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law of sin and death, and makes free therefrom; and fo they cannot witness what it is to come from under the law, where sin reigns, into and under grace, where life reigns and hath the dominion.
Who knows the truth which makes free ? Could men then say, they shall never be made free from the body of sin on this side the grave? Who bath received grace for grace from Christ Jefus the Lord, and knows the virtue of It? Could men then testify against it for sin; as if the grace of Christ could never deliver from it, and give dominion over it here in this life? who knows the faith which gives victory, the hope which purifies, the love which unites to God, and constrains unto the obedience of the gospel, and whose strength in the heart is stronger than the strength of death? Oh! the gospel-religion, the gospel-fpirit
, the gospel-power, the gospellove, the gospel-faith, the gospel-obedience, the gospel-knowledge, the gospel-worship, hath been loft for many ages and generations! And now God hath caused it to shine forth and appear again, what a food of reproaches doth the dragon send forth againft it? And how do men strive to uphold their dead knowledge, and their dead buildings, their dead ways, their dead worships, &c. which they think highly of, and magnify; blafpheming that which is living, which came from God, is accompanied with his power, and hath the evidence and demonftration of his Spirit (going along with it!
Well, all flesh is gress, and its beauty fall fade. Let it paint and make a flourish as long as it can ; yet the breath of the Lord hath blown upon it, and it is already withered, and shall wither daily more and more. But the Word of the Lord, which quickeneth and changeth the heart (which his despised servants have been visited with, and have testified, and do testify of) Ihall abide for ever, when that spirit, wisdom, and religion, which hath opposed, shall vanish like smoke, and fink under eternal condemnation.
XXVI. A few Words concerning the old and new Covenant ; with some
HE old covenant was that covenant which God made with that
people the Jews, when he took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt outward. The new covenant is that covenant which God makes with the foul, when he takes it by the hand to lead it out of Egypt inward, which is the land of darknefs and pollution.
The old covenant was made with the outward people, with the seed of Abraham according to the flesh. The new covenant is made with the inward people, with the feed of Abraham. according to the spirit, according to the faith, according to the promife: for in this covenant, not they that are the children of the flesh are of Abraham; but the children of the promise are accounted for the feed,
The old covenant was made by Mofes, the fervant, who was faithful in all bis bouse as a servant. The new covenant is made by Christ, the Lord and king of his church and people, who is faithful in quickening them all, reconciling them all, interceding for them all, according to the tenor and way of this covenant. . The old covenant conGifted in laws and directions outward, which that nation and people had fully and exactly given them from God, above all nations and people of the earth. The new covenant conlists in life and Spirit inward, which the holy people, the renewed people, the redeemed people, are visited with, and made partakers of, above all other people.
Under the old covenant, though the Lord did great things before the eyes of that people in Egypt, and exerciled them with signs, miracles, and trials also in the wilderness; yet the Lord did not give them an heart to perceive, and eyes to fee, and ears to hear: unto that day, as mentioned in Deut. xxix. 2, 3, 4. the veil was over their hearts. But the otber covenant contains the giving of a new heart, the opening of the blind eye, the unstopping of the deaf ear, the writing the law in ibe heart, the putting the pure fear in the inward parts, the putting God's Spirit within them, and so causing them to walk in his ftatutes, and to keep his judgments, and do them. Whereupon these Queries are in my heart:
Query 1. Will not this covenant inwardly reform the heart, foul, mind, and conscience, and amend all in this inward, spiritual, renewed people
, which was amiss in that outward, earthly, unrenewed people?
Query 2. Doth not the foul begin to enter into this covenant fo foon as ever it answers the Lord in the visits of his love, turning from fin unto him ?
Query 3. How precious is that grace of the gospel which brings into this covenant? For the people of the Jews came into the old covenant by the law which was given by Moses; but the children of the new covenant come thereinto by receiving the grace and truth which comes by Jesus Christ.
Query 4. Can any possibly enter into the covenant without coming to the Lord Jesus Christ, and receiving grace from him? Can observing precepts, and directions from scripture, bring into this covenant ? Or is it the receiving grace, truth, life in the inward parts, from Christ the Lord, which brings into this covenant? Oh! wait to know the ministration of the gospel, and covenant of life, with the entrance thereinto, O all that truly desire the salvation of your souls !
Query 5. Wherein doth the ministry of this covenant confift; or how is the teaching thereof? Is it by getting a form of knowledge out of the letter, or ministring the letter? Is it not a ministration not of the letter, but of the Spirit? The apostle faid so, who knew what it was, and was made an able minifter thereof, by God, 2 Cor. iii. 6. Truly none can minister gofpelly, none can minister under the new covenant, but those that minister from and in the Spirit.
i From CHAP. vi. Query 1. HAT is it to be baptized into Christ? Is it not to be bap
tized into his death? Are not they that are truly baptized into Christ buried with him by baptism into death? That like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so they also should walk in the newness of life. How can they that are dead to sin live any longer therein ?
Query 2. What was the end of Christ's manifestation in the flesh, and sending his Spirit? Was it not to destroy the works of the devil; to crucify the old man, that the body of fin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin ?
Query 3. Is he that is crucified with Christ, and dead unto fin, freed from sin ? Doth the truth of Christ, the life of Christ, the Spirit of Christ, the Power of Christ, make those that receive and obey it free indeed; so that fin cannot have dominion over them, to make them do what they hate, or to hinder them from doing what God requires ? Did not Christ himself die to sin once, but now lives to God? And are not believers after this manner to reckon themselves dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord ?
