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of law and judgment, and that its tabernacle of the Lord, blood shall be meaning is to absolve, to acquit, to imputed to that man—he hath shed esteem righteous, to declare right. | blood—and that man shall be cut off eous, to pronounce righteous : see
his people.” But it is also Deut. xxv. 1. “If there be a contro- quite plain, that the words impute and versy between men, and they come imputation may admit of two signifiinto judgment, that the judges may cations. Thus I may impute—that is, judge them; then they shall justify the reckon to a man that which really berighteous and condemn the wicked,” | longs to him. Thus, if I impute guilt that is, evidently, declare and pro- to a man who is really guilty; or, if nounce the righteous man righteous, I impute learning to a man who is and the wicked man wicked: see Pro- really learned. But it is also possible verbs, xvii. 15. “He that justifieth the to impute or reckon to a man that wicked, and he that condemneth the which does but belong to him. In just, even they both are abomination such a
case upon some just solid to the Lord :” see Isaiah, I. 8. “He ground, we reckon or account that to is here that justifieth me; who will a man which is not really his, and contend with me? let us stand to- deal with him accordingly. Thus, by gether : who is mine adversary? let divine appointment, the sin of Adam him come near to me; behold, the is imputed to his posterity. By the LORD God will help me; who is he disobedience of one many became sinthat shall condemn me?" One instance ners : again, GoD speaks concerning more from the 143rd Psalm, and 2nd the rebellious Israelites, Numbers, verse : “Enter not into judgment with xiv. 33. “Your children shall wander thy servant, O LORD, for in thy sight forty years in the wilderness, and bear shall no man living be justified.” In your whoredoms.” Another instance these and in almost every other in- you have in St. Paul's Epistle to Phistance, both in the Old and New Tes- lemon, v. 18. where speaking of the tament, where this word is used, jus- fugitive slave Onesimus, whom St. tification means to acquit or pronounce Paul had begotten in his bonds, he righteous, as the result of a trial : ex- says, “if he have wronged thee or actly what we now mean by a verdict of oweth thee ought TOUTO Moe eldeyos imacquittal. And now what is meant pute it to me; put it to my account. by the term imputation ?-It means i Paul have written it with my own to esteem a thing, or to account a hand; I will repay thee." From thing, as belonging to any one. This which instances we are taught, that is its simple signification : see Lev. the meaning of the word imputation, vii. 18. “ And if any of the flesh of the is the reckoning or accounting somesacrifice of his peace-offering be eaten thing as belonging to any person : and at all on the third day, it shall not be our first head is to prove, that the jusaccepted, neither shall it be imputed tification of a sinner in the sight of unto him that offereth it; it shall be God consists in the imputation of an abomination; and the soul that righteousness to him which is not the eateth thereof shall bear his iniquity:" sinner's own. This will be evident if so again, Lev. clxxiii. 4. “What man you reflect on the character of that soever there be of the house of Israel, God with whom we have to do; for that killeth an ox or lamb or goat, in the Scriptures declare that it is God the camp, or that killeth it out of the that justifieth. In coming to this camp, and bringeth it not unto the trial we are greatly concerned to know door of the tabernacle of the congre- the character of the judge by whom gation, to offer an offering before the we are to be tried. In any investiga.
