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“ St Paul often mentions a righteousness imputed : [Not a righteousness-never once; but simply righteousness.] What can this be, but the righteousness of Christ ?" He tells you himself, Rom. iv. 5. To him that believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, faith is imputed for righteousness.' _“ Why is Christ styled Jehovah our righteousness ?” Because we are both justified and sanctified through him.
My death, the cause of their forgiveness ; my righteousness, the ground of their acceptance."
How does this agree with, “ To ascribe pardon to Christ's passive, eternal life to his active righteousness, is fanciful rather than judicious ?”
“ He commends such kinds of beneficence only as were exercised to a disciple as such.” Is not this a slip of the pen ? Will not our Lord then commend, and reward eternally, all kinds of beneficence, provided they flowed from a principle of loving faith? Yea, that which was exercised to a Samaritan, a Jew, a Turk, or a Heathen ? Even these I would not term “ transient bubbles,” though they do not procure our justification.
“ How must our righteousness exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees! Not only in being sincere, but in possessing a complete righteousness, even that of Christ !” Did our Lord mean this ? Nothing less. He specifies, in the following parts of his sermon, the very instances wherein the righteousness of a Christian exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees.
“ He brings this specious hypocrite to the test.” How does it appear that he was an hypocrite ? Our Lord gives not the least intimation of it. Surely he loved him, not for his hypocrisy, but his sincerity.
Yet he loved the world, and therefore could not keep any of the commandments in their spiritual meaning. And the keeping of these is undoubtedly the way to, though not the cause of, eternal life.
“ By works his faith was made perfect-appeared to be true.” No: The natural sense of the word is, by the grace superadded while he wrought those works, his faith was literally made perfect.
“ He that doeth righteousness is righteous-manifests the truth of his conversion.” Nay; the plain meaning is, he alone is truly righteous whose faith worketh by love.
St James speaks of the justification of our faith.” Not unless you mean by that odd expression, our faith being made perfect; for so the apostle explains his own meaning. Perhaps the word justified is once used by St Paul for manifested ; but that does not prove it is to be so understood here,
“ Whoso doeth these things shall never fall into total apostasy." How pleasing this to flesh and blood ! But David says no such thing. His meaning is, whoso doeth these things to the end, shall never fall into hell.
The seventh Dialogue is full of important truths. Yet some expressions in it I cannot commend.
“ One thing thou lackest, the imputed righteousness of Christ.” You cannot think this is the meaning of the text. Certainly the one thing our Lord meant, was the love of God.
This was the thing he lacked.
- Is the obedience of Christ insufficient to accomplish our justification ?” Rather, I would ask, is the death of Christ insufficient to purchase it?
“ The saints in glory ascribe the whole of their salvation to the blood of the Lamb." So do I; and yet I believe he obtained for all a possibility of salvation.
6. The terms of acceptance for fallen men were a full satisfaction to the divine justice, and a complete conformity to the divine law.” This you take for granted; but I cannot allow.
The terms of acceptance for fallen men are repentance and faith : · Repent ye, and believe the gospel.'
66 There are but two methods whereby any can be justified, either by a perfect obedience to the law, or because Christ hath kept the law in our stead.” You should say, ' or by faith in Christ. I then answer,
this is true. And fallen man is justified, not by perfect obedience, but by faith. What Christ has done is the foundation of our justification, not the term or condition of it.
In the eighth Dialogue, likewise, there are many great truths, and yet some things liable to exception.
“ David, God himself dignifies with the most exalted of all characters." Far, very far from it. We have more exalted characters than David's, both in the Old Testament and the New. Such are those of Samuel, Daniel, yea and Job, in the former; of St Paul and St John in the latter.
“ But God styles him a man after his own heart.” This is the text which has caused many to mistake; for want of considering, first, That this is said of David in a particular respect, not with regard to his whole character; secondly, The time at which it was spoken. When was David. a man after God's own heart? When God found him following the ewes great with young, when he took him from the sheepfolds, Psal. Ixxviii. 71. It was in the second or third year of Saul's reign that Samuel said to him, • 'The Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and hath commanded him to be captain over his people,' 1 Sam. xiii. 14. But was he a man after God's own heart all his life? or in all particulars ? So far from it, that we have few more exceptionable characters among
all the men of God recorded in Scripture.
“ There is not a just man upon earth that sinneth not." Solomon might truly say so, before Christ
And St John might, after he came, say as truly, whosoever is born of God sinneth not.' But
in many things we offend all.' That St James does not speak this of himself, or of real Christians, will clearly appear to all who impartially consider the context.
The ninth Dialogue proves excellently well, that we cannot be justified by our works.
But have you thoroughly considered these words:
“O children of Adam ! you are no longer obliged to love God with all your strength, nor your neighbour as yourselves. Once indeed I insisted upon absolute purity of heart: Now I can dispense with some degrees of evil desire. Since Christ has fulfilled the law for you, you need not fulfil it. I will connive at, yea, accommodate my demands to your weakness.”
I agree with you, that this doctrine makes the Holy One of God a minister of sin. And is it not your own? Is not this the very doctrine which you espouse throughout your book?
I cannot but except to several passages also in the tenth Dialogue. I ask first,
Does the righteousness of God ever mean (as you affirm) the merits of Christ ? I believe not once in all the Scripture. It often means, and particularly in the Epistle to the Romans, God's method of justifying sinners. When therefore you say, “ The righteousness of God means, such a righteousness as may justly challenge his acceptance,” I cannot allow it at all : And this capital mistake must needs lead you into many others.
others. But I follow you step by step.
" In order to entitle us to a reward, there must be an imputation of righteousness." There must be an interest in Christ. And then every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
“ A rebel may be forgiven, without being restored to the dignity of a son.” A rebel against an earthly king may; but not a rebel against God. In the very same moment that God forgives, we are the sons of God. Therefore this is an idle dispute: For pardon and acceptance, though they may be distinguished, cannot be divided. The words of Job which you cite are wide of the question. Those of Solomon prove no more than this, (and who denies it?) That justification implies both pardon and acceptance.
“ Grace reigneth through righteousness unto eternal life;" that is, the free love of God brings us,
through justification and sanctification, to glory. " That they may receive forgiveness, and a lot among the sanctified;" that is, that they may receive pardon, holiness, heaven.
“ Is not the satisfaction made by the death of Christ, sufficient to obtain both our full pardon and final happiness ?” Unquestionably it is, and neither of the texts you cite proves the contrary.
“ If it was requisite for Christ to be baptized, much more to fulfil the moral law."
I cannot prove that either the one or the other was requisite in order to his purchasing redemption
“ By Christ's sufferings alone, the law was not satisfied.” Yes it was; for it required only the alternative, Obey, or die. It required no man to obey and die too. If any man had perfectly obeyed, he would not have died.--" Where Scripture ascribes the whole of our salvation to the death of Christ, a part of his humiliation is put for the whole.” I cannot allow this without some proof. • He was obedient unto death,' is no proof at all, as it does not necessarily imply any more, than that he died in obedience to the Father. In some texts there is a necessity of taking a part for the whole; but in these there is no such necessity.
66 Christ undertook to do every thing necessary for our redemption, namely, in a covenant made with the Father.” It is sure he did every thing necessary: But how does it appear, that he undertook this before the foundation of the world, and that by a positive covenant between him and the Father ?
You think this appears from four texts, First, From that, thou gavest them to me.' Nay, when any believe, the Father gave them to Christ; but this proves no such previous contract. Second, God hath laid upon him the iniquities of us all. Neither does this prove any such thing. Third, That expression, • the counsel of peace shall be between them,' does not necessarily imply any more, than that both the