The Harmony betwixt the Law and the Gospel by Ralph Erskine
The law’s a tutor much in vogue,
To gospel-grace a pedagogue;
The gospel to the law no less
Than its full end for righteousness.
When once the fiery law of God
Has chas’d me to the gospel road;
Then back unto the holy law
Most kindly gospel-grace will draw.
When by the law to grace I’m school’d;
Grace by the law will have me rul’d:
Hence, if I don’t the law obey,
I cannot keep the gospel-way.
When I the gospel-news believe,
Obedience to the law I give:
And that both in its fed’ral dress,
And as a rule of holiness.
Lo! in my Head I render all
For which the fiery law can call:
His blood unto its fire was fuel,
His Spirit shapes me to its rule.
When law and gospel kindly meet,
To serve each other both unite:
Sweet promises, and stern commands,
Do work to one another’s hands.
The divine law demands no less
Than human perfect righteousness:
The gospel gives it this and more,
Ev’n divine righteousness in store.
Whate’er the righteous law require,
The gospel grants its whole desire.
Are law-commands exceeding broad?
So is the righteousness of God.
How great soe’er the legal charge,
The gospel-payment’s equal large:
No less by man the law can bray,
When grace provides a God to pay.
The law makes gospel-banquets sweet;
The gospel makes the law complete:
Law-suits to grace’s storehouse draw;
Grace docks and magnifies the law.
Both law and gospel close combine,
To make each other’s lustre shine;
The gospel all law-breakers shames;
The law all gospel-slighters damns.
The law is holy, just, and good;
All this the gospel seals with blood,
And clears the royal law’s just dues
With dearly purchas’d revenues.
The law commands me to believe;
The gospel saving faith doth give:
The law injoins me to repent;
The gospel gives my tears a vent.
What in the gospel mint is coin’d,
The same is in the law injoin’d:
Whatever gospel-tidings teach,
The law’s authority doth reach.
Here join the law and gospel hands,
What this me teaches, that commands;
What virtuous forms the gospel please,
The same the law doth authorise.
And thus the law-commandment seals
Whatever gospel-grace reveals:
The gospel also for my good
Seals all the law-demands with blood.
The law most perfect still remains,
And ev’ry duty full contains:
The gospel its perfection speaks,
And therefore gives whate’er it seeks.
Next, what by law I’m bound unto,
The same the gospel makes me do:
What preceptively that can crave;
This effectively can ingrave.
All that by precepts Heav’n expects,
Free grace by promises effects:
To what the law by fear may move,
To that the gospel leads by love.
To run to work, the law commands;
The gospel gives me feet and hands:
The one requires that I obey;
The other does the pow’r convey.
What in the law has duty’s place,
The gospel changes to a grace:
Hence legal duties therein nam’d,
Are herein gospel-graces fain’d.
The precept checks me when I stray;
The promise holds me in the way:
That shews my folly when I roam;
And this most kindly brings me home.
Law threats and precepts both, I see,
With gospel promises agree;
They to the gospel are a fence,
And it to them a maintenance.
The law will justify all those
Who with the gospel-ramsom close;
The gospel too approves for ay
All those that do the law obey.
The righteous law condemns each man
That dare reject the gospel plan:
The holy gospel none will save,
On whom it won’t the law ingrave.
When Christ the tree of life I climb,
I see both law and grace in him:
In him the law its end does gain;
In him the promise is Amen.
The law makes grace’s pasture sweet,
Grace makes the law my sav’ry meat;
Yea, sweeter than the honey-comb,
When grace and mercy brings it home.
The precepts of the law me show
What fruits of gratitude I owe;
But gospel-grace begets the brood,
And moves me to the gratitude.
Law-terrors pain the putrid sore;
And gospel-grace applies the cure:
The one plows up the fallow-ground:
The other sows the seed around.
A rigid master was the law,
Demanding brick, denying straw;
But when with gospel-tongue it sings,
It bids me fly, and gives me wings.
Both law and gospel close unite,
Are seen with more solace,
Where truth and mercy kindly meet,
In fair Immanuel’s face.