« הקודםהמשך »
must distinguish between what is essential and what is accidental, to the punishment of sin. The former is the same, whoever is the sufferer of the punishment : the latter is varied according to the quality of the sufferer. Thus, the curse, subjecting men to all the mis-, ery, of which they are capable, shuts them up under the dominion of sin; which is a principal part of that misery. But, falling upon the surety, it found him an infinitely different subject, even such a one as was altogether incapable of sin ; and yet capable of suffering the punishment due to sin. Thus a punishment, inflicted upon a person already under the power of some wasting disease, will necessarily occasion his death; but inflicted upon a person of a sound constitution, will not so much as endanger his health.
4. When Mr. Marshal says, that, “ if we look “upon God as contrary to us, as hating us, as purpo6.sing to damn us; our own innate self-love will breed “ hatred and heart-risings against him in spite of our "hearts ;" he speaks of men's legal attempts to reconcile themselves to holiness by their natural resolution or ability ; while they despise and reject the way of salvation by Jesus Christ. All that he intends by this representation is to shew the vanity of that pretended virtue or holiness, which men seem to attain under the mfluence of legal principles and motives without faith in Jesus Christ; that virtue being such only as may be found in those who have nothing of the true love of God or of his law in their hearts. That this is his meaning appears from the very plan of his treatise ; one principal part of which was to prove, that the persuasion of our reconciliation with God (in opposition to the consideration of ourselves as under the curse) is to be received out of Christ's fulness by unison and fel
lowship with himt. The same thing is evident from the very paragraph in the explication of the vii. Direction, whence some of the expressions, so severely censured by Mr. Bellamy, are taken. “ The first right “ holy thoughts,” says he, “ which thou canst have of “God are thoughts of his grace to thy soul in Christ, “which are included in the grace of faith. Get these "thoughts by believing in Christ, and they will breed “ in thee love to God and all good thoughts of him, and “ free thee from blasphemous murmuring thoughts by “ degrees; for love thinks no evil. Thou wilt then be. « able to account God just and merciful, if hehad damned “ thee, and extended his grace to others; and thou < wilt be able to think well of his holiness and of his “ decrees, which many cannot endure to hear of. The “ way to get rid of raging lusts is by faith that purifi“eth the heart and worketh by love. Beg a holy fear “of God, with fear of coming short of the promised “ rest through unbelief, Heb. iv. i. Such a fear is an “ ingredient in faith.” It is astonishing, indeed, how Mr. Bellamy came to charge Mr. Marshal with the horrid blasphemy of making the law of God culpable for the wickedness of our heart-risings against its precept and penalty : while Mr. Marshal declares abundantly, that the fault is not in the holy law, but only in our own hearts; and while it is the great design of his treatise to direct poor sinners to union and fellowship with Christ through faith, as the only effectual means of being delivered from such heart-rising, and of attaining true heart-felt delight in the law of the Lord.
Having offered these things in vindication of Mr. Marshal's doctrine, we are next to consider the opposite opinion of Mr. Bellamy, which runs through a great
† Gospel Mystery, &c. Direction 3d.
part of his dialogues and letters, and of his essay on the nature and glory of the gospel. It is plainly expressed in the following passages.
6 The awakened simner un. “ der a lively sense of the dreadfulness of eternal damof nation, with particular aplication to himself, must “ (through the regenerating influence of the Holy Spi“ rit be brought to approve the law in all its rigour, as « holy, just and good, as being really amiable and glo6 rious in itself, before he can so much as believe in “the Scripture sense) the gospel to be true*. The “ law appeared holy, just and good : I could not but
approve it from my very heart : and said within my6 self, ere ever I was aware, let all heaven for ever love " and adore the infinitely glorious majesty, although I " receive my just desert and perish for ever. Next
came into view the gospel way of life by free grace " through Jesus Christ t."
« To have holiness appear a beautiful to the soul is of the same nature as to love « holiness; but to love holiness is holiness itself.”
Thus, according to this author, a sinner must be reconciled to the law: he must have such a sight of the holiness of the law as will cause him to love it, that is, he must have holiness itself: he must feel, that he has all this, before he can so much as believe (in the scripture sense) the gospel to be true; nay, before he have any saving view of the gospel at all.
The notion expressed by Mr. Bellamy, in the words now quoted, is disapproved, as unsound, for such reasons as the following:
1. It appears to be inconsistent with that conviction of sin and misery which is supposed and implied in the first act of faith. When a man has this conviction, as Luther in his commentary on the epistle to the Galatians observes, « the law reveals to him his " sin, his blindness, his misery, his impiety, ignorance, “ hatred and contempt of God; death, hell, the judge “ment and deserved wrath of God.” Thus conviction, before the discovery of Christ in the gospel, instead of reconciling the heart to the law, has an irritating effects making the powerful working of sin more impetuous and sensible, than before. The apostle assures us of this from his own experience, Rom. vii. 8, 9. Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For, without the law, sin was dead: For I was alive without the law once; that is, I lived securely, pleased with the opinion of my own righteousness: but when the commandment came in its spirituality and power; sin revived, and I died, that is, sin raged more than ever; I hated the law more than ever ; because it overturned the fabrick of self-righteousness which I had been labouring to build. “When
* Mr. Bellamy's Dialog. p. 17. + Let. 2d. p. 115. # Essay on the Nature and Glory, &c. p.
sin is discovered," says Luther; “ by certain bright “ beams, breaking into the heart, there is nothing more « odious and more intolerable to man than the law.". All the conviction by the law to be found in man before. faith in Christ, is of the same sort with that represent.. ed by the apostle in the words now cited. The approbation of the law which the apostle expresses from the 14th verse to the end of the chapter, is of a quite different kind : it is the experience of a true believer ; of one whom the law of the spirit of life (which may well be understood of the gospel, called in another place, the ministration of the Spirit) hath made free from the law of sin and death.
This notion of Mr. Bellamy is inconsistant with those passages of scripture, which call sinners to come
to Christ, while they have no money, no good qualification, Isai. ly, 1. It is unecessary to understand the thirst.. ing there mentioned of any other than the vain desire and expectation of satisfaction in earthly things or in self-righteousness which is represented in the 2d verse. Wherefore do ye spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not ? But according to Mr. Bellamy, none are to come to Christ, till they find they have got such a view of the holiness of God's law, as engages them to love it. It is good news to poor sinners, that Christ is come to them in the character of the Physician of souls. But when they are told, that they must have such love to holiness as is holiness itself, or that they must be in a great measure healed, before or in order to their application to him, the refreshing import of these news is quite destroyed ; espeicially to those under thorough convictions of their sinful and miserable condition : which, in their apprehension, is so far from being in a more hopeful way by the application of the law, that, before they obtain a saving discovery of Christ in the gospel, they consider their case as every moment growing worse, , and every moment in hazard of being beyond all possibility of relief.
3. The falsehood of the opinion in question appears from the necessity of the faith of the gospel as the appointed mean of reconciling our hearts to the law. That the faith of the gospel has this effect is certainly the doctrine of the Bible; as, by that faith, men apprehend, that they are delivered from the law as a covenant or condition of life, Rom. vi. 14. having no more to do with the law under that consideration, than a woman has to do with her deceased' husband ; Rom. vii. 1, 2, 3, 4. and thāt it only remains to be regarded in the new and