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from man in innocence only those two; but upon the entrance of sin, it had, as a broken covenant, a third demand, a demand of complete satisfaction for sin, by suffering death in all its extent. Now these three articles, the law in its covenant form continues to require in the utmost perfection from every descendant of fallen Adam, as long as he remains under it: and it will be impossible for him ever to enter heaven except he answer completely every one of them, either in his own person, or in that of a responsible surety,-the Surety of a better testament. The Lord Jesus saith, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments," Matt. xix. 17. As this particular is of the very highest moment to us all, permit me, before I dismiss it, to put two or three questions to every self-righteous and secure sinner. And,
First, I would ask you, are you able to present to the law perfect holiness of nature? Have you been perfectly holy from the first moment of your life? and can you retain perfect holiness, without the least shadow of imperfection, till the last moment of it? I do not ask, whether you have a high profession of religion, or a high degree of moral virtue, or not? But I ask, whether you be able to answer the law's demand of original righteousness, or to present it with a nature perfectly holy? Again, are you able to yield to the law a perfect righteousness of life, or to obey the precepts of it perfectly, in every thought, word, and action of your life, in answer to its demand of perfect obedience, as the condition of eternal life? "The law is not of faith; but, The man that doeth them shall live in them." I do not ask, whether you resolve to obey, or whether you be grieved that you have not obeyed perfectly; but, whether you have actually obeyed from the beginning, and if you be persuaded that you can obey to the end of your life, that you can yield complete obedience to all the precepts of the law, in all their purity, spirituality, and great extent ? If you cannot, then, though all the virtues of the heathens, and all the good works of the
saints, from the beginning to the end of the world, were imputed to you, you should come short of eternal life. But further, are you able to answer the legal demand of ¡ satisfaction for sin? You know that every violation of the Divine law, as it is objectively an infinite evil, lays the sinner under an obligation to endure infinite or eternal wrath, as a punishment answerable to the infinite demerit of the crime. Supposing you could say that your nature was perfectly holy, and that you were never guilty of the smallest actual sin, the law, notwithstanding, would condemn you for your breach of covenant in the first Adam, your representative. We read in the Scriptures of truth, that "in Adam all die;" but how could all die in Adam, if all had not sinned in him? Death is only the wages of sin. Be assured, then, that you are guilty, and condemned as such in the first Adam. Now, are you able, I ask, to answer the just demand of infinite satisfaction for sin? to endure the full execution of the condemning sentence of the broken covenant, to the full satisfaction of sin-avenging justice? How can you dwell with the devouring fire? how can you dwell with everlasting burnings? You are a reasonable creature, capable of reflection; think with yourself, if you be able to satisfy the law in these three articles, or in any one of them. If you be able, you may expect justification and eternal life by the works of the law; but if you are not, why, O why do you not despair of life by your own righteousness, and flee without delay to Christ as the Lord your righteousness? That you are far from being able, whether you believe it or not, is abundantly evident; for,
4. In the last place, I remark, that all the children of men "have sinned, and come short of the glory of God," Rom. iii. 23. We all have lost our original righteousness in the first Adam. Behold," says the psalmist, "I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." We cannot therefore present to the law, now, perfect holiness of nature. We have sinned, not only in the first Adam, but, times and ways in
numerable, in our own persons. As to our thoughts, while in our unregenerate state, He who searches the heart declares, "that every imagination of the thoughts of the heart is only evil contiuually," Gen. vi. 5. As to our words, one apostle testifies concerning unconverted sinners, "that their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; and the poison of asps is under their lips." And another declares, "That the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity, that defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell," James iii. 6. And as to the actions of sinners, we are told, “That there is none that doeth good, no not one; that they are all gone out of the way; and that they are together become unprofitable." It is evident, then, that sinners are without strength, and that instead of being able to yield perfect and perpetual obedience to the precepts of the law, they cannot perform so much as a single action that is spiritually good and acceptable to God. As to satisfaction for sin, we who are finite creatures, cannot suffer an infinite degree of punishment, otherwise than through an infinite length of duration, or through all eternity. Thus it is manifest that we are utterly unable to yield to the law either perfect holiness of nature, or perfect righteousness of life, or complete satisfaction for sin; and far less, all of them together. "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in the sight of God; for by the law is the knowledge of sin," Rom. iii. 20. Ah, the ignorance and Pharisaical pride of that sinner who is going about to establish his own righteousness in the affair of justification; and who imagines that he shall obtain a title to the favour of God, and to eternal life, by his own performances! And yet multitudes, alas! who call themselves Christians, entertain such sentiments; nay, many among us account none rational Christians but such as do so. The very
first lesson, however, that all who are made wise unto salvation learn is, that by their own righteousnss they can never be justified in the sight of God, or be entitled to eternal life.
