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his future state, except it makes him decline his duty, ; because, as I said before, our Lord will not deal with us according to the judgment we pass upon ourselves, nor yet according to the judgment that others pass upon us, but he will deal with us according to the truth and reality of our case. So on the other side, supposing a man strongly persuaded that he is elect, if this persuasion should be groundless, it might do the person, in whom it takes place, a great deal of hurt, in preventing his seeking and endeavouring after those pre-requisites which are absolutely necessary to his fafety, but it can do him no real: service, because our Lord will not treat men according to their presumptuous conceit of themfelves, but according as he finds their case to be; and therefore, if they are destitute of the prerequisites to God's act of grace, he will condemn them, notwithstanding their perfuafion to the contrary. This obfervation likewise thews the groundlessness of some mens fears, who becaufe they cannot find in themselves the forementioned strong persuasion that they are elected, Sc. from hence they are led to fear that they have not true faith, and consequently that they are reprobated, whereas true faith, or the faith which makes men the suitable objects of God's love, is a believing what God hath revealed, and an answering the great design of that revelation, by conforming our minds and lives to the mind and will of God discovered to us thereby. But farther, I say, if by faith is meant a covenant of faith or grace (faith and grace, in this case, being the same thing) that is, if thereby is meant luch a covenant which gives justification as a favour to all those whose faith and sincere obedience make: them the suitable objects of this favour ; and if by works is meant a covenant of works, even: such a covenant as does not give justification as a favour, but pays it as a debt to all those whose innocency or exact obedience gives them a legal right and title to it; then it appears, from the foregoing observations, that christians are justified wholly, and only by faith, or a covenant of faith, and not at all by works, or a covenant of works, the christian's justification flowing wholly, and only from the merciful goodness of God, the lawgiver, as I have shewn, and not from the innocency of the person justified. Again,
We learn, secondly, the groundlessness of that opinion, that christians are justified by the imputed righteousness of Christ'; because the chriftian's justification is not founded upon the innocency or righteousness of the person justified, but in the merciful goodness of God, the law. giver, and so it is wholly of grace, and not of debt, as I have shewn. But if the righteousness of Christ is made the christian's righteousness, and if they are justified by virtue of the righteousness of another, which is made their own by imputation, it clearly follows, that their justification is
grace, but of debt, The person thus standing in the innocency or righteousness of another may lawfully demand it as his right; and it would be an act of criminal injustice in the judge to with-hold it from him. For, whatever grace might be exercised in imputing the innocency of one person to another, yet when that innocency is thus imputed, then justification becomes the person's right, who is thus possess'd of it; so that it is wholly of debt, and not of grace. I say, if the innocency of one is imputed to another. Here I only suppose the thing for argument sake, because in reality there is no such thing in nature; for guilt and innocency are perfonal, and stick so close to him, in wham they
take place, that they cannot be tranfposed from one to another. God may, indeed, it he pleases, pardon the guilty, and treat them as innocent and the innocency of one person may be an argus ment with him to shew kindness to another
person which is guilty; but still the guilt and innocence of each reft only upon the person who ex. ercised them, and this is plainly the christian's cafe. God is pleased to pardon believing penis tents, and to treat them as innocent, and the are gument or motive, which induces him to exercise this grace, is the innocency or righteousness, or in other words, the humble obedience of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who is become an intercessor for us, and upon whose account, and for whose fake, God is pleased to vouchsafe this grace to penitent believers. So that mens conceits of being juftified, by virtue of Christ's perfect righteousness being imputed to them, has no foundation, neither in the nature of the thing, nor in the christian revelation. The christian revelation every where represents the christian's justification to be of grace, and not of debt ; and that God exercises his mercy in the pardon and forgiveness of their fins; and that they are justified by faith, or a covenant of faith, and not by a covenant of works; in which covenant of faith nothing is re. quired as the meritorious cause of justification, because in this covenant God gives it wholly of his free grace, Rom. iv. 24. Eph. ii. 4. &c. Which excludes all merit; properly so called, both in the perfon justified, and in any other that might be inftrumental in procuring thaç favour for him, Rom. xi. 6. And if by grace, then it is no more of works (either of the person himself, or of any other that shall work, and so merit it for him) otherwise grace is 20 more grace; but if it be of works (either of the perfon himself, or of any other that shall
work in his stead) then it is no more grace, otherwise work is no more work,
If it should be here objected, that St. Paul, Rom. iv. 3.6. faith that Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness; and that David describes the blefsedness of the man unto whom God imputes righteousness without works; seeing then that righteousness is imputed, it must be the righteousness of another, viz. Christ, because the person, to whom it it here said to be imputed, had no personal righteousness of his own, he being without works, as the text expresfes it. I answer : As to Abraham's faith being accounted to bim for righteousness, this proves fully what I am pleading for, viz. that Abraham was not justified by the imputed righteousness of another, for if he had, then there had been no room nor need for his own faith to be counted to him for rightteousness; he being perfectly righteous himself, by having the perfect righteousness of Christ imputed to him. But Abraham not being able to stand upon that foot, God was pleas'd to justify him freely by his grace, and to accept of his faith, and sincere obedience, as that which disposed, and made him meet for this favour, instead of that perfect obedience which would have given him a legal title to it. "And as to the blessedness David speaks of, that did not consist in a person's being made righteous, by virtue of the righteousness of another imputed to him ; but it consisted in his having a share in the mercy of God, which was exercised in the forgiveness of his sins, and in receiving him into a state of favour, as if he had never transgress’d. And that this is the truth of the case, appears from the following words, verse 7. 8. Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose. Jins are covered; "blessed is the man to whonz the Lord will not impute fin. Here we fee that
this blessedness doth not consist in a person's standing in the imputed righteousness of another, but in his having a share in the mercy of God, who forgives him his sins, not imputing them unto him, that is, not punishing him for them, but treating him as if he had not finned.
If it should be here replied, that Isaiah faith, All our righteousneses are as filthy rags, chap. Ixiv. 6. and that St. Paul, Phil, iii, 9. faith, Tbat be defired to be found in Christ, not having his own righteousness, wbich is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness, which is of God by faith. And that St. John faith, John iii. 7. Little Children, let no man deceive you ; be that dotb righteousness, is righteous, even as he (viz. Christ) is righteous. Here, if all our personal reghteousness is as filthy rags, which stink in the nostrils of the most high, according to the Prophet's declaration, and if St. Paul desired to be found having righteousness, but not having his own righteousness, both which are expressed in his words, it will necessarily follow, that as our righteousness is unacceptable to God, fo St, Paul desired to be found in the righteousness of another, which he could not be found in, except that righteousness was made his own by imputation, Again, if be that dotb righteousness is righteous even as, or to that degree in which Christ is rigbteous, from hence it will follow, that righteousness is made his by imputation, because his own righteousness cannot make him righteous, as, or to that degree of righteousrefs Christ hath attained to, whith is asserted by St. John.
I answer, 'Tis to be observed that the good works, or righteous acts of good men, are so far f.om being as filthy rags which stink in the nostrils of God, that, on the contrary, they are like a sweet prefume, which is highly acceptable to him,