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And now, this faith, this uniting act, being the condition, the only condition, required on our part, by the covenant of grace, we being justified by faith without the deeds of the law, hence faith is said to be imputed to us for righteousness; Rom. iv.; for righteousness, i. e. for that whereby we stand right according to the tenour of the new covenant, i. e. for a full compliance with the condition of the new covenant. As perfect obedience was a compliance with the covenant of works, so faith is a compliance of the covenant of grace. Now, as perfect obedience, through his whole time of trial, would have been imputed to Adam for righteousness, i. e. for a full compliance with the condition of that covenant; so now faith is imputed for righteousness, i. e. for a full compliance with the condition of this covenant. For St. Paul had but just been proving that we are justified by faith ALONE, without the deeds of the law; and now this being the ONLY condition required, therefore he says it is accounted as a full compliance with the new covenant; i. e. it is imputed for righteousness. It being the only thing required as a condition of life, by the covenant of grace, hence it is looked upon in the sight of God accordingly, as being a full compliance with that covenant. The covenant of works insisted upon perfect obedience, because Adam was to have been justified merely by, and wholly upon the account of, his own virtue and goodness. And the covenant of grace insists upon faith alone, without the deeds of the law, because now we are justified, merely by, and wholly upon the account of Christ's virtue or righteousness, without regard to any goodness in us. But to him that WORKETH NOT, but believeth on him that justifieth the UNGODLY, his faith is counted for righteousness, (Rom. iv. 5.) i. e. for a FULL compliance with the new covenant without the deeds of the law. For, as to a legal righteousness, Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to them that believe; Rom. x. 5. And, in that sense, we are not to be found in our own righteousness, but in his. Phil. iii. 8.

Thus, according to the law of nature, every man would have been justified by his own personal righteousness; and according to the first covenant, every child of Adam would have been justified by Adam's righteousness, as public head and

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according to the second covenant, every believer is to be justified by Christ's righteousness, as another public head. The first of these ways takes its rise from the reason and nature of things; but the second and third from the positive appointment of God. The angels, it seems, were dealt with according to the first of these ways; only their state of probation, through grace, was not to be perpetual; for, no doubt, those that stood are now in a confirmed state: but mankind are dealt with according to the second and third.

The first of these ways a fallen world pretend some liking to; but the other two have given great offence. "How is it right we should be condemned for Adam's sin? Or with what propriety can we be justified on the account of Christ's righteousness?" is the language of very many. "It is unjust to condemn me for the sin of another, and absurd to justify me for another's righteousness," say they. And as to the first of these ways, they would have the law abated in what it requires, and quite disannulled as to its threatening death for the least sin. They would have what they call sincere obedience admitted as a condition of life, and repentance to be accepted in case of sin so that an apostate world are naturally equally at enmity against the first, second, and third, rightly understood. For they think it full as unjust that God should damn us for the least defect of perfect obedience, as for Adam's first sin. And it is nothing but divine light can bring the heart of a sinner sincerely to approve of the law of nature, of the constitution with Adam, and of the gospel with Christ. For, (1 Cor. ii. 14.) the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. He does not discern the ground and reason of the law of nature, being blind to the infinite beauty of the divine perfections; and so is incapacitated to have a right view and sense of the nature of the first covenant or the second. And being a stranger and an enemy to God, he also naturally doubts whether he has full power and rightful authority to make such constitutions he dislikes the constitutions; he questions God's authority to make such their being so plainly held forth in the Bible, tempts many to call even the truth of that into question; and some are driven quite to open infidelity.



There is a secret infidelity in the hearts of unregenerate men. They do not love that divine scheme of truths revealed in the Bible, nor cordially receive it for true. Men love to cut out a scheme of religion in their heads, to suit the temper of their hearts. And from this root do all the false and erroneous principles which fill the christian world originally take their rise. (2 Thess. ii. 10, 11, 12.) But when he that commanded the light to shine out of darkness shines in the heart, and gives spiritual light, then the reasonableness, beauty, and glory of the whole scheme appear, and the very resemblance of the divine perfections is to be seen in every branch of it; and now it is cordially believed. (John viii. 47.) And hereby a solid foundation is laid for a real conformity to the law, and a genuine compliance with the gospel; in both which true religion does consist.


