Review of "The Revelation of Law in Scripture"

J. N. Darby.

<45001E> {file section b.}

(Notes and Comments Vol. 5.)

{"The Revelation of Law in Scripture," by Patrick Fairbairn, D.D. The third series of the "Cunningham Lectures." Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 38, George Street. 1869.}

Page 272. 'The state of spiritual persons substantially the same under the Old Testament and the New'! 'Higher spirituality really in Romans 7'! 'Complicated and delicate relations between Moses and Christ, law and grace, through which the experience of believers may be said to lie.' The Apostle is not very delicate - you are an adulterer if you mix them, he says, and try to have both at a time, to say no more.

Page 273. 'There is a gradation only, not a contrast; and as under the old covenant the law-giving, was also the loving God, so under the new, the loving God is also the law-giving.' If it is a gradation only, there is no full final pardon possessed, so that the person is accepted "perfected for ever." The blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins. Romans 3 does not speak of past remission, but of remission, passing over in forbearance, and justice in doing it now manifested. There could be no remission really of sins but by the blood of Christ, and the righteousness not at all revealed, and, if real remission was by Christ's blood, there was no gradation. There were figures, and governmental forgiveness in details, forbearance (paresis) if you please, but righteousness in it was not revealed at all - it is, at this time. As to 'the transgression of the law being sin,' it is an abominable error against the most important declarations of Scripture. The call to holiness is not law, or if it be, a curse.

35 Page 274. 'St. Paul, in Galatians 5:13, 14, plainly identifies the love binding upon Christians with the love enjoined in the law.' Galatians teaches exactly the contrary. They wanted to be under law. Paul never showed such anguish as at this, and tells them that walking in love the Law was fulfilled, that they had to walk in the Spirit, and there was no law against it, and if they did they were not under it. The question is not whether the new man 'delights in the law and serves it,' but whether the Christian is under it, and whether it is by it he does love his neighbour.

Page 275. It is quite impossible to read Paul and believe we are under the Law. Nobody dreams we are not to obey, or may steal and murder. The question is, Are we under law? But it is not the Law which is dead. "We are dead to sin by the body of Christ," and that delivers us from sin, not the Law. We are sanctified to obedience. Paul gives no 'colour' to anything, but plainly and largely reasons on the point that the Law has power over a man as long as he lives, but that we are dead. Ephesians 5 merely appeals to the Law to show the importance God attached to that duty, motive and all. He does not say 'There is a sense in which we are not under it,' but that 'we are not under it at all,' and that we are under a curse if we are under works of law. And the passages are not isolated passages, but long reasonings as to the nature of Christianity, salvation, and holiness.

Page 276. 'That covenant of law, as actually proposed and settled by God, did not stand opposed to grace, but in subordination to grace, as revealed in a prior covenant, whose spiritual ends it was designed to promote.' This is bad. Either there are two covenants, the old and the new - "the first" and "the second" - or else it is the promise to Abraham, and then it is declared nothing could be added to it, that the Law had no place at all, came in by the bye, for an extra purpose, and there was an end of it.

Page 277. As usual, we have merely duty to man and God as the whole measure of Christian practice. But I notice it here because it is accompanied with what shows the total ignorance of the truth on these points, which characterises the doctrine of the book, 'that law of God which revealed His righteousness for their direction and obedience.' This betrays the whole system. Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel, because therein the righteousness of God was revealed; Romans 1, so chap. 3:20, 21, in formal and express contrast with the Law (v. 20). "But now the righteousness of God without the law" (choris nomou) "is manifested"; so verse 26, "To declare at this time his righteousness." It is as plain as possible. And further (p. 278), 'The heart's innate tendency to alienation from God continued still to proceed in the face of the commands and threatenings of law.' This is all ignorance of the essential truth of the Gospel. 'It is this great question that the Apostle chiefly treats in the larger proportion of the passages referred to.' But 'larger' or smaller, does not the Apostle also treat of the Law as to practical godliness, and deliverance from the power of sin? In the Romans this is far more fully developed in chapter 5:11 to chapter 8. 'It is of the law in this point of view, that he speaks of it as a minister of death - of believers being no longer married to it or under it.' As to being married to it being in its condemning character, it is wholly and utterly false. It is deliverance, not pardon, nor righteousness. It is expressly that we may bring forth fruit to God, we are "to another." A husband has nothing to do with condemnation. It is all the grossest ignorance of the truth. Working concupiscence is not pronouncing condemnation. The motions of sin were by the Law - sin was dead, sin revived; there is nothing of condemnation. And even "dead to law by law" in Galatians, is not to escape condemnation, but that we "might live to God." These quotations and statements on the face of them condemn the whole system. 'The end of the law for righteousness,' he says, 'is its reaching its proper aim in Christ.' This, though I do not insist on it, is also a blunder on the face of it, for Christ makes us reach its proper aim, not it, but I do not agree with the interpretation, but I do not treat it here. Again 'The moral law is done away' - the Law is done away for the sake of having morality by Christ. How our being 'delivered from it that we may be brought into conformity,' etc., proves its 'eternal validity,' is hard to say. It had to be set aside because it could not produce this conformity but the contrary. It required it, but the Law did not make it right (Adam's law did) but required it because it was right, but, being totally unable to effect it, was set aside, i.e., the Law had not any validity. Further, another thing was to produce what it could not do; but it is the common confusion of the writer. How being delivered from a thing can prove its 'eternal validity' is indeed hard to say.

37 Page 280. When he says: 'What was little more than hope before is realisation now,' is promise not law. Next, 'In a prior covenant of grace, it was linked to penalties, which admitted of no suspension or repeal.' Was ever such confusion? There was no covenant of grace. It was life on man's responsibility. Deliverance from Egypt was not only not a covenant of law, but no covenant at all, but a supreme act of power on God's part. All this is a fable. 'It was,' he says, 'educational; and in the same farm only that St. Paul, in various places, in Galatians, Ephesians 2:14-17; and Colossians 2:14-23 contended for its having been displaced or taken out of the way by the work of Christ - he refers to the simply moral demands of the law as now, not less than formerly, binding on the consciences of men, to prevent any misunderstanding.' Here he refers to Galatians 5:13-22. It is a perverseness of mind which is extraordinary. The Galatians wanted to be under law. "Ye have been called unto liberty"; i.e., in grace, not law - Sarah, not Hagar. "Only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." How to be got at? "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." And then, "But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." This sets, he tells us, 'temporary adjuncts and shows under the law, which maintains all its force as to moral things; Eph. 6:1-9; Col. 3:14.' Now here only moral things are spoken of, and we are not under it. We are to walk in the Spirit, and then what the Law condemned will not be there, but by our not being under it at all. Ephesians 6:1-9 has nothing to do with the Law, good or bad, except the passage already referred to. What Colossians 3:14, has to say to it must be left to Dr. Fairbairn to find out. The passage speaks of putting off the old man and putting on the new, which is just what the Law had nothing to do with.

Page 282. He is quite right as to 'how the practice was to be secured,' when he says 'the law's precepts could not do it,' for he teaches us it was not to be secured by law but by grace. Sin had dominion under law, and God's method was to make us dead, which put a total end to our connection with the Law, but, besides, adds an infinitely increased measure of godliness - the character of God in redemption. But what follows here is monstrous. He says: 'Now there came the more excellent way of the Gospel - the revelation of that love which is the fulfilling of the law, in the person of the New Head of humanity.' So sovereign love and grace in God and in Christ is fulfilling the Law! Where did the Law require a man to sacrifice himself for another, and bear his curse? Is God's love loving His neighbour as Himself? He says: 'Love was the reason of the law,' but love on a level or upwards, not love downwards, love to sinners, not giving up self. Again, 'Love is the best interpreter of God,' but it is God's free love, not duty, love to sinners. 'The law of eternal rectitude' - but eternal rectitude is not law. It is the gross blunder of not seeing duty or obligation before law, and, in law, authority imposing it. Christ was no 'Head of humanity' till after His death. Perfect as He was, the Corn of Wheat abode alone - no link could be formed; just as Adam was no head of a race till after his fall - nor Christ till redemption was accomplished. But this closed the application of the Law, by the death of its willing Victim, for all those who have part in Him. It is this that Dr. Fairbairn is wholly ignorant of. God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, did what the Law could not do, no doubt, and the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free, and thereby the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us, but not by applying the Law, but in us who "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." That is, the Law, which was a specific, well-known system of imposed righteousness, could not produce the effect, and God did it in another way - and that 'proves we are under it'! But even here, we have none of the higher forms of Christianity, but only that what the Law could not do grace did. The counsels of God are not in the doctrinal statements of the Romans at all, but only individual justification and life, save just one link at the very end of them, to secure the believer; chap. 8:28-30. And here we have nothing to do with law, but God for us - not what we ought to be.

