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tified already. Therefore, when thou goest about to reason as concerning the law, thou must take the matter of the law, or that whereupon the law worketh; namely, the sinner and the wicked person; whom the law justifieth not, but setteth sin before his eyes, casteth him down and bringeth him to the knowledge of himself; it sheweth him hell, and the wrath and the judgment of God. This is, indeed, the proper office of the law. Then followeth the use of this office; to wit, that the sinner may know that the law doth not reveal unto him his sin, and thus humbleth him, to the end he should despair, but that, by this accusing and bruising, it may drive him unto Christ the Saviour and Comforter. When this is done, he is no longer under the schoolmaster. And this use is very necessary; for seeing the whole world is overwhelmed with sin, it hath need of this ministry of the law that sin may be revealed; otherwise, no man should ever attain to righteousness, as before we have largely declared. But, what worketh the law in them that are already justified by Christ? --Paul answereth by these words; which are, as it were, an addition to that which goeth before;
But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
That is to say, we are free from the law, from the prison, and from our schoolmaster. For when faith is revealed, the law terrifieth and tormeneth us no more. Paul here speaketh of faith, as it was preached and published to the world by Christ in the time before appointed. For Christ, taking upon him our flesh, came once into the world. He abolished the law with all bis effects, and delivered from eternal death all those which receive his benefit by faith. If therefore ye look unto Christ, and that which he hath done, there is now "no law. For he, coming in the time appointed, took away the law. Now since the law is gone, we are not kept under the tyranny thereof any more, but we live in joy
and safety under Christ, who now so sweetly reigneth in us by his spirit. And where the Lord reigneth, there is liberty. Wherefore, if we would perfectly apprehend Christ
, which hath abolished the law by his death, and hath reconciled us unto his father, that schoolmaster should have no power over us at all. But the law of the members, rebelling against the law of the mind, letteth us that we cannot perfectly lay hold upon Christ. The lack, therefore, is not in Christ, but in us which have not yet put off this flesh, to which sin continually cleaveth as long as we live. Wherefore, as touching ourselves, we
are partly free from the law, and partly under the law. WE According to the spirit, we serve with Paul the “ Law
of God; but according to the flesh, the law of sin.” Rom. vii.
Hereof it followeth, that, as touching the conscience, we are fully delivered from the law; and therefore, that schoolmaster must not rule in it; that is, he must not afflict it with his terrors, threatenings, and captivity. And albeit it go about so to do never so much, yet is not the conscience moved therewith. For it hath Christ crucifed before her eyes, who hath removed all the offices of the law out of the conscience, putting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, &c. (Col. ii.) Therefore, even as a virgin knoweth no man, so the conscience must not only be ignorant of the law, but also it must be utterly dead unto the law, and the law likewise unto the conscience. This is not done by any works, or by the righteousness of the law, but by faith which apprehendeth and layeth hold upon Christ. Notwithstanding, sin cleaveth still in the flesh, as touching the effect thereof, which oftentimes accuseth and troubleth the conscience. So long then as the flesh doth remain, so long this schoolmaster the law doth also remain ;
many times terrifieth the conscience, and maketh it heavy by revealing of sin and threatening of death. Yet it is raised up again by the daily coming of Christ; abo, as he came once into the world in the time before appointed to redeem us from the hard and sharp servitade of our schoolmaster ; even so, he cometh daily
unto us, spiritually, to the end that we may increase in faith, and in the knowledge of him, that the conscience may apprehend him more fully and perfectly from day to day, and that the law of the flesh and of sin, with the terror of death and all evils that the law bringeth with it, may be daily diminished in us more and more. As long then as we live in the flesh, which is not without sin, the law oftentimes returneth and doth his office, in one more and in another less, as their faith is strong or weak; and yet, not to their destruction, but to their salvation. For this is the exercise of the law in the saints; namely, the continual mortification of the flesh, of reason, and of our own strength, and the daily renewing of our inward man, as it is said in 2 Cor. iv.
