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shadow of a commutation which they represented without the shadow of a chance of effecting a real. But such has not been the case, the whole Levitical or shadowing system of commutation having, if not effectual in itself, been instituted by God as preparatory in the way both of training and evidence-to one that is really commutative; making its effect to have been, not a shadow like itself, but an honest and important, if not indispensable medium for the time, that is during THE LEVITICAL INTERIM, as it may be called *, between the old dispensation and the new, the time before Shiloh and after Abraham, after Isaac, after Jacob, and other patriarchs; who “all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and been persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed, that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth."† (Heb. xi. 13.) "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things," (Ib. x. 1,) must needs continue to the coming of that Image, and then be a body to the same. So "when he cometh into the world he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not: but a body hast thou prepared me:" (Ib. 5, &c. :) and what body could that be, but the preparation that was made for Christian faith in "the law and the testimony," as a human body was prepared for their Author, the Word of life, the eternal Word which was made flesh, and dwelled among us full of grace and truth" (John i. 14) in the womb of a blessed virgin?
Thus if God was its Father, the law was a mother to the gospel: if God gave this treasure, the law was given as a key to it: if God was its Inventor, the law was its expounder, or schoolmaster, as St. Paul says, 66 Before faith came we were kept under the law, shut up unto the
It cannot be called an Interregnum.
See the marginal reference in the Oxford Bible. It might save one some writing and repetition, if one could only refer to that useful index as often as one finds one's self anticipated by it.
faith, which should afterward be revealed. Wherefore THE LAW WAS OUR SCHOOLMASTER, TO BRING US UNTO
CHRIST, that we might be justified by faith." (Gal. iii. 23, 24.) And the same may be said of the course of the gospel itself; namely, that one establishment, now almost superannuated, has been schoolmaster, or schoolmistress, to some fair daughters of Jerusalem,- not only younger and more attractive, but also wiser and more efficient than herself.
But as for the Gospel-Kingdom rising like a phenix out of the ashes of the law, it is no more thau was predicted by Israel himself in that last solemn blessing of his children which I have indicated before now* as one of the finest scenes upon record: when turning to Judah he said, "Thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise.-The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet (that is, a native lawgiver) until Shiloh come +; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." (Gen. xlix. 8, 10.) For if the sceptre had been by this time gradually reduced to a shadow in Judah, partly through the rapacity of the gentiles, but chiefly through the degeneracy of its subjects, its shadow was still kept up for the sake of the transfer so predicted. And this appears to have been the most peculiar penalty of the Kingdom during the INTERIM, or its legal preparation, the reduction of the people to political misery and depression, as often as they should deviate from the law of Moses, and from the faith of their fathers,-from the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by necessary consequence; as the Object of faith observes. "For had ye believed Moses (says he) ye would have believed me:
for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" (John v. 46, 47.)
* In Vol. I. 384, note.
+ Or rather "His destiny," "The world's Expectation." (Septuagint.) There are some suspicious matters about the Hebrew reading connected with the history of the time referred to by Jacob's prediction.
And it is remarkable what Moses wrote from the mouth of the Lord on this head, "I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him ;" (Deut. xviii. 18, 19;) taking the offence as it were to himself. So he says elsewhere by the same. 66 "And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me, (being just the same) then I will walk contrary unto you also; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons; and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. And I will make your cities. waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste." (Lev. xxvi. 21, 28, &c.)
The same penalties are threatened to the same offence of rejecting the divine Word, whether written or incarnate, continually in the progress of the new dispensation, and in its course of preparation by the law and the prophets; of which it is needless to multiply examples, since they are as obvious in Scripture as their fulfilment in the fate of God's people. And the severest penalty attaching to offenders either singly or collectively, in a civil or in a political relation, is also rather evangelical, though not exclusively. For what the Gospel threatens clearly and directly, the law alludes to likewise mysteriously and obliquely, I mean the fearful penalties of a future state: as for example, in the law; where God speaking prospectively by Moses, says of the people, "They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have
provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains." (Deut. xxxii. 21, 22.) And subsequently it is said by the Psalmist, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the people that forget God:" (Ps. ix. 17 :) also by Solomon, "Hell and destruction are never full." (Prov. xxvii. 20.) And whether the awful disclosure of future penalties was chiefly reserved for the Gospel, like that of future enjoyments, or not, it is here, as I before signified, that we have the clearest acknowledgment of the same that has ever appeared on authority; revelation ripening continually as it advances with the course of time.
Many seem to have a notion, that the Gospel is only a system of impunity and forgiveness: a pretty notion to have of it, truly! And another sort with equal propriety will rather consider this gift of divine love, as a system of persecution: but the truth happens to be on neither side. The Gospel among other advantages, embraces a system of spiritual jurisdiction, supporting and being supported by the temporal. Only the temporal jurisdiction is a blessing to mankind, when it happens to be framed by the Gospel; how much more the Gospel itself, our Soul-law, (if the phrase be not too puritanical) by which that jurisdiction is framed! What I have said of it may be enough to shew, that the Gospel implies a greater responsibility than the law, and the new-than the old dispensation, instead of less; as our years of discretion imply a greater responsibility than the days of childhood. So the Author of the new dispensation says of its opponents very directly, "If I had not come and spoken unto them they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin;" (John xv. 22;) and again, "Think not, that
I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily, I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." (Matt. v. 17, 18.) So St. Paul, "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.--For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. vi. 15, 23.) From all which it would seem, that we are not acquitted by the Gospel of one real duty or obligation: but on the contrary, that as we enjoy greater privileges by this new dispensation, we at the same time justly incur a greater responsibility thereby, if possible, than belonged to the old.
Having thus explained as well as my limits would permit the foundation of penalties for transgression in the law, with its confirmation by the Gospel, I do not feel disposed to trace the painful subject any farther that way, nor in the way of moral degradation, or of the punishment of sin by reprobation which I have noticed before now*, however vital a doctrine it may be of the gospel, or new, dispensation: I may by this time have said enough of penalties; and shall now proceed to the principal and more pleasing theme of forgiveness, with some further remarks on the system of commutation by which it is effected.
§ 3. The great, the dearest doctrine of Christianity or of any other religious system deserving that name is felt by reflecting persons to be the Forgiveness of sins; and why by them more particularly is, because they, however likely to be in good habits for the present, are less likely than others either to lose sight of the past, or of the wish to reverse it, to set it right, to do it away. From the universal prevalence of sin, as attested by revelation, (Ps. liii. 4; Rom. v. 12, &c.,) in some degree all over the earth, it
* In Christian Modes; as well as in the former Series of Kingdom Sermons.