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and this upon an impartial search and inquiry, 1 think, would appear to you to be the whole scope and design of the gospel of Christ. I have now re-i moved your great difficulty out of the way, and shewn you how this doctrine, so plainly taught every where else, may be true in a full consistence with those texts, which in your apprehension seemed to make against it. I would now propose one method more, to confirm you in the important truth under consideration; and that, if duly attended to, cannot fail.
Allow me, Sir, the freedom to advise you, that you place yourself in the presence of the infinitely great and glorious God, and give yourself to medi. tation on such subjects particularly as may tend to enlighten and establish you in the present truth. With this view folemnly contemplate God's infinite justice, his infinite purity and holiness, his infinite abhorrence of fin and finners, especially as to be seen in the glass of Christ's sufferings : Also contemplate your own state and moral character, both by nature and practice; contemplate the sinful defects of the best works of righteousness that ever you have done, the pollutions mingled with the best duties that ever you performed. Contemplate the unbelief which accompanied the highest actings of faith you were ever capable of; the formality and hypocrisy which has mixed with your devoutest prayers; the desultory thoughts and dead frames which have accompanied you to the most sacred or. dinances of God's house; the frequent violations of the most solemn resolutions and covenant obligations by which you have bound your soul to the Lord : And, in a word, contemplate the greatness of your sins, their vast number and dreadful aggravations ; with the nothingness of your best performances and highest attainments in religion; how much you have
is, lone against God, and how little for him.-And fcopchen consider, what plea you have to make before w rthis infinitely great, this absolutely just, this perfect. is asi ly pure and holy God, for justification in his light, augh and acceptance with him.-Will you plead your iters acting of faith in him and his promises ? Alas, how fees will your prevailing unbelief fly in your face, and e es put you to filence !--Will you plead your personal cre obedience and works of righteousness that you have ten done ? Alas, how will a vast degree of fin and un.
righteousness cover and confound you !-Will you plead your fincerity before God? But what will you do with that prevalent formality and hypocrisy which
your own conscience will accuse and convince you onda of? - Will
not be forced at last to cry out with Dr David, -If thou, Lord, Moulds mark iniquity, O Lord,
who shall stand? and with 706,-Behold, I am vile! What Mall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken, but I will not answer yea twice, but I will proceed no further. Will not you then see your necessity of a more perfect righte. ousness, to plead before God, than any personal inherent righteousness of your own, to cover your dreadful sinfulness and infinite defects; and to render you acceptable to God, notwithstanding all the challenges which the justice, the holiness, and the
law of God, together with your own conscience, y have against you? Surely on due reflection, you i must see yourself in perishing necefsity of Christ and
his righteousness, to recommend you to the divine favour.
Dear Sir, I intreat you to consider in season, what you must consider first or last : And let you di and I be now folemnly careful to lay our foundation
sure, that we may meet with comfort at the great Pas trial, and receive the Euge of our Judge, in that awful and great day : Which is the prayer of,
SIR, Your, &c.
LETTER XIII. Wherein it is confi.
dered, whether we are justified by Faith and Obedience to the Gospel, as a new Law of Grace.
deavours to remove your difficulties, and to fa. tisfy your desires; since " you do not throw diffi. 6 culties either in your own way or in mine, out
of any conceived prejudice, or from oftentation “ or wrangling disposition; but from a sincere de. < fire of building your hope upon the sure founda« tion laid in Zion." Would all men act from views so worthy of this great concern, it would be a likely means, not only to put an end to the
preo vailing confusions among us, but to give a triumphant progress to the truth; and to establish men in the faith delivered to the saints.
“ You have (you say) been sensibly affected by « my last; and are fo fully convinced of the danger “ of mistaking your way,
that you are the more “ folicitous to be set right, and to have your re“ maining difficulties removed; and therefore you « intreat me to bear with you, while you propose
your strongest objection against the doctrine I sup« pofe to be of so great importance.--Your Author " (you say) tells you, that our blessed Saviour has “ purchased for us new.and easier conditions of life; " and instead of the finless, obedience required by o the moral law, he has now given us a new law " of grace, which only requires
faith, with sincere obedience to the gospel, as the condition of our “ justification and acceptance with God.--Whence “it is a necessary consequence, that our justifica. "tion, or title to eternal life, depends not upon “Christ's righteousness imputed to us; but upon "our faith, including sincere obedience to the go
spel, as the condition to which it is promised; and " that as our obedience is imperfect, fo our state of "justification is imperfect allo; and we thall not be perfectly justified, till our obedience be perfected.”
That I may distinctly consider this case, I shall endeavour in the first place, to make some proper inquiries and reflections upon this scheme ; and offer some' objections against it, and then take notice of the arguments which you have brought to support it.
I would first inquire, where you find any thing in Scripture of our Saviour's purchasing this new law of grace, whereby faithi and sincere obedience are made the conditions of our justification.- Per. haps your Author is silent upon that head ; and for my part, I do not know that I have ever read any thing at all about it in the word of God.
We read often of our blessed Saviour's giving himself ransom for us; of his being a propitiation for our Jins ; of his being the Lord our Righteousness; of his having brought in everlasting righteousness ; 'of his being the end of the law for righteousness, unto every one that believeth ; and of his being of God made unto us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption ; with many other like representations of his procuring a justifying righteousness for us. But of his purchasing this new law of grace, not one word is to be found in the Scriptures.-May we not justly suppose, that if this scheme were right, we thould have it plainly represented to us in the oracles of God, and not be left to grope in the dark,
and to find out by far-fetched consequences, what o is the foundation of our practice and hupe!-How į vast is the difference between the one and the other
side of this question ! On the one side we have (or at least we think we have) very numerous, plain, express Scripture.authorities, for our justification by the righteousness of Christ. On the other side, there is a deep silence throughout the whole word of God, about any purchase of a new law, such a law of favourable terms, and about those new condi. tions of our justification, those easier terms, our faith and sincere obedience. This scheme therefore may be prelumed to be at best but of human invention.
I would further inquire, whether in the nature of things there can be any justification at all, upon such conditions as you speak of? I have thewn you, that justification is always to be understood of our being esteemed, declared, manifested, or pronounced righteous. Now then, if our evangelical obedience be imperfect, we are still unrighteous, by our remaining fin and disobedience against this imaginary new law of grace ; and consequently God cannot judge and declare us righteous by virtue of our obe. dience. For his judgment is according to truth, as I observed to you in my last letter. --Certain it is, that no man upon earth is, or can be perfectly fintere, perfectly believing, or perfectly obedient to the gospel. His defects will be greater than his attainments; and his disobedience will be greater than his obedience, under his highest improvements, as long as he lives. He knows nothing of himself that does not know this to be fact. He must therefore ever be more unrighteous than righteous as long as he lives; and accordingly He that can make no wrong judgment of things will judge and esteem him to be as he is; so that the man must live and die unjustified, and appear at the bar of Christ in the same state.