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as rot concerning them, yet such courses VII. When men once give way to vain will prove but folly in the end: for albeit thoughts, and will not impartially examine they thought these testimonies concerned and pass fentence upon their condition, them not, yet that availed not, for the law or estate before God, but will lay it down did indeed speak to them, and they were for a conclufion, that their estate is good guilty before God, notwithstanding they did enough, tho' it be not so; then their false dream the contrary.
hearts, fet on work by Satan, will furnish IV. Whatever purposes be handled in them with abundance of false grounus the word of the Lord, and whatever truths whereupon to build their empty hopes, be there delivered, or whatever way they seeing that is all they defire; and they be proposed, yet we ought to look upon will have enough of such stuif furnished. the whole as a law, having a binding them, whereby to maintain their rightepower to regulate our practice, and to ousness, so as their voluble 'tongues will direct us in point of faith and doctrine : be as fluent, as if they were as many For here the whole Old Testament is call- mighty rushing waters; fuch will not be ed a law; and here the prophet Ifaiah foon nonpluss’d; as is clear by this meta(and consequently all the rest of the pro- phor of damming up their mouths, and phers) is termed the law, and the Psalms hedging them up, which supposeth how also; so John x. 34. and xv. 25. so the violent these were in their defence, and historical part hath that name, Gal. iv. 22. how fertile their invention was to find out and the law of Moses hath still that name. apologies and defences for themselves.
V. So strong is the force of pride and VIII. The law, thoroughly stadied, and self-love, where it gets vent, that it will particularly applied, and mens actions and make a man that is full thereof go over natures duly examined thereby, is sufficient the belly of his own light, to lay down to beat down all folks proud thoughts of grounds whereupon to build his foolish themselves, and take from them all excuses hopes, and whereby to answer what might and tergiversations, whereby they labour be produced for their conviction and reco- to fhan any thorough conviction of their very: for albeit they had this objection, own unrighteousness, and lost condition : that these teftimonies touched not their and when the doctrine of the law is case, yet they could not deny, if they brought home to folks consciences by the would speak according to their own light, Spirit, it will lay their boasting of their that the law spake to them; and therefore own righteousness, and cause them lay fays Paul, We know, and so took it as a their hands upon their mouths, and cry, máxim that they could not get denied, that guilty : fo the right way to convince folk what things soever the law says, it says to of their natural condition, is to hold forth fuch as are under the law.
the law, for it is by the law, and what it VI. As the law of the Lord hath a com- fays, that mouths are stoped, and all found manding power over all unto whom it is out to be guilty. given and prescribed; so hath it a speaking IX. To be guilty, and so liable to voice to reprove, accuse, threaten and con- God's curse, is not the condition of a few demn all contraveeners; for thus this law only, but even the natural condition of all, is said to speak (viz. by convincing them of be they privileged outwardly, or not: it in, and judgment for sin, as the scope of is the common case and condition of all the forecited testimonies evidenceth) to ranks, qualities and conditions of people, all that are in it, or under it ; and there is of whatsoever language, ration or kinEone that need plead exemption, or ima dred they be; the whole mass of mankind gise freedom therefrom,
is guilty, and lying under the curse, since
Adam, the root of mankind, violated the is meant, obedience to the whole law covenant of life: for here Paul afferts it of God, whether ceremonial or moral, as a truth, that all mouths are stoped, and written or unwritten ; for hitherto hath so have nothing to apologize for them- he ipoken of the transgressors of the moselves that will have weight, and all the ral law, and not of the ceremonial only; world is guilty
and he hath also spoken of the Gentiles X. Howbeit many may find shifts to de- who never knew the ceremonial law, and ceive themselves, and others like them- if he did not mean the moral law, his arguselves, and so have nothing to say in de- ment would be fallacious; for so he thould fence of their own righteousness, and will speak of the moral law in the premises, neither believe themselves, nor let others and of the ceremonial (which is distinct) in fay, that they are in nature, or under God's the conclusion, which were a false way of curse, but still give out themselves to be in arguing. And, moreover, he must mean a better condition than indeed they are in; the same law whereof he made mention, yet when the cause comes before God, verse 19. for by whatsoever law it is that who searches the heart, they will then be mens mouths are stoped, .and they defound to be what they are : and therefore clared guilty, by that same law, or obehe says, before God.
dience therero, none can be justified. Nei
ther is it the ceremonial law, properly, Verse 20. Therefore by the deeds of the which convinceth of fin, fave only secon
law, there shali no flesh be justified in his darily; but of such a law doth he here Sight: for by the law is the knowledge of speak, by which is the knowledge and coafin.
viction of sin, properly. And lastly, the
ceremonial law points out God's righteH Ere begineth the third part of this ousness, even Christ, who is our righteoul
chapter; wherein the apostle is ness, and is the end of the law for righteprosecuting the farther probation of his onefs ; now the apostle meaneth such a former thesis, and for that cause pro- law here as doth not hold forth this rig!:ducech several other arguments, to the teousness, as is clear in the following veríe. end.
