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ance, but rather lay them under ishments, from which Christ hath stronger obligations to them. redeemed them, though they
But though the righteousness deserve and receive corrective of Christ, imputed to a believer, punishments for their violations gives him as good a plea for ac- of God's gracious covenant. But quittance and justification in the these are not inflicted, to satisfy court of the Supreme Judge, as a the justice and the law of God; perfect personal righteousness for they are justified, and their would have given ; yet it is to sins are not imputed to them, as be carefully remembered, that, subjecting them to the curse. according to the gospel constitu- But they are inflicted, as salutary tion, none, to whom the gospel is chastisements, designed for their sent, are savingly united to Christ, good. They are inflicted by or have an interest in his imputed God, not as the just Judge in vinrighteousness, but frenitent believ- dictive justice ; but as the disers. Accordingly, perseverance cipline of a wise father, who, while in repentance and faith, continue he visits them with the rod, takes ance in the word of Christ, as his not his loving kindness from true disciples, begging forgive- them. Though these visitations Dess for his sake, and keeping his are an evidence, that their inhecommandments, are necessary to rent righteousness is not perfect; our abiding in him.' We cannot yet they are no proof, that they continue in a justified state, un- have not an interest in the perfect less we continue penitent believ. righteousness of Christ. ers, cleansing ourselves from all But it may be asked, What filthiness of flesh and spirit, per- more ampie security of our sal. fecting holiness in the fear of vation can be desired, than the God. Though no inherent qual- goodness and promise of God? ifications in us are to be regard. Why should we want to have our ed, as our justifying righteous- title to salvation supported by his ness, since it is only by the right. justice, on the ground of a full eousness of Christ, that we are and perfect, though imputed justified; yet without inherent righteousness." holiness we cannot be pardoned, I answer. There is no firmer justified, and saved through his title, than a divine promise gives; redemption."
and they, who are so selfish, as to It is farther argued ; “ if be- desire only to be satisfied that lievers had a righteousness prop- they shall be saved, would be as erly their own, they would nei- willing to be justified without a ther deserve, nor receive any real righteousness, as with it; that is, punishments."
justified unjustly. But they, who I answer. If God's giving have a regard for the honour of them an interest in the right- God, as a just Judge, will not be cousness of Christ renders it satisfied with that doctrine, which their own, then this righteous- represents God, as justifying ness, though not of their own those, who are not righteous, and working, is so their own, as to en- have no righteousness imputed to title them to the rights and priv- them. They like that doctrine ileges of righteous persons. Nor better, which teaches that rightare they liable to vindictive pun- eousness is imputed to believers,
as the ground of their justifica- proper for those, who are under tion, since they cannot be justifi- the covenant of grace.
In this ed by their own righteousness; way our subjection, love, and that the justice as well as grace gratitude to God must be exerof God, is declared in the for- cised and expressed, for the glogiveness of sins, through the re- rious perfections of his nature, , demption of Christ, and that he is particularly for his goodness and just in justifying believers. And grace to the children of men, and that they, who trust in, imputed because it is only in this way, righteousness, are saved by that we can obtain the possesgrace, and have as strong rea- sion of the blessings, purchased sons for walking humbly with for us by Christ, and promised in God, as they could have, if the gospel. It is only in the way they were saved in any other of faith, repentance, and obediway, is what
we confidently ence to the commands of Christ, affirm.
that our union to him is mainAnother objection is to this ef- tained, and we are qualified to fect. “ If Christ has fulfilled enjoy the blessings, to which bethe law in our stead, and if his lievers are entitled by their inactive and passive obedience is terest in the righteousness of imputed to us ; then we are not Christ. Though we are justifibound to obey the commands of ed wholly by his merits ; yet sinGod. It would be unreasonable cere obedience is as much our to exact a debt of any one after duty, and as necessary to salvahis surety has satisfied it.”