38 It is wearying incessantly to repeat that law is not the good that law proposes, but a form of imposing it on man who will not obey it, flesh not being subject to it. He says: 'Subject to the good' - to what good? It is simply bad in will, but is not subject to the Law of God, nor can be.

39 Pages 284, 285. These pages are just showing that law does not even answer the purpose, or meet the end Dr. Fairbairn proposes, and that the Spirit in His directive influence is Himself a living law. But here, as he states it, he is wrong, for without the written Word it opens the door to all fanaticism. But his principle of then bringing in law is directly against the positive assertion of Scripture - as for example: "If ye be led of the Spirit ye are not under the law" - and only an exhibition of the gross moral confusion of making duty and its imposition by law the same thing.

Page 288. 'This is the love of God, in order that we may keep His commandments - hina tas enlolas autou teromen - not that we do it as a fact, but that we may and should do it as a scope or aim. In so far as these are kept, does the love of God in us reach its proper destination.' He is wrong as to hina; John's use of it is wholly peculiar. The love of God will make us obey, and that is the genuine proof of love, but to say it is 'its destination' is most miserable. "We love him, because he first loved us."

Page 290. 'A condition of righteousness for which the law is not ordained, 1 Tim. 1:9. Not only not the world at large, but not even the most Christian nation in the world, has as yet approached such a condition.' It is not for a righteous man at all, and for every evil most useful for convicting of sin, and so used lawfully. But 'the world at large, or even the most Christian nation' - what does he mean? His first point is not so and as the Law it works wrath. The second is all well. 'The Law provides what is needed to work conviction of shortcomings and sins,' etc.

The third is very bad. 'The imperfections too commonly cleaving to the work of grace in the redeemed, call for a certain coercive influence of law even for them, and for believers generally the two are thus mingled together. 'Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire.' Godly fear is not law, and fear and trembling, because God works in us in such a warfare, is not law.

Page 297. I do not much note this chapter. But 'The number of those within the Church whose preparation for the kingdom of God had been imperfect,' marks the same ignorance of grace and power. Also 'For centuries there was no specific theological training generally adopted for such as aspired to become her guides in spiritual things.'

40 Page 366. He carefully avoids defining law, but placet . . . quoniam, etc., ante definire quid sit officium (as the whole discussion will be about moral duty, the meaning of the term must be defined beforehand).

I have given in these notes a definition of it. I repeat it in substance. It is the rule of a constant course to be pursued, imposed by competent authority, and in the case of a moral, subordinate being, where another will is or may be in question, and is tested, enforced by sanction expressed or implied. If the nature and the prescribed rule go unquestionably together, then a sanction is not needed. It is a law of liberty. The Law is in the heart; so Christ; so even the Jews under the new covenant. When it is applied to material things, then the constant rule is imposed by power. These variations come from the difference of that to which the rule applies. The truth is, the imposition of a moral law, as to enforcing existing relationships, supposes a resisting will.

When he speaks of the promise, on which individual believers rested, modifying the Law, he introduces a principle which falsifies his book from one end to the other, and destroys the power and value of law. His only resource then is to contravene the Apostle's urgent statements.

Page 368. He is wrong in everything. Referring to 2 Corinthians 3, he says, 'Passing over the two or three earlier verses which call for no special consideration, the apostle, after stating at the close of verse 5 that his sufficiency was of God, adds, "who also has made us sufficient to be ministers," (not, as in the authorised version, "made us able ministers"), that is has qualified us for the work of ministers of the new covenant.' The first verses are all important. They contrast the Law and the Spirit - the very thing he will not do. He is obliged to come back to them, as essential, lower down. It is the whole point of the chapter, verses 7-10 being a parenthesis. But, further, the absence of the article is not 'the sign of a well-known thing,' it is its presence which is - it makes the word characteristic. Paul was a new-covenant minister, i.e., the new covenant characterised his ministry. So, "not of letter but of Spirit." So gramma and pneuma are essentially contrasted. Dr. Fairbairn's remarks here are puerile. He says: 'As letters are but the component parts of words, we may apply here what our Lord Himself affirmed of His words, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."' Hence without pointing to any contrast between old and new, or outward and inward, we find Justin Martyr saying, in proof of the essential divinity of the Son and Spirit, 'Hear the passage.' No doubt letters compose words, but "Not of letter, but of the spirit" so contrasted is essential contrast. One sees now why he skims over the first verses, because there 'outward and inward' are specifically contrasted - one being writing Christ by the Spirit of the living God on the heart, in contrast with that on tables. I do not hold it to be 'merely Old Testament,' but letter and Spirit - the kind of ministry and work. He uses the Old Testament here, but he is not a minister of letter in it.

41 Page 369. 'A contrariety between Rabbinism and Christianity. Christianity demanded conversion, Rabbinism satisfied itself with instruction; Christianity insisted on a state of mind, Rabbinism on legality,' etc., etc. Rabbinism or Christianity! It is curious how in this contrast Christ and the revelation of Christ (the whole subject of the Apostle) is wholly left out. 'The will of God a state of mind'! Anything but Him. And he does not see, while I agree it is not old in contrast with new, that letter, if more than a history, is always law, or claim outside us. The Apostle is using the Old Testament here, but making the contrast of Christ, whom Dr. Fairbairn leaves wholly out, and Christ graven by the Holy Ghost on the heart, with ink and tables of stone. Glad tidings never can be law, nor law glad tidings. The Law was ordained for life in saying, "Do and live," but man being what he was, when known as spiritual and not till then was death. In Christ, or the Gospel, when known spiritually death - the letter always kills. Paul's ministry could be a savour to death, because to some it was rejected mercy - a rejected Christ. But the Law, spiritually known, and, as I have said, so only indeed, was death in the conscience.

Page 372. He does not know where he is. He says, 'The law, contemplated in the spirit of Rabbinism, is called a ministration of death, because, in its native tendency and operation, certain to prove the occasion of death.' I agree it is as Romans 7, but if 'the law in its native tendency and operation was certain to prove the occasion of death,' it did not want Rabbinism to make it so. It is too powerful for him to get rid of. The criticisms here are immaterial - 'the ministration of death in the letter, should be ministration of death engraved in letters.' Nor do I the least agree with the view of what regards Moses' face; Exodus 34:34 is, I think, quite conclusive, and indeed the whole passage. Dr. Fairbairn says, 'The shining gradually vanished away, till brightened up afresh be renewed intercourse with Heaven.' But it is immaterial. The Law as given of God, and His glory reflected in it as far as it could be, was a ministration of death and condemnation 'in its native tendency and operation.' And Moses was asked to hide the glory. But the Apostle's or Gospel ministry was righteousness, and the Spirit which was received by the hearing of faith, and the Law is not of faith.

42 Page 374. The Apostle (2 Cor. 3:8), is clearly speaking of the Spirit, though in His power of engraving Christ on the heart, and giving its true power to the Old Testament in the soul. Dr. Fairbairn would make it 'spirit,' not 'Holy Ghost,' and cites Galatians 3:5. But there also it is clearly "the Spirit" itself; but of this Dr. F. can know nothing on his system. What is "The Spirit of the living God," verse 3? He says, 'He who ministereth to you the Spirit, points not to the apostle as a minister of the new covenant, but to God or Christ: it is He alone who can minister, in the sense of bestowing the Holy Spirit.' But, "Received ye the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith?" makes Dr. F.'s interpretation flat nonsense. And what is "The Lord the Spirit "by his own translation?

