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man Christ Jesus is not imputed unto us, whereby grace might reign through righteousness unto eternal life.
The same truth is fully asserted and confirmed, chap. viii. 1–4. But this place hath been of late so explained and so vindicated by another in his learned and judicious exposition of it (namely, Dr. Jacombe), as that nothing remains of weight to be added unto what hath been pleaded and argued by him, part 1. ver. 4. p. 587. and onwards. And indeed the answers, which he subjoins (to the arguments whereby he confirms the truth) to the most usual and important objections against the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, are sufficient to give just satisfaction unto the minds of unprejudiced, unengaged persons. I shall therefore pass over this testimony, as that which hath been so lately pleaded and vindicated ; and not press the same things, it may be (as is not unusual) unto their disadvantage.
Chap. x. 3, 4. “For they' (the Jews who had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge)' being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness unto every one that believeth.'
What is here determined, the apostle enters upon the proposition and declaration of, chap. ix. 30. And because what he had to propose was somewhat strange, and unsuited unto the common apprehensions of men, he introduceth it with that prefatory interrogation, ri oův špoūuev; which he useth on the like occasions, chap. iii. 5. vi. 1. vii. 7. ix. 14. What shall we then say ? that is, is there in this matter unrighteousness with God? as ver. 14. or what shall we say unto these things, or this is that which is to be said herein ? That which hereon he asserts is, that the Gentiles which followed not after righteousness have attained unto righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith; but Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained unto the law of righteousness, that is, unto righteousness itself before God.
Nothing seems to be more contrary unto reason, than what is here made manifest by the event. The Gentiles, who lived in sin and pleasures, not once endeavouring to attain unto any righteousness before God, yet attained unto it
upon the preaching of the gospel. Israel, on the other hand, which followed after righteousness, diligently in all the works of the law and duties of obedience unto God thereby, came short of it, attained not unto it. All preparations, all dispositions, all merit as unto righteousness and justification, are excluded from the Gentiles. For in all of them there is more or less a following after righteousness, which is denied of them all. Only by faith in him who justifieth the ungodly, they attain righteousness, or they attained the righteousness of faith. For to attain righteousness by faith, and to attain the righteousness which is of faith, are the same. Wherefore, all things that are comprised any way in following after righteousness, such as are all our duties and works, are excluded from any influence into our justification. And this is expressed to declare the sovereignty and freedom of the grace of God herein ; namely, that we are justified freely by his grace, and that on our part all boasting is excluded. Let men pretend what they will, and dispute what they please, those who attain unto righteousness and justification before God, when they follow not after righteousness, they do it by the gratuitous imputation of the righteousness of another unto them.
It may be it will be said ; It is true in the time of their heathenism they did not at all follow after righteousness, but when the truth of the gospel was revealed unto them, then they followed after righteousness and did attain it. But, 1. This is directly to contradict the apostle in that it says, that they attained not righteousness, but only as they followed after righteousness, whereas he affirms the direct contrary. 2. It takes away the distinction which he puts between them and Israel; namely, that the one followed after righteousness, and the other did not. 3. To follow after righteousness in this place, is to follow after a righteousness of our own; to establish their own righteousness, chap. x. 3. But this is so far from being a means of attaining righteousness, as that it is the most effectual obstruction thereof.
If therefore those who have no righteousness of their own, who are so far from it, that they never endeavoured to attain it, do yet by faith receive that righteousness wherewith they are justified before God, they do so by the impu
tation of the righteousness of Christ unto them, or let some other way be assigned.
In the other side of the instance concerning Israel, some must hear, whether they will or not, that wherewith they are not pleased.
Three things are expressed of them ; 1. Their attempt. 2. Their success. 3. The reason of it.
Their attempt or endeavour was in this, that they followed after the law of righteousness.' ALúkw, the word whereby their endeavour is expressed, signifies that which is earnest, diligent, and sincere. By it doth the apostle declare what his was, and what ours ought to be, in the duties and exercise of gospel obedience ; Phil. iii. 12. They were not indiligent in this matter, but instantly served God day and night. Nor were they hypocritical ; for the apostle bears them record in this matter, that they had a zeal of God;' chap. x. 2. And that which they thus endeavo ured after, was vóuoc dikaLoouvis, the law of righteousness. That law which prescribed a perfect personal righteousness before God; the things which if a man do them, he shall live in them;' chap. x. 5. Wherefore the apostle hath no other respect unto the ceremonial law in this place, but only as it was branched out from the moral law by the will of God, and as the obedience unto it belonged thereunto. When he speaks of it separately, he calls it the law of commandments contained in ordinances,' but it is nowhere called the law of righteousness, the law whose righteousness is fulfilled in us, chap. viii. 4. Wherefore, the following after this law of righteousness, was their diligence in the performance of all duties of obedience, according unto the directions and precepts of the moral law.
