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cording to the truth of it, even as Peter, Barnabas, and others here, whose diffimulation did not confift with the truth of the gospel, which they preached, but tended to establish the law, and so to overturn the gofpel, But God hath sometimes very few witnesses to stand up for the truth of the gospel. Here Paul was alone, Peter was against him; and Barnabas, his own intimate associate, was drawn away with the diffimulation; Yews and Gentiles were infected; and therefore Paul alone must fight against them all, for the cause of Christ, and the doctrine of the gospel, which was endangered. I said unto Peter before them all, &c. Peter did not err, by teaching any erroneous doctrine; for that is a principle we maintain, that the apostles never erred in teaching, or in their doctrine delivered to the church; but his error was in practice, compelling the Gentiles to judaize, whereby he gave them occasion to think, that the observation of the law was necessary for justification: Whereas he adds, We that are Yews by nature, v. 15, 16. We apostles (might he say) tho' Jews by nature, yet we seek not justification by the works of the law; and therefore we ought not to drive the Gentiles to the observation of the law, that they may seek righteousness and justification thereby. Why? Because,. (1.) We know that a man cannot be justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Christ. (2.) Because therefore, having renounced the law in point of justification, we have embraced Christ by faith, that through him we may be justified. (3.) Because by the deeds of the law. no fejh can be justified. Now, from ver. 17. and downward, the apostle returns to the Galatians; Having told how he reproved Peter, and what he said to him concerning juftification without the works of the law, he now comes to thew this doctrine to be nowise opposite to the doctrine of fanctification, but of absolute necessity to true holi. ness, ver. 17, 18. 9. d. If we Jews, who lived formerly under the law, and now seek righteousness in Chrift alone, are thus accounted as sinners, when we followed the law; it would seem that Christ did disapprove the law and approve sin; God forbid, says the apostle. This he denies and rejects with abhorrence. To object thus might he say, against the doctrine of free justification, were egregious blasphemy against the Son of God, as if he were the minister of fin, who came to destroy fin, and to destroy the works of the Devil. And by this Gospel which I preach (might he fay) Christ is held out, as the Lamb of God, that taketh away the fins of the world; not to take away righteousness, truly so called, unless it be that false vizard of legal self-righteousness, with which we formerly covered and masked ourselves : Nay, he came to bring in everlasting righteousness, a true and perfect righteousness for justification; he came to make an end of fin by the sacrifice of himself, and thereby to purchase the Spirit, as a Spirit of holiness and fanctification, to destroy the power of sin and corruption, and therefore it is a base calumny to say, that this gospel doctrine opens the door to sin and licentiousness. This he proves by two arguments: 1. Because the faith of Christ does not destroy itself; ver, 18. Sin is like an old house, which I have razed and destroyed by my doctrine of free justification by faith, and not by the works of the law; for by this doctrine I preached freedom from sin through Chrift; and therefore, if I should build up these old wastes of fin again, it is not Christ, but I that would be the finner, or minister of fin; nay, I
would be a mad-man, to build with one hand what I destroyed with the other. 2. Because liberty to fin is contrary to the very scrope of the gospel, and to the design of this doctrine of justification by faith without the works of the law; For I through the law am dead to the luwe, that I might live unto God.
This is a very strange and wonderful text, that flesh and blood can hardly bear, without suspecting, that it savours too much of a new scheme of doctrine : And if it were not the divinely inspired words of our apostle Paul, it would hardly escape being taxed as an Antinoinian paradox. , I remember Luther, upon the text says, the false apostles taught, unless you live to the law, you cannot live to God; and therefore here Paul must be the most heretical of all hereticks. His heresy is unheard-of herefy, reason and human wisdom cannot receive it; that if we will live to God, we must be dead wholly to the law : Yet so it is here, he declares it of him. felf, and in the name of all believers in Chrilt, yea, as the very doctrine of faith, I through the law, &c. In which words you may notice two remarkably different things, death and life, mortification and vivification. 1. A wonderful death, I througbi the law am dead to the law. 2. A remarkable life proceeding out of that death, that I might live unto God. 1. You have a wonderful death, or Paul's Strange mortification; I through the law.am dead to the law; and of this mortification we have here three things, (1.) The general nature of it, it is called a death, I am dead. (2.) The object of it, the law. (3.). The means of it, the law ; 1 through the law am dead to the law; all very odd things to carnal reason. (1.): The general nature of it; it is called a death, I am dead. There are several forts
of death commonly spoken of, temporal, spiritual and eternal; but this is none of them. Temporal death is a separation betwixt soul and body, but this death takes place where there is no such separation. Paul was thus alive, when he said here, I am dead. Spiritual death is separation betwixt God and the soul, but this death is a mean of joining God and the soul together. Eternal death is an eternal separation betwixt God and the soul; but the death here fpoken of, makes way for eternal communion with God. This is a strange death, a strange mortification ; especially if you consider, (2.) The obje&t of it, the LAW; I am dead to the law; not only the ceremonial law, but even the moral law itself as under the form of a covenant of works, and as a condition of life. I renounce, might he say, the righteousness of the law, seeking no salvation in the works thereof; nay, in this respect, it is dead to me, and I to it; it cannot save me, and I cannot expect salvation by it; nay, I am dead to the law. To be dead to fin, is a mortification that people may think they can easily understand ; but the mystery of it, in being dead to fin, by this means of being dead to the law, cannot be well understood; for one would think that to die to the law, were to live in sin: Nay, says the apostle, it is quite otherwise ; that I may die to sin, I am dead to the law. (3.) You have the means of this death, which is as strange, namely, the law; I through the law am dead to the law. As to this means of death to the law, to wit, the law, I find some divines understand it a different law from the other ; as if the apostle should say, I by the law of Christ. am freed from the law of Moses; or, I by the law of faith am freed from the law of works. But I
encline to join with the current of found divines, who understand both of the same law, 9. d. I am dead to the law through the law; the law hath taught me that I am a finner, that cannot be justified by the law, which curses and condemns finners: By the law is the knowledge of fin; and having thus by the law known myself to be a finful guilty wretch, I am dead to all expectation of righteousness by the law. The law then, having thus killed me, and all my hope of life by it, hath been a bleft means of drawing me out of myself, and all my legal righteousness, to seek life and justification in Christ, and his righteousness received by faith: Thus you have a wonderful death here fpoken of. 2. You have a remarkable life proceeding out of that death; you may call it Paul's vivification, which was not peculiar to him, but is common to all believers : That I might live unto God. Where again you may notice three things, (1.) The general nature of this vivification, it is called by the name of life. While a man is alive to the law, he continues dead; but whenever he is dead to the law, then he is alive, the breath of life is breathed into his nostrils, and he becomes a living foul ; for the Spirit of God, the Spirit of life enters into him. (2.) The objeet of this life, or vivification, it is God; a living unto God, that is a new life, a holy life, a divine life, a living to God, to God's honour, to God's glory. Before this, the man lived to him. self as his end, as well as from himself as his principle; but now he lives from God as his principle, and to God as his end, which only is a holy life, and wherein true fanctification lies. (3.) You have the infuence that this death hath upon this life, or this morti