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merit. God, I thank thee, said the Pharisee, I am not as other men ; It was like a proud boasting of what he had done: But let the believer spend days and nights in prayer, and that with much liberty and enlargement, yet the result of the work is, O my righteousness is filthy rags, a menstruous cloth; Wo to me, if I be not found in Chrift, for my best duties deserve damnation : I find my praying, my worshipping, my communicating full of atheism, unbelief, formality and hypocrisy. The legalist over-rates his duties; he thinks more of what he hath done, than of what Christ hath done, and more of his praying on earth than of Christ's pleading in heaven; he thinks more of his tears than of Christ's blood; he is proud of his humility, and never duly humbled. 5: The believer that is dead to the law, so far as he is dead thereto, his complaints and his comforts move in a gospel channel. The legalist will complain more for want of holiness, than for want of Christ : Seeing he hath taken up with a self-righteousness, it is his all, it is his happiness, it is his husband, it is his God; and when it is wanting, he cannot but be troubled. But the language of the man dead to the law, is, O for Christ ! o for a day of power! O to be wrapt up in the covenant of grace, to get an omnipotent power, determining me to comply with the gospel offer! His comforts move in a gospel channel; whereas the legalist finds comfort in lawworks, even in all his extremities in time. In the prospect of trouble, what comforts him ? Even this, that he hath done many good duties; he wraps up himfelf in a garment of his own weaving. Under challenges of conscience, that comforts him, and gives him peace. He even covers
himself with the same robe. In the prospect of judgment, what comforts him, and gives him peace? Why, he hopes God will be merciful to him, because he hath had a good profeísion, and said many good prayers, and done many good duties. But, o forry peace maker ; the only thing that gives a believer peace and ease in these cases, is the law biding righteousness of Christ, under which he desires to shroud himself; he flees to the blood of Christ, o I am undone, unless my soul be wrapt up in the mantle of Christ's perfect righteousness; I desire to be found in him; upon this righteousness of Jesus do I venture my foul; I have no shift but this. The legalift, I said, comforts himself in all his extremities with the law, till the last extremity come, and then he finds himielf chéated: And hence, O what a mercy is it, that the Lord drains a man of his legal comfort, that he may unhinge him off the law, and off his self-confidence ! Oft-times, when God is bringing home his elect, he makes all the common work they had before to disappear. It may be they had a profession, were morally rerious, they had zeal, prayed with life, heard with affection, but behold now all the streams of common influences are dried up; the poor soul finds he cannot pray, he cannot shed a tear, tho' he should be cast into hell; yea, he cannot think a right thought, tho' it thould bring him to heaven; nay, he finds his heart hardned like a devil, and his mind bemifted with the darkness of hell. Why, this is all in love, to drive him out of himself, and out of the law, to the dear Son of God. 6. The believer that is dead to the law, is content to have his righteousness tried, and compared with the perfect law. As Christ is the Lord his righteousness, and O 2
this he knows is sufficient to answer all the demands and commands of the law, and he is not afhamed of this righteousness, but glories in it: so, as to his works of holiness, whatever thortcoming he is sensible of, yet he is content to be tried with the clearest Light. Let omnisciency descend, and make a critical search; Search me, o God, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting : I do not love to die with a lye in my right-hand ; let all the inward corners of my heart be laid open before me; I am satisfied to know if I have a lawful husband, or not, if Christ be my husband, or not: He is content to be tried. But the legalist, the man that is alive to the law, a searching-sermon is uneasy to him, a gospel-fermon he cannot abide, a narrow trial he cannot endure; he thinks that the minister is too impartial to cast us all to hell; he hath stolen goods, and therefore dreads the light. Yea, 7. The man that is dead to the law, he hath got a soul.humbling fight and view of the glory of Christ's righteourness, that made him quit with all his legal rags as loss and dung; even as the stars evadith out of fight when the sun arises. O hath Christ's glory ever Tined into your heart, my brethren, and made you see thousands of worlds to be nothing to him, thousands of righteousnesses of men and angels to be nothing to his? Have you seen an utter imporfibility of obtaining God's favour by any righteousness of yours ? and such a sure ground of obtaining God's favour here, that your soul hath been made to renounce all other ways of acceptance, and to see, admire, and rejoice in the glory of this way, and to approve of it, as a device worthy of God, and suitable to you? And have you found reft here?
It is good. The legalist is a stranger to such saving views of the glory of Christ and his righteousness, having never got the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ. 8. The man that is dead to the law, is in love with the doctrine of the gospel; how beautiful upon the mountains, to them, are the feet of these that preach the glad tidings of peace? Whereas, he that is alive to the law always suspects the doctrine of the gospel, as if it were leading him away from the law, and away from holiness: Here is a mark that well may find out a pharifaical generation ; they suspect the doctrine of Christ, and his righteousness, as if it were a doctrine tending to licentiousness, and opposition to the law; a sign they never felt the power of the gospel upon their hearts, otherwise they would feel the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, from faith to faith, to be the power of God to their falvation; they would find, that never are they so much disposed to holy duties, as when they are under the influences of the spirit of faith discovering the glory of Christ, and his righteousness to them: But an ignorant generation, that knows not the power and virtue of the gospel, still suspects it as contrary to the law. This was the false charge against Christ of old, and against Stephen, Acts vi. 18. and against Paul, from which "therefore he many times vindicates himself. See
Asts xviii. 13. 9. The man that is dead to the law, can, in some measure, put a difference betwixt Christ and a frame: Whereas, he that is alive to the law, can never distinguish betwixt Christ in duty, and a frame in duty. I know this is a hard question, How shall we know the difference betwixt Christ in duty, and a frame in duty ? I'll say
. in a word, the man that hath only a frame in duty, and not Christ in it, he is only pleased with his frame, his tears, his enlargements; he makes that his righteousness, he is content with that, and exalted with that, and now thinks all is well: But he that hath Christ in duty, and not a frame only, he is ready to cry, 0 I would have Christ! I would have Christ! None but Chrift! none but Chrilt! Tears will not do; my own heart hath deceived me a thousand times; I find my tears do not wash me, my frame does not fanctify me; this flowing of affection may be but a natural thing, it will not do; it is Christ I want, nothing but his blood can wash me; nothing but this blood can pacify his conscience; nothing but some views of Christ can give him solid quiet. A sweet frame may indeed be the chariot, in which Christ may ride towards the foul; but the gospel believer is not so much taken up with the chariot, as with the glorious king that rides in it. 10. The man that is dead to the law, is dead to fin; fin hath not dominion over him, because he is not under the law, but under grace. The views of Christ are of a transforming nature ; beholding his glory, we are changed. It is true, here the believer fears most of all, because of his short coming in point of sanctification, and mortification of sin, because he finds iniquity prevailing against him. And how is it true that sin hath not dominion over him, he not being under the law, but under grace? Why? Sin hath no righteous nor lawful dominion over believers ; the first husband is dead, and they are married to Christ the second husband : and therefore they are not debtors to the flesh. Tho' still the flesh craves them to obey it, yet it hath no just power so to