tion according to the covenant of Answer. It is granted, that we grace, as perfect obedience acare not required to keep the law cording to the covenant of for the same end, for which Christ works. satisfied the law for us ; that is, It is also objected, “ that an to work out a righteousness, by obligation to punishment is not which we are to be justified. But to be put on a footing with a pe: it is impossible for a moral crea- cuniary debt." ture to be freed from his obliga- Answer. Our sins
are in tion to obey the laws of God. scripture termed debts. If they This can never cease to be his are so termed in a figurative duty so long as he is God's crea- sense, yet this is of no weight, as ture, and so long as God is wors an objection to the doctrine of thy to be loved and obeyed, and Christ's satisfying our penal debt, so long as his cominands are by bearing the guilt and punish: holy, just, and good. We mustment of our sins. The chief difhave respect to all God's com• ferences between a pecuniary and mands, though we expect not a penal debt, I think, are the fol. that this is to be our justifying lowing. The payment of the righteousness. For this is no one is an act of commutative jusless our duty," than if we were tice ; the punishment of the othprobationers for life and happi- er is distributive justice. ness under a covenant of works. cuniary debt is commonly for We must obey the commands of value received ; a penal debt God from motives, and for ends, arises from crimes committed:
The one is discharged by the and mercy, in providing a sponpayment of the sum owed; the sor for us, to make satisfaction Other is satisfied for by suffering to justice, and in giving us an inthe deserved punishment. The terest in his righteousness, and in cne is ordinarily exacted by the justifying us freely of his grace creditor, as his private right; through the redemption, that is the other is executed pursuant to in him. the sentence of the judge, as the I shall add one more remark. minister of public justice, whose Though the punishment of sin office is to maintain the author- and the sufferings of Christ have ity of the laws, to make the law been commonly termed satisfacthe rule of his judgment without tion for sin ; yet we are not to respect to persons, to maintain conceive of this, as a compensathe public rights, and revenge tion to God for the good he has the infraction of them, on behalf bestowed upon us. Neither our of the public. A pecuniary debt obedience, nor punishment is may be forgiven by the creditor profitable to him. He does not without satisfaction ; but a just delight in the misery of any judge, in bis judicial capacity, creature for its own sake ; but may not clear the guilty. But a only when it is necessary for holy pecuniary and a penal debt may and good ends. Nor is our obliboth be transferred to a sponsor. gation to love and obey God, or 'Though the crime and desert of to suffer punishinent for our sins punishment cannot be separated merely because we have received from the criminal, and transfus- good from him, (though our obed into an innocent person; yet ligations on this account are the penal debt, the guilt, and great) but it is chiefly, because punishment may be taken upon he is worthy to be loved and bimself by a sponsor. But, when obeyed for what he is in himself, a pecuniary debt is paid by a as well as for the abundant comsponsor, the debtor is not favour-munications of his goodness to ed by the creditor, in his dis- his creatures. charge from his obligation. But, Thus, Sir, I have communithough the justice of God, as the cated to you some thoughts on supreme Judge of the world, his this important subject. I have infinite hatred of sin, the threat- endeavoured to express my ideas ening of his law, and the fitness intelligibly. With what success and necessity of his manifesting this has been accomplished, you his truth and justice in the pun- wili judge ; as also whether there ishment of sin, for his own hon- be weight, pertinency, and justour and the public good; though ness in these remarks. Such as these considerations required they are, please to accept them, that our sins be not forgiven, as an honest, however feeble aiwithout such satisfaction,
as tempt to defend the faith, delivwould answer the ends, for which ered to the saints ; and as a token the punishment of sin is necessa- of the respect and affection of ry : yet we are under infinite your friend. obligations to God for his grace Christian of the Ancient School.
LETTERS FROM A CLERGYMAN selves to God ; yea, we think we TO HIS SON.
ought to do it.
