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ness, or what he did and suffered, as Mediator, is placed to the account of his people, as if they had performed it in their own persons. Though ungodly and undeserving in themselves, God is pleased to pardon, and to accept them as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness' sake of his beloved Son. What else can be meant, when we speak of being accepted of God and saved through the merit of Christ ? What else can be meant, when we read such declarations as these-He is made unto us righteousness. He is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.—Rom. x, 4. By the obedience of One many are made righteous.—Rom. v, 19. He was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.2. Cor. 1, 21.

This righteousness of Jehovah, the Saviour, is said to be to all, and upon all them that believe. That is, it is imputed to none-set to the account of none but those who receive Christ by faith. Faith is that great master grace by which we become united to the Saviour, and interested in his righteous ness. This righteousness, therefore, is called the righteousness of faith, and the righteousness of God by faith. Hence also we are said to be justified by faith; and to be saved by faith. Not that faith, as an act of ours, is, in any degree, the meritorious ground of our acceptance with God. But all these expressions imply, that there is an inseparable connection, in the economy of grace, between believing in Christ, and being justified by him, or having his righteousness imputed to 'us. Happy, thrice happy they, who can thus call the Saviour theirs, and who have thus" received the atonement." Though unworthy in themselves, they are graciously pronounced righteous by their heavenly Judge, on account of what the Mediator has done.

Their sins, though many, are, for his sake, forgiven them. They are freely justified from all things from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses. They are accepted in the Beloved. Though most defective and unworthy in themselves, they are complete in Him. There is “no condemnation” to them

now; and in the day of judgment they shall find, to their eternal joy, that there is both safety and happiness in appearing in the righteousness of Him who “ loved sinners and gave himself for them,” in “ robes which have been washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb."

Such is the doctrine of our justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ. A doctrine which some profess to despise, as absurd ; and others to abhor, as licentious. But it is neither absurd nor licentious. It is clearly taught in holy Scripture; and it is the glory of the Gospel. I repeat; it is the great vital principle of our holy religion--that we live by the death of another in our stead, and are accepted of God, not on account of any thing that we have done, or can do; but solely on account of the perfect obedience unto death of Him who, though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich. Well did the great Reformer, Luther, pronounce this the grand doctrine of a standing or falling Church. If this be abandoned, all is abandoned. Many other doctrines are important in their place; but this is all-important. If this be rejected, the life and soul of the evangelical system is gone ;—the glory is departed. I feel myself to be a miserable sinner. I know that the God with whom I have to do, is a Being of infinite holiness, who cannot, without denying himself, “clear the guilty.” My first anxious inquiry, of course, is, How shall I come before God, my Maker, with any hope of acceptance? How shall I, a polluted, unworthy rebel, though deserving of eternal death, draw near to him with confidence ? How can his justice be satisfied, and the dignity of his moral government maintained, and yet mercy extended to the guilty and vile? In a word, how can he be a just God, and yet a merciful Saviour ? This is what I need. Nothing less than this can reach my miserable case. But when I read in his own word, that there is redemption through the blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace-Ephes. i, 7: when I read that Christ hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God1 Peter iii, 18: when I read that the law is magnified and made honorable, and all its demands fully satisfied by his obedience and sufferings as our Surety; so that now Jehovah can be just, and yet the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus ;--this gives me light and life. This lifts up my sink. ing head. This leads me to the rock of hope. This kindles holy confidence and joy in my heart. This enables me, in the prospect of death and judgment to rejoice in the Lord, and to joy in the God of my salvation.

To this doctrine of justification by the imputed righteousness of another, many objections have been confidently urged. To several of these it will be proper to advert, before we proceed to consider the other branches of the subject.

1. The first objection often urged against this doctrine is, that it contradicts reason, and is revolting to our sense of moral equity. Righteousness and sin being personal qualities, how, we are asked, is it possible thatthey should, in any case, be transferredto a Surety? This objection is founded in entire ignorance of the doctrine opposed. No such transfer is maintained by the friends of the doctrine in question. Such a transfer, if admitted, would not only involve the most obvious moral absurdity, as before suggested; but would also be fatal to the essential principles of the doctrine for which we con. tend. Neither personal qualities, nor personal acts can be transferred; but the consequences of them can be and are transferred every day. Neither the holiness nor the sin of another can by any possibility become personally mine. No one believes or maintains such a doctrine.* But the legal connection of that which is done by another, may attach to me. And if we, as a race, incur any penalty in consequence of the sin of Adam, or derive any benefit from the undertaking and work of the Redeemer, the principle of imputation, as held by the orthodox, is strictly exemplified in each case, however it may be denied in words. In short, in contending for the imputation of Christ's righteousless to the penitent believer, we do not teach that the personal righteous

