Sidebilder
PDF

not the righteousness of the Godheaa, as distinguished from the manhood, nor the rightcousness of the manhood, as distinguished from the Godhead; but a righteousness which standeth in the union of both natures, and may properly be called the righteousness that is essential to his being prepared of God to the capacity of the mediatory office, which he was entrusted with. If he parts with his first righteousness, he parts with his Godhead : it he parts with his second righteousness, he parts with the purity of his manhood : if he parts with his third, he parts with that perfection which capacitates him to the office of mediation. He has therefore another righteousness, which standeth in performance, or obedience to a revealed will : and that is what he puts upon sinners, and that by which then sins are covered. Wherefore he saith, 'As by one man's disobedience, many were made sinners : so by the obedience of one, shall many be made righteous' (Rom. v. 19).

Chr. But are the other righteousnesses of no use to us?

Gr.-h. Yes ; for though they are essentiai to his natures and office, and cannot be communicated unto another, yet it is by virtue of them that the righteousness that justifies is for that purpose efficacious. The righteousness of bis Godhead gives virtue to his obedience : the righteousness of his man. hood giveth capability to his obedience to justify; and the righteousness, that standeth in the union of these two natures to his office, giveth authority to that righteousness to do the work for which it was ordained.

So then here is a righteousness that Christ, as God, has no need of : for he is God without it : here is a righteousness that Christ, as man, has no need of to make him so, so he is perfect inan without it: again, here is a righteousness that Christ, as God and as Godman, has no need of, with reference to himself, therefore he can spare it ; a justifying righteousness, that he for himself wanteth not, and therefore giveth it away. Hence it is called • the gift of righteousness' (Rom. v. 17). This righteousness, since Christ Jesus the Lord has made himself under the law, must be given away ; for the law doth not bind him that is under it, to do justly, but to use charity. Wherefore he must, or ought by the law, if he hath two coats, to give one to him that has none. Now our Lord indeed hath two coats, one for himself, and one to spare ; wherefore he freely bestows one upon those that have none. And thus, Christiana and Mercy, and the rest of you that are here, doth your pardon come by deed, or by the work of another man. Your Lord Christ is he tha worked, and hath given away what he wrought for, to the next poor beggar he meets.

But again, in order to pardon by deed, there must something be paid to God as & price, as well as something prepared to cover us withal Sin has delivered us up to the just course of a righteous law ; now from this course we must be justified by way of re.

demption, a price being paid for the harmg we have done ; and this is by the blood of your Lord, who came and stod in your place and stead, and died your death for your transgressions. Thus has he ransomed you from your transgressions, by blood, and covered your polluted and deformed souls with right

the sake of which, God passeth by you, and will not hurt you, when he comes to judge the world.

Chr. This is brave ; now I see that there was something to be learned by our bring pardoned by word and deed. Gand Mercy, let us labour to keep this in mind ; and my children, do you remember it also. But, Sir, was not this it that made my good Christian's burthen fall from off his shoulder, and that made him give three leaps for joy?

Gr.ch. Yes, it was the belief of this that cut of those strings, that could not be cut by other means; and it was to give him a proof of the virtue of this, that he was sutiered to carry his burthen to the cross.

Chr. I thought so; for though my heart was lightful and joyous before, yet it is ten times more lightsome and jovous now. And I am persuaded by what I have felt though I hare felt but little as yet, that is the most burthened man in the world was here, and did see and believe as I now do, it would make his heart the more merry and blitse.

Gr.-t. There is not only one comfort, and the ease of a burthen brought to us, by the sight and consideration of these, but an endeared affection begot in us by it ; for who can (if he does but once think that pardon

affected with the way and means of redemption, and so with the man that hath wrought it for him ?

Chr. True ; methinks it makes my heart bleed to think, that he should bleed for me. Oh ! thou loving One ! Oh! thou blessed One ! Thou deservest to have me ; thou hast bought me; thou deservest to have me all ; thou hast paid for me ten thousand times more than I am worth ! No marvel that this made the water stand in my husband's eyes, and that it made him trudge so nimbly on ; I am persuaded he wished me with him; but vile wretch that I was ! I let him come all alone. O Mercy, that thy father* and mo

** Thy father'_When believers, 'in the warmth of their affections,' feel the bumbling, melting, endearing, and sanc. lifying effects of contemplating the glory of the cross, and the love of Christ in dying for sinners, and considering them. selves as the special objects of that inexpressible compassion and kindness, they are apt to conclude that the belief of the propositions, that Christ loves them and died for them, and that God is reconciled to them, produces the change by ils own influence; and would affect the most carnal hearts in the same manner, could meo be persuaded to believe it : for they vainly imagine, that apprehensions of God's severity, and dread of bis vengeance, are the sources of the enmity whicl. sinners minisest against him. Hence very lively and allectionate Christians have frequently been prone to sanction the unscriptural tenet, that the justifying act of faith consists in assuredly believing that Christ died for me in particular, and that God loves ine; and to consider this appropriation as preceding repentance and every other gracious dise position; and in some sense the cause of regeneration, wig

ther were here ; yea, and Mrs. Timorous also; nay, I wish with all my heart, that here ning the heart to love God, and to rejoice in him and in obeving his commandments. From this doctrine others have inferred, that if all men, and eren devils inn, believed the love of God to them, and his purpose at length to make them happy, they would be won over from their rebellion against him, which they persist in from a mistaken ilea, that he is their implacable enemy; and they make this one main argument, in support of the salutarv tendency of the final restitution scheine. But all these opinions arise from a fulse and flattering estinate of human nature ; for the carnal mind hates the scriptural character of God, and the glory displayed in the crose, even more than that which shines forth in the fiery law. Indeed, if we take away the offensive part of the Gospel, the honour it pills upon the law and its awful sanctions, and the exhibition it makes of the divine justice and holiness, it will give the proud carnal heart buit little umbrage : if we admit that men's aversion to God anii religion arise from misapprehension, ani pot desperate wickediness, many will endure the doctrine. A reconciliation, in which God assures the sinner that he has forgiven hin, even before he has repented of bis sins, will suit men's pride; and if he have been previously frighted, a grent tiow of af. fections will followbut the event will prove, that they dif. fer essentially from spiritual love of God, gratitude, holy jov, and genuine humiliation, which arise from a true per. ception of the glorious perfections of God, the righteousnes of his law and government, the real nature of redemption, and the odiousness and desert of sin. In short, all such schemes render regeneration needless; or substitute something else in its stead, which is effected by a natural process, and not by the new-creating power of the Holy Spirit. But when this divine agent has coinmunicated life w) the soul, and a capacity is producel of perceiving and relishing spirimal excellency, the enmity against Gol receives a mortal wound; from that season the more his real charcter and glory are known, the greater affection will be excited, and a proportionable trinsformation into the same holy image effected. Then the view of the cross, as the grand display of all the harmonious perfections of the Gortheil, will soit en, humble, and meliorate the heart; while the persuasior of an interest in these Uessings, and an admiring senze o having received sucio inconceivable Lavours froin this glori.

« ForrigeFortsett »