SECOND LORD'S DAY.
Question 5. Canst thou keep all these things perfectly?
Answer. In no wise; for I am prone by nature to hate God and my neighbor.
This question, in connection with the preceding, teaches us that our misery, (of which there are two parts,) may be known out of the law in two ways. First, by a comparison of ourselves with the law; and second, by an application of the curse of the law to ourselves.
The comparing of ourselves with the law, or of the law with ourselves, is a consideration of that purity which the law requires, and whether it be in us. This comparison clearly proves that we are not what the law requires; for it demands perfect love to God, whilst there is nothing in us but aversion and hatred to him. The law, again, demands perfect love toward our neighbor; but in us there is enmity to our neighbor. It is in this manner, therefore, that we obtain a knowledge of the first part of our misery, which includes our depravity, of which the Scriptures in many places convict us. (Rom. 8:7. Eph. 2:3. Titus 3:3, &c.)
The application of the curse of the law to ourselves is made by a practical syllogism, of which the major proposition is the voice of the law:
Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. Conscience supplies and affirms in us the minor proposition: I have not continued in all things written,...§c. The conclusion is the approbation of the sentence of the law: I am condemned. Conscience dictates to every man such a syllogism as this; yea, it is nothing else than such a practical syllogism formed in the mind, whose major proposition is the law of God; the minor, is the knowledge of what we have done, contrary to the law; and the conclusion, is the approbation of the sentence of the law, condemning us on account of sin--which approbation will be followed by grief and despair, unless the consolation of the gospel is brought nigh unto us, and we obtain the remission of sins for the sake of the Son of God, our Mediator. It is in this way that we obtain a knowledge of our sinful state and exposure to eternal condemnation, which is the second part of our misery; for by this argument, all are convinced of sin. The law binds all to obedience, and if this is not performed, to eternal punishment and condemnation. But no one renders this obedience. Therefore, the law binds all men to eternal condemnation.
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