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brought down to their vitiated taste, and corrupt hearts; but they are still required to love Gud with all their hearts, and obey him in every thing, under the penalty of the curse.
Now that the law did curse every one, who continued not in all things written in the book of the law to do them, is plain, from Deut. xxvii.; and that this curse comprised the sum total of the punishment due to sin, according to the law, there is no doubt. And that eterNAL DAMNATION was implied in the punishment threatened in the law, and comprised in the curse in Deut. xxvii. I think is evident.
For otherwise the wicked Jews, who died in their sins, were not exposed to liell. But we see they were exposed to hell, froin the representation Christ gives in his parable of the rich man and Lazarus. - The rich man died and was buried, and in hell he lift up bis eyes being in torments.” Luke xvi. 22, 23. This parable was spoken to the Jews then under Moses' law. But they could not have been exposed to hell, unless it were by their own law; for St. Paul expressly affirms, that they should be judged by that, and by no other. “As many as have sioned in the law, shall be judged by the law." And therefore, if their law had not threatened hell, they would not have been exposed unto it.
Besides if the Jews, who enjoyed the benefit of divine revelation, were not exposed to hell for their sins, it is not to be supposed that the benighted Gentiles were. And if neither Jew nor Gentile were in danger of hell, previous to the coming of Christ, why did Christ come, and die, to save both Jew and Gentile from the wrath to come f.
Indeed it is plain from the three first chapters of the Epistle to the Romans, that St. Paul takes it for granted, as an indisputable point, that the Jews by their law, as well as the Gentiles by the law of nature, were exposed to the wrath of God for the least sin 8: and that this wrath should be revealed and executed at the day of judgment h; when, as we know, the wicked of all nations are to go away into everlasting punishment'So that if the New Testament may be allowed to explain the Old, there can be no doubt but eternal damnation was implied in the curse of Moses' law. And every unbiassed reader will naturally view that passage in Gal. iii. 10. 13. in this light. “ As many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse. For it is written, cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them. But Christ bath redeemed us from the curse of the law, that the blessing of Abraham might come upon us.” For as the blessing of Abraham implied eternal life and happiness; so the curse of the law from which Christ redeemed us, implied eternal death and misery; as St. Paul viewed the case k. So that, as the law required sinless perfection of the whole congregation of Israel, and promised eternal life upon
e Rom. i. 12. if i Thes. i. 10. g Rom. i. 18. h Chap. č. 5,6.
i Matt. xxv. 46.
k OBJ. “Grant it, when St. Paul says, Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, that by the curse he means eternal damnation ; and by the law, he means the law of Moses : yet how could St. Paul justly give this sense to the curse of Moses' law, which seems to intend nothing more than temporal judg. ments ? As it is written, Deut. xxvii. 16, 17, Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket, and thy store And so on for above fifty verses together, without one word of eternal damnation."
Ans. God designed the whole Jewish dispensation as a SHADOW of spiritual things.—Their bondage in Egypt was a shadow of our spiritual bondage i their redemption out of Egypt, a shadow of our redemption by Christ. The land of Canaan, with all the milk and honey, a shadow of heaven and its eternal delights and joys. Their being tul ned out of the land of Canaan for their sins, and cursed in all their temporal interests, a shadow of an eternal banishment from heaven, and of the everlasting miseries of hell : so that the curse of Moses' law was, in its spiritual meaning, of the same import with the curse that shall be executed at the last day : when the judge shall say, “Depart from me, ye CURSED, into everlasting fire." Mat. xxv. 41. And accordingly, St. Paul understood it so. This is the true solution of the difficulty. And it must be quite satisfactory to those who believe, that the Jewish dispensation was by God designed to be a shadow of spiritual things. For this being supposed, and taken for granted, as indeed it is every where in the New Testament, St. Paul might be full as certain what was the spiritual, as what was the literal sense. Nor was this spiritual sense designed to be wholly hid from the whole congregation of Israel, as the learned Dr. Warburton seems to imagine ; (vid. Div. Leg. Mos.) but rather, we ought to think, God designed to give them some general idea of the substance by all those shadows which were held forth before their eyes, (and in which the Gospel was preached to them : Heb. iv. 2.) because otherwise these shadows would have been of no service to lead them to look to the promised Messiah, who was to come : and so the end for which they were appointed, would have been frustrated. They were, therefore, not designed to secrete, but to reveal spiritual things : not indeed clearly, but yet to give a shadow of them: and such a shadow, as was well suited to lead their minds to the substance ; as might be largely shown. Particularly,
that condition; so it threatened eternal death and misery for the least failing: and that, all their inability notwithstanding. Therefore,
4.“ By the deeds of the law po flesh could be justified in
4 the sight of God!." But every Jew, whose conscience was thoroughly awakened, would by experience find, that the Jaw which was ordained to life, which promised life upon perfect obedience, did sentence him to death m. Indeed if the law could have given life, then men might have been justified this way". And so the death of Christ had been needless ; for if righteousness might have come by the law, then Christ had died in vaino. But the law was weak through the flesh, unable to give life by reason of human depravity P. It could convince of sin 9 if conscience was before ever so stupid, and men's false hopes ever so high and strong; yet if the commandment was set home, it could cause sin to revive, and all their false hopes to die. And it could work wrath, and fill the guilty creature with terror; for it shut him up under sin , and bound him over to eternal condemnation", and so was to him a ministration of death *. But it was impossible he
all the curses written in their law against the sinner, were designed and suited, not to hide and secrete the wrath of God, but to reveal and realize it to the heart. And while the guilty Jew died sensibly under the wrath of God, and curse of the law, he could have a prospect of nothing but a miserable eternity, nor expect any thing short of eternal damnation ; i. e. to continue for ever under the wrath of God, an accursed creature. But whether every reader shall think this the true solution of the difficulty mentioned in the objection or not, yet this is plain, that by the curse, the apostle means that eternal misery from which Christ redeema sinners : and by the law, he means the law of Moses, of which he had been speaking, and out of which he had quoted the passage he refers unto, when he says, Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law. Read Gal. iii. 10. and compare it with Deut. xxvii. 26. and you may see, it is as evident as it can be, that he is speaking of the curse of Moses' law. Wherefore Dr. Doddridge's Note on Gal. ii. 13. is not satisfactory. But to conclude, if the life promised in the law of Moses, implied eternal life, as it is certain, from our Saviour, that it did ; then, according 10 the same rule of interpretation, the death threatened must imply eternal mise. rys as we see it did according to St. Paul. And no doubt that interpretation of the law of Moses must be right, which is thus confirmed by two such divine erpositors.
