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gift by God through Jesus Christ our Lord. But then it is not a heaven of sensuality: It is a heaven of sacredness. It is not a place for the recreation of animal nature: It is a place for the high recreation of the moral and spiritual faculties. It is described as the land of uprightness; and its main delight as lying in the play of holy affections, regaled by holy exercises. No man can purchase heaven by his virtue; yet no man can be happy in heaven without virtue-for virtue is the element of heaven; and without the preparation of a virtuous heart and a virtuous character, all the appropriate extacies of that pure and lofty region you would be incapable of sharing in. On this single change in the relation between virtue and heaven, do you pass from service in the oldness of the letter to service in the newness of the Spirit. Your virtue is not the price of heaven; for then all the jealousies of a bargain, and the freezing apprehensions of legality, would degrade it from a thing of spontaneous love to a thing of selfishness. But virtue is your indispensable preparation for heaven, to which you are freely beckoned in the gospel by all the tokens of welcome and good-will; and the man who has this believingly in his eye, forthwith enters with a new-born alacrity and delight on the career of holiness. He loves it, not for any distinct or separate reward, but he loves it for itself; and gratitude to Him, who poured out His soul as an expiation for his sins, engages his affection to it the more; and the soul, disengaged from all

anxieties about a debt which Christ hath extinguished and a condemnation which Christ hath done away, is now at leisure and at liberty for the prosecution of all moral excellence; and the law, put into his heart by the Spirit of God, is now his heart-felt delight, instead of being as before his hopeless and unavailing drudgery. He has become

a new creature.

The taste and the affection of holy angels have been given to him; and we refer to you all-on comparing the service that is prompted by a love for the reward of the law, with the service that is prompted by a love to the righteousness of the law-which of the two presents you with virtue in its most generous style of exhibition, and which of them it is that forms the highest and the noblest offering.

It might perhaps help to clear this matter, did we think that the great object of the economy under which we sit is to become like unto God. Now, it is not for reward that God is righteous; but the love of righteousness for itself is the original property of His nature. Neither is it under the dread of punishment, that He shuns iniquity; but it is because He hates iniquity. There is nought of legalism in the morality of the Godhead; but it is a morality which springs from the primitive and emanating fountains of His own character, and spreads out in free and spontaneous efflorescence over all His ways. It is not with a pros pective regard to some future heaven, that is to be adjudged to Him from a tribunal which is

I

loftier than Himself-it is not under an influence
like this, that God is so observant of truth, and so
strict in justice, and of such unwearied beneficence.
These in fact have constituted His heaven from
eternity; and it is just this spiritual heaven, the
delight of which lies in its love and in its holiness-
it is this, and no other, that awaits those who are
here admitted to the number of His children through
the faith which is in Christ, and have the family
likeness imparted to them. Then it is that you
pass from the oldness of the letter to the newness
of the Spirit-when, instead of toiling at the ob-
servations of virtue for a sordid reward distinct and
separate from virtue itself, you are prompted to
the observations of virtue by the spontaneous love
which you bear to it. This alone is true moral
excellence, purified of all that taint of selfishness
by which it were otherwise debased and vitiated;
and it is only when transformed into this, that you
are formed again after the image of God in right-
eousness and in true holiness.

268

LECTURE XL.

ROMANS, vii, 7-13.

"What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin but by the law; for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.”

THE apostle had before affirmed as much, as that it was the law which constituted that to be sinful, that without the law could have had no such character ascribed to it—nay perhaps, that even the law called forth into living energy and operation, certain sinful affections, which, but for it acting as a provocative, might have lain within us in a state of latent and of unobserved dormancy. And he seems to feel in this verse, as if this might, in the apprehension of his readers, attach the same sort of odiousness to the law that is attached to sin itself. This charge against the law, he repels with the utmost vehemence and decision, and that sort of readiness

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which carries somewhat the expression of indignancy along with it. And the first consideration that he calls to his aid is, that the law acted as a discoverer of sin. He had not known sin but by the law; and he had not known lust, or as some would understand this clause, he had not known the sinfulness of lust, or he had not known lust to be sinful, except the law had said thou shalt not covet.' It is no impeachment against the evenness of a ruler, that, by the application of it to any material surface, you can discover all that is crooked or unequal thereupon. On the contrary its very power of doing so proves how straight and unerring it is in itself; and the more minute the deviations are which it can manifest to the eye of the observer, the greater is the evidence that is afforded to the perfection of the instrument that you are using. The light of day may reveal a place of impurity, or a soil in the colouring of the object that you contemplate, which could not be recognised under the shade of midnight-nor yet in the duskiness of approaching even. Yet who would ever think on that account, of ascribing to the beautiful element of light, any of that pollution or deformity, which the light has brought forth to observation? The character of one thing may come more impressively home to our discernment, by its contrast with the character of another thing; and the stronger the contrast is between the two, the more intense may our perception become of the distinct and appropriate character of each of them.

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