But perhaps my unknown friend may ask why this dispensation of the Spirit
is called a law? To which I answer, first, because of its binding power; the
cords of everlasting love, the bond of peace, and the girdle of truth, will hold the soul
faster than all the lifeless commandments in the world, whether they be from heaven or of men.
Secondly, it is called a law, because of its constraining power; "the
love of Christ constrains me," says Paul; it is a powerful constraint from evil, and mightily
influences the mind to that which is good. Thirdly, Because of the obedience
it produces; the blessed Giver of this law circumcises our hearts, that we may love the
Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul, that we may live, Deut. 30:6. It produces
the fruits of the Spirit, which is evangelical obedience; we are taught of God to love one
another by the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, which is attended with filial fear that
keeps us from departing from God, Jer. 32:40. God directs our work in truth by it, Isa. 61:8;
and works our works in us, Isa. 26:12; he works in us an inclining and moving power, "both to
will and to do of his own good pleasure," Phil 2:13. Well may this be called the law of the
Spirit, when it produces such spiritual obedience; well may the desire of the righteous when it
comes be called a Tree of Life, Prov. 13:12; seeing it produces love, joy, peace, meekness,
This law of the wise is called a fountain, because it plays all its
productions high enough to reach the spring from whence it is supplied; evangelical obedience
springing from the Spirit of life and love, directed to the glory of God as the believer's
chief end, makes the assembly of the saints like a garden enclosed, a spring shut up, or a
fountain sealed, Song of Solomon 4:12.
This law of the Spirit of life produces more real obedience to God in one
hour than ever hath been produced by all the rules that have been drawn by human wisdom from
killing snares. This law of the wise is Christ's yoke that is easy, and it is his burden that
is light, Matt. 11:29, 30.
Those souls that are under this are "the circumcision that worship God in the Spirit, rejoice
in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." God wrote this law on our hearts and in
our minds does He put it, (Jer. 31:33).
This is the law that goes forth of Zion, not from Sinai, and is the word of the Lord that
went from Jerusalem, (Micah 4:2); and those that receive it are the people "that keep the
commandments of God and the faith of Jesus," Rev. 14:12. By this law are the servants of God
warned, and in keeping this there is great reward, for charity abideth forever, Psa. 19:11.
This is the holy commandment delivered unto us, from which legions have continually departed,
2 Pet. 2:21; because it was only delivered to them in the letter of it, not put into them as
a fountain of life. Hence they begin in the Spirit, or with the dispensation of the gospel,
and end in the flesh, or under the killing letter.
The law of the wise may be called a fountain of life, because it quickens
the dead soul, and raises it to a lively hope; it produces that life which the law
promised but could not give because we could give it no obedience; but this law enables a soul
to live unto God, to live by the faith of the Son of God; it produces a lively motion toward
God; it is attended with life and peace, and enables us to love God that we may live eternally
Thus, Sir, the believer is not without law to God, for God has written His
law in his heart, and he is under this law to Christ as his eternal Head, King, and Ruler.
And I think this is speaking as the oracles of God, and preaching it is doing the work of an
evangelist, and making full proof of the ministry, much better than telling poor blind souls to
look with one eye to Christ, who is our life, and the other to the law, which is death; and it
is better than bringing rules of life from a law which is the strength of sin; or telling people
that the rule of life is implied in the killing letter; or that it appears from the fitness of
things; when we know that a living soul serving God in the oldness of the letter are things
that can fit in no better than has darkness and light; the eye of faith and the blinding veil;
perfect liberty and a yoke of bondage; real love and a gendering to fear; a display of mercy
and a revelation of wrath; one working friendship and the other the motions of sin and
vengeance. Are these the things that will fit; or what is the fitness that rises from them?
I should like to hear the author again on this matter.
Go to Great Old Timers Index
Go To Puritans Index
Go To Index for Many Items by John Newton
Go To Illustrations Index 1
Go To Culture War Index
Go To Free E-books Index
Go to Spurgeon Sermons Index
Go to Church Humor Index
Go To General Humor Index
Go To Southern, Texas, Yankee Joke Index