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    The Royal Law Contended For

    [Printed 1658.]
    BISA 57.2

    1. The matter of the ten commandments was written in the heart of Adam before his fall, as doth appear in Genesis 1:27. God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; also in Ecclesiastes 7:29, God hath made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions. And the Apostle plainly asserts, that the Gentiles which had not the law, (in the letter of it,) did by nature the things contained in the law, which showeth the work of the law written in their hearts. Romans 2:14, 15. Now if the Gentiles had the word of the law written in their hearts in their sinful state, doubtless they had it in more perfection in their state of innocence, as considered in Adam; for the letter of the law was added, because of transgression. Galatians 2:19. Now if there was transgression before the letter of the law was added, that implies that there was a law before then; in that the letter of the law is said to be added, it implies that the matter of it was in being before, but much worn by sin; and that is one reason why the Lord was pleased to add the letter.BISA 57.3

    Let it be considered, how it can stand with Scripture or right reason, that Jesus Christ should abrogate this law. Did Christ blot out this law from the hearts of all men by his death? Then all men have not the law of nature to guide them; for we cannot be so gross as to imagine that the law is put into their hearts upon a new account, for that were to bring all men under the new covenant.BISA 57.4

    2. God spake all these commandments unto the people, and they heard his voice, (Deuteronomy 5:22-24,) with great majesty and glory, and he added no more; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone, and delivered them unto Moses — all of which holds forth their perpetuity; they are spoken by God, they are written by him in tables of stone; so was never any ceremony. Job desired that his words might be graven with a pen of iron and lead in a rock of stone forever. Job 19:24.BISA 58.1

    3. Afterward the first tables were broken, which I suppose did signify the Israelites’ breaking of the first covenant; for Moses broke them on account of their having made a golden calf, and so had broken the covenant. Whereupon Moses was then commanded to hew two tables like the first, and God wrote the same words again upon them, (Deuteronomy 10:1-4,) and they only of all the laws were put into the ark, and when the ark is set in its proper place between the cherubim there is nothing in it but the two tables. 1 Kings 8:9..... See Jeremiah 31:33, where God promises to put his law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts. Now what law is this that must be put into the heart, when the law of sacrifice is abolished? Compare Hebrews 10:6-9, with Psalm 60:6-8. That this is the law that is here spoken of is manifest if we consider how proper and suitable it is for the heart of a believer. Paul calls it the law of his mind in Romans 7:23, and in verse 22 he professeth he delights in the law of God after the inward man; and God saith he will put the law in his heart and write it there; both which phrases hold it forth to be the same law that was written by God and put into the ark. Man’s heart is the tables, and God himself is the writer; the matter written is the law. Hear what Wisdom saith to this: My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments within thee; keep my commandments and live, and my law as the apple of thine eye; bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thy heart. Proverbs 7:1-3. Now what laws are these but the table laws? And Wisdom’s son is to have them written upon the fleshy tables of his heart.BISA 58.2

    4. When God promiseth to exalt his first born higher than the kings of the earth, and that his covenant should stand fast with him, and that his seed should endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven, (Psalm 89:28, 29,) yet he saith, If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgression with a rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless, my loving kindness will I not utterly take away, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. Verses 30-32. Mark it, this covenant was with Christ, (though with David in the type,) in behalf of all the seed; and the chastisements must be the portion of the seed if they break the law of God, though his covenant stand fast. Now as this covenant reaches all the seed, so doth the law and the punishments for the breach of it; and if so, then what law is it that reaches all the seed, if not the law of the ten commandments, with those laws which are comprehended in them.BISA 58.3

    5. These commandments are eminently distinguished and marked out from all the ceremonial laws, both to show their eminency and perpetuity; they are said to be the work of God, in Exodus 32:16, and the Psalmist saith, The works of his hands are verity and judgment. And these works are called, all his commandments, Psalm 111:7, and they are ten. Deuteronomy 4:13.BISA 59.1

