Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

SERM. Works, which the Jews held in Opposition VII. to Faith, or those which the Jewish Con

verts held equally in Conjunction with it, but those Works only, which are inseparable from it. Otherwise St. Peter, when he talks of St. Paul's Epistles, that there are some Things in them hard to be understood, which the Unlearn'd and Unstable wrest, meaning, as is supposed, the Doctrine of Justification, which was misinterpreted by fome to be by Faith without Works, would be guilty of the fame Fault, when he exhorts to add to Faith, as in sufficient of itself, Virtue, and to Virtue Knowledge, Temperance, Patience &c. and when he says, that by Good Works, we are to make our Calling and Election sure.

And therefore the Works of the Law, as it is made a Covenant, can't be those Works, which accompany Faith, which belong to a Covenant establish'd upon better Promises, and is therefore call'd a better Covenant; and fo could not justify the Performers of them, and make them

that

that. Seed of Abraham to whom the SERM. Blessing was promised.

VII. But tho' the Law thus consider'd can't justify us, does it therefore follow that our Obligations to the Moral Law are made void thro' Faith ? God forbid. To object this is to shew an Ignorance of the Law and the Gospel too. For to say, that because the Law, consider'd as the whole Law of Moses, will not justify us, that therefore that Part of it, which is call'd the Moral Law, is made null and void ; or else if we put it this way, to say, that because that Part of the Law of Mofes, which is call'd the Moral Law, will not justify us of itself, that therefore it is not at all necessary towards it, is to argue very confusedly and inconsistently : For tho' the moral Law itself is not binding as a Covenant, as I have already proved, yet it will by no Means follow from thence, that it is not binding as a Rule of Life. It has fill the Force of a Moral Rule, because there still remains the same Reason for it; and is the fame in all Respects as before, except in this one, that an exact Obe

dience

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

m

Ser M. dience to it is not made a necessary ConVII. dition of Salvation, but Repentance is accepted instead of it. :

But however, if we are still bound to obey the Moral Law, very likely it may be objected, how then is the Gospel a better Covenant, or the Gospel Dispensation easier, since the Law remains in Force as much now as it did before? The anfwer:ing this Objection rightly, I hope, will very much illustrate the Matter, and put it in a clear Light. If we confider the Gospel, as a Moral Rule, in the same Sense as we do the Law, it is not at all easier than the Law; because the fame Duties are still binding upon us as before, and many more, as I shall shew under the next Head: For the Gospel is not under a Dispensation as a Law, or a Rule, but as a Covenant; and it is easier than the Law no otherwise, than as it is an eafier Covenant; but if we consider it likewise as a Covenant, then it is of great Advantage to us, where the Law as a Covenant is defective, and has a difpensing Power which the Law has not,

and

and in that Senfc only can be said to make Serm. void the Law.

VII. And indeed if the Law consider'd in this View was not made void thro' Faith, the Gospel could not be what it is. If Righteousness come by the Law, says the Apostle, then Christ is dead in vain; But further that the Gospel does not make void the Law is plain from hence; because by the same Rule it would make void itself; and so instead of setting up one Law upon the Ruins of another, would most effectually destroy both ; and root out Law and Gospel too. To make void the Law thro' Faith is to make Christianity a false Religion ; for the Law, as it is a Moral Rule, in which Sense only we are now concern'd to understand it, teaches us our Duty to God and our Neighbour, and it is the Business of the Gospel to do the same. It is not calculated to fill Men's Heads with thin metaphysical Notions, but with true substantial Religion: 'Tis to make Men more knowing in what they are most of all concern'd to know ; viz. the Terms of their Acceptance

.. with

Serm. with God. In short, the Gospel is cal: : VII. culated to teach Men to lead good Lives;

and accordingly our blessed Saviour in the
Doctrine he taught, and especially in his
most admirable Sermon on the Mounts
takes a great deal of Pains to fix in the
Minds of his Hearers the Obligations they
lay under to perform the Moral Law; and
condemns the Scribes and Pharisees for
transgreffing that Law thro’ their Tra-
ditions: And when one asked him, what
he should do to inherit eternal Life, he
told him, if thou wilt enter into Life
keep the Commandments; and is so far
from destroying the Law, that he express-
ly says, that 'one yot, or one Tittle shall in
no wise pass from the Law till all be ful-
filld. Our Saviour was so far from
having any Intention to destroy the Moral
Law, that he did not so much as endeavour
to alter even the judicial Law of the
Country where he lived ; but left the Civil
Government as he found it, in the Pof-
feffion of its own Rights and Priviledges,
without adding any Thing but Precepts
of Obedience. For indeed Christianity

« FöregåendeFortsätt »