Page 375. This page is somewhat curious. He says, citing verses 9, 10, 'The law in the letter is here presented in its condemnatory, instead of its killing, aspect. Accordingly on the other side righteousness is exhibited as the counterpart brought in by the Gospel.' The Law, man being what he is, is condemnation as before death. The Gospel brings in righteousness. Dr. F. does not tell us what righteousness, but no matter. One brings death and condemnation - the other, righteousness. Why, that is all - we say. And Dr. F. cannot help it, for there it is. I only remark, it was not Rabbinism. That did not shine in the face of Moses. It was, as given of God, pure, and coming with all the glory it could have as coming from Him; and, further, with all the mercy that could come with it from sovereign goodness - all God's goodness, not being redemption and atonement. The first time Moses came, we hear nothing of his face shining - the Law never got, purely as such, into the camp at all. Now God retired into His own sovereign mercy (on Moses' intercession), speaks to Moses face to face, and then, making him go up again, makes all His goodness pass before him - only He will not justify the guilty, as Moses could not also make intercession for them. It was still law. That is, all-patient mercy, and pardon as a present thing with law maintained, was condemnation and death. There it stands out, with no Rabbinism, no false interpretation, but law, set up by God in the glory it came in from Him, is death and condemnation. If I see the glory in the face of Jesus Christ, it is when He has borne my sins, and though the glory of God in all its brightness is the proof of my salvation and brings me there, that is what Dr. Fairbairn has not seen.

43 Page 376. Here is only to remark the laborious effort to get rid, from his own premises, as what could not be, of what the Apostle formally says was. It was the Law given by God - no mistake - were it not, it could not condemn, nor give death. The glory was shown in the face of Moses. It was not the relationships the Decalogue sanctioned, but the Law which sanctioned them which was done away, and specifically so graven on stones - was not that the Law taking in, no doubt, the whole system, as he has often said that was the centre, for the whole system was what was to be done away - it was not the Law, but law which was established by faith, but not as a system under which man was then put, for the Law is not of faith, and Christianity did establish fully its authority, but showed it was death and condemnation. And Christ bearing the curse, nothing could so seal its authority, and the claim and title of God in it, but did not put us under it, but took us from under it when we were. Now we are delivered from the Law, having died in that in which we were held, are dead to the Law by the body of Christ, the Law ruling only while life lasts. He says: 'The law if viewed in its proper connection, and kept in the place designed for it by the lawgiver.' What was its proper connection and character, if not when given by Moses directly from God, with his face shining? 'Moses declares,' he tells us, 'if the people hearkened to it they should live.' No doubt if - but flesh is not "subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." Christ told the young man so, then detected his heart, and, when His disciples wondering said to Him, 'Then no one can be saved,' He assented saying, "With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Ah! When will man believe it? His reason is strange - he says: 'The law could only be the occasion of more certain and hopeless perdition to men.' So that if a man kept a law of perfect love to God, and one's neighbour as oneself, why should not he live? Of course he would! But it could only be the cause of perdition, which the Apostle therefore calls "A ministration of death and condemnation." If it was 'imaged in Moses,' why was it to pass away?

44 As to law being established 'in relation to the antecedent covenant of promise,' it is a useless effort to argue against Scripture. A confirmed promise none can annul or add to. It could not be tacked on to it, says the Apostle; on the contrary, "Cast out the bondwoman and her son."

Page 378. 'The direct object of the veil on Moses' face was to conceal from the view of the people the gradual waning and disappearance of the supernatural brightness of his skin.' Besides what I have said, the whole argument of the Apostle rests on the glory being hid in Moses' case - he veiled it that they should not see to the end of it. There is no veil on the glory of Christ. The rest is all immaterial, though all wrong. Moses was veiled - the glory is not, in Christ the veil is gone, but is on their hearts. When the Jews turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away from their hearts, and the object of the Old Testament clear, just as Moses took it off when he turned to the Lord. It is a most beautiful allusion, and the force of the passage perfectly clear.

Page 380. His remarks on verse 14 are all nonsense. He says 'It was an imperfect state of things and involved a measure of blame; but the blame lay with the people, not with Moses.' Nobody says it was Moses' fault. The people could not bear the Law with the least revelation of God's glory, or that glory so revealed have rested in the letter, and did not see Christ in it. The glory was always, though an imperfect reflection of it, behind the veil, but, the system being legal, the glory of God in any way was intolerable to man - the veil was hence on it - in Christ it is taken away, but rests yet on Israel's heart, who see not the glory of Christ in the Word. But all he says is wrong - the veil is not now on the glory, but on Israel's heart. 'Moses practising reserve,' is all nonsense. Israel could not bear to see, and the entire veiling of the glory is the statement. Now they are blinded, not the glory veiled. What is done away is shown by the open, unveiled face in Christ. No doubt the old covenant is done away, or the veil would still be there. But, alas! it is still sadly on Dr. Fairbairn. As to mere transition, I have no objection to 'not being unveiled to them,' that 'it' (the covenant) 'is done away in Christ.' But that is the Covenant of the Law. I believe verse 7 does refer to verse 6. And katoptrizomenoi, is not I believe a mirror, save in etymology, at all; but seeing fully into the glory as a man sees himself in a mirror, just as he is seen clearly and fully - himself - so we the glory. But on all this I have no contest. But the quotation from Philo (neither would I see mirrored in any other), fully proves the sense I give to katoptrizomai.

45 Page 383. 'The Gospel reveals what He is and has done, and thereby unfolds His glory.' 'What He is and has done, and thereby,' shows Dr. F. has not seized the present glory in which Christ is, as Paul saw Him, as the present thing revealed, result of work though possessed before the world was. He says, 'We are transformed into the same image, namely, of Christ's glory seen in the mirror of His Gospel' - but it is "the gospel of his glory." Paul's doctrine Dr. F. has not an idea of.

Page 386. The sense of ean me as elsewhere, is 'nor in any way but.'

Page 388. This is all delusion too, 'Peter having gone as a sinner to Christ for justification, and still finding himself in the condition of a sinner, had fallen back again upon observances of law for what was needed. Could Christ possibly in such a way be a minister of sin? For, if failing thus to remove its guilt, in behalf of those who trusted in Him, He necessarily ministered to its interests.' Why if Christ failed to justify, did He 'minister to the interests of sin?' The Law failed to justify - did it 'minister to the interests of sin'? Me genoito. It is what Dr. F. is writing against; and if that were all, I agree. The whole thing is plain. If he built again the things he destroyed, he made himself a transgressor in destroying them. If he went back to the Law after Christ, he was wrong in leaving the Law to go to Him, and Christ had made him do it and transgress. That was the horrid absurdity. As to ara, the ancient MSS. have not accents; it is a question of interpretation.

46 Page 389. By law he died to law, but what does 'in the interest of the law he died to it' mean? The Law killed him, but then he was dead to it. Nothing simpler - save me from commentators! But if that were all, he was condemned as well as dead, and the real way of it was he was crucified with Christ. So sin had died, for he, the sinner in flesh, was dead, yet he lived, but not he, but Christ who is risen in him. When will these people understand?

Pages 392, 393. We have now what shows one side of the total failure, in divine truth, of the whole system, where even persons little spiritually enlightened have seen it. He says the Law 'making sin into a transgression so that what was before not a transgression might now become one, is a somewhat arbitrary distinction, as if sin and transgression differed materially from each other.' Clearly the commandment turned sin into transgression. My child may have a bad habit of running out, but if I forbid him it is a transgression, a despising my authority. Thus sin by the commandment became exceeding sinful. It could not if it was not there before it. But there is no excuse here. He owns anomia means lawlessness, but says 'it equals transgression.' But lawlessness does not mean transgression, nor does anomia (lawlessness) mean parabasis nomou (transgression of law). So little is this the case that those who have sinned anomos (lawless) are contrasted with those who have sinned under law, and the result is different - those are said to perish, these to be judged by law. Law cannot create sin, nor God do anything to produce it. But law does produce transgression, and it is positively said "the law entered that the offence might abound," and then to reach out where no law was, but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Where no law is, there is no transgression, but he carefully proves that sin was in the world until the Law, and it is his ground for insisting that grace must reach therefore where law was not, taking Adam and Christ, not Moses. Further, there is no real doubt of the sense of charin (for the sake of). He cannot insist on the explanation of the Fathers for the word, when he admits that the passage proves them wrong, so that he does not venture to take it so. The doctrine is what they are all afraid of foolishly. They would have it, 'The law was given, that the Jews might not be allowed to live without check, and glide into the extreme of wickedness,' etc., etc.

47 Page 394. All these things are arguing against the Apostle. He says: 'While the covenant of promise was in a provisional state, travelling on to its accomplishment, the law was needed and was given as an outstanding revelation; but when the more perfect state of things pointed to in the promise entered, the other would cease to occupy the place which had previously belonged to it.' Added for transgressions till the Seed should come, and then no longer under it, says the Apostle - means 'should cease to occupy the place which had previously belonged to it,' says Dr. Fairbairn. As to verse 20, he is substantially right.

