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The stability of the covenant made with Abraham, which the Mosaic cove
inant could not infringe. Ch. iii. 15, &c.
15 D RETHREN, in what I am saying of the bles ings of the Abra.
D hamic covenant, I speak after the manner of men, and according 10 the common rule in human compacts. Though it be but the
covenant of a man, yet if it be once legally confirmed, no cone] 16 cancelleth or addeth to it. Now the promises were spoken to
Abraham and to his seed. He saith not, " and to SEEDS,” as
of many, but as of one ; "and to thy SEED,” which is Christ. 17 And this I say further, that the covenant which was before con
firmed by God with respect to Christ, the law, which was four
hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, so that it should 18 make the promise ineffectual. For if the inheritance of Abra
ham's blessing be of the law, it is no more of the promise : but 19 God gave it freely to Abraham by promise. To what purpose
then, it may be asked, serveth the law ? It was added because of transgressions, till the illustrious SEED should come, to whom
the promise was made : and it was ordained or promulgated by 20 angels in the hand of Moses as a mediator. Now a mediator is
not the mediator of one party; there must at least be two ; but God 21 is only one*. Shall it be asked, Is the law then against the prom
ises of God? God forbid! For if there had been a law given
which could have given life, assuredly righteousness should have 22 been by the Mosaic law. But the scriptures have shut up all un
der sin ( Jews and Gentiles that the promise by faith in Jesus 23 Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith;
came, we were kept (in durance] under the law, shut up together
as criminals, unto the faith, which should afterwards be revealed. 24 So that the law was our school-masterf to lead up unto Christ, that. 25 we might be justified by faith. But faith (being come] we are 26 no longer under a school-master, fa conductor of infants) for now
ye are not children in minority, but ye are all the Sons of God by 27 faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized
into Christ, have put on Christ; and former distinctions are now 28 done away; so that there is neither Jew nor Greek; there is nei
* « The giving of the Law by a mediator, shewed the Israelites that Go! was displeased with them, because a mediator is not employed between parties who are in friendship. But God is in friendship only with the righteous.” M. “The last clause of the 19th and the first of the 20th v. make an enthymem, as the logicians speak, in which the conclusion is wanting. Ib. Note.
† The Gospel is called Faith, v. 2, 23, 25, and the Law of Faith, Rom.iii. 27. because it requires faith instead of perfect obedience. M.
The word #ardayoyos is not properly rendered school-master. It denotes, not a preceptor, but a conductor of children. The servant who attended the children of great men to their exercises and to school, was called Pedagogus ; as was also the servant who taught children their letters. See M. and Sermons by Mr. Brekel.
ther bond nor free; there is neither male nor femalc: for ye are 29 all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye the
seed of Abraham, and heirs in virtue of the promise.
REFLECTIONS. Let us rejoice in those spiritual privileges to which all true Christians are now cqually entitled ; and charge our souls with those obligations which necessarily attend them. Let us look upon ourselves as the children of Abraham, as entitled to the noblest of those promises which God made to that excellent saint ; even to that great and coinprehensive promise (which is all the salvation, and all the desire, of every true child of Abraham) namely, that God will be a God to us. Let us approve ourselves his genuine offspring by imitating his faith ; and always remember that, having been baptized into Christ, we have so put on Christ, as to be obliged to resemble him in his temper and character.-If we desire to share the blessings and glories of that one body of which Christ is the great and glorious Head, let us not lay a disproportionate stress upon any thing by which one Christian may be distinguished from another : but endeavour, as one in Christ Jesus to be one in affection and friendship to each other; and let those who seem to liave the greatest advantages condescend to them that seem most their inferiors.
