But there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. Gal. 1:7. From ‘A Legal Strain of Doctrine’, by Ralph Erskine
No wonder Paul the legal spirit curse, Of fatal errors such a feeding nurse.
He, in JEHOVAH’s great tremendous name, Condemns perverters of the gospel-scheme.
He damn’d the sophist rude, the babbling priest, Would venture to corrupt it in the least;
Yea, curst the heav’nly angel down to hell, That daring would another gospel tell.
Which crime is charg’d on these that dare dispense The self-same gospel in another sense.
Christ is not preach’d in truth, but in disguise, If his bright glory half absconded lies.
When gospel-soldiers, that divide the word, Scarce brandish any but the legal sword.
While Christ the author of the law they press, More than the end of it for righteousness;
Christ as a seeker of our service trace, More than a giver of enabling grace.
The king commanding holiness they show, More than the Prince exalted to bestow;
Yea, more on Christ the sin-revenger dwell, Than Christ Redeemer both from sin and hell.
With legal spade the gospel-field he delves, Who thus drives sinners in unto themselves;
Halving the truth that should be all reveal’d, The sweetest part of Christ is oft conceal’d.
We bid men turn from sin, but seldom say, Behold the Lamb that takes all sin away!
Christ, by the gospel rightly understood, Not only treats a peace but makes it good.
Those suitors therefore of the bride, who hope By force to drag her with the legal rope,
Nor use the drawing cord of conqu’ring grace, Pursue with flaming zeal a fruitless chase;
In vain lame doings urge, with solemn awe, To bribe the fury of the fiery law:
With equal success to the fool that aims By paper walls to bound devouring flames.
The law’s but mock’d by their most graceful deed, That wed not first the law-fulfilling Head;
It values neither how they wrought nor wept, That flight the ark wherein alone ’tis kept.
Yet legalists, DO, DO, with ardour press, And with prepost’rous zeal and warm address, Would seem the greatest friends to holiness: But vainly (could such opposites accord)
Respect the law, and yet reject the Lord.
They shew not Jesus as the way to bliss, But Judas-like betray him with a kiss
Of boasted works, or mere profession puft, Law-boasters proving but law-breakers oft.