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I confess, O lawl that I am neither godly, nor righteous, c but yet this I am sure of, that he is godly and righteous for me. d And to tell the truth, 0 law! I am now with him in the bride-chamber, where it maketh no matter what I am, e or what I have done; but what Cbrist my sweet husband is, has done, and does for me: f and therefore leave off, law, to dispute with me, for by faith “I apprehend bim who hath apprehended me,” and put me into his bosom. Wherefore I will be bold to bid Moses with his tables, and all lawyers with their books, and all men with their works, hold their peace and give place: g so that I say unto thee, O law ! be gone." and so imperfect, that we are never able to fulfil the works of the law in perfection, and therefore it bebores us to apprehend Christ Jesus, with bis justice (i. e. righteousness) and satisfaction, who is the end and accomplishment of the law."-Old Confess. art. 15.
c Namely, in the eye of the law, which acknowledgeth no godliness nor righteousness, but what is every way perfect; (Rom. iv. 5.) “ Believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly.” And to plead any other sort of godliness or righteousness, in the conflict of conscience with the law, is vain. Gal. iii. 10.
d That is, Christ hath perfect purity of nature and life, which is all that the law can demand in point of conformity and obedience to its commandments; he was born holy, and he lived holy in perfection. Now, both these are imputed to believers, not in point of sanctification, but of justification; for without the imputation of them both, no flesh could be justified before God, because the law demands of every man purity of nature, as well as purity of life, and both of them in perfection; and since we bave neither the one nor the other in ourselves, we must bave both by imputation, else we must remain under the condemnation of the law. So the Palatine Catechism.--"Q. How art thou righteous before God? A. The perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, is imputed and given unto me, as if I had neither committed any sin, neither were there any blot or corruption cleaving unto me. Q. 60. The use—if Satan yet lay to my charge, although in Christ Jesus thou hast satisfied the punishment which thy sins deserved, and bast put on his righteousness by faith, yet thou canst not deny, but that thy nature is corrupt, so that thou art prone to all ill, and thou hast in thee the seed of all vices. Against this temptation this answer is sufficient, that by the goodness of God, not only perfect righteousvess, but even the holiness of Christ also, is imputed and given unto me," &c.- Ibid. • The satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ alone is my righteousness, in the sight of God." -Ibid. quest. 61.
e Namely, to the law or covenant of works, wbich has no power over me, who am now married to another.
f Luther expresses it thus, " What am I, or what ought I to do, and what not to do; but what Christ himself is, ought to do, and doth."
g Moses with his tables, here, is no more, in the sense of Luther and our author, but the law, as it is the covenant of works; the which, whoso in the conflict of conscience with it, can treat at this rate, he is strong in faith, and happy is he. Consider the Scripture phrase, John v. 45, “ There is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in wbom ye Trust. Compare Rom. ii. 17, “ Behold, thou art called a Jew, and RESTEst in the Law." By Moses here, is not meant the person of Moses, but Moses' law, which the carnal Jews trusted to be saved and justified by; that is plainly, by the
Aud if it will not be gone, then thrust it out by force, says Luther.h
And if sin offer to take hold of you, as David said his did on him, Psal. xl. 12; then say you unto it, “Thy strength 0 sin, is the law, (1 Cor. xv. 56.) and the law is dead to me. So that, 0 sin, thy strength is gone; and therefore be sure thou shalt never be able to prevail against me, nor do me any hurt at all.” į
And if Satan take you by the throat, and by violence draw you before God's judgment-seat, then call to your husband Christ, and say, “Lord, I suffer violence, make answer for me, and help me.” And by this help you shall be enabled to plead for yourself, after this manner: 0 God the Father! I am thy Son Christ's; thou gavest me unto him, and thou hast given unto him “all power, both
law, as it is the covenant of works. And in our author's judgment, the law was given on Mount Sinai as the covenant of works. And be shows, that although Luther, and Calvio too, do thus exempt a believer from the law, in the case of justification, and as it is the covenant of works, yet do they not so out of the case of justification, and a s it is the law of Christ -p. 164–166. And so, at once, clears them and himself from that odious charge which some might find in their hearts to fix upon them from such expressions. h Lutber's words
“ Then it is time to send (the law) away, and if it will not give place," &c. See the preceding note.
