Originally published in 1864

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Chapter 1: Great Truths

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy but to fulfill…It is easier for heaven and earth to pass than one tittle of the law to fail” – Jesus Christ

“To obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen, than the fat of rams.” – Samuel

“The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver…A good understanding have all they that do his commandments.” – David

“The commandment is a lamp and the law is light.” – Solomon

“He will magnify the law and make it honorable…The Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king.” – Isaiah

“The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just and good…Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the; law.” – Paul

“If thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law but a judge…There is one lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy.” – James

“Whosoever committeth sin, transgresseth also the law.” – John

“If we have not the spirit of grace, the law comes only to convict and slay us.” – Augustine

“If even for one day I fail to compare my heart with the law of God, I am sensible of a decline in my devotional feelings…If I give unto the law its proper definition, and keep it within the compass of its office and use, it is an excellent thing; but if I translate it to another use and attribute that unto it which I should not, then do I not only pervert the law, but also the whole Scripture.” – Martin Luther

“The law is like a mirror, in which we behold, first, our impotence; secondly, our iniquity, which proceeds from it; and lastly, the consequence of both, our obnoxiousness to the curse.” – John Calvin

“There was never so much matter and marrow, with so much admirably holy cunning, compended, couched and conveyed in so few words, by the most laconic, concise, sententious and singularly significant spokesman in the world as we find in the moral law.” – Durham

“The dignity of the name of divine laws is reserved to those which concern the duties of religion, such as the two fundamental laws [love to God and love to man] the Decalogue, and all the precepts contained in the Holy Scriptures about faith and practice.” – Domat

“Two things there are, which, the oftener and the more steadfastly we consider, fill the mind with an ever new, an ever-rising admiration and reverence; the starry heavens above, and the moral law within. – Kant

“Ignorance of the nature and design of the law is at the bottom of most religious mistakes.” – John Newton

“None but rogues and felons look at a law to find out how they may evade it.” – Hare

“Of the law there can be no less acknowledged than that her seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world. All things in heaven and earth do her homage, the very least as feeling her care, the greatest as not exempted from her power. Both angels, and men, and creatures of what condition soever, though each in different sort and measure, yet all with uniform consent, admitting her as the mother of their peace and joy.” – Hooker

“I am confident of it, and affirm boldly there is not one man made free by Christ, that makes it his rule to be bold to commit sin because of the redemption that is in the blood of Christ; but that Christ who hath redeemed from sin and wrath, hath also redeemed from a vain conversation. All that have the pardon purchased by Christ for them, have also the power of God in them, which keeps them that they break not out licentiously.” – Crisp

“Though the moral law is not a Christ to justify us, yet it is a rule to instruct us…The law of God is a hedge to keep us within the bounds of sobriety and piety.” – Thomas Watson

“Those only, who obey the word of the Lord’s direction, shall enjoy the consolations of his love.” – Mason

“If a man have not spiritual and just apprehensions of the holy law, he cannot have spiritual and transforming discoveries of the glorious gospel”. – Colquhoun

“The purity of the law appears from its forbidding sin in all its modifications, in its most refined as well as in its grossest forms; the taint of the mind as well as the pollution of the body; the secret approbation of sin, as well as the external act, the transient look of desire, the almost unperceived irregular motion.” – Dick

“The divine legislator sees and knows the relations of things perfectly. He can draw no wrong deductions from them. He can make no mistake. Whatever laws have certainly emanated from him are certainly right.” – Sharswood

Editor’s summary

This first chapter is a collection of quotes throughout history, from people in the Bible up to scholars in William Plumer’s day. It shows that in the history of the Church, we can see high esteem and love for God’s Law. Since the time of Plumer and onwards, the Law of God has progressively fallen out of favor with Christians. As we think about what the author has to teach us through the current book, we should ask ourselves, “Do we want to be Christians who carry on the historic love for the Law of God into the future?”