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ousness is “a non-entity of impossibility.” The world, accustomed as it ever hath been since the fall to imperfections, would call a pretender of this sort, as it hath called the mere notion of such an one already,—"a fault
less monster :"--a being on earth, totally different from all others. The word of God, which is yet better autho
rity, represents man, both in his body and his soul," as
By the FALL, all the faculties of the soul and all the properties of the body, are become corrupt and depraved: so that there is no whole part left in either, according to the present constitution of nature. It is not an unapt illustration of this matter, which is given us from an antient Rabbi. “The body and soul may endeavour to exculpate each other in judgement: but how !--The body might say; It was the soul that sinned : for, presently, when she is departed from me, I am thrown into a grave like an insensible stone: -But the soul might answer ; It was indeed the body which sinned : for, as soon as I am released from that unhappy conjunction, I Ay through the air like a bird.” Upon this statement, the Rabbi decides by a parable. “ A certain king appointed two watchmen to defend the fruits of his fertile and beautiful garden, the one of whom was lame and the other blind. They were equally tempted to eat of their delicious charge. The lame man, therefore, suggested to the blind, that, if he would take him upon his shoul. ders, he would gather a sufficient quantity, which should be shared between them. The blind man consented; and the fruit was carried off. After some time the king paid a visit to his garden, and demanded what was become of the fruit. The blind man said; it was impossible for him to steal it, for he had no eyes to find it out. And the lame man urged, that the loss could not be laid upon him; for he had not power to stir a foot. But, when their lord found out the truth of the matter, he commanded the one to be taken up on the shoulders of the other, and, in that 'state, that both should be punished together. In like manner (says R. Juda Hakkadosh) will God clothe the soul again with the body in the last day, and for mutual sins condemn them both together.” Gemara Sanhed. apud Wits. in symb. p. 483.
equally equally weak and wicked by nature; and declares even the believer, after grace received too, to be still clogged with infirmities; to be deceived if he presume at any time to say, that he hath no sin; to have a law of sin warring in his members, and a body of sin under which he must struggle and groan, till in death he is and shall be delivered from it.
The matter of fact then demonstrates, that the righteousness of the justified is not and cannot be inherent ; not wrought out by themselves; not derived from any creature. The word of God also is very clear and exe plicit upon this momentous subject, and shows, on the one hand, that it is not by works of righteousness, which the justified have done, or can do, that they are saved, though they certainly are enabled to do what are really such, beyond all other men; but that in Jehovah all the seed of Israel, the whole church of God, are justified, and shall glory; or, as it is expressed in another place, their righteousness is of me, saith JEHOVAH.
It would be endless to quote the texts, which assert this doctrine. The whole Bible is full of it; and its whole system stands upon it. The ceremonial law, with all its rites, would be absurd without it. The prophets, speaking by the Holy Ghost, continually maintain it, as the first of mercies, and the greatest of privileges. And our Lord and his apostles cannot be understood, but upon the supposition of this truth, which is one of the prime sinews of the gospel, and one most important part of its grand design. Take away this perfect justification by the perfect Jehovah, and every man must L 2
live and die A SINNER, and conseq.iently under tlie bun of the perfect law, and a subject of eternal destruction.
No righteousness but a perfect righteousness can justify at all, and much less before a holy God. Indeed, nothing short of perfection can equal the perfect require ments of the holy law, and, consequently, cannot deserve the name of righteousness. Evil may appear to be good among men; but, however subtle, or covered, or mixed, cannot escape the detection and abhorrende of God. The gospel, therefore, by which I mean the whole word of truth from Genesis to the Revelation, proposes no other righteousness for justification, than a complete one; and for this purpose constantly exhibits a divine person, able to procure righteousness and therefore able to save; capable of bestowing righteousness, and therefore not a creature who needs all his own, and who cannot have to spare; and infinite to make righteousness endure, and therefore to bring in an everlasting righteousness.
But how can one receive the righteousness of another? -Exactly in the way, whereby one received the sin of another; and this was undoubtedly by imputation. Christ was without sin ; and yet he bare sin: Christ was separate from sinners; and yet he died, and was made sin, and for sin à curse, in behalf of sinners. He is not said to be made a sinner (for that he was not, nor could be, in himself) but sin in the abstract, that is, bearing imputatively all the sins and sinfulness of his people, and in this respect having no whole place in his body, none but what was under this imputation, and consequently under execration. Their sins were reckoned to him; or he could not rightly or to any purpose have suffered, the just for the unjust. He certainly could not have had so strong a censure as to be accursed, but be cause of transgressions; and therefore, as he had and could have none of his own, the transgressions of others must have been imputed* to him and taken upon him. In like manner, sinners cannot be justified, or stand righteous, in the court of conscience or of heaven, by their own doings; for, be they as moral as they can be (supposing for a moment, that, as sinners, they could have any real morality: at all). they could not offer a righteousness without flaw, much less a righteousness delightful to God,and certainly not an infinite and everlasting righteousness, which only can afford a proper title to everlasting life and glory. As their condemning sin was transferred by imputation to another, who was able to bear it and to make an end of it; so their justifying righteousness must be their's by a like imputation from one, able to produce and to present it in their behalf. Accordingly we are told, and told by the Holy Ghost in the strongest language, as well as by numerous institutions most forcibly representing the fact; that, as by one man's disobedience mary were made sinners, so, by the obedience of ONE, shall many be made righteous. I One whole chapter is employed to declare, that this
Even Abp. Tillotson allows this, and says expressly, that *Christ bore our sins by way of imputation, and suffered for them in our stead, as the sacrifice was supposed to do for the sinner. This is evident beyond all denial.” Serm. before the Queen, on Hebi ix. 26. p. 25. + Isa. xlii. 21.
1 Rom. v. 19. L3
righteousness, justifying the soul before God, is entirely by imputation; and that the grace of faith is chiefly occupied, in embracing this righteousness for that imputation.
In this important sense also do I understand the remarkable prophecy of Joel, quoted by the apostle Peter in his first sermon on the day of Pentecost. The Spirit was to be pou red out upon all flesh, i. e. God's people both of the Jews and Gentiles, in the last days or dispensation, as a 'testimony and seal, that Christ had finished the work of salvation : and thus God would shoro wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; which were; BLOOD, the blood of Christ expiating sin; FIRE, the wrath of the Father taking vengeance upon him, when bearing sin; and VAPOUR, or PILLARS, of SMOKE, the sweet-smelling savor (alluding to the Levitical sacrifices) of the Redeemer's merits and atonement, ascending up victoriously in palm-like columns, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus God is wellpleased with his people for Christ's sake; and his people are completely justified by Christ, and so have access through him by one Spirit to the Father.
In this new condition or state, they are privileged to come boldly, freely, and with open face,t before God
See Rom. iv. + This may serve to explain the injunction of covering and uncovering in 1 Cor. xi.-Man is by nature faulty, and therefore ought to be covered: Christ is faultless, and so may justly stand aperto cultu. But, as man represents Christ in his church, who is all perfection, he is for that reason to be uncovered: and as the woman stands for the church or human nature, which hath no perfection of its own, and therefore nothing to boast of, she ought to be covered or hidden.