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count of our own personal inherent Righteousness, or any other Way, but on the Account of the imputed Righteousness of Christ only ; then faithy as it is our own personal inherent Righteousness, cannot justify us consistently with the sectoral Holinefs of God.
I may add, it cannot be agreeable to the Truth of God that we should be justified by any Righteousness which will not sully answer the Demands of the moral Law. God has pronounced every one curfed, who continues not in all Things written in the Book of the Law, to do them. If theresore we have not a sull Consormity to all Things wirit~ fen in the Book of the Law, if we have not a persect Obedience to its Precepts, nor a sull Satissaction for the Violation of them to plead in our Favour, then either we must lie under the Curfe, or God must break his Word. The latter you dare not suppofe; and the former is, in its Nature, absolutely inconsistent with our Justification*
I know of but one Answer, that can with any Colour of Reason be made to these Arguments; and that is, that Christ's sulsilling the Law for us is our legal Righteousness; as freeing us from the rigorous. Demands, and from the Curses of the moral Law: But that our Faith, including sincere Obedience in its Nature, is our evangelical Righteousness, whereby we ourselves personally fulsil the Gofpel, and are hereby jufified before God. According to this Distinction, Christ's Righteous-, ness is the Mutter or Ground of our Justification, taken negatively, as it lies in absolving us Irom the Curfe of the Law, and declaring our Sins forgiven; but our own Righteousness is the Matter or Ground of our Justisication, considered positively, as it lies in pronouncing us righteous, and so entitled to the Bhjjing.—Now the least that can be saiJ against this Notion, is, that it eclipses the Honour of Christ, as the Lord our Righteoufnefs, and leaves Man •whereof to glory.—-But the Consideration of this will of Course bring me to the laj l Thing I propofed in Answer to your Objection.
If your own Construction of thofe Passages in the fourth Chapter to the Romans were granted, and Faith, as including evangelical Obedience in it, is imputed to us for Righteoufnefs, yet this would make nothing against our Jufification by the imputed Righteoufnefs of Chrif. For allowing that Faith be our personal evangelical Righteoufnefs, and that as such it will justify us, or render us acceptable to God as sar as it goes, we must yet have Christ's Righteousness imputed to us, or else lie under the Curfe of the moral Law, as I have already proved.
If Faith, including sincere Obedience in it, be imputed to us for Righteoufnefs, this our personal Righteousness must be imputed to us ; not for what it is not, but for what in Truth it is; that is, an imperfeel Righteoufnefs. God cannot judge that to be perfect, which is really impersect; for his Judgment ever is according to Truth: And a weak, impersect Faith (as that of the best is) cannot constitute a persect Righteoufnefs. Whence it follows, that we cannot on Account of this our personal Righteousness be effectually and thoroughly justisied; we cannot be persectly acquitted trom Guilt and Condemnation; we cannot be intitled to complete Happiness and eternal Lise, by Virtue of our own Righteousness; and therefore it is of the last Necessity that we have some other and better Righteousness, even a persect one, to plead; or else we must perish eternally.——At least, we cannot at present be justified on the foot of our own Righteousness, so long as we are in this imperfecl State, but must wait for Justification of Life,
as a distant suture Benesit, not to be received fir we are made persecl in Holiness. Whereas, by the whole Current of Scripture it appears, that Justification is a present Benesit, taking Place in the Lise which noiii is. Believers have not a mere Promise, that they shall he justified; but such are, in the most express Terms, represented in Scripture as already justified, as actually pardoned and made accepted in the tieloved, as pajfedfrom Death to Lise, and re . instated in God's special Favour; fo that there ii tjoiu no Condemnation to them, but they are now the Heirs of Salvation.
Thus, Sir, I have given you some of the Reasons I have against your Author's Interpretation of thofe Passages in the fourth Chapter to the Rf mans. Many other Arguments might be added further to illustrate the Truth; and to resute all Pretences of this Kind. But I am asraid 1 have been already too tedious j and I hope, what is already said may prove sufficient for your Satissaction.
