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TIIRTEENTH DISCOURSE UPON TILE SERMON ON THE MOUNT. 427
427 buildeth on Christ by faith and love; therefore he shall not be cast down. He “shall not fear though the earth be moved, and though the hills be carried into the midst of the sca. “ Though the waters thereof rage and swell, and the mountains shake at the tempest of the same :” still be “dwelleth under the defence of the Most High, and is safe under the shadow of the Almighty.”
III. l. How nearly then does it concern cvery child of man, practically to apply these things to himself? Diligently to examinc, on what foundation he builds, whether on a Rock or vn the Sand? How deeply are you concerned to inquire, What is the foundation of my hope? Whereon do I build my expectation of entering into the kingdom of heaven ? Is it not built on the sand ? Upon my orthodoxy, or right opinions, wbich by a gross abuse of words I have called faith? Upon ny having a set of motions, supposc more rational or scriptural than many others have ? Alas! what madness is this! Surely this is building on the sand, or rather on the froth of the sea! Say, I am couvinced of this : am I not again building my hope on what is equally unable to support it? Perhaps on my belonging to “so excellent a Church; reformed after the true Scripture model; blessed with the purest doctrine, the most primitive liturgy, the most apostolical form of government!” These are, doubtless, so many reasons for praising God, as they may be so many helps to holiness; but they are not holiness itself: and if they are separate from it, they will profit me nothing; nay, they will leave me the more without exeuse, and exposed to the greater damination. Therefore, if I build my hope upon this foundation, I am still building upon the sand.
2. You cannot, you dare not rest here. Upon what next will you build your hope of salvation ? Upon your innocence ? Upon your doing no harm ? Your not wronging or hurting any one? Well; allow this plea to be true. You are just in all your dealings; you are a downright honest man; you pay every man his own; you neither chcat por extort; you act fairly with all mankind : and you have a conscience towards God; you do not live in any known sin. Thus far is well. But still it is not the thing. You may go thus far, and yet never come to heaven. When all this harmlessness flows from a right principle, it is the least part of thc Religion of Christ. But in you it does not flow from a right principle, and thereforo is no part at all of Religion. So that in groundangry, and
at the sinners, angry at the sin. Thus be thou “ sin uot!"
9. Now do thou hunger and thirst, not for “the meat that prisheth, but for that which endureth unto everlasting life.” Tramplo underfoot the world, and the things of the world; all these richie's, lionors, pleasures. What is the world tu thee? Let the dead bury their dead; but follow thou after the image of Gori. lud beware of quenching that blessed thirst, if it is already excited in thy soul, by what is vulgariy called Religion; a poor', dull farce, a religion of form, of outside show, which leaves the heart still cleaving to the dust, as carthly and sensual as crer. Let nothing satisfy thee but the power of godliness, but a Religion that is spirit and life ; the dwelling in God and God in thee; the being an inhabitant of eternity; the entering in by the blood of sprinkling “within the veil," and "sitting in heavenly places with Christ Jesus!"
10. Now, seeing thou canst do all things plırough Christ strengthening thee, be merciful as thy Father in heaven is merciful! Love thy neighbour as thyself! Love friends and enemies as thy own soul! And let thy love be longsuffering and patient to all men. Let it be kind, soft, benign ; inspiring thee with the most amiable sweetness, and the most fervent and tender affection. Let it rejoice in the truth, wberesoever it is found; the truth that is after godliness. Enjoy whatsoever brings glory to God, and promotes peace and goodwill among men. In love, cover all things, of the dead and the absent speaking nothing but good; believe all things, which may any way tend to clear your neighbour's character; hope all things, in his favour; and eudure ail things, triumphing over all opposition: For true love nerer failethi, in time or in eternity.
11. Now be thou pure in heart; purified throngh faith from every unholy allection ; “cleansing thyself from all filthiness of tlesh and spirit, and perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Being, through the power of His grace, purified from pride, by dcep poverty of spirit; from anger, from every
kind or turbulent passion, by meekness and mercifulness; from crery desire but to please and enjoy God, by hunger and thirst after righteousness; now love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy strength!
