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that is in Christ! O it is strange, the grace that is in him, is in thee, as the life that is in the heart is in the toe, the foot, the utmost members! There is a communication of vital strength and influences from the heart and head to all the members; the. believer's grace is in Christ, and the grace that is in Christ is in the believer. Here is a mystery to the world, but yet this mystery lies wrapt up in that word, Be strong in the grace that is in Chrift 'Yesus. If the grace that is in Christ, were not in the believer also, according to the measure of the communication, how could he be strong in the grace that is in Christ? My grace shall be fufficient for thee, &c. 4. In Christ his new head, he hath liberty. Under the law the man is under bondage, and severe bondage to the command of perfect obedience upon pain of death and damnation, and so under bondage to the curse of the law, and the fear of God's everlasting wrath; and so he can do nothing, he hath no heart nor hand to serve God, he is bound neck and heel : But in Chrift he hath liberty, If the Son make you free, you are free indeed; free for service; Truly I am tby ferpant, thou hast loosed my bands. Now he walks at liberty, yea, runs the way of God's commandments, when he does enlarge his heart. This is the glorious liberty of the children of God begun in time, whereby they are put in case to live unto God. Now he is at liberty to serve cheerfully, being delivered from the hands of all his enemies, to serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before God all the days of his life. Now he is at liberty to serve Spiritually, the spirit of Christ being put within him, and causing him to walk in God's
- Itatutes ;
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statutes; and now he is at liberty to serve hopefully, knowing that his labour shall not be in vain in the Lord; though while under the law, his labour was but vain labour. Now he is at liberty to serve acceptably, being accepted in the beloved, Eph. i. 6. that is, not only for his fake, for there is much more in it, he being our head, and we members of his body, and he as our head having performed perfect obedience to the precept of the law, and complete fatisfaction to the penalty of the law ; the head having done it, the whole is reputed as having done it, and so we are accepte:t in him : His doing is ours, because we are in him as our head, accepted in the beloved ; our perfons are accepted in him, and next our performances and duties. O what sweet liberty is here! what a sweet foundation for spiritual and acceptable service and living anto God! But this leads me next to thew,
2. That it hath a moral influence upon fanctification. A man's being dead to the law, disjoined
n it, and joined to Chrift, hath not only a pbyfical, but also a moral influence, in regard that hereby he is constrained sweetly to live unto God, 2 Cor. v. xiv. 15. The love of Christ constraineth us. If we have not love at the root of our actions, love to a God in Christ, we are but empty vines, that bring forth fruit to ourselves ; it is but felf-love, which is not fruit unto God, or living unto him. The natural way of man's thinking is, we should serve God, that he may save us; but the gospel way is, he faves us, that we may serve him. What made Paul fay, Being dead to the law, I live unto God? Why? in the next verse he enlarges on it, I live to bim, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Be all of you persuaded of this ; or else, as the
Lord lives, you will die in a delusion; that if you have not love to God, you have not a spark of holiness tho' you should pray all your days, and work ever so hard. I will circumcise their hearts to love me, is the promise ; and this love is the heart and life of religious duties. Now, you cannot have love, unlefs you see somewhat more or less of his love to you: We are naturally enemies to God, tho' we cannot get one of a thousand that will take with it. They think they have a love to God. God forbid, say they, that we should be enemies. Nay, but I tell you in the name of God, whether you will hear it or not, that as you are enemies by nature, and born with a dagger of enmity in your heart and hand against God; so, till you get fomewhat of the knowledge of God as in Chrift, reconciling the world to himself, this enmity will never be killed. Now, I fay, it is the believer in Christ, who being dead to the law, and joined to the Lord, hath this love ; and this love constrains him, fo as he brings forth fruit unto God, and lives unto him, Rom. vii. 4. Being dead to the law, and married to Christ, he brings forth fruit unto God.
The believer has sufficient encouragement to make him live unto God; he sees Chrift hath satisfied die vine justice, fulfilled all the righteousness of the law, that he hath done that which is impreftible by us; and when by faith he beholds this, he is encouraged to serve God. Hence says the Psalmist, There is mercy with thee, that thou mayest be feared. Might he not have said, there is mriety with thee, that thou mayest be feared? The matter is, the majesty of God would make the finner flee from God, as
Adam did, when he heard his voice in the garden ; but his mercy makes us fear and love him, serve
and obey him ; Then they fall fear the Lord and his goodness, says the prophet, Hosea iii. 5. If a man hath no faith at all of God's goodness, no hope of his favour in Christ, where is his purity and holiness? Nay, it is he that hath this hope, that purifies himself as he is pure. · I know not what experience you have firs, but some of us know, that when our souls are most comforted and enlarged with the faith of God's favour through Christ, and with the hope of his goodness, then we have most heart to duties; and when through unbelief we have harsh thoughts of God, as an angry Judge then we have no heart to duties and religious exercises ; and I persuade myself, this is the experience of the saints in all ages.
But, that this moral influence, which dying to the law, or covenant of works, hath upon living to God, or holiness and fanctification, may be further evident: Let us consider, how the law to the bee liever, having now lost its legal or old covenantform, and being put into a gospel-form, and changed from the law of works into a covenant of grace, or the law in the hand of Christ; every part of it now constrains the believer to obedience and fanctification, in a most loving manner. The gospel-law, or the law of grace, which he is now under, is a chariot paved with love, the law, in the hand of Christ, hath now another face, even a smiling face, in all the commands, promises, threatenings, and in the whole form thereof.
First, The commands of the law, in the hand of Christ, have lost their old covenant-form, and are full of love. The command of the law of works, is, do, and live; but in the hand of Christ, it is, live, and do: The command of the law of works,
is, do, or else be damned; but the law in the hand of Christ is, I have delivered thee from hell and damnation, therefore do ; The command of the law of works is, do in thy own firength; but the law in the hand of Christ is, I am thy strength, my strength shall be perfected in thy weakness, therefore do. The command is materially the same, but the form is different. The command of the law of works is, do perfe&tly, that you may have eternal life ; but now, in the hand of Christ, the form is, I have given thee eternal life, in me, and by my doing ; and therefore do as perfectly as you can, through my grace, till you come to a state of perfection. The command, I say, is the same materially; for I do not join with these who insinuate, as if here less obedience were required than under the law of works: Though less be accepted in these who have a perfect obedience in their head, yet no less is required, though not in the old covenant-form. And as the command is materially the same, so the authority enjoining obedience is originally the same, yet vastly distinct, in that the command of the law is the command of God out of Christ, an absolute God and Judge ; but now under grace, it is the command of a God in Christ, a Father in him. And sure I am that the authority of a commanding God is not lessened, or loft, that the command is now in the hand of Christ. Christ is God, coequal and co-essential with the Father : And as God's authority to judge is not lost or lessened, in that all judgment is committed to the Son; so his authority to command is not lost or lessened, in that the law is in the hand of Christ. Nay, it is not leffened, but it is sweetened, and made amiable, lovely and desirable to the believer, constrain