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the law, which is a school-master, by divine appointment teacheth. O, learn this! and then you will understand the doctrine of justification by faith, and know why St. Paul, after all his attainments, so earnestly desired to be found in Christ".

3. From what has been said, we may see "what views and dispositions are absolutely necessary, in order to a sinner's understandingly and consistently exercising faith in Christ, to the end he may be justified through him. He must have a view of himself as he is, compared with the law; and of his state, as it is, according to law : and heartily approve the law, as being strictly just.

As when the children of Israel were about to enter into the land of Canaan, which was a type of heaven, the law was by Moses repeated in the plains of Moab; and just as they took possession of the holy land, they were obliged to signify their hearty approbation of the whole law in its utmost rigour, by answering Amen, twelve times going, as the Levites denounced the curse ; so, before a sinner can come to Christ, and be through him entitled to the heavenly Canaan, the commandment must come, be set home on bis conscience, that sin may revive, and his guilty state appear, and all his hopes grounded on his own goodness die. Nor can he consistently apply to Christ, the great atonement, unless from his heart he approves the law by which he stands condemned, as strictly just.

As the Israelites had no title to the land of Candan by law, in consequence of their own righteousness, being a stiffnecked people, but only by the promise made to Abraham.; so it was fit they should see, and be thoroughly sensible, that God did not do those great things for them for their righteousness. And therefore such a method was by God taken with that generation for the space of forty years, as had the most direct tendency to answer this end P. And so it is, in a resembling manner with singers, according to God's ordinary way of

preparing them for Christ; and a title to eternal life through him. For they were our ensamples, and their history Was written for our instruction?.

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+ Phil. ii. O.

o Gal. iji, 18.

p Deut. viii. and ix.

9 1 Cor. x. 11.


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But inasmuch as the necessity of a preparatory work is denied by some, and the nature of it is still more misunderstood ; therefore let us stop here a few minutes, and see what light the subject we have been upon will pour in upon these points.

The necessity of preparation for Christ, must, without dispute, be granted; or we shall undermine the Jewish dispensation, which was by God designed for this very purpose. God intended that the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ should shine into this benighted world; he intended it, in the days of Moses; but the world was not prepared for it then. Therefore, first he gives the law, appoints that to be a school-master, and keeps up the school for near two thousand years; to prepare the way for the Gospel-revelation : that it might be the better understood, the more readily believed and embraced. God saw many preparatory lessons needed to be taught, and that the necessity was so great, as that it was best to delay the Gospel-dispensation, and set up a preparatory school, and appoint a preparatory school-master. So that there needs no further proof of the necessity of preparation, in order to faith in Christ; as the Mosaic dispensation takes this for granted, and was chiefly designed to answer this end". For, as if any man should boldly say, that mankind have no need of a Saviour, it would wholly undermine and overthrow the Gospel-revelation ; which takes it for granted that mankind do need a Saviour, and just such a Saviour as is provided; so, if any man should boldly say, that


que OBJ. “If every particular sinner needs the law to be his school-master to bring him to Christ, as much as the Jewish nation did, why was the Jewish dispens:tion ever to be at an end? Why was it not to be perpetual ?

Ans. 1. The law of nature, requiring sinless perfection, on pain of eternal damnation, which was the chief part of the law given at Mount Sinai, all the advantages of which new edition, or republication of the law of nature, we still enjoy i

this law of nature, as it was in force previous to the Jewish dispensation, among all nations; so it is still. And by it, all nations ever were, and still are, exposed to the everlasting wrath of Goil, as the Jews were by their law. Nor is there any escape but by Christ. Now here is a perpetual school-master. Rom i. 18. and iii. 9. 19. Act; iv. 12.

2. But there is now no need to offer the blood of bulls and goats, or constantly to attend to and look upon any other of the Jewish shadows; because Christ the substance is come Therefore the ceremonial law is to be no longer in force.




Cod. 說 act

I say,

nothing is wanting to prepare a sinner for Christ, it would undermine and overthrow, the Mosaic dispensation, wbich takes it for granted, that sinners did need preparation, and just such a preparation as that dispensation was suited to work.

Now, read through the whole law of Moses, with the history interspersed, in those sacred books, of God's dealings with the children of Israel those forty years in the wilderness ; and it will appear that the whole is admirably suited to realize the Being and perfections of God; to show us exactly how he looks upon himself, and how he stands affected towards sin. “LAm The Lord)," he says, ay hundred times; he speaks it with the majesty of a God, and he shows an infinite regard to his own honour, and expects all to love and worship him, to fear and obey him, on pain of death. If his anger waxes hot, behold! the earth opens her mouth, and swallows up hundreds ! Or, the plague rages, to kill thousands in a moment! And if he is pleased to have mercy, and not execute all his wrath, it is like an absolute sovereign over criminals that have no claim.--I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy : and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion'. Thus they are in the hands of a sovereign God. Meanwhile, the law teaches that no mortal can, on the account of his own goodness, be approved of God, unless be is perfectly holy in heart and life; and that the least defect merits and exposes to eternal damnation. And yet at the same time, forbids a complaining thought, and obliges to an hearty approbation. Nor could the poor, guilty, helpless Jew, without an hearty approbation of the law, with any consistency, lay bis hands on the head of the consecrated animal, and present it to die in his room ; and yet, this was the only door of hope : for, without shedding of blood, there was no remission. And now, it is plain what views and dispositions all this, effectually realized to the mind, and set home upon the heart, was suited to work. "It would effectually awaken his conscience, and bring the Jew to feel what he was by nature, and by practice, in the sight of God, and

