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" Wherefore, then, serveth the Law?"— Galatians, iii. 19.
There is a supreme importance attaching to the subject of the Law, arising, not merely from its grounds as connected with the Divine Being,^ but also from ♦lie close connexion it bears with your everlasting salvation. I hesitate not to affirm, that there can be no real religion without some knowledge of tliis subject; and that, where the principle of religion really exists, it is likely, by the divine blessing, to be increased in proportion as our knowledge of tliis subject is enlarged. A perception of the Law of God, can alone prepare us to receiA'e, in all its fulness, the Gospel of Christ ; while your minds being thus instructed, that Gospel will appear in every part, nofe a mere detail of uninteresting facts, but as one harmonious plan, exhibiting, in the niost eminent degree, the wisdom, the goodness, and the power of its Almiglity Author. To a mind tbus enlightened, no repugnance will be felt with respect to the representations the Bible gives of the justice and holiness of God. The person and agency of the Holy Spirit will become subjects of the utmost importance. Humility, instead of being regarded with aversion as mean-spiritedness, will be recognised as the holy meekness of the soul. Gratitude will be supplied with inexhaustible fulness, zeal be furnished with permanent motives for exertion, faith will be found worthy of the importance attributed to it, being, first, tlic means whereby the soul receives the salvation that is in Christ, and then, tiie never failing source of holy obedience ; while devotedness to God, to the utmost extent of all our powers, M-hether of body, of soul, or of spirit, will be considered as our most reasonable and most delightful service. These assertions, I doubt not, M'ill be readily agreed to by those who, in any degree, understand the subject. But should any other be unable to give full assent, I would beseech them to wait till the proof of these assertions is furnished ; which I trust to do under the proper head; The attention of all my hearers is most earnestly invited, since it may be repaid by the communication and increase of divine knowledge, in every mind present. But, in order to obtain these happy, results from the investigation, we must pursue the subject in the exercise of prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit, whose office it is to guide men into truth, and whose influence is promised in answer to supplication. " If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children ; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the-Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" " If any lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be
40Q THE ATURE OF THE LAW, eiven unto him." Fully recognising this important trutli, our Church hath tiiuTht us thus to pray, in one of her admirable collects; which, let us, in entcrinf upon this important investigation, endeavour to offer up in the spirit of supplication: — " O Lord, M-ho didst, in old time, teach the hearts of thy faithful people, by the sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit ; grant us, by the same Spirit, to have a right understanding in all things, and evermore to rejoice in His holy comfort, through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour; who livetli and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end." The subject on which we now enter, namely, that of the Law of God, seems to offer itself as included under four parts: — first, the nature of the Law: secondly, the spirituality of the Law, or, the quality of the Law by which it extends to the spirits and thoughts of men : thirdly, the uses of the Law : and fourthlv the curse of the Law. On the present occasion, we will direct our attention to one of these topics only— namely, the ature of the Law. In the first place, I will endeavour to define WHAT is meant by the Law OF God in the Abstract. The simple sense of the term Law, and the most general sense, is this — It is that mode by which an agent proceeds. The mode by which the government of a country proceeds to rule its subjects, is called the law of that governmentThe toriii will l)c found to have the same signification when applied to the very liighest class of objects — I mean, the government of God: the constant procedure of the divine will, with respect to any object in any part of his dominions, is called the Law of God, in respect of that particular object. The natural philosopher finding that, throughout the universe, matter gravitates — that is to sav, that a less portion of matter exhibits an undeviating tendency to approach a larger mass — the natural philosopher says that gravitation is a law of nature; or, it is that mode whereby God proceeds in the government of the material universe. The same reujark might be made respecting all the Laws of ature, as they are called, whether chemical or mechanical ; the sense of tlie term, law, being, the mode in which an agent proceeds in respect to that particular object. The sense of the term is, also, precisely the same when applied to the moral government of God: by Mhich we mean, the government of God over the understandings and affections of mankind. Here the term si!.niifies that Law, or those rules, whereby he designs to regulate the affections and actions of men. While we are upon the ature of the Law, let it be observed, that these modes by which the Divine lleiug governs either the moral or the natural