"If my personal sin could be taken from me, and made the personal sin of another, he must then suffer for hiinself, and not for me, as I should be personally innocent. He would not be under the imputation of my sin, because I should have done to impute ; and I could not enjoy the benefit of his righteousness ; because, on the one hand, I should require none; and, on ihe other, he, as suffering for himself, would have none to offer. So that here would be no representation, peither the substance nor the shadow of a vicarious atonement. Therefore, while my personal demerit must forever remain my own, the consequences of it are borne by my glorious Surety. It is this which renders the imputation of sin io the Lord Jesus, a doc. trine so acceptable to the conscience, and so consoling to the heart, of a convinced sinner. And this simple distinction between a transfer of personal acts to a substitute and the transfer of their legal connection, which is properly imputation, relieves the friends of truth from the emba rassn eat in which an incautious manner of speaking has sometimes involved them; and blows into air the quibbles and cavils of ils enemies." Dr. Mason's SERMON ON PARDON or SIN IN THE BLOOD OF JESUS.

ness of the Surety is infused into the sinner, making him worthy of the divine approbation ; but that the believer, though most unworthy in himself, both in the divine estimation and his own, and remaining altogether unworthy, is nevertheless, treated for the sake of the Redeemer's righteousness, as if he had rendered it in his own person. Surely in this there is nothing either unreasonable or revolting.

2. Another objection, often urged, to the doctrine that we are justified in the sight of God solely on account of the righteousness of Christ, is, that the Scriptures declare, that every one shall be judged according to his works. Now, if this is true, it has been asked, how can it be reconciled with the idea that Christ's righteousness imputed to us, is the only ground of our reward? This is a most extraordinary objection to be made by a prosessed adherent to evangelical truth. Can any thing be clearer than the declarations with which the word of God abounds, that our own works form no part of the ground of our justification before God ? By the deeds of the law, it is expressly declared shall no flesh living be justified. Rom. iii. 20. And again, we are told ; By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST. Ephes. ii. 8.9. Now if our justification were, even in part, or in however small a degree, founded on our own works, it would contradict these plain Scriptures. How, then, are we to reconcile with these Scriptures the declarations found in other Scriptures, that in the great day, every man " shall be judged according to his works?" There is no inconsistency between them. It does not follow, because every believer is pardoned, and accepted as righteous solely on account of the merit of Christ ; that, therefore, there can be no difference in the measure of the future happiness and glory of the redeemed. Though the merit of the Re. deemer is of infinite value, would it not be a most unreasonable and unwise application of philosophical principles, to undertake thence to infer that the reward of all those who are saved by his blood, is also infinite in degree, and in all cases equal? Their degrees of conformity to God are different. Of course their capacities for enjoying the bliss and glory of heaven are different. Consequently their future reward, though not for their works, will be according to them, or, as to its degree, measured by them. The ground of their acceptance with God is the same; but those who have loved most, will enjoy most ; and that without in the least degree impugning the doctrine, that we are equally indebted for all blessings, temporal and eternal, to the atoning sacrifice and merits of Him who died to purchase everlasting life for all who believe in his name.

3. A third objection to the doctrine of our justification solely by the imputed righteousness of Christ, is, that it takes away all excitement to a life of distinguished virtue and holiness. Does a sense of infinite obligation to the grace and love of Christ furnish no excitement to holiness? Does a view of the evil of sin, as seen in the sufferings and death of our ever blessed Surety furnish no motive to hate and avoid it? Does a view of the beauty of holiness, as seen in the perfect obedience of the Saviour for our sake, furnish no excitement to "go and do likewise ?" Does the hope of living and reigning with Him to whom we are thus indebted, and beholding and sharing his glory forever, furnish no excitemert to the highest attainments in obedience to his will, and in preparation for the holy joys of his presence? The Apostle Paul did not think so.

