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do they prejudice, in any degree, the hope and faith of a Christian: others may have an interest in the blood of the cross; but our privilege is to know that we have it. The advantages flowing from this knowledge, are infinite. And thereføre good reason there is to hold, with the Apostle, that, although the living God be the Saviour of all men, yet is he specially so of those that believe i.
On the whole, then, if men will be putting such a question to us, as that of the text, Wherefore then serveth the Law 2 to what end was the Christian Law given, if there be
prior Law of Nature, to which men are responsible, and by which they will be judged? We are now prepared to give them a satisfactory answer.
We say then, first, that the Christian Law, to whatever ends it serveth, presupposes
the exiştence of a prior natural Law, by which its pretensions must be tried, and, of course, therefore, its honour is supported.
But; secondly, and more directly, we answer, that the supposition of such natural Law
il Tim, iv, 10.
no way diminishes the honour of the Christian Law; for that it serves to many the most important MORAL USES, over and above those to which the Law of nature serves; and that, further, it is of the most absolute NECESSITY to the accomplishment of its own great purpose, the redemption of the world, which the Law of nature could not effect, and which the divine wisdom ordained should only be effected through Christ Jesus. Lastly, we reply, that the benefits of the Gospel institution may, must, in some measure, extend to all the sons of Adam, as well as to those who are more especially enlightened by the Christian faith: that all mankind have an interest in the Gospel, though we Christians are first and principally indebted to it.
To conclude, whatever Law, whether we term it of nature, or revelation, has been given to us, we should receive with all thankfulness and reverence. But, more especially, should we adore the riches of God's grace in the revealed Law of the Gospel, and in the singular unspeakable mercies conveyed by it. Far from envying the Heathen world the advantages they receive from the Law of Reason, under which they live; let us bless God for his impartial over-flowing goodness to all men;
let us even rejoice for the benefits treasured up for them in a merciful dispensation of which, at present, they unhappily know nothing; and let us only acknowledge, with especial gratitude, the higher blessings vouchsafed to us, who are called to serve God in the Gospel of his Sonk,
k Rom, i, .
S E R M O N V.
PREACHED MAY I, 1768,
HEB. ii. 3.
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great
THE Religion of Nature, is the Law of God, speaking by the voice of Reason : the Religion of the Gospel, is the Law of God, speaking by the Revelation of Jesus. Each of these Laws is deservedly called, a great Salvation : the former, as the basis of all true Religion; the latter, as the consummation of all God's religious dispensations to mankind.
Concerning the different purpose and genius of these Laws, I shall not now speak; at least, no farther, than is necessary to enforce the Apostle's pathetic question, How shall we escape, if we neglect so great Salvation; if we neglect to observe these Laws, respectively given to promote man's truest happiness?
The world abounds in commentaries on the Law of Nature, and on the Law of Christianity. But the misfortune is, that most men regard the study of these Laws, rather as an exercise of the mind, in the way of curious speculation, than as an interesting pursuit, which concerns their moral and religious practice. Which is just the same folly as would be charged on those, who should spend their lives in studying the municipal Laws of their country, with a total unconcern about the observance of them in their own persons.
Indeed the penal sanctions, which attend the violation of those Laws, would presently reclaim the student from this folly, and remind him of the end, to which his skill and knowledge in them should be principally directed. And if, in the study of general morals, or of revealed religion, he neglect to 'refer his speculation to practice, it is only because their penalties are less instant, or less constraining; and not that either the Law of