tion touching our obedience to the the clearest of all principles, that aslaw, it is of the last importance to as- sertion of the Apostle St. Paul, iii. 20. certain the nature of the law, by which “Therefore, by the deeds of the law, our case is to be determined. Let then there shall no flesh be justified in his the greatness, the majesty, the holi- sight.” And now, having brought to ness of God, and the infinite distance your recollection the proofs, that no between ourselves and Him be consi- child of Adam possesses any personal dered. Hear in what strains the most righteousness, let me add a few pasholy and exalted persons have spoken sages to shew that our justification in regard to Him, when an adequate before God is effected by the imputadiscovery of his perfection has been ticn of a righteousness, which is then made upon their minds. The prophet necessarily not our own. The first Isaiah, in his vision of the Holy One, express record of the justification of a exclaimed, “Woe is me, I am undone, sinner, is that of Abraham. We know because I am a man of unclean lips.” from the 11th chapter of the Hebrews, Job, the pattern of patience and faith-that Abel, Enoch, and Noah had all of Job answered the Lord and said, “be
them been justified in the same way, hold I am vile dust; shall I answer
but the instance of Abraham is the thee; I will lay my hand upon my
first recorded: see Genesis, xv. 6. mouth; I have heard of thee by the “ Abraham believed in the Lord, and hearing of the ear; now my eye seeth it was counted unto him for rightthee,” and with earnestness does Da- eousness;" Moses says it was counted vid pray, “enter not into judgment unto him for righteousness; St. James, with thy servant, O Lord, for in thy alluding to the same event, says, sight shall no man living be justified." “ Abraham's faith was imputed unto
My dear brethren, place, we beseech him for righteousness.” But now hear you, your consciences in the presence the Apostle St. Paul, who also refers of God and your persons before his to the same precedent, Ep. to the great tribunal, and then, upon a due Romans, iv. 23, 24. where, after noconsideration of his greatness, power, ticing the case of Abraham, he says, majesty, righteousness, holiness, and “ And it was not written for his sake the terror of his glory, and say whe- alone, that it was imputed unto him, ther your justification before Him can but for us also, unto whom it shall be ever result from your own righteous imputed, if we believe.” Here the jus
This will be still further evi. | tification of Abraham, the friend of dent, if you reflect on the explicit de- God, the father of the faithful, the clarations of Scripture respecting our
mirror of Old Testament piety, is said character in the sight of God. “That to have resulted, not from his persoevery imagination of the thoughts of nal righteousness, but from the impuour heart is only evil, and that con- tation of it; and the Apostle St. Paul tinually;" “ that the heart is deceitful declares, that the divine dealing with above all things and desperately wicked" Abraham is an example of his dealing
_"that we are born in sin and shapen with all men. To the same effect he in iniquity;" “that as sinners we are says, Rom. iv. 5. “To him that work. worthy of death;" "under the curse;" eth not but believeth in him that jus" that every mouth must be stopped, tifieth the ungodly, his faith is acand all the world become guilty before counted unto him for righteousness." God;" “ that there is none righteous, Further proof is unnecessary. It is no, not one :” consider these and other clear, from the consideration of the declarations to the same effect, and you supreme holiness of God, from the will be constrained to acquiesce in, as condition of man as guilty, and con
THAT THE RIGHTEOUSNESS THIS IM
PUTED FOR JUSTIFCATION TO THE BE
OBEDIENCE TO THE COMMANDS OF THE
HE BORE irs CURSE AND PENALTY IN
demned in his sight, and, finally, from Hebrews ii. 14, “ Forasmueh as the the plain declarations of Scripture, children are partakers of flesh and that when any child of Adam is justi- blood, Christ also took part of the fied, it is by the imputation of righte. same, through death he might destroy ousness, which is not his own. him that had the power of death.” It We advance, SECONDLY, to shew, was for us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven, took upon him the form of a servant, and was
found in fashion as a man. Consethe Lord Jesus Christ, CONSISTING quently, all the obedience which he OF HIS LEGAL RIGHTEOUSNESS or his wrought in our nature was on
own account, not on his own; but
his obedience was at one and the LAW, WHICH HE RENDERED IN LIFE ; AND ALSO HIS PASSIVE RIGHTE- same time perfect, and
possessOUSNESS, WHICH HE FULFILLED, WHEN
ing a value in the view of the Fa
ther, measured only by the condeHIS DEATH ON BEHALF OF SINNERS.
