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ed, and many do see in it, nothing but an excuse and apology for their sins ; since it is acknowledged, that we carry about with us a frail, not to call it a depraved, corrupted nature, surely, they say, we shall not be amenable to any severities or extremities of judgments, for delinquencies, to which such a nature must ever be liable ; or, which is indeed all the difference there is between one man and another, for greater degrees or less, for more or fewer, of these delinquencies. The natural man takes courage from this consideration. He finds ease in it. It is an opiate to his fears. It lulls bim into a forgetfulness of danger, and of the dreadful end, if the danger be real. Then the practical consequences is, that he begins to relax even of those endeavours to obey God, which he has hitherto exerted. Imperfect and inconstant as those endeavours were at best, they became gradually more languid, and more unfrequent, and more insincere, than they were before : his sins increase upon him in the same proportion : he proceeds rapidly to the condition of a confirmed sinner, either secret or open, it makes no difference, as to his salvation. And this descent into the depths of moral vileness and depravity began, in some measure, with perceiving and confessing the weakness of his nature; and giving to this perception that most erroneous, that most fatal turn, the regarding it as an excuse for every thing; and as dispensing even with the self-denials, and with the exertions of self-gov. ernment, which a man had formerly thought it necessary to exercise, and in some sort, though in no sufficient sort, had exercised.

Now I ask, was this St. Paul's way of consider. ing the subject? Was this the turn which he gave to it? Altogether the contrary. It was impossible for any Christian, of any age, to be more deeply impressed with a sense of the weakness of human nature than he was; or to express it more strongly than he has done in the chapter before us. But observe ; feeling most sensibly, and

208 EVIL PROPENSITIES ENCOUNTER'D painting most forcibly, the sad condition of his nature, he never alleges it as an excuse for sin; he does not console himself with any such excuse. He does not make it a reason for setting himself at rest upon the subject. He finds no relief to! his fears in any such consideration. It is not with him a ground for expecting salvation; on the contrary, he sees it to be a state not leading to salva. tion ; otherwise, why did he seek so earnestly to be delivered from it?

And how to be delivered that becomes the next question. In order to arrive at St. Paul's meaning in this matter, we must attend, with some degree of care, not only to the text, but to the words which follow it. The twenty-fourth verse contains the question, "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?” and then the twenty-fifth verse goes on, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Now there is good reko son to believe that this twenty-fifth verse does not appear in our copies, as it ought to be read. 1] is most probable, that the passage stood thus ! The twenty-fourth verse asks, “ Who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?” Then the twenty-fifth verse answers, “ T'he grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Instead of the words “ I thank God," put the words “ The grace of God," and you will find the sense cleared up by the change very much. I say, it is higti ly probable that this change exhibits what St. Paul really wrote. In English there is no reseni. blance either in sound or writing between the two sentences, “ I thank God,” and “ The grace of God ;', but in the language in which the epistie was written, there is a very great resemblance. And, as I have said, there is reason to believe, that in the transcribing, one has been confounded with the other. Perhaps the substantial mean. ing may be the same, which every way you read the passage; but what is implied only in one way, is olearly expressed in the other way

The question then, which St. Paul so entoesl

BY THE AID OF THE SPIRIT. 209
Is and devoutly asks, is “ Who shall deliver me
from this body of death ?" from the state of soul
which I feel, and which can only lead to final per-
dition? And the answer to the question is, “The
grace of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Can a more weighty question be asked? Can an
answer be given, which better deserves to be tho.
roughly considered ?

The question is, “Who shall deliver us???"
The answer : “ The grace of God, through Je-
sus Christ our Lord." The “ grace of God”
means the favour of God: at present, therefore,
the answer stands in general terms. We are on-
ly informed, that we are rescued from this state
of moral difficulty, of deep religious distress, by
the favour of God, through Jesus Christ. It re.
mains to be gathered, from what follows, in what
particularly this grace of favour consists. St.
Paul having asked the question, and given the an-
swer in general terms, proceeds to enlarge upon
the answer in these words - There is, there.
fore, now no condenination to them, who are in
Christ Jesus, who walk, not after the flesh, but
after the Spirit. There is now no condemnation:
but of whom, and to whom is this spoken? It is to
them, who, first, are in Christ Jesus; who, se-
condly, walk not afterthe flesh; who, thirdly, walk
after the Spirit.

And whence arises this alteration and improve-
ment in our condition and our hopes; this ex-
emption, or rather deliverance, from the ordina-
ry state of man ? St. Paul refers us to the cause.

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 significa-
tion than this, viz. " that the aid and operation
of God's Spirit, given through Jesus Christ,
hath subdued the power which sin had obtained
and once exercised over me." With this inter-
pretation the whole sequel of St. Paul's reason-
ing agrees. Every sentence almost, that follows,
lestrates the interpretation, and proves it to be

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ly and devoutly asks, is “ Who shall deliver me from this body of death?” from the state of soul which I feel, and which can only lead to final per. dition ? And the answer to the question is, “The grace of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Can a more weighty question be asked ? Can an answer be given, which better deserves to be thoroughly considered ?

