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treated him as a sinner, punished him for our sins ; so he counteth us righteous, from the time we believe in him : that is, he doth not punish us for our sins, yea, treats us as though we were guiltless and righteous.
6. Surely the difficulty of assenting to the proposition, That Faith is the only condition of Justification, must arise from not understanding it. We mean 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 sbould 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 bath Faith, 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 hellfire: 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 affirm, that any more is indispensably required, before that sinner can be justified ? , Now, if there ever 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 worms, who receive whatsoever blessings they enjoy, (from the least drop of water that cools our tongue, to the immense 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 2. This is the very point on which St. Paul so strongly insists in the ninth chapter of this Epistle, viz. That the terms of pardon 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 our, but his own good pleasure : who may justly say, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy," namely, on bim who believeth in Jesus. “So then it is not of him that willeth, or of him that runneth," to choose the condition on which he shall find acceptance; “but of God that sheweth mercy," that accepteth none at all, but of his own free love, his unmerited goodness. “ Therefore bath 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, leaves 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 believe 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 bis 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 his 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 Faiib, must fix his eye singly on his own wickedness, 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 ungodliness 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 thine 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 bis sight, and know that he justifieth the ungodly. As such thou shalt be brought unto the blood of sprinkling, 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 feelest 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.
Romans x. 5-8.
“ Moses describeth the Righteousness which is of the Law,
That the man which 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.) 66 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.?":
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 Cbrist, 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, bat 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 righteousnss of God," and consequently seek 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 his state of innocence,) the strict tenor whereof, 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 consequence, from the wages of it.
4. And how many are equally ignorant now, even among those who are called by the name of Christ? How many who have now a zeal for God, yet have it not according to knowledge: but are still seeking to establish their own righteousness," as the ground of their pardon and acceptance; and, therefore, vehemently refuse to submit themselves to the righteousness of God?" Surely my heart's desire, and prayer to God for you, brethren, is, that ye may be saved. And, in order to remove this grand stumblingblock out of your way, I will endeavour to shew, 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.