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without change and without deviation. But the Christian knows better how to explain the generality and the certainty of nature's laws, and that is not because Nature is unchangeable, but because God is unchangeable. What has been once done. has been best done, and cannot be amended ; and so in the same circumstances will it again and again and again be repeated. It is the perfect and unerring wisdom of nature's God, which has banished all caprice, and stamped such a reigning consistency on the whole of nature's processes: And when we find that each of these processes is denominated a law; and that this very term, in this very sense of it, is employed to express the union that there is between belief in Christ and the putting forth of a renewing and a sanctifying influence on the believer-I fear not lest the obedience of the gospel should lead to Antinomianism but grant me only a true faith in the mind of an aspirant after heaven, and there will I confidently look for virtue and for holiness.

Both the certainty of Nature and the certainty of God's word are very finely expressed together in the book of Psalms. "For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness unto all generations; thou hast established the earth and it abideth. They continue this day according to thine ordinances, for all thy servants."

And therefore would I have you to be ever dwelling upon that truth, the belief of which it is that brings down the Spirit of God upon your



souls; and the very presence of which to the mind, bears a charm and a moral energy along with it. It is a thing of mystery to the general world; but to the Christian indeed, it is a thing of experience and not of mystery. Never does the of new obedience lie more invitingly clear and open him, than when he finds the guilt and the reckoning of his past iniquities, whereby its entrance was formerly beset, all done away through the power of the great gospel sacrifice. And never does he move with such alacrity at the bidding of the Saviour, as when under a sense of the purchased reconciliation, he feels the debt of obligation to Him for all his peace in time, and all his hopes in eternity. And never does the vigorous inspiration of light and love and freedom come so copiously upon him from the upper sanctuary, as when praying with confidence in the name of Christ, he obtains from Him the presence of the witness and the comforter. The powers and principles of the new creature, are all alimented by these various exercises of faith; and so the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus makes him free from the law of sin and of death.

But to conclude. This freedom will be perfect in heaven, but on earth it is not so. Here it is not that freedom by which you are rid of the presence of sin. It is only that freedom by which you are rid of its tyranny. While you are in the body, you will be vexed with its solicitations; and surprised perhaps into an occasional overthrow; and

at all events be so annoyed by its near and besetting artifices, that you must never let down the vigilance of a prepared and determined warrior. The process by which sin leadeth unto death, consists of various steps, from the lust which conceiveth and bringeth forth-and at length, if not arrested, will finish in deeds and habits of sinfulness, which land the unhappy apostate in destruction. By the law of the Spirit of life, you will be kept free of this awful catastrophe; but not without many a weary struggle against sin in its incipient tendencies, that these tendencies may be kept in check-against sin in its restless appetites, that these appetites may be denied and at length starved into utter mortification-against sin in its tempting thoughts and tempting imaginations, that the desires of the spirit as well as the deeds of the body may be chastened into obedience, and thus your holiness be perfected. It will be freedom, no doubt; but the freedom of a country that has taken up arms against its tyrants or its invadersof a country that has refused submission, but must fight to maintain its independence of a country from whose gates the battle has not yet been turned away, but where the enemy is still in force, and the watchfulness of all is kept alive by the perpetual alarm of hostile designs and hostile movements. "But ye are of God little children and shall overcome, because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. And this is the victory that overcometh the world even your faith."



ROMANS, viii, 3, 4.

"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."


We have already explained the distinction between a physical law, whereby is established that order of succession, in which one event follows another; and a juridical law, or a law of authority, for the government of rational and responsible creatures. In the verse immediately preceding, the word occurs twice; but at each time with such an annexed specification, as points to the former rather than to the latter meaning of the term. There is first the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, which marks, we think, that established order in the Divine administration of grace, whereby, all who are in Christ Jesus have a reviving and a sanctifying influence put forth upon them. There is then the law of sin and of death, which marks another of those constant successions, that obtain either between two events, or two states in the history of any individual—even that by which sin is followed up with an extinction of the spiritual life, with an utter incapacity for sacred employments or sacred delights; and when superadded to the ne

gation of all those sensibilities that enter into the happiness of heaven, you have as the natural consequences of sin, the agony of self-reproach, the undying worm of a conscience that never ceases to haunt and to upbraid you.

But you will observe that the term law in the verse before us, is used generally and without any accompaniments. We are not aware of any passage in the Bible, where, if so introduced, it does not signify that law which God hath instituted for the moral government of His creatures; and there can be no doubt, that it is to be understood in this juridical sense on the present occasion.

For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.'

But what is it that the law could not do? The answer to this is, we think, to be gathered from the next verse. It could not accomplish that end for the bringing about of which, God sent His Son into the world, and executed upon Him the condemnation that we had incurred; and this He did, it is said, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us. This then is what the law failed to achieve. It could not fulfil in us its own righteousness. It could not cause us to exemplify that which itself had enacted. It could not fashion us, the children of men, according to its own pure and beautiful model; and, all perfect in excellence as its light was, it could not obtain the unsullied reflexion of it, from the living history of any of our

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