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But we are set at Liberty from the Law, 2 For the Woman which as if it had never been. Just as it is, accord- Sect. 14. hath an Husband, is bound by the Law to her Husband ing to the Law itself, with Respect to the Powso long as he liveth : But if er of an Husband over his Wife, which Death Rom. VII. 2. the Husband be dead, she is intirely dissolves : For the married Woman is inloosed from the Law of her deed bound and confined by the Law to [ber] HufHusband,
band, while he is alive ; but if [ber] Husand be
that Law, which had given him a peculiar Pro-
more subject to the Shame and Punishment of an
them, hath diffolved the former Relation; he is
ried to another, [that is] to him who was in so glo-
unto GOD in all the Ways of holy Obedience. 5 For when we were in And
ye should do it with the greatest Zeal; for 5 the Flesh, the Motions of
when we were in the Flesh, that is, under the
b) If she become the Property of another, (tav yeonlei avopa Elepw,) while her Husband liveth, &c.] The Apostle here speaks in the general, not entering exactly into every excepted Cafe, that might be imagined ; to infer therefore, contrary to our Lord's express Decifion elsewhere, that Adultery is not a sufficient Foundation for Divorce, seems very unreasonable; tho' Bishop Burnet affures us that great Stress was once laid on the Argument. Burn. Hij. of the Reformation, Vol. i. pag. 57.
(6) By the Body of Christ.) He is to be considered here, as testifying by the Authority of a
That we may be married to Christ. Sect. 14. ned and irritated by the Law, were attive in our Sins which were by the Lawr. Rom. VII. 5. and in them to bring forth a very different Fruit Death. VII. Members, so as to produce visible finful Acions, did work in our Members
to bring forth Fruit witá from that which I have just been mentioning; even as I observed before, (Chap. vi. 21, 23. such Fruit as would expose you to eternal Death, if God were to be strict to mark
your Offences, and if his Mercy did not interpose to break the fatal Connection: A Circumstance which it is of the utmost importance serioufly to reflect upBut now we are set at Liberty from our vered from the Law, that
6 But now we are deliObligation to the Law, that Obligation in which being dead wherein we were we were held, being in Effect dead, or abrogated, held; that we should serve as I told you above, (Ver. 1,--4.) fa as that now in Newnefs of Spirit, and you are, in a more liberal Manner, and from not in the Oldness of the dobler Principles, to serve God as your Master and Father in Christ, in the Newness of the Spirit, and not [in] the Cldness of the Letter (d) : That is, you are to live as thosę, that are renewed by the Holy Spirit of God, in a rich Abundance poured out upon you under this new and better Difpensation, whereby you are brought to observe the spiritual Meaning and Design of the Law; being no longer bound by these literal and ceremonial Precepts, which were indeed obligatory long since, but now begin to be antiquated, and out of Date. (Heb. viii. 13.
IMPROT E M E N T.
OD hath conferred upon all Christians this fingular Honour, that
the whole Body of them Thould be represented as espoused to Chrift: Let us always remember, how we are engaged by that Sacred Relation, to bring forth Fruit unto GOD. And may the Remembrance of the Resurrection of Christ put continual Vigour into our Obedience, while we regard him as the everliving Lord, to whom our Obligations are indiffoluble and everlasting.
Too much have. finful Paffons. reigned in our Flesh, during our unconverted State. In too many Instances have they wrought effectually to bring. forth Fruit unto Death. And we owe it to to the wonderful Mercy and
(d) Newness of the Spirit, not [in] the Oldness of the Letter.] This is the literal Version; but new Spirit, and old Letter, are tantamount Expresfions, and are more agreeable to the Turn of our Language..
Reflections on Freedom from the Law and Union to Chrft. Forbearance of God that Death, eternal Death, hath not long since Sect. 14. been the Consequence. :. Being freed from the Yoke of the ceremonial Law, being freed also Ver. 6. from the condemning Sentence of that moral Law, under the Obligations of which by the Constitution of our intelligent and rational Nature we are all born ; let us thankfully acknowledge the Favour, and charge it upon our grateful Hearts, that we serve GOD in Newness of Spirit and of Life. To engage us to this, may we experience more abundantly the Renewings of the Holy Ghost; and the A&tions of our Lives will be easily and delightfully reduced to the Obedience of these Precepts, which his omnipotent and gracious Hand hath inscribed on our Hearts !
To wean the believing Jews from their undue Attachment to the
Law of Moses, the Apostle represents at large, how comparatively ineffe&tual its Motives were, to produce that Holiness, which, by a lively Faith in the Gospel, we may so happily obtain. Rom. VII. 7, to the End. VIII. I---4.
ROMANS VII. 7.
