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and curses him. But if the law had been repealed by the death of Christ, all the world would have been freed from the curse: For a repealed law can neither bless the righteous, nor curse the wicked; but stands for nothing.
And hence, also, we find that Christless sinners, when awakened by the Holy Spirit to see and feel what a state they are in, are always convinced that they are under the wrath of God and curse of the law; and hereby are made to understand their need of a Saviour. (Rom. iii. 19, 20.) But if the law had been repealed by the death of Christ, this could not be; for they would then have been under no wrath, nor curse; nor would any have ever felt a spirit of bondage, as they do in every age of the world, and as they used to do in St. Paul's day. (Rom. viii. 15.) For it is the law only that works wrath. Rom. iv. 15.
And hence we shall find, even all the world shall find, and thousands and thousands to their everlasting sorrow, that when the day of judgment comes, the law shall be executed with the utmost severity upon all that know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thes. i. 7, 8.) And God's justice, in so doing, will shine bright in the sight of all worlds; for he designs, on that day, to reveal the righteousness of his judgments: and hence it is called the day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God. (Rom. ii. 5.) But if the law is repealed by the death of Christ, and if God has told the world that he has repealed it; for him now to revive it, and judge, and condemn the world by it, would be to cast contempt upon the death of Christ, and deceive his poor creatures, and unmercifully and unrighteously judge and condemn them, by a law that was repealed; a law they never were under, and so ought never to have been judged by. From the whole, therefore, it is evident, that the law that threatens eternal damnation for the least sin, never has been, and never will be repealed.
Well, then, (if this be the case,) may ministers thunder bell and damnation against a secure, wicked world; and well may poor sinners tremble under a sense of divine wrath, when their eves begin to be opened to see where they are: for all those comforts that the formalist gets by thinking the
law is abated or disannulled, and so his state safe, are but the result of an erroneous head, and a heart secure in sin. And what has been said under this particular, will rationally account for all the agony and distress of an awakened sinner. When God, the great Governor of the world, the revenger of sin, begins to make the poor sinner remember his ways and his doings which have not been right, and see what a creature he is, and what a condition he is in, and be sensible of what he deserves; and when he comes to understand that his soul is forfeited, and that it is right that justice should take place, and that God is at liberty to do as he pleases, surely this must be heart-rending, soul-distressing, to a poor, sinful, guilty, hell-deserving creature.
And if God will not repeal the law, but still insist upon it, that it is holy and just, no wonder the sinner is made to own it too, before ever he is pardoned: For it would be unbecoming the supreme Lord of the universe, to grant a pardon to a guilty rebel, that is too high-hearted to own that the law, by which he stands condemned, is holy and just. O how right it is, that the sinner should come down, and see, and know, and own for ever, that he is justly condemned, and, as such, apply himself to the sovereign grace of God, through Jesus Christ, for a pardon! And O how sovereign, and free, and divine, is that grace that pardons and saves the poor, sinful, guilty, helldeserving wretch, through Jesus Christ! (Rom. iii. 19. 27.) And thus as God the Father honours the law, by refusing to repeal it, and God the Son by answering its demands; so does God, the Holy Ghost, by making the poor sinner see, and feel, and own, that it is holy and just, before ever he internally reveals the mercy of God, through Jesus Christ, unto him; so that the law is honoured, and sin is embittered, and the sinner humbled, and grace glorified, all at once. As in the external revelation God has made in his word, the law is before the gospel; so it is in internal influences and operations of the Holy Spirit upon the elect; and that for the same reason, that the law might be a school-master to bring men to Christ.
