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debt to pay, and was able to clear it. How hard must that heart be that this wondrous love does not melt! how cold those affections that it does not inflame!
2. From what has been advanced, we may infer the inflexible severity of Divine justice. The Lord Jesus had, in the council of peace, undertaken, as the Surety of elect sinners, to make satisfaction for their sins, by enduring the execution of the tremendous curse of the law in their stead. And although God should not spare impenitent sinners who are mean creatures, and who have provoked him in innumerable instances, but punish them without mercy, it would not be at all wonderful. These he might have left to perish, and yet have spared his dear and only-begotten Son, who had been chargeable with no sin of his own, but had the iniquity of others imputed to him. The infinite dignity of his Person, the greatness of the Father's love to him, his personal innocence, the benevolence of his design, all pled for him, and seemed to promise him an exemption, or at least a mitigation of suffering. This, then, is the greatest trial that ever has been made whether Divine justice be strictly inexorable, and whether God can be prevailed on by the strongest inducements to connive at sin. We are told that he spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all; and that it pleased the Lord to bruise him and to put him to grief. He endured the full execution of the curse of the broken covenant due to his people for sin, without the smallest abatement of suffering. If these things were done in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry ? If the Father yielded up his dear Son to such doleful and exquisite anguish, for the satisfaction of infinite justice, without the least mitigation of suffering, how vain must it be for the finally impenitent to think that they shall escape ?
3. Hence learn what good reason believers have to rejoice greatly. Jesus Christ is Jehovah their righteous
Unrighteous and unregenerate men often rejoice : the most of them spend all their days in mirth : but it does not become them to rejoice. It becomes them rather to mourn and weep; for they are under a sentence of condemnation to the vengeance of eternal fire, and they know not but it may begin to be executed upon them the very next moment. Indeed, were it not that they are ignorant of their deplorable condition, they would find it diffi. cult to cease one moment from weeping and wailing. But believers who are exalted in the righteousness of Christ should rejoice all the day, and should say with the Israelitish Church, we will greatly rejoice in the Lord; our soul shall be joyful in our God; for he hath clothed us with the garments of salvation, he hath covered us with the robe of righteousness. To a criminal condemned to the most excruciating death, it would afford great joy to have a free pardon put into his hand, but how greatly would his joy be increased, were he, at the time he received the pardon to receive an indefeasible title to the highest honours that his prince could confer upon him ! Now, in Christ as Jehovah their righteousness, believers are not only released from the condemning sentence of the violated law, but they are entitled to the favour, the image, and the enjoyment of the ever blessed God: exalted to sit with Christ in heavenly places, and as kings and priests to God to reign with him for ever and ever. Such great reason have they to rejoice, that they are reremptorily commanded to do it. "Rejoice in the Lord alway,” says an apostle : “and again I say, rejoice.” Some will be ready to object and say, “ If we knew that he were Jehovah our righteousness, we would rejoice in him ; but we are afraid that we have no personal interest in his righteousness! Indeed, if you have no kind of interest in his righteousness, you cannot warrantably rejoice in it; but though you cannot perhaps rejoice in it, as that which you are sure, from clear evidence, is yours already in possession ; why may not ye rely on it, and rejoice in it, as yours in the free offers and absolute promises of the Gospel ? “ God hath spoken in his holiness," says the psalmist ; “I will rejoice: I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth. Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine,” &c. Psal. Ix. These places
were not his in actual possession, but only in promise. God had given him his promise for them; and therefore he rejoiced in the sure prospect of possessing them. The apostle Peter says of those to whom he addressed his first epistle, that " believing, they rejoiced with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.” Though you therefore may not be yet certain that the righteousness of Christ is yours in possession, yet if you can cordially believe that God makes a free offer of it to you as lost sinners, why do you not rejoice in it? Do not you think that the offer and promise of God, who cannot lie, are a good ground of security for the enjoyment of it ? If believers were to rely on God's faithfulness in the promise rather than on their own feelings, and on that ground to believe the gift of the Saviour's righteousness with application to themselves, they should not be such strangers to the joy of faith as many of them seem to be.
