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Whatsoever virtues (so called) a man may hare,-) speak of those uuto whom the Gospel is preached; for “what have I to do to judge them that are without ?"-Whatsoever good works (so accounted) he may do, it protiteth not; he is still a child of wrath, still under de curse, till he believes in Jesus.
5. Faith, therefore, is the Necessary condition of Justification. Yea, and the only necessary condition thereof. This is the second point carefully to be observed; that, the very moment (od giveth Faith (for it is the gift of God) to the “ungodly," that “ workethi not,” that “ Faith is counted to him for righteouspess.” He hath no righteousness at all, antecedent to this, not so much as negative righteousness, or innocence. But “ faith is imputed to him for righteousness,” the very moment that he believeth. Not that God (as was observed before) thinketh bim to be what he is not. But as she made Christ to be sin for us,” that is, treated him as a sinner, punishing bim for our sins; so he counteth is righteous, from the time we believe in him : that is, he doth not punish us for our sins, yea, trcats vis as though we were guiltless and rightcous.
6. Surely the difficulty of assenting to the proposition, That Faith is the only condition of Justification, must arise from not understaviding it. We nican thereby thus much, That it is the only thing, without which no one is justified; the only thing that is immediately, indispensably, absolutely requisite in order to pardon. As on the one hand, though a man should have every thing else without Faith, yet he cannot be justified; so on the other, though he be supposed to want every thing else, yet if he hath faitli, he cannot but be justified. For suppose a sinner of any kind or degree, in a full sense of his total ungodliness, of his utter inability to think, speak, or do good, and his absolute meetness for hell-fire; suppose, I say, this sinner, helpless and hopeless, casts himself wholly on the mercy of God in Christ, (which indeed he cannot do but by the grace of God,) who can doubt but he is forgiven in that moment? Who will affirn, that any more is indispensably required, before that sinner can be justificd ?
Now, if there crer was one such instance from the beginning of the world; (and have there not been, and are there not, ten thousand times ten thousand?) it plainly follows, that Faith is, in the above sense, the sole condition of Justification.
7. It does not become poor, guilty, sinful wornis, who receive whatsocver blessings they enjo!; (from the lcast drop
of water that cools our tongue, to the inmense riches of glory in eternity,) of grace, of mere favour, and not of debt, to ask, of God the reasons of his conduct. It is not meet for us to call him in question, “who giveth account to none of his ways;” to demand, Why didst thou make Faith the condition, the only condition of Justification ? Wherefore didst thou decree, He that believeth, and he only, shall be saved? This is the very point on which St. Paul so strongly insists in the ninth chapter of this Epistle, viz. That the terms of pardou and acceptance must depend not on us, but on him that calleth us; that there is no unrighteousness with God, in fixing his own terms, not according to ours, but his own good pleasure; who may justly say, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy," namely, on him who believeth in Jesus, "So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth,” to choose the condition on which he shall find acceptance ; “but of God that showeth mercy;" that accepteth none at all, but of his own free love, his unmerited goodness. “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy,” viz. on those who believe on the Son of his Love; “and whom he will,” that is, those who believe not, "he hardeneth ;” Icaves at last to the hardness of their hearts.
8. One reason, however, we may humbly conceive, of God's fixing this condition of Justification, “ If thou believest in the Lord Jesus Christ, thou shalt be saved,” was to hide pride from man. Pride had already destroyed the very Angels of God, had cast down "a third part of the stars of heaven.” It was likewise in great measure owing to this, when the Tempter said, “ Ye shall be as gods,” that Adam fell from his own steadfastness, and brought sin and death into the world. It was therefore an instance of wisdom worthy of God, to appoint such a condition of reconciliation for him and all bis posterity, as might effectually humble, might abase them to the dust. And such is Faith. It is peculiarly fitted for this end: For he that cometh unto God by this Faith, must fix his eye siogly on his own wickeduess, on his guilt and helplessness, without having the least regard to any supposed good in himself, to any virtue or righteousness whatsoever. He must come as a mere sinner, inwardly and outwardly, self-destroyed and self-condemned, bringing nothing to God but ungodlivess only, pleading nothing of his own but sin and misery. Thus it is, and thus alone, when his mouth is stopped, and he stands utterly
guilty before God, that he can look unto Jesus, as the whole and sole Propitiation for his sins. Thus only can he be “found in him," and receive the “righteousness which is of God by Faith.”
