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ever a good treatise shall be published on the art of sophistry, this precept will occupy a distinguished place in it.
-Nec Phoebo gratior ulla est,
Such a work is a desideratum in modern literature; and if well executed, would bid more fair for public usefulness than any of the voluminous and endless publications of our age. O that some logical Machiavel might arise, to shew mankind not how they ought to reason, for that would do them little good-but to shew them how they do reason. The LOGICIAN might then be bound in the same vellum, and placed on the same shelf with the PRINCE.
The sole object of discussing the subject of Christ's righteousness in this place, is a desire that the present treatise may contain something like a synopsis of the scriptural doctrine respecting the fall and recovery of man. The points which are generally acquiesced in shall be briefly noticed, and the principal attention directed towards the points where truth is either assaulted or menaced.
That sinners of mankind are saved by Jesus Christ, and by him alone, is the sum total of the doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures; a doctrine which no man can deny without giving up those Scriptures as false, and delusive; and becoming a real infidel, by whatever name he may choose to be called. And if any one desires to know what this Saviour has done, is doing, and will do, for the salvation of sinners, let him search the Scriptures, and he shall be satisfied. The few following passages of Scripture, it is hoped will give a sufficiently satisfactory idea of the subject.
John x. 14, &c. "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice: and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."
"Therefore doth my father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No person taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father."
It is apparent that our Lord speaks of his sheep under different considerations: some of them already knew him, were already obedient to his voice; I know my sheep, and am known of mine-Some of them were yet strangers; But them also, says he, must I bring, and they shall hear my voice: but for both he laid down his life.
Titus ii.14. "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works."
Heb. ii. 10." It became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."
Gal. iv. 4, 5. "But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman; made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."
Mat. v. 17. "Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to FULFIL."
"Mat. iii. 13, &c. "Then cometh Jesus from Gal
bilee to Jordan, unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me. But Jesus answering, said unto him, suffer it to be so now: for thus it be. cometh us to fulfil all righteousness."
These texts are sufficient, though it would require only the trouble of transcription, to produce ten times as many; but these are sufficient to prove to any inquirer, that the Son of God was born under the law of the broken covenant of works. That he was subject to that law, and fulfilled it; that he paid the penalty incurred by Adam's transgression; and wrought out the righteousness which the law required-that he left nothing undone, either in regard to suffering, or in regard to obedience, which the law did, or could demand-and that he was thus subject to the law-that he thus fulfilled all its requisitions, not of necessity, but of his own free choice. It is this fulfilling of the law in all things, that is meant by Christ's righteousness. And it is no absurd, it is no unphilosophical assertion, to say that men are saved by the righteousness of Jesus Christ; for it is no more than to say that they are saved by the original law, which God gave them, in Paradise. In fact, men are ultimately saved by the covenant of works; but truly not by works of righteousness which they themselves have done.
While the generalization of our ideas, while systematizing, marks the dignity of the human understanding, premature generalization, systems formed out of defective materials, have done immense injury. Some theorists, for reasons which it would not be difficult to assign, have admitted that the sufferings of Jesus, but not his obedience, are the grounds of a believer's justi
fication. They had a system, and to preserve the integrity of their system, they must reject as plain a truth as the Scriptures contain; and adopt a notion as inconceivable, and as absurd as any that ever entered the mind of man. For, if the Son of God had not been under the precept of the law, he never could have been under the penalty; the latter is entirely subsidiary to the former; till he was under the precept of the law, he could no more owe it satisfaction for past violation, than obedience, and if he was under it all, he must owe it both. And so it commonly fares with system-mongers. Happier is the man, and safer by far, who governs himself by a few ascertained truths, though they should be as detached, and unsystematiz, ed, as the proverbs of Solomon, or the proverbs of Sancho Panza, than the man who rashly makes a system without materials.
Now it is salvation by this righteousness of Jesus Christ, this perfect fulfilment of the law which God originally gave to man, which is proclaimed in the the gospel. Rom. i. 16, &c. "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God, revealed from faith to faith, as it is written the just shall live by faith." I had marked for quotation a great many passages of Scripture on this subject, in order to shew that the covenant of grace is essentially the covenant of works-that it is the most philosophical thing in the world, a philosophy of which no man need be ashamed, to assert, that in the gospel a righteousness of God's own-which righteousness is neither less nor more than a complete fulfilment of the original law-is revealed to man-and
that every subject of that law, who possesses this righteousness shall be, and must be justified by it. But the work swells under my hand, and I am pinched for time. I therefore proceed directly to the fatal spot where the battle must be decided one way or
The question then is this. Does the merit and imputability of Christ's righteousness depend on his representative character?
Reader, put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground! A sacred horror chills my blood through all my veins-Horresco referens. On this sacred central spot, chiefs of mighty armies and high renown have fallen: here the fiend has ten thousand times triumphed. From this spot branch off in all directions these human systems of theology, which have injured the beauty of the gospel; and been the cause of so much schism, strife, and controversy, and malignant passion in the church of God. Systems around which theologians as uxor, engage, nor quit the grinning hold, vitamque in vulnere ponunt. Let us therefore pause on this spot, and invoking the spirit of all truth to guide our every step, let us advance with sacred awe and sacred caution.
And since it cannot be denied that Adam's guilt is ours, because he represented us-that God visits the iniquities of the father's on their children, because those fathers represented them—that nations are punished for the sins of their rulers, because those rulers were their representatives; let us suppose that the imputa