To conclude: from all that has been said, we may learn what to think of the religion and of the hopes of these two sorts of
men. (1.) The legal hypocrite, who, supposing that the good. old law is repealed and laid aside, and that a new law, only requiring sincere ob dience, is established in its room, merely from self-love and for self-ends, sets about duty, and endeavours to be sincere; and here on this foundation builds all his hopes of acceptance in the sight of God: for since the law is not repealed, but stands in full force, therefore the religion of such is not that thing which God requires or will accept; and their new law is a whim, and their hopes are all built on the sand: Their whole scheme results from a total ignorance of God, and his law, and the present state of mankind; and is entirely built on falsehood. (2.) The evangelical hypocriteall whose faith and joy originally result from a supposed discovery of the love of God, or love of Christ, or that his sins are pardoned. This discovery is the foundation of his faith, and his faith is the foundation of his joy and of all his religion: And yet the thing discovered is a lie; for, as has been proved, every one, until he is a believer, until he has acted faith, is not pardoned, but condemned; is not beloved of God, but under his wrath; and, therefore, to have pardon of sin and the love of God discovered before the first act of faith, and to have such a discovery lay the foundation for the first act of faith, and a foundation for all religion, is to be imposed upon with a lie, and to have a gross falsehood lie at the foundation of their faith; their religion, and of all their hopes. The legal hypocrite may be convinced by such scriptures as these; Luke xviii. 9. 13. Rom. iii. 20-31. iv. 5. which prove that a man cannot find acceptance with God by his own righteousness: And the evangelical hypocrite may be convinced by such scriptures as these; John iii. 18. 36. Acts iii. 19. which prove that a sinner is not pardoned till after faith. A true sight and sense of the law would effectually convince the one and the other, that all their hopes are built on wrong apprehensions of things, and that all their religion is counterfeit; and that they are yet in the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity and the one would no longer venture his soul on his own righteousness, nor the other on his discovery. The law's insisting upon perfect, sinless obedience, would convince the one that his own righteousness might not be depended
upon; and the law's cursing every unbeliever, would convince the other that his discovery was false; and the law's requiring us to love God primarily for his own beauty, would convince both of their graceless estates, inasmuch as the religion of both primarily takes its rise from self-love. It is from the want of a realizing sight and sense of the nature and extent of the law, and that out of Christ we are exposed to all the curses thereof, that a sinful, guilty world are so insensible of their graceless, and their wretched and miserable condition, and so apt to flatter themselves that they are rich, and increased in goods, and stand in need of nothing. Rom. vii. S, 9. Without the law sin was dead. I was alive without
the law once.
Thus we see that the obligation which we were under to love God with all our hearts, resulting from the infinite excellency of the divine nature, antecedent to all selfish considerations, is infinitely, eternally, and unchangeably binding: And thus we see a variety of important consequences necessarily following therefrom: and I have insisted the longer upon the nature of this obligation, not only because it is the first and greatest, but because it has a mighty influence in all our additional obligations. For,
5. And lastly. It is from the infinite excellency of the divine nature, that all our additional obligations originally derive their strength, their energy, their binding power. The infinite excellency of the divine nature so entirely lays the foundation of its being our duty to love God with all our hearts, that were it not for this, it would cease to be our duty, notwithstanding all other considerations. If he were not, by nature, GOD, it would not be fit that we should love and worship him as God, upon any account whatsoever: He could have no such right to us, or authority over us, as to make it our duty; nor could he render it our duty, by showing us any kindness whatsoever: Yea, if he were not, by nature, GoD, it would be wrong for us to pay him divine adoration; it would be idolatry; it would be worshipping one as God, who, by nature, is not God: And by the same argument which the orthodox have been wont to use against the Arians, who deny the divinity of Christ. If he be not a divine person, he ought
not to have divine worship paid him; I say, by the same argument, if God were not, by nature, God, it could not, upon any account, be our duty to love and worship him as God. It is his being, by nature, GOD; his being what he is, and his infinite excellency in being such, which therefore lays the original foundation of all our obligations, and which gives life and energy to all. And, accordingly, we may observe, that the original ground and reason upon which God, as Governor of the world, acts, in making a law that we should love him with all our hearts, is, because he is the Lord; as is evident from the tenour of the law itself: Thou shalt love the LORD, &c. i. e. because he is the LORD, &c. Yea, it is upon this ground, originally, that God takes it upon him to give all his laws to us; for this is the constant style-Thus and thus shall ye do, FOR I AM THE LORD.
Those, therefore, who are influenced to love and worship God not at all, because he is GOD, but altogether from other considerations; not at all from a sense of his infinite excellency, but altogether on other accounts, are so far from being truly religious, that they are, indeed, guilty of great wickedness in all they do: for although they pretend to love and worship God, yet it is not at all because he is God; though they pretend to pay divine adoration to him, yet it is not at all because he is a divine Being: so that when they pretend to pay divine worship and adoration to God, it is merely from some selfish consideration; from self-love, and for self-ends; there is no true regard to God, but all centers in self: so that self, indeed, is their idol, and the only God they serve; and their pretending to love and worship God is mere mockery. When they pretend to love and worship God, it is not at all because he is God; not at all from a sense of his divine glory, but only to appease his anger and obtain his favour, or because they consider him as their friend and benefactor. And now, to come to God and pretend to worship him as if he was God, and yet not to do it at all because he is God, but for mean, and mercenary, and selfish ends, is a very complicated wickedness; and to think to please God in this way, and get into favour by this means, discovers such ignorance and contempt of God, and a frame of heart sø