« 前へ次へ »
Apostle speaks of being “strengthened with “ all might by the Spirit in the inner man,” Eph. iii. 16. and Col. i. 11. where he uses the same word; and says of himself, that " he could do all things through Chfift " strengthening him.” These are greatly higher powers than any external miracles ; the power by which these are wrought being but one of the lowest. And thus the Apostle's argument comes out strong and plain. It is an appeal to what they felt, or might feel, in themselves. And when all this was done by the mere hearing of faith, the belief of the truth as it is in Jesus, the Apostle's conclusion comes out strong and convincing, viz. That it must be the greatest folly that can be imagined, to have recourse to the law for what was done fo completely in Christ; and which the law, though really vested, as it never was, with the power of conveying life, could make no addition to. It was forfaking a station where there is absolute fafety, for one where they are every moment in danger of a new forfeiture. And fuch is the station our wise patrons of a righteous moral government are so fond
Chap. iii. 6. — 12. 6. Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounta,
ed to him for righteousness. 7. Know ye therefore, that they which are of faith, the fame are the children of Abraham. 8. And the scripture forseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee sball all nations be blessed. 9. So then they which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham. 10. For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse : for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do thena 11. But that no man is justified by the law in the fight of God, it is evident : for, The just pall live by faith. "12. And the law is not of faith : but, The man that doth them, Shall live in them.
T HE Apostle having, in a very de
1 cisive manner, set forth the excellency of faith in Christ, incomparably above what the warmest advocates for Judaism could pretend in behalf of the law, proceeds in a very inafterly way, to illustrate and confirm what he had faid by the example of Abraham, whom the Jews professed to reverence as their father, and whom God himself had honoured with the high title of his friend, And surely, if it could be shown that the
believing Galatians were precisely in the same condition wherein Abraham was when he was so signally acknowledged of God, one would have thought that there needed no more to put an end for ever to the dispute then on foot. It is worth observing how skilfully he introduces the comparison: he flidęs into it in the simplest and most natural manner, as suggested to him by what he had been saying: Even as Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness. The words are exactly those of Moses, so that no exception could be made on that side. And if we consider the case of Abraham, in every view that can be taken of it, the more exactly it is stated, the more clearly will the justness of the Apostle's reasoning appear,
The modern Jews, intending, as it would seem, to do honour to the memory of this father and founder of their nation, have forged a number of very filly stories concerning him, which it is not worth any one's while to repeat. We have his history given us pretty much at large, by Moses himself. Idolatry had made great advances, and very likely had its rise near as
bout the place where his family had their residence; and by what Joshua says of them, Josh. xxiv. 2. they were deeply tainted with it. How far Abraham himself was infected, we cannot say; but we have not so much as a hint of any thing extraordinary about him, when God distinguished him by chufing him to be the father and heack of a ņew people; but we may be very sure that he had nothing to merit such singular fayours. He had not yet obtained the character of a righteous man until he believed God; and that could not be until God gave him something to believe. It is true, there was an original law founded in the benefit of creation ; but that was broken, and had brought mankind under the curse. A remedy however was prepared, and revealed in the promise of the feed of the woman; with a law of gratitude, and of love grafted upon it, which no doubt many believed: for Noah was not the only person who became heir of the righteousness which is by faith, This promise God had renewed to Abraham at his first calling; and he certainly believed it, for he obeyed the command which was supported by it. But
no body was ever foolish enough to think, that his travelling from one country to another could make any part of his righteousness, any further than as it was a fign of his believing God, and the obedience of faith.
That promise was indeed very full, and comprehended all the promises that were made to him afterward. But it was in fome fort conditional. If Abraham had not shown both the truth and the strength of his faith, by forsaking all, and going oạt, not knowing whither he went, he had no reason to expect the blessing. The case of the Galatians was exactly similar to this: for neither could they have any benefit by the promise, unless they should believe and follow out the purposes of the promised blessing. If one who says he believes, does not live in the way the blefling is to be conveyed in, he really refuses what God hath said he will give: for what is believing, but the heart's acquiescing, and finding its pleasure in the blessing, and in the assurance which the promise of a faithful God gives of the actual conveya ance of it?
But however strong Abraham's faith was, it was not accounted to him for righ