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may appear, of our belief in Christ as

6 the “ Lord our Righteousness.” It is to profess our hope of salvation through Him only; that we “ trust not in our own righteousness, but “ in His manifold and great mercies ;” that He is “ the propitiation for our sins, and not “ for our's only, but also for the sins of the “ whole world,” to “ deliver us from the wrath " to come."

What a field also of practical instruction is here presented to our view! If to redeem us from the dreadful consequences of sin, it was ordained that the Son of God himself should thus quit the bosom of the Father, should veil the glories of his Godhead, and, though “ in the form of God” and “ equal with God," make himself “ of no reputation, and take upon

him the form of a servant,” and be made in the likeness of men,” and “being “ found in fashion as a man, humble himself, “ and become obedient unto death, even the “ death upon the cross ';"—if all this was necessary for our deliverance, who shall presume to think lightly of the manifold transgressions to which the very best among us must plead guilty before God? When we reflect that every wilful transgression unrepented of renders us liable to condemnation ; * 1 Thess. i. 10.

y Phil. ii. 6, 7, 8.

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and that even repentance, however sincere and ardent, can never expiate sin, or justify us in the sight of God; are we not almost irresistibly impelled to humble ourselves before the throne of His majesty, and to cry out with Job, “ Behold, I am vile, what shall I

answer thee??” How great then is the comfort, the hope, the encouragement, we may derive from those sacred oracles; which, while they warn us of the evil of sin, direct us where to find the remedy; which assure us, that “though our sins be as scarlet, they 6 shall be as white as snowa;” that “God hath “ made Him to be sin for us, that we might “ be made the righteousness of God in Him b;" and that the express purpose of his coming into the world is, that “all that believe in “ him should not perish, but have everlasting 6 lifec."

Great, however, as this consolation is, and firm as are the foundations on which it rests, let us beware of the error of those, who, in their zeal to magnify the riches of God's grace, and to extol this free gift of Redemption, would represent the merits of our Saviour, not only as rendering his sacrifice a perfect and all-sufficient atonement for our sins, but as even superseding the necessity on our part of personal holiness and virtue. By some our Lord's righteousness is represented to be so transferred to true believers as to become literally their righteousness, and imputed to them as their own. From which doctrine the inference is readily drawn, that being thus, according to their accustomed phrase, “ clothed in His righteousness,” there is no need of any other righteousness to ensure their acceptance; that Christ having done every thing for them, nothing that they can do will either advance or hinder their salvation; that nothing more is necessary than to lay hold on Christ by faith, and thus to secure an interest in His merits. But with whatever confidence these positions may be assumed, how will they consist with the numberless practical exhortations engrafted by the sacred writers themselves upon these doctrines of Atonement and Justification? How will they consist even with the simple, but most significant precepts of St. Peter and St. Paul, “ Add to your faith virtuedo

a Isa. i. 18.

b 2 Cor. v. 2.

2 Job xl. 4. e John iji. 15.

faith virtued”—“ give all diligence to make your calling and election

suree”-“ work out your own salvation with “ fear and tremblingf?” Surely such instructions as these must convince us, that when Christ is said to be “ our righteousness,” the expression can only mean, that for His sake, and in consideration of His merits and sufferings alone, our sins shall be remitted to us; but that to render them effectual to that purpose, our own co-operation is indispensably requisite. In any other sense than this, it does not appear that the righteousness of Christ can any more be said to be our righteousness, or imputed to us, than it can be supposed that when our Lord is said to have been “made “ sin for us,” it is meant that He was literally guilty of our sins. All that can safely be affirmed is this; that on our compliance with the terms of the Christian covenant, our faith is reckoned or imputed to us for righteousness, notwithstanding the imperfection which still necessarily adheres to all human actions, and notwithstanding the innumerable transgressions for which we should be otherwise amenable to the tribunal of Divine justice.

d 2 Pet. i. 5. e 2 Pet. i. 10. f Phil. ii. 12.

With this simple statement of a doctrine in which we are all so vitally interested let us content ourselves, without adventuring upon speculations leading to most dangerous errors. Ever let us remember that the truths of the Gospel, while they abound in consolation to all true penitents, encourage none to 6 continue in sin.” Christ is the “ author of “ eternal salvation;" but it is to them who obey him. He is “an advocate with the Fa“ ther" and a “propitiation for our sins;” but he will be the avenger of all such as “hold “ the truth in unrighteousness,” of all “who

profess that they know God, but in works “ deny him.” These things we are commanded to “speak and exhort:" and that we may not speak and exhort in vain, let us beseech God to “stir up the wills of his faithful

people, that they plenteously bringing forth “ the fruit of good works, may of Him be

plenteously rewarded, through Jesus Christ 6 our Lord.”


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