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tuition whereof, we would not live; or, if we should, our natural life were no other than a spiritual death.
O Saviour, let me not live longer, than I shall be enlivened by thee, or than thou shalt be glorified by me.
And what rule should I follow in all the carriage of my life, but thine ? thy precepts, thine examples ; that so I may live thee, as well as preach thee; and, in both, may find thee, as thou hast truly laid forth thyself, The Way, the Truth, and the Life; John xiv. 6: the Way, wherein I shall walk; the Truth, which I shall believe and profess; and the Life, which I shall enjoy.
In all my moral actions therefore, teach me to square myself by thee: wbatever I am about to do, or speak, or effect, let me think, “ If my Saviour were now upon earth, would he do this, that I am now putting my hand unto? would he speak these words, that I am now uttering?' would he be thus disposed, as I now feel myself? Let me not yield myself to any thought, word, or action, which my Saviour would be ashamed to own. Let him be pleased so to manage his own life in me, that all the interest he hath given me in myself may be wholly surrendered to him ; that I may be as it were dead in myself, while he lives and moves in me.
(4.) By virtue of this blessed union, as Christ is become our life; so, (that, which is the highest improvement, not only of the rational, but the supernatural and spiritual life) is he thereby also made unto us of God, Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption ; 1 Cor. i. 30: not that he only works these great things in and for us; this were too cold a construction of the divine bounty: but that he really becomes all these to us, who are true partakers of him.
[1.] Even of the wisest men, that ever nature could boast of, is verified that character, which the divine Apostle gave of them, long ago: Their foolish heart was darkened ; professing themselves to be wise, they became fools; Rom. i. 21, 22: and still the best of us, if we be büt ourselves, may take up that complaint of Asaph; So foolish was I, and ignorant : I was as a beast before thee; Ps. Ixxiii. 22: and of Agur, the son of Jakeh ; Surely, I am more brutish than man, and have not the understanding of a man : I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the Holy; Prov. xxx. 2, 3. And if any man will be challenging more to himself, he must, at last, take up, with Solomon ; I said I will be wise, but it was far from me; Eccl. vii. 23.
But, how defective soever we are in ourselves, there is wisdom enough in our Head, Christ, to supply all our wants. He, that is the Wisdom of the Father, is, by the Father, made our Wisdom: In him, are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, saith the Apostle; Col. ii. 3: so hid, that they are both revealed and communicated to his own: For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ; 2 Cor.
In and by him, hath it pleased the Father to impart himself tinto us: He is the image of the invisible
. God; Col. i. 15: even, the brightness of his glory, and the express inage of his person; Heb. i. 3. It was a just check, that he gave to Philip in the Gospel : Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He, that hath scen me, haih seen the Father; John xiv. 9.
And this point of wisdom is so high and excellent, that all human skill, and all the so much admired depths of philosophy, are but mere ignorance and foolishness, in comparison of it. Alas, what can these profound wits reach unto, but the very outside of these visible and transitory things? As for the inward forms of the nieanest creatures, they are so altogether hid from them, as if they had no being: and as for spiritual and divine things, the most knowing naturalists are either stone-blind, that they cannot see them, or grope after them, in an Egyptian darkness: For the natural man perceiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned; 1 Cor. ii. 14. How much less can they know the God of Spirits, who, besides his invisibility, is infinite and incomprehensible ! Only He, who is made our wisdom, enlighteneth our eyes with this divine knowledge: No man knoweth the Father, but the Son; and he, to whomsoever the Son will reveal him ; Matt. xi. 27.
Neither is Christ made our wisdom only in respect of heavenly wisdom imparted to us; but in respect of his perfect wisdom imputed unto us. Alas, our ignorances and sinful misprisions are many and great: where should we appear, if our faith did not fetch succour from our all-wise and all-sufficient Mediator? O Saviour, we are wise in thee our Head, how weak soever we are of ourselves. Thine infinite wisdom, and goodness, both covers and makes up all our defects. The wife cannot be poor, while the husband is rich: thou hast vouchsafed to give us a right to thy store: we have no reason to be disheartened with our own spiritual wants, while thou art made our wisdom.
[2.] It is not mere wisdom, that can make us acceptable to God. If the serpents were not, in their kind, wiser than we, we should not have been advised to be wise aş serpents. That God, who is essential justice, as well as wisdom, requires all his to be not more wise, than exquisitely righteous.
