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Rom. vii. 19. I was alive without the law once, but when the commandment

came, sin revived, and I died. THERE have been but two ways ever revealed, in which man may obtain eternal life—the law and the gospel-the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. By the first mode, Adam, had he remained innocent, might have secured everlasting felicity. But, on his apostacy, this way to heaven was barred for ever; and, to show the impossibility of being thus saved, cherubim and a fiery flaming sword guarded all access to the tree of life. To fallen man there is no hope, except through the sovereign grace of God, by the Redeemer revealed in the gospel ; there is no hope till, sensible of his deep guilt, and trembling at the curse of the broken law, he penitently betakes himself to that Savior who is “ the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”

Yet many who acknowledge these fundamental truths are careless and unconcerned, while they have no interest in the Redeemer; are hoping for heaven, though they have never fled to the Savior, and accepted his righteousness for justification.

Let all such listen to the text, in which the apostle gives not only his own experience, but that of all true believers : “ I was alive without the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.”

These words will lead us to consider,

I. The character and sentiments of the unregenerate." I was alive vithout the law.

II. The nature of those convictions which sweep away false hopes, and make the Redeemer precious.-" Sin revived, and I died."

III. The instrumental cause of this change of feeling and character.-
The commandment came."

I. The character and sentiments of the unregenerate." I was alive without the law."

Three inquiries here arise- What is that law of which the apostle speaks ? How was he without it? And what is implied in his having been alive ?

sift of Samit. Green, ell. II of belön,

1. The law to which St. Paul refers is evidently the moral law; that law which was impressed upon the heart of man at his creation, and which was published with such solemnity from Sinai. It consists of a system


precepts, and of a sanction for their enforcement. The sum of its precepts is perfect obedience to the divine Lawgiver. Its sanction is an assurance of eternal lise to the obedient, and of death to those who “ continue not in all things written in the book of the law to do them.”

2. How was the apostle “ without the law ?” Not that he was under no obligation to it. From its very nature it must always be in force. It was binding upon Paul; it is obligatory upon every child of Adam; since it is founded in the perfections of God and the relations he sustains to us. While these perfections and relations continue, the law cannot be abrogated; Jehovah can no more free us from its obligation than he can renounce his Godhead.

When the apostle is said to be “ without the law,” it does not imply that he was unacquainted with its letter. A clear speculative knowledge of it he no doubt possessed; for he was brought up at the feet of the celebrated Gamaliel; there studied it; there made in it the greatest proficiency.

Neither does it imply that he paid no regard to it in his external life. He himself tells us that he outwardly complied with its precepts ; that “ as touching the law,” that is, the formal and external observance of it, he was “ blameless."

But to be “ without the law” implies an ignorance of its extent, spirituality, and purity; implies that the apostle had no proper sense of its commanding authority, or of its condemning power.

3. In what sense was Paul, before his conversion, “ alive ?" Not in the estimation of God and angels; they beheld him “ dead in trespasses and sins.” But he was alive in his own estimation ; he thought himself upright and holy, and entitled, by virtue of these qualifications, to life eternal. He entertained the strongest confidence of his high standing in the favor of God. He " verily thought he was doing God service,” and advancing toward heaven. This case is common with the unregenerate. They are “ without the law;" without any knowledge of its strictness and purity; without any sense of its dignity and perfection. While thus ignorant, as the apostle once was, like him they are “ alive ;” alive in their feelings, unapprehensive of danger, unconcerned about the terrors of the Almighty.

Some of the grounds of this security in sin are natural ignorance, abuse of the Savior's grace, false evidence of the love of God, incorrect views of the privileges of the church, and the hope of a long and protracted life. These are so many springs to feed and maintain this life of delusion in the unregenerate.

We proceed,

II. To consider the nature of true conviction. Sin revived," adds the apostle, “ and I died.

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