We receive then the first-fruits of the Spirit: the leaven is hid in the mass of the dough, but all the dough is not yet leavened: now it is yet, but only begun to be leavened. If I behold the leaven, I see nothing else but pure leaven. But if I behold the whole mass, I see that it is not all pure leaven: that is to say, if I behold Christ, I am altogether pure and holy, knowing nothing at all of the law, for Christ is my leaven. But if I behold my own flesh, I feel in myself covetousness, lust, anger, pride, and arrogancy; also, the fear of death, heaviness, hatred, murmuring and impatiency against God. The more these sins are in me, the more Christ is absent from me; or, if he be present, he is felt but a little. Here we have need of a schoolmaster to exercise and vex this strong ass the flesh, that, by this exercise, sins may be diminished, and a way prepared unto Christ. For as Christ came once, corporally, at the time appointed, abolished the whole law, vanquished sin, and destroyed death and hell; even so, he cometh, spiritually, without ceasing, and daily quencheth and killeth those sins in us.
This I say, that thou mayest be able to answer if any shall thus object, Christ came into the world, and at once took away all our sins and cleansed us by his blood; what need we, then, to hear the Gospel or receive the sacraments ? True it is, that, inasmuch as thou
beholdest Christ, the law and sin are quite abolished. But Christ is not yet come unto thee; or, if he be come, yet, notwithstanding, there are remnants of sin in thee; thou art not yet thoroughly leavened. For where concupiscence, heaviness of spirit, and fear of death is, there is yet also the law and sin. Christ is not yet thoroughly come; but when he cometh indeed, he driveth away
fear and heaviness, and bringeth peace and quietness of conscience. So far forth then as I do apprehend
Christ by faith, so much is the law abolished in me. But elre
my flesh, the world, and the devil, do hinder faith in me that it cannot be perfect. Right gladly I would, that that little light of faith which is in my heart were spread throughout all my body and all the members thereof;
but it is not to be done; it is not by-and-by spread, but evin only beginneth to be spread. In the mean season, this
is our consolation, that we who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, do now begin to be leavened. But we shall
be thoroughly leavened, when this body of sin is disbei solved, and we shall rise new creatures, wholly, together
Albeit then that Christ be one and the same yesterday, to-day, and shall be for ever; (Heb. xiii. 8.) and albeit that all the faithful which were before Christ, had the Gospel and faith; yet, notwithstanding, Christ came once in the time before determined. Faith also came once when the apostles preached, and published the Gospel throughont the world. Moreover, Christ cometh also spiritually, every day. Faith likewise cometh daily by the word of the Gospel. Now when faith is come,
the schoolmaster is constrained to give place with his - heavy and grievous office: Christ cometh also, spiritually
, when we still more and more do know and understand those things which by him are given unto us, and increase in grace and in the knowledge of him, 2 Pet. iir.
GALATIANS iii. 19. Until the seed came unto which the promise was made.
Paul maketh not the law perpetual, but he saith that it was given and added to the promise “ for transgressions ;” that is to say, to restrain them civilly; but especially, to reveal and to increase them spiritually; and that, not continually, but for a time. Here it is necessary to know, how long the power and tyranny of the law ought to endure which discovereth sin, sheweth unto us what we are, and revealeth the wrath of God. They whose hearts are touched with an inward feeling of these matters, should suddenly perish if they should not receive comfort. Therefore, if the days of the law should not be shortened, no man should be saved. A time, therefore, must be set, and bounds limited to the law, beyond the which it may not reign. How long then ought the dominion of the law to endure ? “ Until the seed come:" to wit, that seed of which it is written, “ In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” The tyranny of the law then must so long continue, until the fulness of time, and until that seed of the blessing come. Not to the end that the law should bring this seed, or give righteousness; but that it should çivilly restrain the rebellious and obstinate, and shut them up as it were in prison; and then, spiritually, should reprove them of sin, humble them and terrify them; and when they are thus humbled and beaten down, it should constrain them to look up to that blessed seed.
We may understand the continuance of the law, both according to the letter, and also spiritually. According to the letter, thus :--that the law continued until the time of grace.
“ The law and the prophets (saith Christ) prophesied until John. From the time of John until this day the kingdom of heaven suffereth