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reckoned or esteemed a true Believer; in Consequence whereof, a justifying Righteousness was imputed to him, even the Righteoufnefs of God without the Law.
I think, I have before sufficiently proved to you, that we are justisied by the Righteousness of Christ received by Faith, and cannot be justisied by cny personal inherentRightconsness of our own. This has been illustrated from the Nature of Tilings, and consirmed by sull and plain Scripture Testimony; and this upon an impartial Search rmd Enquiry, I think, would appear to you to be the whole Scope and Design of the Gofpel of Christ.—I have now removed your great Difficulty out of the Way, and fhewn you how this Doctrine, so plainly taught every where else, may be true in a sull Consistence with those Texts which in your Apprehension seemed to make against it.—I would now propofe one Method more, to consirm you in the important Truth "under Consideration; and that, if duly attended to, cannot sail.
Allow me, Sir, the Freedom to advise you, that you place yourself in the Presence of the insinitely great and glorious God, and give yourself to Meditation on such Subjects particularly as may tend to enlighten and establish you in the present Truth. With this View solemnly contemplate God's insinite Justice, his insinite Purity and Holiness, his insinite Abhorrence of Sin and Sinners, especially as to be seen in the Glass of Christ's Sufferings: Also contemplate your own State and moral Character, both by Nature and Practice; contemplate the Gnsul Desects of the best Works of Righteousness that ever you have done, the Pollutions mingled with the best Duties that ever you performed. Contemplate the Unbelief which accompanied the highest Actings of Faith you were ever capable of;
U 2 the the Formality and Hypocrisy which has mixed with yourdevoutest Prayers; thedesiiltoryThoughts and dead Frames whichhave accompanied you to the moil sacred Ordinances of God's Houle; the irequent Violations of the most solemn Resolutions and Covenant-Obligations by which you have bound your Soul to the Lord: And, in a Word, contemplate the Greatness of yourSins, their vast Number and dreadsul Aggravations; with the Nothingness of your best Performances and highest Attainments in Religion; how much you have done a
gainst God, and how little for him. And then
consider, what Plea you have to make before this insinitely great, this absolutely just, this persectly pure and holy God, for Justisication in his Sight, and Acceptance with him.—Will you plead your Acting of Faith in him and his Promises? Alas, how will your prevailing Unbelief fly in your Face, and put you to Silence!—Will you plead your personal Obedience and Works of Righteoufnefs that you have done? Alas, how will a vast Degree of Sin and Unrighteoufnefs cover and consound you! —Wrill you plead your Sincerity before God? But what will you do with that prevalent Formality and Hypocrify which your own Conscience will accuse and convince you of?—Will you not be forced at last to cry out with David,—If thou, Lord,sJoouldJI mark Iniquity, 0 Lord, who fhall ftand? and with Job,—Behold, I am vile! Whatshall 1answer thee? 1 will lay mine Hand upon my Mouth. Once have I fpoken, but I will not answer; yea twice, but I will proceed no further.—Will not you then see your Necessity of a more persect Righteousness, to plead before God, than any personal inherent Righteousness of yoiy own, to cover your dreadsul Sinsulness and insinite Desects; and to render you acceptable to God, notwithstanding all the Challenges lenges which the Justice, the Holiness, and the Law of God, together with your own Conscience, have against you? Surely on due Reflection, you must see yourself in perishing Necessity of Christ and his Righteousness, to recommend you to the divine Favour.
Dear Sir, I intreat you to consider in Season, what you mull consider sirst or last: And let you and 1 be now solemnly careful to lay our Foundation sure, that we may meet with Comfort at the great Trial, and receive the Euge of our Judge, in that awsul and great Day: Which is the Prayer of,
S I R,
LETTER XIII. Wherein it is considered, whether we are justified by Faith and Obedience to the Gospel, as a new Law of Grace.
ICA N with greater Encouragement use my Endeavours to remove your Difficulties, and to satisfy your Desires; since " you do not throw Difsiculties either in your own Way or in mine, out "of any conceived Prejudice, or from Ostentation "or wrangling Disposition; but from a sincere De"sire of building your Hope upon the sure Foun"dation laid in Zton." Would all Men act from Views so worthy of this great Concern, it would be a likely Means, not only to put an end to the prevailing Confusions among us, but to give a triumphant Progress to the Truth; and to establish Men in the Faith delivered to the Saints.
U 3 "You
"You have (you say) been sensibly affected u my last; and are so sully convinced of theDan"ger of mistaking your Way, that you are the f* more follicitous to be set right, and to have your "remaining Difficulties removed; and therefore "you intreat me to bear with you? while you pro"pofe your strongest Objection against the Doc. "trine I suppofe to be of so great Importance.— "Your Author (you say) tells you, that our bles"sed Saviour has purchased for us »«ti and easier '.' Condition of Lise; and instead of the sinless 0« bedience required by the moral Law, he has now "given us a new Law of Grace, which only requires *' Faith, with sincere Obedience to the Gofpel, as u the Condition of our Justification and Accep. "tance with God.—Whence it is a necessary Con. "sequence, that our Justification, or Title to e. * temal Lise, depends not upon Christ's Rightt"ousnefs imputed to us; but upon our Faith, 'w "eluding sincere Obedience to the Gospel, as the "Condition to which it is promifed; and that as "our Obedience is impersecl, so our State of Jus"tification is imperseil also; and we shall not be "persectly justified, till our Obedience be persects' ed."
That I may distinctly consider this Case, I shall endeavour in the first Place, to make some proper Inquiries and Reflexions upon this Scheme; and offer some Objeclions against it, and then take Notice of the Arguments which you have brought to supportit.
I would first enquire, where you find any Thing in Scripture of our Saviour's purchasing this new Law of Grace, whereby Faith and sincere Obedience are made the Conditions of our Justification.—ftl' haps your Author is silent upon that Head; and for my Part, I do not know that I have ever read any Thing at all about it in the Word of God. We read often of our blessed Saviour's^/wT^ himself a Ransom for us; of his being a Propitiation for our Sins; of his being the Lord our Righteousness; of his having brought in ever lasting Righteousness; of his being the End of the Law for Righteousness, unto eve. ry one that beiieveth; and of his being of God made unto us Wisdom and'Righteousness, andSanclification and Redemption; with many other like Representations of his procuring a justifying Righteousness for us. But of his purchasing this new Law of Grace, not one Word is to be found in the Scriptures—May we not justly suppofe, that is this Scheme were right, we should have it plainly represented to us in the Oracles of God, and not be left to grope in the Dark, and to find out by sarfetch'dConsequences, what is the Foundation of our Practice and Hope ?—How vast is the Difference between the one and the other Side of this Question! On the one Side we have (or at least we think we have) very numerous, plain, express Scripture Authorities, for our Justification by the Righteousness of Christ—On the other Side, there is a deep Silence throughout the whole Word of God, about any Purchase of a new Law, such a Law of fa' vourable Terms, and about thofe new Conditions of our Justification, thofe easier Terms, our Faith and sincere Obedience.—This Scheme therefore may be; presumed. to be at best but of human Invention.
\ would surther inquire, whether in the Nature of Things there cau be any Justification at all, upon such Conditions as you speak of ?—I have shewn you, that Justification is always to be understood of our being esteem'd, declared, manisested, or pronounced Righteous. Now then,.if our evangelical Obedience be impersect, we are still unrighteous, by our remaining Sin and Disobedience against this imaginary new Law of Grace; and consequently God cannot judge and declare us righteous by Virtue of