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of “ascribing" the righteousness of Christ to the believing sinner personally, any more than he has. I should as soon “ ascribe " the unrighteousness of the sinner to Christ, as the righteousness of Christ to the sinner. The imputation of sin to Christ, and of righteousness to the sinner, appears to me to consist not in God's thinking or judging of characters differently from what they are, or declaring them to be what they are not; but in his treating or dealing with them, not according to their personal merit or demerit, but according to those of another. God neither thonght his Son to be wicked, nor declared him to be so; but he treated or dealt with him, as if he had been so. God neither thinks the character of the believing sinner such as his righteous law approves, nor declares it to be so: but he treats or deals with him, as if it were so, out of respect to the righteousness of him in whom he believeth.
Of course, by the term righteous, as it is used with reference to justification, I do not mean the same thing as being “a good man.” I should as soon consider Christ's being made sin for us' as the same thing with his being made a bad man, as I should our being made the righteousness of God in him,' to be the same thing with our being made good men. This is utterly confounding justification with sanctification; which indeed appears to me to be the drift of the whole piece.
The statement which Christopher gives of men's recovery by Jesus Christ, seems to represent sinners not as accepted of God, out of regard to what Christ has done, but on the ground of “the divine life and likeness within us;” and that the righteousness which he disclaims as the ground of his hope, is not what he performs under the character of a christian, but merely what he has performed prior to his sustaining that character, or while he was unrighteous.
The connection in which he has introduced Col. i. 27, • Christ in you the hope of glory,' renders it pretty evident that by Christ in this passage, he understands the image or likeness of Christ in us. But surely this was not Paul's meaning: of Christ, who was in or among the Colossians, he adds, 'whom we preach.' But it was not the image of Christ in our hearts that was the subject of Paul's ministry.
If even our evangelical obedience be the ground of acceptance with God, I should be glad to be informed(1) How it is that works are constantly excluded in the justification of sinners.*-—(2) How it is that God is said to justify the ungodly.+ I do not suppose that when a sinner is justified, he is actually an enemy to God; for in the same passage he is supposed to be a believer, which character is inconsistent with such a state of mind. But as Dr. Owen has observed," To say that he who worketh not is justified through believing, is to say that his works, whatever they be, have no influence in his justification; por hath God in justifying him any respect unto them.” (3) How is it that the righteousness by which we are justified is represented as revealed to faith, and as being . to and upon all them that believe? Are the dispositions of our own minds revealed' to us!--(4) How is it that such objections are made to the christian doctrine of justification, if holy dispositions were the ground of it? If Paul had taught justification by evangelical works, and only meant to reject those which were done prior to embracing the gospel; with what plausibility could it have been objected, that his doctrine gave liberty to sin ? If the ‘righteousness, through which grace reigns to eternal life,'s meant, as Christopher explains it, “our own righteous dispositions;" with what propriety does the apostle ask, in the following words, What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid.'
Your correspondent remarks, that “his friend Gaius seems partial to the phrase, imputed righteousness.” Is it unbecoming a christian then, to be partial to the phrase
* Rom. iii. 24–27. iv. 2-8. + Ch, iv. 5. 1 Ch. i. 17. iii. 22. $ Ch. v. 21.
ology of scripture? What if I should ask friend Christopher, whether he be not prejudiced against this phrase ; and not the phrase only, but the doctrine conveyed by it? He might answer, No: I shall allow it in the same sense in which sin is imputed to us, that is, really and truly, by participation of a fallen nature. Then really and truly, friend Christopher, either you or I are entirely out as to the meaning of words. Does the word impute really and truly mean to participate? When Ahimelech pleaded before Saul, saying 'Let not the king impute any thing unto his servant,' * did he mean, Do not cause me to participate in a conspiracy? When Shimei entreated David, saying 'Let not my lord impute iniquity unto me,'t did he mean, Do not make me wicked? Does he not rather mean, do not deal with me according to my desert ?
And does the imputation of the sin of our first parent to his posterity, consist in participation? That it is connected with it, I allow. Could an individual be found, who had never made the sin of his first father his own by participating in it, he would, I suppose, have nothing to fear from its being imputed to him. And much the same may be said concerning righteousness; for until a sinner believes in Christ, which includes an acquiescence in the gospel way of salvation, he has nothing to hope from imputation. These things have an inseparable connection; but the plain meaning of words must be altered before we can consider them as the same.
We have the same authority for believing that our sins were imputed to Christ, as that Adam's sin was imputed to his posterity. The word 'impute' is used in neither case, but both are compared to the imputation of righte
“As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous-He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of
i Sam, xxii. 15.
+ 2 Sam. xix, 19.
God in him.'* Now will Christopher affirm, that Christ was really and truly made sin by participation?
It does not follow from hence that “the old man, any more than the new man, is a mere creature of imputation,” or that the necessity of “repentance and the love of God” are superseded. It is strange that Christopher should have so little regard for the credit of his own understanding, as to insinuate the contrary. He who cannot distinguish between the blessings of justification and sanctification, without setting aside the importance of either, has in my opinion yet to learn one of the first principles of the oracles of God.
· REMARKS ON GOD'S JUSTIFYING THE UNGODLY,
In Reply to Dr. Joseph Jenkins of Walworth.
The passage in my last paper, on which J. J. has animadverted, is as follows—God is said to justify the ungodly.I do not suppose that when a sinner is justified, he is actually an enemy to God; for in the same text he is supposed to be a believer, which character is inconsistent with such a state of mind.'
Now he who controverts these principles, may be supposed to maintain the contrary; namely, that when a sinper is justified, he is actually at enmity with God; and that though he is a believer, as the text intimates, yet his being so includes nothing inconsistent with such a state of mind. And such in fact is the statement of this correspondent.-(1) He endeavours to maintain that when a sinner is justified, he is God's enemy. It is true, he says, “I do not suppose, any more than Gaius, that a man can be justified, and at the same time be an enemy to God:” but he means only to allow, that he does not continue an enemy of God after he is justified, concerning which there is no dispute. The question is,-In what state of mind is the sinner, with regard to enmity and friendship, antecedent to his justification ? And by all that J. J. has written, it appears that he considers him as God's enemy "until” he is justified.-(2) He labours to prove, that his being a believer includes in it nothing inconsistent with such a state of mind. The faith which is 'counted for righteousness,' he supposes, must either mean Christ, the object of faith, or a spiritual illumination of the understanding, in which the mind is passive: at all events it must include no holy disposition of heart, that is, nothing inconsistent with enmity to God.
* Rom. v. 19. 2 Cor. v, 21.
+ Rom. iv. 5.
Before we examine these positions, it seems necessary to have a clear understanding of what is meant by justification. J. J. distinguishes between justification in the eye of justice, or a sinner's being accepted in the Beloved; and justification as it respects the sensation or perception of the blessing in a person's own mind; adding, that his more immediate business is with the latter.” I am certainly obliged to him for this explanation, for without it I should have supposed the question to relate wholly to acceptance with God itself, and not to the sensation or perception of this blessing in the mind; and still less to the pleas which the sinner is to “bring forward” in his application for mercy. I must say however, if J. J.'s “ business” lies here, assuredly mine does not; having never, that I recollect, advanced a single idea on the subject. But if it did, it would not affect the argument; for if we be not in a justified state till we cease to be the enemies of God, it is impossible we should enjoy any previous sensation or perception of it, as no one can truly perceive that which does not exist.
To me it appears that the distinguishing of justification into acceptance with God, and the sensation or percep