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He that has faith in his heart, and preaches the faith as it was once delivered to the faints; who holds the mystery of faith in a pure conscience, and deals it out from thence.
He that has the love of God shed abroad in his own heart, and preaches it in all it's branches; the manisestation of it in the death of Christ; the revelation of it by the Spirit; the effects of it, pardon and peace.
He that is not angry with his brother without a cause; he that is saved and kept from uncleanness; he that resists not evil wjth evil; and he that gives his cloak to them that sue him at law for his coat— this is the man, and no other, that doth the commandtyentSy and teaches them. And he
Shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. He is a true, real, genuine, and loyal subject, of the kingdom of Heaven; he is not in bondage to the Law, to Sin, nor to Satan; he is redeemed, justified, and faved; the mysteries of the kingdom are with him; the kingdom of Grace is in him; and he is an heir of the kingdom of Glory before him, and shall be
Called Great in the kingdom of Heaven. He acknowledges himself a great sinner, and tells others what great things God has done for him. Great grace is upon him, and "he is a good steward of the "manifold grace of God." He is faved with a great salvation^ and it is an unconditional falvation
*hat that he preaches. He is a man of God, a mouth for God, and an ambassador sent from God. He is an evangelist, and does the work of one. He is a good steward, and is-found faithful. He is a minister of the Spirit, and makes sull proof of his ministry, by stopping the mouths of gainfayers, by cutting up elect: sinners, and by steering a course that God owns and honours. In short, he is an able minister of the New Testament, and shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven by all thofe who know wherein true greatness consists. Which leads me to the last verse of my text-—
For I say unto you, that except your righteousness Jball exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pkarifees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. There have been six or seven Discourses lately de*. livered from this text -by different Ministers; and they all agree in this, that the righteousness of Christ is neither intended, nor included in the text; which is a point that I intend to examine. By entering into the Kingdom of Heaven, these things arc meant.
First, Taking the veil of ignorance from the understanding, and enlightening the mind info the mysteries of the kingdom; which is leading the foul out of darkness into marvellous light.
Secondly, It is leading a foul out of bondage into liberty; out of a condemned into a justified state; OUt of a state of enmity into a state of reconctliar E 4 tion-, tion; out of a state of sin into a state of grace; out of a state of alienation into a state of friendship; out of a state of legal labour into a state of rest: which is called translating the sinner out of the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God's dear Son.
'Thirdly, The Saviour's introducing his Elect, body and soul, into the glories of Heaven, is called u an abundant entrance into the everlasting king"dom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." a Pet. i. i0, Ii.
But then, what righteousness is this that can procure such an entrance? Paul's mind was enlightened into the mysteries of the kingdom, as soon as the Lord shined upon him, and into his heart; and he entered into a state of grace, or into the. kingdom of heaven, as soon as he arose, and received the Holy Ghost. But what righteousness had he got, to procure, or pave the way for, such an entrance? Paul was a Pharisee, we know: but it could not be his pharifaical righteousness that procured his entrance; for the text fays, it must exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. And, I think, it could not be the malice and murder of his heart, nor his bloody commhTion, nor the death-warrants that he had in his pocket. The righteousness in the text is obedience to the Law, which the Pharisees boasted of, and in which the child of God must exceed the Pharisee. It must be either the sinner's obedience, or the obedience of the Surety, that procures an
entrance entrance here; for the unrighteous cannot enter the kingdom. But Paul, though one of the strictest sect of the Pharisees, had no righteousness to procure an entrance here; it profited him nothing in this case: / will declare thy righteousness, and thy works, for they shall not profit thee, Ifa. lvii. i2. The supplicating publican, and Mary Magdalen, both entered the kingdom of heaven, but not by their own righteousness. No righteousness but the righteousness of Christ imputed, can procure an entrance, either into the knowledge of God, or into a state of grace, which stands in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; into all which the sinner enters by faith in Christ alone.
Nor can I think that any righteousness, but that of the Saviour, can procure an entrance into glory; not Paul's righteousness, for that (he fays) is dung and drofs; nor Zion's righteousness, for that is filthy rags-, nor the righteousness of Peter, James, an4 John, for in many things they all offended. And sure I am, that an impersect righteousness can never pave the way, either into God's favour, or into his presence. The thief went from the crofs to Paradise -, but his prayer, his confession of Christ, his rebuking his fellow thief, and confessing the justness of his punishment, is no part of obedience to the Moral Law, which is the Rule of Righteousness; and Christ's obedience to that Rule, is the Righteousness meant in my text, in which Paul hoped to be found when he should enter the kingdom of
glory: glory: as it is written, And be found in him, net having mine own righteousness, which is of the Lazvt hut that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness zvhich is of God by faith, Phil. iii. 9. This is the righteousness that God imputed to Paul's faith, and by which he entered into the kingdom of grace; and in this he hoped to enter into the kingdom of heaven itself: "For we, through the Spirit, <c wait for the hope of righteousness by faith," (Gal. v. 5.) which alone can answer for us in that day. No creature righteousness, no impersect: righteousness, no inherent righteousness, can ever admit a man into the kingdom of grace, or into the kingdom of glory. No righteousness but Christ's spotless obedience to the Law, imputed by God to the sinner, can ever give him right or title, procure an entrance or admission into grace or glory.
But you you will fay, "There is one word in the ** text which you overlook, the word your; Except "your righteousness shall exceed," &c.
Answ. What God freely bestows on us, becomes ours: "We receive the abundance of grace, and the "gift of righteousness," Ropi. v. i7. And God, who gives this righteousness to us, calls it ours: "This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, ** and their righteousness is of me, faith the Lord." Isa. liv. i7. "They have no righteousness but what "is of me," faith the Lord -, and that is an imputed qne, freely given, and freely browed, And Christ