Page 397. 'The Apostle had said that the covenant of grace or promise bestowed life.' But he had not said the promise gave life, but "The just shall live by faith," and in the previous chapter he says, "Christ lives in me" - not promise - and when he lives by faith on Him objectively; crucified with Him, not man living by promises. The nearest to it is 2 Peter 1:4 But this only shows his confusion, the little sense of a real communication of life. It is a figure. What the Apostle is at is, if it could have given life, righteousness should have been by it. Dr. F. says: 'If a law were given which could have given life, means a law which could, or, a law such as could possess the power of giving life.'

Page 399. I doubt the sense of eis, but have no contest on it. He says: 'Verse 22, The eis, for, - for the faith which was going to be revealed - is to be taken ethically, denoting the aim or destination which the law, in this respect, was intended to serve: to the intent, that we should pass over into the state of faith.' But the point of the Apostle is that Christ being come, or faith, we are no longer under it at all, but under another person - the Law being personified. It is not the fact of life or not - they were heirs (believers under law) but no better than slaves who had their bidding to do. But they were under Another now.

Page 401. But here he is all wrong still. He says: 'The heir, during the period of his childhood, because wanting the mind necessary to make the proper use of the inheritance, is placed under guardians and stewards, in a virtual position of servitude, till the time set by his father for his entering on the possession. Of quite a similar nature, the Apostle affirms, was the state of men in pre-Christian times: We too, says he, identifying himself with them, when we were children, were kept in bondage under the rudiments of the world.' It is neither 'the state of men,' nor 'entering into possession.' We have nothing of the inheritance but the earnest. And it is, in either case, heirs - believers; but the Jewish believer under law, and the Christian become a son. Judaism was altogether the rudiments of the world adapted to man alive here - the Decalogue itself even - but the whole system of days, sacrifices, ordinances, so that after the Cross, where the history of the first man was finished morally (at the end of the world) to return to them, when no longer figures, was to return to heathenism; Gal. 4:8-10. Chrysostom and Theodoret we may leave in the sun and the moon; he says they held the festivals were 'ruled by the course of the sun and moon.'

48 Page 403. If ever a man knew how to ruin the beauty of Scripture, and the force of the Spirit's arguments, it is this man. He says: 'The threatenings of the Law against sin, relate to Gentile as well as Jew; and no otherwise was redemption possible for mankind than by our Lord's perfect submission, in their behalf, to its demands and penalties.' The whole gist of the Apostle's argument is that they, Gentiles, wanted to put themselves under law. The Apostle shows that not only was Christ born a man, for men, of a woman, where sin had come in, but under law to redeem and deliver them that were under it, where they were wanting to put themselves. And all is swamped in Gentiles being under it as much as Jews. It is really deplorable. 'The heart and substance of the requirements of Sinai, or the law, belonged to man as man'! A revelation - and I suppose the Law at Sinai was a revelation - belongs to those to whom it was sent. It was not sent to the Gentiles. So the Apostle says, "The Gentiles, not having law, are a law unto themselves." All this is nothing for the legalist - he must have his theory, and know better than God how to deal with man. Besides, before, there was grace in it, God having redeemed Israel out of Egypt. Had he redeemed the Gentiles too?

Again, 'The spiritual union through faith of the soul with Christ.' Union is not through faith itself; but that is a common error, but one flowing from not believing in the Spirit - one great spring of all this. It is not 'The Spirit of sonship' as he quotes, but "The Spirit of his Son."

Romans 3:20 says exactly the contrary to what Dr. F. says. Having proved all Gentiles sinners by other proofs - Creation, and the knowledge they had of God - he takes up the Law, and says (so Dr. F. admits, page 409, or rather proves), look at that character, "not one righteous," etc. Now by your own pretensions, what the Law says it says to those under it - there is your mouth, and so every mouth stopped. If the Apostle had told the Jews that the Gentiles had the Law, and so were proved guilty, they would have laughed in his face, so much the rather that he had just been insisting on their privileges, and the chief, the oracles of God, and shown the Gentiles sinning without law, and so perishing, while those under it would be judged by it - a distinction without a difference, and all labour in vain on Dr. F.'s theory. How easy, if only this theory had been set up, to convince the Gentiles and prove them without excuse! But God was too wise and holy to convict them by that which they had not got. God may use it now in wielding it as a sword to the conscience, but not hold guilty under it those that had not got it.

49 Page 404. Citing Galatians 5:13-15, he says: 'For ye were called for freedom, called that you might be free' - epi with the dative, is the condition characteristic of the thing; but that is no matter. The only pity is that he did not go on to verses 16-18, which upset his whole argument, de fond en comble. He says: 'Though the external bond and discipline of the law is gone, its spirit ever lives, and the law speaks as much as ever to the conscience of the believer.'

Page 405. Romans 2:13-15, is a parenthetic paragraph by itself. But why add to Scripture. The Word and Spirit say absolutely "Without law" - Dr. F. says, 'Without the written law' - why add 'written'? Law does not bring in justification in the Christian faith - we are justified by faith, not by works of law which bring a curse - but that a man who keeps the Law is justified, of course he is, which a hearer and breaker is not, nothing can be more simple. That any kept it (save the Lord) is another question. The absence of the article in both cases makes it characteristic.

Page 407. 'Law-doing arises from the impulse and energy of the moral faculty, naturally implanted in man,' i.e., in those cases Gentiles acted under conscience not law.

Page 409. 'Whatever the law says concerning sin and transgression, it speaks or addresses to those who are in it; that is who stand within its bonds and obligations . . . . Primarily to them, though by no means exclusively.' But it is carefully proved to be only to Jews, and clearly - and then Dr. F. says, 'but not exclusively.' What a testimony to the system! Paul, the Word as he shows, refers it to Jews. Dr. F. reasons thereupon to show on his reasons why it is to others too. And it is monstrous that the charges of the Law should a fortiori be applied to those who had not the Law to enlighten them. It is impossible to read a greater moral perversion. He says, 'If the law could pronounce charges of guilt on those who had the advantage of its light, how much more (a fortiori) might like charges be brought against those who lived beyond its pale!' And just see the reason, 'What the Law says, it says to those under the Law' (i.e., not to others) 'that every mouth may be stopped.' And to make the absurdity more evident Dr. F. will have 'in order that every mouth may be stopped, Jew as well as Gentile, and Gentile as well as Jew, and all the world become liable to punishment with God,' etc. God has given His law to Jews, that Gentiles, who have not got it, may have their mouth stopped, and all the world become liable to punishment for what they had never heard! Could moral absurdity go further? I agree with "in order that," but it makes his reasoning absurd. Nor does faith in the Person of Christ need such preparation. Itself produces conviction, though the other be most legitimate and useful. Faith in His work it would. But John 16 proves the assertion false, and the reasoning that Gentiles are without excuse. Natural conscience, law, or Christ may all be used. He says: 'Where the law failed to produce conviction of sin, and a sense of deserved condemnation, there also failed the requisite preparation for the faith of Christ, and still continues to do so.'

50 Of course this sets him all wrong (page 410) as to the dioti (because); Rom. 3:20. "Because" or "therefore" makes little matter. It is a resumption of the whole matter as the Apostle's illatives often are, and the real cause is summed up in the "for" (gar) which follows. His own mind resumes the whole with, "Because" (I tell you all this, applying the Law to those who pretend the most, and to have righteousness, and be justified by it, because) "by works of law shall no flesh be justified"; for just see what it does - it is the means of knowing sin. Does making a man's conscience guilty justify him? Only it is law in principle, and as often shown, continually with the Apostle, because it is a principle, only the exhibition of the principle was essentially at Sinai.

51 Pages 412-414. I have nothing to object to here, save the generalities of the system. Romans 5:12 to chap. 8, I can consider in its place.

