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they looked on, and that justly, as the only means of an advantageous relation between God and themselves. Neither had the generality of men any other thoughts, but that this righteousness must be their own, inherent in them, and performed by them, as Rom. x. 3. For as this is the language of a natural conscience, and of the law, and suited unto all philosophical notions concerning the nature of righteousness; so whatever testimony was given of another kind in the law and the prophets, (as such a testimony is given unto a righteousness of God without the law, chap. iii. 21.) there was a veil upon it, as to the understanding of all sorts of men. As, therefore, righteousness is that which all men seek after, and cannot but seek after, who design or desire acceptance with God, so it is in vain to inquire of the law, of a natural conscience, of philosophical reason, after any righteousness but what consists in inherent habits and acts of our own.

Neither law, nor natural conscience, nor reason, do know any other. But in opposition unto this righteousness of our own, and the necessity thereof, testified unto by the law in its primitive constitution, by the natural light of conscience, and the apprehension of the nature of things by reason, the apostle declares, that in the gospel there is revealed another righteousness, which is also the righteousness of another, the righteousness of God, and that from faith to faith. For not only is the righteousness itself revealed, alien from those other principles ; but also the manner of our participation of it, or its communication unto us, 'from faith to faith' (the faith of God in the revelation, and our faith in the acceptation of it, being only here concerned), is an eminent revelation. Righteousness, of all things, should rather seem to be from works unto works, from the work of grace in us, to the works of obedience done by us, as the Papists affirm. No, saith the apostle, it is from faith to faith,' whereof afterward.

This is the general thesis the apostle proposeth unto confirmation, and he seems therein to exclude from justification every thing but the righteousness of God and the faith of believers. And to this purpose he considers all persons that did or might pretend unto righteousness, or seek after it, and all ways and means whereby they hoped to attain unto it, or whereby it might most probably be obtained, declaring the failing of all persons, and the insufficiency of all means as unto them, from the obtaining a righteousness of our own before God. And as unto persons,

1. He considers the Gentiles, with all their notions of God, their practice in religious worship, with their conversation thereon. And from the whole of what might be observed amongst them, he concludes that they neither were, nor could be, justified before God, but that they were all, and most deservedly, obnoxious unto the sentence of death. And whatever men may discourse concerning the justification and salvation of any, without the revelation of the righteousness of God by the gospel • from faith to faith,' it is expressly contradictory to his whole discourse, chap. i. from ver. 19. to the end.

2. He considers the Jews, who enjoyed the written law, and the privileges wherewith it was accompanied, especially that of circumcision, which was the outward seal of God's covenant. And on many considerations, with many arguments, he excludes them also from any possibility of attaining justification before God by any of the privileges they enjoyed, or their own compliance therewithal, chap. ii. And both sorts he excludes distinctly from this privilege of righteousness before God, with this one argument, that both of them sinned openly against that which they took for the rule of their righteousness; namely, the Gentiles against the light of nature, and the Jews against the law; whence it inevitably follows, that none of them could attain unto the righteousness of their own rule. But he proceeds farther unto that which is common to them all. And,

3. He proves the same against all sorts of persons, whether Jews or Gentiles, from the consideration of the universal depravation of nature in them all, and the horrible effects that necessarily ensue thereon in the hearts and lives of men, chap. iii, so evidencing, that as they all were, so it could not fall out but that all must be, shut up under sin, and come short of righteousness. So from persons he proceeds to things or means of righteousness. And,

4. Because the law was given of God immediately, as the whole and only rule of our obedience unto him, and the works of the law are therefore all that is required of us, these may be pleaded with some pretence as those whereby

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we may be justified. Wherefore in particular he considers the nature, use, and end of the law, manifesting its utter insufficiency to be a means of our justification before God; chap. iii. 19, 20.

5. It may be yet objected, that the law and its works may be thus insufficient, as it is obeyed by unbelievers in the state of nature, without the aids of grace administered in the promise, but with respect unto them who are regenerate and do believe, whose faith and works are accepted with God, it may be otherwise. To obviate this objection, he "giveth an instance in two of the most eminent believers under the Old Testament, namely, Abraham and David, declaring that all works whatever were excluded in and from their justification, chap. iv.