scension of the Son who rendered it, The Redeemer's righteousness, thus It was, therefore, at his own disposal, imputed to believers, consists in the free to impute it to whom he would. obedience which he rendered, during his It was also sufficient and perfectly life, to the commands of the divine law. equivalent to the moral wants of all The word righteousness means legal to whom it should be imputed. And obedience. In order to explain this, that it is imputed to them that believe, permit me to remind you of the Redee- the Scriptures amply testify. See Romer's state previous to his coming on mans, xv. 9, “For as by one man's earth. He was in the beginning with disobedience many were made sinGod and was God. He was God over ners, so by the obedience of one shall all blessed for ever more, as such Christ many be made righteous.” Here the was under no obligation to obey the Apostle tells us, that as through law. He, in common with the Father means of the disobedience of one man, and the Spirit, was the fountain of that is Adam, many were made sinners, law; and though his own thoughts, so through means of the obedience of perceptions, and actions would bear one man, Christ, shall many be made the most entire resemblance to the righteous: these two are opposed, one law, which originated from himself, to the other ; the disobedience of yet he was, as far as respected him. Adam, which was the transgression of self, Lord of the whole law; as when the law-the obedience of Jesus Christ, on earth he declared himself to be which was the fulfilment of the law, Lord of the sabbath-day. Being un- and by this latter many were made der no personal responsibility he was righteous. See also 2 Cor. v. 21, “For at liberty to undertake what it pleased | he hath made him to be sin for us who him to undertake, agreeably to the mu- knew no sin, that we might be made tual will of himself and his Heavenly the righteousness of God in him.” Here Father. Yet we are informed by the the same authority that makes the ReApostle St. Paul, Galatians, iv. 4. deemer sin for us, also constitutes us “That Christ was made of a woman the righteousness of in him. For made under the law.” That is to say it is God that justifieth. He makes he assumed our nature. But the us righteous in Christ, or imputes his unanimous testiniony of all the wri- | righteousness unto us.
To the same ters of Scriptures is, that he did this effect St. Paul says, 1 Cor. i. 30, “ But not on his own account but on ours. of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who
of God is made unto us wisdom and he was bruised for our iniquities; the righteousness, and sanctification, and chastisement, whereby our peace was redemption." Similarly, Romans, v. 18, effected, was upon him and by his “ Therefore, as by the offence of one, stripes we are healed; all we like judgment came upon all men to con- sheep have gone astray ;
we have demnation, even so by the righteous-turned every one to his own way, and ness of one, the free gift came upon the Lord hath laid upon him, or caused all men unto justification of life.” St. to meet upon him, the iniquity of us Pauls tell us that this was the habitual all.” Again, says St. Peter, “
“ who object of bis faith. See Phil. iii. 8 and himself bare our sins in his own body on 9, “ Yea, doubtless, and I count all the tree by whose stripes we are healed;" things but loss for the excellency of thus, then, is this two-fold righteousthe knowledge of Christ Jesus, my ness of Christ, his legal obedience, Lord, that I may be found in him, rendered to the commandments of the not having my own righteousness holy law of God, and his passive obewhich is of the Law, but that which dience when he endured the penalty through the faith of Christ.” Nor was and curse of the law, are both imputed this the hope of the New Testament to the believer in the act of justification. believers merely. See Jeremiah, xxiii. The passive righteousness of his suf6, where the Prophet, speaking offerings is the atonement whereby his Christ, says, “This is the name where sins are blotted out, and the legal disby he shall be called, the Lord our obedience of Christ is by imputation, righteousness.” The Psalmist was per- his positive righteousness whereby he fectly acquainted with the same mode receives a title to a happy immortality. of justification; see Psalm lxxi. 16, I promised, THIRDLY, to show, that “I will go in the strength of the Lord FAITH OR TRUST IN CHRIST IN THE God; I will make mention of his
BELIEVER IS, AS IT WERE, THE INSTRUrighteousness, and of his only.” Isaiah MENT, WHEREBY THESE BENEFITS ARE too regards it as the hope of the whole RECEIVED. There is no point respectchurch; Isaiah, xl. 24, 25, “Surely ing which it is more important to have shall one say, in the LORD have I distinct views than this; this importrighteousness and strength—in the ance is derived not merely from the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be nature of the subject, which is no less justified and glorified.”
than that of our salvation, but also beFrom these passages, it is clear that cause a time is coming, when, either the legal obedience of the Lord Jesus by affliction or death, our principles will Christ is imputed to the believer in be thoroughly tried and shaken, and in the act of justification. But the suf- such times it is of great consolation to ferings of Christ, consisting of all those know on what ground we stand; the griefs, insults, and provocations, which time of affliction of any kind is not fahe endured through life, and especially vourable to the investigation of such from the pains of body and sorrows of subjects, our attention is so absorbed mind amid which he departed out of then in our immediate trial, as not to the world, are equally also imputed to admit of being profitably directed to the believer ; that is to say, the Al- the study of religion, or we may be almighty Father regards the illustration together disabled by the pressure of of his holiness thus made, as if it had calamity, or by the shock of approachbeen made by the actual sufferings of ing death. Permit me then now briefly the curse of his law in the person of to offer you a few remarks, which may sinners themselves. Isaiah, liii. “He tend to administer stability of hope and was wounded for our transgressions, | comfort, whenever the hour may come.
