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Sins are debts, and sinners are debtors: God is the creditor. We all are sinners, and have contracted a debt, the least might of which we are unable to pay/ Christ voluntarily became our surety, and took upon him the whole debt, and paid it all off by the oblation of his death and the righteousness of his life. This is intimated to us by the word Ayious which the apostle so often uses, Rom. iv. This word is taken from the accompts that stand between a creditor and his debtors. And since Christ was our surety, God, our creditor, places to our account the sufferings and obedience of Christ, he makes them over to us, and imputes to us as much as if we had done and suffered what Christ did and suffered; and so we are discharged. When, therefore, the devil, the accuser of the brethren, spreads a long bill or catalogue of our sins before us, we only look* to Jesus our surety, and we see the whole debt paid, and the bond cancelled.

Fifthly, We have no righteousness of our own to justify us, we must, therefore, be justified by Christ's righteousness, or not at all. In many things we

*

Saving faith is expressed by looking, Isa. xvii. 7. xiv. 22. Heb. xii 2. &c. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so was the Son of Man lifted up, John, iii. 14. As the Jews were cured of the bite of the fiery serpents by looking up to the brasen serpent, Numb. 7, 8, 9. so are souls cured of sin and the bite of that old serpent the devil by looking to Jesus Christ by faith.

offend all; and whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. James, ii. 10. iii. 2. Who is there then among us can plead, Not guilty? What then is all our righteousness worth? It is no better than filthy rags, Isa. Ixiv. 6. It cannot stand the test of God's justice, it will not bear examining, it falls infinitely short of the demands of the divine law, and can never justify us before God. All our good works are defiled with sin, and odious in the sight of God. Jerusalem who trusteth in her own righteousness is as a menstruous woman, Lam. i. 17. But those who are citizens of Jerusalem which is above, cast away their own righteousness as a menstruous cloth, Isa. xxx. 22. They take hold of the covenant, they take hold of Christ for strength and peace, Isa. xxvii. 5. lvi. 4. For our own righteousness affords us neither strength nor peace. We must utterly despair of salvation if we had no better righteousness than our own to trust in. Therefore, the necessity we have of Christ's righteousness, and the extremity we are in without it, may serve to convince us of the goodness of God in And the rightso seasonably providing it for us. cousness every way suits our purpose, it fully answers all our necessities, stands commensurate with the divine commands, satisfies the divine justice, and is, in every respect, sufficient to purchase the remission of our sins, and merit our justification before God. Therefore we believe in Christ, we rely upon his righteousness, (for faith is expressed by relying,

2 Chron. xiii. 18. xvi. 8.,) and so are just and righteous in the eyes of our Lord and Maker.

Some object, that our blessed Lord in his Sermon on the Mount preaches up moral duties, and makes no mention at all of imputed righteousness, or of justification by the obedience of another, which to be sure, (say the objectors,) he would have done, if that had been an article of so great importance, and so very necessary to salvation. This objection does nothing more than show the ignorance of those who make use of it. For whosoever reads the fifth of St. Matthew with a discerning eye, will there find that our Saviour asserts the doctrine of imputed righteousness two ways: First, implicitly, by giving the moral law its full scope and tenor, and exhibiting it in its largest extent and utmost spirituality. Accordingly he saith, Blessed are the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, This implies that those who have not those graces are accursed; and who is there of us that

&c. &c.

hath them in us by nature?

Therefore we all natu

Again, in ver. 28. our

rally fall under the curse. Lord saith, whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Is a lust or desire of the heart adultery? Who then is innocent? Let him go free. If what our Lord here saith be true, (as it most certainly is,) will not this condemn every man living for an adul terer, and every woman living for an adulteress ? Observe further, whosoever shall say to his brother,

thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire, ver. 22. And the disciple whom Jesus loved learns his Master's language, and says, whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer, 1 John, iii. 15. Is hatred of our brother murder? Does calling our brother fool endanger us to hell fire? Who then can expect to escape? Therefore, to sum up the whole, are all destitute of the meekness, purity, and poverty of spirit here recommended? Have all committed adultery in their hearts? Are all murderers? Then what a damnable condition should we all be in if we stood upon our own works for justification before God! Is not our own morality, or rather immorality, enough to damn us? And do we not tremble at the thoughts of depending upon it for salvation? All this may infallibly convince us of the absolute impossibility of being justified by our own righteousness, and of the absolute necessity of being justified by faith in the righteousness of Christ only. Secondly, explicitly, ver. 20. except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. Here the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees is condemned, and herein all the righteousness of all natural men and unbelievers universally. And mention is made of a righteousness that exceeds it; and what can this be but the righteousness of the Lord Jesus applied by the Holy Spirit and apprehended by faith? So that here we have an explicit declaration of Christ's righteousness, which God places to our account, and for which he justifies us.

Again, it is objected, that our Lord says to the rich youth, Matt. xix. 17. if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments: From hence it is concluded, that keeping the commandments is the condition of entering into life. It is true, indeed, if we do keep the commandments, we shall enter into life; so saith the law, the man that doeth them, shall live in them, Gal. iii. 12. But then who is there keeps the commandments? And what will become of those who do

not keep them? Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them, ver. 10. If, therefore, you will be saved by the law, you must do all things the law requires, yea you must continue to do them from the first moment of your life to the last, or else you are lost and cursed to all eternity. What flesh can be saved then by the works of the law? But it is usually asked, Why did our Saviour prescribe this to the young man, if he knew it was impossible for him to obey his advice? First, Our Lord saw he was too highly conceited of his own works: this the question plainly shows, What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life? He was for doing something eminently good and great in order to merit eternal life. Our Lord, therefore, sends him to the law to humble his pride, and convince him that he could do no good thing, and that in his flesh dwelt no good thing. Secondly, The youth says, All these things have I kept from my youth up, ver. 20. This shows that he was totally ignorant of the corruption of his heart, totally ignorant of the unrighteousness of his life, and

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