On these principles, and by this gradation he peremptorily concludes, that all and every one of the sons of men, as unto any thing that is in themselves or can be done by them, or be wrought in them, are guilty before God, obnoxious unto death, shut up under sin, and have their mouths so stopped, as to be deprived of all pleas in their own excuse ; that they had no righteousness wherewith to appear before God, and that all the ways and means whence they expected it, were insufficient unto that purpose.

Hereon he proceeds with his inquiry, how men may be delivered from this condition, and come to be justified in the sight of God. And in the resolution hereof he makes no mention of any thing in themselves, but only faith whereby we receive the atonement. That whereby we are justified, he saith, is the righteousness of God which is by the faith of Christ Jesus,' or that we are justified .freely by grace through the redemption that is in him ;' chap. iii. 22 -25. And not content here with this answer unto the inquiry, how lost convinced sinners may come to be justified before God, namely, that it is by the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith, by grace, by the blood of Christ, as he is set forth for a propitiation; he immediately proceeds unto a positive exclusion of every thing in and of ourselves that might pretend unto an interest herein, as that which is inconsistent with the righteousness of God as revealed in the gospel, and witnessed unto by the law and the prophets. How contrary their scheme of divinity is unto

this design of the apostle, and his management of it, who affirm that before the law, men were justified by obedience unto the light of nature, and some particular revelations made into them in things of their own especial private concernment; and that after the giving of the law they were so by obedience unto God according to the directions thereof, as also that the heathen might obtain the same benefit in compliance with the dictates of reason, cannot be contradicted by any who have not a mind to be contentious.

Answerable unto this declaration of the mind of the Holy Ghost herein by the apostle, is the constant tenor of the Scripture speaking to the same purpose. The grace of God, the promise of mercy, the free pardon of sin, the blood of Christ, his obedience and the righteousness of God in him, rested in and received by faith, are every where asserted aş the causes and means of our justification, in opposition unto any thing in ourselves, so expressed as it useth to express the best of our obedience and the utmost of our personal righteousness. Wherever mention is made of the duties, obedience, and personal righteousness of the best of men with respect unto their justification, they are all renounced by them, and they betake themselves unto sovereign grace and mercy alone. Some places to this purpose may be recounted.

The foundation of the whole is laid in the first promise, wherein the destruction of the work of the devil by the suffering of the seed of the woman, is proposed as the only relief for sinners, and only means of the recovery of the favour of God. “It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel ;' Gen. iii. 15. Abraham believed in the Lord, and he counted it unto him for righteousness;' Gen. xv. 6. And Aaron sball lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat; and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited ;' Ley. xvi. 21, 22. ‘I will go in the strength of the Lord God, I will make mention of thy righteousness even of thine only;' Psal. lxxi. 16. If thou Lord shouldst mark iniquity, O Lord, who shall stand ? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared ;' Psal. cxxx. 3, 4. Enter not into judgment with thy servant, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified ;' Psal. cxliii. 2. ' Behold, he put no trust in his servants, and his angels he charged with folly : how much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust ?' Job iv. 18, 19. 'Fury is not in me; who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me;' Isa. xxvii. 4,5. •Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength : in the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified and glory ;' Isa. xlv. 24, 25. ‘All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities ;' Isa. liii. 6. 11, “For this is his name whereby he shall be called, the Lord our righteousness;' Jer. xxiii. 6. ‘But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;' Isa. lxiv. 6. He shall finish the transgression, and make an end of sin, and make reconciliation for iniquity, and bring in everlasting righteousness;' Dan. ix. 24. 'Unto as many as received him he gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in his name;' John i. 12. •For as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life;' chap. iii. 14-18. Be it known therefore unto you men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins : and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses;' Acts xiii. 38, 39. That they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith that is in me;' chap. xxvi. 18. · Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ : whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. To declare at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By wbat law? of works? Nay; but

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