2. The issue of this attempt is, that they attained not unto the law of righteousness ; εις νόμον δικαιοσύνης ουκ έφJace, that is, they attained not unto a righteousness before God hereby. Though this was the end of the law, namely, a righteousness before God, wherein a man might live, yet could they never attain it.
3. An account is given of the reason of their failing, in attaining that which they so earnestly endeavoured after. And this was in a double mistake that they were under; first, in the means of attaining it; secondly, in the righteousness
itself, that was to be sought after. The first is declared ver. 32. Because not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law.' Faith and works are the two only ways whereby righteousness may be attained, and they are opposite and inconsistent; so that none doth or can seek after righteousness by them both. They will not be mixed and made one entire means of attaining righteousness. They are opposed as grace and works; what is of the one, is not of the other; Rom. xi. 6. Every composition of them in this matter, is, • Male sarta gratia nequicquam coit et rescinditur.' And the reason is, because the righteousness which faith seeks after, or which is attainable by faith, is that wbich is given to us, imputed unto us, which faith doth only receive. It receives the abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness. But that which is attainable by works, is our own, inherent in us, wrought out by us, and not imputed unto us; for it is nothing but those works themselves, with respect unto the law of God.
And if righteousness before God, be to be obtained alone by faith, and that in contradiction unto all works, which if a man do them according unto the law, he shall eren live in them, then is it by faith alone that we are justified before God, or nothing else, on our part, is required thereunto. And of what nature this righteousness must be, is evident.
Again, if faith and works are opposed as contrary and inconsistent, when considered as the means of attaining righteousness or justification before God, as plainly they are, then is it impossible we should be justified before God by them in the same sense, way, and manner. Wherefore, when the apostle James affirms, that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only, he cannot intend our justification before God, where it is impossible they should both concur. For not only are they declared inconsistent by the apostle in this place, but it would introduce several sorts of righteousness unto justification, that are inconsistent and destructive of each other. This was the first mistake of the Jews, whence this miscarriage ensued; they sought not after righteousness by faith, but as it were by the works of the law.
Their second mistake was as unto the righteousness itself, whereon a man might be justified before God. For this they judged was to be their own righteousness, chap. x. 3. Their own personal righteousness, consisting in their own duties of obedience, they looked on as the only righteousness, whereon they might be justified before God. This therefore they went about to establish as the Pharisees did, Luke xviii. 11, 12. and this mistake, with their design thereon, 'to establish their own righteousness,' was the principal cause that made them reject the righteousness of God, as it is with many at this day.
Whatever is done in us, or performed by us, as obedience unto God, is our own righteousness. Though it be done in faith, and by the aids of God's grace; yet is it subjectively ours, and so far as it is a righteousness, it is our own. But all righteousness which is our own whatever, is so far diverse from the righteousness by which we are to be justified before God, as that the most earnest endeavour to establish it, that is, to render it such, as by which we may be justified, is an effectual means to cause us to refuse a submission unto, and an acceptance of that, whereby alone we may be so.
This ruined the Jews, and will be the ruin of all that shall follow their example in seeking after justification; yet is it not easy for men to take any other way, or to be taken off from this. So the apostle intimates in that expression, they submitted not themselves unto the righteousness of God.' This righteousness of God is of that nature, that the proud mind of man is altogether unwilling to bow and submit itself unto; yet can it no otherwise be attained, but by such a submission or subjection of mind, as contains in it a total renunciation of any righteousness of our own. And those who reproach others for affirming, that men endeavouring after morality or moral righteousness, and resting therein, are in no good way for the participation of the grace of God by Jesus Christ, do expressly deride the doctrine of the
apostle, that is, of the Holy Ghost himself.
Wherefore, the plain design of the apostle is to declare, that not only faith, and the righteousness of it, and a righteousness of our own by works are inconsistent, that is, as unto our justification before God; but also that the intermixture of our own works, in seeking after righteousness, as the means thereof, doth wholly divert us from the acceptance of, or submission unto, the righteousness of God. For