M'orld, are not merely arbitrary regulations im])osed upon its oI)jects solely with a design to exercise his authority; but, that they arc the necessary perceptions of the divine mind, as to what is proper or benevolent, in regard to each of the objects to which they relate. Whence it follows, that the Law of God, in relation to any class of beings in his government (but, in relation to man, preeminently) is the result of infinite wisdom and infinite goodness, the Lawgiver himself being infinitely wise and good. The law is always an expression of the v.ill of the lawgiver; or, in other words, an expression of the character of the lawf^iver. 'J'his is pre-eminently applicable to the Law of God. 'i'iie tilings which it requires, are the things which God requires; the things which
THE ATURE OF THE LAW. 407 it approves, are tlie things which God approves; tlie things which it delights in, he delights in. To suppose any thing different, is to suppose that the Divine Being had disguised its cliaracter, and given to its creatures, the most direct proof of its moral insufficiency : for, while it is true that a different measure of tlie Divine will may be revealed to creatures possessing different capacities, corresponding to those capacities ; it is also true that these different portions of the Divine will must be all capable of harmonizing with each olher^ and witii the whole character of God. One more remark may be added, which is, that the Law of God being the transcript of his own benevolence and wisdom, proposes and accomplishes the best possible results. Tlie only ultimate good is happiness, by which I mean enjoyment ; but the original and essential glory of God, is to proinote happiness to tlie utmost extent of which the object to which it is comnmnicated may be capable. This is the inherent, eternal perfection of the Divine mind ; it must, consequently, have influenced all his regulations in regard to his rational creation ; it must be the end proposed by his infinite goodness, and which tiie resources of his infinite power were employed to achieve. It mav be further obsei'ved, in relation to this subject, tiiat this Law may be expressed and promulgated by different modes. It would be possible for God to impress this Law, as we see he has done, upon mute inanimate matter, causing it to act as a matter of necessity in the way he has. It would be also possible and proper, to impress his Laws upon the instincts of animals, iu causing them to act as we observe and experience them to do. At the same time, it would be equally becoming, to promulgate them and propose them to his rational and accountable creatures; thus inducing them to obey, not as a matter of necessity, but as the result of their own choice; tliis being a state of things in which alone obedience could be the subject of approbation and reward, and disobedience the subject of disapprobation and punisliment. ■ But, then, we say, that while the Divine Being has impressed upon all nature
below man, the various laws by which he governs that part of his dominions, he did create man in a state of probation, and with powers wliich render liim capable of becoming an accountable creature ; and did not impress his laws upon him, rendering the obedience a matter of mechanical certainty: but proposed his Law to man in such a manner as to render his obedience the result of free choice. The distinction I am now endeavouring to lay doMu, appears to be expressed by the poet in language M'hicli I cannot explain and understand consistently with the subject — " And binding nature fast in fate, left free the human will" — unless by fate he means law. This is the very state in which the universe was originally created. ature, the kingdom of inanimate matter, was bound fast in laws impressed upon it, under wliich it was compelled to act; but the mind of man was an exception, it was left free, and rules proposed to it, rewards and punishments provided for it, and motivessuggested to it, whereby the obedience of his powers should be constantly a matter of free choice and capable of reward, and his disobedience of punishment. Tlie origin of these Laws is in the wisdom and benevolence of the divine mind : the origin of the whole constitution of things being a desire on the part of Deity to communicate happiness. Consequentlv, when God prescribed the law to tlie creation, which he did in Eden, liis intention was, that, mute inanimate matter should take the forms of greatest beauty, loveliness, and utilitv, of which
408 THE ATUR& OV THE LAAV. matter was capable; and, no doubt, in the long-banished bloom of Eden, all this was observed in perfection. He did, also, when he prescribed law on the mind of Adam, and proposed laws to him as the creature of moral probation, exercise his powers in such a way as to render him capable of reward, translating liim to higher stations ',f etistuite successively, and leading man to the highest possible degree of happiness of which that created nature was capable. This leads me, secondly, to consider, tuk Modes whereby God hath PROMULGATED HIS Lam's. Thcsfi are two. He wrote the Law original/i/ upon the mind of Adam in the garden of Eden ; and when it was elfaced in a great measure by his apostacy, and almost obliterated from the mind of man, through the love of sin, he republished it to the world in the form of t/ic Decalogue on Mount Sinai. The first promulgation, which was by writing it on the heart of Adam, was nearly obliterated by his apostacy, but not altogether: for, what are ail tht moral precepts ever recommended, but never practised, by tiie heathen philos<»phers? Wliat are the proverbs of ancient sages, but fragments of the Law ot God originally written on the conscience, and gathered up by man after the shipwreck of nature? And what now do we mean by conscience, and the dic-
