This correspondence between the giving of the Law on Sinai, and the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, has been mentioned as conducing to the proof of the Spirit being our justification, as the Law is our condemnation; a similar contrast is observed in Scripture between the rites of the Law and the influences of the Spirit. The Jews thought to be justified by circumcision; St. Paul replies, circumcision in the flesh is nothing, but spiritual circumcision or renewal of heart, is all in all. Does not this imply that the renewal through the Spirit really effects what the Jewish rites attempted but in vain, justification? For instance, St. Paul says: "He is not a Jew which is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." [Rom. ii. 28, 29.] What can God's praise mean but justification? To the same purport are the following passages: "In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but a new creature; and as many as walkaccording to this rule, peace be on them and mercy" (and forgiveness, surely), and upon the Israel of God." [Gal. vi. 15; iv. 6. 1 Cor. vii. 19.] And the other two parallel texts, "In Christ Jesus, neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love;" and, "Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God."

To the same purport too is our Lord's warning; "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." No one can doubt that an inward righteousness is here intended; that it is such as to introduce us into the kingdom of heaven; that it is that in substance which the Pharisees had only in pretence. The same doctrine is implied also in St. Paul's avowal, that he stands, not having his own righteousness, {50} which is of the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." [Matt. v. 20. Phil. iii. 9.] If legal righteousness is of a moral nature, why should not the righteousness of faith be moral also?

The same explanation applies to other passages of St. Paul, the force of which is often overlooked at the present day. For instance: "By the deeds of the Law," that is, by a conformity to the external Law, "there shall no flesh be justified in His sight; for by the Law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God" (that is the new righteousness, introduced and wrought upon the heart by the "ministration of the Spirit)," "without the Law is manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all them that believe ... whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, for the setting forth of His righteousness,"—a righteousness of His making, "on account of the remission of past sins ... that He might be just, and the justifier of Him which believeth in Jesus;" that is, that He who is righteousness in Himself, may also be a source of righteousness in all who believe.

Again, he says, in another Epistle, "By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God," the great gift, even that of the Spirit; "not of works," done by your unaided strength, in conformity to the natural Law, "lest any man should boast; for we are His workmanship;" He has made us a new creation, "created in Christ Jesus unto good works." Here the difference is marked between the works of the Spirit, which are "good," and those of the Law, which are worthless.

Once more: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done;" for we have none such to produce; all our works done in the flesh are but worthless in God's sight; "but according to His mercy He saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." And then, as before, the Apostle proceeds to speak of the necessity of those who have gained this mercy excelling in "good works."

Such is St. Paul's testimony to the life-giving and justifying nature of the New Law; which, unlike the External Law, is not only perfect in itself and a standard of truth, but influential also, creative as well as living, "powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword;" or, in David's words, "perfect, converting the soul;" [Heb. iv. 12. Ps. xix. 7. James i. 21.] or, as St. James calls it, "the word of truth" through which we are begotten, "the engrafted word, which is able to save our souls." Accordingly, the last-mentioned Apostle also calls it "a royal Law," and "a Law of Liberty;" by which he seems to mean, that it is not an outward yoke, but an inward principle, a brighter and better conscience, so far as we have succeeded in realizing our evangelical state; a law indeed, but in the same general sense in which we speak of its being a law of the mind to rejoice in, love, or desire certain objects. It is henceforth the nature of the mind to love God; the Law of God is not a master set over us; it is ourselves, it is our will. Hence St. Paul says, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty;" and elsewhere he says, that "the Law is not made for a righteous man," not made for him, because he is the Law; he needs not a law to force him externally, who has the Law in his heart, and acts "not by constraint, but willingly," "not grudgingly, or of necessity," but from love.

And hence, moreover, it is that love is said to be the fulfilling of the Law, or righteousness; because being the one inward principle of life, adequate, in its fulness, to meet and embrace the range of duties which externally confront it, it is, in fact, nothing else but the energy and the representative of the Spirit in our hearts. Accordingly, St. Paul, describing the course of sanctification, begins it in faith but finishes it in love; "Faith, hope, charity," he says, "these three." Again, "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given us." Again, "the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned." [1 Cor. xiii. 13. Rom. v. 5. 1 Tim. i. 5. 1 John iv. 16.] And St. John, in like manner, "He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him." Love, then, being the perfection of religion, and Love being the fulfilling of the Law, to fulfil the Law is the summit of evangelical blessedness 

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