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terest in the righteousness of Christ : yet, when it pleases God, in answer to the prayers and cries of convinced sinners, to shine into their hearts, and give them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ, then they ven. ture their souls on his all-sufficiency, with great freedom, cheerfulness and delight. It is indeed one of the freest and most delightful acts of their whole lives. And now, being justified by faith, they have peace with God, and peace in their own souls, by trusting in the righteousness of Christ alone, in the manner described. Having shewn what saving faith is, I come now to shew what place faith has in our justification.
And after what has been said, you will not be inclined to make faith, in any measure, the meritorious cause of our jutification. No;--you will give this honor to Christ alone, and be content to assign faith some humbler station. What that station or place is, which faith has in the justification of a sinner, I shall shew, or point out, in a few words.
Observe then, that as the righteousness of Christ is the sole and exclusive meritorious cause of our justification, so the grace
DOW to shewn when the
of faith has a peculiar reference to that righteousness; and as an instrument ré. ceives and relies thereon; and thus makes an application of it to the soul. All sound divines agree, that there can be no true and saving faith, which has not the righteousness of Christ for its object.-A justifying faith fixes and rests on this alone, and finds. satisfaction ; because it was in this alone, that God found the satisfaction of his law and justice. There are many other things, indeed, inculcated and enjoined, in the New Testament, besides faith. Such as. repentance, love, justice, charity, &c. But you will observe, that we are never said to be justified by repentance, love, justice, or charity. The reason is, because none of these graces terminate on a proper object. --Sin is the object of repentance; the glory and goodness of God, is the ob. ject of love; and justice and charity respect, our fellow-creatures. But as none of these objects are the peculiar grounds of our jus: tification, consequently, none of those graces, which terminate on them, can have any concurrence or instrumentality in it. But the righteousness -of Christ, through which alone God can be just and the justi. fier of a believing soul, being the immedi. ate object of faith : therefore faith has a pe
culiar concurrence and instrumentality, in our justification. Faith, as I intimated, fixes on, lays hold of, and applies to us that perfect righteousness, with which the Lord is well pleased, and by which the law is magnified and made honourable.
I would now conclude, by bringing all I have said in this long letter, into so small a compass, that the whole may be seen at one view.-The whole of faith may be comprehended in three words, Approbation, Trust and Consent. Whoever heartily approves of the Saviour, shall be saved by him ; he that trusts in his righteousness, shall be justified by it ; and he that consents to the terms of the Covenant of Grace, shall inherit all its blessings. This Approbation, this Trust, this Consent, is Faith,
I flatter myself, that, by this time, you see what Faith is, and the place it holds in justification--as also, what is meant by the righteousness of Faith ; and why Christ's righteousness is called the righteousness of Faith: namely, because it is Faith's object; and by Faith it is relied on, received, applied and made ours, by imputation, according to the wise and gracious constitution of the Covenant of Grace, · I have laboured to be plain; I pray that you and I may both know and experience
what the true Faith is, and enjoy the comfort and benefit of it, in time and eternity.
Shewing that the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST is the only one by which a SINNER can be Justified.
June 30, 1790. Dear Sir,
IN the preceding letters, I have endeavored to shew, what is meant by justifi. cation ; what by the righteousness of Christ; what by a justifying faith, and what place it has in justification. What I ; intend now, is, to evince that there is no other righteousness, by which sinners can be justified, consistent with the justice of God, the honor of his law, and the rights of the divine government, but that which
the gospel reveals, and which I treated of in my second letter.
People may talk what they will about excluding the active obedience of Christ from having any share in our justification, as if Christ kept the law of God, not for us, but for himself, I look upon this to be one of the grossest, most capital, and pernicious errors, that ever was broached in the christian church. Such an opinion betrays very great ignorance, both of ourselves and the holy law of God. I say, it betrays very great ignorance, both of ourselves and the holy law of God. It would, indeed, be no wonder to hear an ignorant, blind, self-flattering sinner talk largely in favor of moral virtue, and extenuate the evil of sin, or make a thousand excuses for it: because such an one sees neither the evil of sin, nor the strictness and spirituality of God's law. But certainly we would not expect to hear such language from any man, who is awakened from his natural state of stupor, and has his eyes opened to behold the odious and destructive nature and evil of sin ; and in any good measure sees the broad extent of the divine law, and the severity of eternal justice. I am verily persuaded that there is no man possessed of