In his most vivid representations of our indebtedness to Christ for erery hope of mercy, he seldom fails to connect with them the most solemn exhortations, and the most tender and powerful motives to growing sanctification. pecially that animated declaration, 2 Cor. v, 14, 15. For the love of Christ constrainetk us : because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. But is it true, that his best righeousness ever did or can entitle any believer to the least reward—which the objection seems to suppose ? Truly no son or daughter of apostate Adam ever performed a perfectly pure and unspotted act of obedience ; of course, none have lived that did not need pardon, instead of meriting a reward. And yet a gracious God has been pleased to promise that every act of sincere obedience, on the part of his children, however imperfect, shall be rewarded for Christ's sake ; and in the hope of this reward his people are commanded to rejoice.

4. Finally, it is objected to the doctrine of justification by imputed righteousness, that, if it be true, there is no grace in our justification. If we are pardoned and accepted by God solely on account of a perfect equivalent, a full satisfaction to his law and justice, a complete meritorious payment of all dues, on the part of Christ, then, say objectors, we may claim the rewards of eternity, not as a free gift, but as our rightthey cannot be justly with. held from us. True, the bestowment of eternal life with all its blessedness, upon the disciples of Christ, is an act of strict justice to Him, but of rich and wonderful grace to them. Was it no grace in the counsels of eternity to devise a plan of a substituted righteousness, instead of our own which had utterly

Was it no grace to provide a righteousness perfect and entire, wanting nothing, when we were perfect bankrupts before God, and had nothing to pay! What though the gift provided be a perfect compliance with all the de. mands of law and justice ? is it, on that account, less an act of grace to those who needed and must have perished without it? No, it is the great glory of the Gospel, that, in the plan of salvation which it presents, righteousness and peace meet together, and justice and mercy have embraced each other : that, with the most wonderful stoop of mercy that ever men or angels knew, there is combined the most awful manifestation of unbending justice that was ever presented in the annals of the universe. Hence the Apostle speaks of it as a glorious attribute of gospel grace, that it reigns through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. v. 21. Surely, instead of cavilJing that it is no grace because its exercise is connected with the inost rigorous maintenance of the majesty of Jehovah's law, we ought rather, on that account, to regard it as grace, the more unsearchably rich and glorious.

Thus, then, is Christ the righteousness of his people in their justification. Though they are most unworthy in themselves, yet Jehovah, by an act of wonderful grace, " freely pardoneth all their sins, and accepteth them as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness' sake of Christ, imputed to them, and received by faith alone." Thus He is said to “justify the ungodly ;"—not to pronounce them innocent ; not to make them personally worthy or deserving of his acceptance; for the whole gospel plan proceeds apon a directly opposite assumption. When, therefore, we are said, as we are, every where in Scripture, said, to be justified by the righteousness of Christ, the meaning is, not that his righteousness becomes personally and in. herently ours, or that his holiness is in any way transfused into us, as the ground of our title to God's acceptance, which no one ever taught, and which it is a slander on the evangelical system to represent as making any part of it ;-but, simply, that Christ's satisfaction to the penalty, and obedience to the precept of the law, are so placed to our account, in a moral or legal sense, that we are treated for his sake as if we had performed them in our own persons. We are not contemplated by infinite Holiness as personally innocent and pure ; but for the sake of what our covenanted Surety has done and suffered, are accepted and treated as if we were. This is the Rock of Christian hope. On this ground the penitent and believing sinner, though conscious of numberless and aggravated sins, which render him utterly unworthy of the divine favor, may yet say, with humble confidence, ---Nevertheless, I am not ashamed, for 1 knowo whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day.

SERMON CCXXXI.

JEREMIAH xxiii, 6. And this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness.

We have seen that Christ is the righteousness of his people in regard to their justification, inasmuch as his sufferings and obedience are placed to their account as the sole ground of their acceptance with God. But there is also another, and no less important sense in which he is their righteousness, viz.

II. All the inheRENT RIGHTEOUSNess, or HOLINESS OF HEART which they possess, is the purchase of his blood, and the gift of his Holy Spirit.

It is a plain dictate of reason, as well as of the word of God, that if we would see his face in peace, we must have not only a Title to heaven, but also a PREPARATION for heaven. It is just as essential to our eternal well being, that we be restored to the image of God, as that we be restored to his favor.Without holiness no man shall see the Lord. Now, of this preparation for the joys of his presence, we are as entirely destitute, by nature, as we are of a title to his favor. “The carnal mind is enmity against God." And although our blessed Redeemer, by his sufferings and obedience, has "made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness,” yet we are by na

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