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LECTURES ON THE SHORTER CATE
CHISM OF THE WESTMINSTER AS-
nal demands of the law, as could have been made by the endless torments of all those in whose room and stead he stood. The sufferings
and death of Christ are called his LECTURE XXIX.
passive obedience, because they (Concluded from p. 340.) were, on his part, entirely volun
tary, and undergone in perfect acThe righteousness of Christ is quiescence in the will and appointcommonly considered as consti- ment of the eternal Father. tuted by his active and passive obes The union or aggregate of this dience. In his active obedience is active and passive obedience of usually included, the holiness of his Christ, constitutes that complete nature and the righteousness of and finished righteousness, which his life, in full and perfect con- is the formal meritorious cause of formity to the whole law, without the justification of every saint. It the least defect at any time or in is on this account, precisely, and any degree. Thus the entire equi- no other, that believers are acceptty and reasonableness of the law ed of God as righteous.-We are were shown; and the reflection and told expressly that “the righteousdishonour cast upon it by the dis- ness of God is upon all them that obedience of man were completely believe.” This is the declaration removed, by its receiving the bo- of infallible truth. But this rightnour of the perfect and ceaseless cousness cannot, in the language obedience of the eternal Son of of Scripture, be upon them that beGod.—He magnified the law and lieve, otherwise than by being immade it honourable.
puted or reckoned to them. The passive obedience of Christ Much noise has been made about includes his satisfaction for sin, by the words imputed righteousness, as bearing, in all their extent, the in- well as the phrase the satisfaction flictions of the curse of the broken of Christ. But it may be truly said law of God due to all his people that the whole is noise, and nothing -« He bare our sins in his own else. The substantial ideas conbody on the tree-he was made a veyed by those words and phrases, curse for us”—His infinite dignity and all that we intend or mean by and worth, connected with his in- them, are fully and clearly conconceivable sufferings, rendered the veyed in other language, into which short endurance of those sufferings they are not introduced at all; and as complete a satisfaction to the pe- though we will not relinquish the VOL. V. Ch. Adv.
words imputed righteousness, be- We have no conception that our cause they are proper, precise, and personal sins became Christ's perscriptural words; yet, if the ideas sonal sins-God forbid !-And we for which they stand are admitted have no idea that his personal rightby those who reject them, we de- eousness becomes our personal sire to have no controversy on the righteousness. We only mean and subject. I know of no expression in say, that his righteousness is imthe New Testament, in which the puted to us—that is, reckoned, or doctrine of imputation, in both its computed as ours, or set to our parts, that is, the imputation of our account. We say, that God so acsins to Christ, and the imputation counts or reckons to us the righteof his righteousness to us, is more ousness of Christ, as to treat us as distinctly and unequivocally ex. if we had obeyed the law and satispressed, than in a text where the fied justice in our own persons.word imputation is not used.-It is Nay, we must not omit to mention, this— For he hath made him to be that the people of God, in consesin for us who knew no sin; that quence of being invested with the 'we might be made the righteous- righteousness of Christ, will be enness of God in him.” I cannot con- titled to and actually receive a heaceive what rational meaning can be venly inheritance, unspeakably richaffixed to this declaration but this er and more glorious than they alone"That Christ was treated would have received, if their first as a sinner on our account, that we covenanthead had remained sinless. might be treated as perfectly righte We are said, in the Catechism, ous on his account;' and this is pre- to be pardoned and accepted "only" cisely what we mean by imputation.* for the righteousness of Christ; be
cause a sinner can make no other It has been said by those who object valid plea before God for pardon to the doctrine of imputed righteousness, and acceptance, than that Christ that “what is actually not ours, cannot his surety has fulfilled the violated justly be reckoned or accounted as ours.” But in regard to this, I must say that it covenant of works for him--fulfillseems to me scarcely to deserve the name
ed all righteousness in his behalf. of a quibble—it is rather an unqualified The law required a fulfilment, in false assertion. Take the common iilus. which every act of obedience should tration of this topick-An individual is be a perfectly sinless act. Now, not imprisoned for a debt which he can never
one of our acts is of this kind. But pay. A benevolent individual pays it fur him. Cannot this payment be reckoned of this very kind were all the acts of or accounted as being made by the pri- Christ; and therefore, his perfect, soner himself, and he be discharged and sipless acts, and not our imperfect treated as owing nothing, as really as if acts mingled with sin, must bave he had paid the debt out of his own pro. perty and purse? and may not the bene. unique, or without a parallel, in the justificafactor demand the prisoner's discharge, tion of a believing sinner. By faith, a mysas a matter of justice? He certainly may; terious union, or oneness, takes place be. all righteous laws will permit it; and the tween him and his Saviour. Of this onewhole transaction sometimes takes place ness, the Saviour expressly speaks in his in fact in well ordered society. Take ano. last intercessory prayer-Elsewhere he ther illustration, The offspring of a beg. compares it to the union of a branch with gar is adopted by a man of wealth. May the vine; and it is frequently referred to not this adopted offspring be reckoned, by the Apostle Paul. It is in virtue of or accounted, as the child of his benefac. this union, this oneness, this identity of tor, and become his heir, and even bear the believer with his glorious spiritual his name, as really as if the adopted party head, that he becomes a partaker of all had come out of the loins of his putative that has been merited by that head for father? who knows not that such a pro- the members of his mystical body-The cedure as this sometimes actually takes righteousness of his head, becomes the place among men?
