صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

do! Sin's just authority is exauctorated ; and Christ, by fatisfying the law, which is the strength of sin, hath condemned sin in the flesh. Sin hath a fort of right to reign in wicked men, and these that are under the law; but none in the believer, who is delivered from the law, which is the strength of fin: Tho' it actually exercise authority, yet it is but an usurped authority; as sin hath no power nor authority to condemn the soul that is in Christ, so it hath no authority to reign ; and fin shall never reign unto death over them, Rom. v. laft. And the believer that hath cast off the authority of fin, as being no more his lawful king, may complain of its unjust oppression, and plead with a righteous God, that the power of fin may be more and more broken, and so it shall be. But the legalist, who is alive to the law, in regard that he is both under the commanding and condemning power of the law, is also under the commanding and condemning power of fin. The law commands him, and he obeys it as his Lord; and fin commands him also, and he obeys it too, and makes his legal duties a plaister to cure his confcience of his fin, like Lewis XI. of France, who would swear a bloody oath, and for a pardon kiss a crucifix, and swear again, and kiss it again, and so runs the round. However, the believer is delivered from the power of the law, and the power of sin too; having cast off the law as a covenant, and finding nothing fatisfy and still his conscience, but the blood and righteousnefs of Christ, that satisfies divine juftice. As in this way he finds rest from the curse of the law, fo also some rest from the rule and dominion of fin; the faith of God's love in Christ purifies the heart, and kills his natural enmity,

04

insomuch

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

insomuch that he can attest, to his sweet expe. rience, that the faith of the love of God in Chrift is so far from leading him to licentiousness of life, or encouraging laziness, that he finds it the hottest fire in the world to melt his heart for fin, and the strongest cord in the world to bind him to duty, while the love of God is shed abroad upon him. Try by these things if you be dead to the law. In a word, if you be dead to the law, then you will be living unto God; I through the law,' am dead to the law, &c. He is led sweetly to the Jaw as a rule of life.

Quest. How shall I know if I be living unto God? This leads me to the other part of the examination.

Secondly, Try if you be living unto God. Having inlarged so much upon the preceeding head, and having offered several particulars upon this head already in the doctrinal part, which may be improved by way of trial; therefore I'll offer you but these two marks of this. 1. If you be living unto God, then the spirit of God will be the chief principle of your life; The water that I shall give kim (John iv. 14.) shall be in him a well of water springing up to everlasting life. The man hath not only the water within him, the graces of the spirit ; but the well itself, the spirit himself dwelling in him. And as we know a spring-well, by seeing the water bubbling up; fo a man may know he hath the spirit, by the bubbling up of this water now and then. None have a life unto God, but these that have the spirit of Christ in them, causing them to walk in his statutes; for where the fpirit of life is, he is a spirit of faith, and a spirit of love ; a spirit of faith, leading the man to the obedience of faith; which fets him to duty from the

authority

authority of God, and in a dependance upon Chrift, both as his strength for assistance, and as his righteousness for acceptance in the performance thereof: A spirit of love, leading the man to the obedience of love ; and this obedience makes a man serve like a lon, and not like a Nave, and makes the service sweet and pleasant, 1 Foon v. 3. This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments, and bis commandments are not grievous. This makes the believer's obedience while he lives unto God, a mystery to the world, who reckon it a burden to . keep the fabbath, a burden to wait on ordinances, a burden to perform duties. Why? On the other hand, when the believer is mounted up in the chariot of love, indeed it is a burden to him to leave off duty, it is a burden to him to leave ordinances, it is a burden to him to think of going back to the world again. Why? The matter is, he is about the obedience of love, which makes the commands of God, not grievous, but delicious. Try your obedience, and living to God, by this principle of it, the Spirit of God as a spirit of faith and love, leading to the obedience of faith and love. 2. If : you be living unto God, then the glory of God will be the chief end of your life. . Quest. How Thall I know if the glory of God be my chief end in my obedience? Indeed it is a material question. I'll offer a thought upon it: If the glory of God be the chief end of your life, then you will have a continual conflict with self, and how to get self-ends mortified. 0 I see self creeping in upon me, in all my preaching, praying, communicating; how shall I get this enemy killed? Here the flesh lufts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, and these two are contrary the one to the other.

The

The believer finds a war here against felf, as his greatest enemy; and it is his joy and the triumph of his heart, when he gets felf daihed to the ground, and debased; when the loftiness thereof is brought down, and the Lord alone is exalted in him. The man that hath God's glory as his chief end, can sometimes trample even his own happiness under his feet, in a manner, when it comes in competition with the glory of God and Christ: The glory of God is of more worth than ten thousand heavens : and therefore the self-denied believer, rather than the divine glory should fink, would venture his all, thọ' he had a thousand lives: Blot me out of thy book, says Moses; let me be accursed, says Paul; and all was, that God might be glorified, that Chrift might be magnified, and have a glorious name in the world. There were some things indeed extraordinary in that measure that Moses and Paul attained to; but there may be something like it, I think, tho' in a smaller measure, that believers may know in their experience! O whatever should become of me, let thy name be glorified ; let Christ have a numerous train to praise him to eternity; let me decrease, and him increase ; let him be exalted, though I should be for ever abased ; and if it might contribute to his mounting of the throne, let me be even the footstool on which he may ascend. The man prefers Christ's publick interest before his own private interest: If I forget thee, O

Jerufalem, &c. In a word, the man that lives to God, as his chief end, acts in duties, because God is thereby honoured and glorified ; and he bates fin in himíelf and others, because God is thereby dishonoured. Finally, If you be living unto God, your life, your obedience will be influenced

bu

by the grace of the new covenant, being dead to the law, or to the old covenant: But of this I have spoken at large on the 4th general head. Thus much for trial.

The 3d use may be for lamentation over, together with reproof of all, both doctrinal and practical, legalifts. 1. As to doctrinal legalists, we might bewail and refute the legal schemes that take place in the world. I name these two, i. The Popij scheme denying the imputation of Christ's righteousness. The imputed righteousness of Christ is blafphemed by the church of Rome; they call it an affectitious imaginary air, a putative righteousness, contrary to the very strain of our apostle in his epistles. They talk of a twofold justification ; Their first justification is that, whereby an unjustified man becomes justified, or a wicked man becomes godly; where they confound justification and fanctification. The second is that whereby a man already righteous, becomes more aud more righteous, more and more holy. We know no justification, but one justification by faith, in the day of closing with Christ; laying 'hold upon the blood of Christ, whom God hath set forth to be the propitiation, &c. It is a compleat righteousness, we have it all at once; and it is not within us, but without us: It is in Christ inherently, and in us, imputatively. They tell us, that we are not justified by the works of the ceremonial law, but by the works of the moral law: They tell us, that we are not justified by perfect obedience, but by imperfect ; and by an acceptilation, it is looked on by God as perfect: And, in a word, they tell us, that we are justified, not meritoriously, and simply by works done in our own strength, but by works

acted

« السابقةمتابعة »