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the offence might abound;" and still more by the text, that "the law wrought in me all manner of concupiscence❞—so that these last interpreters, in explaining the phrase of the motions of sin which were by the law, would not object to the idea of the law having actually excited these motions, and being thus the efficient originator of the sins that proceeded from them.

Nor is this view of the matter so much at war with the real experience of our nature, as may at first be supposed. The law may irritate and inflame the evil propensities of the heart to greater violence. The yoke, which it lays on human corruption, may cause that corruption to fester and tumultuate the more. The perverse inclination is just fretted to a stouter and more daring assertion of itself, by the thwarting resistance which it meets with; and you surely can conceive, nay, some of you may have found-how legal prohibitions, and remorseful visitations, and all the scruples of a remaining conscience and sense of rectitude in the bosom, which lie in the way of some vicious indulgence on which the appetite is set, may give the keener impulse to its demands, and make it more ungovernable than had there been no law. when once all the barriers of principle are levelled, you may well imagine-how, on the pressure and the prohibition being removed, the depraved tendency will burst out into freer and larger excesses; and the harder the struggle was ere the victory over a feeling of duty had been obtained, the


prouder will be the rebel's subsequent defiance to all its suggestions, and the more fierce and lawless will be his abandonment.

Nay, I can figure how the existence and felt obligation of a law may, on minds of a more delicate cast, have somewhat of the same operation. It is not too subtile a remark, for there is substantial and experimental truth in it-that, if the imputation of guilt lie hard upon a man, and he overwhelmed therewith sink into shame and into despondency-in addition to losing his sense of character, he may lose the character itself. He will come down in reality to the level of the surrounding estimation; and you have only to envelope him in an atmosphere of disgrace, in order to impart a corresponding tinge of moral deterioration, to the living principles by which he is actuated. This proves of what importance it is, for upholding the tone of character in society-that we should all be predisposed to turn to our fellows with kindness and confidence and respect; and there is no saying how much the opposite habits of suspicion, and detraction, and fiendish delight in the contemplation of human ignominy, may contribute to lower the real worth and dignity of our species. our present aim is to show, that, by the very establishment of a law, we become exposed to the sense of its violations; and this degrading sense works a regardlessness of character, and lays us open to other and larger violations: And thus the law may become not only declaratory of sin, but


creative of sin; and that both by constituting certain actions to be sinful and multiplying these actions—And in all these ways may we understand the phrase of our apostle, even the motions of sins. which are by the law.

The remaining clause of this verse, brings into view the distinction that there is, between feeling the motions or tendencies of sin, and the actual following of these tendencies. We have before abundantly insisted on the presence of sinful inclinations, even in the regenerated Christian; but that he differs from him who is still in the flesh, in that while the one obeys the inclinations, the other utterly refuses to indulge or to gratify them. Paul himself was not exempted from the motions of sins; and this is what he feelingly laments in the subsequent verses of this chapter. But then he did not suffer these motions so to work in him, as to bring forth fruit unto death. It is of importance for the believer to understand, that, so long as he abides in his present framework, he occupies an infected tenement-he bears about with him a vile body charged with a moral virus from the presence of which death alone can deliver him; and against the power of which, it is his appointed warfare so to struggle, as that it shall not have the practical ascendancy over him. This is the inward constitution even of a saint upon earth-a constant urgency to evil. But what distinguishes him from the wilful sinner is, that he so resists. this urgency that it does not prevail. There is

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no conflict with the one; for he walks altogether in the counsel of his own heart, and altogether in the sight of his own eyes. With the other there is the conflict of two opposite principles of the Spirit lusting against the flesh, and the flesh against the Spirit; but so as that the Spirit has the habitual predominance, and by the Spirit he is practically led. They who are in the flesh have no such principle of counteraction within them to their evil tendencies-so that the motions of sins which are in them work in their members, so as to bring forth fruit unto death.

Paul now under the power of the gospel, and in the full career of his sanctification, speaks of his being in the flesh as a thing of remembrance. He could now look back upon that state, with the full advantage of a tender and enlightened conscience, that recognized as sinful what he before had never charged himself with, as incurring the guilt of any violation that should infer death. He was even then free from the grosser profligacies of human wickedness; and lived in the deceitful security of one, who thought that all his duties were adequate to all his obligations. But he now could discern, that, unblemished as he was in respect of all outward enormities, he was then wholly given over to the idolatry of his own will; and that when tried by a law which questioned him of his godliness— of his preference for the Creator above the creature

-of his obedience to the commandment, that he should covet and desire no earthly good, so much

as the favour of that Being at whose bidding he ought to have subordinated all the affections of his heart-When thus tried, he could now plainly perceive, that, at that time, he was altogether carnal; and not the less so that at that time too, he with self was altogether satisfied. But the difficulty is to make that which was a thing of remembrance to Paul after he was converted, to make it a thing of present consciousness to those who are not yet converted. It is true, it was on the eve of his becoming a Christian that the conviction of sin first seized him-nay, this very conviction might have been the instrument of turning him to the gospel. And therefore it is the more desirable, to reach the same conviction to the hearts of those who are still in the flesh and now hearing me—to make them understand, how wholly it is that they are in the flesh-how unreservedly they give themselves up to the impulse of all those constitutional tendencies, which result from the existing mechanism of their soul and body and spirit, without any control upon it from the accession of a principle of godliness-how much they live and talk and feel, just as they would have done though the idea of a God were never present to them-So, in fact, as to be as far as possible from the habit of glorifying the Lord with their soul and body and spirit, which are the Lord's.

For the purpose of awakening this conviction, the thing wanted is both a more tender and a more lofty conception of the divine law. Where there

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