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compared with his law; and what he stood exposed unto, without any possible way of escape, but by the blood of atonement; which yet he could not, consistently, have recourse unto : unless first he heartily approved the law, in all its rigour, as strictly just.” And herein, as in a glass, we may see the true nature of that preparation which is necessary in order to exercise faith in Christ.

And impartial reason approves it all. For is it fit the sinner should be pardoned, before he sees and owns what he is, and wherein, and how much he has been to blame? Or is it fit, the sinner should be pardoned, till he clearly sees he deserves to be punished? Or is it fit, a sinner should be, pardoned, by God the lawgiver, before he sees and feels the law is just, by which he stands condemned ; so as to cease complaining; yea, so as actually to approve, justify, and acquiesce in it, as quite right and altogether equitable? Or can a sinner till then see any proper and rational ground for an atonement ? Or discern his need of Christ? Or see the true beauty and glory of the Gospel-way of life? Or heartily acquiesce in it?

Or may not these be laid down as maxims, near or quite self-evident: I must see wherein I have been to blame, and how much, before I can see wherein and how much I need a pardon. I must see, I altogether deserve the threatened punishment; before I can see it altogether free grace, to be delivered from it. I must see it, reasonable, fit, and beautiful, that sin should be so punished as the law threatens; before I can see the law, reasonable, fit and beautiful, in threatening so to punish sin. I must see the law reasonable, fit, and beautiful, before I can be satisfied at heart, that it was ever best it should be executed

the sioner, or upon Christ bis surety. I must see it, to be of infinite importance, that God be honoured, and sin discountenapced, before the severity of the law will appear beautiful, or the death of Christ needful, or the way of life through bis blood glorious, or I heartily approve of the law, or cordially acquiesce in the Gospel. I must heartily aquiesce in the Gospel-way of life, or I cannot sincerely, and from the heart, fall in with it.

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Now these, and each of these particulars, are essential to the exercise of faith in Christ, for pardon and justification, Nor need any thing further be added, in order to determine exactly the nature of that preparation, which is necessary to the exercise of faith in Christ. Precisely how much of this is wrought in the true convert, previous to regeneration, and goes into the idea of what is called legal huniliation, and how much is consequent upon regeneration and divine light, and belongs to what is called evangelical humiliation, I shall not stand to determine ? But this I desire may be remembered, that there can be no exercise of faith in Christ for pardon and justification, by a new convert, or by an old saint, without these views and tempers at least, for the substance of them. They are so essential to justifying faith, that it cannot exist without them. Which after all that

t It may not be amiss to add here, that previous to regeneration, while the sinner is without any seed of grace in his heart, 1 John iii. 9. dead in sin, Eph. ii. 1. at enmity with God and his law, Rom. viii. 7. he may, through the law set home upon his conscience, by the spirit of God, be made to see and own, as in the sight of God; 1. That there is no goodness in his heart, that he is quite dead in sin, an enemy to God and his law. 2. That he is, in himself, entirely helpless, absolutely lost and undone. 3. That God is not obliged to help or save him, for any thing he can do. 4. That he is in the hands of God, who is at liberty to have mercy on him, or not, as he pleases. 5. That it is a just and righteous thing in God to cast him off for ever.

But it is after regeneration that other things come into view ; such as, 1. The transcendent beauty and excellency of the divine nature.-2. The beauty of the law.3. The glory of the Gospel-way of life.-All which lay a foundation for 4. A supreme love to God, an hearty approbation of the law, a cordial acqniescence in the Gospel, an actual compliance with that way of life, &c.Besides that, now the justice of God in the daionation of the singer, and the reasonableness of his acting as a sovereign, in the salvation of those that are saved, appear quite in a new light. They appear even to be glorious, 2 Cor. iii. 7. Matt, xi. 25.

u There is the same necessity of these views and tempers, in order to the exereise of faith in Christ, at any particular season, through the course of a man's life, as there is at his first conversion The same reason that makes them necessary to any act of faith, makes them necessary to every act of faith. ladeed, they become habitual to the true believer, who daily lives by fuith on the Son of God. For, it may be observed, that those legal terrors, and all those struggles and workings of the sinner's heart, while unregenerate, which are com. monly experienced previous to a saving conversion, are left out of the above representation ; as being, in a great measure, peculiar to that season, and not essential to any act of faith, but only naturally arising from the sioner's then present

state and temper.

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