9. Thou ungodly one, who hearest or readest these words, thou vile, helpless, miserable sinner, I charge thee before God, the Judge of all, go straight unto him, with all thy ungodliness. Take heed thou destroy not thy own soul by pleading thy righteousness more or less. Go as altogether ungodly, guilty, lost, destroyed, deserving and dropping into hell; and thou shalt then find favour in his sight, and know that he justificth the ungodly. As such thou shalt be brought unto the blood of spriukling, as an undone, helpless, damned sinner. Thus look unto Jesus ! There is the Lamb of God, who taketh away thy sins! Plead thou no works, no righteousness of thine own! No humility, contrition, sincerity! In no wise. That were, in very deed, to deny the Lord that bought thee. No: Plead thou, singly, the Blood of the Covenant, the ransom paid for thy proud, stubborn, sinful soul. Who art thou, that now seest and scclest both thine inward and outward ungodliness? Thou art the man! I want thee for my Lord! I challenge thee for a child of God by Faith! The Lord hath need of thee. Thou who feelest thou art just fit for hell, art just fit to advance his glory; the glory of his free grace, justifying the ungodly and him that worketh not. O come quickly! Believe in the Lord Jesus; and thou, even thou, art reconciled to God.
THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF FAITH.
“ Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law,
That the man that doeth those things shall live by them. “But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise ; Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven?
(that is, to bring Christ down from above :) "Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up
Christ again from the dead.) “ But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth,
and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith which we preach.” Rom. x. 5–8.
1. The Apostle does not here oppose the Covenant given by Moses to the Covenant given by Christ. If we ever imagined this, it was for want of observing, that the latter, as well as the former part of these words, were spoken by Moses himself to the people of Israel, and that concerning the Covenant which then was. (Deut. xxx. 11, 12, 14.) But it is the Covenant of Grace, which God, through Christ, hath established with men in all ages, (as well before, and under the Jewish dispensation, as since God was manifest in the flesh,) which St. Paul here opposes to the Covenant of Works, made with Adam, while in Paradise, but commonly supposed to be the only Covenant which God had made with man, particularly by those Jews of whom the Apostle writes,
2. Of these it was that he so affectionately speaks, in' the beginning of this chapter; “My heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they may be saved. For I bear them record, that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness," (of the Justification that flows from his mere grace and mercy, freely forgiving our sins, through the Son of his Love, through the redemption which is in Jesus, “and seeking to establish their own righteousness,” (their own holiness, antecedent to Faith in “him that justifieth the ungodly," as the ground of their pardon and acceptance,) “have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God," and consequently scck death in the error of their life.
3. They were ignorant, that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth;”-that by the oblation of himself once offered, he had put an end to the first Law or Covenant, (which, indeed, was not given by God to Moses, but to Adam in bis state of innocence,) the strict tenor whercof, without any abatement, was, “Do this and live;” and, at the same time, purchased for us that better Covenant, “ Believe and live;” Believe, and thou shalt be saved; now saved, both from the guilt and power of sin, and, of conscquence, from the wages of it.
4. And how many are equally ignorant now, cren among those who are called by the name of Christ! How many who harc pow a zeal for God, yet have it not according to knowledye; but are still “ seeking to establish their own righteousness," as the ground of their pardou and acceptance; and, therefore, vehemently refuse to “submit themselves unto the righteousness of God!” Surely my heart's desirc, and prayer to God for you, Brethren, is, that ye may be saved. And, in order to remove tliis grand stumblingblock out of your way, I will endeavour to show, First, What the Righteousness is, which is of the Law, and what the Righteousness which is of Faith : Secondly, the folly of trusting in the Righteousness of the Law, and the wisdom of submitting to that which is of Faith.
J. I. And, first, “ The Righteousness which is of the Law saith, The man which doeth these things shall live by them." Constantly and perfectly observe all these things to do them, and then thou shalt live for ever. This Law, or Covenant, (usually called the Covenant of Works,) given by God to man in Paradise, required an obedience perfect in all its parts, entire and wanting nothing, as the condition of his eternal contimuauce in the holiness and happiness wherein he was created.
2. It required, That man should fulfil ail righteousness, inward and outward, negative and positive: That hic should not only abstain from every idle word, and avoid cvery evil work, but should keep every affection, every desire, every thought, in obedience to the Will of God: That he should continue holy; as lie which had created him was holy, both