tates of natural conscience, but the glimmering of that divine light which shone within man originally? This is the view taken of it by the Apostle Paul: "For, when the Gentiles, which have not the Law, do by nature the things contained in the Law, these, having not the Law, are a Law unto themselves ; Mhich shew the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing, or else excusing, one another." Wiien the Law thus written became effaced by the Fall, it was necessary it should be republished to the world ; which was done, partly, amidst the tlucatenings and thunders of Sinai, and partly, in that forty days of seclusion on the Mount, in which I Ioses received the complete body of the I^aw from the hand of God. This second republication of the L;iw, together witli the complete Law, moral, ceremonial, and judicial, is perpetuated, in what we call the Five Books of Moses: which leads me. Thirdly, to remark on the different Kinds of the Law, which we nuist distinguish in perusing the Holy Scriptures. Although all that was republished on Sinai to the Jews, and at all other times, goes under the general term of the Law of God ; yet, upon close inspection, this Law Mill be found to consist of three kinds, which are clearly distinct from one another. 'I'hese three kinds of Law are, the judicial Law, or, the state Laws of the Jews; the ceremonial Law, that is to say, that Law which prescribed the religious rites and services of the Jews under the Old Testament dis])ensation ; and the moral Law, which prescribed their conduct, and our conrluct, as men. Respecting the judicial Law, it was binding on tiie Jews only, there being no precept, nor even intimation, that it was to extend beyond ; but, on the contrary, there being several declarations that the Jewish Law was to cease when the Jews ceased to become a nation : and so, now, the judicial Law oblij^es men no further tlian as the general Law of ecpiity re(|uires. 'I'hus, in tlie book of the E.xodus, you will find a code of Laws lor the regulation of the Jewisii state.
THE ATURE OF THE LAW. 409 which Laws are just like any other code of laws which exists under any other state. " When the Shiloh" — that is the Christ — "shall come, the sceptre shall depart from Judah, and the Lawgiver from between his feet." It is evident that when the executive part of tiie government should fail, there would be a termination of tlie judicial part of the Law. The second part of the Law is the ceremonial: that part which prescribes the rites and ceremonies of the Jewish religion. These rites were tvpical of
Christ, and were obligatory only till Christ had finished his work, and had begun to erect his own church. " And as I may so say, Levi also, who received tithes, paid tithes in Abraham." "The tabernacle then standing was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience ; which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them till the time of reformation." " Blotting out the hand-writing of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the w^ay, nailing it to his cross." And in Daniel we read, " He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week ; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease." Words cannot more strictly and entirely intimate, that the ceremonial law was only temporal ; it was to cease when Christ came. " The Law, having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never, with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually, make the comers thereunto perfect." These passages prove, that the ceremonial part of the Law was to cease on the appearance of Christ, in whom the ceremonial rites and sacrifices were fulnlled; and, consequently, their uses, as pointing to Christ, ceased when he, the great Antetype of the Law, came. The typical character of the ceremonial Law, was one of the chief uses of that dispensation ; another use being to distinguish the Israelites from all the surrounding nations by the peculiarity of their services ; and thus to draw the attention of surrounding nations, and to keep the Jews from mingling with surrounding nations. But, although the Law w.as typical, the question is, to what extent? As far as my knowledge yet extends, I think that the Scripture doctrine of the typical extent of the ceremonial Law is expressed in that passage, "The Law having the shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things" — the reference is to the shadow cast before the rising sun ; the Sun of Righteousness was coming, and cast forward the shadow of the good things through the means of the Law ; but it had a shadow, that is, an outline^ and not the very image of the things. AVhile, then, we must allow, that much of the Law is tvpical, because much is declared to be typical, does not the use of the term, " the shadow of good things," make a broad distinction between somethings in the Law being typical, and all being typical ? And is not the attempt to discover a meaning for every thing in the ceremonial part of the Law, discouraged by this use of the term by the Apostle, and his declaration that the ceremonial Law had but the image of the things ? The third kind of Law, that which was promulgated from Sinai by the mouth of God himself, was called the tnoral Law ; that is to say, the Law which regulates men's manners as men, and which is contained in the ten commandments j which ten commandments contain the sum of all the duties man is required to perform, or could possibly perform, toward God, and toward man. The moral Law is not like the judicial Law, binding only on the Jews, but the moial Law
