Page images
PDF
EPUB

Refutation. These two propofitions will never go down with found and orthodox Christians: the first sinks and debases Christ too low, the other exalts the finful creature too high. The one represents the purė and spotless Lord Jesus as finful: the other represents the linful creature as pure and perfect : and both these propositions seem evidently to be built upon these two hypotheses. (1.) That the righteousness of Chrift is subjectively and inherently in us, in the same fulness and perfection as it is in Christ : grant that, and then it will follow indeed, That Christ himself is not wore righteous than the believer is. (2.) That not only the guilt and

punishment of fin was laid on Chris by way of imputation : bnt fin itself, the very transgreffion, or finfulness itself, was transferred from the elect to Christ : and that by God's laying it on him, the sinfulness or fault itself was ellentially transfused into him; and fo fin itself did tranfire a fubjecto in fubjectum. Grant but this, and it can never be denied but that Christ became as completely sinful as we.

But both these hypotheses are not only notoriously false, but utterly impossible, as will be manifested by and by; but before I come to the refutation of them, it will be necessary to lay dowa fome concessions to clear the 'orthodox doctrine in this con, troversy, and narrow the matter under debate, as much as may be.

(1.) And first, We thankfully acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ to be the Surety of the New Testament, Heb. vïi. 22. and that as such, all the guilt and punishment of our fins, was laid upon him, Isa. liii. 5, 6. That is, God imputed, and he bare it in our room and lead. God the Father, as supreme Lawgiver and judge of all, upon the transgression of the law, admitted the sponsion or furetiship of Christ, to answer for the fins of men, Heb. x. 5, 6, 7. And for this very end he was made under the law, Gal. iv. 4, 5. And that Christ voluntarily took it upon him to aoswer as our Surety, whatsoever the law could lay to our charge; whence it became just and righteous that he Should fuffer.

(2.) We say, That God, by laying upon, or imputing the guilt of our fios to Christ, thereby our fins became legally his ; as the debt is legally the Surety's debt, though he never borrowed one farthing of it: Thus God laid, and Christ took our fics upon him, though in him was no lin, 2 Cor. v. 21. “ He hatla w made him to be fin for us, who knew no fia," (i. e.) who was clean, and altogether void of fin. (3.) We thankfully acknowledge, that Christ hath so fully fatisfied the law for the tios of all that are his, that the debts of believers are fully discharged, and the very last mite paid by Christ. His payment is full, and so therefore is our difcharge and acquittance, Rom. viii. 1, 31. Aod that, by virtue hereof, the guilt of believers is to perfectly abolished, that it shall never more bring them under condemnation, Joba v. 24. And so in Christ they are without fault before God.

4. We likewise grade, That as the guilt of our lips was by God's imputation laid upon Chrift, so the righteoulness of Chrilt is by God imputed to believers, by virtue of their union with Chrilt; and becomes thereby as truly and fully theirs, for the justification of their particular persons before God, as if they themselves had in their own persoas fulfilled all that the law re

quires, or íuffered all that it threatened : No joherent righte· Quinets in our own persons. is, or can be more truly our own, for this end and purpose, than Christ's imputed righteousness is our own. He is the Lord our righteousness. Jer. xxiii. 6. We are made the righteousness of God in him, Cor. V. 21. Fea, the righteousnejs of the law is fulfilled in them that beireve, Rom. viii. 4,

But notwithstanding all this, we cannot say, (1.) That Chrift became as completely finful as we. Or, (2.) That we are as completely righteous as Christ; and that over and above the guilt and punishment of fin, (which we grant was laid upon Christ) sin itself fimply considered, or the very transgression itself, became the fin or transgression of Christ ;- and coolequently that we are as completely righteous as Christ, and Christ as completely finful as we are.

1. We dare pot say, that fin fimply considered, as the very transgression of the law itself, as well as the guilt and pupilhment, became the very fio and tranfgreffion of Chrift: For two things are distinctly to be considered and differenced, with respect to the law, and yato lin. As to the law, we are to consider in it,

1. Its preceptive part,

2. Its fanction. (1.) The preceptive part of the law, which gives fio its formal nature, 1 John iii. 4. For fin is the transgrefion of the law. All transgression arises from the preceptive part of the law of God : He that tranfgreffeth the precepts, foneth; and under this consideration fin can never be communicated from one to, another : The personal fin of one, cannot be in this respect, the perfonal fin of another : There is no physical transfusion of the transgreflion of the precepe from one subject to 2007

ther : This is utterly impoffible; even Adam's personal fins, considered in his single private capacity, are not communicable to his posterity.

(2.) Besides the transgression of the preceptive part of the law, there is an obnoxiousness uoto punishment, arising from the sanction of the law, which we call the guilt of fin; and this (as judicious * Dr. Owen observes) is separable from fin : and if it were pot feparable from the former, no finder in the world could either be pardoned or saved; guilt may be made another's by imputation, aod yet that other not rendered formally a fioner thereby : Upon this ground, we say the guile and punishment of our fin, was that only which was imputed uoto Christ, but the very transgression of the law itself, or lia formally and essentially considered, could never be communicated or transfused from us unto him, I know but two ways in the world by which one man's fios can be imagined to be come another's, viz. Either by imputation, which is legal, and what we affirm; or by essential transfusion from lubject to subject (as our adversaries fancy) which is utterly imposible; and we have as good ground to believe the absurd doctrine of transubstantiation, as this wild aorion of the essential transfusion of

sip Guilt, arising from the faoction of the law, may, and did pass from us to Christ by legal imputation ; but fin itself, the very transgression itself, arifing from the very preceptive part of the law, cannot. fo pass from us to Chrift: For if we should once imagine, that the very acts and habits of fin, with the odious deformity thereof, fhould pass from our persons to Christ, and Jubjectively to inhere id him, as they do in us; then it would follow,

First, That our falvation would thereby be rendered atterly impossible. For such an inhesion of sin in the perloo of Christ, is ablolutely inconsistent with the hypoftatical union, which union is the very foundation of his fatisfaction, and our fal. vation. Though the Divine nature can, and doth dwell in nion with the pare and sinlels humau nature of Christ, yet it Cannot dwell in union with sin.

