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would we be deceived in our calculation of the Rom. vii. anger of the Almighty against sin? would we
wish to think that it is not exceeding sinful ? is
there not something within, which, sooner or Ps. cxxxix. later in the question, must bring us to the Psalm
ist's reflection; Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God? When it is the most obvious (and, if
just, would be a fatal) objection to the more Cf. Rom. merciful dispensation of the Gospel, that through
faith the law of duty is made void ; when, as it is, many are unhappily led into the error of continning in sin, that grace' may abound; how shall we think it might be, if there were no severer authorized language of denunciation against sin, to which we might refer in the cases of obstinate and rebellious children, under the covenant of grace!
I pray, that we may never be ensnared to think so of the Gospel, as that “ justice” is therein superseded by “ mercy.”. It is the union of the two together, which the Gospel manifests ; not the substitution of the one for the other. Let
the Psalmist's words be kept in perpetual rePsal. Ixxxv. membrance as a true character of it; Mercy and
truth are met together'; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. As David, a true Is
raelite, under the “ dispensation of fear” thus Psal. lxxvii. argued; Hath God forgotten' to be gracious ? 9, 10.
And I said, This is my infirmity : but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most
High ; so may a true Christian check the current of presumptuous thought under the “ministry “ of love;" “ Hath God forgotten to be just, that " I should continue in sin: No; an enemy hath “ raised this thought: but I will remember the “ things of old time, which were written for my cf. 1 Cor. “ admonition."
We have to consider, whether, under this view, the manner of the “ Law and the Prophets” indicates a knowledge of man.
II. 2. But to come to “ our Saviour's” manner and character, as connected with our position. Do these, as represented in the Gospel, (or rather I should say, as here conceived and assumed to be represented in the Gospel,) come home to our experience also, as being suitable, according to the terms proposed ?
In entering upon this consideration, let it be again remarked, that, to estimate the points in question properly, we must have recourse to the same sort of contemplation as before. We must contemplate them only for our own satisfaction, and with our own knowledge, from that elevated point of light and evidence, at which Christians now stand. If we look to the immediate apprehensions which seem to have prevailed among the very people to whom our Saviour spake, we shall obtain a very inadequate conception of the fitness for its end, either of his instruetion, or of his example. His manner of
33 to the end.
See as ex- speech was frequently misapprehended ; his chaMatt. xvi. racter was not then fully developed. All that Johnviii. language of the Gospels, in itself apparently
at variance, which is now to us familiarly reconciled by the doctrine of “ two natures” in our Lord, must' of necessity have worn a very mys
terious (not to say, unintelligible) aspect then John vii. when the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because
that Jesus was not yet glorified. We cannot, however, for a moment doubt, that evidence enough was offered for conviction, to a generation who beheld the signs and wonders of the great Deliverer with their own eyes. The question for ourselves to weigh is this: whether contemplating our Saviour under both those views, in which we must contemplate him, in order to appreciate his claims worthily, (that is to say, both as the “ Minister and Proprietor at “ once of a new dispensation," and also as “ a “ friend and brother, himself the great exemplar “ of life and conduct to all his followers, for "ever,”) the style of his teaching, (in the first instance,) and his personal behaviour, (in the second,) appear adapted to the ends of his sojourn upon earth, to us, living now in the fulness of light?
1. With respect to his manner of speaking and teaching, it cannot be necessary to say much. If the characteristic traits by which he stands distinguished as a teacher were correctly
displayed in a former part of this Lecture, a pp. 151–7. conclusion of the suitableness of this to its proposed object follows almost spontaneously. Surely, his way of speech is perceptibly the very voice of the bridegroom himself. His precepts John iii.. and aphorisms are unembarrassed, clear, and positive; his discoveries are what we wanted ; enough, and no more. He has rebuke for the hypocrite and the oppressor, and comfort for the penitent. To those who saw him, his Cf. John works bore witness to his words, when he called them to a saving faith. For ourselves, and all as many as have never eaten and drunk in his per- Luke xiii. sonal presence, and in whose streets he never taught, he has left a comprehensive, and sufficient, and perpetually descending consolation ; Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have John xx. believed.
But I forbear to tarry on this topic. Let it be referred, rather, to the thoughts suggested concerning it by a powerful advocate for the Paley, vol.
ii. ch. 2, 3, truth of Christianity, in some of his chapters on 4, 5. its “ auxiliary evidences.” Surely, every thing there set forth relative to Christ, when honestly compared with our own experience, bespeaks him to be one, on whom we may rely with per- Cf. Matth. fect security ; the very “ lord now gone for a ". “ season into a far country," who has portioned out his goods among us, and will one day come and reckon with us! And is not this the very precise
1 Kings viii. 46.
conviction which it most concerns our happiness to feel?
2. A question of greater doubt and difficulty is, whether the second and subordinate object of his incarnation: (namely, the exhibiting a perfect human example for our imitation) is accomplished with equal appropriateness ?.
I call it a question of greater doubt and difficulty, because it is quite impossible, in sincere seeking after truth, and of our duty, as resulting from truth, not to be sensible of this perplexity; " that the pattern thus propounded for our imi“ tation, and declared to be the likeness we must “ aspire after, is one that neither is, nor ever has “ been perfectly imitated.” For there is no man that sinneth not : whereas it is both evident inci
dentally, concerning CHRIST, as well as affirmed Heb. iv. 15. positively, that he was without sin. Hence it
becomes a feeling of unsubdued nature, or of premature despair, that “ Christ's example is
“ not imitable." An insuperable objection, if it : were a sound one, to the present argument !
since an example, really not imitable, could