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prevalency, I dread, whatever orthodox heads you may have, yet jour hearts are not soundly settled upon the foundation of the law-magnifying righteousness of Christ; and my reason for it is, because in every believer there is, through the remains of indwelling corruption, such a strong bias towards the law as a covenant, and towards sin, as gives him continual matter of exercise, insomuch that his heart is just like a field of battle, where two armies meet, and contend for the victory one against another ?" What will you fee in the Shulamite? as it were the company of two armies? the flesh lusting against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary, the one to the other. The motions of sin which a man finds in his members are continual matter of humiliation to him, and set him a-work to mortify the deeds of the body, to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts thereof; and the strong bias that he finds in his foul towards the law as a covenant fills him with fears and jealousies, lest he never yet in reality submitted to the righteousness of Christ, which sets him a-work to examine and prove himself, whether he has ever yet won Christ, and is found in him, having that " righteousness which is through the faith of Jesus Christ." You that never knew any thing of this, and the like exercise of spirit in your souls, I dread that you are yet strangers to a real closing with the righteousness which is brought in by the great Messiah.
"Jtbly, When conscience is bleeding through some wound that you have got from an arrow of law-terror, or when the guilt of fin is staring you in the face, and an angry and frowning God, '* whither do you fly, or run for ease and relief?" As for the desperate sinner, he drowns the voice of conscience with diversions and recreations. They will, like Saul, sometimes take up the timbrel and harp; or, like Cain, when God and conscience were crying for vengeance against him for the blood os his brother Abel, he goes into the land of Nod, and diverts himself with building cities and houses. As for the hypocrite, he wraps himself up in his profession, and feigned graces, and there he finds e.ife. As for the legalist, when he is wounded with the terrors of God, being married to the liw, he runs to the duties and works of the law, and studies to p'ease God, and satisfy the cries of his conscience with these, liut as for the believer, the whole creation cannot give him e*se, till, by a renewed act of faith, he get in under the shadow of that everlasting righteousness, by which the law is magnified and made honourable, and till he ste God well pleased for this righteousness fake, and sensibly sailing on his foul again through this righteousness; this, and nothing but this, can yield comfort. And Oh! when he fees God smiling on him through this righteousness, this puts gladness in his heart more than when corn, wine, and oil, did abound. Try yourselves by this.
In a word, if the righteousness of the law be fulfilled in you through the righteousness of the Messiah, the life you live in the world will bs by faith in the Son of God, and ye will not reckon so much that ye live, but that Christ liveth ia you. Many a flight will thy foul be taking to him upon the wings of faith and love, as the Lord thy righteousness. Whenever you look towards the majesty of God, and view his unspotted holiness and unbiassed jultice; whenever thou looks upon the fiery law, or hears a thunder-clap from Mount Sinai; whenever thou looks into another world, or an awful tribunal; whenever thou looks to the depravation of thy nature, and the innumerable evils that compass thee about'; whenever thou looks to the melancholy aspect of providence, thy soul will ay be taking the other flight by faith unto Christ, as thy Surety and Redeemer ; and the viewing the law magnified, and justice satisfied, and God reconciled in the person and undertaking of Chrill ; and whenever thou looks to him, thou wilt find thy Spirit lightened and eased, and be ready to say with David, "Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee." So much shall serve for an use of Trial. I proceed now to,
III. The third use os tins doctrine, which may be of terror t>
all the ungodly world, that are living in the open or secret vielatitri of the holy law of God.
Hath God magnified the law, and made it honourable, at the expence of the humiliation, incarnation, obedience, death, and sufferings of his eternal Son 2 Oh how dreadful and dismal is the condition of these, who, instead of yielding the obedience of faith unto this law, are daily in their practice trampling the authority of the law under their feet, breaking God's bands, and tailing the cords of his law from them, and yet will needs pretend to and profess the. name of Christ, as if ■Christ had magnified the law and made it honourable, that they might have a liberty to break it, and to follow the swing of their own carnal and corrupt hearts. The apostle Jude, ver. 3d of his epillle, when Ipeaking of such licentious Christians, he calls them ungodly men, turning the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ into lafcivioufness, of old ordained to this condemnation. O Sirs! do not mistake it, Christ has magnified the law, and mc.de it honourable, not to locse but to
establish establish the obligation of it as a "rule of obedience, he gave himself tor us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works," Tit. ii. 14. He hath delivered us from the hand of all our enemies, that we " might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life," Luke i. 74. and that we may by his grace be taught to deny all " ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to walk soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world," Tit. ii. 12. So that ye who draw encouragement from the doctrine of Christ's magnifying the law, and making it honourable, to violate and dishonour the law of God, ye are just counteracting the design of the obedience of Christ: unto the death, and, like the filthy wasp, sucking poison out of the gospel of salvation. And do you expect to be justified by the righteousness of Christ, and eternally saved by his blood in such a way as this ? no, no ; ye have " neither part nor lot in this matter.'' As sure as God lives, ye are under the law as a covenant, and therefore under the dominion of sin, and the curse of the broken law is upon you -, ye are "condemned already,- and the wrath of God abideth on you." And onto you, God faith, "What hast thou to do to make mention of my righteousness, or that thou fliouldst take my covenant in thy mouth, seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee." And therefore consider your danger in time, before you come in before the awful bzr of God, _ lest » when you arrive there, he tear you in pieces, when there is none to deliver you out of his hand. But I turn me again from Mount Sinai to Mount Zion, and go on to,
IV. FouTth use of this doctrine, by way of encouragement to tsnvinced and awakened finners, and to doubting and trembling Mitvers.
