« PrécédentContinuer »
that effectual influence, as to regenerate and redeem the soul from sin, on which the malediction lies, he is as far to seek for justification as before; for whilst a person is really guilty of a false matter, I positively assert, from the authority and force of this scripture, he cannot be in a state of justification; and as God will not justify the wicked, so, by the acknowledged reason of contraries, the just He will never condemn, but they, and they only, are the justified of God.
2. “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are an abomination to the Lord."* It would very opportunely be observed, that if it is so great an abomination in men to justify the wicked, and condemn the just, how much greater would it be in God, which this doctrine of imputative righteousness necessarily does imply, that so far disengages God from the person justified, as that his guilt shall not condemn him, nor his innocency justify him? But will not the abomination appear greatest of all, when God shall be found condemning the just, on purpose to justify the wicked, and that He is thereto compelled, or else no salvation ; which is the tendency of their doctrine, who imagine the righteous and merciful God to condern and punish his innocent Son, that he having satisfied for our sins, we might be justified (whilst unsanctified) by the imputation of his perfect righteousness.' 0! why should this horrible thing be contended for by Christians ?
* Prov. xvii. 15.
3. “ The son shall not bear the iniquity of his father; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive ; yet saith the house of Israel, the ways of the Lord are not equal; are not my ways equal ?"* If this was once equal, it is so still, for God is unchangeable; and therefore I shall draw this argument, that the condemnation or justification of persons, is not from the imputation of another's righteousness, but the actual performance and keeping of God's righteous statutes or commandments, otherwise God should forget to be equal; therefore how wickedly unequal are those, who, not from scripture evidences, but their own dark conjectures and interpretations of obscure passages would frame a doctrine so manifestly inconsistent with God's most pure and equal nature; making him to condemn the righteous to death, and justify the wicked to life, from the imputation of another's righteousness ;-a most unequal way indeed !
4. “ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father. Whosoever heareth
* Ezek. xviii. 20, 26, 27, 29.
these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man which built his house upon a rock," &c.* How very fruitful are the Scriptures of truth, in testimonies against this absurd and dangerous doctrine! These words seem to import a twofold righteousness; the first consists in sacrifice, the last in obedience; the one makes a talking, the other a doing Christian. I, in short, argue thus; if none can enter into the kingdom of heaven, but they that do the Father's will, then none are justified, but they who do the Father's will, because none can enter into the kingdom but such as are justified. Since therefore there can be no admittance had, without performing that righteous will, and doing those holy and perfect sayings ; alas ! to what value will an imputative righteousness amount, when a poor soul shall awake polluted in his sin, by the hasty calls of death, to make its appearance before the judgment seat, where it is impossible to justify the wicked, or that any should escape uncondemned, but such as do the will of God?
5. “ If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in
my love, even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.”+ From whence this argument doth naturally arise ; if none are truly justified that abide not in Christ's love, and that none abide in his love who keep not his commandments ; then consequently none are justified but such as keep his commandments. Besides, here is the most palpable opposition to an imputative righteousness that may be; for Christ is so far from telling them of such a way of being justified, as that he informs them the reason why he abode in his Father's love, was his obedience; and is so far from telling them of their being justified, whilst not abiding in his love, by virtue of his obedience imputed unto them, that unless they keep his commands, and obey for themselves, they shall be so remote from an acceptance, as wholly to be cast out; in all which Christ is our example.
* Matt. vii. 21, 24, 25.
+ 1 John xvi. 10.
6. “Ye are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you."* We have almost here the very words, but altogether the same matter, which affords us thus much, that without being Christ's friends, there is no being justified; but unless we keep his commandments, it is impossible we should be his friends; it therefore necessarily follows, that except we keep his cominandments, there is no being justified; or in short, thus; if the way to be a friend is, to keep the commandments, then the way to be justified is to keep the commandments; because none can obtain the quality of a friend, and remain unjustified, or be truly justified whilst an enemy; which he certainly is that keeps not the commandments.
* John xv. 14.
7. “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified."* From whence how unanswerably may I observe, unless we become doers of that law, which Christ came not to destroy, but as our example to fulfil, we can never be justified before God; wherefore obedience is so absolutely necessary, that short of it there can be no acceptance. Nor let any fancy that Christ hath so fulfilled it for them, as to exclude their obedience from being requisite to their acceptance but as their pattern; “for unless ye follow me,” saith Christ, “ye cannot be my disciples;" and it is not only repugnant to reason, but in this place particularly refuted; for if Christ had fulfilled it on our behalf and we not enabled to follow his example, there would not be doers, but one doer only, of the law, justified before God. In short, if without obedience to the righteous law none can be justified, then all our hearing of the law, with but the mere imputation of another's righteousness, whilst we are actually breakers of it, is excluded, as not justifying before God. “If you fulfil the royal
do well; so speak ye, and so do ye, as they that shall be judged thereby.”
8. “If ye live after the flesh ye shall die; but if ye, through the spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”+ No man can be dead, and justified before God, for so he may be justified that
* Roin. ii. 13.
+ Rom. viii. 13.