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sistance.” I quote these words of Mosheim, because he was a very learned and candid man: yet his statement is quite the reverse of the truth, though some orthodox divines have gone much further, and represent the moral virtues, so far from being the means of acceptance with God, as being but splendid vices. The true state of the dispute between the false teachers and the apostle, was precisely the following: The former maintained that the works of the law were the only ground of confidence towards God; the latter, that faith in Christ laid this foundation. Now by the works of the law, the impostors meant the rites of the law, such as circumcision and other ordinances of the Levitical code; nor did these rites by any means imply the great duties of piety and morality. For this distinction the evidence is complete. The champions for the works of the law, as the means of justification, so far from being holy and devout, denied and reviled the God of their fathers : so far from being good and just, they were immoral in the extreme, and gloried in the most shameful actions. On the other hand, by faith, the apostle meant repentance and reformation through faith in Christ. With him faith is not the mere belief of certain mysteries incomprehensible by reason, but an influential principle of action, striking its root in the heart, and producing in the conduct the fruits of righteousness. And when men began to go to the opposite extreme, and to consider faith as a virtue in itself, the very apostle who pleaded for faith, in opposition to the ceremonial law, was the first to say, “ Though I have all faith, so that I can remove mountains, and liave no charity, I am nothing."

In the writings of Paul we perceive with the greatest clearness and certainty, the true nature of those works in which the false teachers made their own righteousness to consist, and which they pleaded as the ground of confidence towards God. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul thus writes: “ Beware of those dogs; beware of their wicked practices; beware of their biting you; for we are the true circumcision, who pay a religious service to God in the mind, and boast in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though indeed I have room for confidence in the flesh: for if any one may presume to have confidence in the flesh, I have still more. I was circumcised the eighth day, of the race of Israel ; of the tribe of Benjamin; a Hebrew from Hebrews; with respect to the law a Pharisee ; with respect to zeal a persecutor of the church ; according to the righteousness of the law, blameless. But these things which were gain, I count but loss in respect to Christ. Nay, indeed, I count all things but loss, in respect to the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” Phil. iii. 2–9. Here we see enumerated those privileges, in which the deceivers confided, and on which they founded their hope of salvation.From the possession of them, they held themselves righteous in the eye of the law; while in a moral view they gloried in their shame, resembling those dogs, which are prompted by fury to bite men, and by hunger to devour the grossest filth. Is it not strange and preposterous, then, to conclude that, because the Apostle under the phrase “ works of the law” decries ritual observances, and hereditary distinctions, as the means of salvation, he intended to decry the exercise of virtue, and the use of those talents imparted to us in the ordinary course of Providence, as the grounds of the same heavenly object ?

2. The false teachers, adhering to the literal interpretation of the sacred writings, insisted on the validity of the Levitical code ; while Jesus and his followers, interpreting the same writings in a metaphorical sense, laid aside that code, and substituted a refined system of religion, adapted for all mankind. Philo thus expresses the state of the dispute between these two parties “ The interpretation of the sacred writings is made by them in an implied allegorical sense : for the law, in the opinion of these men, resembles a living being ; the express literal signification constitutes the body, while the implied spiritual sense forms the soul of these scriptures.” vol. ii. p. 483. This comparison of the law to a living being, will account for a remarkable feature which pervades the epistles of Paul, namely, the literal sense being called the flesh; and the metaphorical the spirit; as in the following verse, “ We henceforth know no one according to the flesh; if we have known Christ according to the flesh, we now no longer know him so." 2 Cor. v. 16. To know Christ according to the flesh, is to know him in a literal sense, to expect a temporal Messiah. In another place Paul calls the external figures, which as it were concealed the metaphorical or literal sense, a veil; and those who literally adhered to the figure only, he compares to men who read Moses with a veil over their faces. 6 But their minds are blinded ; for to this day the same veil remaineth in the reading of the old covenant, it being not discovered by them, that in Christ the veil is done away (i. e. the literal sense is superseded). But even to this day, when Moses is read, the veil lies over their hearts, But when any one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed : for the Lord is a spirit:"i.e. in his interpretation of Moses being metaphorical, he, as the Messiah, is no longer to be deemed a temporal, but a spiritual king. 2 Cor. iii. 14. He adds, “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom ;" which means, “Though in a literal sense we may be subject to a foreign power, though oppressed by cruelty and usurpation, yet being the subject of a spiritual Messiah, and, as such, free from the slavish yoke of sin, we enjoy the noblest freedom." In 1 Cor. ii. 6—15, the Apostle adverts to the two methods of interpreting the law; the advocate for the literal sense he calls, ó fuxixos, the animal man, while the espouser of the metaphorical he terms

