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denounced against the crime in question. In which case, no repentance of the criminal opposes a bar to the execution of the sentence; nor is the consideration of his having broken that one law, by which he stands condemned, admitted in extenuation of his guilt. Was not the judicial process administered according to the letter, there would shortly be an end to all government in society.
The justice of the Divine Being must be seen in a similar point of view. His Law has been delivered for the moral government of intelligent and consequently accountable creatures; together with a penalty annexed, as a sanction for the security of its observance. Where then a law subsists, its condemning power must be in full force. Indeed, nothing can be considered to be either good or evil, so as to be matter of reward or punishment, but by some law; for “ sin without the Law is dead.” Rom. vii. 8, Whereas " the strength of sin is the Law.” 1 Cor. xv. 56. It is the instrument by which sin prevails against man, to convict him of unrightcousncss. Should we then confine our
thoughts to the divine attribute of justice alone, our ideas upon it must be consistent. God, as a God of justice, must proceed in conformity to the tenor of his own Law. To remit sin without punishment is mercy, but it is not justice. And the attributes of God must be all infinite and compleat. Death then having been declared by the Law to be the appointed wages of sin, and all men confessedly being transgressors of the Law, eternal life, as the gift of God to sinners, cannot consistently take place. For God, as supreme judge of the earth, cannot act in contradiction to himself. It may then be asked, on what plan the sentence annexed to the breach of the divine Law, can be prevented from being carried into effect.
This is a question which never could have been answered by man, had not God qualified him to do it, in the revelation of that divine plan of redemption, which constitutes, if we may so say, the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega of the Christian Dispensation; by which mystery of Godliness, the divine attributes of justice and mercy have been brought into a perfect state of reconciliation with each other.
The Apostle, therefore, having brought the subject to this critical point, by placing fallen man under the covenant of works, and thereby subjecting him to the condemnation of the Law as a simner, takes care not to leave it there. But to preserve man from falling into utter despair, since on forfeiting the divine favour, he had no further claim to it, and had consequently the
wages of sin only to expect, he proceeds to point out to him that stupendous instance of divine benignity, to which he might still look forward in hope. For, having observed to the Galatians, on the nature of the Law as a rule of universal obligation, that it was evident no man could be justified by it, he proceeds to point out that revealed plan of covenanted mercy, which provided for the exigency of the present case.
With this view he refers to the message, which God ordered the Propet Habakuk to deliver, and write in such legible characters, that he who ran might read it: the purport of which message was, that the Jews to whom
it was addressed, should believe and wait in patience for the accomplishment of the divine promises.
" For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie; though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold his soul which is lifted up, is not upright in him: but the just shall live by faith.” Heb. ii. 3, 4. A passage which the Apostle renders more striking and intelligible, when, referring to it on another occasion, he follows the Septuagint translation. Speaking to the Hebrews, with the view of preventing them from casting away their confidence,
ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith ; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in them.” Heb.
The Apostle's argument to the Galatians is strictly logical; and may be reduced into the following syllogism. If God hath declared that “ the just
shall live by faith;" it is evident that no man can be justified by the Law, for “the Law is not of faith.”
But God hath declared by the mouth of his Prophet Habakuk, even to the people who lived under the Law, that “ the just shall live by faith.” Therefore, by the Law can no man be justified.
To keep the important object of that faith, by which, according to the Covenant of Grace in Christ, fallen man was to live, constantly before his eyes, was (as it has been already observed) the evident design of sacrifice. The institution of which in Paradise, coupled with the subsequent regulation of it under the Mosaic Ritual, by the express direction of the Deity himself, incontestably proves it to have been the intention of the Deity, that remission of sins should somehow be obtained by the shedding of blood. 66 It is the blood (said God to Moses) that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Levit. xvii. 11.
The argument raised by the Apostle on this ground, with the view of bringing the Jews to the acknowledgement of a crucificd Saviour, at the same time that it con