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case is the same under the Jewish dispensation. We must therefore, in order to our present inquiry, consider the state of religion under the Mosaic dispensation, and examine how far, and to what purposes, prophecy was requisite; and whether in fact these purposes were served by the prophecies under the law.
As to the state of religion under the law of Moses, to save your time and my own, I shall refer myself to the books of the law, in every man's hand. But two questions there are, neceffary to be confidered at present : and first, the promise to Abraham confifting of two diftinct parts, or including two diftinct covenants, the one relating to the temporal state and prosperity of his feed in the land of Canaan, the other to the blessing which through him and his seed was to be conveyed to all nations of the earth ; the question is, to which of these two covenants the law of Moses is annexed. If the law was given in execution of the promise 'made to all nations, then have the nations ' nothing further to expect; God has fulfilled his word : the Jews are right in adhering to their law, and we in the wrong in rejecting it. But if the law of Moses is built upon the temporal covenant only, and given properly to the Jews only; then both Jews and Gentiles have further hopes, and a just expectation remaining, to see God's promise to all nations accomplished; which was not accomplished by the giving of the law.
I have already, in the course of this argument, obferved to you, that the law of Moses was given to the Jews only, and not to all nations; for which these reasons, among others, may be assigned :
First, The obligation of no law extends beyond the terms of its promulgation. Now the law of Moses was promulged to the Jews only: the words are, Hear, 0 Ifrael; whereas, had the law been intended for all nations, it ought to have been promulged to all, and the words should have been, Hear, all nations of the earth. And thus the Christian law is promulged; the Apostles had it expressly in commission from Chrift, to teach ALL NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghoft; teaching them to observe all things whatfoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you ALWAY, even unto the END OF THE WORLD: a commission which plainly shews that the Gospel dispensation extends to all places, and all times, even to the end of the world; and that no other new law is to be expected.
Secondly, The law of Moses relates to the temporal covenant only, as being established expressly upon the terms and conditions of it. The Ten Commandments are founded upon this, that God brought them, the Jews, out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage ; a reason which extended to the people of the Jews only; for all other nations were not brought out of the land of Egypt, and the house of bondage. The first threatening is temporal, of visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation: the promise is of the same kind; both relative to the temporal covenant : as is likewise the promise of the fifth Commandment, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth theę. Thirdly, Many rites and performances of the law were confined to the land of Canaan, and the temple of Jerusalem : for which reason even the Jews, ip their dispersion, pretend not to observe the law in these points, and they would be transgreffors of the law, if they did. Now it is absurd, if the law was intended for all people, that the main performances of it should be confined within the territories of one particular people only: and therefore, when the Christian law was to take place, every country was to be a proper place of divine worship; which is the true meaning of our Saviour's words to the woman of Samaria, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father, John iv. 21.
Now this being the case, it is evident that the promise of a blessing to all nations subfifted in its full force and vigour during the continuance of the law of Moses ; for, as that promise was not completed by the giving of the law, in which all nations were not concerned, so neither could so general a promise be annulled or set aside by a private law given to one people only. And this is the true sense and meaning of St. Paul's argument, Gal. iii. This I say, That the covenant that was confirmed before of God in Chrift, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
Secondly, Another question proper to be confidered with respect to the state of religion under the Jewish dispensation is this: How far the religion of the Jews was preparatory to that new dispensation, which was in due time to be revealed, in accomplishment of the promise made to all nations ? Now if Abraham and his posterity were chosen, not merely for their own fakes, or out of any partial views and regards towards them, but to be instruments in the hand of God for bringing about his great designs in the world ; if the temporal covenant was given for the sake of the everlasting covenant, and to be subservient to the introduction of it; it is highly probable that all parts of the Jewish dispensation were adapted to serve the same end, and that the law founded on the temporal covenant was intended, as the temporal covenant itself was, to prepare the way to better promises. If this upon the whole appears to be a reasonable supposition, then have we a foundation to inquire into the meaning of the law, not merely as it is a literal command to the Jews, but as containing the figure and image of good things to come. It can hardly be supposed, that God, intending finally to save the world by Christ and the preaching of the Gospel, should give an intermediate law, which had no respect nor relation to the covenant which he intended to establish for ever. And whoever will be at the pains to consider seriously the whole adminiftration of Providence together, from the beginning to the end, may see perhaps more reason than he imagines to allow of types and figures in the Jewish law.
To proceed then : the Jewish dispensation not conveying to all nations the blessing promised through Abraham's feed, but being only the adminiftration of the hopes and expectations created by the promise of God, in this respect it stood entirely upon the word of prophecy; for future hopes and expectations from God can have no other real foundation. Inafmuch then as the Jewish religion did virtually contain the hopes of the Gospel, the religion itself was a prophecy; and, as the Jewish church was founded to preserve and to administer these hopes, the prophetical office was in some measure neceflary and effential to this church, to nourish and support their hopes and expectations from God.
In what manner the blessing of all men was established with Abrahan., Isaac, and Jacob, we have already seen. The next limitation of it is to the tribe of Judah, in that famous prophecy delivered by Jacob just before his death; The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him fhall the gathering of the people be, Gen. xlix. 10.
There are so many interpretations of this prophecy, some peculiar to the Jews, and some to Christians; and fo many
difficulties to be accounted for, whatever way we take, that I shall not pretend to enter into the decision of them at present. But take the whole prophecy relating to the tribe of Judah together, and there will be enough to answer our immediate purpose, without entering into these obscurities. Judah, says Jacob, Thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise; thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies : thy father's children shall bow down before thee. In a form of words not unlike this, the peculiar blefling was appropriated to Shem ; Juphet fall dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan full be his servant, Gen. ix. 27. And when Jacob himself had the blessing of Abraham settled on him, by his father Isaac, in preference to his brother Esau, the very words in which the grant was made to him are these : Let people serve thee, and nations bow