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or, what we think worse, here is one that has been tripped up on the highway, and had his pockets turned out: Bleeding bruises and black eyes cry Vengeance in behalf of one; much more, torn clothes and empty pockets in behalf of the other.-I own, they ought to be paid forhope they will; the empty pockets, I mean, as well as the bruises and black eyes. So much I own on that side, and can also imagine other aggravations beside what I have mentioned, to make either look worse than it has now been represented : but considering the heart and soul of the offence rather than its front or outside, I must believe, that any old ruffian who may have trained this sturdy young one to iniquity and corrupted his mother has inflicted deeper wounds and bruises, with a more serious abstraction of property : the disfiguration which they cause in the inner man must look more frightful to those heavenly observers who see characters as intuitively as we read countenances; the spoil they make of innocence and happiness is far beyond any amount of money that may be taken on the highway: and if a man's blood should boil at the sight of the young ruffian's work, the thought of the old one's might be enough to burst one's heart.
§ 2. As long as the disagreeable relation of trespass shall continue any where its subject, the trespasser, will be liable to smart for it in the way of pains and Penalties; being, as it is said, “ a debtor to the whole law," (Gal. v. 3,) if there be any law to be had, or else the state will be liable to smart. And commonly it is the smarting only that people mean to deprecate at the throne of our heavenly Father, when they pray to have their trespasses forgiven ; as if he had no more authority than any other judge! But where a proper feeling exists the subject, if it were put to his choice, would rather let the penalty stand, and deprecate the trespass literally according to the language of the petition, which is, “ Forgive us our trespasses," and not forgive us the penalties to which we are liable on their account. Thank God such an election however is not required; and when we pray our heavenly Father according to his Son's intention, it may be meaning that he would extend his mercy toward our doing as well as suffering, that we may bless his mercy in both parts, and not brave his inflictions, any more than bis contempt; seeing the very lightest of them is no trifle, while the heaviest that we have ever known as yet may be trifling in comparison with many that he is able to send, and no man, nor angel either, to avoid. We should look well to the law therefore, on which such trespass and penalties are founded, -—“ To the law, and to the testimony,” (Isai. viii. 20,) as the prophet says; that is to the law of God; who, although he has no people to concert a jurisdiction with, no stipulations to propose or receive, nothing but his own will to consult-yet governs by a constitution, is A CONSTITUTIONAL KING, and his word is the law: there being of the same two several codes, gifts or dispensations, and existing at once; the old and the new, or 1, of Nature; and 2, of Grace: one relating to guilt and condemnation, the other to grace and salvation. As for the Mosaic system; which is also called a dispensation ; we are rather to consider it as a medium or connecting link between these two, namely between the old and the new, being named after the former, Old, from its beginning with that; and not from any greater participation in its deathlike qualities than it has in the regenerating principle of the new dispensation, I conceive. And so the apostle evidently appears to think, when he says of it, “ Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid : for if there had been a law given which could have given lise, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise of faith by Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” (Gal. iii. 21, 22.) But to speak more distinctly of the two several codes of nature
and grace before mentioned which meet and are united in this medium, the Interim, as I may call it, which was given by Moses--and their penalties,
1. The first of them, or the Code of Nature, which was delivered in creation is most simple and severe, saying only thus," In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. ii. 17.) No scale of offending, no loophole, no pardon or indulgence in the law of nature: but simply for this one offence, slight as thou mayest think it, “ thou shalt surely die.” Such is the debt of nature, and such was to be the penalty of that one offence. The pestiferous tree, the upas of knowledge, which they had no business to look on, was viewed and admired by our first parents ; its false fruit especially looked irresistible, but was no sooner tasted than “the eyes of them both were opened,” and they learned to their shame, that they were naked,- were shorn of their native innocence, as well as their native peace and enjoyment; that awful sentence,“ on the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” flashed fiercely upon their recollection, and death stared them in the face.
It was not specified in the law of nature that we know -for it is a very shallow outline which we have of that law, by what mode or execution the divine sentence of death was to be carried into effect; though we read as one consequence, and no more than we know to be true, that man, who was taken from the dust would hereupon return to his dust again. And there all might be supposed to end, if something had not been said before about a living soul; as how “ the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. ii. 7.) And elsewhere he says by the prophet, “ The soul that sinneth it shall die.” (Ezek. xviii. 4.) Our Saviour likewise said something about a farther consequence upon death in the power of God, than there is in the power of man; encouraging his faithful followers to regulate their
apprehensions thereby accordingly. « Fear not then which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.” (Matt. x. 28.) The tradition of a state of future suffering is also very common, and can be traced to the same quarter from which Moses drew his education. (Acts vii. 22.) But how such tradition began, or how it got into the holy scriptures, does not appear: we know however that it is there; and the most probable date of this aggravated sentence of death in which the soul partakes alike with the body is found in the original decree against eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge before mentioned.
2. But, as St. Paul says, not as the offence, so also is the free gift;" (Rom. v. 15;) meaning that of a new dispensation in the Code of Grace. For still to keep alive the hope of mankind, as without hope we were dead indeed, the form or mode of such a dispensation proceeded from their Creator in the very act of judgment, and was subsequently outlined by the great Jewish legislator on Mount Sinai, with types and figures, to represent a law of commutation, which every judge or creditor may allow if he please in lieu of payment; the most particular and significant type being that of a lamb for a burnt offering, which God of his infinite goodness had engaged to provide for himself with this view : (Gen. xxii. 8:) in whom we might “ have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." (Eph. i. 7.) And then there would be a real commutation, a commutation of practices as of principles, of a new life for an old, and of a right faith for a wrong; a very ad. vantageous as well as the only real commutation.
For every one must know, not only how it is impossible for the blood of bulls and of goats to take away sins: (Heb. x. 4:) but also, that were it possible, our sins would be too many for them. All the flocks and herds that came up with Israel out of Egypt would not be a moderate commutation for the trespasses of any one person that came up with them : the wealth of a Solomon or a Cresus would not suffice for the purpose : ten thousands of rivers of oil” (Mic. vi. 7) would come short at the rate of one tenth of a bath for each offence; and all the flour in Canaan would fail at the rate of one tenth of an ephah. For “who can tell how oft he offendeth ?” (Ps. xix. 12.) The simplest calculator in Israel could shew, that there is not in the world the means of commuting its guilt at any rate. The Psalmist observes, “ There be some that put their trust in their goods, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches ;” (Ib. xlix. 6 ;) as they well might, if pardons could be bought with gold, or if riches gave their holders an advantage in this respect for any living, or for the dead either who are past helping themselves. But (as the Psalmist continues) no man may deliver his brother, nor make agreement unto God for him. For it cost more to redeem their souls: so that he must let that alone for ever.” (Ib. 7, 8.) Which is to the same effect with what St. Peter writes, “ Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition * from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world.” (Pet. I. i. 18, 19, 20.) And such is our real commutation.
Knowing this therefore, as the Levitical priesthood must have known in some measure, it may seem deceitful for them in proportion to their knowledge, erer to take a valuable consideration either in money or in kind for that
See how vain conversation comes by vain tradition, according to the apostle. Our Saviour had also remarked this abuse : for by abuse it was, and not of necessity, that the Jews should transgress the commandments of God by their tradition. (Matt. xv. 3.) That was their fault, and not the fault of tradition or learning; any more than it was of the ten come mandments.