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ance, from the ordinary state of man ? St. Paul refers us to the cause. 66 The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Which words can hardly bear any other signification than this, viz. “ that the aid and operation of God's spirit, given through Jesus Christ, hath subdued the
which sin had obtained and once exercised over me.”
With this interpretation the whole sequel of St. Paul's reasoning agrees. Every sentence almost that follows, illustrates the interpretation, and proves it to be the true one. With what, but with the operation and the co-operation of the Spirit of God, as of a real, efficient, powerful, active Being, can such expressions as the following be made to suit ? “ If so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” “ If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you." By his spirit that dwelleth in you.” “ Ye have received the Spirit of adoption.” “ The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit.” All which expressions are found in the eighth chapter,
66 If any
mean, in and
namely, the chapter following the text, and all, indeed, within the compass of a few verses. These passages either assert or assume the fact, namely, the existence and agency
of such a Spirit; its agency I upon
the human soul. It is by the aid, therefore, of this Spirit, that the deliverance so earnestly sought for is effected ; a deliverance represented as absolutely necessary to be effected in some way or other. And it is also
And it is also represented as one of the grand benefits of the Christian dispensation. 66 What the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Which
passage I expound thus: a mere law, that is, a rule merely telling us what we ought to do, without enabling us, or affording us any help or aid in doing it, is not calculated for such a nature as ours : “ it is weak through the flesh :" it is ineffectual by reason of our natural infirmities. Then what the law, or a mere rule of rectitude (for that is what any law, as such is), could not do, was done under the Christian dispensation. And how done? The righteousness of the law, that is, the righteousness which the law dictated, and which it aimed as far as it could, to procure and produce, is fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; is actually produced and procured in us, who live under the influence and direction of the Holy Spirit. By this Holy Spirit we have that assistance which the law could not impart; and without which, as a mere rule, though ever so good and right a rule, it was weak and insufficient, forasmuch as it had not force or strength sufficient to produce obedience in those who acknowledged its authority.
To communicate this so much wanted assistance was
one end and effect of Christ's coming So it is intimated by St. Paul, “ what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did;" that is, God “ sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin," namely, sending him by reason or on account of sin, condemned sin in the flesh vouchsafed, that is, spiritual aid and ability, by which aid and ability sin and the power of sin might be effectually opposed, encountered, and repelled.
THE AID OF THE SPIRIT TO BE SOUGHT AND
PRESERVED BY PRAYER.
ROMANS, vii. 24.
o wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver
me from the body of this death ?
ordinary state, in that state, at least, in which great numbers find themselves, is in a deplorable condition, a condition which ought to be a subject to him of great and bitter lamentation, viz, that his moral powers are ineffectual for his duty; able, perhaps, on most occasions, to perceive and approve of the rule of right ; able, perhaps, to will it: able, perhaps, to set on foot unsuccessful, frustrated, and defeated