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has established, and thereby they judge God, as the Jews crucified Christ.
An examination of the text has enabled us to lay down such certain principles as will correct some modern mistakes. The law, you see, did not give life. It could not give it, because the promise had given it before: and had the law given it, the promise must have lost it.-Some have hence concluded, that the Jews under the law had no knowledge of another life and another world. But what do they mean? that while the Jews practised the book of Leviticus, they were not permitted to read the book of Genesis, which told them of the fall of man from life to death; of the promised seed; of the life, and pilgrimage, and death, and burial, of the patriarchs; of the intercourse of man with God and with his angels? Could they know these things, and know nothing of another world? Is such an opinion worthy of a man of learning, which is scarcely worthy of a child? We allow it to be true as a fact, that the Jews preferred the carnal part of their law, and neglected the spiritual: but it is much to be lamented that any Christians should follow them in their mistake, and lay the fault upon the bible, as if the books of Moses were wholly secular. But as this has been done, it was
wise in the Church of England to provide against this error in her seventh article; where we are rightly taught, that in the Old Testament and New everlasting life is offered to mankind by Jesus Christ; and that they are not to be heard, which feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises.
It seems indeed true, that the promises of God, so far as they are added to the law of works, are transitory, and do relate to this world only. The promises of the law are given to two covenants; so it has promises and better promises*; promises temporal, and promises spiritual. And are not Christians at this day upon the same terms? have they not a promise of this world, and of that which is to come? I look upon the cases of the Jew and the Christian as perfectly similar; and that as temporal blessings were given to the due observance of the law of Moses, so the promise of this world is given to the keeping of God's commandments, while faith only can entitle us to the promise of the world to come.
A good argument for the divine original of the law of Moses may be founded upon its temporal promises. For who but God, the Proprietor of the World, and the Disposer of all Events, could
*Heb. viii. 6. See Eph. ii. 12.
could fulfil those promises? Human lawgivers have added punishments and penalties, for those are in their power; but they never added promises, which were out of their power. Who was it that could bring armies of aliens to vex and punish the sins of Israel; and who could turn them to flight, but the same God, who could blow with his wind, and carry an army of locusts into the Red Sea? Therefore a law promising and threatening such things as are above man, could come only from God, who was able to fulfil his promises. And unless the nation, who were so many ages under the law, had found them true, they would have had no reason to remain any longer under it. The argument is very plain, and can never be answered.
When we reflect on the case of the Jews, and the principle on which they fell away, it must occur to our minds (because we see too much of it before our eyes) that Christians fall away after the same example. They are born under the promises of the gospel; but they aim at nothing more than the keeping up of a moral character, because common honesty is absolutely requisite to those who would obtain and enjoy the blessings of this life. But when will you find such people at their bibles? When will
you find them at their prayers? When will you find them at any good work for the love of Christ, and the prospect of an heavenly kingdom? If all these were selected out of a country called Christian (profligates and atheists I take not into the account), and we were to add to them the multitude of those who justify themselves, and expect to be saved by their own works as the Jews did, there would be left a remnant, but only a remnant, of those who keep the faith, and follow the steps, and look for the reward of their father Abraham.
That we may understand these things better every day, may God of his mercy grant, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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