Giving up all expectations of life from any law, since that of Moses could not give it, let us look for glory, honour, and immortality by the gaspel; and be very thankful for the knowledge we have of the Mediator of a better covenant than that in which Moses was appointed to mediate. And as the law was given not to disannul the covenant of promise, but with a view to be subservient to it, and to point out Christ, let us apply to him for righteousness and life ; and in him, as that one seed of Abraham in whom all the families, all the nations of believers were to be blessed, let us center our hopes, and be very solicitous that we by faith may be united to him, and so may have a claim to all the privileges of the promise under him.-Thus let us continue to make use of the law, not as the foundation of our hope towards God, but as our school-master sour conductor to bring us to Christ, by the discovery it has given of our need of him: and being sensible that it hath shut up all under sin, from which we cannot be delivered but by the faith the gospel hath revealed, may we be led to seek the benefit of the promise, that, being the Sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus, we may be heirs of eternal life and blessedness.
The superior excellence and freedom of the state into which believers are brought by the gospel, above their former, when they were under a rigorous tutor : The Galatians reproved for not adhering to that better disfiensation. Ch. iv. 1—20. N OW I say, that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth
nothing from a bond-servant, though he be Lord of all; but is under governors and guardians, till the time appointed of the
3 father. So likewise we, when we were children, were in bondage 4 under worldly elements * ; but when the fulness of the time was
come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the 5 law; that he might redeem them who were under the law, that we 6 might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, · God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, ✓ Abba, father. So that thou art no longer a bond-servant, but a son
at age ; and if a son, then an heir of God, through Christ. 8 But ye who were Gentilis, were in a far worse condition, for then
indeed, when ye knew not God, ye were in bondage to those which 9 by nature are no gods. But now after that ye have known God,
or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and
poor elements of the Mosaic ceremonies to which ye desire again 10 with the Jewish converts to be in bondage a-new? Ye observe days, Il and months, and times, and years: I in afraid of you lest I have
bestowed upon you labour in vain. 12 Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am : for I wast as ye are: ye
have not personally injured me at all, nor can I have any ill-will 13 towards you. But ye know that I preached the gospel among you 14 at first in the infirmity of the flesh : and my temptation that was
in my flesh, you did not despise ; nor did you reject me with scorn ; 15 but received me as an angel of God, yea as Christ Jesus. What
was then your felicity ? for I bear you witness, that if o possible
you would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them 16 to me. Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you 17 the truth? They who have seduced you, zealously affect you, but
not well: they profess great regard, but aim not at your real wel
fare ; yea they would shut us out, that ye may zealously affect 18 them, and promote their carnal views. But it is good to be zeal
ously affected always, in that which is goodt, and not only when 19 I am present with you. My little children, of whom I travail in 20 birth again till Christ be formed in you, I could wish to be present
with you now, and to change my voice, so as to speak with greater complacency, for I am in great doubt [concerning) you.
REFLECTIONS. As the church in general was in its minority till the full revelation of the gospel came, so is every true member of it a minor while he continues in this world, and is in many instances inferior to some who have no part in the inheritance; but the time will come when, as an heir who is deemed of age, he shall be admitted into full possession ; and it will amply and immediately repay all the abasements and mortifications of that state in which the wisdom and love of our heava enly Father hath at present placed us.—The grand foundation of this hope is that infinite love which we can never sufficiently acknowledge
* Rudiments, or first principles, relating to worldly and sensible objects, outward ceremonies, &c.
+ “I am.” C.T. So M. and W. The expression is used to denote strict friendship. See 2 Chron. xviii. 3.
I "Towards a good man or person. M. and W.
and admire, even the love of God our Father, in sending forth his Son at the appointed time, made of a woman, and made under the law; subject at once both to its precepts and its penalty, to redeem us when we were under its condemning sentence, and to introduce us to all the privileges of that divine adoption which we receive from him. May each of us, in consequence of it, receive more and more of that spirit of adoption whereby we may be enabled to raise our souls to God, with all the holy overflowings of genuine filial affection, while we daily cry, Abba, Father. “Send forth, O God, this Spirit of thy Son in our hearis, whatever worldly benefits and delights thou mayest deny us; that we may thus rejoice in the assurance that we are heirs of God through Christ, and may be able to glory in this, that ihe Lord is our inheritance !"
