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(Rom. vii. 12.) The law is holy, and the commandment holy-just-and good. And again (ver. 14.) The law is fpiritual.—Enter not into judgment with thy fervant, O LORD, faith the Pfalmift, for in thy fight shall no man living be justified. Pf. cxliii. 2.-For by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his fight, faith the apostle, Rom. iii. 20. And again, Rom. iii. 19. Whatfoever things THE LAW faith, it faith to them, that are under THE LAW, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world become guilty before GOD. After all this, to talk of "a more excellent "law-a more pure and perfect rule of life," goes beyond folly, it borders upon madness.
But as madness is ufually allowed to be fo far confiftent with itself, as to argue right, though from wrong principles, we must obferve that this fcheme of abrogating the old law, and of introducing a new one, was a neceffary and confiftent part of the Socinian plan-to fuffer a rule of life to remain, which, from its purity and holiness, concluded all men under fin, and condemnation, fo that no flesh could be juftified by it-and, at the same time, to deny the neceffity of a vicarious fatisfaction and atonement (which is the very marrow of the Socinian herefy)-was to render the falvation of man impoffible. Socinus, therefore, to establish a confiftent plan, abrogates the divine law as delivered by Mofes, by which man cannot be faved, and introduces a new law (called the law of CHRIST) by which he
might be saved. This made way for the rest of the Socinian fcheme, fo that the divinity of CHRIST's perfon-His vicarious obedience -fufferings atonement-and fatisfaction-being rendered unneceffary, were all struck out of the Socinian gospel. Thus the pride of fallen man's reafon, or rather the reafonings of his pride, are made to triumph over the wifdom of GOD. But as in all wickedness there is folly, fo in this; for if no man could be juftified by a law lefs excellent, pure, and perfect, how could he be faved by one that is more fo? This has been seen by the Socinians; therefore fincerity is their gospel obedience, and if they fail here (as fail they must) a fincere defire to obey will ferve the turn. Thus ends the Socinian, with the Mahometan, in the deftruction both of the law and the gofpel: and CHRIST, like Mahomet, is to annihilate Mofes and the prophets!
If we attend to our Saviour's preaching, and especially to that heavenly difcourfe delivered from the Mount, we fhall find Him a moft zealous advocate for the law of GOD, as delivered by Mofes. We fhall find Him ftripping it of the falfe gloffes, by which the Jewish rabbies had obfcured or perverted its
* The Turkish Spy, Vol. ii. Lett. 15. writing to the Mufti concerning different Chriftian fects, fays, "There " is a fect which they call Socinians, who feem to preach "out of the very book of glory, (i. e. the Alcoran) de"nying the divinity of Jefus the fon of Mary, the "Chriftian's Meffias; even as our divine Law-giver does, in feveral chapters and verficles of the Alcoran." X 3
meaning, and reftoring it to that purity and fpirituality by which it reacheth even to the thoughts and intents of the heart. For instance, when He is about to enter upon a faithful expofition of the moral law, left his hearers fhould imagine, that what he was about to fay, was contrary to the law of the Old Testament, being fo different from the teaching of the Scribes and Pharifees, He prefaces his discourse with thofe remarkable works Matt. v. 17-20. Think not that I am come to deftroy the law or the prophets, I am not come to deftroy, but to fulfil; for verily I fay unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle fhall not pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. So far from abrogating the old rule of life delivered from GoD by Mofes, no one fingle part of it, not a sentence—a word—a letter a bit of a letter, was to be destroyed. Whofoever, therefore, fhall break one of these leaft commandments, and fhall teach men fo, he fhall be called the leaft in the kingdom of heaven; but whofoever shall do and teach them, the fame fhall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. What commandments were thefe ? The sequel fhews that they were the commandments of the moral law, or rule of life, delivered from GOD by Mofes. For except your righteoufnefs (or conformity to thofe commandments, which ought to be internal and fpiritual) exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharifees (which was merely outward and formal) ye shall in no cafe enter into the kingdom of heaven. He then enters upon
an expofition of the fixth commandment, which He vindicates from the bare, outward, literal conftruction, received by old tradition, and taught by the Scribes and Pharifees-Ye have heard that it was faid by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill, and whofoever shall kill, Shall be in danger of the judgment—but I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a caufe, fhall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall fay to his brother, Raca, fhall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall fay-Thou fool-shall be in danger of hell-fire.-This-" I fay unto you" -does not imply that CHRIST meant to abrogate God's law against murder, and to fet up a new law of His own instead thereof -but to fhew the people, that what they had been taught by the Scribes and Pharifees, after the tradition of the elders, namely, to look upon the fixth commandment as reaching only to the outward act of murder, was false, for that, in the Spiritual view and intendment of that law, it forbad every temper which resembled it, or could lead to it; fuch as violent, caufelefs, unprovoked anger, or any malicious inclination of the heart, breaking forth and fhewing itself in opprobrious and injurious language; thefe are as contrary to the law of the fecond table-Thou shalt love. thy neighbour as thyfelf-in their nature and tendency, as murder itfelf. So I John iii. 15. He that hateth his brother is a murderer, and ye know that no murderer bath eternal life abiding in him.
CHRIST then proceeds to explain the Seventh commandment. Ye have heard that it was faid by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I fay unto you, that, whofoever looketh upon a woman to luft after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart. This" but I fay unto you” — does not imply that CHRIST meant to repeal the feventh commandment, but to explain it, as he had done the fixth, and to fhew that it not only meant to forbid the act of defiling another's wife (yuvama) but even indulging in the heart an evil defire towards her. Whereas the Scribes and Pharifees, after the tradition of the elders, ftuck to the outward letter, and taught, that nothing but the outward act was a breach of this law. What our LORD faid here was no new commandment, but what was implied in the tenth commandment-Thou fhalt not covet (luft after) thy neighbour's wife. So Prov. xxiv. 9. The thought of foolishness is fin.
Again. Ye have heard that it has been faid by them of old time, Thou shalt not forfwear thyfelf, but fhalt perform unto the LORD thine oaths. But I fay unto you, Swear not at all, neither by heaven, for it is God's throne, nor by the earth, for it is His footftool, &c.—but let your communication be yea, yea, and nay, nay; for whatfoever is more than these cometh of evil. OUR LORD, by His-" but I fay
unto you"-doth not enact any new law, but explains and reftores the honour of the third commandment-Thou shalt not take the