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The language of this law is, do this and live, tranfgrefs and die, Lev. xviii. 5. # Ye thall keep my itatutes and my judgements, 4 which if a man do, he shall live in them.” Ezek. xx. 11, “ Í
my #tatutes, and thewed them my judgements, which " if a man do, he shall even live in them.” Moses, says St. Paul, Rom. X. 5. " describeth the righteousnefs which is of the law, that ss the man which doth those things thall live in them." Gal, ili, 12. “ 'The law is not of faith, but that man that doth them shall u live in them," On the other side, transgress and die ; no difpensation, no atonement. Ver. 10, H Cursed is every one that “ continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the " law, to do them."
Where this law of works was to be found, the New Testament tells us, (viz,)in the law delivered by Moses, John i. 17.3" The " law was given by Moses, but faith and truth came by Jesus * Chrift," Chap. vii, 19. “ Did not Moses give you the law," says our Saviour, " and yet none of you keep the law ?" And this is the law which he speaks of, where he talks the lawyer, Luke x. 26, " What is written in the law? How readeft thou; yer.:28. This “ do, and thou shalt. live.” This is that which St. Paul fo often styles the law, without any other distinction, Rom. ir 19.1.« Not " the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the * law are justified.” It is needless to quote any more places; his cpistles are all full of it, especially this to the Romans, ; **0%.
But the law given by Moses being not given to all mankind, how are all men finners, since without a law there is no tranfgreffion? To this the Apostle, ver. 14. answers, For when the Gentiles; for which have not the law, do (i. e. find it rcafonable to do) by “ nature the things contained in the law; thefe having not the law, $6 are a law unto themselves; which thew the work of the law writ: "ten in their hearts, their consciences alto bearing witnefs, and
amongst one another their thoughts accusing or excufing." By which, and other places in the following chaptery it is plain, that Under the law of works is comprehended also the law of nature, knowable by reason, as well as the law given by Moses. For, fays St. Paul, Rom. iii, 9, 23, “ we have proved both Jews and " Gentiles, that they are all under fin : for all have finned, and " come short of the glory of God;” which they could not do without a law.
Nay, whatever God requires any where to be done without mak. ing any allowance for faith, that is a part of the law of works. So the forbidding Adam to eat of the tree of knowledge, was part of the law of works. Only we muit take notice here, that some of God's positive commands being for peculiar ends, and suited to particular circumstances of times, places, and persons, having a limited and only temporary obligation by virtue of God's politive injunction ; such as was that part of Mofes's law which concerned the outward worship or political conftitution of the Jews, and is called the Çeremonial and Judaical Law, in contradistinction to the moral B 4
part of it ; which being conformable to the eternal law of right, is of eternal obligation, and therefore remains in force ftill under the gospel ; nor is abrogated by the law of faith, as St. Paul found Tome ready to infer, Rom. iii. 31.' « Do we then make void the “ law through faith?. God forbid ; 'yea, we establish the law.”
Nor can it be otherwife: for were there no “law of works,” there could be no law of faith." For there could be no need of faith, which should be counted to men for righteoufnefs, if there were no law to be the rule and measure of righteousness, which men failed in their obedience to. Where there is no law, there is no sin; all are righteous equally with or without faith,
The rule therefore of right is the same that ever it was, the obligation' to observe it is also the fame : the difference between the a law of works” and the law of faith" is only this ; that the “ law
of works” makes no allowance for failing on any occasion. Those that obey, are righteous : those that in any part disobey, are unrighteous, and must not expect life, the reward of righteousness. But by the “ law of faith,' faith is allowed to supply the defect of full obedience; and so the believers are admitted to life and immortality, as if they were righteous. Only here we must take no tice, that when St. Paul says, that the Gospel establishes the law, he means the moral part of the law of Moses : for that he could not mean the ceremonial or political part of it, is evident by what I quoted out of him just now, where he says, « The Gentiles that do « by nature the things contained in the law, their coniciences bear« ing witness.”. For the Gentiles neither did nor thought of the judaical or ceremonial inftitutions of Moses; it was only the moral part their consciences were concerned in. As for the rest, St. Paul tells the Galatians, chap. iv, they are not under that part of the Jaw, which ver. 3. he calls 6 elements of the world ;" and ver. 9. “ weak and beggarly elements,” And our Saviour himself, in his gospel-fermon on the mount, tells them, Matt. v. ver, 17. that whatever they might think, he was not come “ to diffolve the law,”? but to make it more full and strict; for that that is meant by wangūras, is evident from the following part of that chapter, where he gives the precepts in a stricter sense than they were received in before, But they are all precepts of the moral law which he reinforces : what thould become of the ritual law he tells the woman of Samaria in these words, John iv, 21, 23. “ The hour cometh when ye shall “ neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Fa« ther. But the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit
