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thereof, by which life and justification is to be obtained: for no new law can mend the matter ; because men remain under the firength of fin, by virtue of the old law, and in that condition cannot be juflified by any lawof God, being unable to perform any. Some cloud and darken the gospel, by making it a new or milder law, requiring faith, and repentance, and new obedience, instead of the perfect obedience required in the covenant of works.
The gospel, properly speaking, is no law, but a promise ; and it might be easily evinced, that faith, repentance, and new obedience, are fo far from being easier or milder terins, that they are harder conditions to us, in our lapred state, than perfect obedience was to Adam in a state of innocence. And to the apostle argues against any such new law; Gal. iii. 21. “ If there had been a law given, which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law ;"or, as it 'may be read, “Verily righteousness should have been by a law.” But there is no such law given to fallen man, as could give life to him ; therefore, there is no righteousness, or justification, to be had by a law, but by a promise; no life by any new law, but by a new promise of mercy and grace in Christ Jesus ; " By the works of the law, no fleth living can be justified. Eternal life is the gift of God, through. Chrilt Jefus our Lord.”
3. Hence fee, that there is no jullification before God, partly by the law, and partly by the gospel ; or 'partly by our own righteousness, and partly by the righteousness of Christ : for, as this detracts from the glory, fufficiency, and perfection of Christ's righteousness ; fo it renders our justification lame and imperfect, and confequently void and null: for if the law be the strength of fin, and gives it a commanding and condemning power; then, till the law be satisfied, with a personal, perfect, and everlasting righteousness, the strength of fin remains, and so the man under it remains under condemnation. Why, the obedience of two put together, to make up a perfect obedience, is vain : for, in that cafe, the obedience both of the one and the other is imperfect, and so not conform to the law ; therefore
cannot be accepted for righteousness: so that they who would be juftified before God, must either bring to him a perfect and personal righteousness of their own, and wholly renounce Christ; or else they must bring the perfect, personal righteousness of Christ, and wholly renounce their own. It is one of the most soul-ruining delusions among the generality of professors in our day, that they are guilty of spiritual Bigamy; they think they must have two husbands, Christ and the law both; they. fuppose that their own duties and righteousness will not do their business alone without Christ's merit and righteousness, which they hope will make amends, and make up what is wanting, and wherein they are deficient ; and fo his and theirs together is the ground of their hope: this is a popery, wlich makes Christ's righteousness only a fuoistool on which self-righteousness mounts the throne ; yea, this is a Bigamy which Christ will not relilli and put up with. If we be not married to Christ alone, as the end of the law for righteousness, and divorced from the law, as a covenant, the strength cf fin remains.
4. Hence see the excellency of the gospel and the great advantage of a clear gospel-dispensation. Why, the law is the strength of fin, but the gospel is the weapon that: pulls down the strength thereof: for, it is the power of God to falvation from fin; because therein is revealed the righteousness of God, from faith to faith, Rom. i. 16. Therefore, says the same apostle, 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty thro' God, to the pulling down the firong holds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” It is the gofpel that is the revelation of divine grace; justifying grace, to pull down the condenining strength of fin; sanctifying grace, to pull down the commanding ftrength of fin. It is true, the gospel is not powerful this way, un-, less the Spirit of God accompany it, as a Spirit of faith, causing us to believe the gospel savingly : but, whenever God saves a man from the strength of fin, as it is by hearing the gospel that faith comes; fo, it is by be
lieving the gospel that salvation from sin comes; Rom. X. 15, 16. Mark xvi. 15, 16. “Go, preach the gospel to every creature.” What is that gospel ? It is the good news of grace and salvation to finners, thro' Christ, the Lord our righteousness. Well, what will be the issue ? “ He that believes this gospel shall be saved; he that believes not shall be damned.” ( Sirs, see then the excellency of the gospel, which, as it is the instrument of God's power for working faith ; fo, being believed, is the power of God to salvation from the strength of fin, and fo from wrath and condemnation.
