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"flesh, by the circumcision of Christ: Buried "with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen "with him through the faith of the operation of "God, who hath raised him from the dead. And
you being dead in your sins, and the circum"cision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespas
When we say that it is a mercy to be a subject of this work of the law, it must be understood that this is the case only in a relation to the death of Christ, which relation can only exist whilst we are in the present state; for Christ was put to death in the flesh. In the future day, the law will take effect upon the whole world; but this will be the work of judgment unto eternal death. In some instances in the present life, the work has appeared to be of this fearful nature, when the subject is hurried into despair, and the mind becomes impenetrably deaf to the hope of the Gospel.. This, however, will seldom or never be the case under skilful instructors....... That the killing work of the law, which has a connection with the resurrection of Christ, and eternal life in him, has also a connexion with his death, is expressly stated in the passage, Rom. vi. "Know ye not, that so many of us as were bap
tized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his "death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was "raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted toἐς gether in the likeness of his death, we shall be "also in the likeness of his resurrection. Know
ing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
A distinction has been perceived in the work of conviction, which has been denominated legal. and evangelical.. Some other terms, perhaps, might better express the idea. The distinction is that of death by the law, and death to the law. By what the law saith, every mouth shall be stopped, and all the world shall become guilty before God. This, however, may take place without a relation to the death of Christ, and therefore without a saving tendency. But though death to the law is through the instrumentality of the law, as in Gal. ii. 19. I through the law am dead to the law; yet, it has a connection with the death of Christ, and therefore with salvation, as in Rom. vii. Yeare become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead.. With this death there is freedom from the bonds of the law; and this freedom must take place in order to our having a standing in the Gospel relation.
It has be shewn that the law and gospel tho' both holy institutions, are yet things widely dif ferent, and, in some respects, there is a contrariety and opposition between them; and therefore, to enjoy the Gospel, we must be set free from the law. And this is not all; for, under the law, a man is bound for its service; his ears are bored to the door post for the term of life; and he may not leave his place to go into another relation and sphere of life, viz. that of the children in the family; without first having his bonds cancelled. Should some man place his eyes upon a certain child, which he would be pleased to take and adopt into his family for his own child and heir; but should the child be under an indenture for service in another family, this obstacle must be taken out of the way, and the indenture taken up, before it could be lawfully removed.......We may be sure that the privileges of the Gospel
were never designed to abridge, and will never be extended to injure the righteous claims of the law. These obstacles to our taking a Gospel standing would have existed, even had we never failed, in relation to the law, of one point of our duty.
Neither is this all, for we have sinned, and have run deep upon charges, and incurred the highest forfeitures. We are not only debtors to the law, to perform its service all our future days, but, for the past, we are in the arrearage of ten thousand talents, together with the curse of God abiding upon us; as it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. All these tremendous obstacles must be removed before we can enjoy the liberty and glory of the Gospel..... But it is manifest, from the nature of the case, that this can be done only by death, by our being slain to the law as in union with the body of Christ.
This subject is illustrated by a very familiar case, Rom. vii. "Know ye not, brethren, (for I
speak to them that know the law) how that "the law hath dominion over a man as long as "he liveth? For the woman which hath an hus"band is bound by the law of her husband, so
long as he liveth: but if the husband be dead, "she is loosed from the law of her husband. So "then, if while her husband liveth, she be mar"ried to another man, she shall be called an a"dulteress; but if her husband be dead she is "free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to "the law by the body of Christ; that ye should "be married to another, even to him who is raised "from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit "unto God."
Many exercises may exist in relation to the law, searching and deeply wounding to the mind; which, however, do not amount to a dissolution. Offences may take place between the parties in marriage, and even oppositions and conflicts, which do not dissolve the relation; and though they should separate in distress, and be long absent from each other; still, absence is not death. And, in such a case, should it be believed, contrary to the fact, that the husband was dead, the relation yet exists, and its obligations remain the same as ever, sacredly binding. And as to this matter, if death does not take place, how great soever may be the breach, and how long soever may be the separation, the first husband will surely again return, and establish his most absolute claims unto eternal judgment.
On this ground have existed mistakes, and instances of false and fatal hopes, innumerable....... Thousands of persons have been awakened by the thundering and death-threatening voice of the law, and have been deeply convinced of sin, and of their utter inability to obtain life by this marriage; and have even seen, that by this covenant they were obnoxious to death, and that the ropes were already upon their necks for execution; who, after all, by the flattery of deceitful workers, have been encouraged to return to their first husband, and have, as it were, renewed the old marriage, whose latter state is infinitely worse, more critical and dangerous, than the first. For the cause now in view, it is said, the Gospel was preached to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the Spirit. And, it is so often repeated, that the dead hear the voice of the Son of God. The preaching of the Gospel cannot become effectu 1 to the salvation of men in any other condition.
Therefore, as by the law is the knowledge of sin; and as the law is the strength of sin to work condemnation and death; and as also, the law is the sword of the Spirit, piercing through thebody of Christ, to cut asunder the cord of life, on which the obligations of the law take their immovable hold; that being thus set free from the covenant of works, and the law of our first husband, we may be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead. This, I say,. being the case, we see the reason why the law entered as an indispensable and glorious part of the redemption-work. Moreover, as all men must be judged, and the rebellious nations must be broken to pieces, and ruled with a rod of iron; and as the law is the perfect rule of judgment, and glorious sceptre of power; we see also in this view, the necessity for its entering into the world, Wherefore, for the most important reasons, even to promote the work of grace and salvation, we see the necessity of holding up the law in all its exceeding extent, as being holy, just and good; and, in the highest view of its weight and authority, of urging its solemn, absolute, and unrelaxing claims; such as, by men, are infinitely unanswerable, and insupportable. For reasons so indispensible, we see the neces sity for the law to be proclaimed with the same solemnity and majesty with which it was first given. It must yet be uttered with a voice that shakes the earth; it must yet be dispensed with the sound of a trumpet that wakes the dead; the wount that may be touched must yet be covered with blackness, and darkness, and tempest. And as Sinai was moved under the trembling feet of angels, when from the right hand of the Lord went a fiery law for them; so now, the subject mount, the people under the law, must be touched by God's servants; who have received the