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acter, he speaks of the evil principle in him, —the degría, —as being a thing as much distinguishable and separable from himself, as the Holy Spirit of God is;—(see verses 17 and 20.) He goes on to describe himself in his assumed character, as one who wished to do what was right, but who was unable to do it, in consequence of the power of sin within him. Now, how was it so? The explanation is this : Sin reigned in his flesh, in that part which finds or seeks its rest in selfgratification, and finds or seeks its home in the present world, and the present order of things; or, to return to the language borrowed from the parable of the potter, sin reigned in the first vessel. God reigned in his conscience, the spiritual part of man, in which the immortal seed of the second vesa sel is sown, and through which the voice of God enters him, and which can find its rest only in accordance with what is believed to be the will of God; (I refer to the last verse of the chapter, as my authority for this statement.) Now, he lived that is, he sought his habitual enjoyment,—in the first vesselin the flesh, that region where the will of self or sin reigns, and through which the pursuits, and interests, and gratifications of the pre.
sent world attract and engage the heart. He did not thus live or seek his enjoyment in conscience, the region where the will of God reigns; but though he did not look to conscience for his life or enjoyment, he was not disrespectful to it, or negligent of it,—he looked to it, but then it was merely as a director, and restrainer, and modifier of his life; and he obeyed its authority in the hope that under its sanction, or at least without its compunctious visitations, he might enjoy that to which he did look for life and enjoyment. Thus the principle of his life, and the principle which he acknowledged as the legitimate direction of his life, were essentially opposed to each other. And thus, as I have already said, his obedience could not be a living thing, nor a deep cordial thing, but was necessarily a forced thing, a superficial restraint and suppression of that which was the genuine acting of his real life.
He was living in that which was alienated from the life of God, and which carried about with it an instinctive feeling, that it was under the condemnation; and thus all his conscious connection with the will of God, if that connection was close, was of a condemning character-and it was only when he was comparatively distant from God, and when he could hide himself amongst things or occupations which he thought could not be sinful, that he felt at peace with Him.
His life lay in that very thing on which the sentence of sorrow and death lay, and on which the providence of God was continually carrying that sentence into execution ; and thus he felt continually that he was at war with his circumstances, and that he was pursuing an end in them quite opposed to God's purpose in sending them.
in sending them. He could not trust, and therefore he could not love, and therefore he could not obey.
Now what is all this, but an expansion and a filling out of the words with which this chapter and address to legalists commences? “Know ye not that the law hath dominion over the man, the old man, so long as he liveth ?” And,
And, “For when we were in the flesh, or married to the old man, the motions of sins which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death."
The point to which the Apostle endeavours to bring the legalist, is to feel and acknowledge the hopelessness of all his efforts to arrive at peace with God, and con
formity to His will, until he not only seeks his direction in God's law, but finds his life in God's favour, which he can never do whilst he still continues to find his life in the flesh, and confines his endeavours to the restraining or modifying of that life. The Apostle leads him on to this conclusion, by standing with him on his own ground, and personating his character, and so appealing to his experience. And in doing so, he seems at last so fully to realize his oneness with the man, and so overcome by the deplorable wretchedness which he is himself describing, that he bursts forth into that pathetic cry, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” which he has no sooner uttered, than he feels at once compelled to drop his assumed character, that he may triumphantly declare the remedy for that wretchedness, “I thank God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” He is the true husband of the soul, and in him there is redemption from the old man and his law.
This burst of the Apostle here, is in its import, perfectly similar to what he
says in the concluding verse of chap. vi., “ The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is
eternal life, by or in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And as he does not there, hold out any prospect of escaping from death, the wages of sin, but only by passing through it, following in the spirit and track of Jesus, “who through death overcame him that had the power of death;” so also here, the deliverance which he himself has experienced, and which he proclaims to others, is still of the same kind; it is through Jesus, that is, through death willingly received, as the righteous appointment of the Righteous Father. He then returns for a moment to his
per: sonated character, that he may complete the description of it, before he finally passes to another subject; “I myself,” says he, that is, “1, the same individual—I, though having only one personal identity in me, yet have two natures in me, for «with my mind or conscience, I serve the law of God, and with my flesh, the law of sin."" This two-fold nature of man, this participation which he has both with heaven and earth, is the great mystery of his being, out of which arise the strange contradictions which appear in him; the high and holy aspirings that are sometimes in the same man mixed up with the