410 THE ATURE OF THE LAW. :8 binding on every child of Adam : nor is it like the cerenioniiil Law, only of a temporal nature. But the moral Law, comprehending those ten comniandinents, contains every possible duty we are required to perform. The moral Law of the ten commandments was intended to be perpetual in all places, and over all people for ever. It has been inferred that tlie moral Law was intended to be perpetual from the very mode of its promulgation. Let not this be dismissed as trifling. Every thing in the promulgation of the Law, was tlie effect of premeditation on t!ie part of the Divine mind, who doeth nothing in vain. Every part of it had a si"-nification attached to it. The judicial part of the Law, and the ceremonial part, were delivered to IMoses privately, during the forty days in which he was on the Mount : but the moral Law Mas delivered from the mouth of God himself, in the presence of the whole assembled camp. The ceremonial part of the Law M-as written in a perishable book ; the moral part of the Law w.hs written by tlie finger of God upon two tables of stone, the emblem of perpetuity ; and afterwards, when the first tables of the Law were destroyed by the zeal of Moses, they were restored by the same finger upon two other similar tables. ow, we must be persuaded, that every particular in that solemn event of giving the Law was the result of design : and that the moral part of the Law was intended to be perpetual, seems the most probable meaning of the distinction made in the mode of promulgating the ceremonial and the moral Law. But \ve have conclusive argument to prove the universal obligation and perpetuity of the LaM'. That it is intended to be universal is most evident, because it was only the republication of the Law which Mas imprinted on the mind of Adam in Eden, and which was efi"aced from his mind oy his disobedience. But, as Adam Mas the head and father of all, and as all that had been proscribed to him first was intended to be taught to all his posterity, we infer, that the mora/ Law was intended to be perpetual and universally binding. Again, it is one great requisition of the Gospel, that it should be preached to ftvery creature ; and that its object should be to testify tOM'ard Jews and Greeks, repentance toM-ard God. But, if repentance be required of every creature, it folloMS that every creature is a sinner. Yet, every creature cannot be a sinner by disobedience to the judicial Law, M'hich was only for the Jews as a nation, ni)r by disobedience to the ceremonial Law, which was to cease at Chrisfs comintr. But, by the disobedience of Laiv, mankind became sinners, and consequently, the subject of the Gospel nuist be the moral LaM'; therefore, the moral Law is universal. The precepts of the moral Law, have all of them respect only to the moral character of man, properly so called. They relate not to outward observances
not to the things M'hich go into a man, but to the things Mhicli cone out of Irm, namely, the thoughts and intents of his heart. Our Lord said, " 'I'hink TMit that I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets; 1 am not co.ne to ■Icstroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, till heaven or earth j)ass, one idt or one tittle shall in no wise pass iVom the Law, till all be fulfilled." This could not be the judicial Law, which was to cease with the exi.stencc of the Jews as a nation. It could not mean the ceremonial Law, Mhich Mas done aM-ay by dirist. This declaration refers to the moral LaM-, and there is ample reason hir Ixlieving that his assertion should be true. That the moral Law is the transcript of the Divine mind, is the result of infmitc wisdom and goodness :. obedience to it would constitute the supremo
THE ATURE OP THE LAW. 411 happiness of all its creatures ; and consequently, it is the indispensable means of manifesting the divine glory. Were God to change the moral Law, it must, being already perfect, be clianged for the worse. Were he to give up the moral Law, it would be to renounce his own glory, to anniliilate his own schemes for the happiness of his creatures. But these ends united, constitute the very reason for which heaven and earth were made. In the case supposed by the Redeemer, the heavens and the earth would exist to no purpose worthy of Jehovah, if one jot or one tittle of the Law were to fail. Thus one great point is established, the universality and perpetuity of the Law. In making a few observations upon this subject, I shall begin by reminding you, that you and I are constantly under the obligation of the moral Law. We are not under the obligation of the judicial Law, which ceased with the state of the Jews. We are not under the obligation of the ceremonial Law, for the Law was the shadow of good things to come ; it was the preaching of the Gospel under the Old Testament dispensation, but was fulfilled in Christ ; and tliese lesser lights of inforuiation have been all absorbed in the full effulgence of the Gospel day. But we are each one under an obligation to fulfil the juoral Law : every individual in the whole world is entirely subject to its demands, as much as were the trembling Israelites, when it was addressed to them amidst the thunders of Sinai. ow, should not this consideration, which you can neither gainsay nor deny, awaken your thoughts to the inquiry, whether you have or have not obeyed the Law ? Should it not excite serious inquiry, stir up all our affections, our love, our fear, our desires, our hopes, to be engaged in the question, Have I obeyed the Law? Is it nothing to be living under a Lawgiver of infinite knowledge, whereby he discerns every deviation from his commands? Is it nothing to be living under a Lawgiver of infinite holiness, whereby he must avenge every iniquitous thing? Is it nothing to be living under a Lawgiver ol