Page 415. Romans 5:12. The "wherefore" connects itself, I do not doubt, with what immediately precedes, as verses 6 and 11. But it is, as constantly in Paul, a recommencing another part of the subject, or the general principle of what follows. Half his "Fors" (gar) are not immediately illative, but from the state of the general subject in his mind giving a new aspect of it. So "Wherefore" here (dia touto, for this [cause]). The point is to bring not personal faults imputable, but the state of men, to which individual faults have been added, and by law offences. It is not what I have done, but what and where I am - "I know that in me," not "I know all have sinned." One is culpability, the other condition through the head (each adding his own sins). It is clear that Adam's sin is the procuring cause of death, not only it is said in Genesis, but clearly stated here, but that does not decide the sense of eph ho (for that), i.e., whether it is an additional thought, or only refers back. "For that all have sinned" may be in Adam (as Levi paid tithes in Abraham), or it may be what characterises themselves, though not the original cause. "For that" (eph ho) is not the original cause, or causa causans. We are called "to" (epi) sanctification, not the cause of our call, but what is involved in and characterises it. It has nothing to do with Pelagianism. What he says on verse 13, takes the ground he calls Pelagianism. He says: 'Plainly, it is the relation of mankind to Adam in his sinfulness, not their own personal sin, which is asserted to be the procuring cause of death to mankind; and hence the absolute universality of death, the sin that caused it being in God's reckoning the sin of humanity, and the wages of that sin, consequently men's common heritage.'

"Who had not sinned after," etc., is a quotation from Hosea 6:7. They, like Adam have transgressed the covenant; Israel had - up to the Law they had not, but sin and death were there, all the same, from Adam to Moses, only it could not be specifically put to account (ouk ellogeitai) as transgression, when there is no law (me ontos nomou), no law existing which forbad it. They perished without law (anomos), and in their state, and acts, were without excuse. Law and ellogeitai are the correlatives. Sin was there and death proved it, law not existing - they had not, like Adam, transgressed a covenant, nor like Israel. Dr. F. is simply, as usual, arguing against the Apostle. Why from Adam to Moses only, if it was not a question of law or not? Are there not children now, and under the law of Moses over whom death reigned? All this is theology. Hence, when he says, 'Before the law as well as after it' (page 418), he shows he has got off the Apostle's ground altogether, for he says "until the law," which has no sense but by contrast of law, and makes 'as well as after it' nonsense as to the argument. And the "nevertheless" (alla - 'a strong adversative,' says Dr. F.) proves that it is not 'two reasons, sin and death,' but though sin is not put to account (ellogeitai) no law existing, nevertheless death proved sin was there. Man was ruined and perished in sin, far from God, though there was no law to make specific imputation. They were all guilty and without excuse. The "For that" (eph ho) referring to each is not affected by the question of children more than chapter 3:23. The rest of this section is partly wrong partly right, but nothing to remark. Condemnation, or judgment, is for sins, not for sin - these are judged according to the deeds done in the body, besides that we are all perishing, ruined, far from God, wrath on us, and just wrath. I do not doubt myself that all children dying, as such, are saved, but by Christ, according to Matthew 18.

52 Page 419. This is a mere sophism arising from taking 'reckoned' in two senses - "reckoned sin" means considered as such, sin reckoned is put to account as such. But in the sense of Dr. F.'s sentence Paul does not speak of it at all. He says: 'Paul is speaking, not of degrees of culpability, but of what might or might not be reckoned sin, and, as such, deserving of death.' Instead of the difference of hamartia (sin) and parabasis (transgression) being merely verbal, it is of immense importance as distinguishing a principle working in us, which transgression (parabasis) can never be; when used for an actual sin, it may or may not be, at least taking parabasis as being parabasis nomou (transgression of law). Sins may be without law (anomos) the Apostle tells us, or under law, en nomo; but hamartia (sin) is used for that which produces (kateirgasato) lust (epithumian). But of all this Dr. F. understands absolutely nothing. Nor is it a question of 'less culpable,' though that be in some respects true (Luke 12:47, 48), but of particular putting to account where there is no commandment or law. The only question here is, is hamartia (sin) simply the root or evil nature, as in the general argument of this part of Romans, or, this being then the general idea, that there is not putting to account as a forbidden thing, though the thing - sin - be there? More, I apprehend, the latter, but I leave the question there; compare chapter 7:7, reading "But," not "Nay." It is not here a question of the government of God, as the Deluge, or mark on Cain, but the formal ground of God's reckoning with man. That all are guilty is clear, and have sinned, and will be judged, if not cleansed, in that day when God judges the secrets of the heart.

53 Hodge's statement, 'If there is no sin without law, there can be no imputation of sin. As, however, sin was imputed as men were sinners, it follows there must be some more comprehensive law in virtue of which they were so regarded and treated,' is a mere petitio principii, that there is no sin without law. Indeed there is no logic in the sentence, for he again takes for granted that sin was imputed, but the parts do not hang together. He really is proving that there is a law. His proof is - 'sin was imputed' - the other part should be, 'but no sin is imputed without law, therefore there was a law,' but that is not the other part, but 'there is no sin without law' which proves nothing, but assumes all in question, for all admit there was sin between Adam and Moses. Consequently, the second part is useless, for if sin proves law, there is no need to bring in imputation. Whatever it means, the Apostle says, "It is not imputed where there is no law." The reasoning is this: No sin without law, if no sin otherwise, therefore no law, no imputation, but there is imputation, therefore there is sin, i.e., there is law. But this first begs the question as to sin and law. Next the Apostle's statement is, "Sin was in the world, but no imputation, because no law" (me ontos nomou) absolutely. Further as already quoted, he speaks of sinning (anomos), justly translated "without law," for they perish anomos. Only Hodge, it appears, makes it Adam's sin. But Dr. F.'s answer is none - 'all sinned in Adam.' It is no proof that sin was in the world from Adam to Moses, and since. That is a proof that they sinned out of Adam. But, apart also from them, death has reigned, but if it was for Adam's sin, it was no proof that sin was in the world, unless it were Adam's sin, with Dr. Hodge. It is the fruit of attempting to get out of or into a passage the contrary of what it teaches. Verses 15-17 are an appeal if grace should not be as large as sin, or larger, including offences brought in by law, but reaching out as by one offence to all (though not in result) by one righteousness.

54 Page 420. The middle paragraph is all well; also from verses 13-17 is the parenthesis. The result is this: the Apostle, here speaking of ways and dispensations, is insisting that you must go up to the two heads (the Law only coming in by the bye) that sin was in the world by Adam when the Law was not there, and that the grace and gift by grace must go as wide or wider. And this is used to show that the Law, or a law, must have been there all the time! Whereas the very point as to law is, that all really resting on the two great heads, the Law merely came in by the bye, for a specific object between the two, that object being, Paul says, to make the offence abound. Dr. Fairbairn says not. Paul, making carefully still the difference between the existence of sin and the Law, says the Law entered that the offence might abound, but where sin abounded (which was where every child of Adam was, and not merely under law come in by the bye) grace might much more abound. Certainly it was not to produce sins, but it was in order that (hina - not merely a knowledge of its effect which makes indeed little difference) the offence might abound, and the conviction of sin more clear, and its character worse.

There are three steps in sin, all flowing from confidence lost in God, selfwill and lust, transgression (law) enmity against God, always true, fully proved in Christ's rejection, the refusal of grace itself. It is a mere effort to destroy the Apostle's whole argument. I repeat, sin becomes excessively sinful by the commandment, and must therefore be there before it comes.

Page 421. 'By the very faith which justifies him, the believer is vitally united to Christ,' he says. Faith does not unite to Christ, however death to sin and life in Him is our portion. We cannot expect Dr. Fairbairn to be clear on these subjects. I only note in passing (page 422), 'The law is the revelation of God's pure righteousness'; again, it is man's if fulfilled. And notice another thing running all through, that life is not really life but 'a general effect on the heart.' Hence it leads to 'ultimate perfection in holiness.' This is just Wesleyan doctrine. Romans 6 just shows that the Law being done with, obedience to God remains, or slavery to sin. It put the Law for practice in the strongest light as gone, and showing what takes the place of it, death of flesh or to sin, life in Christ, and obedience to God, in practical righteousness - only there is no 'attaining righteousness' as Dr. F. says. Righteousness has its fruit in holiness. It is all muddy, but no matter. No doubt 'obedience supposes an authoritative rule,' but the Apostle is enquiring what it is when it is not law. And I wholly deny that 'sin is just a deviation from such a rule.' Sin is having a will of one's own instead of obedience. The Law may give the things in which we are to obey, and on certain principles, but obedience is to a person, to God, and righteousness. But if 'I am freed' (Calvin) 'from subjection to the law,' how am I under it? We have had dispensational law in Romans 5:12, to the end, in chapter 6, death to put an end to sin when not under law, and so free to give ourselves entirely to God, as alive in Christ. And now we come to experimental treating of law in chapter 7.

