Page images
PDF
EPUB

second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all,” Heb. x. 9, 10.

Milton says,

The law of God exact he shall fulfil,
Both by obedience and by love, though love
Alone fulfil the law. Book xii. line 402.

And, having as man's surety given a perfect and perpetual obedience to the precepts of the law, by which he brought in an everlasting righteousness, he then died in our room, and was made a curse for us. That he might redeem us from the dreadful penalty of the law, he endured the spirit of bondage to fear; “ And was heard in that he feared,” Heb. v. 7. He trod the winepress of his Fathers wrath alone, was made a curse for us, and tasted death for every man, and God was well pleased for his righteousness sake, Isai. xlii. 21. Here we see that the law has been so exactly observed, obeyed, and fulfilled, by our surety, as that the lawgiver has proclaimed him. self from heaven well pleased with it. This law never can be fulfilled by any natural man, or man in a state of nature; for such cannot love God with all the heart, with all the soul, and with all understanding; for the sinner is blinded by the old veil, and cannot see him; he is ignorant, and doth not know God; and is an enemy to God, for, “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be,” Rom. viii. 7. Nor do natural affections fulfil the law; for, though a man may with these love his neighbour, yet he is sure to love himself better, 2 Tim. iii. 2. And, as for God, the natural man is alienated from the life of him, Ephes. iv. 18. We see that those who received the word of God with joy, and sprung up into a profession, had their natural affections stirred, and their passions moved; but natural love is not a root that can hold them; for, “When the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away,” Mark iv. 6. The law is spiritual: but man is carnal, sold under sin, Rom. vii. 14. And, if the Apostle may be credited, the natural man cannot love his neighbour as himself; “ For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another,” Titus iii. 3. Enmity against God, and being hateful and hating one another, is all the morality that is to be found in the carnal man. Ministers of the letter may love ministers of the letter, heretics may love heretics, felons love felons, and hypocrites may love hypocrites; and these may join hand in hand to hold each other up against the underminings of conscience; all which amounts to nothing more than sinners loving sinners. “For sinners also love those that love them,” Luke vi. 32. But then

OMC

sin in all these lovers is the gall of bitterness, and their love nothing else but the bond of iniquity.

I shall now endeavour to prove that all God's laws are fulfilled in the souls of every one of God's spiritual children, for God promises to put his laws into the minds, and to write them upon the hearts of his own elect, attended with a new heart, and a new spirit, Jerem. xxxi. 33; Ezek. xi. 19. And God, who is the best judge of his own work, bears his testimony to such'; “ The law of his God is in his heart, none of his steps shall slide,” Psal. xxxvii. 31. “ Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law,” Isai. li. 7. The law of God, in all its branches, is applied, sooner or later, to all the elect of God. In its dreadful bondage, and under its curse and wrath, did our dear Redeemer suffer and die; and we must taste of his cup; all his elect must be planted together in the likeness of his death, if they are to be planted together in the likeness of his resurrection, Rom. vi. 5. The promises of life, and of a spiritual resurrection, are not made to the living, who tell us that they were drawn by love; but to the dead. “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise," Isai. xxvi. 19. These living men, that were drawn by love, are bond-slaves, kept in subjection under the law. “Know ye not brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath doni. nion over a man as long as he liveth?” Such are alive without the law, as Paul once was; “ For I was alive without the law once.” And, “Without the law sin was dead,” Rom. vii. 1. 9. 8. He that is alive without the application of the law, is a subject of the law; sin in him is dead, and neither stirred up nor discovered. And the sinner is dead; not raised, not awakened, nor even alarmed. And the law hath dominion over that man as long as he liveth in such a state. Nor will Christ give eternal life to these living men, in whom sin is dead. Not the living; but, “The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live,” John v. 25. Christ came that we might have life, and he gives life to all his sheep; but none, except those condemned by the law and under the sentence of death, will ever hunger or thirst after the bread of life, after the righteousness of faith, or after the favour and love of the living God. Self-condemned sinners, and none but such, will come hungering and thirsting to Christ. All that come rich, full, or alive without the law, are sure to be sent empty away.

The moral law, with all its penal sanction, is sure, some time or other, to find out the elect of God. All God's children are to be taught of him; none are exempt; all that are blessed with spiritual blessings in Christ are taught of God. “ Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law.” And

every one that hears and learns of the Father, cometh to me, says Christ, and none else, John vi. 45.

The law is our debt-book; it is the handwriting that is against us, and contrary to us; and when this book is opened, and its spiritual meaning explained, sin revives. This hand-writing found Job out before it was written upon tables of stone; “ For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth,” Job xiii. 26.

“By the law is the knowledge of sin,” which it discovers in its true colours; and a sense of an angry God shining, with the eye of divine justice, with it into the soul, brings all our sins fresh to the mind, and sets them in battle array against us. “Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself; but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes," Psalm 1. 21. “For I acknowledge my transgresşions, and my sin is ever before me.”

The elect are all exercised with a spirit of bondage to fear, more or less; and the foundation of this fear is a broken law; for, “Where there is no law'there is no transgression," and of course nothing to fear. But the law genders to bond age; and this is bondage to fear; and it is a slavish fear which has the wrath of an angry God for its object; and this fear hath torment. “My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments."

« PreviousContinue »