We continue this month with “Sermons LXXV and LXXVI,” the third and fourth Sermon on this text by Ralph Erskine, The Strength of Sin; and how the Law is the Strength thereof, opened up and unfolded:

1 Corinthians 15:56 “That the strength of sin is the law:” Or thus, “That the law of works, is the strength of sin to the sinner that hath violate and broken it.”

THAT sin hath a great strength, will be denied by none, but such as are wholly under the power of it, and have utterly lost the understanding of their own miserable condition. There are two arms of sin, by which it puts forth and exerts its power, and by which it attains to its dominion; the one is fraud, and the other is force: the fraud of it is so great, that, it is dreadful above all things; and the force of it is so violent, that, like a mighty torrent, it carries down all before it, with respect to which it is promised, Psalm lxxii. 15. concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, in behalf of the poor and needy that cry to him, He shall redeem their souls from deceit and violence; and how he redeems them from the strength of sin, when it takes and holds them with these powerful arms, if, here discovered in this triumphant song, O death, where is thy sting? O grave, in here is thy victory? When a powerful enemy is to be subdued, the great and leading inquiry is, where the strength of the enemy lies, that so it may be attacked in its principal strength: but, if the ignorant world, that are strangers to the grace of God revealed in the gospel, should be examined and asked, Where does the strength of sin ly? They would never answer it as our apostle does here; yea, it would be a hard question, a difficult catechism to the most part of gospel-professors, especially such as are under the powerful influence of a legal spirit. It cannot but be a mystery to their understanding, to hear, that the strength of sin is the law. If the apostle Paul had been living and preaching in our day, it is likely, upon his delivering such doctrine as this, he had been taxed as a ring-leader of Antinomians and enemies to the law: and it is plain from his epistle, he did not escape this reproach, which therefore we find him wiping off, Rom. iii. 31. Do we then make void the law through faitb? God forbid; yea, we establish the law. Why, but is it possible to establish the law, and yet assert, that the strength of sin is the law? How can this be? Yea, it may be asserted in a consistency both with the honour of the law, and with a casting the greatest contempt upon sin: and therefore it is an essay to open this mystery, that, through grace, I would endeavour at this time, namely, That the strength of sin is the law.

The method I premise, after proving that the law is the strength of sin, is the following,
I To enquire what law is the strength of sin.
II What strength it is that sin hath from the law.
III What sin the law is the strength of.
IV How and in what respect the law is the strength of sin.
V Whence it is that the law is the strength of sin.
VI Make application of the whole in several uses.

* The two discourses following were delivered at Orwell, August 7th and 8th, 1727.

I hope you will enjoy reading this Article of the Month as much as we have. Sermons of this depth are uncommon today. Click HERE to read now.

The Chestnut Mare
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by frost.
- - - -JRR Tolkien "Lord of the Rings"