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say that we have the benefit of them, and no more; but imputation itself is denied. They know well enough, and ingenuously grant, that they overthrow all true real imputation thereby.—And it is not pleasing to see some among ourselves with as great confidence take up the sense and words of these men in their disputations against the -protestant doctrine in this cause, that is, the doctrine of the church of England.
That the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us as to its effects, hath this sound sense in it; namely, that the effects of it are made ours by reason of that imputation. It is so imputed, so reckoned to us of God, as that he really communicates all the effects of it to us. But to say the righteousness of Christ is not imputed to us, only its effects are so, is really to overthrow all imputation.-The effects of the righteousness of Christ cannot be said pro
perly to be imputed to us. For instance; pardon of sin is a great effect of the righteousness of Christ. Our sins are pardoned on the account thereof. God for Christ's sake forgiveth us all our sins. But the pardon of sin cannot be said to be imputed to us, nor is so. Adoption, justification, peace with God, all grace and glory, are effects of the righteousness of Christ. But that these things are not imputed to us, nor can be so, is evident from their nature: but we are made partakers of them all, upon the account of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to us, and no otherwise.' Such was the language of this great man in 1677. What he would have said had his life been protracted to the present time it is not easy to determine, but that the following remarks of a modern pen would have been highly approved and commended there can be no doubt.
'We live in an age of hypocrisy,' says this able writer, in which good names are given to bad things, and a little truth mixed with error, that it may more effectually and fatally deceive. The very vocabulary of our language needs revision, and we want a new dictionary to explain the present acceptation of terms, which mean any thing but what their original imposers intended, and every thing that the present generation shall please. Hence some writers, enforcing the doctrine of universal charity, consider those sentiments which rob God of his divine attributes, the Holy Trinity of their distinct personalities, the Lord Jesus Christ of his essential Deity, and which barter the doctrines of the Gospel for a miserable code of heathen morality, as equally deserving esteem with "the faith once delivered to the saints," for which thousands have suf
fered loss, and for which martyrs have shed their blood.'
In the justification of a sinner before God, cause and effect are inseparable. The effect of righteousness is exemption from condemnation: but this exemption is never said to be imputed: indeed the thing itself is impossible. There can be no just exemption from condemnation where there is guilt; because guilt is that which renders the delinquent obnoxious to penalty. He must therefore be freed from that which made him liable to suffer before he can be declared righteous. But this the sinner, considered in himself, never can be. If the righteousness of Christ be not imputed to him for justification, he must inevitably perish. But arrayed in this consummate righteousness, he participates of all its glorious effects, namely, exemption from condemnation, adoption, and
the complete enjoyment of everlasting blessedness.
Indeed, says Mr. David Clarkson, the successor to Dr. Owen, either the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, or nothing; for the effects of it, viz. pardon of sin, and title to life, &c. are not imputed to us; because it cannot be said with any tolerable sense that right to life, or pardon of sin, were performed in our stead, or accepted for us as so performed.
'Besides that which is imputed to us is not personally or subjectively ours, but the effects of Christ's righteousness; our faith, our inherent holiness, pardon of sin, title to life, are ours subjectively and personally; we are the subjects of them as we are not of that which is only imputed to us; and to say that these effects of it are only imputed to us, is to deny all imputation of it?