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is the inward witness of the conscience; what St. Paul felt when he said, “The life which I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God:” what he meant when he said, “We thus judge; that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live, should live no longer unto themselves, but unto him who died for them.” It is like, in this respect, our bodily life. Who can say, what it is, what it depends on But this we know, that we have in ourselves the power of thinking and of moving. So with respect to life unto God. We know, we feel that we live to him : that He is in all our thoughts, and all our actions; the desire of our hearts, and the purpose of our lives is to glorify him on earth, and to finish the work which he hath given us to do. This is the state of heart which must be the Christian's standard: without which he has “not attained, neither is already perfect.” They are the terms of the covenant to which he is engaged. In order that he may lice with Christ above, he must be dead with Christ below : sin must have no more dominion over him, as death had no more dominion over Christ, after that he had once paid the satisfaction to God's justice. Our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. And the service which sin has not, God must have; there must be a living, active, intelligent obedience to Him who claims it, and has a right to it: and it must be felt in our hearts within, and evidenced outwardly by our lives, that we are dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Gal. ii. 20. 2 2 Cor. v. 15.
THE TYRANNY OF SIN FROM WHICH THE CHRISTIAN IS DELIVERED.
RoMANs vi. 12–17.
12. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
14. For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
St. Paul had before used the example of death, and resurrection from death, to show how the Christian is recovered from sin, and devoted to God. He now uses another figure: that of power, rule, dominion. The Christian enters into God's service, and is freed from the tyranny of sin. Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body; neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin; but as instruments of righteousness unto God.
If any should argue, How can this be, when sin is our natural master, and the “law in our members brings us into captivity?” There is still an answer: Sin shall not have dominion over you : for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Ye are not under the law alone, which gave commandment,
but gave not power: ye are under grace; the promise of the Gospel is, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” So that “what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh,” is accomplished by the “grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ.”
Nature, however, is not easily subdued. Some might catch at the words, We are not under the law, but under grace; and ask, perverting their meaning, Why then need we be so strict and careful against “ the motions of sin which are in our members?” To whom he answers:
15. What then 2 shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace f God forbid.
Ye were baptized, as has been already shown, into the death of Christ. It is the basis of your faith, that he “gave his life a ransom,” to redeem you from sin, and from the consequences of sin. But ye are not redeemed from sin, if ye continue to serve sin.
16. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves ser
vants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness 2
Sin is here called a master, and said to rule. Yet some might ask, What is sin, which is here treated as a person? What is it but a name? Sin is that principle within us, in which the corruption of our fallen nature consists: that principle which is opposed to what is right, and, being right, is required of God. It appears in various forms: and in all those forms it rules. Pride is sin; and the vain, haughty, self-conceited man is the servant of pride. Malice is sin: and the envious, slanderous, revengeful man is the servant of malice. Covetousness is sin: and the dishonest, hard-hearted, extortionate man is ruled by covetousness. Intemperance is sin: and the man who indulges any of the bodily appetites beyond the rules which God prescribes, is the slave of intemperance. And we may see, by a few examples, how just the term is: how properly sin may be termed a master whom men obey and serve. Sin acted as a master over Joseph's brethren, at the time when they resolved, first, to kill him, and afterwards sold him as a slave to the travelling merchants who were providentially passing by." Joseph was advancing towards them. “And they said one to another: Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come, let us slay him.” What urged them to such a purpose? Envy, hatred, malice. Joseph was a better son than themselves, and therefore their father loved him better. God had intimated to him by a prophetic dream, that he should hereafter be lord over his brethren. Therefore “they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.” And these feelings mastered them, governed them. When opportunity was given, envy, hatred rise up in their hearts, and issue a command : “Now slay this dreamer.” They obeyed the impulse, though God had given a contrary command, and declared, “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” They despised the command of God, and followed the command of sin. And his servants ye are, whom ye obey. Again, sin acted as a master over Gehazi, the servant of Elisha.” His sin was of another form ; took the shape of covetousness. His master the prophet had been enabled to cure the Syrian officer Naaman of his leprosy. Naaman would have loaded him with valuable gifts in return. But Elisha was the servant of righteousness, and would receive none. Then it was that Gehazi's real master, the ruler of his heart, awoke as it were, and gave his orders. Now, Gehazi, is your opportunity. The prophet has spared Naaman, who would gladly have enriched him. Do you run after him, and take something from him. Gehazi willingly obeyed: and under false pretences carried back with him “two talents of silver, and two changes of garments:” took them up privately, and “bestowed them in the house.” What was this, but to be the slave of covetousness? His servants ye are, whom ye obey. The case of Pilate supplies another example. His ruler was ambition; love of popular favour, and worldly advancement. He saw the innocence of the Lord Jesus, who was brought before him. He was anxious “to release him.” His understanding showed him that the Jews were accusing Jesus out of envy: and his conscience warned him, that he ought to “have nothing to do with that just man:” not to be the instrument of Jewish malice.* Had he followed the dictates of his conscience, he would have set Jesus free. But just as he was on the point of dis
* Jer. xxxi. 33, compared with Heb. viii. 10. * Ch. viii. 3; John i. 17.