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it is rejected, and another of man's devising be put in the room of it, without doubt it must be an error of great importance, and the apostle might well say it was another gospel. 5. The contrary scheme of justification derogates much from the honor of God and the Mediator. I have already shewn how it diminishes the glory of the Mediator, in ascribing that to man's virtue and goodness, which belongs alone to his worthiness and righteousness. By the apostle's sense of the matter it renders Christ needless, Gal. v. 4. “Christ is become of no effect to you, whosoever of you are justified by the law.” If that scheme of justification be followed in its conequences, it utterly overthrows the glory of all the great things that have been contrived, and done, and suffered in the work of redemption. Gal. ii. 21. “If righteousness come by the law, Christ is dead in vain.” It has also been already shewn how it diminishes the glory of divine grace, (which is the attribute God hath especially set himself to glorify in the work of redemption ;) and so that it greatly diminishes the obligation to gratitude in the sinner that is saved : Yea, that in the sense of the apostle, it makes void the distinguishing grace of the gospel. Gal. v. 4. Whosoever of you are justified “by the . law, are fallen from grace.” It diminishes the glory of the grace of God and the Redeemer, and proportionably magnifies man : It makes him something before God, when indeed he is nothing : It makes the goodness and excellency of f.lien man to be something, which I have shewn are nothing. I have also already shewn, that it is contrary to the truth of God in the threatening of his holy law, to justify the sinner for his virtue. And whether it were contrary to God’s truth er no, it is a scheme of things very unworthy of God, that supposes that God, when about to lift up a poor, sorlorn malefactor, condemned to eternal misery for sinning against his Majesty, out of his misery, and to make him unspeakably and eternally happy, by bestowing his Son and himself, upon him, as it were, sets all this to sale, for the price of his virtue and excellency. I know that those we oppose do acknowledge,
that the price is very disproportionate to the benefit bestowed; and say, that God’s grace is wonderfully manifested in accepting so little virtue, and bestowing so glorious a reward for such imperfect righteousness. But seeing we are such infinitely sinful and abominable creatures in Gods sight, and by our infinite guilt have brought ourselves into such wretched and deplorable circumstances, and all our righteousnesses are nothing, and ten thousand times worse than nothing, (if God looks upon them as they be in themselves) is it not immensely more worthy of the infinite majesty and glory of God, to deliver and make happy such poor, filthy Worms, such wretched vagabonds and captives, without any money or price of theirs, or any manner of expectation of any excellency or virtue in them, in any wise to recommend them : Will it not betray a foolish, exalting opinion of ourselves, and a mean one of God, to have a thought of offering any thing of ours, to recommend us to the favor of being brought from wallowing, like filthy swine, in the mire of our sins, and from the enmity and misery of devils in the lowest hell, to the state of God's dear children, in the everlasting arms of his love, in heavenly glory; or to imagine that that is the constitution of God, that we should bring our filthy rags, and offer them to him as the price of this 6. The opposite scheme docs most directly tend to lead men to trust in their own righteousness for justification, which is a thing fatal to the soul. This is what men are of themselves exceedingly prone to do, (and that though they are never so much taught the contrary) through the exceeding partial and high thoughts they have of themselves, and their exceeding dulness of apprehending any such mystery as our besing accepted for the righteousness of another. But this scheme does directly teach men to trust in their own rightcousness for justification; in that it teaches them that this is indeed what they must be justified by, being the way of justification that God himself has appointed. So that if a man had naturally no disposition to trust in his own righteousness, yet if he embraced this scheme, and acted consistent with it, it would lead him to it. But that trusting in our own righteousness, is a thing fatal to the soul, is what the scripture plainly teaches us: It tells us, that it will cause that Christ profit us nothing, and be of no effect to us, Gal. v. 2....4. For though the apostle speaks there particularly of circumcision, yet (I have shewn already, that) it is not merely being circumcised, but trusting in circumcision as a righteousness, that the apostle has respect to. He could not mean, that merely being circumcised would render Christ of no profit or effect to a person; for we read that he himself, for certain reasons, took Timothy and circumcised him, Acts xvi. 3. And the same is evident by the context, and by the rest of the epistle. And the apostle speaks of trusting in their own righteousness as fatal to the Jews, Rom. ix. 31, 32. “But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore ? Because they sought it, not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law; for they stumbled at that stumbling stone.” Together with chap. x. verse 3. “For they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” And this is spoken of as fatal to the Pharisees, in the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, that Christ spake to them to reprove them for trusting in themselves that they were righteous. The design of the parable is to shew them, that the very Publicans shall be justified, rather than they ; as appears by the reflection Christ makes upon it Luke xviii. 14. “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other;” that is, this and not the other. The fatal tendency of it might also be proved from its inconsistence with the nature of justifying faith, and also its inconsistence with the nature of that humiliation that the Scripture often speaks of as absolutely necessary to salvation; but these scriptures are so express, that it is needless to bring any further arguments. How far a wonderful and mysterious agency of God's Spirit may so influence some men's hearts, that their practice in this regard may be contrary to their own principles, so that they shall not trust in their own righteousness, though they profess that men are justified by their own righteousness; Vol. VII. R
or how far they believe the doctrine of justification by men's own righteousness in general, and yet not believe it in a particular application of it to themselves; or how far that error which they may have been led into by education, or cunning sophistry of others, may yet be indeed contrary to the prevailing disposition of their hearts, and contrary to their practice : Or how far some may seem to maintain a doctrine contrary to this gospel doctrine of justification, that really do not, but only express themselves differently from others; or seem to oppose it through their misunderstanding of our expressions, or ye of theirs, when indeed our real sentiments are the same in the main ; or may seem to differ more than they do, by using terms that are without a precisely fixed and determinate meaning ; or to be wide in their sentiments from this doctrine, for want of a distinct understanding of it, whose hearts, at the same time, entirely agree with it, and if once it was clearly explained to their understandings, would immediately close with it, and embrace it: How far these things may be, I will not determine ; but am fully persuaded that great allowances are to be made on these and such like accounts, in innumerable instances ; though it is manifest, from what has been said, that the teaching and propagating contrary doctrines and schemes are of a pernicious and fatal tendency.
AND HE LEFT HIs GARMENT IN HER HAND, AND FLED, AND - GOT HIM Out.
WE have an account here, and in the context, of that remarkable behavior of Joseph in the house of Potiphar, that was the occasion both of his great affliction, and also afterwards of his high advancement and great prosperity in the land of Egypt. The behavior that I speak of, is that which was on occasion of the temptation that his mistress laid before him to commit uncleanness with her. We read in the beginning of the chapter how Joseph, after he had been so cruelly treated by his brethren, and sold into Egypt for a slave, was advanced in the house of Potiphar, who had bought him. Joseph was one that feared God, and therefore God was with him ; and wonderfully ordered things for him, and so influenced the heart of Potiphar his master, that instead of keeping him as a mere slave, to which purpose he was sold, he made him his steward and overseer over his house, and all that he had was put into his hands; insomuch that we are told, verse 6. “That he left all that he had in his hand; and that he knew not ought that he had, save the bread which he did eat.” While Joseph was in these prosperous circumstances, he met with a great temptation in his master's house; so we are told that he, being a goodly person, and well favored, his mistress cast her eyes upon and lusted after him, and used all her art to tempt him to commit uncleanness with her.