"First, then, our Lord Jesus Christ is the purpose and
object of the law. It was given to lead us too him. The
law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, or
rather our attendant to conduct us to the school of Jesus.
The law is the great net in which the fish are
enclosed that they may be drawn out of the element of
sin. The law is the stormy wind which drives souls into
the harbour or refuge. The law is the sheriff's officer
to shut men up in prison for their sin, concluding them
all under condemnation in order that they may look to
the free grace of God alone for deliverance. This is
the object of the law: it empties that grace may fill,
and wounds that mercy may heal.
It has never been God's intention towards us, as fallen men, that the law
should be regarded as a way to salvation to us, for a
way of salvation it can never be. Had man never fallen,
had his nature remained as God made it, the law would
have been most helpful to him to show him the way in
which he should walk: and by keeping it he would have
lived, for "he that doeth these things shall live in them."
But ever since man has fallen the Lord has not
proposed to him a way of salvation by works, for he
knows it to be impossible to a sinful creature. The law
is already broken; and whatever man can do he cannot
repair the damage he has already done: therefore he is
out of court as to the hope of merit.
The law demands perfection, but man has already fallen short of it; and
therefore let him do his best. He cannot accomplish
what is absolutely essential. The law is meant to lead
the sinner to faith in Christ, by showing the
impossibility of any other way. It is the black dog to
fetch the sheep to the shepherd, the burning heat which
drives the traveller to the shadow of the great rock in a weary land. "
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