No flesh; chat is, no man, by a figure, But before he proceeds to any new ar- Eph. vi. 1 2. Matth. xxiv. 22. and often gument, having now insisted long upon his elsewhere: and farther it implieth corrupfirst, he lays down the thesis in plain terms, tion, as Rom. viii. 1. 3. Rom. vii. 8. (and viz. That by the works of the law, no fleshoro fignifieth man corrupted, John. iii. 6.) shall be justified before God: and this he set- and infirmities, which it fignifieth, Heb.v.7. eth down by way of a conclusion follow- | And the apostle ufeth this phrase, to thew, ing from what he had been saying former- | what the condition of all without Christ is, ly, in prosecution of this second argument, nothing but a lump of Aesh and corruption, which we shewed, chap. i. 18. might be full of weakness, and sinful infirmities, unthis; If any body could be justified by the fit to do any thing that is good : and so by law, then either the Jews or Gentiles this term he news, that he speaks only of should be justified by the law; this is man, as he is now corrupted since Adam's clear, seeing there is not a third: But nei-fall: And thus, indeed, the question is to ther Jews nor Gentiles can be so justified, be understood; for before the fall man and this he hath hitherto sufficiently prov. would have been justified by the deeds ed; and hence now concludeth, that by of the law, if he had fully conformed the deeds of the law no fles should be justi- himself thereunto; and this he might have fied, &c. Where, by deeds of the law, done, leaving power for that effect. Ani
the apostle addeth, before God; that is, in cannot be justified by the deeds of that law,
his judgment, as opposed to man's judge which discovereth so much guilt, deserv3r2
ment, at whofe bar men may be justified, ing condemnation. hatha
Rom. iv. 2. for that may pafs as current
. iv. 16. II. Man would still be at a way of his 17. and iii. 8. Prov. xvii
. 15. for the apo own, whereby to attain unto this privilege hitle is about to thew, how poor finful flesh, of justification, Luke xviii. and such a
now lying under guilt, and liable to death, high account have they of their actions, may win free, and be absolved, and looked and religious performances, (not knowing, upon as just before God.
or. not considering, what a juft God they Beside this conclusion, there is an argu- have to do with, what a pure law they will ment in the verse, to enforce it; which be tried by one day, what a lump of cora may either be looked upon as a new argu- ruptions sticks to every thing they do, so ment, or as the last sumed up in short : that of all their actions there shall not one however it is this, If by the law be the be found able to abide a trial, when it is knowledge of fin, then by the deeds of the examined according to its principal motive law no flesh shall be justified before God: and end) that they cannot be gotten conthis is clear, for he speaketh of such a vinced of an impoflibility of ever being jusknowledge as convinceth, and makes us tified by themselves : as it is hard to get guilty before God, and so holds forth forne convinced of this in opinion, so it is God's wrath and curse: but fo it is, that harder to get more convinced of it in pracby the law is the knowledge of sin; where, tice: therefore it must be concluded, and
, and ture, and the written law, and all law, see- over again. ing ic hath no article added in the original; III. The best way to get souls convinced and this law discovers the least and most of a necessity of following the right way, obscure fin, especially the written law dis- of justification without themselves, is, to covereth concupifcence, and such like; convince them once of their natural conand the very original and foul fountain of dition, how they stand guilty before God. every vice, both as to want of our original If souls would study this well, and be thounderstanding in our judgments, and rec. roughly convinced thereof, they would. trude in our wills and affections, and to more heartily close with this doctrine, that the having of contrary habits ; so that we l by the works of the law, no fless should be
justified before God; and therefore Paul them of their folly in expecting justificatakes this course, if you look the verse tion by the deeds of that law; for this is preceding.
the force of the argument, for by the law IV. It is a matter of great consequence, is the knowledge of sin; and so by it we are as being a fundamental point, and a thing accused and condemned. absolutely necessary, to be clear in the right IX. Seeing man's heart is but deceitful, way of our justification before God, and and ready to bless himself in an evil course; therefore a concerning point, to be well and the judgment of all men, who can but studied, and accordingly practised by all ; observe the outside, is fallible and uncertherefore doth the apostle infilt so much tain, and it is God who searcheth the upon it, as being the marrow of doctri- | hearts and the reins, and it is at: his bar nal practical divinity.
alone where we must appear, and by his V. It is now a concluded truth, and judgment must we stand or fall; therefore Mould be entertained without any farther we should be labouring and studying most fcruple or dispute, that by the deeds of the earnestly, how we may pass current before law, which requireth absolute and univer.. him : therefore it is added, in his fight. fal perfection, and curseth every man by And were the contrariety which is betwixo nature for the least breach thereof, Deut. God and man better considered, how he is xxvii. 26. and will not descend from its perfect exactness, no man breathing Mall | iniquity, and man is but a piece of base be justified, seeing the Spirit of the Lord, corruption and Inful flesh, we would not by the apostle, hath now concluded it from think so much of our own righteousness unaniwerable arguments.
