Page images

in the secret, and considers him no more than an impostor. Past experience is a word behind us, saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left," Isai. xxx. 21.

8. The law of circumcision. This law stands in having the veil of ignorance removed from the mind by the illuminating operations of the spirit of revelation, and in having the body of the sins of the flesh put off by the circumcision of Christ, Col. ii. 11. And, when faith has purified the heart from guilt and filth, and the body of sins are put off, and Christ by faith put on, such a soul, having much forgiven, loves much, being constrained to it by a sweet sense of God's pardoning love shed abroad in his heart. This is the circumcision which God promises to his elect. "And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. And the Lord thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee," Deut. xxx. 6, 7. This law is in the soul of all regenerate persons, and in no other. "For we are the circumcision which worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."

9. I shall now proceed to the law of truth. "My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my flame/ 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," Mai. 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

imputed 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," 1 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 carnal 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 horn 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, nor moral 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. iii. 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. lxxxviii. 8; and again, "Bring my soul out of prison, that I Vol. xx, p

« PreviousContinue »