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in my heart; and what I did see, did not terrify me. I apprehended no danger. For while I was without the law sin was dead. And now in these days I was an enemy to Christianity, and persecuted it, and did all I could to suppress it. For I was alive without the law at that time, confident of my own goodness, and of God's favour, and in high expectations of eternal life upon the foot of my own virtue, ignorant of God, and of his law, and of my own heart. But when the commandment, as requiring sinless perfection on pain of eternal damnation, came into view, and was set home upon my heart and conscience by the spirit of God, my fancied goodness began to appear as dung, a heap of filth, and sin revived, even all the wickedness of my heart and life rose up into clear view, and stared me in the face; and I immediately felt myself under the curse, and expected to have it executed in a moment. I stood guilty before God: I was shut up under sin; I saw no way to escape; my heart failed me; I died; I felt I was a dead man, a lost man, by law; and I gave up all hopes of ever obtaining life this way. The law which was ordained to life, and by which I thought life was to be obtained, I found to be unto death. It slew me. It killed all my false religion, and all my selfrighteous hopes, and made me for ever despair of obtaining life by my own goodness. And my mouth was stopped; I had nothing to say, because I saw the law was holy, and the commandment holy, just, and good. And thus I through the law became dead to the law. But ever since that solemn hour, when Jesus Christ, and the way of salvation by free grace through him was revealed in me, I have sought to be found in Christ, and expected to be justified by faith without the deeds of the law. And in a word, all my hopes and expectations are so entirely built on Christ, that I may truly say, that the life I live in the flesh, is by faith on the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." So St. Paul experienced, and so he believed, and so he preached, and so he wrote in all his Epistles. See Rom. iii. 19, 20. And Chap. vii. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Gal. i. 18-16. And Chap. ii. 16. 19, 20. Phil. iii. 3-9 ".

Perhaps, by this time, some readers may begin to pause, and reason within

And now there is but one thing more that needs to be observed, in order to our full understanding of the apostle's reasonings upon this subject, and to prepare the way to apply all that has been said to us, who are not Jews, who were not Jews, who were never under Moses' law, but are by nature Gentiles, viz.

That the law given at Mount Sinai, as to its moral precepts, was nothing more than a new and plainer edition and republication of the law of nature, which had been in force from the beginning of the world, and was equally binding to all nations, and in all ages. To love God with all the heart, and our neighbour as ourselves, being equally the duty of the Gentiles as of Jews; and the least sin exposing Gentile as well as Jew to the everlasting wrath of God.

All this is implied in Rom. i. 18. The wrath of God is re vealed from heaven, against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. He means, be they Jews or Gentiles, as is plain themselves, and say,- "How can these things be? I never experienced any such thing. And there are many good men I know of, who never did. Nor do they think it necessary: but think as I do, that if men are sincere in the service of God, they will be saved at last. And it must be so: for neither Abraham nor

David were perfect. And there is no man that liveth and sinneth not.”

ANS. 1. However sincere a man may be, in what he calls religion; yet he cannot possibly be sincere in the service of God, properly speaking, until after he has been brought to this right understanding of the law, and to this hearty approbation of it.—He must have this right understanding of the law, or he does not so much as know what the law of God is, or what God would have him do : and therefore he cannot so much as desire to do it; or exercise any kind of sincerity about it.--And if he has this right understanding of the law, he must also approve of it; or he is so far from sincerity in God's service, that he is an enemy to God. He to whom the law, although a ministration of death, does not appear glorious, in all its rigour; to him, God himself does not appear glorious. For the law is but a transcript of the divine nature. It is the very image of God's heart. Or, if any such imagine they love God, it is but a false image of God they have framed in their own fancy. For no man loves God, who does not love the law. He that is an enemy to the ONE, is to the OTHER. Rom. viii. 7. And there is nothing in the religion of such men that pleases God. Rom. viii. 8. 2. And if a man is brought rightly to understand, and heartily approve of the law, it will effectually kill a self-righteous spirit, and bring him to Christ, to be justified by faith. So Abraham and David were justified, and all other good men. Therefore be not deceived with vain words. But perhaps you will say, (for the sinner dreads to be shut up under sin, and shut up to the faith,) "We never were under the law of Moses, and so all this is nothing to us."-Well, this comes next to be considered.-To the law, and to the testimony let us go.

