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bond children now persecute us. And the cause of all this persecution is, God's giving us his Spirit. “ But, as then, he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.”
Not one who has hitherto written against me, or has made it his business to preach and rail against me, has ever been consistent with himself, or with the word of God. Every one, that has been desirous of preaching the law, has fallen into vain jangling, 1 Tim. i. 6. And this vain jangling is jumbling various things together, which never can agree or accord. If every child of God is under the law as a rule of life, wherein does he differ from a servant? In nothing. When any legal self-righteous servant came to Christ with “Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus always answered thus; “What is written in the law? how readest thou?" Adding, - This do, and thou shalt live.” That is your rule of life; do that, and thou shalt live. Every sinner, therefore, is under this rule. Then where is the difference between the servant and the son?
The hackneyed and highly favoured notion is contrary to common sense, and even to carnal reason. Should you go to the firstborn son of the first nobleman in the land, who is heir to all his father's property, and tell him that he is under the same yoke with all his father's labourers, and under the same bargain or legal covenant with all the hired servants, and that he differs nothing
from bond-slaves or blacks, or any other that are in his father's family; and not only during his minority or nonage, but during his whole life; would not such an heir laugh at the folly of such a fool? or else take him to be insane, and endeavour to procure him a lodging in St. Luke's? God is both a father and a master, and has both sons and servants, Mal. i. 6.
Another tells us that we are not under the law as a covenant of works, but under it as a rule of life. This change turns the killing letter into a living rule, which is an alteration, and such an one as the Bible knows nothing of. The law allows no man to alter it. “According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand nor to the left,” Deut. xvii. 11.
Others differ from the above, and tell us that through Christ the law to the believer has lost its irritating power; so that its yoke doth not gall the neck, nor its curse terrify the conscience, as formerly. Ask any child of God, who has ever been suffered to abuse, or only for a while to lose, the enjoyment of his liberty, and to be again entangled with the yoke of bondage, whether he did not find the law what it always was? And, if so, then he is a true and a living witness that the above assertion is a lie. When Paul speaks of the whole body of the Jewish nation, he says, “ Jerusalem is in bondage with her children.“ And, when he is writing to the backsliding Galatians, who had begun in the Spirit, and were going to be made perfect in the flesh, he tells them to stand fast in their liberty, and not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Paul makes no alteration or change in the law. What shall we then say of those men that do? “ The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth,” Isai. xxiv. 5, 6.
But some of our evangelists differ from these, and tell us that we are under the precept of the law, but not under the curse. Paul says, “The strength of sin is the law.” A law that is shorn of its penal sanction is of no weight. This notion destroys the law; but Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil, Matt. v. 17.
Others again differ from these, and tell us that the law is now in the hand of Christ, and we are under the law to Christ. Doctor Gill has a sermon upon this, and others hold it from him. But the Doctor has not brought one text to prove it, nor is there in God's book such a text to be found. Nor is the moral law the sceptre of Zion's king, with which he rules his loving subjects, if David prophesied right. “The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies,” Psal. cx. 2. Now, if this rod be the law, or if any part of this rod be the law, David predicted what was alreadly come. The works of the law were in the hearts of heathens, and the letter of the law in the hands of the Jews. This rod is called by Isaiah the prophet the rod of Christ's mouth, Isai. xi. 4; and - by Paul the spirit of the Lord's mouth, 2 Thess. ii. 8. And Doctor Gill himself says that Christ's sceptre is his gospel; if so, it is not the killing letter, but the spirit of life and power.
Christ was set up from everlasting to be future man and mediator; and from everlasting was the covenant of grace made with him, which covenant is called the covenant of the sure mercies of David, Isai. ly. 3. And this mercy is said to be from everlasting to everlasting, Psal. ciii. 17. And this sure mercy is the promise of life, and the Spirit of God. This is God's covenant with Christ, and with his seed, Isai. lix. 21, &c. which mercy appears in our salvation and meetness for heaven by the Holy Spirit; for, “Of his mercy he saved.us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Bat the law, or the killing letter, is no part of this, but is intended to shew us our need of all this; as the law is not the sceptre by which Christ rules the righteous, no more is the law the rod by which Christ rules in the midst of his enemies. No, nor is it the rod by which he rules his enemies, and by which he dashes them in pieces like a potter's vessel. The man of sin, or Antichrist, will not be destroyed by the law. Christ will consume him by the spirit of his mouth, and destroy him by the brightness of his coming, 2 Thess. ii. 8.
Christ's gospel, by the ministers of the Spirit, is a savour of death unto death. It brings a second death to those who are dead already. But what was the first death? The sentence of the law; for, “ By the offence of one judgment came upon all men unto condemnation,” Rom. v. 18. They were all condemned and brought under the curse by Adam's fall. In this state of death, and unde: the curse of the law, the gospel finds the reprobate. He hears the words of Christ, and believes not: then, says Christ, “I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day," John xii. 47, 48. All rejecters of Christ, all unbelievers that hear the gospel, all despisers of the power of the gospel, all persecutors of the gospel, all letter preachers who pretend to the gospel, all graceless professors of the gospel, and all hypocrites in Zion, will be ruled and judged by the gospel, which is preached for a witness to some, and against others: and it shall be a savour of life unto life, and of death unto death. Those to whom it is a savour of death will not be cursed, for they have been cursed ever since they were born; but they that believe not shall be damned, Mark xvi. 16. This is the sentence of the gospel,