Page images

can want for our complete and everlasting juftification

What I therefore propose, is to take occasion from this paffige to discourse upon that glorious and perfect righteousness for justification, which believers have in the Lord Jesus Christ, and will for ever seek and find in him.

And in treating upon this very important subject, the bafis of all religion, the great article of the faith and hope of the church, that I may throw all the light upon it that I can, I shall in the

First place, more particularly thew, what

that righteousness is, which is to be had in the Lord Jesus Christ, and which the church is here represented as seeking in him.

Secondly, I shall enquire how we come to

have an interest in this righteousness; how this righteousness, which is originally and subjectively without us, comes to be made. ours for our actual and personal justifica» tion.

Thirdly, I shall consider that disposition and

tendency of foul, which believers express and discover towards this righteousness, as it is here intimated in the language of the church concerning it, surely, Jhall one say, B 3


tum ob amplitudinem, qua omnibus peccaioribus credentibus ad falutem fufficiat ; tum ob effecta, quatenus amplectitur omnia jura filiorum Dei. Vitringa in lo


in the Lord have I righteousness; there I

feek and hope to find it. Fourthly, I shall represent the fulness and

extent of this righteousness ; how complete it is in itself, and how fully it answers all the purposes for which we want it.

[ocr errors]

And when I have gone over these heads of discourse, I hope to find room to reply to the principal objections, with which this doctrine is wont to be affaulted.

And so to conclude with a practical application of the whole. I am in the

First place, to fhew what that righteousness is, which is to be had in the Lord Jesus Christ, and which the church is here represented as seeking in him.

I have already observed, that this is to be understood of a righteousness for justification, as grace for fanctification, and all the duties of new and acceptable obedience, is included in that strength, which we have in him. And as this paffage is a comprehensive description of what the humble faint applies unto Christ for, and hopes to find in him, most certainly it must include in it this leading and eminent blessing of the covenant: Agreeable to what is said of him elsewhere--that he is the Lord our righteousnefs--and was made fin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Once more ; we are directed in the context, ver. 22. to look unto him for salvation : Look unto me,


and be ye faved all the ends of the earth; But is there any being faved without a righteousness for justification? If faved we must be justified ; but how, and in what way can we be justified, but only by the righteousness of Christ, and the free grace of God in and through him? We are justified by his blood, and saved from wrath thro' bim, Rom. v. 9.

It is, therefore, of a righteousness for justification that our text speaks, as what is provided in Chrift, and is to be had in him. And what this righteousness is, and wherein it confifts, and that we have it in Christ, when we have it not in ourselves, nor can have it elsewhere, is what I am now to reprefent : And this is what I shall endeavour by laying down a short series of propositions, plain and easy to be understood, which, I hope, will give us a view of this subject, without any perplexity or confufion.

Prop. I. That man is naturally and neceffa

rily under a law to God.

Prop. II. That man being under a'law to

God, fome righteousness is absolutely necessary to his justification.

Prop. III. That every righteousness is not

sufficient for this purpose, but it must be such a righteousness, as fully answers to the purity and perfection of that law under which man is, and which God hath given him as the rule of his obedience

[blocks in formation]


Prop. IV. That we have no such righteous

nefs of our own, nor can any mere crea-
ture furnish us with it. From whence will

Prop. V. That if ever we are justified, it

must be by the righteousness of Christ, con-
fisting in that complete and perfect obedi-
ence, which he hath performed to the law
in our room and stead.

Each of these propositions, I shall endeavour to illustrate, and vindicate as I go along.


Prop. I. That man is naturally and neceffarily under a law to God. This results as from the fupereminent dignity of the divine nature, fo from the neceffary and unalterable relation between God and man, as the one is the Creator, and the other his creature. For man be. ing the creature of God, owing his existence to him, and having received all his powers and faculties from him, he is hereby necessarily placed in a state of dependance upon God, and subjection to him. And as man was created an intelligent and free agent, and therein capable of moral government, this strengthens the proof of his being under a law to his great Creator. He was made capable of knowing, and loving and serving, and worshipping God, and what more fit, and right than that he should ? It is, I apprehend, impoffible to conceive of a creature without being under a law to this. This is what is commonly called the law of nature, and the moral law. Angels are under


such a law, and it was the violating this law in some instance, in which it called for their homage and obedience, that was the fin of the angels that fell. Adam in Paradise was under such a law; and it is in its principal, articles engraven upon the hearts of all mankind. Hence the Apostle instances in the Heathens, who having not the written and revealed law, are nevertheless a law to themselves, whilft their consciences either acquit, or condemn them accord. ing as they either conform to, or violate this law in the plain dictates of it, Rom. ii. 14, 15. Thus all mankind are naturally and necessarily under a law to God, a law to love, and fear, and serve him, and conform to his will in whatever instance he shall make it known. This law is of universal extent, and perpetual obligation, and in the nature of things unalterable for ever. The supreme cause and Author of all things must be Lord, and Law-giver to his creatures : And indeed, as I said, it is impossible to conceive of a reasonable creature without his being under such a law as this. This is the first propofition that I would lay down; that man is necessarily under a law to God. I would on. ly observe farther, that this law is for fubftance the same with that, which was given to man in Paradise ; which was afterwards folemnly promulgated upon mount Sinai, and is fummarily comprehended in the ten commandments; and is a law, that calls for perfect holiness, and unfinning obedience as the necessary condition of our acceptance with God. But I do not infift longer upon this now, because the purity, extent, and unchangeable obligations of the law,


« PreviousContinue »