| Rom. iii. 20. m Rom. vi. 10. n Gal. üi. 21. o Gal. ü. 21. p Rom. viii. 3. 9 Rom. iji. 20. r Rom. vii. 9. & Rom. iv. 15.
Gal. ii. 22. 4 Gal. iii. 10. r 2 Cor. iii. 7.
should ever obtain the favour of God and eternal life this. way. For neither his circumcision, nor any of his duties, would profit bim, unless he kept the whole lawy. He was a debtor, he was bound to keep the whole law", in order to life. Therefore the Jew was properly shut up under sin, guilt, and condemnation, and bound over to eternal wrath, nor was there any other way to obtain pardon, but by shedding of Blood . But the blood of bulls und goats could not take away
a sin". Therefore the Jew was shut up from all other ways, and driven to an absolute necessity to look to the promised Messiah, that he might be justified by faith in him. And thus the law was so constituted, as to be adapted not to give life, but to be a school-master to bring them to Christ, that they might be justified by faith. Which will still further appear, if we consider,
5. “ That the whole congregation of Israel were obliged, even in the sight of God, who searcheth the heart, to approve of the law, in all its rigour, as strictly just.” For in the most public and solemn manner, all the congregation of Israel, when the curse was denounced twelve times going from Mount Ebal, were twelve times to answer, and say, Amenc. And this was to be in the sight of God their Lawgiver, who looks at the heart; and who would esteem their saying, Amen, a mere mockery, unless their hearts approved of it at the same time their lips pronounced Amen to it. And indeed, had they not heartily approved the law, they must have appeared in the character of enemies and rebels, in the eyes of their Law-giver. Even the least degree of disapprobation of the law, being just so great a degree of enmity against God their Law-giver, who in his law to them had given a transcript of his nature. To dislike the law in such a case, had been the same thing, in effect, as to dislike God himself. Aod, besides, had they not beartily approved the law, in all its rigour, as strictly just, their ever pretending to bring a bullock or a goat before the Lord, and there lay their hands on the head of the consecrated animal, and deliver it to the priest to kill, to sprinkle the blood, and to burn the carcass, in
y Rom. ii. 25.
: Gal. v, 3.
a Heb. ix. 22. 6 Heb. x. 4
c Deut. xxvü.
order to make atonement for them, that their sin might be forgiven, I say, all this must have been a mere farce. For if the Jew who had sinned a sin, did not deserve the threatened curse, why did he bring his atonement to God? why did he practically say, “my blood deserves to be shed, as this
, bullock's is; and I deserve to be consumed in the fire of God's wrath ; as this bullock in this fire ?" If he did not approve the law, as strictly just, what was all this, but lying to God d? From all which it is plain, that the children of Israel were obliged heartily to approve of their law in the sight of God, in all its rigour as strictly just ; and to say, with St. Paul, the late is holy, the commandment is holy, just, and good.
“ 6. But if they had such a view of things, and such a temper, as would lay a foundation for them heartily to approve the law, the same view of things, and the same temper, would prepare and dispose them heartily to approve of the Gospel, and comply with it. And so, their school-master would bring them to Christ, to be justified by faith.”
It was impossible the Jews should heartily approve their law, in its requiring them “ to love God with all their hearts, and obey him in every thing;" unless under a view of his supreme excellency, his entire right to them, and absolute authority over them, attended with an answerable frame of heart. Nor could they possibly approve of it, as equal and right, that the favour of God should, by their law, be suspended on this condition ; unless they saw that no creature is worthy to be beloved by God, but those who love him with all their hearts, and give unto him, in all respects, and at all
d And as the Jew could not consistently bring his sin-offering, or exercise faith in the promised Messiah, without an hearty approbation of the divine law; so neither could he love God, or repent, or yield any sincere obedience.-For, if he thought the law too severe, he would think God too severe for giving of it; and so, not love, but dislike him : he would be disposed to justify himself in breaking it; and in all respects, have the heart of a rebel.–So that, under the Jewish dispensation, there could be no virtuous action done, nothing that had the nature of real piety, or that had the least true goodness in it, in the sight of God, until the law was approved of. Till this, they must be considered as enemies to God and his law, and uninterested in the great atonement of Christ, and all their religious performances and costly sacrifices, as so many splendid pieces of hypocrisy. Where there is godly sincerity in the heart, God's law will be sincerely approved of; and no where else. Rom. vii. 12. and vüïi. 7, 8.