ROMANS VII. 7. THAT shall we say then ? Is the Law
HAVE been observing above, to those of Sect. 15. Sin! God forbid. Nay, I my
Christian Brethren, who were educated
while we were under the Law of Moses, and
By the Law of Moses is the Knowledge of Sin. Sect. 15. bave known Sin, but by the Law (a). I should had not known Sin, -but by
not, in a mere State of Nature, have apprehen- known Luft, except the Rom. VII. 7. ded the Evil of them; which I now learn Law, had said, Thou shalt
from finding them so expressly prohibited. I bad not covet.
easy to infer, that this Law takes: Cognizance of
fion by the Command
ment, ceive, that the Law forbad the Indulgence of ir- . regular Defires, I found that I had in Fact bro. ken it; and thereby.incurred the Penalty without any Hope of Help and Deliverance from the Law. "And this, while I looked no farther, naturally tended to throw my Mind into a State of Dejection and Despair. So that I may say, that Sin taking Occasion from the awful Sánction of the Commandment (c), the Wrath and Ruin which it denounced, brought me into so fad a Situation of Mind, and left me so little Strength and
(a). I should not have known Sin, &c.] The Apostle here, by a very. dexterous Turn, changes the Person, and speaks as of himself
. This he elsewhere does, (Rom. iii. 6. : i Cor. x. 30. Chap. iv. 6.) when he is only personating another Character. And the Character assumed here is that of a Man, first ignorant of the Law, then under it, and sincerely defiring to please God, but finding to his Sorrow, the Weakness of the Motives it fuggested, and the fad Discouragement under which it left him; and last of all, with Transport discovering the Gospel, and gaining Pardon, and Strength, Peace and Joy by it. But to fuppose he speaks all these Things of himself, as the confirmed. Christian that he really was, when he wrote this Epiftle, is not only foreign, but contrary to the whole Scope of ħis Discourse, as well as to what is expressly asserted, Chap. viii. 2.
(b) Thou shalt not covet.] This by the Way proves, that Paul thought the Covetousness, forbidden in the Tenth Commandment, related to the Heart, and not merely, as some have represented it, to any overt Act, to an Attempt to take away what belongs to another. And this might be a Hint to all thinking Men, that the secret Powers of their Souls were under a Divine Inspection, and that much Guilt might be contracted, which did not appear to. any human Eye.
(c). Sin taking Occasion from the Commandment.] Most Commentators have explained this, as signifying, that Sin was quickened by the Prohibition; the Inclination of human Nature in general being like that of a froward Child, who will do a Thing, because it is. forbidden, and perhaps is, as it were, reminded of an Evil; on hearing it mentioned in a. Prohibition. But, not to examine how far this is a universal Cafe, it must furely be acknowledged, that all Lust does not arise from hence, much being previous to. any possible. Knowledge of God's Law, whether revealed or natural. I therefore incline to the Interpretation which Mr. Dunlope has given, in his excellent. Sermon on this Pasage, the Tenor of whose Thoughts. I have followed. in the Whole of. my Paraphrafe upon it, begging leavę: to refer my. Reader to his Discourse, for the Reasons that have determined.me to it. Coma pare Jerem. ü. 25. See Dunl, Serm. Vol. i. pag. 46, 4.7
The Commandment found to be unto: Death : -ment wrought in me all Spirit to resist future Temptation, when I seemed Sect. 15. Manner of Concupiscence. already undone; that it might in a Manner be For without the Law Sin "was dead.
to have wrought powerfully in me all Manner Rom. VII. 8. of Concupiscence (d): Such Advantage. did Sin gain against me. And I mention this, as the Effect of my becoming acquainted with the Law, because while I was ignorant of the Sentence, and considered myself as without the Law of God, Sin [was] dead. I was no more aware of any Danger from it, or any Power it
had to hurt me, than if it had been a dead Ene9 For I was alive without the Law once : For I once was, as it were, alive without
9 when the Commandment the Law (e), considering myself as a Man unaccame, Sin revived, and I quainted with it, I may say I was comparatively
chearful and Happy; but when the Commandment
lated so to regulate Mens Temper and Conduct,
(d) Wrought in me.] The Word' xalegpacopaco in many places signifies to operate in a powerful and efficacious Manner ; (Compare 2 Cor. iv. 17. Chap. v. 5. Chap. vii. 11. Chap. xii. 12.) and may well here fignify a strong Irritation of what might, without it, have been in fome Degree natural.
(0) I was once alive without the Law.] The Apostle cannot, as Mr. Locke supposes here,, speak in the Person of the whole Jewish People, and in this Clause, refer to the Time between Abraham and Mofes ; for, not to examine how far this Description would suit them then, we must on that Principle of Interpretation suppose, they are all represented in the Close of the Chapter, as believing in Chrif; which alas! we know to have been very far from being their Cafe.
(f) Intended for Life.] The Law niay be said to have been intended for Life, though. by Sin made the Occasion of Death ; as Medicines, which not being rightly applied prove fatal, may nevertheless be said to have been intended for Cure.