Now if you feel any doubt LETTER II.
concerning the lawfulness of a Dear Francis,
work in contemplation, ask In answer to your question whether it would be pious, or « How a man may pursue his proper to commend it to God? secular business with success, Or if you knew a neighbour, who and still maintain the power of often begun such a work with a religion," I have advised you prayer for God's blessing, ask, to commit all your works to God, what you would think of him? and thus make your secular busi- Would you view him às eminentness a part of religion. While ly devout, or as adding profaneyou conduct in this manner, you ness to iniquity? If you would will have a plain practical rule, be afraid to pray for God's blessby which you may judge con- ing on the work in question ; or cerning your duty, in would condemn as impious the where a deceitful heart will pre- man who should presume to tend doubts and contrive eva- commit such a work to God in sions.
prayer, you may conclude it to There certain works, be abominable. which you wish to do, and Guided by this rule, you never which you hope you may do will use any artifice, deception, without incurring guilt. Now or fraud in the prosecution of put this question seriously to your worldly designs ; for no your conscience, Can I commit man can seriously commend such these works to God?” If you means to the blessing of God. cannot do this without manifest This rule will exclude gaming impiety, then you must know, from the list of lawsul works. that the works are sinful.
Whateveropinion some may have In all our just and important of gaming, considered as an amuseundertakings, we may with pro- ment, no man would dare to pray, priety, and we ought in duty, to that he might find it a profitable seek the direction of God's coun- trade to get money. That sense sel, the assistance of his grace, of piety which prompts a man and the concurrence of his bless to pray for success in his husing. The religious husbandman bandry or commerce,
would asks God's smiles on his daily make him afraid to offer a prayer labours. The pious traveller in for success, when he and his all his ways acknowledges God's neighbour had agreed to put their directing and preserving provi- property to the hazard of a game. dence. The good Christian im- He would feel, in such a case, as plores God's blessing on his if prayer were an insult to his common meals. In times of ap- Maker. He would shudder at parent danger to his person or the thought of it. If he knew substance he solicits the divine a brother gamester, who usually protection. In any case where sought God's blessing at a cardour design is good, and the table, as the Christian does at a i means to be used are just, .we dining table, he would think him icel no scruple in addressing our- abandoned to impiety. He would
applaud himself, that, though he rupt the minds of others from practised gaming, he never pros. the belief of them by cavilling tituted piety in the business. against them in company, and by But if the business itself be in- reading and recommending books nocent, why may not prayer ac- written with a design to discredit company this, as well as any oth- their authority, and defeat their er innocent business?
influence. These persons preThis rule will shew you what tend to believe that there is a diversims you may admit with- God, on whom all creatures are out prejudice to religion in your dependent. But could they seheart. I will not deny, but that riously address the Deity for his some amusements may be useful. gracious smiles on their endeave Such as are, in their nature, in- ours ? Could they apply to him nocent, and in their use, subser- in prayer for the success of the vient to health of body, cheerful- means, which they are using to ness of mind, sociability of tem- subvert revelation ? Could they per, and the improvement of supplicate his blessing to accomfriendship, the Christian doubt- pany their labours ? Certainly less may admit, at proper sea- they would not venture on so awsons, and within reasonable ful a step. But why? If they bounds. In such recreations you believed the scriptures to be false may as properly seek God's di- and dangerous, they might as rection and blessing, as in read- consistently pray for their subing an instructive book, or in version, as the Christian, who sitting down at a festival table. believes them to be true and imBut if the diversion to which you portant, can pray for their credit are invited, or which you have and influence. The truth is, the proposed, be of such a nature, or infidel, while he opposes the gosattended with such circumstan- pel, feels an inward suspicion, ces, that it would appear impi- that he is opposing the word of ous to implore God's guidance God. And while he retains any and blessing, it is certain, that impression of his own accountayou ought to forbear the use bleness, he dares not invoke his of it.
Maker to prosper his guilty conFarther. If realizing the truth duct. and importance of religion, you
Make it a rule to commit your should adopt means to spread the works to God in humble prayer, knowledge and promote the prac- and you will not hesitate long, tice of it among others--among what works you may do. Your the youth, or among people who own conscience will remonstrate have not the ordinary means of against a prayer for the divine instruction, you would not fail to blessing on sinful works. You commit your endeavours to the will not presume to implore his divine blessing. But who would smiles on works, w'ich he con. venture to pray for success in demns. Do nothing, but what his endeavours to propagate infi- you can seriously introduce into delity and impiety? There are a prayer, and make the matter those profane and impious crea- of a petition to God. You will tures,' who treat the scriptures then seldom venture on any crimwith contempt, and labour to cor- inal design, or on any sinful Vol. III. No. 4.