Imágenes de páginas

says the Apostle, attributes nothing to faith; but, to DEEDS only, which if a man do he shall live in them. Now, if, by life, be here meant, as the objector supposes, eternal life, then St. Paul's argument does not come out as he intended it; namely, that faith, and not the works of the Law, justifies; but thus, that both faith and the works of the Law justify, which would have satisfied these Judaizers, as reconciling on their own prejudices Moses and Habakkuk; but would, by no means, have satisfied our Apostle; whose conclusion on this question, where discussed at large, in his Epistle to the Romans, is, that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law * The very drift of his argument therefore shews us, that he must necessarily understand the life, proinised in this text of Leviticus, to be TEMPORAL life only. But charitably studious, as it were, to prevent all possible chance of our mistaking him on so important a point, He immediately subjoins, Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law of. Now we know that our redemption by Christ was from that death which the first man brought into the world; the curse which he entailed upon his posterity. Therefore the transferring this term from Adam to the Law, shews plainly that in the Apostle's sentiments, the Law had no more à share in the redemption of fallen man than Adam himself had. Yet it is certain, that if the Law, when it said, He who hreps these statutes and judgments shall live in them, meant, for ever, it proposed the Redemption of Mankind as completely as the blessed Jesus himself did, when he said, he that believeth in me shall have cverlasting life. This becomes demonstrable, if St. Paul's reasoning will hold, who surely had heard nothing of this prerogative of the Law, when he said, If there hal been a Law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the Law. Where observe, I pray you, the force of the word ?wo Toño x1, which signifies to quicken, or to make alive; plainly intiinating the same he had said in the place quoted before, that those in subjection to the Law were under a curse, or in the state of death.---Let me add only this further observation, that if (as this Objector pretends) by life in the text of Levit. be meant eternal life; and if (as the Apostle pretends) by life, in the text of llabakkuk, be meant eternal life; then will Moses and Habakkuk be made directly to contradict one another; the first giving that eternul life to WORKS, which the latter gives to FAITH. But Dr. Stebbing would insinuate, that Jesus himself seems to have affixed this sense to the text in Leviticus; however, that the plain inference is that eternal life was taught at least, if not obtained by the Law. " When the Lawyer in the Gospel (says he) had made " that most important demand, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life*? our blessed Lord refers “ him to what was written in the Law, and upon his “ making a sound and judicious answer, approves of “ it; and for satisfaction to his question, tells him, This do and thou shalt live.”— Would not any one now conclude, from the sense here put upon the words of Jesus, that the sound and judicious answer of the Lawyer must have been a quotation of the text in Leviticus,-Ye shall keep my statutes, which if a man do he shall live in thcm;-or at least some general promise made to the observers of the whole Law of Moses? No such matter. On the contrary, the Lawyer's answer was a quotation of only one precept of the Law, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, &c. and thy neighbour as thyself. Now * Luke x. 25.

* Rom. iii. 28. † Gal. iv. 13. VOL. V, DD



how much soever we may differ about a future state's being held out by the Law, through a Messiah to come, I suppose we are both agreed that faith in the Alessiah, either actual or imputed, is necessary to obtain this future state. There are but two ways then of understanding this text of St. Luke, neither of which is to his purpose. The first is the supposing that Jesus included faith in himself in this precept of loving God with all the heart, &c. which will appear no forced interpretation to him who holds Jesus to be really and truly God; as, I imagine, the Doctor does; and may be supported by a circumstance in the story as told by St. Matthew *, though omitted by St. Luke, which is, Jesus's saying, that on these two commandments hang all the Law and the PROPIETS. The second and exacter interpretation is, that Jesus spoke to a professing follower, who pretended to acknowledge his Mission, and wanted only a RULE OF LIFE. For Jesus was here preaching the Gospel to his disciples, and a Lauyer stood up and TEMPTED him, that is, on the false footing of a disciple, required a rule of life. Now in either case, this reference of Jesus to the Law must imply this, and this only, that without rightcousness and holiness no man shull sce the Lord. A point in which, I suppose, we are agreed.- But still the Doctor will say that these words of Jesus allude to the words of Moses. Admit they do. It will not follow, as he seems to think, that they were given to explain them. How many allusions are there in the New Testament to passages in the Old, accommodated to a spiritual sense, where the texts alluded to are seen, by all but Fanatics, to have only a carnal? And even in this very allusion, if it be one, we find that the promiso made to the observers of the whole Law is transferred

* Matt. xxii. 40.

to the observance of one single precept, in the moral part of it. But let us grant him all he would have; and admit that these words of Jesus were given to explain the words of Moses. What would follow from thence, but that the promise in Leviticus had a secondary sense of a spiritual and sublimer import? Will this give any advantage to the Doctor and his Party? Surely none at all. And yet the abuse of this concession is all they have to support themselves in their determined opposition to Common sense.

6. A Law in Leviticus is delivered in these terms, “ Whoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the “ strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of “ bis seed unto Molech, he shall surely be put to " death *.” Let me first explain the text, before I shew how it is perverted. There were two cases in which the offender here described might escape panishinent:— Either the crime could not be legally proved, Or the Magistrate might be remiss in punishing. The divine Lawgiver obviates both: and declares that the Infanticide, in such case, shall suffer death by God's own hand in an extraordinary manner. The supplial of the first defect, is in these words, " And I will set my face against the man, and will “ CUT HIM OFF FROM AMONGST HIS PEOPLE T." The supplial of the second is in these :-" And if the " people of the land do any ways hide their eyes " from the man, when he giveth of bis seed unto “ Molech, and kill him not, then I will set my face * against that man and against his family, and will “ CUT HIM OFFI." So much for the sense of the text. And now for the nonsense of our Interpreter, a Professor of Law and Divinity, the egregious Dr. RUTHERFORTH. This sage provision for the execution • Levit. xx. 2.

Ver. 3.

1 Ver. 4, 5.


[ocr errors]

of the Law our Professor being totally unconscious of, he insists “ that cutting off from amongst his People “? can only mean eternal damnation, the being consigned “ to a state of punishment in another life.” p. 33. He is, as I say, a dealer both in Law and Divinity: but not having yet learnt the use of his tools, he confounds Law by Theology, and depraves Theology by Law: And of this the reader has already seen some delectable instances. But at present, to regulate a little his Law-ideas, let him turn to Exod. xii. 15. and Levit. vii. 25. and he will find that the cutting off from Israel, and the cutting off from the People, are phrases which signify only capital punishment of a civil kind. Unless he will suppose that what is there threatened for eating leavened bread and prohibited fat, is ETERNAL LIFE IN TORMENTS.

7. The PsALMIST, in a holy confidence of God's mercies, says, Thou wilt not leave my soul in HELL, neither wilt thou suffer thy holy one to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life; in thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore *.-The scope of the whole Psalın is to inplore the protection of God, from this consideration, that the Psalmist himself not only stedfastly adheres to the Law of God, but is ready to give his aid and support to all those who do—That the vengeance of God pursues idolatry, which he carefully avoids-That the God of Israel is his portion, and the land of Canaan a fair inheritance~That this stedfast adherence to the Lord is his confidence and peace-Then follow the words in question,--That he is sure, God will not leave his soul in Hell, &c. &c. that is, suffer him to fall immaturely, as was the lot of the transgressors of the Law:--And concludes, that walking in the law of God

* Psal. xvi. 10, 11,

« AnteriorContinuar »