TVEUPLATIxos, the spiritual. Moreover, in another place, the system of the former he styles σαρκικη σοφια, fleshly wisdom; and its teachers, ói sv cagxi Ovres, those who are in the flesh. The word cagg, flesh, it should be observed, implies sensuality or gross passion, in contradistinction to reason; and when Paul applies the word to his opponents, he has a direct reference to the impurities in which they indulged. They blasphemed God, derided the holy prophets, whom he sent to teach men the eternal laws of virtue : and it is with this reference, and with this limitation, that the language of Paul is to be understood, when he says, “ The mind of the flesh is enmity towards God : for it subjects not itself to the law of God, nor can it do so.

Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Rom. viii. 7, 8.

Josephus says of the Jew and his associates, that they were men wicked in every respect; and the Apostle, in his letter to the Romans, has selected from the Psalms a passage the most appropriate, because it was descriptive of their peculiar character, “ There is none righ-, teous, (neither Jew nor Gentile,) no not one; there is none that hath understanding ; there is none that dili. gently seeketh God. They all have turned aside; they are altogether become unprofitable : there is none that doeth good, no not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre. They have deceived with their tongues : the. poison of asps is under their lips; their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness ; their feet are swift to shed blood. Straitness and distress are in their ways, and the way of peace they have not known; there is no fear of God before their eyes.” Rom. iii. 10-19. Is this intended as a general description of what all mankind, in every age and country, are by nature, or is it intended to describe the peculiar character of men notoriously wicked? Of the impostors, whether Jews or Egyptians, who first taught the Gnostic system, it might have been said with truth, “ None was righteous, all

were unprofitable.” Though they pretended to teach the philosophy of Moses, they were without understanding. Being worshippers of the serpent, and making it the object of their imitation, “they deceived with their tongues, and had the poison of asps under their lips.” As they were exposed on one hand by the faithful believers, and punished on the other by the Roman government, “ their mouth was full of cursing and bitterness.” Finally, being actuated by a sanguinary and vindictive temper, “they swiftly directed their feet to the shedding of blood :” and as they vilified the Creator of the world, “the fear of him was not before their

eyes."

The above passages of the Apostle Paul have been adduced to prove, that man is radically depraved ; that the exercise of his moral powers in their natural state is altogether unprofitable, and at enmity with God; that these powers therefore require to be changed by some mysterious supernatural influence, or they cannot be acceptable to him. This is a gross perversion of his language, in support of a doctrine which never entered into his thoughts. And the attempt to prove these immoral and pernicious doctrines from the writings of Paul, is one great cause of the rancour with which he is treated by unbelievers : and this takes away in part the guilt from the enemies of the Gospel, and places it, where it ought to lie, on the shoulders of its mistaken friends.

II. The term purtigrov, mystery, often occurs in the writings of Paul, and is generally understood to mean a doctrine incomprehensible to reason. But this notion is the widest possible from the object which the Apostlo had in the use of this term. Mystery is not something incomprehensible, but something not comprehended for not being explained. In composition, when a discourse, such as a fable, parable, or allegory, is so worded as to have a figurative sense, known to the author only, or to

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