believer's righteousness, and he is ent. Weadmit after all that there is something tled to all its benefits.
the whole concern in the matter of certainly not applicable to this our justification.
point, and the other, as certainly No act that is imperfect can ever is. By condition is sometimes justify, by a law which requires meant a valuable consideration, in perfection. The imperfection of consequence of which something the act, so far as it exists, is a vio- is conferred. In this sense faith
lation of the law, and therefore and repentance are not conditions r needs pardon, instead of being en- of salvation : for they are not the
titled to reward. If therefore the valuable consideration, in conse
righteousness which justifies us quence of which salvation is coni must be a perfect righteousness, ferred on us. This valuable con
none of our acts can make any part sideration is, as we have shown, of it, for they are all imperfect - nothing but the righteousness of This is clear to demonstration. It Christ. But the word condition is is therefore the perfect righteous- sometimes used to denote someness of Christ, and that only, which thing which must take place before is the efficient cause of our justifi. a promise can be realized. In this cation, in the eye of the perfect sense, faith and repentance may law of God. This righteousness is, be called conditions of salvation. by man, “received by faith alone." They must always take place in Yet, as we have just seen, the ex persons of adult age, before salvacellence of the act of faith, by tion can ever be obtained. which it is received, has no share You wili, bowever, be careful to in the righteousness that justifies. observe, that it is the grace of faith That act of faith, although sincere, alone, which is even instrumentally is yet imperfect, and therefore concerned in our justification. Jusneeds pardon, in place of claiming tifying faith will, indeed, be always to be a part of the righteousness accompanied by every other genuwhich justifies. The same may also ine grace of the Christian. But be said of repentance it is indis- faith alone is concerned in justifipensable to salvation. But it forms cation, because it is the office only no part of the righteousness that of this grace to receive and rest on justifies. That, as we have seen, Christ. We do not receive and inust be a perfect righteousness, rest on Christ by repentance, by and can be nothing else. But our hope, or by charity, bụt by faith repentance is imperfect; and the alone; and therefore, it is by faith riches of God's grace in the gospel alone, as the proper instrument for is manifest in this very particular, the work, that we are justified. that for Christ's sake our acts are There has also been a controaccepted, if sincere, although im- versy, whether we are not to consiperfect-accepted to their proper der good works as connected with end-not as having any share in faith, in the matter of our justificaour justification, but as evidence of tion. But there is no proper ground our compliance with the terms of for this controversy. All admit, the Gospel covenant, and our con- that in adult age, good works, as sequent title to a gracious reward. far as opportunity for them is given,
Faith and repentance have by always accompany saving faithsome been called conditions of sal. They prove it to be saving; and in vation; and controversy has some- this way justify our profession of times ensued on the propriety of faith before the world; which is their being thus denominated. But, precisely what St. James intends in my apprehension, this is a need when he says we are justified by less controversy. The fact is this works, and not by faith only. We - There are two meanings of the are justified before men, by the word condition; one of which is works which flow from faith, and
which men can see. But in our truths and facts revelation certainjustification before God, the Apos- ly does contain ; and this is so far tle Paul teaches that no work, no from forming a just objection to the act of man, has any meritorious sacred writings, that it is a strong agency, more or less. We owe it all presumption of their Divine origito the righteousness of Christ. nal. I know that I have said this Faith receives and rests on this; in substance heretofore, but it is because, as has been shown, it is important to remind you of it on proper to faith, and to no other the present occasion. grace to do so.