12. In a word : Let thy religion be the Religion of the Heart. Let it lie deep in the inmost soul. Be thou little
and base, and mean, and vile (beyond what words can express) in thy own eyes; amazed and humbled to the dust, by the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Be serious. Let the whole stream of thy thoughts, words, and actions, flow from the deepest conviction that thou standest on the edge of the great gulf, thou and all the children of inen, just ready to drop in, either into everlasting glory or everlasting burnings ! Let thy soul be filled with mildness, gentleness, patience, longsuffering towards all men ;-at the same time that all wbich is in thee is athirst for God, the living God; longing to awake up after his likeness, and to be satisfied with it! Be thou a lover of God, and of all mankind! In this spirit, do and suffer all things! Thus show thy faith by thy works; thus “ do the will of thy Father which is in heaven!' And, as sure as thou now walkest with God on earth, thou shalt also reign with him in glory!
THE ORIGINAL, NATURE, PROPERTIES,
AND USE OF TIIE LAW.
“ Wherefore the luw is holy, mul the commanulment holy, and
just, mil good." Rom. vii. 12.
1. PERHAPS there are few subjects within the whole compass of Religion, so little understood as this. The reader of this Epistle is usually told, by the Law St. Panl means the Jewish Law; and so apprehending himself to have no concern therewith, passes on without further thought about it. Iudecd some are not satisfied with this account; but observing the Epistle is directed to the Romans, thence infer, that the Apostle in the beginning of this chapter alludes to the old Roman Law. But as they have no more concern with this, than with the ceremonial law of Moses, so they spend not much thought on what they suppose is occasionally mentioned, barely to illustrate another thing.
2. But a careful observer of the Apostle's discourse, will not be content with these slight explications of it. And the more he weighs the words, the more convinced he will be, that St. Paul by the Law mentioned in this chapter, does not mean cither the ancient law of Rome, or the ceremonial law of Moses. This will clearly appear to all who attentively consider the tenor of his discourse. He begins the chapter, “Know ye vot, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) [to them who have been instructed therein from their youth,] that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?" (hat the law of Rome only, or the ceremonial Jaw? No surely; but the Moral Law.) “ For,” to give a plain instance, “the woman which hath an husband is bound by the [moral] law to her husband so long as he liveth; But if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then it, wisile her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress tbough she be warried to another man.” From this particular instance the Apostle proceeds to draw that general conclusion: “Wherefore, my brethren," by a plain parity of reason, "ye also are become dead to the law,” the whole Mosaic Institution,“ by the body of Christ," offered for you, and bringing you under a new dispensation : "That ye should [ without any blame] be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead;” and hath' thereby given proof of his authority to make the change; “that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” And this we can do now, whereas before we could not: “For when we were in the flesh," under the power of the flesh, that is, of corrupt nature, (which was necessarily the case till we knew the power of Christ's resurrection,] “the motions of sins, which were by the law,"--which were shown and inflamed by the Mosaic law, not conquered,"did work in our members,”-broke out various ways,—" to bring forth fruit uuto death.” “But now we are delivered from the law;”—from that whole moral, as well as ceremonial economy; "that being dead whereby we were held;"-that entire institution being now as it were dead, and having no more authority over us, than the husband, when dead, hath over his wife :“That we should serve him," — who died for us and rose again, “in newness of spirit;”-in a new spiritual dispensation; "and not in the oldness of the letter;"-with a bare outward service, according to the letter of the Mosaic institution. (Ver. 1–6.)
3. The Apostle, having gone thus far in proving that the Christian had set aside the Jewish dispensation, and that the moral law itself, though it could never pass away, yet stood on a different foundation from what it did before,-now stops to propose and answer an objection : “What shall we say then ? Is the law sin?” So some might infer from a misapprehension of those words, “ the motions of sins which were by the law.” “God forbid !” saith the Apostle, that we should say so. Nay, the law is an irreconcileable enemy to sin; searching it out wherever it is. “I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust,” evil desire, to be sin,“ except the law had said, Thou shalt uot covet.” (Ver. 7.) After opening this farther, in the four following verses, he subjoins this general conclusion, with regard more especially to the moral law, froin which the preceding instance was
VOL. I. No. 10.