from what follows: one as well as the other, is exposed to the wrath of God, for any ungodliness, or unrighteousness ; i. e. for any neglect of duty to God, or man; i. e. for any defect of perfect holiness in heart or life. And that which makes it evident this is his true meaning, is, that in these words he designedly lays down a maxim upon which to build his whole argunient, by which to prove the whole world to be guilty before God, and that no flesh, whether Jew or Greek, could be justified in the sight of God, by their own virtue and good deeds. The sum of his argument is this: "every sin exposes to the everlasting wrath of God. But both Jew and Gentile have sinned. Therefore both Jew and Gentile are exposed to the everlasting wrath of God." The whole world stand guilty before God, "No man can be justified by law, unless he yield a perfect obedience. But there is none righteous, no, not one, in this sense: therefore no flesh can be justified in the sight of God by law." This, I say, is the sum of his argument: which plainly supposes, that the Gentile was bound by the law of nature to sinless perfection, just as the Jew was by the law of Moses: and was equally exposed to the wrath of God for any neglect. For otherwise, the apostle's reasoning, although it might prove, that no ONE Jew could be justified by the law of Moses, which he was under; yet it would not prove, that no ONE Gentile could be justified by the law of nature, which he was under. Which yet the apostle intended to prove; that the Gentile as well as the Jew, might be convinced of his need of Christ and Gospel-grace.

Besides, if the Gentile could be justified by the law of nature, he might justly reject the Gospel of Christ, upon the same ground upon which the unbelieving Jews unjustly rejected it. They rejected the Gospel, because they thought they could be justified by their law. But if they could have obtained justification by their law, the apostle virtually owns their conduct was reasonable. For, he grants that if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. And he grants, that if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain P. Which positions, the Gentile might p Gal. ii. 21.

⚫ Gal. iii. 21.

have laid hold of, and turned against the apostle, and out of his own mouth have demonstrated, that there was no necessity of Christ's dying for them, if the law of nature, which they were under, did not require sinless perfection, under pain of eternal damnation, as did the Jew's law: but only required them, as some seem vainly to imagine, sincerely to endeavour to do as well as they could, and to be sorry for their failings, and study amendment, and to trust in the mercy of God. If life might have been had in this way by the Gentiles, then Christ had died in vain, as to them.

And if this had been the case, as to the Gentiles, that they might have been thus saved by the law of nature; it will follow, that there never had been any need of Christ's death for the Jewish nation, had it not have been for the law. given on Mount Sinai. Had they remained only under the law of nature, they might have been saved by it too, as well as the Gentiles. And so the death of Christ was made necessary merely by the Sinai law. And so, instead of being a schoolmaster to teach the Jews their need of Christ, it was the only thing that made Christ needful: to suppose which, would overthrow law and gospel too. All which absurdities, plainly following on the present hypothesis, do sufficiently prove it to be false; and demonstrate that the law of nature did require sinless perfection on pain of eternal damnation of the Gentiles, just as the law from Mount Sinai did of the Jews. And now the apostle's argument will be conclusive, and no flesh, whether Jew or Gentile, by their own good deeds can be justified in the sight of God. For neither the law of nature, nor the law from Mount Sinai, could give life. And there was a necessity for Christ to die for the Gentile as well as the Jew; all having sinned, and the whole world standing guilty before God.

To conclude, it may be added, that sin did, according to reason and strict justice, deserve eternal damnation, antecedent to the giving of the law from Mount Sinai, or it did not. If it did, then, by the law of nature, eternal damnation was due. If it did not, then the law from Mount Sinai was too severe, in threatening a greater punishment for sin than in strict justice it deserved. But God forbid! For we are sure

the judgment of God is according to truth, says the inspired apostle in this very case. And again, is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? God forbid. For then how shall God judge the world?

If it should be said, (and what is there that will not be said by guilty sinners, rather than own they deserve eternal damnation for their rebellion against the GREAT GOD?) If it should be said, that "neither the law of nature, nor the law from Mount Sinai threatened eternal damnation for sin;" it must be said by the same men, in order to be consistent with themselves, that neither did Christ come to save Jew or Gentile from eternal damnation; as antecedent to the coming of Christ, not one of mankind was in danger of eternal damnation, according to them. And as Christ himself said, he did not come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved; so these men will not say, that Christ's coming exposed the world to an eternal hell, they were in no danger of before. No : so far from it, that the same first principles that will carry men to say as above, will naturally carry them one step further, to say, that those who die impenitent from under the light of the Gospel, are in no danger of eternal damnation ".

And yet will any be so inconsistent as to say thus, when the eternity of hell torments is as expressly asserted in the BIBLE, as the eternity of heaven's joys? They grant the happiness of heaven will be eternal; and will they deny the eternity of hell-torments, which is expressed in just the same language? These shall go away into everlusting punishment ; but the righteous into life eternal. Christ has said, that their

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s Some of their first principles are; "God's only end in the moral government of the world is the happiness of the creature. There is no evil in sin as it is against God. Sin, strictly speaking, deserves no punishment. All the miseries which God inflicts upon sinners, in this world or the next, are in mere mercy, to purify and fit them for happiness. The devils and all the damned will finally be saved.-For, goodness, or love to the creature, is the only moral perfection of the divine nature."—A scheme that perfectly suits the heart of a secure sinner.-But a realizing sense of the being and perfections of the GREAT GOD, as revealed in the holy Scriptures, set home on the heart by the spirit of God, would dash it to pieces in a moment.

t Matt. xxv. 46.

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