On the Law & the Gospel

“The law supposing I have all,
Does ever for perfection call;
The gospel suits my total want,
And all the law can seek does grant.

The law could promise life to me,
If my obedience perfect be;
But grace does promise life upon
My Lord’s obedience alone.

The law says, Do, and life you’ll win;
But grace says, Live, for all is done;
The former cannot ease my grief,
The latter yields me full relief.

The law will not abate a mite,
The gospel all the sum will quit;
There God in thret’nings is array’d
But here in promises display’d.

The law excludes not boasting vain,
But rather feeds it to my bane;
But gospel grace allows no boasts,
Save in the King, the Lord of Hosts.

The law brings terror to molest,
The gospel gives the weary rest;
The one does flags of death display,
The other shows the living way.

The law’s a house of bondage sore,
The gospel opens prison doors;
The first me hamer’d in its net,
The last at freedom kindly set.

An angry God the law reveal’d
The gospel shows him reconciled;
By that I know he was displeased,
By this I see his wrath appeased.

The law still shows a fiery face,
The gospel shows a throne of grace;
There justice rides alone in state,
But here she takes the mercy-seat.

Lo! in the law Jehovah dwells,
But Jesus is conceal’d;
Whereas the gospel’s nothing else
But Jesus Christ reveal’d.”

~ Ralph Erskine (1685-1752)

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About Eric

husband, father, pastor - all by the grace of God.
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