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and consciously meeting God in his own heart, and surrendering himself to Him as to one who is trust-worthy; so that it is properly no doctrine, but the living principle of all doctrines, as being a real conscious exercise of the life of God in the soul of

And therefore it is most worthy of being called, as Luther called it, articulus stantis aut cadentis ecclesiæ, the thing on which the standing or falling of a church truly depends. For a church may have very confused doctrinal notions, but still if its members are meeting God in their own hearts, and giving themselves up to Him, it is a standing and living church ; and, on the other hand, a church may have very clear and correct doctrinal notions ; but if this personal intercourse with God, and surrender to Him be awanting, it is a falling, dying church.

This righteousness then is a thing which calls us distinctly to distinguish between knowledge and life, between the Bible and its author, for here the Bible can only help us, by referring us back to God Himself, with whom we have personally to do. It is connected with the inward witness spoken of in 1 John v. 10; for it is by faith, that is

through the hearing, and understanding, and obeying of that “word, which is nigh thee in thy mouth and in thy heart.” Rom. x. 8, 17. It is indeed the vitality of all religion, and the conversion of it into a theological doctrine, appears to me to be one of the greatest triumphs of the enemy of souls—realizing the condition described in that text, “ If the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness !”

Such a righteousness as this then is altogether most suitable to mankind in their present circumstances. For it is a righteousness into which a man may rise at once, out of a course of sin, and out of a consciousness of guilt; and yet it is at the same time no fictitious thing, but a true righteousness, not making void the law, but establishing it, and commending itself to every conscience : and God also is just, whilst He acknowledges it as righteousness: that is, He does not, in so acknowledging it, remit the punishment due to sin, but on the contrary He executes it, with the consent of the sinner himself; for there belongs to the very substance of this righteousness, a present accepting of punishment, and a present shedding out of the offending blood of man's

will—as it is in fact a casting in of our lot with the second vessel, and a consenting to the breaking of the first, as preparatory to its manifestation.

Now this is the very righteousness which the apostle describes in chap. iii. 21—26, of this Epistle, as the righteousness revealed in Jesus Christ. The statement there made, is preceded by a judicial examination into the characters and conduct of men, both Jew and Gentile, as compared with the will of God made known to them, whether only inwardly as to the Gentile, or both inwardly and outwardly as to the Jew, which examination leads to the conclusion, that a righteousness which consists in an undeviating conformity to the will of God, from the beginning of life, is unattainable by man, for that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, so that every mouth is stopped, and the whole world is guilty before God. And then comes forth the declaration of this righteousness, as a righteousness perfectly accessible and suited to those whose mouths are stopped, and who are guilty before God.

I may repeat here, that it is quite clear from the context, that the righteousness of God in this place, cannot mean to refer to God's

own dealings with man, but to that condition of character which He will acknowledge as righteousness in man. The apostle has said in verse 20th, that “ by the works of the law, no flesh shall be justified;" that is, “ attain righteousness,”—and then he proceeds to make known a righteousness which is attainable. But, indeed, the whole of the preceding part of the Epistle relates to the condition of man's character before Godand the following chapter is manifestly on the same subject, so that it is only by losing the train of the argument, and taking hold of the form of the expression, that we are in danger of thinking otherwise of this passage. At the same time, I would observe, that the two views are really one at the root; for the righteousness of God in His dealings towards men, consists in His purpose of leading man, through the purifying process of penal sorrow and death, into His own eternal holy life ; and the true righteousness of man,that righteousness which is by faith, consists in his yielding himself to that purpose of God, and adopting it as his own,—by doing which, he manifestly becomes a partaker of God's own very righteousness, not in fiction, but in reality.

I shall proceed to give a free translation of the passage, from the 21st to the 26th verse, including both—which the literate reader may compare with the original, and which the unlearned reader may compare with the common version, aided by the remarks which I shall subjoin.

“But now a righteousness of God, that is, a righteousness which God will acknowledge, is manifested, which though beyond the limits of the law, is yet witnessed to by the law and the prophets,---even a righteousness of God, through the faith of Jesus Christ, that is, a righteousness consisting in trusting God as Jesus did, which is offered to all, and rests upon all who thus trust Him; for there is no difference, as all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;—and such trusters are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set before us as making reconciliation by a trust exercised even in offering up or shedding his own blood, that is, by committing himself with filial confidence to his father's leading, through sorrow and death ; as an example of the righteousness to which He calls us, and which is founded, not on past rectitude, but

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