Query 4. Have believers received power from Christ (who had all power in heaven and earth given unto him) to become fons? Have they received the Spirit of the Father, which hath dominion over sin ? Can they stop or hinder the reign of it in their mortal body, and refuse obeying the lufts thereof, and not yield their members inftruments of unrighteousness unto fin?
Query 5. Are believers alive from the dead? And can they yield their members servants to righteousness, for God to work in and by them, according to his will and pleasure ? Can they ever come to such a state, as to do nothing against the truth, but for the truth? to do all things through Cbrist that strengthens them?
Query 6. Is this true, that to whom people yield themselves fervants to obey, his servants they are to whom they obey, whether of fin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Query 7: Do men, or is it possible for men, in receiving, joining to, and obeying the truth, to be made free from sin, and become the servants of righteousness?
Query 8. Cannot men have their fruit unto holiness, and at the end-everlasting life, without being made free from sin, and becoming servants to God? Is the wages of fin death after a man hath believed ? After a man is turned from fin to Christ, if he hearken afterwards to Satan and commit fin, doth he reap death thereby ? See also Gal. vi. 7, 8.
From CHAP. vii. Query 1. What law is that which hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth ; and what life is that in man which the law hath dominion over?
Query 2. How doth a man become dead to the law, that he might be married to another, even to him who is rcised from the dead, that be should bring forth fruit unto God? Can any be married to the raised living husband, but the quickened, raised and living soul? And can any else bring forth fruit to God?
Query 3. What is the state of being in the flesh, and of knowing the things of God after the flesh ? of receiving directions and practising duties in that state? Do not the motions of fin (which all outward laws and directions do but stir up, but cannot overcome) work in the members there, in that state, to bring forth fruit unto death?
Query 4. How comes a man to be delivered from the law? Is it not by the death of that in him which held him captive unto fin ? And why doth God quicken with a new life, and kill in the hearts of his that wherein they were held? Is it not that they should serve him in newness of Spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter? For the letter killeth, and the literal service and worship is dead, and that worship alone is living and gospel-worship, which is in the newness of the Spirit; for such alone che Father seeketh to worship him, and such worship alone he accepteth.
Query 5. Is the law fin because it stirs up sin ? Nay; the law itself is not ain, but that which discovers and makes it known: for no man can know Øn, but by the law or light which discovers it.
Query 6. How is sin dead without the law? And how doth it take occasion by the commandment to work in the heart all manner of concu. piscence?
Query 7. How was Paul alive without the law once? Could he facrifice, could he read the fcriptures, could he be knowing, could he be zealous, could he walk according to the law in the letter blameless in that state? See Phil. iii. 4, 5, 6.
Query 8. What commandment was that, upon the coming whereof fin revived, and he died? Was it the law in the letter, or the law in the Spirit? He saith, the commandment which was to life, be found to be unto death. What is the commandment which is to life? Is it not the word nigh in tbe mouth and beart? See Deut. xxxix.
Query 9. How came sin to take occasion by the commandment (which comes forth holily, and as just and good from God), to deceive and Nay him ? What was it which it deceived and flew? Was it not that
which thought it could obey and ferve God, if his will was made manifeft; which Pow, when the law indeed came, found it could not? Nor can any man obey the holy law of life, till this nature, wisdom and spirit, be in fome measure flain in him.
Query 10. Doth then the holy law of God, which God ordains and sends unto life, minister death to the foul? Or doth sin (being provoked and stirred up to put forth its strength to fave its life, and retain its dominion in the heart, take occasion by the commandment to work death, and shew the exceeding evil and sinfulness of its nature ?
Query 11. Is not the law spiritual? Can sin gain any ftrength or advantage by that which is spiritual ? Surely, nay; but it taketh occafion then to tyrannize over and captivate me (who am carnal and fold under it), till the power of the Lord make a change in my state, working me from under the dominion of it.
Query 12. How is it with the foul in the state of captivity, when fin is revived by the law, the foul dead as to its former life and strength, and not yet come under the dominion and power of grace? Doth it not do what it allows not, and not do the good it would ? Yea, doth not the enemy oftentimes even force it to do what it hates, the foul being as yet weak in the faith, whereby alone strength is received to resist him? Is not this state experienced in some measuré by every traveller ? Doth not every one feel the strength of fin, and his own inability, either to will or do of kimself that wbiek is good, &c. before he witness help and deliverance from the Lord ?
Query 13. Doth God impute to the foul, or to fin, the effect of this captivity, and work of fin and Satan upon the heart, against the bent and earnest desires and endeavours of the soul?
Query/4. When is the soul in this state of trouble and captivity? Is it not after some appearance and operation of God's power in the heart ? Is it not after the mind is turned from sin, and desireth to be joined to the holy law of life and obey it? Is it not after God hath wrought the will in the mind to do good; so that the consent is given to the law, and the will is present; but how to perform that which is good it findeth not, because faith is yet fo weak, and fin and unbelief fo strong in the heart ? Query 15.
Is not this the time of bitter warfare, and day of terrible distress in the heart, and of feeling the wickedness of the estate, because of fin; and of crying out, and longing after the salvation and deliverance of the gospel? Oh! woe is me, who shall deliver me, poor captive, faith the soul, in this state!
Query 16. Is not God very tender to the foul in this state, daily blotting out, and not imputing sin? Oh! if it were not for the exceeding mercy and tender love, and help of the Lord in this state, it were impossible for any ever to come through it! But thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who both upholds in it, and carries through it, so that a change comes to be witnefted, and a better state, known by those who consent not