« PreviousContinue »
whole law, and yet offend in one point (or instance—&V EVI) is guilty of all-i. e. “ He is
as truly a înner, and as truly subject to
punishment, though not so severely, as if “ he had actually been guilty of all possible " transgression against God's laws. See Parkhurst's Gr. & Eng. Lex. sub voc. EvoXOS: For He that said, Do not commit adultery ; said also, Do not kill. Now, if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a tranfgreffor of the law, ver. 11.-i. e. by offending against the authority of the LAWGIVER. Whether in one or more instances this be done, the whole law, considered as one entire rule of obedience, is violated, and the offender of course liable to punishment. Comp: Gal, iii. 10. See a very sensible paraphrase on James ii. 8–12. in Guyfe's Paraphase on the New Testament.
St. James addresses this epistle to the believing Jews, but holds forth no other rule of obedience to them, than the ROYAL LAW delivered from God to Moses, and recorded in the Old Testament. For the perfect law of liberty, fee chap. i. 25. and chap. ii. 12. See Guyse's Paraphrafe on the New Testament, note on James i. 25. and on Rom.iii. 27:
Demonstration cannot be clearer, if these passages be duly considered, that Christ could not mean, by a new commandment, one that had never before existed, but to establish the old commandment among His disciples, not only on the footing of its general obligation as they were men, but also on that special consider
ation of their relation to Him, and to one another as His disciples, so as, if need were, to lay down their lives for each other. The inforcing this by a new I examplemon new obligations, on new motives—seems to be the meaning of Christ's calling the law of brotherly love a new commandment.
So his disciple John, (1 John iii. 14.) We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren; and ver. 16. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. Something like this intense affection we read of in the Old Testament. From what other motive could Mofes speak, when he said, on the behalf of his offending brethren (Exod. xxxii. 32.) Oh this people have finned a great fin, and have made them gods of gold! (ver. 31.). yet now, if Thou wilt, forgive their sin, and if not, BLOT ME, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. See also 2 Sam. xxiv. 17, where David pleads with God for the people, when he saw the angel that smote them, and said — I have finned, I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done ? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father's house. How were both these great men eminent types of the good Shepherd, who laid down His life for the sheep! John X. 11. Here we may also observe the amiable and affectionate conduct of Abigail,
1 Which may be inferred from the words—" as I « have loved you."
when; on the behalf of her churlish husband Nabal, she ventured forth to meet the
angry David, and his men, 1 Sam. xxv. 18, 22, 23; taking his fault upon herself. Upon me, said she, my lord, let this iniquity be, and let thine bandmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid: then follows, to ver. 32. one of the most noble, though fimple instances of the perfection and
persuasiveness of eloquence that we meet with, even in the sacred writings: one would almost think that Virgil had this transaction and that of David's in his view, when he wrote the speech of Nisus to the Rutulians, on the behalf of Euryalus, as much as that he had the prophecy of Isaiah before him, when he wrote his Pollio.
Me, Me, adsum qui feci, in Me convertite ferrum ;
“ Me, Me, he cry'd, turn all your swords alone
So in the friendship between David and Jonathan-- 1 Sam. xviii. 1.-where it is said the foul of Yonathan was knit with the foul of
David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul: and ver. 3.-then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own foul. And we actually find Jonathan interposing with Saul on the behalf of David, even at the risque of his own life. i Sam. xx. 32, 33. So David's affection to Absalom-Would to God I had died for thee, my fon! 2 Sam. xviii. 33. And, to the shame of us Christians be it spoken, this heroic and disinterested friendship is even to be found among the Heathen (in notion at Íeast) witness the fine and beautiful story of Nyfus and Euryalüs. Virg. Æn. ix. 1. 427, &c. Even Epicurus could say,
os that a wise man co will fometimes die for his friend." See Leland, vol. ii. p. 96.
We must readily allow, that the REDEEM'Er's love to his people surpasseth all human conception, as to the full and adequate knowledge and comprehension of it, and leaves, at an immeasurable distance, all the instances of the most disinterested love and friendship, that ever did, or can exist among mortals. This is finely touched by the pen of inspiration, Rom. v. 7. For fcarcely for a righteous maiz will one die : yet peradventure (799a, perhaps) for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love to us, in that while we were yet finners (and therefore-menemies, ver. 10.) Christ died for us. Well then may
the same APOSTLE (Eph. iii. 19.) call it-tepβαλλουσαν της γνωσεως αγαπην τα Χριςου- the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. These considerations
fuffice to thew, that OUR Vol. 1
LoRD's- καθως ηγαπησα υμας- AS I have loved you—is not to be taken in any other fense, than as directory for the motives of their affection towards each other, or to describe the manner of that love which they were to bear each other as his disciples, and for his fake. This was a new commandment, not as to the matter of it (for love is the fulfilling of the LAW) but as to the manner and measure of it, grounded on the new principle of their relationship to him, and to each other in him.
A like sentiment occurs Luke vi. 36. Be ye therefore merciful, As (natws) your Father is merciful ; where God's mercy to man, is made the rule of our dealings with each other. What is there, in all this, contrary to, or inconsistent with, Moses and the prophets ? “ But we meet with the
very expresfion" the law of CHRIST, Gal. vi. 2.- Bear ye one “ another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of “ CHRIST."-By bearing one another's burdens (a metaphor taken from easing another by carrying a burden for him, or assisting him in carrying it) I should apprehend that we are to understand, what the Apostle expressesRom. xii. 15.-by weeping with them that weep; i. e. so to be affected with their forrows, as even to make them our own, and, to be as afliduous in their removal, or alleviation, as we should be were they our own *.
But is this a new law of Christ, in opposition to,
* This fympathetic tenderness is finely touched by the Apostle, i Cor. xii. 25, 26.