as we were unable to fufil it ourselves. Now to fulfil the ceremonial law could not have been a matter of difficulty ; it must therefore have been the entire Mosaic law from which Christ delivered us. Again, as it was against those who did not fulfil the whole law that the curse was denounced, it follows that Christ could not have redeemed us from that curse, unless he had abrogated the whole law; if therefore he abrogated the whole, no part of it can be now binding upon us.

Fourthly, we are taught, 2 Cor. iii. 7. that the law written and engraven in stones was the ministration of death, and therefore was done away. Now the law engraven in stones was not the ceremonial law, but the decalogue.

Fifthly, that which was, as just stated, a law of sin and death, (of sin, because it is a provocative to sin ; of death,

[ocr errors]

We are

because it produces death, and is in opposition to the law of the spirit of life,) is certainly not the ceremonial law alone, but the whole law. But the law to which the above description applies, is abolished ; Rom. viii. 2. “the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

Sixthly, it was undoubtedly not by the ceremonial law alone that the motions of sin which were by the law, wrought in our members to bring forth fruit unto death,” Rom. vii. 5. But of the law which thus operated it is said that we become dead thereto," v. 4. and “that being dead wherein we were held,” v. 6. “we are delivered from it, as a wife is free “ from the law of her husband who is dead,” v. 3. therefore “ delivered," v. 6. not from the ceremonial law alone, but from the whole law of Moses.

Seventhly, all believers, inasmuch as they are justified by God through faith, are undoubtedly to be accounted righteous ; but Paul expressly asserts that “the law is not made for a righteous man,” 1 Tim. i. 9. Gal. v. 22, 23.

If however any law were to be made for the righteous, it must needs be a law which should justify. Now the ceremonial law alone was so far from justifying, that even the entire Mosaic law had not power to effect this, as has been already shewn in treating of justification. Gal. iii. 11, &c. therefore it must be the whole law, and not the ceremonial part alone, which is abrogated by reason of its inability in this respect.

To these considerations we may add, that that law which, not only cannot justify, but is the source of trouble and subversion to believers ; which even tempts God if we endeavour to perform its requisitions; which has no promise attached to it, or, to speak more properly, which takes away and frustrates all promises, whether of inheritance, or adoption, or grace, or of the Spirit itself; nay, which even subjects us to a curse ; must necessarily have been abolished. If then it can be shewn that the above effects result, not from the ceremonial law alone, but from the whole law, that is to say, the law of works in a comprehensive sense, it will follow that the whole law is abolished; and that they do so result, I shall proceed to shew from the clearest passages of Scripture. With regard to the first point, Acts xv. 24. “We have heard that certain which went out from us have troubled

you

with

« PreviousContinue »