i Here is the use to be made of the same former doctrine, in the conflict of conscience with sin. Guilt, even the guilt of revenging wrath is the handle by which, in this conflict, sin offers to take hold of the believer, as it did of David, Psalm xl. 12; wbo, in that Psalm, speaks as a type of Christ, on whom the guilt of the elects' sin was laid. Now, in respect of that guilt, the strength of sin is the law, or covenant of works, with its cursing and condemning power, from which, since believers are delivered, that strength of sin is gone as to them; they are free from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God.”—Westm. Confess. chap. 20, art. ). “The revenging wrath of God, and that perfectly in this life.”—Larg. Cat. quest. 77. Whence it necessarily follows, that sin, in this attack, can never prevail nor really hurt them in this point, since there neither is, nor can be, any such guilt remaining upon them. How sin may otherwise prevail against a believer, and what hurt it may do him in other respects, the author expressly teaches here and elsewhere. In the manner of expression, he follows famous divines, whose names are in honour in the church of Christ. “God saith unto me, I will forgive thee thy sin, neither shall thy sins hurt thee.”—Luther, Chos. Serm. p. 40. “ Forasmuch as Jesus Christ bath, by one infinite obedience, made satisfaction to the infinite majesty of God, it followeth, that my iniquities can no more fray nor trouble me, my accounts being assuredly razed by the precious blood of Christ."— Beza, Confess. point 4, art. 10. “Even as the viper that was upon Paul's hand, though the nature of it was to kill presently, yet when God had charmed it, you see it hurt him not; so it is with sin, though it be in us, and though it bang upon us, yet the venom of it is taken away, it hurts us not, it condemns us not."-Dr. Preston on Faith, p. 51. Hear the language of the Spirit of God. (Luke x. 19.) “ And nothing shall by any means hurt you.” “Nothing shall hurt their souls, as to the favour of God, and their eternal bappiness,," says the author of the Supplement to Poole's Annot, on the Text.
in heaven and in earth, and hast committed all judgment to him ;" and therefore I will stand to his judgment, who says, “ he came not to judge the world, but to save it;" and therefore he will save me, according to his office. And if the juryj should k bring in their verdict that they have found you guilty, then speak to the Judge, and say, in case any must be condemned for my transgresions, it must needs be Christ, and not I;l for albeit I have committed them, yet he hath undertaken and bound himself to answer for them, and that by the consent and good-will of God his Father: and indeed he hath fully satisfied for them. And if all this will not serve the turn to acquit you, then add, moreover, and say, a woman, that is conceived with child, must not suffer death because of the child that is within her, no more must I, because I have conceived Christ in my heart, though I have committed all the sins in the world.” m
And if death creep upon you, and attempt to devour you; then say, " Thy sting, 0 death, is sin; and Christ my husband has fully vanquished sin, and so deprived thee of thy sting; and therefore do I not fear any hurt that thou, O death! canst do unto me.” And thus you may triumph with the apostle, saying, “Thanks be unto God, who hath given me the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ," 1 Cor. xv. 56, 57.
And thus have I also declared unto you how Christ, in the fulness of time, performed that which God before all time purposed, and in time promised, touching the helping and delivering of fallen mankind.
And so have I also done with the “ Law of Faith."
The ten commandments. k By your own conscience. IS
page 287, note g. m Gal. iv. 19, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again, until Christ be formed in you.” (Col. i. 27.) “ Christ, in you, the hope of glory."
OF THE LAW OF CHRIST.
Sec. 1. The nature of the law of Christ.-2. The law of the ten commandments a
rule of life to believers.—3. Antinomian objections answered.-4.-The necessity of marks and signs of grace.-5. Antinomian objections answered.-6. Holiness and good works attained to only by faith.—7. Slavish fear and servile hope not the springs of true obedience.-8. The efficacy of faith for holiness of heart and life.-9. Use of means for strengthening of faith.-10. The distinction of the law of works, and law of Christ, applied to six paradoxes.-11. The use of that distinction in practice.-12. That distinction a mean betwixt Legalism and Antinomnianism.-13. How to attain to assurance.-14. Marks and evidences of true faith.15. How to recover lost evidences.–16. Marks and signs of union with Christ.
§ 1. Nom. Then, sir, I pray you proceed to speak of the law of Christ; and first let us hear what the law of Christ is.