as we do; therefore are no flelh, and beVI. Man is so far (now since the fall, fore him, (which hath a great emphasis) whatever he was before) from having any put in opposition. groưnd in himself whereupon to expect justification, that, on the contrary, he is VERSES 21. 22. But now the righteousness nothing but a lump and mass of base, fin of God without the law is manifested, ful, corruptible, and corrupted fesh; and being witnessed by the law and the prowere this well considered, it might lay our phets ; boasting, that all our excellent and glori- | Even the righteousness of God which is bg ous title is to be called flesh.
faith of Jesus Chrilt' unto all, and upon VII. Much of our ignorance of our fm all them that believe; for there is no ful condition, of the finful nature of many difference. of our actions, of the vileness and abominabless of fin, and of the juft and dread. Here is a principal argument against
justification by works; whereby, at strangers to the law : and much humble length, he sheweth the right way of juftiand diligent study of the law, would help fication : and, withal, couchech in a comus to discover many latent corruptions, and parison betwixt the open and plain exhito be better acquainted with the stratagemsbition of Christ now under the gospel, of fin, and the dangerous snares we are with the way how he was held forth of drawn into thereby; for, by the law is the old, viz. by rypes, facrifices, and propheknowledge of fin.
cies. The argument may be in this or VIII. The law's discovering man's cor the like form : If the only way by which ruptions and short-comings, and their ha- poor finners must stand justified before zard, thro' the curse which is annexed to God, be a way which the law hath no every breach, may abundantly convince hand in the manifestation of, nor is helped
any joc by those works which the law | eth, that this righteousness is none of requireth, then we cannot be justified by our own inventing, but it is the righteousthe law. This is clear; for sure were we ness of God, and a righteousness which justified by the law, the works done in o- is given, imputed, and made over unto, bedience to the law would avail, and the and put upon believers; and believers of law would clear the way of justification to whatsoever nation, kindred, or language us, wichout seeking to any other : But so they be of, Gentiles as well as Jews; it is it is that the only way by which poor fin beltowed upon, and imputed unto all them ners must stand justified before God, is a that believe : And the way and means how way which the law doth not manifeft, por this gift becometh believers's, and they have help forward; Therefore, ác. This pro interest therein, and are cloathed there- . position he proves thus : it, That way with, is, by faith of Jesus Christ. And which God hath invented, and which he this way of believing in Christ, and restwill be pleased with, whereby finners must ing upon him, is the only way, and an exstand justified before him, is the only way: cellent way too; and therefore once fignifyBut so it is that that way is not held forth ing it, will not suffice; fo doth he say un. by the law; Therefore, 6c. And 2dly, to all, and again upon all them that believe, thus, That way of justification which both that this comfortable doĉtrine unto the Moses in the law, and the prophets, bare Genuiles might be the better believed, and witness unto, is the only true way : Bur the pride of the Jews the more laid, who' the way which they bore witness unto was thought uone would have been justified without the law; Therefore, &c. After- but they. ward, in the 22d verse, he cleareth what that only way is.
HENCE LEARN, So then in Ahort the meaning of the I. Man will not come cleanly over to apostle is this; Now, in the days of the Christ, and absolutely renounce all hopes gospel, wherein Christ is held forth in a and expectations of relief through bis own more clear and full manner than he was tkill and ability, until the force of need under the law, that righteousness by which drive him, and he see he must either do we must stand justified, which is a righte- that or die : therefore the most safe and ousuess of God's own invention and gift, hopeful way of gaining souls to Christ, is to and a righteousness which he will only rest | hew down all their carnat pillars, and solidsatisfied with, is revealed, and clearly pub- ly hunt them out of all their holes; and, lithed, and no more lying hid under pro- in particular, to clear the utter imposibinises and legal shadows, but really and lity of their ever getting relief by their openly exhibited now, when the fulness own doings. This is clear in. Paul's meof time is come, Gal. iv.4. and that without thod, he first cuts off all their vain coní be law, which doth not speak on it of set ceits of themselves, and sheweth the impurpose, but presseth obedience, whether possibility of being justified by works, and it be moral or natural, (for of this law then pointeth forth Christ: he clears the alone he speaks) and yet this is no no ground before he lays the walls. Felty, or a way that was never heard of II. Ministers, and such as deal with before, but a way which Moses (whose consciences, should not rest upon a bare writings are here meant by the law, as Luke. discovery of folks danger, but should also H. 2 3. and x. 16. Acts xxiv. 14) and all the point out the way to life; they should not prophets afsented unto, and bare witness of. ihink it enough to loose their grips of that
In the next verse he farther explains which is wrong, but also they should fallen what this way of justification is, and shew-them to that which is right : it were good