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IN TWO PARTS.
WILLIAM BEVERIDGE, D. D.
LATE LORD BISHOP OF ST, ASAPH,
AN INTRODUCTORY ESSAY,
THOMAS CHALMERS, D. D.
PROFESSOR OF MORAL PHILOSOPHY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF ST. ANDREWS.
AND G. B. WHITTAKER, LONDON,
THERE is a passage in the New Testament, where the Law is made to stand to the sinner in the relatiou of a first husband; and on this relation being dissolved, which it is at the moment when the sinner becomes a believer, then Christ stands to him in the relation of a second husband; under which new relation, he brings forth fruit unto God, or, to use the expression of the Apostle, « lives unto God.” There is another passage from which we can gather, what indeed is abundantly manifest from the whole of Scripture, that to live unto God is in every way tantamount to living unto Christ-it being there represented as the general habit of believers, “ to live no longer unto themselves, but unto him who died for them and rose again.” So that though there be no single quotation, where the two phrases are brought together, still it is a sound, because truly a scriptural, representation of the state of a believer, that he is dead unto the Law, and alive unto Christ.
Now we are sensible, that these, and similar phrases, have been understood in two meanings,
which, though not opposite, are at least wholly dis-tinct from each other; that is, either as expressive of the judicial state, or the personal character of a believer. By one's judicial state, we mean that state into which he is put by the judgment or sentence of a law. If the law, for example, condemn us, we are judicially, by that law, in a state of condemnation. This may be viewed distinctly from our personal character.
Now the first meaning of the phrases, or that by which they are expressive of a judicial state, would be more accurately rendered, by slightly changing each of the phrases, into “ dead by the law,” and “ alive by Christ.” Whereas the “ being dead unto the law,” and “ alive unto Christ,” serve, without any change, accurately to express the second meaning, or that which is descriptive of the personal character of those to whom it is applied. There is no liberty used with the Bible, when we affirm, that whether the one or other of these meanings be indeed the meaning in any particular case,
the doctrine involved in each is true and scriptural doctrine—that, in the first instance, every believer is dead by the law, and alive by Christ; and that, in the second instance, he is dead unto the law, and alive unto Christ —or, in other words, that in whomsoever the former truth has been realized, the latter truth shall be realized also.
Every believer, and indeed every man, is dead by the law. This is naturally the judicial state of all. The law issued its commandments, and made death the penalty of their violation. We have all incurred that penalty. It demanded not any given fraction of obedience, but a whole obedience and