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and, on the contrary, condemns and punishes things sunrighteous. But, though in this corruption of
nature, the image of God being defaced ; these things known do not thus shine forth, yet they \ remain : but the heart resists, and certain doubts rush in which seem to contend against these known
truths.'. The reader will observę, that all, except the last sentence, is spoken of man, as God at first created him; and the energetick expression, sed cor repugnat, 'the heart resists, clearly establishes our sentiments, and shews the need which we have of a
new heart," in order to " walk in newness of life.” “ Make the tree good, and his fruit good : for a " corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.”
P. xi. 1. 17. * To those who, &c.'' Did not our Saviour preach the glad tidings of the gospel ?' And were they not conveyed to his hearers till afterwards ?? If John the Baptist, and our Lord, and his apostles, and the seventy disciples, during his life on earth, preached the gospel: then, most clearly, the instances of good things in men, during that period, which are afterwards mentioned, should be ascribed to the grace of the gospel.
P. xi. 1. 21. “ I am not come,” says Christ," to “call the righteous, but sinners to repentance:” 'we
may therefore affirm, upon the authority of our 'blessed Saviour himself, that there is at least a
degree of righteousness in some men.'--[f any righteous in themselves, without Christ; he did not
"To those, who heard the preaching of our Saviour, and to whom the glad tidings of the gospel were afterwards conveyed. * Matt. iv. 23. Mark i. 14. Luke iv. 18.
come to call them to be his disciples, or to seek salvation from him. If their own righteousness be sufficient for their justification, they may be saved without him: yet, for this, some degree of righteous
ness' will not suffice : “But Christ shall profit them “nothing," if he do not call them to come unto him and trust in him. The persons spoken of either had previously repented, or they had not: if they had repented, and were then penitent ; this was an acknowledgement of their sinfulness and need of mercy: if they had not repented, either they had never sinned, or they remained unpardoned; for it will scarcely be maintained, that impenitent sinners have obtained forgiveness. “ God commandeth all men
every where to repent:"! and he who has not repented, and yet “ needs no repentance," must have been perfectly holy, in heart and life, from his
P. xii. I. 15. ' By the righteous, &c.'? Whether Dr. Whitby's comment on the scripture referred to, or that of those who wish to reconcile this
passage to the Calvinistic system,' be preferable, must be Jeft to the decision of the reader. But it may be observed, that many in reality need the spiritual Physician,' who think they do not; and therefore
! Acts xvii. 30.
2 • By the righteous, (says Whitby, very justly,) we are • not to understand those who are only righteous in their own
conceits, such as the Pharisees were, who justified themselves • before men, and trusted in themselves that they were righteous,
and despised others, in comparison of themselves; for such are not whole, but have great need of the spiritual physician; and such especially the gospel calleth to repentance.'
despise and neglect him : on the other hand, there are none of the whole fallen race of man, who do not want him. • I have need,' says he, who “ was s filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother's “ womb;"1 " I have need to be baptized of thee, " and comest thou to me?"2
P. xii. I. 25. Moreover, &c.' Did our Lord then come to call none, but such as live in the customary practice of sin ? Are others excluded from his salvation ? Or, have they no need of it? Are the righteous, here described, become righteous without ' the grace of the gospel ? And is their righteousness sufficient for their acceptante with God, without the merits and atonement of Christ? . We have no
power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to “God, without the grace of God by Christ preventin us, when we have that good will."! Works I done before the grace of Christ, and the inspira. tion of his Spirit, are not pleasant to God." Good
ing us, that we may have a good will, and working i Luke i. 15. 2 Matt. iii. 14.
3 · Moreover, the word sinners here imports such persons as ' live in a customary practice of sin, so that the tenor of their lives * is wicked, and who are therefore to be called to that repentance • which consists in the change of their lives, from the service of
sin to holiness, from slavery to Satan to the fear of God; and • therefore, by the righteous who need no repentance, we are not
to understand those who are entirely free from sin; for so, there . is not 'a just nian upon earth, nor any man who is not a sinner;
but those who are truly and sincerely righteous, have truly
reformed their lives, who carefully endeavour to abstain from all • known sins, and set themselves sincerely to the performance of • their whole duty both to God and man, and so are righteous and " acceptable in the sight of God; in which sepse Job was righteous
and eschewed evil; Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous, I walking in all the commandments of the Lord; and Simeon n;
and so they needed not that repentance which consists in the change of the life from a course of sinning to a living unto God'
works, which are the fruits of faith, and follow * after justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's judgment : yet they
are pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ.': Were then Job, and Zacharias and Elizabeth, “righ“ teous before God,” by a natural good disposition, or by special grace? His Lordship grants, that 'our
weak and unassisted nature will not allow us to * perform,' an action 'good in the sight of God.' Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous before God; therefore “ by the grace of God they were what " they were." It is said of Simeon that “the Holy “ Ghost was upon him: and the goodness of his “ character must surely be ascribed to special grace ;
yet he also waited for the consolation of Israel," and welcomed the child Jesus, as “the Salvation of 66 God.”
If the persons spoken of needed not that repentance, which other sinners did, it was because they had repented, and were daily repenting: for no impenitent sinner can be “ righteous before God,” whether his sins have been many or few; and “there " is not a just man on earth, who doeth good and “ sinneth not. :-But they lived before the gospel• dispensation.'—Was it then peculiar to Abraham, that he was justified by faith, long before the coming of Christ? Might it not be said of all believers,
2 Art. xiii.
3 Art, xii.
1 Art, X. → Ec. yii, 20,
+ Page 67. Ref.
from the beginning, as well as of him ; “ It is of “ faith, that it might be by grace?” Their light, and comfort, and fruitfulness came from the dawning of the “ Sun of Righteousness," before he became visible above the horizon.- My good child • know this, that thou art not able to do these ' things of thyself, nor to walk in the commandments of God, and to serve him, without his
special grace.'' Was the case then different before the coming of Christ and were men at that time able to keep the commandments of God, and to serve s him, without his special grace ?
P. xiv. I. 14. • That on the good, &c.'? Will his Lordship then maintain, that “the honest and
good heart," in which “ the word of the king“ dom," the good seed, takes root, and brings forth fruit, is uniformly the effect of some honesty and 'goodness of heart in the human race?' 'And if this be not always the case, what reason is there to suppose it ever is? “A new heart will I give you, and “ a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take
away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will “ give you a heart of flesh; and I will put my own “ Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my
Ques, in Cat. before the Lord's Prayer. 3.". That on the good ground,” says Christ, are they which s in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, " and bring forth fruit with patience :" here we bave again our
Saviour's authority for saying, that there is some honesty, some 'goodness of heart in the human race; and that different men
possess these virtuous qualities in different degrees, since of the. * seed which fell upon good ground, some brought forth “ an hun " dred fold, some sixty, some thirty.”