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tion, adore the infinite riches of that grace and love, which has opened a fountain for fin und uncleanness.
And, to sum the whole in a word, you must re. member, that it is the essence of a true repentance, to turn to God; and therefore, if you would evi. dence the sincerity of your repentance, you must give up yourself to God. You must chufe him for your God and portion. You must watch at his gates, and wait at the posts of his doors. You must make a business of religion; and, in a life of most active and earnest diligence, expect acceptance through the merits of Christ, and continued supplies of grace and strength from his fulness, to bring forth fruits meet for repentance,
That the Lord would carry on his own work in your foul, and lead you from grace to grace, and from strength to strength, till you arrive where your faith will be turned into vision, and your repentance into eternal praises, is the prayer of,
LETTER X., Wherein is proved, that
the seventh Chapter to the Romans contains the Defcription and Character of a converted State.
complaint of the corruptions you are struggling with, and your sense of the vileness and finfulness of your heart, which makes you groan, being burdened; because you therein breathe the language of a broken and a contrite spirit, and give me hopes that you are offering to God the sacrifice, which he will not despise." You took comfort, you tell .
me, from the seventh chapter to the Romans, find. “ing there the like complaints with yours, in fo " eminent and exalted a Christian as the Apostle “ Paul himself; but that prop is knocked from un" der you, by conversation with some persons of a “ superior reputation for religion, who assure you, " that St Paul is there giving the character of an " unconverted person, under a conflict between his “ corruptions and the alarms of an awakened con
science; and that all those places of Scripture are es to be interpreted in the same manner, which re. “ present the like conflict in the soul." -Upon which you desire my sentiments.
What strange efforts are of late made against evangelical, vital, and experimental piety! How in. consistent are the methods used by those who are so earnestly labouring in this undertaking? Is it not enough to put mankind into a dangerous fecurity, by flattering them with a prospect of safety, with. out any experience of a work of grace in their hearts, but they must also torment and disquiet the minds of those who have been favoured with those blessed experiences, by persuading them, that re. maining disallowed corruptions and imperfections are inconsistent with a state of grace, and with the favour of God!—What do, thefë men mean? Have they no feeling perception, no affecting sense of the imperfections of their hearts and lives? Or do they make it their practice, and esteem it their duty, to give their corruptions a quiet residence in their hearts, and to maintain no conflict or ftruggle with them?
But it is my business to answer your demand, and to endeavour to convince you, that the Apostle, in the seventh chapter to the Romans, is describing
the conflict, which every true Christian experiences while he walks with God, and lives near to him.
In order to a fair and clear decision, it will be proper to take some (very brief) notice of the ge
neral scope and design of this epistle, in the first. | seven chapters.--This seems to be summarily pro-,
posed in the first chapter, ver. 17. Therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, The just shall live by faith. That
is, we are justified before God, only by the righteous. ness of Christ received by faith. We continue in a justified state, by the renewed exercise of faith; and the whole life of a justified person is a life of faith in the Son of God, as well as his whole hope of eternal life is through faith in Chrift.- This doctrine is proved, by a representation of the atrocious impiety and wickedness of the whole Gentile world; that even they who make the highest pretences to innocence, and who judge and censure others for fuch horrid impieties, as are commonly practised among them, are all inexcufable and self-condemned, on account of the wickedness perpetrated and indulged by themselves ; being all of them such violators of the law and light of nature, as will leave them without excuse in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men hy Jesus Christ. This is plainly the Apostle's arguinent, from the 18th verse of the first chapter to the 17th verfe of the second chapter. Whence it follows, that the Gentile world cannot possibly have any claim to justification by their own personal obedience ; nor any other way, but by the righteousness of Christ received by faith.
The Apoftle next proceeds to thew, that the Jew has no better plea to make for his acceptance with God, on account of his own personal righteousness, than the Gentile, though he refts in the law, and makes his boast of God, knows his will, and
approves the things that are most excellent. For he allo, in his highest natural attainments, breaks the law, dishonours God, and at the best performs but an external obedience, and reaches not to the spi. rituality which the law requires. The few has indeed much every way the advantage, in point of external privilege ; but in point of justifying righteousness he cannot be said to be better than the Gentiles; no, in no wife! - This is the argument from the 17th verse of the second, to the oth verse of the third chapter: In which verse and those fol. lowing, the Apostle fums up the argunent, in these remarkable words, which fully justify my interpre. tation of his scope and design : For we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all un. der lin; as it is written, There is none righteous, no not one, &c.-That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.–From these premises, he draws this conclusion in the 20th verse of the third chapter, &c. Therefore by the deeds of the law shall no flesh living be justified in his sight. For by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God, without the law, is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe, for there is no difference. Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.-Therefore we conclude, that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law.-Which was the point to be proved.
But here may arise a question: What law is it that the Apostle excludes from having any hand in our justification? To which it is answered: All the law, that was obligatory both upon Jerus and Gentiles; for they were both obnoxious to wrath, by their violation of the respective laws they were under; had all sinned, and come short of the glory of God.-And God deals with them all alike. He will justify them all by their faith in Jesus Christ, and no otherwise, and thereby thew, that he is not the God of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles also.
Having thus concluded his first argument, and proved from the guilt and impotence both of Jew and Gentile, that no man can be justified by the law of nature, by the law which was given to the Jews, nor any other way but by the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Chrift:-The Apostle pro. ceeds to prove the same thing from ABRAHAM'S faith being imputed to him for righteousness; and from David's describing the blessedness of the man to whom God imputeth righteousness without works, throughout the fourth chapter.
He then begins the fifth chapter, by describing the glorious privileges of those who are thus juftified by faith, and ends it by thewing in what manner we partake of the righteousness of Christ for our justification : That it is in the same manner, as we are partakers of the sin and guilt of Adam, to our condemnation.--As Adam's sin was imputed to all whom he represented, unto their condemnation, so the righteousness of Christ is imputed to all whom he represented, and who believe in him, unto jufti. fication of life. As hy one man's disobedience many were made finners, so by the obedience of one, many Mall be made righteous.
After a folemn caution unto all, not to turn the grace of God into wantonners, and not to continue in fin, that grace may ubound; and after enforcing this caution from the obligation we are under by our baptism to die unto sin, and walk in newness of life, as Christ died for us, and rose again from the dead, (as in the first part of the sixth chapter), the Apostle goes on to thew (in the latter part of that