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EVERY DIVINE LAW,
It has been for some time the determination of my mind to publish no more; and I have continued long in this mind; and although I have had at times some very extensive views and fresh discoveries in the word of God to me, yet I have suppressed them, not choosing to bring them out, knowing that they would be now esteemed as they were in the days of old. “I have written to him the great things of my law; but they were counted as a strange thing,” Hosea viji. 12. The cause of my publishing this scrap is the continual attacks that are made upon me by the law-men of our day, falsely so called; among whom there is a man that wishes much to be noticed as an author. He is a person whom I never saw to my knowledge; I know nothing of him, nor does he know
any thing of himself; so that he is an entire stranger both to himself and to me: yet this
poor restless creature, unmolested and unprovoked, has taken
twice against me upon the subject of the law; though I am fully persuaded that no one law, that ever came out of the mouth of God, was ever applied to him, or written either in his mind or on the fleshly tables of his heart; so that he is lawless, or destitute of every law of God. The crime that I am charged with is, that I do not hold forth the law as the rule of life to the believer, nor set it before the children of God as such. This is my crime; and I believe that more sermons and pamphlets have been preached and published against me, for this supposed crime, than have been preached or published against all the Arians, Socinians, Sabellians, Atheists or Deists, Papists or Arminians, Rebels or Traitors, for these twenty years past. And, after all this terrible outcry, I have no doubt but
who are reproached for lawless Antinomians, could compare notes with the best of these that commend themselves, either with respect to experience or power, light or knowledge, diligence or industry, study or labour, success in the ministry, usefulness or fruitfulness, love to God or love to the neighbour, generosity or liberality, life or walk, conduct or conversation. For I believe in my conscience that every one to a man, that has written against me, is entirely destitute of every law of God, and in a state of unbelief, and, “ Without faith it is impossible to please God.” The unbelieving professor can do nothing right, as God says of Israel of old; “They are children in whom is no faith," Deut. xxxii. 20. And therefore, says he, “It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways; unto whom I sware in
my wrath that they should not enter into my rest,” Psalm xcv. 10, 11. “And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? so we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief,” Heb. iii. 18, 19. Therefore, if I am erroneous in this one point, still I am nearer the mark than they who always err in their hearts, and who have not known God's ways; and, if they have not known his ways, they can never put others right. Now my reasons for not setting the law as a rule of life before the children of
1. Because I do not find this rule in any one commission given forth of God to any of his evangelical servants; no, not in the commission of Christ himself, “ The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor: he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted; to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind; to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord,” Luke iv. 18, 19. And although it is true that he preached the law in all its spiritual meaning as no other ever did, yet he never sent sensible and seeking sinners to it, but always directed them to the good-will of the Father in himself. “He that doeth the will of my Father which is in hcaven shall enter into
the kingdom,” Matt. vii. 21. " It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. " And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day,” John vi. 40. Our Lord here sets the Father's will before the children, which is his good-will of purpose and of promise in Christ. But God is a master as well as a father. “If I be a Father, where is my honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear?" Malachi i. 6. Believers are not servants but sons; and before these sons he sets the heavenly Father's will: but the self-sufficient servant he always sends to the law, which is the commanding will of the master, and the servant's only rule. " What is written in the law; how readest thou? This do, and thou shalt live,” Luke x. 26, 28. But our Lord never once called the law the believer's rule of life; nor does he call it the believer's law, but applies it to his enemies. “But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law,” John xv. 25.
2. I do not find this rule of life in the commission of the twelve apostles. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” Mark xvi. 15.
3. Nor is it to be found in the commission given to Paul: “I send thee to the Gentiles, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness
to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me,” Acts xxvi. 17, 18.
4. Another reason why I do not choose to set the law before the saints as their rule of life, is because I do not find this rule, nor any words like them, in all the Bible. " I or in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature: and as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them,
upon the Israel of God,” Galat. vi. 15, 16.
5. My next reason is, I am informed that, “We are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held, that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter,” Rom. vii. 6. And to send believers to the law for fresh supplies of the Spirit and his grace, to enable them for this service, is sending them to a barren mountain to get green pastures. “ This only would I learn of you; received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Galat. ïïi. 2.
6. It is the will of God that we should live by faith, and walk by faith, and not by sight. “And the law is not of faith; but the man that doeth them shall live in them.” “ For, if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect,” Rom. iv. 14: