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This is a most important question to us all. Let us endeavour so to conduct ourselves here, that the horrors to which it points, shall not be realized to us hereafter. Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us; let us, therefore, keep the feast, not with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth !”
OUR REDEMPTION BY CHRIST.
GALATIANS, 11, 19, 20.
"For I through the law, am dead to the law, that I might
live unto God. I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me : and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
St. Paul having, in this chapter, related to the Galatians the circumstance respecting his reproving Peter, for separating himself from the gentiles, gives them a short account of what he said upon that occasion, on the true doctrine of the gospel, concerning the justification of sinners. What the Apostle, in the words before us, declared to be true of himself, is equally true of all Christians ; as we shall readily perceive by considering the doctrine which they were designed to explain. ·
We all know that, according to the conditions of the first covenant between God and man, death was to be the penalty of transgression, immortal life in Heaven the due and merited reward of obedience. The condition was a simple one, easy to
be observed, and, because it was so easy, the punishment attached to the violation of it was justly
That law which could not refuse the reward of obedience, could neither withhold the punishment of disobedience ; for “God is not a man, that he should lie;" and, therefore, the terms of the first covenant, proposed and ratified by Omniscience, “with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,” became as immutable as the Being who framed them. As all the posterity of Adam is involved in the sad consequences of his infraction of the covenant entered into between God and him in Paradise—because, being derived from his body, of which we have been begotten, we are necessarily partakers of his corruption—by his breaking the law, we have all died, that is, we have all become liable to death, by its curse. Our obedience can never now be perfect, because it can never do away with the guilt of a breach of covenant already incurred. Future obedience, however perfect, could never obliterate past transgression ; so that, now, if we live under an imperfect state of obedience, we must live by the free gift of God, and not by law, which demands perfect obedience; and this, in our present fallen state, is impossible. Thus, then, it is, that we, “through the law, are dead to the law, that we might live unto God.”
The construction of this passage of the text is somewhat obscure. St. Paul, as I apprehend him, means to say, that, through breaking the law, we
have died by law, that is, we have incurred the legal penalty, which is death ; so that now we can only live by the grace of God. We have seen that, under the first covenant, the disobedience of man challenged the penalty denounced against an infraction of it; and when this first law was violated -by the first law I shall of course be understood to mean the law of God given in Paradise, in contradistinction to that law which was promulgated to the Israelites from Mount Sinai-when this first law was violated, the curse, which was death, followed its violation; so that man was thenceforward devoted to death, from which he had no means of escaping, as he could not restore himself to perfect innocence, having once been guilty. The reward of innocence could not be bestowed upon him, when he was no longer innocent; and there was no alternative, but that he should undergo the punishment of guilt, or that God should reverse his decrees, and thus sully his perfections with inconsistency and falsehood. This was utterly incompatible with the Divine Nature. There could, then, be no other possible alternative but that man should die, since the penalty of sin had been irreversibly assigned, and was to be literally paid. God, however, in his mercy, provided the remedy in his Son, who became man, eventually paid the forfeit of his life for us all, becoming our substitute unto death, and counteracted by this memorable sacrifice those terrible issues which the single 'transgression of