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pardon, or righteousness, to any other thing than his blood and merits, we rob the Lord, and turn spiritual thieves.

But then some think we destroy and make void the law. No: it is not made void, it stands good and condemns wicked men, and all such hypocrites who urge the necessity of observing it, and yet break it, and who, out of a fond opinion of their own righteousness, slight the righteousness of our Lord Christ. The law was made for the disobedient, and over such it continues to stand as a swift witness, but it never was made to make men righteous ; " for the law made nothing perfect, and if righteousness came by the law, Christ is dead in vain."

The strict sect of the Pharisees, in our Saviour's lime, were of this mind; they supposed the end of the law was to make men righteous, and therefore with great art and study found ways so to expound the words of the commandments, that many could live, according to their exposition, blameless under the law; for they taught, If they had no images, bowed down to none of the idols of the nations, but worshipped only the God of Abraham, they were clear in the first commands; so if they did not name the Shembamphorash, or the uputterable name of God, whereby he was made known to Moses, they were clear in taking his name in vain.

Also, if they did not go farther than such a distance on the Sabbath day, nor touched servile work, they were innocent in this respect.

if they acknowledged all gifts from their parents, and were thankful, they were free.

If they did not kill. any one, nor were accessary to the death of any, they were safe. VOL. I.

2 A

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ousness.

If they had not gone in to another's wife and defiled the marriage bed, they were not in danger; and after this manner they taugbt, and made and increased their sect amazingly, so that the chief priests, and almost all the religious and serious men in the church, were of the Pharisees. These were strict observers of the letter of the law, were circumcised the eighth day, attended the festivals and fast-days duly, gave much 'alms, made long prayers in the streets, synagogues, and markets, compassed sea and land to make a proselyte, and this was their righte

In the Christian world there are still many of the sect, and who, though they have not arrived to the pitch of these strict Jews, nor attained to the · righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, prate about their goodness, and thank God they are not so bad as other men; they have done many works, are often busied in mending their patch-work righteousness, and daubing over the wall which is momently falling, with untempered mortar; their prayers, selfdenial, and obedience, is all their righteousness; take that away, and, like Labán, they might complain, “ You have taken away my gods, and what have I got more?”

When our Saviour came into the world, instead of praising the rigid company of Pharisees, or extolling the merit of their holy order, he speaks heavily against them, “ Woe be to you, ye scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites ! how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” And why was our Saviour so hard ? Why did he continually thunder against them, and in all his parables so expose them, and assure his disciples, " that unless their righteousness exceeded the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, they could in no case enter the kingdom of heaven?" It was therefore, because they had perverted the meaning and intent of the law, they had taught in

stead

stead the commandments and traditions of men, and so made, as it were, the law of God of no effect; for that law which should have convinced of sin, and laid all under the curse, and so obliged them to see and feel the want of a Saviour, that they had made to serve other ends, and persuaded the people life could be obtained thereby, and so contented and satisfied the worshippers under that covenant, with their obedience and observances of the law. This our Saviour calls whitening the wall, painting the tomb, washing the outside of the dish and platter, because all the righteousness, godliness, goodness, holiness, and whatever else under such names have been the work of men, is no other, since it is all form, it is all outward ; it is put on, and does not change the evil nature, or alter the mind, or convert the heart. It may please men, and be esteemed and admired by the world, but must be an abomination in the sight of God, who tries the hearts and reins, and knows the same old, rotten, and filthy heart, the same bad and impure nature, still lives under all, and the whole of such a righteousness is in his eyes a cloak, a covering, but not the wedding garment; it is not the white robe, the righteousness of the saints; their robe is the salvation of God, and their garinent the righteousness of Christ, and without which the best attainments, the most admired goodness and holiness is no better than the righteousness of scribes, pharisees, and hypocrites, and will be found of the same piece in the day when God enters into judgment with all flesh, and shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

That our Saviour might make his law shine in its ancient clearness, and serve whereto it was ordained, he invalidates all the false glosses and expoundings of the pharisees, and shews how he is guilty who seeks, and receives honour of men; that whoso serves siu and calls God Father, taketh his name in vain, 2 A 2

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we before our faith in Christ made a league with
death and a covenant with hell, it should not stand,
Satan must give up, Death must deliver back, and
the fetters of sin, which are like brass and iron,
must be dissolved, and become like tow that had
touched the fire, and we should be free indeed.
? But here it would not be amiss to observe, that
though the children of God, and such as are in
the new covenant, and not under the law, nor in
danger of perishing, yet have they no license to
sin; nor can a faithful soul be ever persuaded of
that delusive doctrine, that there is no sin to a be-
liever' ; they can sin, but no human tongue can
describe what pain and inward remorse 'such must
feel, who again grieve the Lamb willingly, and
venture to defile their raiment. “ If thy children
sin I will visit their offences with a rod, and their
sin with scourges, saith the Lord.” But should a
soul, conscious of his continual weakness, poverty,
and faults, feel a thought amniss, or see he has done
wrong, or spoken or behaved ill, he cannot rest
till our Saviour has taken it away; nor may we be
afraid to suspect their estate, who, with all their
clear and orthodox opinions of grace, live in sin,
or are drunkards, unclean, unchaste, irreligious,
covetous,' worldly-minded, proud, boasters, lovers
of pleasure, passionate, and intemperate, for they
are not born of God, and are still of the world.
At the same time, the abuse wherewith some have
abused the gospel of free grace must not stumble us,
or make us legal in our doctrine, manners, or
ideas, nor must we darken the covenant by making
any condition of our being accepted but what God
has made. We are accepted for Jesus Christ's sake,
and saved as freely as a brand taken out of the fire
by one who thought it a pity it should be burned ;
and should we ascribe the least part of our peace,

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pardon, or righteousness, to any other thing than his blood and merits, we rob the Lord, and turn spiritual thieves.

But then some think we destroy and make void the law. No: it is not made void, it stands good and condemns wicked men, and all such hypocrites who urge the necessity, of observing it, and yet break it, and who, out of a fond opinion of their own righteousness, slight the righteousness of our Lord Christ. The law was made for the disobedient, and over such it continues to stand as a swift witness, but it never was made to make men righteous ; " for the law made nothing perfect, and if righteousness came by the law, Christ is dead in

vain.”

The strict sect of the Pharisees, in our Saviour's lime, were of this mind; they supposed the end of the law was to make men righteous, and there fore with great art and study found ways so to expound the words of the commandments, that many could live, according to their exposition, blameless under the law; for they taught, If they had no images, bowed down to none of the idols of the nations, but worshipped only the God of Abraham, they were clear in the first commands ; so if they did not name the Shembamphorash, or the uputterable name of God, whereby he was made known to Moses, they were clear in taking his name in vain.

Also, if they did not go farther than such a dis-' tance on the Sabbath day, nor touched servile work, they were innocent in this

respect. if they acknowledged all gifts from their parents, and were thankful, they were free.

If they did not kill. any one, nor were accessary to the death of any, they were safe,

If

VOL. I.

2 A

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