Obj. 1. That which cannot be kept, is taught to no purpose. The law cannot be kept. Therefore it is to no purpose that it is taught in the church of Christ. Ans. There is here a fallacy in urging that as a cause, which is no sufficient reason; for the mere fact that it is impossible for us to render perfect obedience to the law in this infirm state of our being, is not of itself a sufficient reason why the preaching of the law should be regarded as useless in the church, since there may be, and indeed are, other reasons why it is not only useful, but even necessary, to teach and enforce the law; for we have already shown that the law accomplishes many objects, even in respect to the regenerate. It is not necessary, therefore, that when one end or use of the law is removed, that the others should likewise be removed. If it cannot be perfectly obeyed, it should at least be taught and enforced, that we may be led to acknowledge this imperfection and defect, in order that we may the more ardently desire and seek the remission of our sins, and that righteousness which is in Christ, and may the more earnestly strive to reach and attain the mark set before us—even our perfection in Christ. We may also reply to this objection, that it is of no force, inasmuch as it assumes that to be true generally which is true only in part; for the law may, to a certain extent, be kept by the regenerate, as we have just shown. Hence, the minor proposition, if it be understood generally, is not true.
Zacharias Ursinus | Commentary of Dr Zacharias Ursinus on the Heidelberg Catechism, trans. George W. Williard (Cincinnati: Elm Street Printing Company, 1888), 616–18.
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