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The Law of God is Good for Us

God’s laws are not an act of mere authority respecting his own glory, but of wisdom and goodness respecting man’s benefit. They are perfective of man’s nature, conferring a wisdom upon him, ‘rejoicing his heart, enlightening his eyes,’ (Psalm 19:7-8), affording him both a knowledge of God and of himself. To be without a law, is for man to be as beasts, without justice and without religion. Other things are for the good of the body, but the laws of God for the good of the soul; the more perfect the law, the greater the benefit. 

The laws given to the Jews were the honour and excellency of that nation. ‘What great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?’ (Deuteronomy 4:8). They were made statesmen in the judicial law, ecclesiastics in the ceremonial, honest men in the second table, and divine in the first. All his laws are suited to the true satisfaction of man, and the good of human society…Everything that is disturbing to human society is provided against; nothing is enjoined but what is sweet, rational, and useful. It orders us not to attempt anything against the life of our neighbour, the honour of his bed, propriety in his goods, and the clearness of his reputation.

If this law of God was well observed, it would alter the face of the world, and make it look with another hue. The world would be altered from a brutish to a human world. It would change lions and wolves, men of and wolfish disposition, into reason and sweetness. And because the whole law is summed up in love, it obliges us to endeavour the preservation of one another’s beings, the favouring of one another’s interests, and increasing the goods, as much as justice will permit, and keeping up one another’s credits; because love, which is the soul of the law, is not shown by a cessation from action, but signifies an order, upon all occasions, in doing good. 

I say, were this law well observed, the world would be another thing than it is. It would become a [godly] fraternity; the voice of enmity, and the noise of groans and cursings, would not be heard in our streets; peace would be in all borders, plenty of charity in the midst of cities and countries, joy and singing would sound in all habitations.

STEPHEN CHARNOCK

(Source: Works of Stephen Charnock, Volume II)

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