If we thus know God, being delivered from the bondage of corrup. tion, and from those idolatrous regards to the creature to which our hearts are naturally so inclined ; let us acknowledge that it is because we rather have been known of him ; and being apprehended by his grace, he hath received us into the number of his sons, and given us the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. Let us act suitably to such a character, and be solicitous to maintain the purity of that religion by which we are brought to such exalted dignities and hopes. And let our hearts be always open to receive the truth in the love of it; not despising the infirmities of those that preach the gospel to us in faithfulness, nor allowing ourselves at any time to lock upon them as our enemies, for the plainness with which they may tell us the truth ; which is sometimes the case with regard to those who might once have been ready, in the forwardness of their zeal and affection, almost to have plucked out their own eyes for ministers whom they afterwards slight and forsake.
Let us labour after a steadiness in our temper and conduct, and take heed that our zeal be so guided as that it may centre upon objects truly good, and may continue to act in proportion to their excellency ; always suspecting those principles and those persons who would alienate our hearts from any of the faithful servants of Christ, because they do not agree with our sentiments about the circumstantials of religion.-Such as the apostle Paul expresses here, with so much ten. derness, will be the desires of every faithful minister for the spiritual children which God hath given him : and where he sees reason to stand in doubt of any of wliom he had once good hopes through grace, lest perhaps he should have bestowed upon them labour in vain, it will give him a deep and a tender distress, and he will, as it were, travail in birth again, till Christ be formed in them. His very heart will be in pain for this: and what can be a greater or more worthy object of desire? O that it might appear that Christ i: formed in the very souls of all that are called by his name! So would ministers have a firm foundation of joy in them, and they of hope towards God for that eternal happiness which can only be built upon Christ; upon Christ formed in them, as the only well-grounded hope of glory.
The subject of the foregoing discourse illustrated by an allegory borrowed
from what is written of Sarah and Hagar, and their respective seed. Ch. iv. 21.-1.1.
21 TELL me, ye who are desirous of being under the law, do ye 22 | not hear and regard the law ? For it is written (Gen. xvi.
15.) that Abraham had two sons, the one by Hagar, a bond-wo23 man, and the other by Sarah, a free-woman. But he who was
born of the bond-woman, ( Ishmael) was born only according to
the flesh; whereas he who was of the free-woman (Isaac) was 24 born by virtue of the promise. Which things may be allegori
zed; for these (women) are types of * the two covenants ; the one
that from mount Sinai, which bringeth forth her children to bon25 dage, which is Hagar ( whose name signifies a rock.) This Ha
gar, I say, is a representation of those who are under the law given
at mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to the present Jerusalem, 26 which with her children is in bondage. But the Jerusalem above
(the gospel-church) is the free-woman, typified by Sarah, which 27 is the mother of us all. For it is written (18. liv. 1.) “Rejoice,
thou barren, who didst not bear ; break forth and cry, thou who
didst not travail in birth : for many niore are the children of the 28 desolate, than of her who had an husband.” Now we, brethren, 29 like Isaac, are the children of the promise. But as then, he who
was born after the flesh, persecuted him who was born after the 30 Spirit, even so it is now. But what saith the scripture, “ Cast
out the bond-woman and her son ; for the son of the bond-woman
shall not inherit with the son of the free-woman” (Gen. xxi. 10.) 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bond-woman, but of v. the free-woman. Therefore stand fast in the liberty, wherewith
Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
REFLECTIONS. Let us not allow ourselves to cavil at a passage like this that we have now been reading, but submit to the authority of this divinelyinspired interpreter, who we are sure was enabled to explain and improve scripture in such a manner as he, by whose Spirit it was dictated, knew to be most agreeable to its spiritual design. Let us bless God, that we are children of the free-woman ; that we are so happy as to be called to so liberal and ingenuous a dispensation, and are not fettered with that yoke of bondage, or doomed to those servile terrors, which would have been so grievous, had we been left to them unsupported by the grace of the gospel, and which would so much have abated our comforts, had they been incorporated with the Christian dispensation.
Well may we rejoice to hear in prophecy of the glorious increase here promised to the church: let us be thankful that it hath in part
*ie. They may be considered as representing