they were no ordinary persons who did so. None but they are known to have done it.

II. In the second place, I observe that this Moral Revelation, made by the succession of Prophets, holds an intermediate place between the Law of Moses and the Gospel itself. It is a step in progress beyond the Law, and preparatory to the Gospel. It is a step beyond the Law, in respect of the greater distinctness and fulness of some of its doctrines and precepts; it is a more perfect exposition of the principles of personal holiness and virtue; the sanctions of it have less of an exclusive reference to temporal promises, and incline more to evangelical: the Ritual of the Law begins to be discountenanced by it; the superior value of the moral commandment to be enforced; and altogether, it bears a more spiritual, and a more instructive character, than the original law given by Moses. The Law had said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength. Nothing can go beyond this commandment in the extent of it; but where nothing is to be added to extend a law, much may be added to expound it, and to animate its spirit, and to fill up, or direct its practice. The habits of love, and the sentiments of obedience to the commandment, may be further informed, the obligations may be improved, the practical force of

the law exalted. It is such an improvement as this, made by the Prophets upon the Law of Moses, whose authority they every where recognise, which the attentive reader is invited to consider. Perhaps I only multiply words to express the simple important fact, viz., that in the prophets there is a more luminous, a more perfectly-reasoned, rule of life and faith, than in the primary Law; and therefore that God's moral Revelation was progressive. It is more perfect in the Prophets than in the Law; more perfect in the Gospel than in either.-Let me specify a few points of the comparison.

In this order of prophecy, I include the Psalms, which of themselves are a great instrument of piety and devotion, and were so much superadded to the legal worship. They are the institute of a service of piety, for which, in the ordinance of the Law, was no such provision.

Again the Law forebore, in some few points, a perfection of its discipline. It practised It practised an unwilling condescension, in "yielding to the hardness of heart," the gross and refractory temper, of the people to whom it was given. This was seen in its non-prohibition of a plurality of wives, and its permission of divorce. But the Holy Jesus, who came to restore the Divine Law to its first integrity, as well as to make atonement for the transgression of it, He, in his Institutes, reformed these tempo

rary concessions. Meanwhile, one of the Prophets* had given a clear intimation that God approved not the permission so allowed, but would draw the domestic charities into stricter bonds of union and severity.

Take another case; the Prophets taught the doctrine of repentance with a clearness and certainty which were not admitted into the Law of Moses. This single doctrine, so promulgated as it is by the Prophets, makes a conspicuous distinction between them and that preceding Law.

Let it not be thought that this view of the Prophetic Revelation derogates in the least from the proper perfection or excellence of the ancient law of God. His law at all times, no doubt, has been perfectly adapted, to his purposes in giving it; to the state of the persons to whom given; and to the proper exercise and probation of their obedience. But it no more infringes upon the wisdom or holiness of the Lawgiver, or the dignity of his Law, to suppose his revealed Will to be enlarged from time to time, with respect to the sense of his law, than it reflects upon his Wisdom or Truth, that his revelation in any other parts of it should be, as in some confessedly it is, progressive.

Having so extricated the view which I take of the intermediate character of moral prophecy, as

*Malachi ii. 14-16.


standing between the Law and the Gospel, from any evil suspicion, I trust the truth of it will be admitted. The fact presents itself to my own mind upon a comparison of the Mosaic and the Prophetic books; and if it make the same impression upon others, they will perceive it to be, first, explanatory of the scheme of Revelation; and next, an internal mark of the consistency and proportion of its distant parts, and thereby of its entire wisdom and its truth.

This fact, moreover, exhibits the parallel which

obtains in revelation between its Morals and its Predictions. The line of prediction began at the first with the promise of a Redeemer; but the promise was general and obscure, and indeterminate in all its modes and circumstances. The same word of promise was enlarged from time to time; it grew in force and clearness till it approached its consummation. So of other instances of Scripture prediction; they had their enlargements. In like manner, the divine law was unfolded. The Patriarchal and the Mosaic covenants do not express so full a model of the law of righteousness, by which man is to serve his Creator, as the later revelation given by the prophets. The prophets carry on that law; they furnish it with new materials, of sentiment, motive, and duty; and this they do under the guidance of an original inspiration granted to them, as they declare, and not as commentators who merely elicit the sense of the law existing. Hence the sin

of Israel was this, that "they made their hearts as an adamant-stone, lest they should hear the Law, " and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent "in his Spirit by the former Prophets *." Hence Christ acknowledges and confirms "the Law and

the Prophets" as the two connected parts of the existing moral revelation, which he came not to destroy, but "to complete," and establish for ever.

And it is remarkable, that the Prophet, who of all others is the most full and explicit in delineating the Messiah's kingdom of redemption, is equally distinguished for the copiousness and variety of his lessons of holiness. Isaiah is not more "the evangelical Prophet" for that which he foretold, than for that which he taught. And this might be said, that, although a Christian could not consent to a surrender of the New Testament itself, yet if any one book of the Old were to be selected as a substitute for that more perfect gift, whereby to direct equally his faith and his obedience, none could be taken so adequate to both those purposes as the volume of this eminent Prophet, to whom it was given to behold the glory of Christ's kingdom with an eagle eye, and to drink of the spirit of holiness beyond his brethren.

To conclude this topic, I add one observation more upon it. One book of the Pentateuch there

* Zechariah vii. 12. Compare Nehemiah ix. 30.
† Matth. v. 17.

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