« PreviousContinue »
he feared me, and was afraid before my name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips; he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity,” Mal. ii. 5, 6. This covenant is the covenant of grace, which is now called the gospel of Christ; and the promises and blessings of it are the free gifts of God. I gave my covenant to him, says God. It is called a covenant of life and peace. The Spirit of God had quickened him and given him life; for it is the Spirit that quickeneth. The Holy Spirit had regenerated and sanctified him; for there is no walking with God in equity with an unpurged and unrenewed conscience. Nor can an unpardoned sinner walk with God, for it is sin that separates between us and our God. They that walk with God must be made nigh by the blood of Christ. Nor hath an unpardoned sinner any peace. “ There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked,” Isai. lvii. 21. They must be pardoned and justified by faith who have the peace of God in their hearts. “ Thy sins are forgiven thee, go in peace,” says the Saviour. “O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world; grant us thy peace!' says the Book of Common Prayer. Nor is there any peace to a self-righteous pharisee, but a false peace, kept up by Satan in those souls in whom he reigns and rules. “When a strong man armed keeps possession of the palace his goods are in peace,"' Luke xi. 21. Peace is the fruit of an
Ymputed righteousness. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” And it is the Holy Spirit of God who brings this righteousness near, makes it known, and works faith in the heart, to put it on; for, “We are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God,” i Cor. vi. 11. Wherever this work is done, there the fruits of the Spirit are made manifest, which are love, joy, peace. This law is in the soul of every spiritual man, and in no other; for God declares of all car nal men, that they are so far from his covenant of life and peace, and from walking with him in equity, that they are strangers to the covenant of promise, dead in trespasses and sins, with mind and conscience both defiled; and the way of peace they have never known. I shall now consider,
10. The law of the house. - This is the law of the house; upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house,” Ezek. xliii. 12. This house in the type was the second temple, which was to stand till Christ came; and when he came he set up in truth his own temple, of which the other was a figure. “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” This house goes by various names, as the household of faith, Gal. vi. 10; consisting of true believers and no other. “ The house of God, the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth,”
1 Tim. iii. 15. “ The temple of the living God," 2 Cor. vi. 16. “ An habitation of God through the Spirit,” Ephes. ii. 22. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house; an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” The materials of this house consist of stones, for the solidity and beauty of them, being squared, polished, and fitted by the Spirit of God: And living stones, being quickened and kept alive by the inhabitation of the Spirit; they are edified and built up in light and knowledge, in faith and love. This house is called an holy priesthood, being washed, purified, and anointed to this honourable office of approaching to God, and ministering spiritual sacrifices to him, which come up with acceptance through faith in the Mediator. The prophet Ezekiel tells us that the whole limit thereof, round about, shall be most holy. “Behold, this is the law of the house." Believers are called with an holy calling to the fellowship of Christ, 1 Cor. i. 9. They are partakers of God's holy promise of life made to Abraham, God's servant, Psalm cv. 42. Their bodies are temples of the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor. vi. 19. They are built up on their most holy faith, Jude xx. And are holy and without blame before God in love, Ephes. i. 4. This is the Church's holiness, and its holy laws; and I know of no other.
Having proved that every law of God essential to salvation is put in the minds, and written
on the hearts, of all the elect, which are born again of God, I shall now once more dissect the moral law, and shew, from the word of God, that not one branch of it, either of the moral or the penal part, is to be found in any other: not in an impostor, nor in apostates, neither in ministers of the letter, normoral preachers; neither in the professed disciples of Moses, nor any empty professor or hypocrite in Zion. And this I do, Reader, to "give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that you may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart," 2 Cor. v. 12.
I shall begin with the penal part of the law, and shew how every branch of it has been confessed and groaned under by the elect of God, when he has applied it in order to teach them out of it. The law, when God applies it, becomes a sort of prison. It discovers all the criminal's crimes, and shuts him up as a state prisoner, guilty of rebellion and high treason, a sinner against the most high God. “Before faith came we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed,” Gal. 111. 23. And this God makes all his elect know and feel, to their bitter grief and sorrow. How does the Psalmist complain of this. “ Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, I cannot come forth,” Psal. Ixxxviii. 8; and again, “Bring my soul out of prison, that I
may praise thy name," Psal. cxlii. 7. This is the prison; and Christ was anointed and sent to open the prison to those that are bound, Isai. Ixi. 1. And it is by the blood of his covenant that God sends forth Christ's prisoners out of the pit in which is no water, Zech. ix. 11. Now, whereever Christ found one of these prisoners, he opened their blind eyes, he brought out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sat in darkness out of the prison house, Isai. xlii. 7. And, after all Christ's preaching and miracles, I read of rather more than five hundred brethren to whom the Lord had proclaimed liberty. But the generality of that nation trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others; yea, they jostified themselves, and went about to esta. blish their own righteousness. And every body knows that prisons are not intended for righteous persons, but for debtors and criminals; and to such Christ called, bidding them go forth out of the prison; but he came not to call the righteous, but sinners. Thus Christ's prisoners are brought out of prison; but the imprisonment of the others is yet to come, and will not take place until the day of death, and the day of the first resurrection; as you read. “And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited,” Isai. xxiv. 22. These will be imprisoned in hell for a thousand years, during which period the saints will reign in glory