Thus we have gone through what was proposed. And we see why God, the great Governor of the world, did consider mankind as perishing, fallen, sinful, guilty, justly condemned, helpless, and undone and we see that his design of mercy originally took its rise from the mere self-moving goodness of his nature, and sovereign good pleasure: and we see the necessity there was of a Mediator, and how the way of life has been opened by him whom God has provided: and we see wherein a genuine compliance with the gospel does consist, and the nature of a true faith in Christ: and we see what is implied in the everlasting life that is promised to believers, and how faith interests us in the promise, and how that the covenant is, in all things, well ordered and sure. And now there is a wide field opened for a large improvement, in many doctrinal and practical inferences and remarks. For,

1. It is very natural to make the same observations here, with regard to a genuine compliance with the gospel, as were before made with respect to a real conformity to the law: for, from what has been said, we may easily see wherein consists that life of faith in Christ, by which true believers live; that all unregenerate men are entirely destitute of this true faith in Christ; yea, diametrically opposite thereunto in the temper of their minds, and therefore cannot be brought to it but by the almighty power and all-conquering grace of God: that there

is nothing in them to move God to do this for them, but eve→ ry thing to the contrary; that God is at perfect liberty to have mercy on whom he will, according to his sovereign pleasure; that it is reasonable to think that the same sovereign good pleasure, which moves him to be the author, will move him to be the finisher of our faith; that true faith, being thus specifically different from every counterfeit, may therefore be discerned and known, &c. But because I have already been larger than at first I designed, therefore I will omit these, and all other remarks which might be made; and will conclude,

2. With only this one observation, viz. That if these things be true, which have been said concerning the nature of faith and the way of salvation by free grace through Christ, and concerning that view of things which the true believer has, then nothing is more plain and evident than that the true believer must needs feel himself to be under the strongest obligations possible to an entire devotedness to Go D, and a life of universal holiness. Every thing meets, in that view of things which he has, to bind his soul for ever to the Lord. One main design of the gospel was to make men holy; and it is, in its nature, perfectly well adapted to answer the end. For now all the natural obligations we are under to love God and live to him, are seen in a divine light; such as arise from the infinite excellence of the divine nature; God's entire right to us, and authority over us: and their binding nature is exhibited in a more striking and affecting manner in the gospel than in the law; the cross of Christ gives a more lively representation of the infinite evil of sin than all the thunders of Mount Sinai : and a sight of our natural obligations are attended with a sense of all the additional sacred ties, arising from the infinite goodness of God to a guilty, ruined world, in providing a Saviour; from the dying love of Christ; from the free gift of converting grace; from pardoning mercy; from God's covenant love and faithfulness, and from the raised expectations of eternal glory; all which must join to beget a right sense of sin, as being a thing, in itself, the most unfit, unreasonable, and wicked, as well as infinitely disingenuous and ungrateful to God, and concur to make it appear as the worst of evils; the most to be hated, dreaded,

watched, and prayed against. And a humble heart, full of self-diffidence, and under a sense of the divine all-sufficiency, and in a firm belief of the truth of the gospel, will most naturally, and, as it were, continually apply itself, by faith and prayer, to God through Christ, to be kept from all sin, and to be preserved to the heavenly kingdom: so that those views which the true believer has, have the strongest tendency to universal holiness, and do naturally lay a solid foundation for it. And those views are not only maintained in a greater or less degree, from day to day, by the gracious influence of the Holy Spirit, which dwells in them; but are increasing and brightening through the course of their lives: so that as the grand design of the gospel is to make men holy, so it is perfectly well adapted, in its nature, to answer the end. And therefore he that is born of God sinneth not; and how shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? And such like scriptures must, in the nature of things, be found to be true, in the experience of every real believer. Nor can any but graceless hypocrites be emboldened, by the doctrines of free grace, to sin, as it were, upon free cost; and a double vengeance will they pull down upon their guilty heads.

Particularly, the whole frame and tenour of the gospel naturally tends to excite us to an universal benevolence to mankind, in imitation of the infinite goodness of the divine nature; and even to be benevolent and kind to the evil and unthankful, and to those in whom there is no motive to excite our good will, but much to the contrary; and to love our enemies, and bless them that curse us, and do good to them that hate us, and pray for them that despitefully use us and persecute us. It is impossible, when we see the infinite beauty of the self-moving goodness of the divine nature, as exercised in the whole affair of our redemption and salvation, towards creatures so infinitely vile, unworthy, and ill-deserving, but that we should love that glorious goodness, and be changed into the same image, and have it become natural to us to love enemies, and forgive injuries, and be like God. A malicious christian, a spiteful believer, is the greatest contradiction and the most unnatural thing.

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