55 And here it is better to state the great principle of the chapter, to make the details plain. The believer, according to chapter 6, is dead, but the Law has dominion over a man as long as he lives; hence, we having died with Christ are delivered from it. This he illustrates by the law of marriage. You cannot have two husbands (The Law and Christ at once - it is adultery - two authorities, two masters) death has freed us from the first, and we are to Christ risen, not to law. Then we have the experience of the renewed soul under the first, or law, and only under law, in which state sin reigns, and he cannot do good if he would, and looks not for progress but deliverance, and finds it in Christ. Though the two natures still remain, chapter 8 is the state of liberty. Dr. F. would tell us that the reign of sin under law, captivity to it, and impossibility to do good even when we would, is a high spiritual state. What then is a low one? There is no lusting against the Spirit here; when we are led of that, the Apostle tells us we are not under law. Further the state described is "when we were" in the flesh, implying we are not - not, mind, the flesh working in us, but we in it. The Christian state is contrasted in chapter 8, "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." In chapter 7 we are captive "sold under sin" - a high spiritual state, Dr. F. says; in chapter 8 "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free" - a low one, I suppose And what the Law could not do (what we have exclusively described, in chapter 7, in the wretched man) God has done when Christ was made sin, a sacrifice for sin, sin in the flesh is condemned - was then - and we are really free. And note in chapters 6 and 7, we have nothing to do with justification, but death, life, and practice. Let us see the details.

56 Pages 426, 427. All quite true and clear enough; he says, 'The leading object of the apostle in this section (Rom. 7) is to bring out precisely the relation of the believer to the law, with the view at once of establishing it, and of showing that he is not under it (chap. 3:31; chap. 6:14), but, on the contrary, is freed from it, or dead to it?' 'But' (page 428) 'what in this connection is to be understood by the law? The law of which the apostle speaks is one that penetrates into the inmost soul, and one's relation to which determines the whole question of one's peace and hope toward God. It is of the law as the rule of God's righteous government that he speaks; the law as the sum of moral and religious duty.' Now it is hopeless to expect Dr. F. to get out of the routine of theology and men, but the Apostle is speaking, and is so all through (though the law of Moses be the grand example) of law as a principle or system of dealing - thus "When there is no law" (me ontos nomou) and "Law came in" (nomos pareiselthen), and very many such passages. Of this Dr. F. does not understand one word, and it is the whole question. He does not speak of "the Law" at all, but of "law."

Page 429. All this page discusses history - Paul, the principle of law. But it is not because 'it presents the terms to which men are naturally bound,' which it does do, but because it presents them under the form of law, and more than that here, not conduct but state. As regards the former and such righteousness of law Paul was blameless, but as forbidding lust, nothing to do with grace at all, but forbidding what man was now in nature - this is the whole matter here. The Law might as well have said to man, a sinner, you must not be a man - for man lusts. Give him redemption and a new nature - then indeed there is deliverance, but without it, death.

Page 430. 'The law holds over men, merely, as such, an indefeasible claim to their fealty and obedience.' An indefeasible claim surely as long as they live. But the Apostle's ground is that they are dead, and the Law only rules a man as long as he lives. We do not live of Adam now. Then we were utterly lawless, or under law; but in Christ to God, and Christ's death, in whom we died, has wholly for faith delivered us - we are not in flesh but in Spirit. But of this, of course, Dr. F. understands not one word, otherwise what he says at the commencement of the page is true, but we have ceased to be children of nature. And all is fair enough, except as to 'believers under law,' whom Paul does not put on the same ground, but exactly the contrary, and very carefully, in Galatians 4, on the very point in question here. It is the same perpetual history of not knowing what law means. The question is not whether we are in a state of mere nature or not, but whether we have the Spirit, or are we under the Law. A man simply in a state of nature is lawless, but a quickened man, an heir, under law is all the same as a servant - thinks, or at any rate feels, he has to make out his own righteousness - has not the liberty wherewith Christ makes free. It is not a question of flesh working in us - that it does, if it lust against the Spirit - but if led of Him we are not under law. Hence it is said, Ye are not in the flesh if quickened, but, "If the Spirit of God dwell in you," and "If Christ be in you the body is dead." This can only be said by the death of Christ. Till then the conscience is under law, and our relationship to God depends, for the conscience, on our state, not on Christ's work, and our being dead, as to flesh, in Him. In verse 6 we have the deliverance from verse 5, and what is that? "We are delivered from the law, being dead," or having died, "in that in which we were held." The Law could not set me free. The experience of verses 14-24 is law, law, law, and I under it. It is not merely Israel, it is the effect of law as such, when we delight in it. It is then not merely the state of fallen nature subject to the Law, for it fancies it can do it. The struggle is when I delight in the Law of God in the inner man, but can never do good - find no means to do it - which is not Christian liberty. It is neither mere fallen nature, nor Christian liberty - is said not to be. Captive, sold under sin, is the opposite of liberty. Delighting in God's law is not fallen nature. Killed and crucified with Christ, is being delivered from law. Believers under the old covenant were not endowed with this.

57 To be in the flesh is not to be in a state of sin, as Dr. F. explains it; he says: 'To be in the flesh is merely to be under the influence or power of human depravity.' He confounds the mind of the flesh, walking after the flesh, with our position before God. It is total ignorance of the whole mind of God, and ignorance of the Apostle here. To be in the flesh is to be on Adam ground before God - the flesh no doubt being evil - in contrast with being in Christ, chap. 8:1. The mind of the flesh is as bad in a saint as in an unbeliever - worse, if there is any difference - but he is not in the flesh. The Apostle states the difference: "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." The 'men of faith under the old covenant' were not in this sense endowed with the Spirit - the Comforter was not come, nor could He, till there was a Man in glory, even Christ the Lord, and He tells us so. A man could not be in Christ before - there was no Christ to be in. The Prophets gave the promise of the Spirit, but that was not its coming; they studied their own prophecies, and found it was not for them but for us. The ancients saw the things afar off, and embraced them, and were saved by faith, but Prophets and Kings desired to see what the disciples saw, and did not see them. Yet it was even then desirable that the Lord went, and that they did not see Him, for, otherwise, the Comforter could not come, "For the Holy Ghost was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified." What the New Testament calls the Holy Ghost, i.e., as dwelling down here, was not yet come, and they which believed on Him (Christ) would receive. Christ (Acts 2) received the Holy Ghost anew when gone up on high thus to send Him. It was not His gifts for prophecy, and miracles were done before - the Comforter was not come, and what alone gave union with Christ and made the believer cry Abba Father; Gal. 4. "In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."

58 All this part of his book is simple ignorance in Dr. Fairbairn of Christianity - Christian deliverance. But to be in the flesh is not 'merely to be under the influence or power of human depravity.' We surely are when we are in it. But what the Apostle is teaching is that the Law could not deliver us from it, but the contrary - that the motions of sin were by the Law. And being in the flesh is not 'the working of human depravity,' for this works when we are not in it but in the Spirit, and that it is when the Spirit dwells in us, not merely when it is actually working, but then we are not under the Law; Gal. 6. Hence, when he says, 'It is all one with being under the law,' he is right as to practice, but wrong as to its being the same as the depravity of the flesh, because that remains true of Christians as to the flesh. And he has no idea of law as a principle which the Apostle is insisting on. It is not merely historical, but true of a renewed soul now, when under law.

59 The great object of Dr. Fairbairn is to show the Old Testament believers with a measure of grace under law, and the New Testament believers under law with a measure of grace, only larger - the Apostle's, the absolute contrast of being under law, and having the Spirit as delivered. Romans 8:9 (by mistake, Galatians in the text) is not true of believers under law in Old or New. They are here free - there (chap. 7) captive; here delivered - there crying to be so. The person described by Paul is under the dominion of the flesh and sin, and the reason of the contrary is given in chapter 6, "Sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace." And here, without the Law sin was dead; when the Law came. sin revived and I died. He is not speaking historically - he was born under it - but of Christian knowledge (we know) of what law is. In the Old Testament there was no knowledge of the conflict of flesh and Spirit, nor of two natures. No doubt there was temptation and conflict, but no knowledge of two natures, nor of flesh and Spirit, i.e., "We know" - a technical formula for Christian knowledge. And if verses 5 and 13 be the same, which they are in the main but not exactly, then Paul is, in verse 13, describing (as he clearly is) a state in which he is not, for he says (v. 5) "When we were," which you cannot say when you are. And nothing is simpler, for verse 5 refers to verse 4, where he speaks of having had an old husband and then came a new one. When we were under the first, such was our state. And when he says 'before they come under grace' - do men 'always hate evil and will good' before they come under grace? The Law produces no 'flowers in the human heart' - it is not the sun, it requires but has no heat, and never produced a colour or a flower. He says, 'The law is like the sun by whose light and heat roses and flowers display their fine colours, and emit their fragrant smell; whereas by its heat the dunghill emits its unsavoury steams and ill smell. So the law, which to a sanctified heart is a means of holy practice, doth, in those who are in the flesh, occasion the more vehement motions of sinful affections and lustings.' I ask if the Apostle here ever speaks of the Law as producing anything (not causing surely, but as effect of sin) but motions of sins and death, sin surely being the source not law, but sin by the Law producing evil fruit and nothing else, all manner of concupiscence? Dr. F. tells us so, not the Spirit of God. We are delivered from it - why so, if it produces flowers and fruit? It is all as false as it is ignorant.