and in truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”
Thus then as to the law in short: the civil and ritual part of the law delivered by Moses obliges not Christians, though to the Jews it were a part of the law of works ; it being a part of the law of nature, that man ought to obey every positive law of God, whenever he shall please to make any such addition to the law of his nature. But the moral part of Moses's law, or the moral law, (which is every where the same, the eternal rule of sight) obliges Chriftians
and all men every where, and is to all men the standing law of works. But Christian believers have the privilege to be under the e law of faith” too; which is that law whereby God juftifies a man for believing, though by his works he be not juft or righteous, i. e. though he came short of perfect obedience to the law of works, God alone does, or can juftify or make juft those who by their works are not so; which he doth by counting their faith for rightes ousness, i, e, for a compleat performance of the law, Rom. iv, 3. “ Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for « righteousness.” Ver, 5.“ To him that believeth on him that
juftifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousnels." Ver. 6. « Even as David also describeth the blessednets of the man « unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works;" i. c. without a full measure of works, which is exact obedience. Ver. %
Saying, « Bleffed, are they whofe iniquities are forgiven, and
whose fins are covered." Ver, 8, « Blessed is the man to whoin u the Lord will not impute fin."
This faith for which God justified Abraham, what was it? It was the believing God when he engaged his promise in the covenant he made with him. This will be plain to any one who confiders' these places together, Gen. xv. 6. « He believed in the Lord, or « believed the Lord” for that the Hebrew phrase " believing in," fignifies no more but believing,” is plain from St. Paul's citation of this place, Rom, iv. 3. where he repeats it thus : Abraham be“ lieved God;" which he thus explains, ver. 18, 22.“ Who against “ hope, believe in hope, that he might become the father of many « nations; accordrag to that which was spoken, fo fhall thy feed $5 be,
And being lot weak in faith, he considered not his own « body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, nor
yet the deadness of Sarah's womb. He staggered not at the pro« mise of God through uabelief; but was strong in faith, giving " glory to God; and being fully persuaded, that what he had pro « inised he was also able o perform. And therefore it was im" puted to him for righteouljefs.” By which it is clear, that the faith which God counted to Abraham for righteousness, was nothing but a firm belief of wha. God declared to him, and a stedfast relying on him for the accomplishment of what he had promised.
i Now this,” says St. Paul, ver. 23, 24. " was not writ for his « [Abraham's] lake alone, but for us alfo ;” teaching us, that as Abraham was justified for his faith, fo also ours shall be accounted to us for righteousness, if we believe God as Abraham believed him. Whereby it is plain is meant the firmness of our faith without staggering, and not the believing the same propofitions that Abraham believed, viz. that though he ind Sarah were old, and past the time and hopes of children, yet he should have a fon by her, and by him become the father of a great people, which should poffefs the land of Canaan. This was wet Abraham believed and was counted to him for righteousness; but nobody I think will say, that any one's believing this now, thal. be imputed to him
for righteousness. The law of faith then, in fhort, is for every one to believe what God requires him to believe, as a condition of the covenant he makes with him, and not to doubt of the per-' formance of his promises. This the Apostle intimates in the cloici here, ver. 24.
" But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if " we believe on him that railed up Jesus our Lord from the dead." We must therefore examine and see what God requires us to be. lieve now under the revelation of the Gospel : for the belief of one invisible, eternal, omnipotent God, maker of heaven and earth, &c. was required before, as well as now,
What we are now required to believe to obtain eternal life, is plainly fet down in the Gospel. St. John tells us, John iii. 36, « He that believeth on the son, hath eternal life ; and he that beu lieveth not the fon, shall not fee life.” What this “ believing " on him” is, we are also told in the next chapter, 6 The womart « faith unto him, I know that the Messiah cometh ; when he is
come, he will tell us all things, Jesus said unto her, I that speak « unto thee am he. : The woman then went into the city, and faith ” to the men, come see a man that hath told me all things that “ever I did. Is not this the Melliah? And many of the Samaritans « believed on hinn; for the faying of the woman, who testified, he u told me all that ever I did. So when the Samaritans were come « unto him, many more believed because of his words, and faid to " the woman, We believe not any longer because of thy saying, “ for we have heard ourselves, and we know that this man is truly « the Saviour of the world, the Messiah,” John iv, 25, 26, 29, 39, 40, 41, 42.'