Observe, then, thatjustification, or the belief is exhibited under the idea of imputation of the active and passive not receiving Christ. Faith then conobedience of Christ by God, is a free do- sists in receiving the Lord Jesus Christ, nation of mercy. Rom. iii. 24, “Be- as he is yet before us in the Gospel as ing justified freely by his grace through our righteousness and atonement. the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.' Faith also is set forth in the ScripIt is as we have before seen, to him
tures under the idea of looking to that worketh not but believeth in Christ. “Look unto me and be ye him that justifieth the ungodly, that saved all ye ends of the earth.” the his faith is accounted unto him for Redeemer also conveys the nature of righteousness ;”. “not by works of faith under the same terms; “As righteousness which we have done, but Moses lifted up the serpent in the according to his mercy he saved us.” wilderness, even so must the Son of
Observe next, that justification is Man be lifted up, that whosoever bereceived on the part of the believer by lieveth in him should not perish, but faith, which faith is also given him by have everlasting life.” the Holy Spirit of God. See Rom. ii.
In both these instances the persons, 28, Therefore, we conclude that a directed to look unto the LORD, are man is justified by faith without the represented in a lost state, when the deeds of the law. This doctrine per- inhabitants of the earth are directed vades the Scriptures. By grace, or
to look to Christ, it necessarily follows, favour, or gratuitously, or for nothing that they are in that condition. This ye are saved, through faith, and that is very strongly illustrated in the case not of ourselves, it is the gift of God. of the Israelites. Bitten by the fiery For a proof that our church is in serpents, numbers of the people pe this respect also built upon the foun- rished, till at the command of God, dation of the Apostles, see the eleventh they turned their eyes to a serpent of Article entitled, “Of the justification brass erected upon a pole, and straightof man.” We are accounted righteous way they recovered. Now, says the before God, only for the merits of our Redeemer, “as Moses lifted up the ser. Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by pent in the wilderness, even so must faith, and not for our own works or de- the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoservings. “Wherefore, that we are soever believeth in him should not pejustified by faith only, is a most whole- rish.” Faith then is that act of the some doctrine and very full of comfort.” soul whereby they, who are hopeless,
But now another most important helpless, and lost in themselves, do in question is, what is that faith in the a way of expectation and trust seek merits of Christ whereby, as by an for help and relief in Christ. In a instrument, we are justified. How is similar manner, it is represented as it defined and distinguished, for un- coming to Christ.
Come unto me less we entertain right views respect all ye that labour and are heavy laing it, we can never possess it, and den.”
“ Him that cometh unto me I except we possess it, we can not be will in no wise cast out." He who justified and saved. He that believeth has been convinced of sin hath enin the Son of God hath life, and he dured something of its burden and that believeth not the Son hath not desires to flee from its guilt and power, life. With regard to the nature of when he hears the voice of Christ saya faith, it appears to me simply to be ing, Come unto me, I will give you that act of the whole soul whereby a rest,” and thus goes out of himself by sinner, convinced of sin, goes wholly a total renunciation of his own duties out of himself to rest upon Godin Christ as a ground of hope, and betakes him. for mercy, pardon, life, righteousness, self entirely to Christ for pardon of sin and salvation, with an entire acquies- and for acceptation with God, does in cence of heart.
Hence, you fre- the scriptural sense of the term, believe quently find set before us in Scrip-in Christ—he comes to Christ as to a ture, under the idea of receiving chief corner stone, and is built up on Christ-John, i. 12, "To as many him as on the foundation laid in Zion. as received him, to them gave he
Again, faith is also expressed under power to become the sons of God;" the idea of flying for refugeHeb, vi. so in a great number of passages un
18, Who have fled for refuge to the