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whilst it makes the fullest provision for our pardon, gives him the united glory of all his perfections.
The subject appears 'to me far from being a mere speculative point, as some · are always labouring to represent it. They are interesting enquiries, and of the most extensive influence in the Christian life; how my sins may be pardoned, and such a guilty lioner as I am justified in the sight of that holy and righteous God, with whom I have to do. The returning such an answer to these enquiries, as conscience might acquieice in, and as may appear to have a plain foundation in the word of God, is the grand point which I have had before me, and which I have endeavoured never to lose sight of. And where God has made such things as these matter of serious consideration with any, such, 1 hope, will meet with something in
the following discous ses, that is suited to their talte, and, by the blessing of God, may be of use to them.. .
- It is most certain, that we are guilty creatures in the sight of God, and must be considered as such in all our transactions. with him. This is the state of all mankind without exception : Every mouth must be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God. We are chargeable with the . breach of that holy and righteous consticution, under which we are originally placed. And it is under a feeling sense of this as our case, that we are to set ourselves to examine, what that righteousness is, which God hath appointed for our justification, and acceptance with him.
I LIKEWISE take it to be of great use, in settling the nature of this righteous-. ness, to have right notions of the law, its purity, extent, and unchangeable obliga
tions. Nothing appears to me more evident, than that the law, as requiring perfect obedience, is' of perpetual and unchangeable obligation. And if we are under the obligations of such a law, and are at the same time convicted of the breach of it, the next question will be, where may we be proiided with a Righteousness for our Justification, in which the law will acquiesce ? In this case it will be in vain to fly to any righteousness, or works of our own, done in obedience to the law; that were only looking for healing to the hand that gave the deadly wound : and, therefore, when we have no such righteoufness of our own, nor can any mere.crea.. ture furnih us with it, this led me to confider the perfect, glorious, and everlasting righteousness, which we have in the Lord Jesus Christ, his whole active and passive obedience, as the only righteousness in and for which we are, or can be justified.
It has likewise been no small part of my design, to state the way in which, according to the constitution of the gospel, we come to be interested in this righteousness, which I have shewn to be by Impatation; and this led me to examine at large the foundations upon which this Imputation stands, and how it takes place upon believing. After which I proceed to ex. emplify the high esteem which believers have for this righteousness; the glory and perfection of it in itself, as it is the righteousne's of God-man Mediator ; how friendly the doctrine of Justification by it is to the interest of gospel-holiness and obedience, and how a practical regard to it runs into all our religious transactions with God : what I have offered upon each of these heads, will, I hope, be found to have a plain foundation in the scriptures, and to be e. very ways agreeable to the sentiments and experiences of believers through the leve
ral ages of the Church. When poisy con. troversies are laid alleep, when wrangling and difputing are no more, and we come in a folemn hour between God and our own souls, to humble ourselves before him. and, under a conscious sense of guilt, address his throne for pardon and mercy, what but this righteousness alone can lie at the bottom of all our hopes ?
I have purposely avoided through the whole to make use of any scholastic terms, or nice and subtle distinctions, with which some have incumbered and obscured the subject, rather than thrown any light upon it. The gospel, I apprehend, stands in no need of any of them : it shines brightest
in its owo native simplicity, and by the auIthority and evidence of its own truths, I am persuaded, will at length make its way in the world, and triumph over all oppofie tion. The main principle that I go upon, is, that God 'will. put honour 'upon the