Page images

to themselves, that they should from their very Hearts disclaim all good Deeds of their own, and throw away every Rag of their own Righteousness, and shrowd themselves entirely under the Robes of his Righteousnefs. If they did but this, all was safe, nothing should hurt them; no Sin, no Habits of Sin, tho never repented of, should do them Mischief. On the contrary, if they thought of any other Terms of obtaining God's Favour, they were under a great and dangerous Mistake. I say, how could

any Man do a greater Disservice to all Piety and Virtue, and all the Interests of true Religion? How could any Man take a more effectual Course to destroy the Fear of God from among Men, and to let in a Flood of Impiety and Wickedness to over-spread the Earth, than to preach such a Doctrine as this, fuppofing he had the Means to make himself believed? And yet, according to tre Principles before laid down, such as this in Effect must be the Doctrine of our blessed Saviour. I dare say there is none that calls himself a Christian, can be fo bad as to own these Consequences; but yet I do not see how the Antinomian Doctrine in this Matter can be acquitted of them.

Well; but it will be said, Are there not Texts of Scripture that do plainly seem to countenance this Antinomian Doctrine, as you call it ? Doch not St. Paul say, That to all Believers their Faith is imputed for

and then you

Righteousness without Works? And doth not the same St. Paul say, That he desires not to be found in his own Righteousness, but in the Righteousness which is of God by Faith? What will you say to these Texts ?

Why, I say, give me but Leave to lay these Texts fairly before you, yourselves shall judge whether they make any thing for the Doctrine I am now dirputing against. I am indeed the more willing to take these two Texts into Consideration, because those I am now dealing with have them always in their Mouths, and do in a manner lay the whole Stress of their Cause upon them.

The firft Text is in Rom. ch. 4. ver. 22. There St. Paul tells us, that Abraham's Faith was imputed to him for Righteousness; and that it was not written for his fake alone, that it was so imputed to him, but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that railed up Jesús from the Dead.

Now from this Text, say they, it is plain, that Faith is imputed to all Christians for their Righteousness : Nay, more than that, the Apostle tells us in the fixth Verse of this very Chapter, that the Blessedness of Christians is described by this, that Righteousness is imputed to them without Works. So that here is a Righteousness imputed, and a Righteousness imputed without Works : How then dare we speak


[ocr errors]

any thing against an imputed Righteousness?

I answer, Nobody, that I know of, speaks any thing against imputed Righteousness in the Apostle's Sense, but only against Christ's Righteousness, and Virtue, and Innocence, and holy Conversation being so imputed to us, as that there is no need of our Righteousness, and Virtue, and Innocence, and holy Conversation, which I am sure was not the Apostle's Sense, nor ever entred into his Mind. But I pray consider this Text a little more narrowly, and be not carried away by the Sound of a Word. St. Paul here tells us, that Abraham's Faith was accounted to him for Rigbteousness, in the" 3d Verse. In the 5th Verse, , that it was reckoned to him for Righteousnefs. And in the 22d Verse, that it was imputed to him for Righteousnes. All these Phrases mean the same Thing. But is it here said, or is it faid any where else, that Christ's Righteousness' was reckoned, or counted, or imputed to Abraham for Righteousness ? Nay, is it said any where in the whole Scripture, that Christ's Obedience or Righteousness should be accounted or imputed to any Men in the World for their own Righteousness ? Not a Word of it. There is a vast Difference (if any Body will mind) between these two Propofitions or Express fions; To a true Believer his Faith is recke oned or imputed for Righteousness; and this,


To a true Believer the Righteousness of
Chrift is 'reckoned and imputed

for his Righteousness. I say there is a vast Difference becween these two Propositions: The Meaning of the former is, that under the Covenant of Grace (which was procured by our Lord Jesus Chrift) God is pleased to accept of a true sincere Faith instead of a perfect Obedience to the Law. Whosoever truly believes in Jesus Christ, and shews forth the Fruits of his Faith, by a sincere, though not perfect, Obedience to God's Conimandments, as Abraham did, (and without this his Faith is not a true Faith) such a Man is justified, is accounted righteous before God, as much as if he had performed all the Righteousness of the Law of Works: His Faith is accounted to him for Righteousness.

But when we say that Christ's Righteousness is imputed to us, as if it was our Righteousness, (which is the other Proposition) it is capable of no other Meaning but this ; That upon account of Christ's Obedience to God's Laws, God will account is righteous, as much as if we had obeyed them ourselves. The Holiness of his Life is so made ours by Imputation, that God esteems us holy Persons upon the Account thereof, tho' we are not really so in our own Perfons.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]




ny it,

The former Proposition, of Faith being imputed for Righteousness, is certainly true, and I know no Christians that de


But the latter Proposition, of Christ's Righteousness being imputed to us, hath no Foundation in Scripture: Nay, it is certainly not true in that Sense of the Words that the natural proper Grammatical Construction of them leads to. And thus much for the first Text.

Well then, (faith the Objector) it seems you plead for a Righteousness of your own, distinct from Christ's Righteousness. I must confess we do so. What then? Why, says he, that other Text of St. Paul will for ever confute and quash all such Pretenfions; for doth not he in the 3d of the Philippians, ver. 8. (which is the other Text I am to consider) doth not he there exprefly fay, I count all Things as Lofs for the Excellency of the Knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord, and I desire to be found in him not having my own Righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is thro' the Faith of Christ, the Righteourness of which is of God by Faith? Doth not St. Paul here expresly declare against and renounce all Righteousness of his own? I grant he doth so. But what then ? If you will seriously mind what kind of Righteousness of his own he here declares against,


« PreviousContinue »