But this very act The method of a sinner's justifiof faith, although sincere, is still cation before God, is a matter of imperfect, and its imperfection is pure revelation. Reason never pardoned through that very righte- could have discovered it, if left to ousness of Christ on which it rests, itself; and the most that reason has and to which it leaves the whole to do with it is, to examine the eviundivided honour and merit of our dence and import of what God has justification and salvation.
revealed concerning it. To God My dear youth, in concluding alone it belonged to determine on this lecture, in which I have endea- what terms and in what manner, a voured shortly to explain a funda- guilty creature might be restored mental doctrine of the revealed to his favour: and when he has told will of God, let me entreat you us this, we ought most thankfully
1. Not to indulge in specula- and humbly to receive the informations on this article of our faith, tion, and promptly to comply with beyond what is plainly laid down the terms prescribed. The grounds in the sacred oracles. The most and reasons of the procedure may serious practical evils have often not, in all respects, quadrate with resulted from a licentious indul- what an imperfect and erring reagence of human reason in regard to son may seem to dictate ; nor run this, as well as to some other doc- entirely parallel with transactions trines, which are clearly revealed which iake place between one creain the word of God. We doubt not ture and another. This I am perthat every doctrine, and every de- suaded is in reality the case, in reclaration, which we find in the gard to the doctrine of justification, Bible, is perfectly reasonable ; be- as we find it taught in the New cause we believe that the whole Testament. But what better eri. has proceeded from a Being whose dence do we want that a doctrine understanding is infinite, and whose is reasonable, although our feeble equity and truth are immaculate intellect cannot fully measure it, and inviolable. But it is one thing than that He whose understanding, for a doctrine to be reasonable, and equity and goodness are infinite, another for us to see that it is so, has sanctioned it, and required us and to be able to explain all the to receive it? What more should a grounds or principles on which it sinner ask, than that his offended rests.
There are many unde- Maker should tell him in what way niable truths, or facts, in the na. he may be pardoned, and be rentural world, the principles or rea- dered eternally happy? For the sons of which we cannot under- guilty party to stand questioning, stand and explain, and perhaps and insist on knowing to the shall never discover, in the present bottom how, why, and therefore, life. If we believe revelation to be the Creator has adopted this plan, the work of God, we ought to ex- and on what principles of reason pect that it will contain truths and he can show it to be right, is, in facts of the same character with my apprehension, a gross and imthose of his other works. Such pious presumption. I seriousls
THE DUTY OF SOCIAL WORSHIP
warn you against it. I feel bound merous and aggravated sins rest on solemnly to caution you against all our own guilty heads. Hasten then, those speculations--and I am sorry as for the life of your souls, to emto say that they are becoming fa- brace that Saviour, whose blood shionable—which really go to set can fully atone for your transgresaside the scripture doctrine of our sions, can cleanse away all the justification solely by the imputation guilt of their crimson and scarlet to us of the perfect righteousness stains; and by union with whom, of a Saviour; of a Saviour taking all the benefits of his purchase shal} the sinner's place, and obeying become your own, and he "be made and suffering in his behalf. Cleave of God unto you wisdom, and to this scriptural doctrine, I en- righteousness, and sanctification, treat and charge you-cleave to it and redemption." Amen. as the sheet anchor of that hope toward God, which alone will stand the test in the trying hour of death, and when the dread realities of eternity shall sweep away the san
Essay I. dy foundation of all those refuges The social worship of the Dei. of lies, to which thousands betakety has been considered as a duty themselves to their eternal un by Heathens, Mahomedans, Jews, doing
and Christians; a duty connected 2. Above all, let me exhort you alike with the welfare of society, not to content yourselves with a and the happiness of individuals. mere rational assent to this doc- It is, nevertheless, a duty which trine, although you should hold it many, who would regard it as an in the most unexceptionable form insult if the appellation of Chris. in which the human mind can re tians were denied them, habitually ceive it. Remember that it is a neglect. While they admit its imdreadful thing, to“ hold the truth portance generally, they find some in unrighteousness."
It is not plea of exemption for themselves. enough that you believe that no There is also another description of thing can justify you but the right nominal Christians, who occasionaleousness of Christ; you must per- ly attend on social worship, but sonally, practically, and individu. who show by their practice that they ally, so believe in Christ, that you feel no obligation to a regular and may be clothed with his righteous stated attendance: And there is ness, may stand before God in this yet a third class, who make it a heavenly robe, and be able to plead point, in ordinary circumstances, it truly, as the sole meritorious to visit the sanctuary, at least once cause of your acceptance. With- on the Sabbath; but are rarely seen out this, you will at last be undone in worshipping assemblies on any and perish forever. If there is one other occasion. It is clear that doctrine in the book of God more all these parties are pointedly repractical than another, it is this buked, by the inspired oracle one. Each of us is a sinner by na which we find in Heb. X. 25,ture and by practice ; and till we “Not forsaking the assembling of have, under a due sense and convic- ourselves together, as the manner tion of guilt been driven away from of some is.” But it is believed that every other reliance, to rely in the without violating charity, we may exercise of a living faith, solely and go still farther, and say, that even unreservedly on the finished right- pious practical Christians, seem to eousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, need both exhortation and instructhe wrath and curse of God abide tion, in regard to the duty now in upon us.
Till then the whole contemplation. It is therefore proweight and burden of all our nu- posed, taking the passage of sacred