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prayeth that her sins may be forgiven her; and it believeth the forgiveness of sins. And in the 143d Psalm, David prayeth, “O Lord, enter not into judgment with thy servant, for in thy sight shall none that liveth be justified.” And in Psalm cxxx. “ If thou, O Lord, shouldest straitly mark iniquities, Lord, who shall stand in thy presence? But with thee is mercy,” &c. Thus do the chiefest saints and children of God speak and pray; as David, Paul, &c. All the faithful, therefore, do speak and pray the same thing, and with the same spirit. The Popish sophisters read not the scriptures; or, if they read them, they have a veil before their eyes; and therefore, as they cannot judge rightly of any, so they cannot judge rightly either of sin or of holiness.


If ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Paul cannot forget the doetrine of faith, but still repeateth it, and beateth it into their heads, yea, even when he treateth of good works. Here some man may object, how can it be that we should not be under the law ? And yet thou, notwithstanding, O Paul, teachest vs that we have flesh which lusteth against the spirit, and fighteth against us, tormenteth us, and bringeth us into bondage. And indeed we feel sin, and cannot be delivered from the feeling thereof, though we should never so fain. And what is this else but to be under the law? But he saith let this nothing trouble you, only do your endeavour that ye may be led by the Spirit ; that is to say, shew yourselves willing to follow and obey that will which rezisteth the flesh, and doth not accomplish the lusts thereof, (for this is to be led and to be drawn by the Spirit,) then are ye not under the law. So Paul speaketh of himself (Rom. vii.) “In my mind I serve the law of God;" that is to say, in spirit I am not subject to any sin, but yet in my flesh I serve the law of sin. The faithful then are not under the law; that is to say, in spirit, for the law cannot accuse them, nor

pronounce sentence of death against them, although they feel sin and confess themselves to be sinners, for the power and strength of the law is taken from it by Christ, “ Who was made under the law, that he might redeem them which were under the law,” (Gal. iv. 4.) Therefore the law cannot accuse that for sin in the faithful, which is sin indeed, and committed against the law.

So great then is the power and dominion of the Spirit, that the law cannot accuse the godly, though they commit that which is sin indeed. For Christ is our righteousness, whom we apprehend by faith ; he is without all sin, and therefore the law cannot accuse him. As long as we cleave fast unto him, we are led by the Spirit, and are free from the law. And so, the apostle even when he teacheth good works, forgetteth not his doctrine concerning justification; but always sheweth that it is impossible for us to be justified by works. For the remnants of sin, cleave fast in our flesh; and therefore, so long as our flesh liveth, it ceaseth not to lust contrary to the spirit. Notwithstanding, there cometh no danger unto us thereby, because we are free from the law, so that we walk in the Spirit. And with these words, “ If ye be led by the Spirit

, ye are not under the law;" thou mayest greatly comfort thyself and others that are grievouly tempted. For it oftentimes cometh to pass, that a man is so vehemently assailed with wrath, hatred, impatiency, carnal desire, terror, and anguish of spirit, or some other lust of the flesh, that he cannot shake them off, though he would never so fain. What should he do in this case? Should he despair? No, God forbid: but let him say thus with himself

, My flesh fighteth and rageth against the spirit. Let it rage as long as it listeth, only see thou that in any case thou consent not to it, to fulfil the lusts thereof, but walk wisely and follow the leadings of the Spirit. In so doing thou art free from the law. It accuseth and terrifieth thee I grant, but altogether in vain. In this conflict therefore of the flesh against the spirit, there is nothing better than to have the word of God before thine eyes, and therein to seek the comfort of the Spirit !

And let not him that suffereth this temptation, be dismayed, in that the devil can so aggravate sin, that during the conflict, he thinketh himself to be utterly overthrown, feeling nothing else but the wrath of God and desperation. Here in anywise let him not follow his own feeling and the judgment of reason, but let him take sure hold of this saying of Paul, “ if ye be led by the Spirit,” that is to wit, if ye raise up and comfort yourselves through faith in Christ ye are not under the law. So shall he have a strong buckler wherewith he may

beat back all the fiery darts which the wicked fiend assaileth him withal. How much soever then the flesh doth boil and rage, yet cannot her motions and rages hurt and condemn him, forasmuch as he, following the guiding of the Spirit, doth not consent unto the flesh, nor fulfil the lusts thereof. Therefore when the motions of the flesh do rage, the only remedy is to take to us the sword of the Spirit, that is to say, the word of salvation (which is, that God would not the death of a sinner, but that he convert and live) and to fight against them; which if we do, let us not doubt but we shall obtain the victory, although so long as the battle endureth we feel the plain contrary,

But set the word out of sight, and there is no counsel nor help remaining. Of this that I say, I myself have good experience. I have suffered many great passions, and the same also very vehement and great. But so soon as I have laid hold of any place of scripture, and stayed myself upon it, as upon my chief anchor-hold, straightways my temptations did vanish away,

which without the word it had been impossible for me to endure any little space, and much less to evercome them.