    They are distinguished from the ceremonial ordinances, and called all the commandments, to set forth their number, as before said, and their eminency; and therefore they are so frequently called in the Scripture, the commandments of God, distinct from the other laws, which were shadowy in the time of the law of shadows, (as these places of Scripture, besides many others, do show, viz., Deuteronomy 5:31; 6:11; 7:11; 8:11; 11:1; 30:16; 1 Kings 2:3; 8:58; 2 Chronicles 19:10; Nehemiah 1:7. and 10:29, etc.,) and distinct from the testimony of Jesus in clear gospel times. In Revelation 12:17, note that the dragon’s war is with the remnant of the woman’s seed which kept the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus. And again, here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Revelation 14:12. And when the man would know what he should do to be saved, Christ told him that he knew the commandments. A cloud of witnesses would come in, if need were, for the confirmation of them. But farther observe what the Scripture saith to their duration. The Psalmist saith, All his commandments are sure, they stand fast forever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. Psalm 111:7, 8. Note it; all his commandments, which are the works of his hands, as aforesaid, stand fast forever and ever; that is not only in the time of the ministration of the letter, which was in a sense for ever, but for ever and ever, that is under both ministrations, that of the letter and that of the spirit, in Old Testament times and in the New. Search and see if you can find any word that doth speak of any thing that is said to abide or stand fast for ever and ever, which comes short of the time aforesaid. And when God hides his face from the house of Jacob, then is the time that the testimony is bound up and the law is sealed among the disciples, (Isaiah 8:16, 17,) clearly relating to the time that the Jews rejected the gospel, and the disciples are commanded to make use of the law as well as the testimony to try the doctrines of others by Isaiah 8:20. All which shows the perpetuity of this law of God, which will farther appear if we consider Deuteronomy 7:9. Our Lord saith in Matthew 5:17, 18, Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I came not to destroy, but to fulfill. But the question will be, what law is this? To me it appears to be the law of the ten commandments; for these reasons:BISA 59.2

    1st. Because this comes in as the motive to provoke his disciples to let their light shine in the world, that men might see their good works and glorify their father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16. Therefore it must be such a law as the doing of it holds forth good works to public view.BISA 60.1

    2nd. It is such a law as Christ professes he came not to destroy; but the ceremonial law he destroyed in this very sense, so that none are to be in the practice of it; he blotted out the hand-writing of ordinances that was against us, and contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.BISA 60.2

    3rd. Destroying of the law is here put in direct opposition to fulfilling of it; to destroy is to take out of the way or to blot out as before; but to fulfill the law is to do that which is contained in the law; therefore saith Christ to John, when he went to be baptized, It becometh us to fulfill all righteousness, (that is, to perform it.) Matthew 3:15. And the Apostle saith, that love is the fulfilling of the law. What law? Why this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, etc. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:8-10. So that to fulfill the law of the ten commandments, is not to blot them out or make them void; that were to destroy them, which Christ came not to do, but on the contrary, to do the things contained in them, which he did exactly in his life, and so was offered up a Lamb without spot.BISA 60.3

    4th. This is such a law as must stand in force, every jot and tittle of it, till heaven and earth pass away. Matthew 5:19. But heaven and earth are not yet passed away; therefore this law stands firm. But because it is said in the text, Till all be fulfilled, hence some affirm that all was fulfilled at the death of Christ, and this fulfilling of it holds forth the abrogating of it.BISA 60.4

    But did heaven and earth pass away then? or did Christ, by his taking upon him all that guilt which was due to us, and by his perfect fulfilling of it in his walk, take us from our obedience? God forbid. Because Christ fulfilled the righteousness of the law, must we not fulfill it? The Apostle saith that for this end Christ died. For 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. Romans 8:3, 4. But what is the fulfilling of the righteousness of the law, but to do the righteous things contained in the law? And in this sense every true believer doth fulfill the law, though his completeness be in Christ; for love is the fulfilling of the law, (Romans 13:10,) so that the commanding power of the law is such a just measure, that every one that loves acts his part towards the fulfilling of it.BISA 61.1

    5th. It farther appears to be the ten commandments, by the use Christ makes of what he had before asserted: “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:19. That is, forasmuch as that law must stand till heaven and earth pass away, and I came not to destroy it, therefore beware of breaking it, for whosoever you are that break any part of it, and shall teach men so, you shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; “but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” To prevent farther mistake, he repeateth the law in many particulars, and gives the sense, showing how far their righteousness should exceed the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees. By all of which it plainly appears, that this law, which Christ came not to destroy, is the law of the ten commandments, or the laws that were comprehended in them.BISA 61.2

    6. The Apostle confirmeth and establisheth this law after the death of Christ, as plainly appears in the third chapter of Romans, the drift of which is to set Jews and Gentiles in a like condition by nature — all breakers of the law of God, and so become guilty before him, (verse 19,) and that therefore no flesh could be justified by the deeds of the law, the law being for another purpose — to convince of sin, (verse 20,) or to bring sin to their knowledge. He proves that Jews and Gentiles, circumcised and uncircumcised, are justified by and through faith, and not by the law of works. Verses 27-30. But lest the Gentiles should think, because they could not be justified by the works of the law, that therefore they might look upon the law as a thing done away or made void, he puts this question to the uncircumcised Gentiles, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law.” He settles this question, whether the law be in force to believing Gentiles or no, with a God forbid; which shows the greatness of his zeal against such a persuasion, it being the same answer which he gives to another gross question, whether we should continue in sin that grace might abound; and, as if that were not enough, he adds to it, Yea, we establish the law.BISA 61.3