Secondly. This supposition would render the blood of the crofs altogether unable to satisfy for us. He could not have been the Lamb of God to take away the lips of the world, if he had not been perfectly pore and spotless, 1 Pet. ii 19.

Thirdly, Had our fins thus been essentially transfused into Christ, the law had had a just and valid exception against him;

[ocr errors]

* Owen of Justification, p. 183.

for it accepts of nothing but what is absolutely pure and per fect. I admire, therefore, how any good men dare to call our doctrine, which teaches the imputation of our guilt and panishmoent to Christ, a simple doctrine; and affert, that the tranf. grellion itself became Christ's; and that thereby Christ became as completely finful as we. And,

Fourthly, if the way of making our fios Christ's by imputation, be thus rejected and derided; and Christ afferted, by fome other way, to become as completely finful as we; then i canoot fee which way to avoid it, but that the very fame acts and habits of fio must inhere, both in Christ, and in believers also. For, I suppose our adversaries will not deny, that, notwithstanding God's laying the sins of believers upon Christ, there remain in all believers after their juftification, linfot inclinations and aversations; a law of fin in their members, à body of fin and death. Did these things pafs from them to Chrift, and yet do they still inhere in them? Why do they complain and groan of indwelling fin? as Rom. vii. If sin itself be fo transferrred from them to Chrift? Sure, unless men will dare to say, the same acts and habits of fin which they feel in themfelyes, are as truly in Christ as in themselves, they have no ground to say, that by God's laying their iniquities upon Christ, he became as completely finful as they are; and if they should fo affirm, that affirmation would undermine the very foundation of their own salvation.

I therefore heartily subscribe to that found and holy fentence, of a clear and learned divine, * Nothing is more absolutly true, nothing more sacredly and assuredly believed by us, than that noshing which Chrift did or füffered, nothing that he undertook, or underwent, did, or could conflitute bim subjectively, inherently, and thereupon personally a finner, or guilty of any fin of his own. To bear the guilt or blame of other mens faults, to be alienae culpae reus, makes no man a finner, unless he did unwisely and irregularly undertake it. So then this proposition, that by God's laying our lips upon Christ (in some other way, than by imputation of guilt and punishment) he became as completely fintul as we, will not, ought not to be received as the found doctrine of the gospel. Nor yet this

Second proposition, That we are as completely righteous as Christ is; or, that Chrit is not more righteous than a believer.

I cannot imagine what should induce any man fo to express himself, unless it be a groundless conceit and fancy, that there

* Owen of Juftification, p. 183,

is an essential transfusion of Christ's jullifying righteousness into believers, whereby it becomes theirs by way of subjective inhefion, and is in them in the very fame manner it is in him: and to every individual believer becomes as completely righteous as Christ. And this conceit they would faio eltablish upon that text, 1 John ül. 7. “ He that doch righteousness, is righteous,

even as he'is righteous."

But neither this expression, por any other like it in the scriptures, gives ghe least countenance to such a general and unwary position. It is far from the mind of this scripture, That the righteousness of Christ is formally and inherently ours, as it is his. Indeed it is ours relatively, not formally and inherently; Dot the fame with his for quantity, though it be the fame for verity. His righteousness is not ours in its univerfal value, though it be ours, as to our particular use and necesity. Nor is it made ours to make us so many causes of salvation to others; but it is imputed to us as to the subjects, that are to be saved by it ourselves.

'Tis true, we are justified and saved by the very righteoufness of Christ, and no other ; but that righteousness is formally inherent in him only, and is only materially imputed to us. It was actively his, .but passively ours. He wrought it, though we wear it. It was wrought in the person of God-man for the whole church, and is imputed (not transfused) to every single believer for his owa concernment only. For,

(1.) It is most absurd to imagine, that the righteousness of Christ should formally inhere in the person of every, or any believer, as it doth in the person of the mediator. The imposfibility hereof appears plainly from the incapacity of the subject. The righteoufness of Christ is an infinite righteousness, because it is the righteousness of God-man, and can therefore be subjected in no other person beside him. It is capable of being imputed to a finite creature, and therefore, in the way of imputa. tion, we are faid to be made the righteousness of God in him; bat tho' it may be impoted to a finite creature, it inheres only in the person of the Son of God, as in its proper subject. And iadeed,

(2.) If it should be inherent io us, it could oot be imputed to us, as it is, Rom. iv. 6, 23. Nor need we go out of ourselves for justification, as now we must, Phil. iii. 9. but may justify ourselves by our own inherent righteousness. And,

(3.) What Tould hinder, if this infioite righteousness of Chrilt were infused into us, and should make us as completely sighteous as Chrift; but that we might justify others also, as

« PreviousContinue »