We have a commission " to bind up the broken hearted, to comfort them that mourn in Zion, to strengthen the weak, lianas, and confirm the feeble knees, to fay to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not; we bring to you goo'l tidings of great joy," tidings that may make your hearts triumph, and leap tor joy within you, as the babe leapt in Elisabeth's womb, at the salutation of Mary. Here, 1 say, are the best newsjthat ever were heard to law-condemned sinners, that Christ, as our blessed Surety, has brought in everlasting righteousness, by which he has magnified the taw, and made ii hnourable.
There are these following topics, or grounds of Encourage' >iunl and Consolation, springing out ot this doctrine.
'A Is the law magnified by the Surety, which was broken
by by the sinner ? Hence it follows, that the great Lawgiver is Q* tiafied and well pleased, as it follows in the text, The Lord is 'well pleased for his righteousness fake; that which displeased and provoked the majetty of God, was the breach of his law, but since the law is again magnified, surely he cannot but be a well pleased Deity.
Upon this ground it is. that such declarations are issued out,' "Fury is not in me," I was angry, but mine "anger is turned aw.iy: As I live^ I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die?" Oh Sirs! that, which scares you from coming back to God is the apprehension, that, because of the breach of the law, God is implacable, and will never be reconciled. But we tell you, for your encouragement, that a God in Christ is iveil pleased for his righteousness fake, because he hath magnified the law, and made it honourable. God was in Christ, not pursuing the world as an avenging enemy, but reconciling the world to himself. And therefore let not an evil heart of unbelief turn you away from the living God, as though he were not well pleased for Christ's righteousness fake. It was not for nought that that proclamation was made three times with an audible voice from heaven, " This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." O it is glorious encouragement to a lost sinner, hanging over the mouth of lull, that God is well pleased in his Christ.
zdly, Is the hvvjnagnified and made honourable? then it follows, that the great bar that lay in the way of our salvation is removed. Upon the first Adam's violation of the holy law, mountains of wrath were rolled in the way of salvation; the way was so filled with briars and thorns, woes and curses, that it became altogether impassable for any of Adam's race. Hence came that horror and despair that was seated in the hearts of our first parents immediately after they had sinned. The sight of the cherubim, and the flaming sword turning every way, to keep the way of the tree of life, had a dibnal fignifiVation: Well, but Cliriit, the second Adam, he has magnified the law, and made it honourable, and therefore it mult ne.a ■ toliow, that all these impediments and bars in the way of our salvation are now removed, and the way ib clear to every soul that has a mind to enter in by faith, John x. 9. "1 am the dooi : by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall gu in and out and find pasture." All legal impediments ariiir ,• worn law and justice, in tMe way of salvation are, now takt : • it of the way, and there is a free call to every man to enter 111 a::d be saved; in which Case nothing can hinder but
unbelief, Knbclief, which is a refusing to • nter in by Christ, and they that do so, how (hall they escape?
yi!y. Is the law magnifitd and made honourable? Then here is encouragement, that im is smithed, and transgression ended." The very essence of sin lies in a transgression of the law. Well, but if the law be again magnified, then where is sin? Ic is surely buried in the obedience of Chriit to the death, by the righteousness of the Surety. The guilt of it is taken away, and the power and dominion of it is broken in every believer, and the very being of it shall be destroyed, ere it be long. So 'hit I may say, to believers under the covert of Christ's righteousness, as Moses said to Israel, with respect to the Egyptians, that were pursuing them for their lives, Exod. xiv. 13. "Fear ye not, stand still, and fee the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew you to-day, for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall see them no more again for ever." Poor believer, thou art afraid of these innumerable sins, which compass thee about, lest they pursue thee, and take away thy life, but stand still, and see the salvation which God hath wrought; all thy sins are buried for ever out of God's sight, and shall be buried out of thy sight also, in the Red sea of a Redeemer's blood, and under the covert of his law-magnifying righteousness, whereby he h.ith made an end of fin.
4'£/y, Is the law magnified and made honourable? Then the hand-writing of the curse that was agjinst us, and contrary to us, is cancelled and discharged. Upon the footing of the righteousness of Christ, which magnifies the law, it is, that that gracious declaration is issued out, John iii. 17. "God fent riot his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved." Christ has retired the bond that lay in the hand of justice, and had it discharged in his resurrection from the dead; and upon this pound it is declared, that " there is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." And if you ask the reason of this interlocutory i Here it is, Chriit hath magnified the law, and made it honourable: therefore the penalty of the law cannot take place against any foul under the covert of his righteousness. No, no; "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us."
Sthlj, Is the law magnified and made honourable f Then it follows, that grace and mercy reign 'iirough righteousness, and that the law and justice can be no impediment in the way of pardoning mercy. The poor sensible sinner, whose eyes «e fixed upon his own sin, and the holiness of the law, is many times ready to fay and think with himself, 'Oh ! God can "ever ex-end mercy to the like of me, in a consistency with Vol. 111. E e his