60 He confounds quickening with receiving the Spirit. Whereas we never receive the Spirit till when we are quickened, and by faith sprinkled with the blood of Christ. It is a seal put upon a believer, not on an unbeliever, who is the person to be quickened. "Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts"; and a multitude of passages, John 7, Ephesians 1, and others.

Page 434. He says: 'There is nothing here' (Rom. 7:7), 'which does not more or less find a place in the history of every one who has come under the power of the quickening Spirit although some parts of the description belong more to the initiatory, others to the more advanced exercises of the believer, several again to those complex operations, those interminglings of the flesh and the Spirit, of which all believers are at times conscious.' Quickened of the Spirit, yes - but there is not a word of the Spirit in the passage, nor interminglings of it, nor any thought of a soul which has deliverance, not one, nor ever does good. The last of all is a cry for deliverance, and a "Who shall deliver?" Then comes the answer. In Galatians we have not interminglings, but the flesh lusting against the Spirit, but there the man not under law which here he is.

Page 435. 'It is the principle of sin in his own bosom which was naturally at work there.' It is the principle of sin, not the acts.

Page 436. 'Verse 9. Such an experience, of course, belongs to the very threshold of Christian life.' Just so, but redemption and the Spirit unknown.

Page 439, verses 14-25. "We know" is Christian knowledge, as "We know that the Son of God is come" - "We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle," and others. "I am carnal" is personal - the consciousness of what one is in flesh. And the whole is the statement by a man who is delivered (v. 25) of what the process is by which we come to deliverance, but the principles at work under the first husband - the Law - and what is the actual experience of no one, for no one has his will actually always right, and never able to do what is right, and that is what is described here. It is the working of the Law on a soul renewed but not delivered, i.e., under law, which will indeed recognise itself when described, but could never describe itself. It is from a delivered state, and by a delivered man that the description is given of the undelivered state. He can quietly describe it - the undelivered man not, he dreads he is lost, i.e., the things pass in his soul, but the effect is different as to how he can look at it. A man out of a morass can describe how a man is in it - in it, he thinks of perishing. Hence what Dr. F. says here is all false. It is not 'a settled believer' that is described as contrast in chapter 8. It is not 'a natural man' either, but a renewed soul, believing perhaps in the Person of Christ, but under law, not delivered. There is no proper conflict, but a man groaning under the folds of a chain which leaves him no liberty of action though he would be free, and may writhe under it. The proof that it is not the state of the Apostle is that he says, "When we were in the flesh," that he could do all things, that as a Christian he was not in the flesh - not if he acted right, mind, but if the Spirit of Christ dwelt in him, if not he was none of His, i.e., it is not the working of flesh but a standing in Christ which makes the difference, the dwelling of the Spirit in us through redemption. Where He is there is liberty - he is not captive to sin (sin is in him) but set free, and flesh condemned in the Cross of Christ. It is not that the statements are taken in an isolated manner - there are none others beyond willing good and never able to perform it, till we come to "Thank God through Jesus Christ" on the cry (the true result) not "How shall I get the victory?" "How shall I make progress?" but "Who will deliver me?" I cannot get free from what I am captive in. The Red Sea was not progress but deliverance. The "We know" is not experience at all, but Christian knowledge.

61 Page 440. 'To wish sincerely what is spiritually good, and to hate what is of an opposite nature, plainly distinguish the regenerated man.' The will and hating do plainly distinguish the regenerate man, but they do not show deliverance but the contrary, and make the man cry out for it. They do not determine the place of the soul - redemption, and the consequent possession of the Spirit does that. It is this there is entire ignorance of. He says: 'What the Apostle says on the other and lower side must be taken in a sense not incompatible with those higher characteristics - must be understood in short of that other self, that old man of flesh or corruption, which was still not utterly destroyed.' There is no need to say 'must be taken of that other self, the old man.' The Apostle says so, "I know that in me, that is in my flesh." But it was when he was in that flesh, which always remained in him, but he was not in Romans 8:9, where he had the Spirit. It is learning three things by divine teaching under law - no good in me, i.e., in my flesh - it is not I, but sin that dwells in me, for he is renewed - but, thirdly, it is too strong for the I that wills good. Then having learned this humbling lesson, but most useful one, he is cast not on progress but on a Deliverer, and finds all is done. Then comes chapter 8:1, 2, 3, with all its blessed results, and the Spirit which is not in chapter 7 at all.

62 He says: 'Similar confessions of the dominancy of indwelling sin, and lamentations over it, have often been heard in every age of the Church, from spiritually-minded persons; and are to be regarded as the indication, not of the absence of grace, but of that tenderness of conscience which is the characteristic of a properly enlightened and spiritual mind.' It is this doctrine which has ruined Christianity, and made some, on the other hand, pretend there was no sin any more in them.

Of the presence of indwelling sin - all Christians, not deceived, are conscious - if they are of its dominancy they are not under grace but under law. This is positive; chapters 6:14; 8:2.

Page 441. As to 'the relative preponderance of the two counter-forces in the Apostle's representation,' no doubt the I of will had not a relative preponderance. The will was always right, but power none - he did not find at all the means of doing right. All this is mere confusion, and neglect of the statements of the passage, and sorry ignorance of the true Gospel, at any rate in its fulness. One I, the true one, was wholly in good, but he had found no deliverance from the other. Again his conclusion is all wrong. He says: 'Though writing under the clear light of the Gospel, Paul has no fault to find with the law as a revelation of duty, or a pattern of moral excellence.' He does not find fault with the Law. Of course not. It was God's law. As a revelation of duty it was perfect. As 'a pattern of moral excellence,' Christ is the only one - a living Example, not a requirement on stone. But 'required duty' from man could not make God the pattern, and life from Him and the reception of the Holy Ghost does, as in Ephesians, and in the Sermon on the Mount. Christ was God manifest in flesh, and that is our Model - the Law, the child of Adam's rule with God.

63 Page 442. 'So far from there being any contrariety between the scope of the law's requirements and the spirit of the new life, the apostle rejoiced in the higher powers and privileges of this life, because through these the hope had come to him of gaining the victory.' Contrariety of course there is not, but this sentence shows Dr. F. is not out of Romans 7. It is in every way false. We do get the power of victory, but this is by the bye. We rejoice in God - know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge - rejoice in hope of the glory of God, and all the counsels of His grace for the glory of Christ. But the doctrine is just the opposite of that of the chapter. He found he could not gain the victory. Thinking to get rest by victory is bondage, because we cannot get free - we are captive - and, having learned this, we look for a deliverer, and we have this in Christ. And once brought to see that it is not progress, that we cannot get the victory, cannot deliver ourselves, the lesson is learned, and we find it is all done already in Christ, and then, and not till then do we get the victory. The natures remain the same. But instead of being captive and under the dominion of flesh, we are free, and the power of the Spirit is there to keep flesh as dead, because Christ has died, and we are not in it, and we alive in Him, sin having no more dominion, over us. We have flesh down instead of flesh having us down. We may fail, but we have liberty and power in Christ. The natures are not changed, but the state and condition are.

Romans gives none of the counsels of God as to the new man. It is responsibility, state, justification and deliverance. Is it not a singular thing that Dr. F., in speaking of what walk we are called to, only refers to Romans and Galatians, two Epistles where what is fundamental and essential is so fully given, to our infinite blessing, but where resurrection with Christ is never spoken of, and never to Colossians and Ephesians, where it is, and our heavenly place, and its bearing on our walk?