The question is, “ Who shall deliver us?" The answer : “ The grace of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord." The « grace of God” means the favour of God: at present, therefore, the answer stands in general terms. We are only informed, that we are rescued from this state of moral difficulty, of deep religious distress, by the favour of God, through Jesus Christ. It re. mains to be gathered, from what follows, in what particularly this grace of favour consists. St. Paul having asked the question, and given the answer in general terms, proceeds to enlarge upon the answer in these words,There is, there. fore, now no condenination to them, who are in Christ Jesus, who walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. There is now no condemnation: but of whom, and to whom is this spoken? It is to them, who, first, are in Christ Jesus ; who, secondly, walk not after the flesh; who, thirdly, walk after the Spirit.

And whence arises this alteration and improvement in our condition and our hopes; this exemption, or rather deliverance, from the ordinary state of man ? St. Paul refers us to the cause. * 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 power 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, illüstrates the interpretation, and proves it to be 210 EVIL PROPENSITIES, &c. 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 ? "I so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.”—“I any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is node of his.”_" If the Spirit of him that raised up Je sus from the dead dwelt in you. By his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”_" Ye bave received the Spirit of adoption.'-" The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit.”-All which expressions are found in the eighth chapter, namely, the chap. ter 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 mean, in and upon the human soul. It is by the aid, therefore, of this Spirit, that the deliverance so carnestly sought for is effected; a deliverance re. presented as absolutely necessary to be effected in some way or other. And it is also represented, as one of the grand benefits of the Christian ds pensation. “What the law could not do in tha? was weak through the flesh, God sending his ow Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin colo demned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not ale ter the flesh but after the Spirit.” Which passage I expound thus : a mere law, that is, a rue merely telling us what we ought to do, withou enabling us, or affording us any help or aid in doo ing it, is not calculated for such a nature as ours: “ it is weak through the flesh;" it is ineffectua. by reason of our natural infirmities. Then what the law, or a mere rule of rectitude (for that." 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 right eousness, which the law dictated, and which " 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 procu.

THE SPIRIT'S AID TO BE SOUGHT,&c. 211 red 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 acknowledge its authority.

To communicate this so much wanted assist-
ance 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 an account of
sin, condemned sin in the flesh; vouchsafed, that
is, spiritual aid and ability, by which aid and abil.
ity sin, and the power of sin, might be effectual-
ly opposed, encountered, and repelled.

SERMON XXVIII.
THE AID OF THE SPIRIT TO BE SOUGHT AND PRE-

SERVED BY PRAYER.

(PART III.) O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me

from the body of this death ?—Rom. vii. 24.

If it be doctrinally true, that man in his 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 better lamentation, viz. that his moral powers are ineffectual for his duty; able, perhaps, on most occasions, to perceive and to approve of the rule of right; able, perhaps, to will it; able, perhaps, to set on foot unsuccessful, frustrated, and defeated endeavours after that will, but by no means able to pursue or execute it :-if it be also true, that strength and assistance may and can be communicated to this feeble nature, and that it is by the action of the Holy Spirit upon the soul, that it is so communica

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Jy and devoutly asks, is “ Who shall deliver me from this body of death ?" from the state of soul which I feel, and which can only lead to final per. dition ? And the answer to the question is, “The grace of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Can a more weighty question be asked ? Can an answer be given, which better deserves to be tho. roughly considered ?

The question is, “ Who shall deliver us?", The answer : “ 'The grace of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord." The " grace of God” means the favour of God: at present, therefore, the answer stands in general terms. We are only informed, that we are rescued from this state of moral difficulty, of deep religious distress, by the favour of God, through Jesus Christ. It re. mains to be gathered, from what follows, in what particularly this grace of favour consists. St. Paul having asked the question, and given the answer in general terms, proceeds to enlarge upon the answer in these words,---There is, therefore, now no condenination to them, who are in Christ Jesus, who walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. There is now no condemnation : but of whom, and to whom is this spoken? It is to them, who, first, are in Christ Jesus; who, se. condly, walk not after the flesh; who, thirdly, walk after the Spirit.

And whence arises this alteration and improve. ment in our condition and our hopes ; this exemption, or rather deliverance, from the ordinary state of man ? St. Paul refers us to the cause. «i 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 significa. tion than this, viz, “that the aid and operation of God's Spirit, given through Jesus Christ, hath subdued the power which sin had obtained and once exercised over me.” With this inter. pretation the whole sequel of St. Paul's reasoning agrees. Every sentence almost, that follows, illastrates the interpretation, and proves it to be

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