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inward bondage, from which we need to be made free, we are led to enquire, Who shall deliver me from this body of death,-a death more fearful than that which was seen in Egypt, when the first-born in every house was slain, but from which the children of Israel were delivered. This is not a destroying angel, but the very body of death,—the sin in ourselves. The Lord brings us to the knowledge of this, and also brings us to lament and enquire, as the apostle did, " Who shall deliver me ?” (Rom. vi. 24.) Then comes the application of Jesus' grace, and we find our deliverance in Him: “I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord !" I do not know whether you understand my reason for introducing this argument. Can you tell me what you understand by it, Charles ?
Charles seemed, by his countenance, which he steadfastly fixed on mine, as if he were endeavoring to gather up the thread; and all the others looked towards him,-waiting his reply. At length he said,
Is it for the purpose of teaching us to look at the law without dread; seeing that, though by it is the knowledge of sin, yet it, as a schoolmaster, brings us to Christ Jesus, who delivers us from the curse of the law ?
Yes, that is one purpose. What is the curse of the law ?
Death, for breaking it. "Thou shalt die."
How did Jesus Christ deliver us from this curse ?
By dying for us. He was made sin for us; He bare our sins in his own body on the tree. I
But Christ also delivers us from the bondage of the law. What is the bondage of the law ?
I do not think I can clearly tell you.
The bondage of the law is the condition it proposes for life, Do this and live. That is the 1 bondage of the law. Does the Lord Jesus ever direct us to such conditions ?
No, said Louisa ; He once answered the Pharisee according to these words, (Matt. xix. 1622 ;) but that was to convince him of sin, and to leave him without excuse, when he had asked, “Good master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life.”
In what way, then, does the Lord Jesus propose life to us ? 0, very differently, uncle. He says, “Who
, soever believeth in me hath eternal life.” And He says, at the same time, why we shall die, in that Scripture, (John iii. 36.) And I have often
thought how different it is from the conditions k of life and death in the law. He that believeth
on the Son hath everlasting life ; and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Thank you, my dear Louisa, for communicating your thoughts. We are now come to a clear point of understanding as to the proper use and application of the law; which is very important to us, as I desire so much to fix one of the commandments of the law at this time so
particularly on your attention; namely, the fifth,
-“ Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Therefore, you will all, I hope, my dear young friends, bear in mind, that I do not impress it on you as a condition of life, but as a proof of love to the Lord Jesus, “If you love me, keep my commandments." Indeed, it would be an absurdity so to do, for he that loveth the Lord is loved of God, and has already received the principle of eternal life from the gift of God himself.
Mary, who appeared to gather, a little confidence from seeing the easy manner in which my sister's children answered my questions,-in a very diffident tone of voice, said, But is there not a condition of life belonging to the fifth commandment, when it says, " that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee ?''
Delighted to find her mind engaged in discriminating the subject, I could not help showing my pleasure by an involuntary smile, which raised a blush for a moment, from consciousness of the encouragement.
Your question will soon be answered, my dear Mary, by referring to the apostle's description : he calls it, the first commandment with promise. Reflect now on the difference between a condition and a promise, and I will try to help you to distinguish them.
All the commandments had the condition,
Do this and live ;” but it is peculiar to the fifth commandment to have a promise annexed to it, such as is not given to the others. It is written, God is not unrighteous to forget our work and labor of love. He has a reward of grace; He suffers our obedience to be regarded as a proof of love and grace, and grants that the works of the saved shall follow them. (Rev. xiv. 13.) But they are no conditions by which we live, or for which we live ; had it been so, it had been no more a promise. He in His own grace is pleased to hold out a promise, which is His own free offer and gift, to which we have no right nor claim of ourselves. Besides, it is not the life that is in Jesus, which is here promised upon our attention to the fifth commandment, that is secured to us on another foundation, even Jesus himself. We find the Lord frequently setting promises before us for fruits of grace and faith. The promises are the earnests of the inheritance which we possess in Christ Jesus, and the fruits of grace show to us the character of the people who are to be inheritors. Do you understand the distinction better?
I think I do.
You must be always careful to distinguish a promise from a condition. If you seek to keep i he law as a condition, you will either be an ignorant Pharisee, supposing yourself righteous in your own works; or you will be cast down in despair in finding how far you come short of the
righteousness of the law. If you remember the commandment as one of love and promise, you will be free in your obedience; and encouraged to perseverance, by a fear of disregarding the promise. There is much more to be said on this subject, but at present I will go no further.
Then, after a little pause, I looked round on all my little company, for some of them seemed a little overpowered by this long reasoning. Now tell me, my dear young people, do you not already feel drawn to love the fifth commandment? especially as you may consider it so closely connected with your daily, hourly duty to your own dear earthly parents; whom you ought to love and obey, and who love you so intensely, that they always seek your benefit and happiness, according to their persuasion of what shall most contribute to them ?
There appeared a general assent to my appeal, some whispered a little Yes, others raised their eyes to seek the countenances of their parents who were present, and others appeared to be reflecting on the application of the question.
It will, however, be well to give your minds a little preparatory direction to the meaning of the duty enjoined by the word "honor." It is a term used to imply respect, deference, attention, obedience, gratitude ;-and these feelings can only be exemplified by actions. When, therefore, the Lord commands you to honor your father and your mother, you must bear in mind that it lays upon you these obligations :- that