infinite power, Avhereby he is able to punish those who transgress his commands? Such as you and I are bound to obey the laws of men, and receive the disgrace or the punishment of every violation of them : and do you think it unimportant to know, whether you are or not cliargeable with any violation of the conmiands of Him who can torment both body and soul for ever, and who has threatened to do so? "Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Je\Y first, and also of the Gentile." Think not, because sentence is not speedily executed, that eitlier the Judge is indifferent to tiie honour of his government, or that his indignation will lose its power. I have sometimes thouglit, that the reason why we are so insensible to our danger, and whv we are so little sensible of the necessity of seeking pardon, is, because sentence against evil Avorks is not executed speedily. And there is something like soundness in the observation, wiien you consider what would be the effect, if in this country all criminals were apprehended, but that sentence were not to 1)0 fulfilled for ten, or fifteen, or twenty years. The example of the punishment, which is a great means of deterring those who act from no otiier motive, would be lost in the mean time ; and there being no public execution, no sickening -owering of the gibbet meeting the eye of those who are inclined to commit evil, the effect would be to encourage licentiousness ; men would have a sort of compromise with the fear of what might be in ten years. So it is with us : " because sentence is not speedily executed against an evil work, theiefore the hearts of the sons of men are always set to do evil."
412 THE ATURE OP THE LAW. But, you sliould observe, it is consistent with tlie Divine intention in the present system of divine government, that the sentence should have a protracted term, during which ni«n may have tried upon them all the motives and appeals of the Gospel. This it is that sums up their iniquity, and tliat gives tlie crown and finish to their transgression: this it is that renders tlieir punishment so just. Whereas, if punishment were to follow immediatelj', every individual would be cut off — a mode of procedure utterly inconsistent with the present state of things as a probation. This subject of the Law, and especially the perpetuity and obligation of tlie moral Law, furnishes us with most affecting views of the evil nature of sin. "Sin," says the Apostle in the most accurate definition of it, is "the transgression of the Law :" that is, sin is such a disposition of the heart, such a conduct of the life, as is opposed to wh<it the Law requires. It is opposed to the designs of infinite wisdom and goodness ; it is opposed to the glory of God, and to the good of all intelligent beings. Of all these, the Law is the blessed grand exemplar: so far ivs sin operates, it operates to tlie formation of all evil ; and its native tendency is to prevent the glory of God. This malignant quality of sin does not lead to the possession of the power to achieve what it would accomplish if it had the power. The sinfulness of sin consists in the nature of its dispo-
sition. The question is, what would be the effect of sin, if sin could operate Mithout restraint? The malignity of sin, could it operate without restraint, would t-anscend all computation. You see this truth revealed in tlie present world: all tlie misery, all the wretchedness, and all tlie crime with which this unhappy world hath abounded, and doth still abound, is the effect of sin, yea, and of one sin, the sin of Adam. The effects of that one sin have been operating in all circumstances for nearly six thousand years. Sin blotted Paradise out of existence, and substituted barrenness and guilt. Instead of the celestial smile and bloom of our first parents, instead of tasting their pure original, and the unsullied calmness of their spirits, we behold the odious forms of wrath, and bitter agony, and misery. Instead of the confiding friendship they enjoyed in Kden, man is an enemy to man ; and, if it be possible to lull the fear of the future, or to soothe you with a^lrciun, you shall awake to the odious result, and find the friend of your bosom laying snares for your happiness, and endeavouring to militate against your peace. Where is the song of gladness, and tiie grateful sounds of purity and happiness? They are exchanged for the cry. of injustice, and the sigh of remorse. Where is the intercourse which our first parents held with God himself? It is exchanged for a fearful looking for of judgment, for a disinclination to meet the Divine IJeing face to face; it is exchanged for a casting of the back upon him, juid hiding in the conscience an enmity against him. What, then, would the evil nature of sin be, if sin were let loose on tlio universe? Wiio can picture the desolation that sin would caiuse, if sin had invaded heaven? What mind does not shrink under the thought of its raniges throughout eternity, when all created things would be sullied, and blighted, and depraved by it, the rational creation having all its intellectual (lualities tainted by it; and, notwithstanding, every being dwelt in pain and misery, yet, aL' immortal, all unable to die? Do I venture, in speaking thus, too far into the realms of imagination? Do I transgress the bounds of probability? This condition, at this moment, is realized in hell. Multitudes of every angelic rank — fiilleu angels, distinguished among the dominions, thrones, and jjowers, the