The sum or effect therefore, of all that which Paul hath taught in this disputation or discourse concerning the conflict or battle between the flesh and the spirit, is this; that the saints and the elect of God cannot perform that which the Spirit desireth. For the spirit would gladly be altogether pure, but the flesh being joined unto the spirit will not suffer that. Notwithstanding they be saved by the remission of sins which is

in Christ Jesus. Moreover, because they walk in the Spirit, and are led by the Spirit, they be not under the law; that is to say, the law cannot accuse or terrify them, yea though it go about never so much so to do, yet shall it never be able to drive them to desperation.

VERSE 19. Moreover, the works of the flesh be manifest, which are, &c.

This place is not unlike to this sentence of Christ, by their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of brambles ? So every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and an evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit,” &c. (Matt. vii. 16.) Paul teacheth the very same thing which Christ taught; that is to say, that works and fruits do sufficiently testify, whether the trees be good or evil, whether men follow the guiding of the flesh, or of the Spirit. As if he should say, lest some of you might say for himself, that he understandeth me not, now when I treat of the battle between the flesh and the spirit, I will set before your eyes first the works of the flesh, whereof many are known even to the ungodly; and then also the works of the Spirit.

And this doth Paul, because there were many hypocrites amongst the Galatians, (as there are also at this day among us,) which outwardly pretended to be godly men, and boasted much of the Spirit, and as touching the words, they understood the true doctrine of the Gospel; but they walked not according to the Spirit, but according to the flesh, and performed the works thereof. Whereby Paul manifestly convinceth them to be no such holy men indeed, as they boasted themselves to be. And lest they should despise this his admonition, he pronounceth against them this dreadful sentence, that they should not be inheritors of the kingdom of heaven, to the end that, being thus admonished, they might amend. Every age, even in the faithful, hath his peculiar temptations; as fleshly lusts assail a man most of all in his youth ; in his middle age ambition, and vain-glory;

and in his old age covetousness. There was never yet any of the faithful, whom the flesh hath not often in his lifetime provoked to impatiency, anger, vain-glory, &c. Paul, therefore, speaking here of the faithful, saith, that the flesh lusteth in them against the spirit, &c. : therefore, they shall never be without the desires and battles of the flesh, notwithstanding they do not hurt them. But of this matter we must thus judge, that it is one thing to be provoked of the flesh, and yet not willingly to yield to the lusts and desires thereof, but to walk after the leading of the Spirit, and to resist the flesh; and another thing to assent unto the flesh, and without all fear or remorse to perform and fulfil the works thereof, and to continue therein, and yet notwithstanding to counterfeit holiness, and to brag of the Spirit. The first he comforteth, when he saith that they be led by the Spirit, and be not under the law. The other he threateneth with everlasting destruction.

Notwithstanding, it sometimes happeneth, that the saints do sometimes fall, and perform the lusts of the flesh, as David fell horribly into adultery. Also he was. the cause of the slaughter of many men when he caused Urias to be slain in the forefront of the battle, and thereby also he gave occasion to the enemies to glory and triumph over the people of God, to worship their idols

, and to blaspheme the God of Israel. Peter also fell most grievously and horribly when he denied Christ. But although these sins were great and heinous, yet were they not committed upon any contempt of God, or of a wilful and obstinate mind; but through infirmity and weakness. Again, when they were admonished, they did not obstinately continue in their sins, but repented. Such he willeth afterwards, in the sixth chapter, to be received, instructed, and restored, saying, “ If a man be fallen by occasion, into any sin, ye which are spiritual restore such a one with the spirit of meekness, considering thyself lest thou also be tempted.” To those therefore which sin, and fall through infirmity, pardon is not denied, so that they rise again and continue not in their sin, for of all things continuance in sin is the

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