Such, in themselves, they cannot be: For in many things we sin all.
Such, therefore, they are and must be in Christ, their Head; who is made unto us of God, together with wisdom, Righteousness.
O incomprehensible mercy! He hath made him, to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him; 2 Cor. v. 21.
What a marvellous and happy exchange is here! We are nothing but sin : Christ is perfect righteousness. He is made our sin, that we might be made his righteousness. He, that knew no sin, is made sin for us ; that we, who are all sin, might be made God's righteous. ness in him. In ourselves, we are not only sinful; but sin : in him, we are not righteous only; but righteousness itself. Of ourselves,
we are not righteous: we are made so. In ourselves, we are not righteous; but in him: we made not ourselves so; but the same God, in his infinite mercy, who made him sin for us, hath made us his righteousness. No otherwise are we made his righteousness, than he is made our sin : our sin is made his, by God's imputation; so is his righteousness made ours.
How fully doth the Second Adam answer and transcend the First ! By the offence of the First, judgment came upon all men to condemnation: by the righteousness of the Second, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life; Rom. v. 18. Ås, by one man's disobedience, many were made sinners; so, by the obedience of one, shall many be made righteous ; v. 19: righteous, not in themselves; so death passed upon all, for that all have sinned ; v. 12: but in him, that made them so, by whom we have received the atonement ; v. 11.
How free then, and how perfect, is our justification! What quarrel may the pure and holy God have against righteousness ? against his own righteousness and such are we made in and by him.
What can now stand, between us and blessedness?
Not our sins : for, this is the praise of his mercy, that he justifies the ungodly; Rom. iv. 5. Yea, were we not sinful, how were we capable of his justification ? sinful, as in the term, from whence this act of his mercy moveth; not as in the term, wherein it resteth,
finds sinful: it doth not leave us so. Far be it from the Righteous Judge of the World to absolve a wicked soul, continuing such : Ile, that justifieth the wicked, and he, that condemneth the just, even they both are an abomination to the Lord; Prov. xvii. 15. No; but be kills sin in us, while he remits it; and, at once, cleanseth and accepts our persons. Repentance and remission do not lag, one after another: both of them meet, at once, in the penitent soul : at once, doth the hand of our faith lay hold on Christ, and the hand of Christ lay hold on the soul to justification; so as the sins that are done away can be no bar to our happiness.
And what but sins can pretend 10 a hinderance? All our other weaknesses are no eye-sore to God; no rub in our way to heaven.
What matters it then, how unworthy we are of ourselves ? It is Christ's obedience, that is our righteousness: and that obedience cannot but be exquisitely perfect; cannot but be, both justly accepted as his, and mercifully accepted as for us,
There is a great deal of difference, betwist being righteous, and being made righteousness. Every regenerate soul bath an inherent justice or righteousness in itselt: Ile, that is righteous, let him be righteous still, saith the Angel, Rev. xxii. 11. But, at the best, this righteousness of ours is, like ourselves, full of imperfection : If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand ? Ps. cxxx. 3. Behold, we are before thee in our trespasses ; for we cannot stand before thee, because of this; Ezra is. 15. How should a man be just with God ? if he will contend with him, he cannot ansuer him one of a thousand ; Job ix. 2, 3. So then, he, that doth righteousness, is righteous; 1 John ii. 7: but, by pardon and indulgence; because the righteousness he doth is weak and imperfect. He, that is made righteousness, is perfectly righteous hy a gracious acceptation, by a free imputation of absolute obedience.
Woe were us, if we were put over to our own accomplishments! for, Cursed is every one, that continues not in all things, which are written in the book of the Law, to do them ; Gal. iii. 10. Deut. xxvii. 26: and, If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us: 1 John i. 8. Lo, if there be truth in us, we must confess we have sin in us; and, if we have sin, we violate the Law; and, if we violate the Law, we lie open to a curse.
