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to seek in the first place the kingdom of God and his righteousness, the latter being the title to the former....and the office of the Holy Ghost, he affirms, is "to convince the world of righteousness." St. Paul, who did not receive the gospel he preached from man, nor was taught it, but by revelation of Jesus Christ, after his kingdom was erected, insists on the imputed righteousness of Christ; he styles the gospel "the power of God unto salvation," because "therein is revealed the righteousness of God," Rom. i. 17. which a little after, in the same epistle, he declares is "by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe," Rom. iii. 22.
This declaration I conceive, after great pains used to explain its meaning away, does clearly assert the obnoxious doctrine of imputed righteousness. For to say the essential righteousness of God is unto all, and upon all who believe, is nonsense....or that this expression means faith, or justification by faith, must be nonsense too, because it is plainly distinguished here as the object of faith, and the cause of justification. Cease from torturing the text, and according to its plain sense it must mean the imputed righteousness of Christ, who is God. Neither
can this be called a foreign righteousness, because it is imputed only to those who are members of Christ. But the members of Christ, according to divine constitution, are one with Christ in the covenant of redemption, and in the communication of life from him their head. An union no less real, than that which subsists between fathers and their offspring. It is, therefore, often represented under that image, "Behold me, and the children thou hast given me."
Further, St. Paul declares, that the perdition of the Jews, who rejected Christ, was from their ignorance of the righteousness of God, and refusal to submit to it....he affirms, that "Christ is made of God unto his church, righteousness; and the church is made in him, the righteousness of God." He states at large the way by which death entered, and by which salvation is obtained; that "as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righte ousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life....for as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one, shall many made righteous."
After this, what more could this apostle add in proof of his favourite doctrine. Only
that proof which he did. I mean, his pouring contempt on all the love his heart felt towards God, on all his usefulness towards men, and on every excellent grace which he in so eminent a degree possessed....on all this he pours contempt, counting it no better than loss, or dung, to merit his justification. In this light he rejects it with disdain, that " he might win Christ, and be found in him ; not having his own righteousness, which is of the law, but the righteousness, which is of God by faith.”
Perfectly harmonizing with his brother Paul, St. Peter addresses the church, as a society highly favoured in having obtained like precious faith with him, through, or rather in, the righteousness of God our Saviour. Taking all these divine declarations together, they are surely sufficient to prove the mistake of depreciating the life of Christ, by assigning to it no other use and influence, than as an example; or a qualification to become a sacrifice for sin. We are warranted by them, to consider every part of the Saviour's obedience as beneficial to his people, and imputed to them....to contemplate him as living and labouring every day for so many years in human flesh, that in their behalf, "grace might reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
ON THE ATONEMENT.
THE perfect righteousness of Christ, imputed to his people, was necessary, in order that God might justify them, with ample honour to his own law. And the infliction of the penalty annexed to disobedience on the offenders' substitute, was no less necessary to make manifest the evil of sin, the divine indignation against it, and reconcile in their exercise towards his people, his justice and mercy, his truth and holiness...." For it became him, by whom are all things, and for whom are all things, by making the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings, to bring many sons unto glory. And because the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also took part of the same, that through death, he might destroy death, and him that had the power of death, that is the devil," Heb. ii.
For these reasons, Christ, after paying perfect obedience to the law, died a death absolutely without parallel. All, besides himself, die, because they are sinners. He, because sin was imputed to him, and punished both in his body and soul. By the de
terminate counsel and foreknowledge of God, yet according to his own voluntary engagement, Jesus endured all that variety of misery, which sin deserves. He endured poverty, shame, and torturing pain of body and mind. He died under loud execrations, which were poured out upon him from a thousand tongues. He died under the curse of the law, transfixed by the sword of eternal justice to his cross. Prodigies then met together, which were never seen before, nor will be seen again. From different causes, heaven, earth, and hell seemed to conspire together to increase his torment, far above all comparison. For this we know from infallible authority, "that the Father spared him not....that it pleased the Father to bruise him....that he suffered, the just for the unjust, bearing our sins in his own body on the tree."
By virtue of this death, the full import of it being known and trusted in, the people of God are delivered from the menaces of the law in their consciences. They become, dead to it by the body of Christ, being "married to another, even to him, who was raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God," Rom. vii.