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barely the separation of Soul and Body,Sirh. which is the terrour of death; but that * "*, separation, as inflicted by, and accompa- **/*SJ nied 'with, the wrath of God. Death may possibly be otherwise so far from terrible, that it may be and often is expected by good men with joy and comfort, as an entrance into life and happiness. 'Tis Sin only which is the horrour of death, and which gives it that sting, which makes it really insupportable even to the most distant thought. When the death of the Body is the forerunner of that death of the Soul, from which there is no hopes of release, but the wrath of God must abide on it for ever; then is it that death appears truly dreadful and terrible. This is that which makes wicked men, conscious of their own guilt, and sensible of the wrath of God hanging over their heads, so amazed at the approach and even the thoughts of death: They cannot bear to think on so affrighting a prospect, but are even overwhelmed and swallowed up with astonishment and despair: Not that they so dread death
S E k M. barely and in it self, (for they could call oft VHI' the hills to fall en them, and to the moun-'
is*^ tains to cover them; they could seek death when they cannot find it, and desire to dii 'when death /hall fee from them, Rev. ix. 6.) but 'tis the consequences of death, That sting which Sin gives it> that they are so terribly and so justly afraid of
But to proceed: The Jirength of Sint * faith the Apostle, is the law; The strength of Sin, viz. that which gives it its power and efficacy. 'Tis evident that Sin is the transgression of the law, and that where there is no law there is no trans' grejjion, Rom. iv. 15. By the law thew fore is the knowledge of fin, Rom. iii. 20 j or as the Apostle more fully expresses himself, ch. vii. ver. 7 and 8, / had not known fin but by the law; for I had not known lust except the law had said, fhou shalt not covet; But fin taking oceafion by the commandment, wrought in me all man-' ner of concupiscence 5 For without the lain fin is dead: that is, the knowledge of Sin must needs be, by the knowledge and pro* mulgation of the law that forbids it. But
this is not all; For in this sense, by every Serm. declaration of the Will of God, by eve- * ***. ry command and prohibition, is the knowledge of Sin; and so the Gospel it self might as properly be stiled the strength of sin, as the law. Since therefore by the Law, the Apostle plainly means That discovery of the Will of God which was made to mankind before the Coming of Christ;; and particularly that which was given to the Jews; in opposition to the Christian or Gospel-dispensation: 'tis certain that by its being the Jlrength of Jin> most be understood Something more, than barely its being the occasion of the knowledge of Sin. It remains therefore, that it must signify the making such a discovery of the heinous nature and; guilt of Sin, as yet either not to afford a possibility" of avoiding it, or not to discover any' sufficient means of recovering from it. Now in what fense, and how far this may bei truly applicable to the Jewtfo Law, is of some difficulty to determine: (For is the 'Jews under the law had neither any possibility of avoiding Sin, nor Vol. V. M. t vet
Serm. yet any sufficient means of recovering \ VIII. from the guilt of it, it would follow that ^^^^ people were in much harder circumstances than the representations which the Scripture makes to us of God's dispensations and dealings with them allows us to suppose :) 1 mail therefore for the clearing - this whole matter, and to show both in what sense the Law is called the Strength of Sin, and how our Saviour has given us the victory over it, (which was the first thing I proposed to speak to,) indeavour briefly to prove these following Propositions, i/?, That the Original Law of God requires exact, perfect, and unsinningobedience; which since Man through the weakness and corruption of his nature is not capable of performing, men are all thereby necessarily concluded under Sin. - zdly, That that Law, under which the Jews were, so far as it is distinguished from, and opposed to, the Grace or Go/pel of Christ; is the fame with the Original Law of God, in its full-force and severity, ^dly, That yet God never dealt with men according to the strictness and
rigour of that Law, but always anticipa- Serm. ted the favour of the Gospel, and dealt yW* with men according to the Gracious ^^v* Terms of the New Covenant, tfhly, That Our Saviour at his appearance, openly promulged and declared to all the World the less severe Terms of this Cove_ nant of Grace, and by that means totally freed men from the fear and bondage of that rigorous Law, which was really in force untill the time of his appearing; excepting only as God was pleased to anticipate the Grace and Favour of the New Covenant, at first by the secret dispensations of his Mercy, and the obscure promises of a Redeemer to come; and afterwards, as the time of the promise drew near, by the more open and plain declarations of the prophets. \jt9 The Original Law of God requires exact, perfect, and unfinning Obedience; which since man through the weakness and corruption of his nature, is not capable off performing, men are all thereby necessarily concluded under Sin. This is evident from the consideration of the Nature of Vol.v. M 2 Ged,