Page 444. I have not much to say here. He says, referring to Romans 10:5, 'It seems, at first sight, somewhat strange, that the Apostle should here refer to it in the way he does, or that he should represent the way of obtaining life as essentially different from, and in some sort antagonistic to, that under the Gospel.' He does, however, it seems. And no wonder! The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ - that is not law at all. Indeed eternal life is never spoken of in the Old Testament but twice - Psalm 133, and Daniel 12, and both times prophetically. One thing is sure - law and faith speak differently as to righteousness; one was obtaining - the other, a free gift. A law to give life was newer thought. It did not assume men to be dead, but responsible - Christ does hold men to be dead in sin, and already lost.

64 Page 446. It is curious to see the incessant effort to undo what the Apostle is earnestly insisting on, only he cannot mean it from other passages. The Apostle asserts that if circumcised, they were debtors to the whole law - James, that if offending in one point, they were guilty of all. They do insist on law. Dr. Fairbairn lets them down easy, and modifies the obligation by grace. But it is the principle which is in question. As many as are of the works of the Law are under the curse. And the ministry of death and condemnation was 'the law mixed with grace.'

Pages 457, 458. I have not much to say on Ephesians 2:2-17. The defects are more from understanding nothing, than opposition to the Apostle, as in Romans. He says: 'That this enmity has a certain respect to the hostile feeling and attitude subsisting between Jew and Gentile, seems clear from the reference going before to that antagonistic relationship and its abolition in Christ. The enmity, which Christ destroyed in His flesh, or which He slew through His cross, naturally carries our thoughts up to the great breach in man's condition, and the great work done by Christ to heal it. The Apostle plainly identifies the removing of this enmity with the reunion of sinners to God.' The enmity as produced by ordinances, or middle wall of partition, has nothing to do with healing the breach with God. The Cross did that, too, as to both, but that part of the passage has nothing to do with 'the common alienation which sin has produced between man and God.' So all the end of page 456 is false. The whole view is wrong. So when he says that, 'The apostle represents the system of law as done away, in order that humanity might be lifted out of its condemned and alienated condition, and might be formed into a kind of corporate body with Himself,' etc., it is all mischievously false, but arises from total ignorance of the Assembly or Church of God.

Page 460. Nobody says the contents of the Law are in themselves condemned or abolished. It is their condemnation, or information by law, the law about them as Harless says, and this is absolute. Circumcision is done away, and all dependent on it, and if it be the contents of the Law by the Law's authority, only relatively done away, then all of it relatively remains, or else I am to choose some of it and leave the rest, and then where is its authority? for that is the question. And when he says 'the law is subjectively realised when we have access to God by Christ through the Spirit,' it betrays what the whole is worth. But this is not the point of Ephesians which gives Christian responsibility. That is from chapter 4:17 as individuals.

65 Page 461. Here again we have the egregiously monstrous statement that law is the revelation of God's righteousness, and we have again 'uniting the divided human family into one new corporate body.' He says: 'The law's relation to men's responsibilities as the revelation of God's righteousness." And, 'That He might reconcile both of us in one body to God through the cross, this was the higher end of Christ's work on earth - the lower, the uniting of the divided human family into one new corporate body.' The book is total ignorance of the doctrine and teaching of Ephesians and Colossians, a laborious argument against the Apostle's statements in Romans and Galatians.

More is not needed. But in page 466 we get an additional proof of the utter vagueness of his idea of the Christian condition, or of the idea of death (in sins) in Ephesians and Colossians. "Having forgiven us" is 'forgiveness secured as a boon ready to be bestowed on every one,' and this 'potentially' as he calls it elsewhere, 'the essential groundwork and condition of this quickening.' He has not an idea of the Christian condition, and not only takes Christianity on its lowest ground but carefully reduces the higher to this. The basis, as I have said, he resists.

All the statement that a seventh part of our time should be devoted to God, as if this was the command, is futile, I am sure it was the fitting time since God ordained it. But the point of the commandment was rest, and God's rest, though made for man, making Christ Lord of it, but religiously it is God's rest, and to make it a shadow (skia) of the Lord's day is to make it a shadow of what is not the substance. Justin Martyr says: How can we rest one day in the week, when we rest from sin every day? This Dr. Fairbairn partially sees, but if it was 'abolished in Christ, as a mere shadow,' who authorised its change to the first day of the week? And what comes of the authority of the Law, if it is abolished, and what it ordains is changed by nobody knows who? I have no doubt that the Sabbath is the shadow of the earthly millennial rest - the Lord's day, of the heavenly by resurrection - but then it is not by law, because as such it is 'abolished in Christ.' Well! He did take away the first, but then why plead its authority? The first day of the week is not law, but New Testament practice on the model of the Lord's own actings after His resurrection, and called the Lord's day. He says: 'In so far as the Sabbath was a shadow of anything in Christian times, it was abolished in Christ; and the day which took its place from the beginning of the Gospel dispensation, and had become known and observed as the Lord's day, was changed from the last to the first day of the week.'

66 Page 477. He says: 'The proper use of the law is a plain, direct, and peremptory repression of corruption and vicious practices' - only it does not repress them. It is then good when applied to the great moral ends for which it was given. But this was to 'repress vicious practices'; but this is its only use! How can it be 'a perfect rule of life'? There is just one condition, a single guiding principle - it is not made for a righteous man, i.e., for a Christian (nomos ou keitai). Law is not made (keitai - a technical word for those subjected to it) - English law has its application (keitai) for Englishmen, not for others, cannot be applied to them - and law (for it is law), but take it as exemplified in the Decalogue, but the only true translation is "law does not apply to," is not enacted for the righteous, cannot therefore direct God's people, it is 'to repress vice or anything contrary to sound doctrine.' This is explained by a ridiculous sentence, that 'it does not apply to the sanctified who have attained the end of the law.' Then they must be perfect, or the Law not, for if it be perfect it would apply till they were. That is, "The Law was not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient," etc., means it does not apply to the perfect because they do not want any law at all, as being perfect. This is satisfactory exposition! Then it is not only to repress and convict, but to bring to a better state. In page 479, he adds 'convict of sin,' which is its only true use at all.

We may see the low ground on which the system is by returning for a moment to page 338. He says: 'Scripture is a book for the sanctification of humanity,' and, page 340, 'The scheme reached its consummation in the appearance and kingdom of Christ.' It is curious how redemption, and the new and heavenly things in Christ practically drop out in the writer's scheme.

67 I add, it is of all importance to distinguish between the contents of a law and the imposition of them by law. But besides a law, as such, of real responsibility cannot go beyond the obligation and moral measure of the person on whom it is imposed as to his nature (not his state and disposition). If a law commanded things which it required the capacity of an archangel to do, they are no test of moral subjection. I do not mean that sinful flesh is de facto subject to the Law, but it must be adapted to man as man, to make it a measure of duty. Duty I may be, through my state, incapable of fulfilling, but the measure of duty as such. Hence legal duty can never be the measure of the display of God.

The Apostle's reasonings are almost always - always save on special dispensational questions - on law having nothing to do with continuance or discontinuance of Sinaitic commands, but of the operation of law as law, and what it becomes to man in sin. The dependence of morality on relationships, i.e., its being the fulfilling of the obligations the relation puts me under, is not considered by the author. He has no idea of a duty till it be imposed - whereas it is never imposed till man is in a state to need it, and consequently cannot perform it. Why command love if love flowed forth spontaneously, and whoever loved by command?

But then the divine Law takes up these relations, and enforces these obligations, and in that sense is in no way arbitrary, not even the Sabbath entirely, because it pointed out a special relationship never yet fully entered into - our entering into God's rest. This became a law, but it was not a law when instituted. The only law which was not founded on the maintaining any existing relationship, was arbitrary, and so simply tested obedience. Hence the contents of the Law existed before law - law recognises them - but law introduces authority external to the relation, imposing the obligation so as to enforce it, not as a relationship which carries it with itself, but as obedience - introduces quite a new element. The relationship, evil being entered, does not maintain itself naturally, but is maintained by authority, supposing the need of such, and a will that has to be controlled as wanting, or likely to be wanting, to the relation which involved the obligation.

68 Note, not only the Law gives no life, but it reveals no object. As creatures it suffices not that we have a nature capable of certain affections, we must have an object suited to and which ever forms them. God alone can create, but has no need of objects. Now the Law gives neither. It says: Thou shalt love God, but who, what is He, save the terror of judgment if disobeyed? A rule, and the consequences of breaking it - that is all. But it gives no nature to enjoy what is blessed, nor any blessed object to be enjoyed, and to form it. Christ is both - revealing God as the only-begotten Son in the bosom of the Father.