But, here is our comfort, that our Surety hath paid our debt. It is true, we lay forfeited to death. Justice had said, The soul, that sinneth, it shall die ; Ezek. xviii. 4. Mercy interposeth and satisfies. The Son of God, whose every drop of blood was worth a world, pays this death for us : and now, Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth : who is he, that condemneth? It is Christ, that died; yea, rather that is risen again; who is even at the right-hand of God; who also maketh intercession for us ; Rom. viii. 33, 3+. Our sin, our death, is laid upon him, and undertaken by him: He was wounded for our transgressions : hé was bruised for our iniquities : the chastisements of our peace were upon him ; and, with his stripes, we are healed ; Is. liii. 5. His death, his obedience, is made over to us. So then, the sin that we have committed, and the death that we have deserved, is not ours; but the death which he hath endured, and the obedience that he hath performed, is so ours as he is ours; who is, thereupon, made of God our righteousness.
Where now are those enemies of grace, that scoff at imputation; making it a ridiculous paradox, that a man should become just by another man's righteousness? How dare they stand out against the word of truth, which tells us expressly, that Christ is made our righteousness? What strangers are they, to that grace they oppugn! How little do they consider, that Christ is ours ! his righteousness therefore, by which we are justified, is in him our own. Не, , that hath borne the iniquity of us all (Is. liii. 6.), hath taught us to call our sins our debts; Matt. vi. 12: those debts can be but once paid: if the bounty of our Redeemer hath staked down the sums required; and cancelled the bonds; and this payment is, through mercy, fully accepted as from our own hands; what danger, what scruple can remain ?
What do we then, weak souls, tremble to think of appearing before the dreadful tribunal of the Almighty? We know him, indeed, to be infinitely and inflexibly just : we know his most pure eyes cannot abide to behold sin: we know we have nothing else, but sin, for him to behold in us. Certainly, were we to appear before him in the mere shape of our own sinful selves, we had reason to shake and shiver at the apprehension of that terrible appearance: but, now that our faith assures us we shall no otherwise be to that awful Judge, than as clothed with the robes of Christ's righteousness; how confident should we be, thus decked with the garments of our elder brother, to carry away a blessing! While,
presented therefore, we are dejected with the conscience of our own vileness, we have reason to lift up our heads in the confidence of that perfect righteousness, which Christ is made unto us, and we are made in him.
[3.] At the bar of men, many a one is pronounced just, who remains inwardly foul and guilty: for the best of men can but judge of things, as they appear; not as they are. But the Righteous Arbiter of the World declares none just, whom he makes not holy.
The same mercy therefore, that makes Christ our righteousness, makes him also our Sanctification. Of ourselves, wretched men, what are we other, at our best, than unholy creatures ; full of pollution and spiritual uncleanness? It is his most Holy Spirit, that must cleanse us from all the filthiness of our flesh and spirit; 2 Cor. vii. 1: and work us daily, to further degrees of sanctification ; He, that is holy, let himn be holy still ; Rev. xxii. 11. Neither can there be any thing more abhorring from his infinite justice and holiness, than to justify those souls, which lie still in the loathsome ordure of their corruptions.
Certainly, they never truly learnt Christ, who would draw over Christ's righteousness, as a case of their close wickednesses; that sever holiness from justice, and give no place to sanctification in the evidence of their justifying. Never man was justified without faith: and, wheresoever faith is, there it purifeth and cleanseth ; Acts xv. 9.
But, besides that the Spirit of Christ works thus powerfully, though gradually, within us, that he may sanctify and cleanse us with the washing of water, by the word ; his holiness is mercifully imputed to us, that he may present us to himself a glorious Church ; not having spot, or urinkle, or any such thing ; but that we should be holy, and without blemish; Eph. v. 26, 27: so as that inchoate holiness, which, by his gracious inoperation, grows up daily in us towards a full perfection, is abundantly supplied by his absolute holiness, made no less by imputation ours, than it is personally his.
When, therefore, we look into our bosoms, we find just cause to be ashamed of our impurity; and to loath those dregs of corruption, that yet remain in our sinful nature : but, when we cast up our eyes to heaven, and behold the infinite holiness of that Christ to whom we are united, which by faith is made ours; we have reason to bear up against all the discouragements that may arise from the conscience of our own vileness, and to look God in the face with an awful boldness, as those whom he is pleased to present holy, and unblameable, and unreprovable in his sight; Col. i. 22. as knowing, that he that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified, arc all of one ; Heb. ii. 11.
[4.] Redemption was the great errand, for which the Son of God came down into the world; and the work which he did, while he was in the world; and that, which, in way of application of it, he shall be ever accomplishing, till he shall deliver up his Mediatory Kingdom into the hands of his Father. In this he begins, in this he finishes, the great business of our salvation : for those, who,