Evan. The law of Christ, in regard of substance and matter, is all one with the law of works, or covenant of works. Which matter is scattered through the whole Bible, and summed up in the decalogue, or ten commandments, commonly called the moral law, containing such things as are agreeable to the mind and will of God, that is, piety towards God, charity towards our neighbour, and sobriety towards ourselves. And therefore was it given of God to be a true and eternal rule of righteousness, for all men, of all nations, and at all times. So that evangelical grace directs a man to no other obedience than that whereof the law of the ten commandments is to be the rule. n
n The author here teaches, that the matter of the law of works and of the law of Christ, is one, namely, the ten commandments, commonly called the moral law.—See page 171, note d. And that this law of the ten commandments was given of God, and so of Divine authority, to be a rule of righteousness for men to walk by; a true rule, agreeable in all things to the Divine nature and will; an eternal rule, indispensable, ever to continue, without interruption for any one moment; and that for all men, good and bad, saints and sinners, of all nations, Jews and Gentiles, and at all times, in all ages, from the moment of man's creation, before the fall, and after the fall; before the covenant of works, under the covenant of works, and under the covenant of grace, in its several periods. Thus he asserts this great truth, in terms used by orthodox divines, but with a greater variety of expression than is generally used upon this head, the whicb serves to inculcate it the more. And speaking of the ten commandments, he declares in these words, “ That neither hath Christ delivered believers any otherwise from them, than as they are the covenant of works.” The scope of this part of the book, is to show that believers ought to receive them as the law of Christ, whom we believe to be with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, the eternal Jehovah, the Supreme, the most High God; and consequently as a law having a commanding power, and bioding force, upon the believer, from the authority of God, and not as a simple passive rule, like a workman's rule, that hath no authority over him, to command and bind him to follow its direction. Nay, our author owns the ten commandments to be a law to believers, as well as others, again and again commanding, requiring forbidding, reproving, condemning sin, to wbich believers must yield oledience, and fenced with a penalty, which transgressing believers are not to fear, as being ander the law to Christ. These things are so manifest, that it is quite heyond my reach to conceive box, from the author's doctrine on this head, and especially from the passage we are now upon, it can be inferred that he teaches, that the believer is not under the law as a rule of life; or can be affirmed that he does not acknowledge the laws commanding power and binding force upon the believer, but makes it a simple passive rule to him ; unless the meaning be, that the author teaches,
Nom. But yet, sir, I conceive, that though (as you say) the law of Christ, in regard of substance and matter, be all one with the law of works, yet their forms do differ.
Evan. True, indeed; for (as you have heard) the law of works speaks on this wise, “Do this and thou shalt Jive; and if thou do it not, then thou shalt die the death :" but the law of Christ speaketh on this wise, Ezek. xvi. 6, “And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee, when thou wast in thy blood, live.” John xi. 26, “And whosoerer liveth and believeth in me, shall never die.” o Eph. v.
ye therefore followers of God, as dear children: and walk in love, as Christ hath
" That the believer is not under the covenant of works as a rule of life?" or, “ That the law, as it is the covenant of works, is not a rule of life to the believer; and that he does not acknowledge the commanding power, and binding force of the covenant of works, upon the believer ; nor that obedience is commanded him upon the pain of the curse, and bound upon bim with the cords of the threatening of eternal death in bell.” For, otherwise, it is evident that he teaches the law of the ten commandments to be a rule of life to a believer, and to have a commanding and binding power over him. Now, if these be errors, the author is undoubtedly guilty ; and if his sentiments on these heads were proposed in those terms, as the thing itself doth require, no wrong would be done him therein ; but that these are gospel-trutlis, appears from what is already said : and the contrary doctrines do all issue out of the womb of that dangerous position, That the believer is not set free both from the commanding and condemning power of the covenant of works,"—of which before. See p. 166. note a, and p. 169. note b.
o These texts are adduced to show, that they to whom the law of the ten commandments is given, as the law of Christ, are those who have already received life, even life that shall never end; and that of God's free gift, before they were capable of doing good works; who therefore need not to work for life, but from life. “The preface to the ten commandments teacheth us, that because God is the Lord, and our GOD, and REDEEMER, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments.” Luke i. 74, " That we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear." 1 Pet. i. 15, “ As he that hath called you is holy, so be ye holy ; because it is written, be ye boly for I am holy. Porasmuch as ye know, that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things—but with the precious blood of Christ." -Short. Cat, with the Scriptures at large.