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so laboriously and at length prevailed with the former, was because he felt such loathing and such self-abomination for the latter. This is a mystery of the Christian life which the world appprehendeth not; nor are they able to discern why the same individual should become every day more profound in humility, and yet more graceful in positive holiness-why he should be ever mourning more heavily than before under a sense of his worthlessness, and that at the very time when the real worth of his character is maturing and building up unto eternity. It is not understood, how the strugglings of the inner man bring every Christian who feels them into a more familiar acquaintance than before with the adverse elements in the conflict; and that as the spirit lusteth against the flesh and the flesh against the spirit, just in proportion to the felt preciousness of the one, is the felt burden and odiousness of the other. It is because he loathes so much the earthliness of what is naturally and originally his own, that he longs so much for the visitation of a heavenly influence from above. The sense of poverty is the very impulse that sends him to the fountain of abundance; and the detestation he feels of the sin that dwells in him, is the best guarantee that this sin shall not have the dominion over him. With these principles do we feel ourselves prepared for entering into more full elucidation of the passage before us; nor will you, I trust, be any more perplexed when you read of him who delighted in the law of God after the in

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ward man, and who disallowed all that was evil, and who had the Spirit of Christ dwelling in him -how at the same time he mourned his vile body, and groaned being burdened under a sense of that sore moral leprosy by which it was pervaded. He had no confidence in himself; but he rejoiced in the Lord Jesus. He was in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling; but when he was weak then was he strong-for when he spake of his infirmities, the power of Christ was made to rest upon him. "I will make my grace sufficient for thee. I will perfect my strength in thy weakness."



ROMANS, vii, 14, 15.

"For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do, I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that I do."

THE first thing to be remarked here, is the transition which the apostle makes at this verse into another tense. It looks as if from the 7th verse to the 14th, he, using the past tense, was describing the state of matters antecedent to his conversion, and showing what his case was under the law; but that now, sliding into the use of the present tense, he is describing his experience as a believer: And this is one argument for Paul speaking here in his own person, and not in that of an unregenerate


The law is spiritual.' It has authority over the desires of the inner man. It holds a sinful wish to be criminal, as well as a sinful performance. It finds matter for condemnation in the state of the will, as well as in the deeds of the outward history. It demands punishment, for example, not merely on the action by which I wrest another's property; but on the affection by which I covet it. Paul once thought himself free of all offences, in regard to a neighbour's rights, because he had never put forth the hand of violence, or plied any device of

fraudulency against them. But when he looked to the spiritual nature of the commandment, in that it interdicted him even from the longings of a secret appetite for that which was not rightfully his own-then, conscious that with all the abstinence of his outer man from the acts of dishonesty there was still a secret propensity in his heart towards the gains or the fruits, he felt himself, when standing at the bar of this purer and loftier jurisprudence, to be indeed a transgressor.

And so, in the general, there may be no disobedience on the part of the outer man to any of God's commandments; and yet there may be, all the while, an utter distaste for them on the part of the inner man-and this is what the law takes cognizance of, in virtue of its spiritual character, and pronounces to be sinful. To do what is bidden with the hand, is not enough to satisfy such a law-if the struggling inclination of the heart be against it. And above all will it charge the deepest guilt on a man-because of his disaffection towards Godbecause of a love for the creature, that has deposed from its rightful ascendancy over him the love of the Creator-because of that moral anarchy and misrule in the constitution of his spirit, whereby, with its relish for the gifts of Providence, it has a disrelish and disregard for the Giver of them; and because while it may yield many compliances with the law of God at the impulse of dread or of danger or of habit, it yields not to God Himself the offering of a spontaneous devotion, the tribute of an intelligent or of a willing reverence.

Perhaps my best recommendation to you, for the purpose of acquiring a more thorough discernment of God's law in the spirituality of its character, is that you peruse with faithful application to your own heart the fifth chapter of Matthewwhere, article by article, you have the comparison between a spiritual and what may be called a carnal commandment; and from which you will at once perceive, how possible it is, that, with a most rigid and undeviating faithfulness in regard to the latter, there may be an utter deficiency from the former in all its requirements-and how truly the same individual may say of himself, that, when in the flesh, he, touching the righteousness that is of the law, was blameless; and yet, when advanced and elevated above this state and now in the spirit, he may say, O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the law of sin in my members! You see how, in proportion to his high sense of the law, he may have a low sense of himself; and that, just as one advances in the discernment of its purity and in the delicacy of his recoil at the slightest deviations therefrom, which surely mark his progressive sanctification-the more readily will he break forth into exclamations of shame and selfabhorrence: Or the loftier his positive ascent on the heights of sacredness, the more fearful will he be of all those drags and downward tendencies by which he still is encompassed; and which, if not felt to be most hazardous as well as most humbling, may not only cause to slip the footsteps of the

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