THE ATURH I* THE LAW. 413 mocking infidel, the scoffing pliilosopher — all these in one undistinguishable host, all depraved, and all unhappy, and yet, all immortal, for ever and ever, attest in the regions of hell, what sin would do were it let loose on the universe, what sin would do in heaven itself; what sin would do, not merely within the petty range of time, but through the everlasting ages of eternitvWe may learn from tliis subject, the extreme folly of the Antinomian tieresy. ^ The Antinomian heresy consists in the avowal that, because Christ hath fultilied > the Xiaw, and we receive, by his hand, the benefit of his obedience imputed to s us, that, therefore the believer is exempted from obligation to the commands of
the moral Law. A dangerous and unjust conclusion, from a most true and blessed doctrine. Afoul perversion of a holy doctrine ; and they are always foulest which are perversions of the fairest fountains. Christ hath suffered the curse of the Law — Christ hath redeemed from that curse all that believe, as it is set forth in the written word: "There is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." But, I am willing to hope, that this error, is an error of the judgment, more than of the afl'ection; an error, merely, of reasoning: but it is an unwarrantable conclusion from a doctrine most true. Let us never forget, that he who is born of God, loveth God, and knoweth God; and that this is the love of God, that wo keep his commandments. In my view, there is but little reason to fear, tliat one who has wept at the foot of the cross, with tears of genuine contrition, should fall into a principle so totally opposed to the spi-rit of the Gospel. Sinful and full of infirmities, as the most faithful believers are, I do not hesitate to say, that, the universal character of the family of God is, that they are to be holy as God is lioly ; ami that the prayer of the Catholic Church is, " Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil : as thou art, so let us be." From the contemplation of this subject, we may derive an additional argument for the truth of the Bible as a revelation from God. It is a refined argument, but it has a due proportion of strength. It is an additional thread to that complicated system of probabilities, which render it absolutely impossible that the Bible should be untrue. This divine Law has the stamp of divinity upon it in its simplicity. I state it on good authority that the Hindoo guide, for the moral conduct of the professors of Brahminisui, consists of seventy thousand precepts, which have been thus multiplied in order to attempt to give a precept for every possible case ; and every different case having different shades, there must be a new principle for each. It is so in the statute law of England, which consists of twenty volumes folio, and fifty voluuics octavo, besides what is called the unwritten law. ow, all these constitute the labour of a life to learn ; and, very frequently, after searching them through, you cannot find any parallel for the case respecting which you inquire. Behold the finger of God in the simplicity of the moral Law — " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength : and thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets." May each one present be led to contemplate this solemn truth, that we are living under moral oblig<ation ; that we are living under a divine and holy Governor, who takes cognizance of every thought ; who is, by the necessity of his nature, induced to punish every violation of his Law. And let me point you, for it may be for the relief and comfort of some soul present, to the Lamb ol God that taketh away the sin of the world. It is, you know, our attempt tc
414 THB ATURE OF THE LAW.
convince you — Jind it will be our attempt to convince you more systematically — tliiit all liave gone astray like lost sheep; and tliut Goil has laid lielp on one that is mighty. The Lord has laid on Christ Jesus the iniquities of us all : and in Christ, the curse of the Law is removed, and we are entirely justified by the rigliteousness of God in Christ. Apply to Ciirist ; study the character of Christ ; lanncli forth, with every affection of your soul into the promises made over to dying sinners. It is a sure and never fading refuge; a tried stone, in whom wnosoever believeth sliall never be confounded, world without end. May it be your happiness, and mine, thus to believe on Christ; and, living, and dying, to be found in him, not liaving our own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through the fiiith of Cliriat. 1. 68 FREE BOOKS http://www.scribd.com/doc/21800308/Free-Christian-Books
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