By which place it is plain, « that believing on the fon,” is the “ believing that Jesus was the Melliah ;” gwing credit to the miracles he did, and the profession he made of aimself. For those who were faid to BELIEVE ON HIM for the dying of the woman, ver, 39. tell the woman, that they now believed not any longer because of her faying ; but that having heard iim themfelves, they knew, i e. BELIEVED past doubt, THAT HE WAS THE Messiah,
This was the great proposition that was then controverted concerning Jefus of Nazareth, whether he was the Messiah or no; and the aflent to that, was that whick distinguished believers from unbelievers. When many of his disciples had forfaken him, upon his declaring that he was the bread of life which came down from heaven, “ he said to the apostles, Will ye also go away? Then Simon « Peter answered him ; Lord to whom shall we go? Thou hast the “ words of eternal life: aru we believe, and are sure thou art the u Mefliah, the son of the living God." John vi. 69. This was the faith which distinguished them from apoftates and unbelievers, and was sufficient to continue them in the rank of apostles : and it was upon the same proposinon, “ That Jesus was the Mefliah, the son a of the living God," owned by St. Peter, that our Saviour faid he would build his church, Matt. xvi, 16, 18,
To convince men of this, he did his miracles; and their affent to, or not affenting to this, made them to be, or not to be of his church; believers, or not believers, "The Jews came round « about him, and said unto him, How long dost thoų make us « doubt? If thou be the Mefliah, tell us plainly, Jesus answered " them; I told you, and ye believed not; the works that I do in
my father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, “ because ye are not of my sheep.” John X. 24. 26. Conformable hereunto St. John tells us, “ That many deceivers are entered into
the world, who confeft not that Jesus, the Meffiah, is come in " the Aeth, This is a deceiver, and an antichrist, whosoever abideth # not in the doctrine of the Messiah, has not God. He that abideth
in the doctrine of the Mefliah,” i. e, that Jesus is he, hath
both the father and the son.” 2 John vii. 9, 10. That this is the meaning of the place, is plain from what he says in his foregoing epistle, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Messiah, is born “ of God," 1 John v. I. And therefore, drawing to a close of his gospel, and thewing the end for which he writit, he has these words ::
Many other figns truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, for which are not written in this book; but thefe are written, that ¢ ye may believe that Jesus is the Mefliah, the son of God, and " that believing ye might have life through his name, John XX. 30, 31. Whereby it is plain, that the gospel was writ to induce men into a belief of this proposition, “ that Jesus of Nazareth was & the Messiah; which if they believed, they should “have life.":
Accordingly the great question amongst the Jews was, whether he were the Mefliah or no: and the great point insisted on and promul. gated in the gospel was, that he was the Messiah. The firft glad tidings of his birth, brought to the shepherds by an angel, was in these words : « Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of ** great joy, which shall be to all people; for to you is born this “ day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord.'' Luke i. 11. Our Saviour discoursing with Martha about the means of attaining eternal life, faith to her, John xi. 27, “ Whosoever be« lieveth in me, shall never die. Believeft thou this? She faith " unto him, yea, Lord, I believe that thou art the Mefliah, the son * of God, which should come into the world.” This answer of hers Theweth what it is to believe in Jesus Christ, so as to have eternal life, viz. to believe that he is the Messiah the son of God, whose coming was foretold by the prophets. And thus Andrew and Philip exprefles it: “ Andrew fays to his brother Simon, We have found f the Mefliah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. Philip faith "4 to Nathaniel, we have found him of whom Mofes in the law, " and the Prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph," John i. 41, 45 According to what the Evangelift says in this place, I have, for the clearer understanding of the scripture, all along put Meffiah for Chrift: Chrift being but the Greek name for the Hebrew Messiah, and both signifying * The Anointed.”