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not of the law. This Paul calls a sorer punishment than the curse of the law, Heb. x. 28, 29. With the damnation of hell, and with the greater damnation, did Christ threaten the Jews, who heard his word and rejected him: and this made their case and state more intolerable than that of Nineveh, Tyre, Sidon, Sodom, or Gomorrha. They that sin without law shall be judged without law, and perish without law; they that sin in the law shall be judged by the law, and shall be cursed by the law; the rejecters of the gospel shall be damned as unbelievers and enemies; and those who are free-born sons of the heavenly Jerusalem shall be judged by the law of liberty, James ii. 12; which is called the book of life, Rev. xx. 12.
Moses is a servant, Jesus a son over his own house. Moses was king in Jeshurun, Christ is king of Zion. The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus. Moses' rod divides the sea, and brings the people into the wilderness; but Christ's sceptre brings us into heaven itself. All attempts to bring these two together are but vain jangling, which makes no joint or concord in any thing. The covenant of grace made with David was to him and to his seed a covenant of royalty; it was a covenant of salt, that secured the kingdom to him. Christ was born heir to this kingdom. The Lord God gave unto him the throne of his father David; and the same covenant that secures the kingdom.
furnishes Zion's king with his sceptre also. His word and his Spirit are the rod of his strength, and the rod of his mouth, and stand in power. Where this sceptre is swayed his kingdom is set up, which stands in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; and is the savour of life unto life to all the Lord's subjects: and, that the law might not curse nor terrify these blessed subjects, it is taken out of the way and nailed to Christ's cross, Col. ii. 14; and done away and abolished; read 2 Cor. chap. iii.
But, the believer is under the law to Christ, say others. Then wherein doth the believer differ from heathens, and from self-righteous Pharisees, for they are under the law to Christ? The world was made by Christ; all things are by him and for him, and to him are all things. He has power over all flesh, and is the only judge of quick and dead; and such sinners will receive the curse of the law from his mouth. But is it not strange that Christ should be heir of all things; King of Zion, King of nations, King of kings, and Lord of lords! Yea, "The God of the whole earth shall he be called," Isai. liv. 5. And he requires obedience among all nations, on all nations, on pain of damnation, which is a new sentence; and promises his subjects that old things shall pass away, and all things become new; and yet no new covenant, no new law; although he requires service in the newness of the Spirit, and has cast off and rejected all servants and service done in the oldness of the letter.
However, this king of Zion is a lawgiver to all his subjects, and this all his children know, for they sit down, like Mary, at his feet, and every one receives of his word, Deut. xxxiii. 3. And this he promised from the days of old. "Hearken unto me, my people; for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people." And the isles were to wait for this law, Isai. xlii. 4.
This law hath two branches, to which obedience is required; and the Holy Ghost, as the sealer and the seal, attends it. "Seal the law among my disciples," Isai. viii. 16. "In whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise." This law is faith, and the Holy Ghost is the sealer and seal. This is the first branch of Christ's law.
The second branch you have from the mouth of Christ himself. "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another," John xiii. 34, 35. This law in both its branches was the law that Christ preached. This Christ called new, which makes the first old. This Christ calls his commandment, and not the commandment given by Moses. This commandment is given to Christ's disciples, and not to the world. It enjoins love. to the disciples; the neighbour, which is all the human race, is not mentioned. It differs from
Moses' law, and goes further than the command of the moral law ever did; for that is, "Love thy neighbour as thyself;" but this is, "Love one another as I have loved you." And then he sets the example; "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." "And we ought," says John, "to lay down our lives for the brethren," 1 John iii. 16. This new commandment was true in him, says John, and true in you; in whom the true light now shineth; for, "He that loveth his brother abideth in the light,” 1 John ii. 8, 10. This is the commandment that God sent by Christ; "That we should believe on his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment," 1 John iii. 23.
This love comes from God through Christ, and is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost. The law calls for the creature's love to God, but this is God's love to the creature; and, when reflected back by us, it is called our love to God. "We love him because he first loved us." This is what the scriptures call charity, and is confined to the saints; the objects of it are God and his image. Every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him." Faith and love, which constitute this law, are the principal ingredients of the new man. Hence we read of new creatures, and of faith that worketh by love, Gal. v. 6.
There is no charity in the children of the flesh,
nor in the old man, nor in any other but the new man of grace, which is to be found in the regenerate only, who follow Christ in the regeneration of things, as well as in a change of heart.
The first that exercised this charity is God the Father, who loves his elect with an everlasting love, and with lovingkindness draws them. All others who are called strangers, he loves in giving them food and raiment, Deut. x. 18.
The next person that exercised this charity is Christ: he loved his own, and laid down his life for the sheep, John x. 15, but not for the goats; nor did he pray for the world, but for them that were given him out of the world, John xvii. 9.
The next person who exercised this charity is God the Holy Ghost, who operates on the elect of God as a spirit of love, of power, and of a sound mind. "Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." The objects of this charity next to God are, as was before observed, the brethren; not the world nor the neighbour, but the household of faith. "This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you; that ye also love one another." Reprobates, impostors, and hypocrites, are not the objects of this divine charity. A citizen of gospel Zion, according to David's prophesy, is one "In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord," Psal. xv. 4. Jehoshaphat was