II. OF THE LAW.
Here we maintain that the law was given of God, first that sin might be prohibited by the menaces and terrors of punishment, and by the promises and annunciations of favors and reward. But all this on account of corruption, which works sin in man, proved ineffectual. For some become worse on account of it, namely, those who were enemies to the law, because it forbids that which they freely do, and commands that which they do not freely perform. Wherefore, unless restrained by punishment, they do more now against the law than before. These are rude, and wicked people, who commit evil, wherever occasion and opportunity permit.
Others become blind and arrogant, imagining that they observe, and are able to keep the law by their own powers, as said above in the quotations from the schoolmen. Hence originate hypocrites and false saints.
But the principal office or energy of the law is, to reveal original sin with all its fruits, and to show unto man how entirely and deeply his nature has fallen, and how utterly and totally depraved it is; so that the law must say to him, that he has not the true God, nor regards him, but adores other gods,–which he would not before, and without the law, have believed. On account of this, he is alarmed and humbled; he desponds and despairs; he anxiously desires help, and knows not from what source it is to come; he begins to be at enmity with God, and to murmur. Then, it may be said, the law worketh wrath, Rom. 4, 15: sin became greater through the law, Rom. 5, 13, 20.