II. I proceed now to the second general head, To show how, and on what accounts the Lord Jesus Christ is called the Righteousness of his people. And,
1. He may be so styled, because he was chosen from everlasting as their Surety and Representative, to fulfil v all righteousnes in their stead. Accordingly, we read in the Scripture, that God made a covenant with his chosen One; that he laid on him the iniquity of us all; and that he "made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” God the Father, in consequence of infinitely free and sovereign grace, having chosen some of lost mankind to everlasting life, who, notwithstanding, could not obtain that life in a way consistent with the honour of law and justice, without answering all the demands of the law as a broken covenant, which, because of sin, they became incable of doing, chose his only-begotten Son, and proposed that he should, in the fulness of time, fulfil all righteousness as their Surety. Hence the Father is represented as saying, "I have laid help upon One that is mighty; I have exalted One chosen out of the people ;" and the Son himself declares, "I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was," Prov. viii. 23.
2. Christ may be called the righteousness of his people, because as their Surety he engaged with infinite v willingness to fulfil it for them. "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: Then said I, Lo, I come in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart," Psal. xl. 6-8. As if he had said, "The law as a covenant is within my heart, to fulfil all its requirements in the room of my spiritual seed; and therefore I consent with my whole heart to vail my glory; to be made sin for them, and a curse for them; to bear their griefs, and carry their sorrows! No sooner did the eternal Father propose it to him than he cheerfully consented to be made of a woman, made under the law; to assume their nature, and in that nature to sist himself as their public representa
tive; taking upon himself the obligation of obeying the precept, and of suffering the penalty of the law as a covenant, in their stead. Hence in 1 Cor. xv. 45. he is called the last Adam; for, as the first Adam engaged in the covenant of works, as the representative of his natural posterity, to yield perfect obedience for them, as the condition of eternal life; so the last Adam engaged in the covenant of grace, as the representative of his spiritual seed, to fulfil all righteousness for them, as the condition of life eternal. Hence also he is styled the Servant of the Father. "Thou art my Servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified." The first man engaged for himself and his posterity in the service of God; but he soon forfeited his good character as a servant, and we all lost our reputation in him. In order, therefore, to recover the reputation of his spiritual seed, Christ "made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant," that he might perform all the service which was necessary to entitle them to life.— The Lord Jesus, then, is called the Righteousness of believers, as he cheerfully engaged to fulfil it in their stead.
3. He may be so called, because he actually fulfilled all righteousness for them. When John the Baptist was hesitating to baptise him, he replied, "Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness," Matth. iii. 15. Does the law as a covenant require holiness of nature, as a condition of eternal life? Christ, as the Surety of his people, yielded to it a holy human nature. That it requires this as a condition of life, is evident. For if it forbids corruption of nature, then, according to the just rules of opposition, it must require that which is contrary, viz. holiness of nature. But that it forbids corruption of nature, is plain from the tenth commandment, "Thou shalt not covet." Christ therefore, that he might as their Surety answer for them the perfect holiness of nature required by the law, was born with a holy nature, instead of them conceived and born in sin. A holy nature was given to the first Adam, as