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The chearing beams of the Sun of Righteousness shall shine through its darkest recesses, shall dispel the clouds of sin and the blackness of sorrow, shall render the whole unbounded expanse beautiful, bright, and chearing, before thee. -Surely, can this be less than the gracious work of an omnipotent hand, thus to create light and peace within the soul of a drooping sinner; thus to abolish death and hell before him; thus to present him, in all the tranquillity of faithful courage, without spot of sin unto salvation! And yet this our unerring and undeceiving God can, doubtless, perform for thee, for me, for millions yet unborn. He will indeed perform all that is right in this behalf; because he is engaged by his covenanted truth, by his own immutable oath, to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or -think, not to one only, but to every one that believeth; to everyone,
who, renouncing all confidence in the flesh and abhorring all false ways, is enabled, simply and truly, to cast every interest of body and soul, of time and eternity, upon his faithfulness and promise, in sweet submission to his wise, and gracious, and sovereign, disposal.
8 76. The Sum of the whole matter, both in doctrine and practice, appears to be this: That man, through the fault and corruption of his nature derived from his original parents, is inclined to nothing but evil, and for this evil nature and its evil fruits deserves God's wrath and damnation. That this infection of nature, called in Scripture flesh, leaven, corruption, has nothing in it but that lust, wisdom, sensuality, affection, or desire, which is contrary and not subject to the law of God. That he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith
and calling upon God; but must stand indebted for all this to the grace of God by Christ preventing (or going first before) him, that he may have a good will, and working with him, when he has it. That no man is accounted*
* These words, accounted right cous through the merit of Christ, are of the same import with the merit of Christ imputed; because they do not refer to a righteousness inherent in the subject, but to a gift bestowed upon it, and thus reckoned as its own. It stands upon equal ground with the transfer of sin to Christ; for, as the sins of God's people were imputed to Christ, and he took upon himself all the consequences of that imputation ; in like manner, Christ's righteousness, which he paid to the law, is imputed to them, and they enjoy every benefit and blessing resulting from it, in their union with him. Thus he, as their High Priest and Forerunner, is for them entered into the Holiest of all, clothed in the white robes of his own unspotted righteousness; and they, in their several orders and times, follow him into the heavens, arrayed with the white
righteous before God,
but only through the merit of the Lord Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for his own works, or deservings; and, therefore, that a believer is justified by faith only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort to him, and to him only. That good works are the fruits, not the causes, of Faith, and
raiment, received from him, and therefore made so entirely their own, as to be called the righteousness of saints. See Rom. iv, in which chap. ter our translators have rendered the same word by counted, reckoned, imputed, in which way only a sinner can appear perfectly righteous (for none can for a moment appear otherwise) before God in his glory. As to the doctrine of imputation itself, it runs through the Law, and the Prophets, and the whole Word of God. Without it, sacrifices would have been useless, which were instituted for vicarious atonement. Without it, also, Christ would have lived and died in vain for his people; as neither bis blood could have availed for the remission of sin, nor his righteousness for justification to life eternal.
follow after, not precede, Justification ; but, either before or after, cannot put away sin, nor endure the strict severity of God's all-searching judge
That they are however as indispensable to prove both to ourselves and others a true and lively Faith, and do as necessarily spring out of it, as though they were, the absolute grounds of Justification itself before God, or of Salvation. That all works, done before the grace of Christ and the inspiration of his Spirit, and not being the offspring of faith in Christ, are so far from making men meet, or from preparing them, to receive grace, or to deserve the congruity, or concurrence, or subsequent support of grace, that they are, being wrought, not according to the will and word of God, but according to the will of the flesh, only sinful as to their cause and nature, and are at best (as one calls them) splendida peccata, shining and