    7. This same Apostle doth prove that the law was in force at the time of his conversion. He saith he had not known sin but by the law; he had not known lust except the law had said, “Thou shalt not covet.” Romans 7:7. He was alive without the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and he died, (verse 9,) that is, not without the letter of it, for that he had, and did in a great measure conform to, but without powerful convictions for sin by the law; and in this sense then the commandment came, sin revived, and he died that before was alive in his own apprehension. “For without the law sin was dead,” (verse 8,) and by the law is the knowledge of sin; and sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived him, and slew him. “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, just and good,” (verses 11, 12,) not that the holy and just law was made death unto him — God forbid — but sin, that it might appear sin, by this good law wrought death in him, that by the commandment sin might appear exceeding sinful. Verse 13. And if so, then this law did not die with the body of Christ; though we are dead to the law by the body of Christ, that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter, and that we should be married to another, even him who is raised from the dead; we being dead to that spirit of bondage in which we were held, that we set our obedience to the law no longer in the room of Christ as our head and husband; Christ by his blood having purchased us from that power that the law had over us by reason of sin. So that our service is not to satisfy the law, as a woman serves to please her husband that she is bound to; but we are not dead to serving in newness of spirit in obedience to Christ as our husband. Romans 7:4-6. In this sense the Apostle delights in the law of God after the inward man, (verse 22,) though the other law in his members stood in great opposition to it. Verse 23. Mind this chapter well, and it will appear so plain that he that runs may read, that the Apostle intends no such thing as to take us from our obedience to the law, nor yet the abrogating of the law, but the contrary.BISA 62.1

    8. The same Apostle urges the law, in the very letter of it, to the Ephesians. He saith, in chapter 6:1-3, “Children obey your parents, for this is right; honor thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with promise.” He proves his exhortation to be right from the commandment, and he takes notice of the order of the commandments; it is the first commandment of that second table, and it hath a promise annexed to it. He speaks in the present tense; he does not say it was the first commandment, but it is the first with a promise, “that thy days may be long on the earth.” He urges the promise to them for their encouragement; and to prevent mistakes, he shows the extent of it, that it was not only to the Jews, that they should live long in the land of Canaan, but to the Gentiles also; therefore the interpretation says, “that thy days may be long on the earth.”BISA 63.1

    9. James gives a full confirmation to what I am treating of. He convinces them of sin by this law, in having the faith of Jesus Christ with respect of persons, as appears by chapter 2:10, 11. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” He shows what law he means, and how it is that he who offends in one point is guilty of all; because, “He that saith, Do not commit adultery, saith also, Do not kill; now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.” And John saith, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth the law, for sin is the transgression of the law,” (1 John 3:3, 4,) and in the next verse he explains what law he means, and saith, it was such transgression that Christ was manifested to take away. Now if this law of God was done away by the death of Christ, sin could not be a transgression of it so long after; neither could any be convinced of sin by it, because it was not. But the Apostle saith, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth the law;” which shows it was in force then, and not only so, but that likewise it should so remain.BISA 63.2

    10. Let it be considered whether this opinion that the law is done away doth not clash with redemption itself. The Apostle states that all men were under the law, and by breaking of it they came under the curse. Galatians 3:10. And Christ was made under the curse, to redeem his people from under the curse of the law, that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles through faith. Verses 13, 14. Now if we were not under the commanding power, we could not be under the curse,BISA 63.3

    (for that follows disobedience,) and if so, then Christ was not made a curse for us; neither can the blessing of Abraham come upon the Gentiles upon that account, if the Jews only were under the law, and under the curse of it. Christ’s dying to redeem them from the curse, could not bring the blessing of Abraham upon the Gentiles. And again the Apostle saith, “that Christ was made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. Galatians 4:4, 5. Now if we were not under the law, we could not be redeemed by Christ’s being under the law, nor receive the adoption of sons thereby; but it is manifest that every one is under the commanding power of the law, and by nature under the curse; and Christ hath only redeemed his people from the curse, but they are not redeemed from their obedience to the law of God. I find no Scripture that saith so; but the contrary.BISA 64.1

    11. God complaineth of the blindness of his servants, and of the deafness of his messengers that he sent, (Isaiah 42:19, 20,) and their blindness and deafness appears in this, that they did not hear nor understand God’s design in the gift of his Son, that it was not to destroy the law or to slight it, but to magnify it and make it honorable. Verse 21. Previously it was in tables of stone, but now in the fleshy tables of the heart; service was then done from a spirit of bondage, but now from a spirit of adoption. And in this sense I conceive the law to be magnified and made honorable, and upon this account God is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake, that is, I conceive, for his Son’s sake.BISA 64.2

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