You desire me " to give a brief View of my Sen"timents of thofe Passages; and to shew you, in "what Sense I understand Faith to be imputed to "us for Righteousness. You tell me, that you cans' not understand how Faith's being imputed to us *' for Righteousness can intend that Christ's Righ"teousness is imputed to us."
The common Interpretation of these Passages by our Protestant Divines, from the Beginning of the Reformation, is, that Faith is imputed for Righteousness, not subjectively, or as it is an Act of our own, and our own personal Righteousness; but objectively, or as it hath Respect to its Object, and apprehends the Righteousness of Chris; that is. as Faith is the Band of Union between Christ and the Soul, and interests us in him, and his justifying Righteousness, it is imputed to-us for Rights V
Cufnefs: Thus, it is the Righteoufnefsef Faith, at Faith is the Term or Mean of our Interest in Christ's Righteousness: And yet it is the Righteoufnefs of Christ, as he was the immediate Subject and Author of it, or as it was wrought out by him.—Our Faith is in a like Manner said to be the Faith of JefusChrist, (Rom. iii. 22.) as Christ's Righteoufness is here said to be the Righteoufnefs of Faith. Our Faith is not called the Faith of Christ, as it is his personal Act (Christ does not believe for us) but as it receives the Lord Jesus Christ, and gives us an Interest in him. Nor is our Faith our Righteousnefs, as it is our personal Act, (our Faith has not fulsilled the Law, nor answered the Demands of vindictive Justice') but it is our Righteousness, as it interests us in what Christ hath done and sufsered for W, whereby the La'w is sulsilled, and Justice satissied. In the former Case the Objects put for the Acl the faith of Christy for believing in Christ.—And there can no Reason be given, why with the same Propriety, in the latter Case, the Aft may not be put for the Objecl; the Righteoufnefs of Faith, for Righteoufnefs by or through Faith; and why Faith may not be counted for the Righteoufnefs obtained
by believing. It is remarkable, that the Apostle
expressly speaks of Faith in this View, everywhere else besides .this Context; and therefore he ought to be here also understood in this Sense", to make his Doctrine consistent.—In this Sense, Faith is our justifying Righteousness, as a condemned Malesactor's accepting his Prince's Pardon is his Deliverance from Execution; or as a Beggar's accepting "n Alms is his Preservative from starving. As in these Cases it is not the^t? of receiving, but the Benefit received, that is the Preservation; so in that Cast it is not the Ail of receiving Christ, but the BeU neft nefit received by Faith, that is the Believer's Righteousness.
But " you cannot understand how Faith's being "imputed to us for Righteousness, can intend that "Christ's Righteousness is imputed to us."—Well then, let it be even suppofed, that Faith is here taken subjectively ; and that it was Abraham's Faith itself, considered as an Act of his own, that was imputed to him. It may notwithstanding be set .in such a View, as will secure the Truth of tbe Doctiinc I am pleading for, if the Text be considered as it is in the Original. His Faith was imputed UNTO Righteousness (li; oiy.auLai.ni) That is, as he was reckoned, judged or esteemed ofGod to be a found Believer; so the Faith which war' imputed or reckoned to him was unto Righteous-* ness; was instrumental to his attaining of Righteousness; was the Means, that by the Righteousness of One the free Gift came upon him, unto Justification of Lise; or, in other Words, was the Meani of his Interest in that Righteousness of Christ, by which he was justified.—In this Sense, the ItnputaA tion respects his Faith, and intends an Approbation and Acknowledgment of it as true and sincere, and effectual to its proper Purpofes. He was approved of God, as having a true and found Faith, a Faith effectual, as an applying Means, unto Righteousness, and thereby unto Justification • a Faith, which interested him in Christ and his Righteousness, and thereby intitled him unto Acceptance with God, and eternal Lise.—He was judged to be such a Believer as to have a Right, according to the Terms of the Covenant of Grace, to have Righteousness imputed to him, 'without Works, as it is expressed in Ver. 6th.—According to this View of the Case, Imputation is considered in this Context in both Senses before explained. Abraham was