Page images


“promise of none effect. For, if the inheritance “ be of the law, it is no more of promise : but God

gave it to Abraham by promise.”—“ Is the law “ then against the promises of God? God forbid!

for, if there had been a law given which could “have given life, verily righteousness should have “ been by the law. But the scripture hath con“cluded all under sin, that the promise, by faith “ of Jesus Christ, might be given to them that be“ lieve.”] This fully demonstrates, to all who adhere to the apostle's decision, that there never was a law given to fallen man, by which life could be obtained; and that “ the covenant confirmed “by God in Christ,” with Abraham, was not disannulled by the Mosaic law, and the Sinai covenant. Under the legal dispensation, Israel, as a nation, was under the covenant made at Mount Sinai, which especially related to temporal and national mercies and judgments : but individuals, if believers, were justified and saved according to the covenant made with Abraham, by faith in the promised Redeemer; and circumcision was to them“ a seal of the righteousness of faith :" if unbelievers, they remained under the curse of the violated law, and without any benefit from the promised Saviour: and indeed all unbelievers, even under the Christian dispensation, do the same. The principal appointments of the ceremonial law were sacramental prefigurations of the way of salvation by Christ; as the Lord's supper is now a eommemoration of the death of the promised Saviour. They were means of grace,' and acts of

Gal. iii. 16-22

worship acceptable to God through the blood of Christ, which was typified by that of the sacrifices, when attended on in faith ; but to unbelievers they were formality or hypocrisy. Christ was the Mediator from the first promise given to fallen Adam ; 1 and this was more clearly shewn by the Abrahamic covenant. Yet doubtless the New Testament is a far clearer discovery of salvation, and the way of salvation, than any which preceded. “Our Saviour Jesus Christ hath brought life and “immortality to light by the gospel.” 2 But from the beginning all believers were saved in the same way; and in heaven they doubtless join in the same song, “ Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, “ and hath redeemed us to God with his blood :"_ even “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the “world.” 3_ The dispensation of Moses contained "the types and promises of a Saviour:' but the law of works” simply means 'the requirement and sanction of the law.'

Upon the subject of the efficacy of the Mo'saic atonement as applied to cases of moral transgression,' vide Dr. Magee's Discourses, V. i. p. 308. The learned author admits that “ the blood of bulls and of goats could not take away

sins,” but as connected, in the eye of faith, with * that more precious blood-shedding which can

purge the conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” If therefore we consider the “Mosaic dispensation as independent of the Christian ; if we suppose Moses to have delivered the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Gen. iii. 15. ? Duricantos, 2 Tim. i. 10. Rev. v, 9, 10. xii. 8.


[ocr errors]

law to the Jews, and Christ not to have died for 'the sins of mankind; the legal sacrifices would have had no atoning power with respect to moral

guilt. The efficacy of all propitiation for sin is "derived from the merits and sufferings of Christ.'!

The concluding sentence is precisely what I would abide by, on this subject. But the law of Moses was given with direct reference to Christ and his propitiation. “For Christ is the end of the “ law for righteousness to every one that be“ lieveth."? When, ‘in the eye of faith,' the legal sacrifices were connected with ' that more precious 'blood-shedding,' the ancient worshippers, through these means of grace,' received the blessing of Abraham ; they were “ justified by faith.” But, after Christ had come, and offered his all-sufficient atonement, they who rejected bim, and cleaved to the legal sacrifices, were, without exception, excluded from the benefit : “ The wrath of God “ abode apon them." It is in this view that St. Paul speaks respecting them in his epistles. The ceremonial law was now become as a cancelled deed or bond : its institutions were no longer sacramental prefigurations of good things to

come;' and they were no longer to any of the worshippers' means of grace,' or accepted acts of worship. 3

«« The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of all :" “ Who his own self bare our sins in his

Note, Ref. 109.

Rom. x. 4.

3 Gal. iv. 9, 10. v. 1-3. Eph. ii. 15. Col. ii. 16, 17. Heb. viii. 13. ¥. 26.

own body;" “ He was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righte

ousness of God in him ;" “ Of him are ye in . Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wis

dom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” There is, as it were, a mutual transfer of the sins of men to Christ, and of 'Christ's righteousness to men ; so that God no ' longer imputeth their trespasses unto them,” and

he is “the Justifier of him which believeth in • Jesus.” Christ, being himself“ without sin,” vo• luntarily underwent the punishment due to sin :

and we enjoy the benefits of his righteousness * and passion, in being “reconciled to God,” and 'made “ heirs of salvation." '1

‘God gives us all these benefits of the new cove‘nant as certainly for the sake of Christ and his

righteousness, as if we had satisfied him, and “merited them ourselves; and thus far Christ's ' righteousness is ours in its effects, and imputed 'to us in that we are thus used for it, and shall • be judged accordingly.'2

These two quotations form, separately, and in connexion, an excellent statement of the doctrine, concerning the imputation of our sins to Christ, and of his righteousness to all true believers.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

• It has been observed, that justification is a forensic term. We are to suppose a moral agent

called before a competent tribunal, to answer * whether he has obeyed the laws which were pre


Ref. 110, 111.
Allen, Preface to the Two Covenants, Ref. 111.


'scribed to him as the rule of his conduct: if upon ' examination it shall appear that he has obeyed (the laws, he has a right to the sentence of justi'fication ; but if it shall appear that he has not 'obeyed them, he is subject to the sentence of condemnation. Strictly speaking, reward is not included in the idea of justification.''

It has been remarked, that in human affairs justification and pardon never go together, nor can they possibly be conjoined in the same person : yet in the Lord's method of “ justifying the un

godly,” “ justifying the believer in Jesus," they are inseparable ; all who are forgiven are justified; and all who are justified are forgiven. - Strictly

speaking, reward is not included in the idea of justification.'-Al the credit, protection, and advantage, attached to a good citizen and loyal subject are the reward of justification, in human affairs ; and all the honour and happiness, which God confers on those who enjoy his full and everlasting favour, are the reward connected with justification in the concerns of religion.

* This is what St. Paul means when he says, “ To • him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace,

but of debt.” Uniform obedience being 'the duty of every man, a single transgression 'would destroy the right to justification; and ““ in many things we offend all." Since then justification is due to no one on the ground of * works, or uniform obedience, to whomsoever

Ref. 111, 112, Note 2.
? Acts xiii. 46, 47. Rom. iv. 4.-6. v. 16.

« PreviousContinue »