The Author Of The Belgic Confession On Law And Gospel

As for that which they tax the ministers, to be ministers of the dead letter, one may plainly see the Lord’s taking vengeance upon the outrage offered unto his holy Word; smiting them with the spirit of giddiness, for having despised the true and only means of coming unto God, which is the Scripture and the Word of God. In the passage of the Corinthians where Paul says, “The letter kills, and the Spirit quickens;” let any closely consider, against whom the Apostle disputes, and they will understand his drift. It is very evident that Paul in this place, had to do with false Apostles, who preached and extolled the Law without Christ, and caused the people to recoil from salvation purchased by Christ, and the grace of the new covenant, whereunto the Lord had promised to write his Law in the heart of the faithful: the Law then being separated from Christ, as a body without a soul; and nothing comes from it but death, to those that are under it: it does nothing but beat and strike the ears, without quickening the soul, until by faith we are sent from it unto Christ, as from the usher to the master; and then the Law will be found such as David sings it, “The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is faithful, making Wise the simple: the commandments of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart, etc.” Thus must we understand how it is said, “The Letter kills:” Paul called the Law, The killing Letter, and says, The Spirit quickens, i.e., The Ministry of the Gospel, which he opposes unto the naked Law; and he himself calls his preaching “The Ministry of the Spirit.”

—Guy de Bres, The Rise, Spring, and Foundation of the Anabaptists (1st edition, 1552; English translation 1668), 40-41.

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