Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

putation of Christ's righteousness depends on his representative character. And it is an anxious desire to discharge a duty of love to Mr. M'C. by setting him, as soon as possible, on his feet, and keeping him from the most unfortunate of all situations, that of a leader in erroneous doctrine-that induced me to hasten so rapidly, this publication. I do not believe that his error has yet essentially affected his faith, and perhaps he might continue to hold his otherwise salutary creed. But when I consider that this single mistake has, in all instances, issued in fearful consequence, I must not be slack.

By the righteousness of Jesus Christ, I understand his complete fulfilment of the law of works, both by obeying its precept, and paying the penalty incurred by human transgression. But if you ask why it is meritorious? I ask again, what makes light to be light? what makes truth to be truth? Because it is their nature, you will reply-right! And let me add, that it is the glorious nature of righteousness to be meritorious, according to the nature of the law. Now the law of works was of such a nature, that its righteousness, whenever wrought out, was capable of being imputed to all the subjects of that law. If Adam had fulfilled the law, this righteousness would have been imputable to all mankind. This law Jesus Christ actually fulfilled, and produced its perfect righteousness. But the righteousness which the law required, was a righteousness capable of being imputed to every human being; consequently the righteousness of Jesus Christ is capable of being imputed to every man. If he had not produced a righteousness capable of saving every man under the law, he would not have produced the righteousness of the law. Of consequence, the imputability

Christ's righteousness, springs entirely from the nature of the covenant of works. I call this demonstration unassailable!

The provisions of the covenant of grace have nothing to do with this subject. To whom God will eventually bestow this righteousness-how many he will give to his Son, as the travail of his soul, are questions for them to settle among themselves. They may do what they will with their own. Let no man presume to question them! But the righteousness of the law of works is capable of saving all mankind. If Jesus Christ had not represented a single human creature, still his righteousness would have been what it is, the righteousness of the law. If he had represented the whole, still his righteousness would not have been any thing else than what it is, the righteousness of the law. Should all men reject it, it would still be the righteousness of the law that they rejected; and should all men accept it, it would be nothing more than the righteousness of the law. It was not the representative character of Jesus in the covenant of grace, but the representative character of Adam in the covenant of works, that rendered the righteousness of that law capable of being imputed to mankind.

And now, reader, I have finished my demonstration, and do honestly believe, that I have proved that the imputability of Christ's righteousness does not depend in any manner, nor in any degree, on his representative character in the covenant. And it would, perhaps, be doing thee no disservice to leave thy difficulty to be solved by thy own ingenuity. Yet I shall just touch it with the wand of truth, to enfeeble it a little it is not with the trouble of dissection.

;

The reason why Adam's merit or demerit was im

K

putable, by reason of his representative characterand why the imputability of Christ's righteousness does not depend on his representative character, is this: the former was an original institute-the latter a remedial law.

Mr. M'C. will understand me. He once studied law; and has enriched our ecclesiastical vocabulary with (what it could well have spared) a new word from that source. He can turn to his Blackstone, or any other elementary legal philosopher, on the nature of remedial statutes. He will find the following to be the amount of the doctrine. An original law establishes its own principle: and the covenant of works establishes its principle, that the righteousness of Adam, or his guilt, should be transmissible to all mankind. I say this representative principle was established by the covenant of works, and by it alone. I have already discussed that covenant, and shall not repeat my observations. Mr. M'C. thinks otherwise.-Page 26.

"And, now, in what column of this array do you find any other connecting principle than the one which I avowed? We were told, indeed, by Mr. Craig, when this matter was discussed, that the covenant itself is the bond of union. That is, in plain English, the covenant of works is the bond of the covenant of works. Now I should have supposed that the covenant of works was the bond which united together the Creator and the creature in a covenant relation; and I should have imagined, that to say so, however orthodox the sentiment, would have been to assert a mere truism which nobody need repeat. But the question is not, what binds humanity in a covenant relation with God? But, what binds all the human race together? What is it that identifies them with Adam, their common

head, so as to render them one with him in the relation in which he stood to God? I have named natural generation as the bond; your Confession and catechisms conspire to name it frequently; and they name no other. This your Presbytery have noted as a heresy; and I call upon this Synod to chastise their error."

There is a little good humoured superciliousness in this passage, arising from too great security respecting the strength of his fortress. It turns out, however, in this case, that Mr. Craig was the philosopher. I have proved that Mr. M'C's. principle of union is shadowy, but I cannot dilate: I pledge myself, however, to prove, on a moment's notice, that the natural relations of man, and their moral obligation, though exact correlates, are distinct systems. I shall show you every natural relation, without its correlate moral obligation; and every moral obligation without its correlate natural relation.

The covenant of grace, on the contrary, was a remedial law. If the principle of a law be found wrong, or totally useless, through some change in the state of society, the statute is abolished. But if the principle of the law be good and useful, and yet its operation injurious, by reason of some change in society, a remedial statute is introduced; which always allows the principle of the original law to continue in all its original and unmodified force; and provides a remedy against the evils, and means to secure all the good effects of the original institute.

Now, the principle of the law of works was, that its righteousness wrought out by an individual, should be transmissible to all other individuals. This principle is not once touched, changed, or modified by the covenant of grace.

[ocr errors]

But, owing to a change in the state of society, this principle must have produced the most tremendous effects; it would have left God without a worshipper among a whole race of rational creatures; and would have entailed wrath and destruction on every creature that ever should come under the law. This is the evil to be remedied by the remedial law. Let us see by what means it is effected.

1. A new covenant head must be found, and he must possess human nature, because the covenant was made for human nature; but he must not be a human per.. son, because every human person under that covenant is condemned to death on his own account. But "O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God-how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out." He sees that his own Son, uniting himself to human nature, and voluntarily placing himself under the broken law of the covenant of works, could fulfil its righteousness, which must be a transmissible righteousness.

2. It is determined that a seed, definite in number, and known to both parties by name, shall be brought to him by the father, and become heirs of this righteousness, and of the life which is its reward: these the father promises; and these Jesus accepts as the travail of his soul.

3. Power over all flesh, yea, power over the whole universe is given to the Son of God, that he may give eternal life to as many as the Father hath given him.

This is the remedial covenant; The condition of it was, on the one hand, that the Son of God should fulfil the broken covenant of works-and on the other, that he should receive the elect as his reward-And power

« EdellinenJatka »