5. Hence fee, that fin, under the gospel, is strangely a gravated. They that are not only under the law, as all are by nature, but also under the want of gospel. light, no wonder that fin reign there; they cannot but live in fin, and in the perpetual violation of the law as a rule, who hear of no deliverance from the law, as a covenant : but for these who live under the gospel, which is the only antidote against the strength of sin, their fin is dreadfully aggravated; their living in sin, and remaining under the strength of fin, is an evidence of their unbelief, whereby they reject the gospel, and fo keep themselves under the curse of the law, of which curfe the strength of fin is a leading part. The breach of the law, as a rule of obedience, is egregiously aggravated, where freedom from the law, as a covenant, is proclaimed through Christ. The sum of the moral law is love, the sum of disobedience is enmity; but, alas! how is enmity against God heightened, when God manifests such love, grace, and good will towards finners! Eumity against God, under the gospel, is enmity indeed: it is rendering him enmity for love. Oh! how do the offers of mercy heighten our malignity! And, what a dreadful and dangerous thing is it to live in fin, under the dispensation of grace! An evil heart of unbelief, neglecting the gospel, and so the great salvation tendered therein, is the spring of apostacy, and departing from the living God. You will say, Ah! I have a wicked heart, a wandering heart, a vain heart, a loose heart, a black heart; yea, but the worst thing about it is, that it is an unbelieving heart : for your unbelief
keeps you under the curse of the law, and the law-curse keeps you under fin's power.
6. Is the law of works the strength of fin? Then fee the neceflity of union to Christ, as the end of the law for righteousncls, in order to freedom from the strength of fin. If Chrisi be the righteousness of any, he is their Strength also; and, because he is their righteousness, he is their strength, and both in a way of union to him : Surely fball one fuy, In the Lord bave I rigbieousness and strengt:), Ifa. xiv. 24. See also, I Cor. i. 30. Of bine are ye in Cbrist Fesus, who of God is made unto us righ. teo?lfness and fanétifications. It is the character of believ. ers in Christ, that they walk nct after the flesh, but after the Spirit, Rom. viii. 1. 4. Now, how comes this sanctification of lieart and way, and freedom from the strength of fin to take place? Why, the root of it is, the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in them, by virtue of their union with Christ. The weakest faint in Christ hath perfectly satisfied every demand of the law; he hath completely paid every penny of debt that he owed to the law. Why, being united to Christ, they are like man and wife; as man and wife are one fleth, fo Christ and believers are one Spirit: and as man and wife are one person in law ; fo, Christ having perfectly fulfilled the law, the believer hath perfectly fulfilled it in him. And so the righteousuels of the law being fulfilled in the believer, the commanding and condemning strength of fin, derived from the law, is broken; and consequently he is in case to walk fpiritually, and to evidence his freedom from the law, as a covenant, and his being a perfect fulfiller of it, by his walking not after the fleih, but after the Spirit.
7. Hence see, That justification is the root of fanctifia cation, and justifying faith the root of a holy life, and is necessary, in order of nature, before it; seeing, as there is no conforinity to the law, as a rule of holiness, till once the person get freedom from the law, as a covenant, which, to tlie transgressor, is the strength of fin; fo, in justification, the believer being no more reputed a breaker, or tranfgreffor, but a perfect fulfiller
of the law of works, it ceales to be any more the strength of fin unto him: whereupon the removal of the strengti of fi lays a foundation for a life of holiness, both habitual and actual; habitual, consisting in the immediate principles of action, in contradiitinction from the remote principle infused in regeneration; and actual sanctification whether privately, in the mortifying or killing of fin; or positively, in the quickening of the soul to a newness of life ; and that both internal, in the exercise of grace ; and external, in the performance of duty. And hence, as justifying faith is said to have a purifying virtue, Acts xv. 9.; fo the whole life of the believer is said to be by faith in the justifying righteousness of God, revealed in the gospel, Rom. i. 17. On which account, the gospel is said to be the power of God to salvation, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek; for therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith : as it is written, Tbe juft shall live by faith; that is, faith in this righteousness of God. No man, therefore, can live a holy life, or walk abroad in the duties of the law, as a rule, in a course of sanctification, till once his feet be loosed from the fetters, and his foul liberated from the prison of the law, as a covenant, through justification by faith ; and then, and not till then, is he in case to live a holy life by faith: yea, were he never so just and righteous, in respect of personal imparted righteousness; yet he cannot livé, but by the faith of this imputed righteousness of God: renewed acts of faith thereupon tend to quicken his soul from time to time. The just, even the just, shall live by this faith ; for, without it, all his own juftness, righteousness, and personal holiness would languish, and die, and give up the ghost. What makes the obedience of a multitude of professors vain and unacceptable ; yea, and all their duties sinful and hurtful? Why,' they begin to yield obedience to the precepts of the law, by doing and working out a righteousness of their own, before they be delivered from the curse of the law, by believing and laying hold on the righteousnefs of Christ; and hence, the strength of sin being a grand part of the curse of the law, and they not being delivered from that curse, all they can do is cursed of