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Jesus, while he was on earth, lived in the faith of the Father's gift and promise, and thus stands on record for our imitation, Compare Psal. cxvi. 10. as applied by the Apostle, 2 Cor. iv, 13.
And thus it leads us to the cause of the Christian's life, that it is all owing to what the Redeemer did and suffered in the strength of this his faith.
But though this be true, yet it seems rather to answer the Apostle's present views better, to understand the expresfion of that faith which Christ is the object of: and thus the faith of Christ, and the faith of the gospel, of which he is the great subject, will be the fame. It is of no great moment which way we take it, as indeed they cannot be separated. All Christ's obedience, even his death, which finished it, could have been nothing to us, had it not been for the view the grant and promise of his heavenly Father set it in. It was this, and the faith or belief of this, that made it a facrifice, and fit to answer all the purposes of a sacrifice for the sins of the world, And, on the other hand, Christ is so much the very substance of the whole fystem of grace, that without him we can make no
consistent consistent sense of it. And if we know him as he is set forth unto us in the testimony of God, we cannot miss to see, at the same time, the whole plan concerted in the perfection of wisdom.
I need not stand to observe here, how this fame faith of Christ is at once the great regulator, and effectual supporter, of the Christian life, or living to God. Something has been said already, and we shall meet with it again, where the Apostle refolves the whole into faith, working by love. The whole is a system of grace ; and where-ever that is understood, believed, and acquiesced in, it teaches effectually, in the first place, to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts; and then to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in a present world, Tit. ii. 12. What pity is it that such grace should be frustras ted, and received in vain ? and yet frustrated it must be, where-ever the designs and purposes of it are not attained, either by not being believed at all, or fo weakly and imperfectly as not to form the heart upon it, into thorough acknowledgements of gratitude and love. This is what the Apostle was so care
on ful about; and could not bear 'to see rendered fruitless, by drawing these Galatians and others to place their confidence and hopes on the law of Mofes, or whatever the busy fancies of men should set up in its stead. But this we shall likewise have occasion to meet with in its proper place ; our business here is, to lay hold on every piece of instruction and caution, whether by way of example, or precept, that we be not drawn away, as these Galatians were in danger of being, and many have been fince, by pretenfions not half so specious as those of the Judaizers were; which yet the Apostle opposes with such vehemency and zeal. And surely he was no bigot, but had great good reason for opposing it; for if righteousness was to be had by law, then Christ died in vain. “He is the end of the law for “ righteousness to all that believe.” But if that end could have been, or yet can be, answered by any other means, what shall we say? Was it like the wisdom of God, that he should not spare his own Son, the fon of his love, but give him up to the death for the salvation of a perishing world,
could the fame purpose have been as well answered without him?,
CHAP. iii. 1. — 5. . 1. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that
ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2. This only would I learn of you, Received
ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hear. ing of faith? 3. Are ye so foolish ? having begun ir the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4. Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doth he it by the works of the law, or by ihe hearing of faith?
T Armed, as the Apostle was, and he
VV must have been very much so, on the fair view he had been taking of the grace of God in Christ Jesus, where it is hard to say, whether perfect wisdom, or goodness, appears moft, but both together are closely united in that wonderful system which centres in Jesus Christ, he makes no fcruple at giving the Galatians the title they deserved, and upbraiding them with their folly. Something may be faid for those who never heard of Christ,
and knew nothing of that God who is love, the only true character of the great creator and sovereign of the universe; which yet is not to be discovered by creatures in our circumstances, but in Jesus Christ; such indeed merit the utmost exertion of pity and compassion. But for those who have had Jesus Christ, and him crucified, set before them, as he is in the gospel, the record which God has made concerning his Son; for them to set up any thing else, either in his stead, or to supplement his all-fufficiency; words cannot describe their folly, if it be done ignorantly; nor the perverseness, if on any other motive.
This was the unhappy case of these Galatians: Jesus Christ had been set forth, and the testimony of God, his counsels of grace, as they were laid in him, opened up to them; they had the knowledge of the truth, and, which is more, they had received it; and yet they had suffered themselves to be drawn in by a set of men who set up for teachers of the law, while yet they understood not what they said, nor whereof they affirmed, 1 Tim. i. 7. to be drawn in by them to believe, that notwithstanding of all that Christ had