صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

man cannot do it, he is by nature without strength: Only he whom God hath given to be a covenant to the people, Isa. xlix. 9. can say to the prisoner, Go farth. Now, when the man is thus convinced of guilt and wrath by the law, this hath a tendency to make him dead to the law, and to kill his confidence in any legal righteousness of his own. O is there any poor prisoner here, that finds himself Thut up in prison, under the power of fin, and under the guilt of fin, and wrath of God? o let this give you some comfort for the present, till God loose your bands, that this is the way God is taking to make you dead to the law, that you may live to God. 4. Through the law, a man gets the conviction of God's equity and righteousnels, tho® he should punish, and execute law vengeance; and fo is made to justify God, tho' he should send him to hell. I do not say that the finner is made content to be damned; no, that, in some respect, were to be content to be an enemy to God, and to fin against him forever; for the state of the damned includes everlasting enmity and sin, and so it can never be the thing he is made content with ; but the man is brought to a conviction of God's equity and righteousness, tho' he should send him to hell, as an everlasting punishment. To justify God, says an eminent divine, is to acknowledge, on the one hand, that he does no wrong to the finner in the execution of the curse ; and on the other hand, that he does no wrong to himself, or to his own justice, when he executes the judgment threatned against fin, but that he does that which is right. O, says the finner in this case, God does me no wrong, tho' he should destroy me; and he does not wrong his own justice, but is a just God in so doing : Yea, I cannot see how the credit of his justice should be salved, and how he should be glorified in his justice, if he did not execute judge the ment upon me, either in myself, or in a surety for it me, because I have offended such an infinitely glorious Being. Against thee, thee only have I finned, 3 that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and clear when thou judgest, Pfal. li. 4. Is God unrighte- 5 ous, that takes vengeance? God forbid. Rom. iii. 5,6. The offence done against the greatest of Beings, deserves the greatest of punishments, even the eternal destruction of the creature. It is true, God delights not in the death of a sinner, As I live, I bave no pleasure in the death of a sinner, Ezek. xviii. that is, as it is a destruction of the creature, though he delights in it, as it is the execution of his justice; even so the finner convinced by the law, tho’ he cana not take pleasure in this, to think of being destroyed, yet there is some secret kind of justifying that which God takes pleasure in, namely, the execution of justice. O how fit is it, that God's justice be glorified! And how just is God, in executing infinite judgment upon such an infinite evil as lin is! And indeed the finner would not see salvation to be free, if he did not see damnation to be just; but the fight of this, in the glass of the law, and in the light of the spirit, tends in a manner to reconcile the man with the device of salvation through Christ, whose bloody facrifice gives justice full satisfaction. He is now content that God's justice be glorified by a satisfaction, more glorious than that which the damned in hell can give; and so it tends to make him dead to the law, and to all other legal penances and sham satisfactions, which those, who are ignorant of God's equity and righteousness, are ready foolishly to invent. 5. Thro' the law a man gets

the

the conviction of his own inexcpsableness, which is that effect of a legal work of the fpirit; whereby the soul is left without excuse of, or defence for itself, Rom. iii. 19. Whatsoever things the law faith, it faith to them that are under it, that every mouth may be stopt, and all the world may become guilty before God. Now the whole soul of the man cries out, guilty, guilty ; his fig-leaves of excuses are blown away; his former Thifts and cavils in defence of himself, do now evanish; he hath not a word to fpeak in favour of himself. What said he formerly? Why, it may be, his heart said, if not his mouth, o I hope there will be no fear of me, Adam's sin was not mine; original fin is what I could not help, it came with me into the world; as for my actual sins, I see others guilty of greater ; as for my omission of duties and commission of trefpafles, I see none but have their faults; and God is a merciful God, and I hope he will not be so unjust as to damn his own creatures. These and the like shifts and excuses formerly took place; but now he becomes speechless, his mouth is stopt. They see they will but deceive themselves by these miserable shifts, and that they are guilty, guilty, sinful wretches, blacker than the very devil, and have not a mouth to open for themselves; and so they die to all conceit of themselves, and their own righteousness. 6. Thro' the law the man comes thus to get a conviction of his absolute need of the gospel, or of the Saviour revealed thereby, being convinced of his sinful and miserable state by nature, and humbled under the serious consideration and view of his sin and mise ry, fearing the wrath of God due to him for fin, beholding the equity of God, though he should cast him into hell; having his mouth stopt, and despairing of getting out of this condition by his own power, or the help of any other creature. He is now convinced of the need of the Saviour: 0 I perilh, I perish for ever, unless the law-giver provide a righteousness for me that will answer the demands of the law. Now the soul is ready to cry out, not in Rachel's sense, Give me children, or else I die ; but in her phrase, O give me Christ, or else I die ; give me a surety, or else I die. Now he is content to be for ever indebted to the righteousness of another; and thus the law is the occasion of bringing a man to Christ. And so you see how it is, that through the law they are dead to the law, that they may live unto God.

power, law,

THIRD HEA D. The third thing is, to speak of the believer's life, which is the fruit of this death; it is a living unto God. And now, in speaking hereto, I shall, 1. Enquire what kind of life it is? 2. What are the scriptural designations of it? 3. What is imported in its being called a living in general ? 4. What is imported in its being called a living to God in particular?

It, What kind of life is it? And, (1.) It is not a natural life, either in a physical or moral sense. Natural life, in a physical sense, is that which we received from Adam by generation, and is the function of natural faculties, in living, moving, using of sense and reason; that is, a life common to all men, who yet may be dead : Neither is it a natural life in a moral sense, such as heathens may have. The heathens may have common notions of God, and of good and evil, so as to render them inexcusable in their unnatural immoralities, Rom. i. 19, 20. They have a book of nature, both internal, in the remainders of the law in their heart, so as they do by nature the things contained in the

law, Rom. ii. 14, 15. And external, in God's works of creation and general providence; The beavens declare the glory of the Lord, &c. Now, this natural life cannot be the living to God here spoken of, because this natural life flows only from a natural state, which is a state of death : By na-" ture we are dead, legally dead under condemnation, spiritually dead in fins, wholly corrupt ; and the tree being bad, the fruit must be bad also; a filthy fountain can bring forth nothing but filthy streams. This natural life does proceed from natural principles, and these are corrupt; such as the desires of the flesh and of the mind, the lusts of the flesh, the luft of the eye, and the pride of life. At best their natural life flows from self-love, or love to its own honour, praises, profits, or pleasures ; all nature's works are selfish, however heroic they may be. This natural life is directed by a natural rule, such as the light of nature inward, or outward, accompanied with the counsels and examples of naturalifts; neither does it ever come up to that same rule of nature's light, which therefore does condemn them as guilty. This natural life hath only natural designs and ends; the natural man acts from self as his principle, and to self as his end, ascribing the glory of all his actions thereunto: Thus Herod gave not God the glory of his fine oration ; but took the praise to himself; but he was immediately smitten of an angel, and eaten up of worms. This natural way of living is in a natural manner, after the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, Eph. ii. 2. which is nothing but a walking in the lufts of the flesh, fulfilling the de. fires of the flesh and of the mind : Yea, in this natural life, nothing of Christ, or of his gospel, is eiVOL. II.

ther

[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »