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to understand by our being justified by Faith? Is this all we are to understand by the repeated Declarations in holy Scripture, that the Believer shall be saved; while the Unbeliever shall be damned' If lo, the Gofpel Salvation is no more than merely the Comfort flowing from a Persuasion of the Sasety of our pref nt State.—But I need not enlarge in Opposition to a Doctrine so apparently repugnant to the whole Design of the Gofpel, fo manifestly unreasonable, and so directly subversive of aW practical Godliness.——Do we then make void the Law through Fai h? God forbid I yen, we establish the Laiu. Rom. iii. j£.

It is insinitely your Concern, Sir, to experience in your own Heart fomething more than a meer

Antinomian or Moravian Faith. It is of insinite

Importance, that you receive the Lord Jesus Christ, and that you walk in him i that you experience the fanclif,ing Efficacy of Faith, and exemplify the 9hedienceof Faith, in the Exercise of all the Graces and Fruits of the holy Spirit; and thereby evidence to yourself, at once, the Sincerity of your Faith, and the Reality of your Justification before God.

Now, that the Lord may direct you sase in the Way of Truth and Righteousness, to the Kingdom of his Glory, is the Prayer of,

Sir, Yonr's, ire.

LETTER XII. Wherein the Doctrine of a Sinner's Justification, by the imputed Righteousness of Christ, is explained and vindicated.

s I R,

IT is indeed, as you represent it, "A Matter os "the greatest Consequence, to have a right "View of the Way and Means by which God will "be reconciled to you, and by which von may have "a Title to Lise eternal." I am glad, that you so kindly accept the Pains I have taken, to set the Antinomian Doctrine of Justisication in its proper Colours. For though" You did not give me that "Trouble (as you are pleased to express it) because "you had any favourable Opinion ot their Schemes, "but to know whether I was (as is pretended) of "their Opinion; and to know how 1 could, con"sistent with my declared Sentiments, fleer clear "of their wild Notions:"

Yet I rejoice, that your Desires are gratisied, and that .you are " set right in that Matter."

But "you yet are, as you have all along been, "in great Difficulties on the other Side of theQuef"tion; and cannot see into the Doctrine of a Sin"ner's Justisication by the imputed Righteoufness "of Christ. You have been lately reading upon that Subject; and sind many Arguments against; "it, that you cannot get over. Your Author re"presents it as unscriptural, and unreasonable u "You therefore desire me to give you a right View "of that Doctrine, and to answer your Objections "against it."

There is indeed, Sir, tio Cause for you to " sus"pect, that you shall wear out my Patience." I gladly embrace the Opportunity, to do any Thing in my Power to give you Satisfaction; *nd to assist yon in your greatest Concern, which you have Reason to be most sollicitous about. I shall therefore, according to your Desire, endeavour, in the sirst face, to give you a brief View of the Doclrine of our Justification by the imputed Righteousness of Christ before I proceed to consider your ObjeCiiont »gainst it.

S 2 I shall

I shall sirst consider what we are to understand by Justification; and in what Sense that Expression is used in Scripture Should I herein follow some of our wrangling Disputants, I know not how many distinct Meanings of the Word Justification I might set before you. But this would be to darken Counsel, by Words without Knowledge; the Term having one invariable Meaning, throughout the whole Bible.—-It always (as sar as I have been able to observe) constantly signisies being esteemed, declared, manifested, or pronounced Kighteous. This is what the original Word, both in the Old and New Testament, naturally signisies: And in this Sense only it is always used. I need not therefore undertake to give Instances of the Use of the Word in this Sense, since in all Instances it is used in this Sense only. This, I believe, must be acknowledged by every one, that will thoroughly and impartially examine the Cale. 1 think, there can no Text be found, where J unification is used for making us inherently righteous.

But though this Word has one invariable Signisication, it is used in Scripture in a threefold Respect ; either for our present Justification in the Sight of God, for our Justification before Men and our own Consciences, or for our Justification at the Tribunal of our Judge at the last Day.——It is the sirst of these that salls under our present Consideration, which is to be considered as our Acquittance from Guilt, and our Acceptance with God as righteous in his Sight. It is to be considered as a Sentence of Absolution and Acceptation by the great Judge of the World.—As Justification therefore is always considered in Scripture as a forensic or juridical Sentence, it stiould be caresully distinguished from the Insusion of a Principle of Grace, or inherent Righteousness.—Justification is usually in Scripture

opposed

opposed to Condemnation. As this latter theresoie does not imply the rendering Men wicked and guilty, but pronouncing them so; even so the former likewise cannot mean rendering Vlen righteous, but sententially declaring and pronouncing them so. Were this duly attended to, many of the Objections made against our Doctrine of Justification, by the Righteoufnefs of Christ, would vanish of course. You will be pleased therefore all along to carry this in your Mind, that I am not considering how we should become inherently righteous, by a Renovation of our Nature; but how we may be acquitted from Guilt, and accepted as righteous, by the Sentence of our glorious Judge.

I proceed to consider what we are to understand by the Imputation of Christ's Righteousness.

To hnpute, is to judge, or esteem any Matter, Character or Quality, whether good or evil, to belong to a Person as his; and may either reser to what was originally his, antecedently to such Imputation; or to what was not antecedently his, but becomes so by Virtue of such Imputation only. The Scriptures, abound with Instances of both these Sorts of Imputation.

We have many Instances in Scripture of imputing that to a Person, which was originally his own, and performed by him antecedently to such Imputation. Thus Sin is said to be imputed to the Sinner, when he is judged or treated as an Offender. Let not my Lard ( says Shimei) impute Iniquity unto me. 2 Sam. xix. 19. And thus Righteousness is imputed to the Saint, when he is judged or acknowledged Righteous (in a qualisied Sense) with Relation to a particular Fact, done in Consormity to the preceptive Part of the Divine Law. Then stood up Phinehas, and executed Judgment, and it was imputedtohimfor Righteoufnefs. Psalm, cvi. 31, But S 3 this this is not the Imputation now to be considered* which respects a Justification, that is proposed as the Relief of a sinsul, perishing World, agiinst the Penalty of the condemning Law, and implies a Change of the Sinner's State from Guilt to Grace, from Death to Life, in a relative Sense.

I proceed then to observe, that also may be said to be imputed to a Person, which was not his own originally or antecedently; but is judged and esteemed to.belong to him, and is his.on account of 1 such Imputation only. Thus, a Debt is imputed to a Surety; and the Surety's Payment of a Debt is imputed to the principal Debtor, and is pleadable by him in Discharge from his Creditor's Demands. —"If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought,(-{ay» Paul of Onejtmus) put that on my Account, rovrt cy.o\ £Moy", impute it unto me. Thus our Sins are imputed unto Christ, inasmuch as he, in the Character of our Surety, has undertaken to discharge those Debts to the Justice of God. And thus his Righteousness is imputed unto us; it having been wrought out in our Place and Stead, and given to God in Payment on our Behalf.

These Things being premised, we are to understand the Imputation in Question, to be God's gracious Donation of the persect Righteousness of Christ to Believers, and his Acceptation of their Persons as righteous, on the Account thereof.— Their Sins being imputed fb him, and his Obedience being imputed to them, they are in Virtue hereof both acquitted from Guilt and accepted as • righteous before God.

We are not therefore to understand our Juftification by the imputed Righteousnefs of Christ, as implying and supposing, that God does esteem Believers to be what indeed they are not. He esteems them to be poor, sinsul, impersect Men, who I

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