4. From what has been said, we may also see the impossibility of being saved without a personal interest in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We are all sinners not only in the first Adam, but by innumerable transgressions in our own persons; and as such, the law of God hath condemned us to eternal wrath, for the satisfaction of Divine justice. But as we are finite creatures, it is not in our power to give satisfaction by any temporary sufferings. And supposing we could yield, for the time to come, even perfect obedience to the precepts of the law, this could not satisfy for our former sins. Though we were to exert ourselves to the very utmost, in performing every duty,-though we were to pray seven times a-day, to conimunicate every Sabbath-day, to fast twice in the week, and to weep for our sins till all the moisture of our bodies were exhausted,—though we bestowed all our goods to feed the poor,
gave our bodies to be burned, -we could not expiate the guilt of one of our sins. Besides, as we are sinners, and under obligation to eternal punishment, so we are with. out strength, and cannot yield that perfect holiness of nature, and righteousness of life, which the law requires. There is no other name, therefore, given under heaven among men whereby we can be saved, but the name of Jesus; and this is his name whereby he shall be called, Jehovah our Righteousness. Except his righteousness, in virtue of vital union with him, be imputed to us, we are undone ; we are heirs of hell, and destitute of a title to heaven. We are destitute also of holiness, because while we are without that righteousness, the curse of the law chains us down under the dominion of sin ; and being under the arrest of vindictive justice, no sanctifying influence hath access into our souls. We are at the same time destitute of happiness; they only who receive the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. We can derive no solid comfort from any quarter. From above, God is angry with us every day, and ready to tear us in pieces, while there is none to deliver; from beneath, Satan hunts for our precious life, and hell is moved to meet us at our coming ; from within, unmortified corruption always promotes our ruin; and from without, we are beset with innumerable snares, and every enjoyment comes to us in the channel of Divine wrath.
One will be ready to say, “ They who are destitute of the Saviour's righteousness are indeed miserable ; but for my part, I trust I am personally interested in it.” Have you any good evidence of a personal interest in it ? all who have that righteousness imputed to them, which Christ fulfilled by obeying the law as a covenant, have also holiness implanted in them, by which they are conformed to the law as a rule. Now, are you holy in heart and in all manner of conversation? Do you hate all your sins, the sin of your nature as well as the transgressions of your
abhor them rather because they are hateful to God, than hurtful to yourself? You were told that all who embrace the righteousness of Jesus Christ are persuaded that they have no righteousness of their own. Now, are you convinced of this? The question is not, whether you were persuaded formerly ; but whether you are convinced now that all your righteousnesses are as filthy rags, which can neither adorn
you nor screen you from the tempests of Divine wrath? Are
you verily persuaded that by nature you are destitute of original righteousness, and filled with all unrighteousness ? I do not ask, if you merely believe that your nature is corrupted ? for that is easy ; but whether spiritual light is introduced to let you see your corruption, and spiritual life to
feel it? They who are spiritually dead do neither see nor feel that they are depraved, only they believe it, because it is customary to do so.
your own experience convinced that your heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked ? and that, instead of being able to yield perfect obedience to the law, you are not sufficient so much as to think one good thought ? Have you seen in any degree the spirituality and great extent of the Divine law, reaching to the thoughts and motions of the heart, as well as to the words and actions of the life ; so that, upon comparing your heart and life with it, you have despaired of life by your own righteousness?
Again : Do you in any degree see the glorious excellence and suitableness of the Redeemer's righteousness ? Do you
discern its suitableness to answer all the requirements of the broken law in your stead? The views which many have of it are so slight and unaffecting, that all the length they go is only to entertain a good opinion of it. But are your views of it such that you cannot but admire its infinite excellence and fitness for the purposes of the Divine glory, the honour of the Divine law, and the exigencies of your soul ? Do your discoveries of it so attract your heart to it and to that adorable Redeemer who fulfilled it, as to make
you say with Paul, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith?” If this be not in some degree the language of your heart, you may suspect that you are as yet a stranger to the glorious righteousness of the Lord Jesus.