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you may seek pardon; that you may not trust in your own strength. Again: 'The law is given that, from a great one, it may make a little child (parvulum ;) that it may shew thee, thou hast no strength for righteousness of thyself; and that so, being poor, unworthy, and destitute, thou mayest fiee unto grace.
“ God hath shut up all under unbelief, not that he may destroy all, or suffer all to perish, but that he may have mercy upon all: to this end, that, leaving the foolish opinion of their own virtue, they may learn that they stand and are upheld by the hand of God alone ;--that, naked and empty, they may flee to his mercy, may lean on this alone, may wholly hide themselves in it, may seize this alone for righteousness and' merits, which in Christ is held forth to all, who both seck it and expect it in true faith. · For God, in the precepts of the law, is the rewarder only of perfect righteousness, of which we are all destitute. On the other hand, he appears as a rigorous judge of wickedness. But, in Christ, his face, full of grace and lenity, shines forth even towards miserable and unworthy sinners."
“ The third use, and that which is principal, and more nearly respects the proper end of the law, hath its place towards the faithful, in whose hearts the Spirit of God now flourishes and reigns. For though they have the law written and engraven by the finger of God on their hearts; that is, they are so affected and animated by the direction of the Spirit, that they desire to obey God; they yet profit two ways by the law. For it is to them the best instrument (organum), by which
they may learn better every day, and more certainly, of what kind that will of the Lord is, to which they aspire, and be confirmed in the knowledge of it. For, although a servant may be now prepared in the whole earnestness (studio) of his mind, to approve himself to his master; yet he deems it necessary to search out more accurately, and to observe the manners of his master to which he would prepare and accommodate himself. Neither let any one of us exempt ourselves from this necessity; for no one, as yet, has so far penetrated into wisdom, that he cannot, by the daily teaching of the law, make fresh progress in the purer knowledge of the Divine will. Then because we need not only instruction, but likewise exhortation, the servant of God will derive this advantage also from the law; that, by the frequent meditation of it, he may be excited to obedience, he may be strengthened in it, he may be drawn back from the slippery path of transgression. For, in this manner, it behoves the saints to urge themselves forward, who, according to the Spirit, would aim at the righteousness of God, with as much alacrity as possible. Yet they are always burdened by the slothfulness of the flesh, so that they may not go forward with the commanded promptitude. The law is a scourge to the flesh, with which, like a dull and slothful ass, it inay
be driven to the work : yea, to the spiritual man who is not yet delivered from the weight of the flesh, it will be a continual spur, which will not suffer him to be slothful. Truly David had respect to this use when he celebrates the law with those illustrious commendations ; ' The law
of the Lord is undefiled, converting souls ; the righteousnesses of the Lord are right, rejoicing the hearts; the command of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes,' &c. Again : ' Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my paths :' and innumerable other things which he pursues, throughout that whole psalm. Nor do these things oppose the sentiment of Paul, by which is shewn not what use the law affords to the regenerate, but what it ean, of itself, confer on man. But here the prophet shews (canit) with how great advantage, by the reading of his law, the Lord
instruct those whom he inwardly inspires with a readiness to obey. Neither does he seize the precepts alone, but the promise of grace annexed to the things, which alone maketh that sweet which is bitter. For what is less amiable than a law, if it only, by demanding and threatening, urge the souls with terror, and torture them with anguish? Especially David sheweth that in the law he apprehended the Mediator, without whom there is no delight or sweetness. While some unskilful persons are ignorant of this, they vehemently (animose) explode Moses altogether, and order the tables of the law to depart; because, indeed, they think that it is foreign to Christians to adhere to the doctrine which contains the ministration of death. Let this profane opinion be far removed from our minds; for Moses excellently taught that the law, which, among sinners, can produce nothing except death, ought to have a better and more excellent use in the saints. For thus, when about to die, he enjoined to the people ; ‘Place in your hearts all the words
which I testify to you this day, that ye may command them to your children, and teach them to keep, and do, and fulfil all things which are written in the volume of this law, because they are not in vain commanded you, but that each of you may live in them.' (Deut. xxxii. 46.) But, if no one can deny that a perfect exemplar of righteousness shines forth in it; either we must have no rule of living rightly and justly, or it is unlawful to depart from it. Truly there are not many, but one perpetual and inflexible rule of living. Therefore, as David describes the life of a righteous man as continually occupied in the meditation of the law ; let us not refer that to one age, because it is most fit for all ages, even to the end of the world. Nor let us, on that account, be frighted or flee from its institution, because it prescribes a far more exact holiness than we shall perform, while we carry about the prison of our body; for it does not perform respecting us, the office of a rigorous exactor, who is not satisfied except with the task fully performed; but in this perfection to which it exhorts us, it shews the mark, to which it is not less useful to us, than according to our duty, to press forward during our whole life. If in this pursuit (or contest, contentio,) we do not fail, it is well. For the race (stadium) is our whole life, the space of which being run through, the Lord will grant us, that we may possess that mark, (or goal, metam,) to which, at present, our endeavours press forward at a distance."--Calvin's Inst. Book II. ch. vii. sect. 9, 10, 12, 13.
The remarks of your correspondent R. P. B. (No. for March, p. 150.) on the tendency to a lax and antinomian view of the doctrines of the gospel, observable in the conversation of some reli
gious characters, the pages of some periodical ‘ publications, and the discourses of some few
divines of our church,' seem well grounded: yet it does not appear that 'the humble and conscien
tious follower of Jesus Christ has, in the present ‘day, difficulties to encounter which were little 'known by his forefathers;' or that these difficulties can be properly called the new cross.'
In the scriptural sense, “ to deny ourselves, and “ take up,” or “ bear our cross,” implies a willing endurance of whatever trial, or privation, or loss, we may meet with in the way of holy obedience; in following Christ as his true disciples ; or, as ministers, in declaring “ the whole counsel of “God," as far as we know it, or can attain unto it.
Now, the present state of things, in that respect which your correspondent mentions, exposes those Christians and ministers who aim to do this without reserve, or without regard to persons or interests or popularity, to such trials as may justly be called their cross. They share the reproach from without ; not only the reproach of the gospel, but that of those perversions of the gospel which