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minds of the people an habitual reverence for that pure theocracy under which they lived ; to keep them, in that respect more especially, uncontaminated by other nations; to enforce a strict adherence to both tables of the Decalogue; and to guard their most venerable institutions from desecration or neglect. Among precepts so multifarious and so specifically detailed, many will undoubtedly be found of universal concern, applicable to all mankind. Others will no less evidently appear to have been of a more restricted character, limited to that peculiar people, arising out of their singular circumstances, and the
for which they were thus placed under the immediate superintendence of the Almighty. The use and design of these can only be discovered by a careful consideration of those purposes.
But the whole of the political part of the Law, being essentially interwoven with the moral and ceremonial precepts, may equally be said to have been “ added because “of transgressions.” It was added, both for the punishment and prevention of offences; and it prepared the way for that period, when all its minor observances should be superseded by duties and obligations on a far more extended scale. We
may now, therefore, fully enter into the Apostle's meaning when he says, 66 the Law “ was added because of transgressions, until “ the seed should come to whom the promise
was made.” It was an intermediate dispensation between the giving of the promise and the fulfilment of that promise, shewing most clearly, by the very nature of its enactinents and provisions, the guilt of sin and the necessity of a Redeemer. It inculcated these highly important lessons. It prefigured also that better dispensation which was to follow it: and under the direct operation of a Divine Power visibly carrying on the design to its ultimate completion, not only the Jews themselves, but all who attained to any knowledge of their history or of their sacred writings, might be made sensible, in some degree, of their own perilous condition, and be led to inquire after that Deliverer, whom the prophet, in contemplation of such a general expectation of his coming, emphatically called 6 the Desire of all nations."
Occasion might hence be taken to dilate upon many collateral points connected with the subject; to notice the many fallacies and misrepresentations into which infidel writers are continually betrayed in their attacks
upon the Jewish law and history; and also the un
Haggai ii. 7.
successful and unsatisfactory modes by which injudicious defenders have sometimes conducted its vindication. Observations might further be made on the erroneous views which the Jews themselves entertained of their own religion, and their consequent rejection of Him in whom alone its full purpose was accomplished. Nor might it be unprofitable to animadvert
upon those among our Christian brethren, who either unduly depreciate the value and importance of the Jewish dispensation, or themselves adopt certain narrow and contracted notions of the extent of the Christian redemption, savouring more of a Jewish than a Christian spirit. But it must suffice barely to have suggested these topics, and leave them to your own reflections.
To them, however, who duly reverence both the Law and the Gospel, as proceeding from one and the same source of infinite Wisdom and Goodness, no stronger proof will be wanted than that which the consideration of this subject affords, to assure them that “ he is “ faithful who hath promised *,” and that the Gospel of Christ is indeed “ the power of “ God unto salvation to every one that be6 lieveth; to the Jew first, and also to the “ Greek y.” Contemplating each system as x Heb. x. 23.
y Rom. i. 16.
connected with the other, and both as cooperating for the general benefit of mankind, they will thankfully acknowledge that “ the “ kingdom of heaven is now opened to all be“ lievers ;” and that the great charter of our salvation has no exceptions, no reservations,
no respect of persons,” either as to acceptance or rejection, but such as necessarily result from the performance or non-performance of its covenanted conditions. For, “ in
every nation he that feareth God and work“ eth righteousness is accepted with Him?;" —and wheresoever these “ glad tidings” are made known, there is the foundation laid for promoting “glory to God in the highest, and “ on earth
peace, good-will towards men.”
z Acts x. 35.
MATTHEW v. 17.
Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or
the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
THE universality of the Christian dispensation is that great leading feature in its character, which distinguishes it, not only from every false religion, but also from every subordinate revelation of the Divine will with which it is itself connected. It is that, by which we recognize it in every stage of its existence; by which we trace it throughout the earliest as well as the latest communications of the Almighty with mankind; and which so well accords with the Apostle's forcible expression, when he declares the blessed Author of this gracious system to be “ Jesus “ Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for 6 "
a Heb. xiii. 8.