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Righteousness of Christ,

[Ess. xi.

this position with other scriptural declarations, of some of which the apostle is himself the author, it is easy to perceive that the righteousness imputed to the Christian is no imaginary innocence and virtue, but the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ himself; for it is Jesus who is described, by the prophets, as the "Lord our righteousness:" Jer. xxiii, 6; comp. Isa. xlv, 24, 25. Christ Jesus is made unto us of the Father, "righteousness and redemption:" 1 Cor. i, 30. "God hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God IN HIM" 2 Cor. v, 21. Again, the apostle says, "For if by one man's offence death reigned by one, much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ........ As by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one,' (the free gift) came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous:" Rom. v, 17-19; comp. x, 3, 4.

In what, then, did the righteousness of our Saviour consist? That Jesus Christ was perfectly devoid of sin, is a truth which the sacred writers have promulgated with equal clearness and frequency. Although tempted in all points like as we are, he was "without sin:" Heb. iv, 15. He "did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth :" 1 Pet. ii, 22. He "knew no sin:" 2 Cor. v, 21. He was "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners:" Heb. vii, 26. He was, as distinguished from all other men, the "Holy One"

7 Rom. v, 18. δι ̓ ἑνὸς δικαιώματος. Δικαίωμα, in verse 18, corresponds with Taxón in verse 19; and, as Schleusner observes, denotes an obedience to the divine will-a perfect holiness and virtue: vide lex. in voc., No. 3.

Ess. XI.]


of God: Luke iv, 34; Acts iii, 14. Such expressions
are too clear in themselves to admit of mistake or
perversion; and the fulness and perfection of their
meaning is amply evinced by the collateral consider-
ation, that it was only on the principle of his being
himself" without blemish and without spot," that
Jesus could possibly be accepted as a sacrifice for sin :
1 Pet. i, 19; comp. Lev. xxii, 20, &c. Perfectly inno-
cent therefore was this Lamb of God. When, how-
ever, we find the sacred writers dwelling on the right-
eousness of Jesus Christ; when we observe it to be
declared by them, that he is the "righteous branch,”
Jer. xxiii, 5; "the king of righteousness," Heb.
vii, 2; "the sun of righteousness," Mal. iv, 2;-
that he came to fulfil "all righteousness," Matt. iii,
15; comp. v, 17;-that "righteousness" was "the
girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his
reins," Isa. xi, 5; we must surely receive their doc-
trine on the subject as declarative, not only of his
freedom from all sin, but of his positive, active, and
ever-abounding piety, justice, charity, and virtue-the
whole constituting a perfect obedience to the law and
will of God. That obedience is emphatically men-
tioned by the apostle Paul, Rom. v, 18, 19; Heb v,
8, 9; it characterized every particular of our Lord's
moral conduct, was maintained by him unbroken
through a long course of unspeakable humiliation and
suffering, and was finally consummated in his cruel
and shameful death.


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Such was the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ; and such is the righteousness, therefore, which, through faith, is imputed to the Christian. A very slight degree of reflection on the divine nature, and infinite dignity of the Son of God, as well as on the perfections of his human character, may serve to convince us that as, on the one hand, he was, on


to the Believer:

[Ess. XI. account of his spotless innocence, entirely suited to be a sacrifice for sin, so, on the other hand, his fulfilment of the whole moral law, and more especially his obedience unto death, were infinitely meritorious in the sight of God the Father. When, therefore, we read that the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to the believer, we may reasonably understand such a doctrine to import, that we are not only saved through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but rewarded through his merits. Our sinfulness may properly be said to have been imputed to Christ, because, when he underwent the penalty which that sinfulness demanded, he was dealt with as if he had been himself the sinner; and it is, I apprehend, on a perfectly analogous principle that his righteousness is said to be imputed to us; because, through the boundless mercy of God, we are permitted to reap the fruits of it. We are regarded as if, like him, we were absolutely guiltless, and are, therefore, delivered from everlasting punishment. We are graciously accepted, as if, like him, we had meritoriously fulfilled the whole law of God; and are, therefore, rewarded with never-ending felicity. Thus it is, that, in consequence of his union through faith with Jesus, the Head of the Church, the Christian is not only protected from the pains of hell, but is in possession of a well-grounded claim on the joys of heaven. Thus it is that "grace" reigns" through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord:" Rom. v, 21.

As the blood of Christ is effectual for the cleansing away of the believer's guilt, and his righteousness allsufficient for meriting the believer's reward, so it is another most important feature in the glad tidings of the Christian dispensation, that Christ is himself the unfailing protector and advocate of his people.

Ess. XI.]

Advocacy of Jesus Christ.


Such an office he maintained, with a perfect consistency, during his continuance on earth. The little company of his faithful disciples were, in his presence, safe from every danger. He led them about, he instructed them, he gathered them under his sheltering wing; he defended them from the power of their enemies, so that no evil befel them, see John xvii, 12; and, more especially, he poured forth on their behalf, and on behalf of all those who should afterwards believe in his name, his effectual and authoritative petitions before the Father's throne of grace. "I pray not for the world," said Jesus in that solemn supplication which appears to have concluded the course of his ministry, "but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine"....." neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word:" John xvii, 9. 20. Such was our Lord's description of the persons on whose behalf his prayer was offered. And what was that prayer? that the Father would keep them in his own namekeep them from the evil"-sanctify them through his truth-bind them together in the fellowship of the Gospel-bring them into a holy union one with another, in the Father and the Son-and, finally, receive them into that glory which was laid up for Jesus himself, in the mansions of bliss. "Father," he said, "I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me:" ver. 24.


But, the advocacy of Jesus was far indeed from being restricted to the period of his mortal humiliation: he continues to exercise the same gracious office in the kingdom of his glory. "If any man sin," said the apostle John to the catholic church, at a period subsequent to the ascension of Jesus,-" If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ

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Advocacy of Jesus Christ.

[Ess. XI.

the righteous:" 1 John ii, 1. In this respect, as well as in many others, "God hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead," 1 Pet. i, 3; and we may well adopt the language of the apostle Paul: "If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled unto God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life:" Rom. v, 10. Jesus Christ was not only "delivered for our offences," but "was raised again for our justification :" iv, 25. Having for ever put away sin by the sacrifice of himself," the Great Prince which standeth for the children of the Lord's people," Dan. xii, 1, hath entered, "not into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:" Heb. ix, 24.

The office of an advocate or patron, in ancient times, was one of great importance. He was the perpetual protector of his client; and, as occasion required, he was always ready to defend his cause, to confute and rebuke his accuser, or to intercede for his pardon and Jesus, in his priestly and mediatorial character, is the advocate of his people, because he is ever engaged in protecting them from danger, in counteracting the accusations of their cruel adversary, in pleading their cause, and in offering intercession for them to the Father Almighty. He is the perfect antitype of the high-priest of the ancient Hebrews, respecting whom we read as follows: "And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel, in the breastplate of judgment, upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord, continually. And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart when he goeth in before the Lord; and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the

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