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But bis Faith was imputed for Righteousness.

51 whereof to glory, but not what the Sacred Oracles express, that, tho' the Sect. 8. before God. Behaviour of this celebrated Person was indeed

Roin. IV. 2. innocent, fair, and honourable before Men, yet

[he bath] not any Thing to boast in the Sight of 3 For what faith the GOD. For what saith the Scripture upon

this

3 Scripture ? Abraham believ. Head ? (Gen. xv. 6.) Abraham believed GOD, ed God, and it was counted

“ when he made him the Promise of that mira.unto him for Righteousness.

“ culous and important Seed, and so it was im

puted to him, or placed to his Account, for
Righteousness

, or in order to his Justifica-
« tion :” That is, God was pleased graciously.
to accept it, though he had not that compleat
and perfect Righteousness, which might in strict
Justice be demanded of every rational Creature,

as the only Condition of his being acquitted at 4 Now to him that work- the Divine Bar. Now to him, who thus work

4 eth, is the Reward not reck- eth to the utmost Extent of all that was requironed of Grace, but of Debt. ed, the Reward proportioned to that Work is

not charged to Account, as Matter of Grace (c),
but of Debt; and he may glory, at least in

having diligently earned it. (Compare Chap.
5 But to him that work. xi. 6.) But to him who in this Sense worketh
eth not, but believeth on
him that justifieth the Un- not, who can by no Means pretend to have
godly, his Faith is counted wrought all Righteousness, but humbly believeth
for Righteousness. on him, who declareth the Freeness of pardoning

Grace, and by that justifieth even the Ungodly if
he repent and return, the Phrase used concerning
Abraham

may be applied with the strictest Pro-
priety, and it may be said that, his Faith is impu-
ted to him, or placed to his Account, for Righ-
teousness, or to the Purpose of his being accepted,

and treated by God as righteous. 6 Even as David also de And [this is] very agreeable to what we read

6 fcribeth the Blefiedness of the elsewhere; particularly as David (Psal. xxxii. Man unto whom God im- 1, 2.) defcribeth the Blessedness of the Man who is

puteth

accepted of God, whom he speaks “of as one, to
whom GOD, according to the Method of Pro-

ceeding

5.

(c) As of Grace.) Raphelius has shewn, that wador don't only fignify a Reward of Debt, but also a Gift of Favour ; and that the Phrase undov dupany occurs in Herodotus ; so that a Reward of Grace or Favour is a Classical as well as Theological Expresfion.-Could we bo fure, that Abraham was once an Idolater, it would be some Illustration of the Apostle's Rea. foning here ; but the Validity of it hy no Means depends upon that Fact.

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52

8 Blessed is the Man to

Abraham was justified by Faith before he was circumcised. Sect. 8. ceeding we now maintain, imputeth Righteouf- puteth Righteousness with

out Works. nefs without any Supposition of, or Regard to, Rom. IV. 7.

a former Series of good Works, supposed to “ have been performed by him,'

For he ex 7 Saying, Blessed are they presses himself thus, Blessed are they whose Ini- whose Iniquities are forgiven,

and whole Sins are covered, quities are pardoned, and whose Sins are, as it

were, covered (d), by the Vail of Divine Mer8. cy: Bleffed is the Man to whom the Lord

imputeth not Sin.Which plainly implies, whom the Lord will not that Sin had been committed by the best and impute Sin. happiest of Men; and that it is Matter of Mercy and Favour, that it is not charged to Account, so that he should finally be condemned for it. Now while we are speaking of this Blessedness

9 Cometh this Blessedness -9 of the pardoned and accepted Sinner, give me only

, or upon the Uncircum

then upon the Circumcision Leave to ask [dath it come] upon the Circumcifion cision allo? For we say that [only,] or also on-the Uncircumcision? The celebra- Faith was reckoned to Abrated Instance we have just been mentioning will ham for Righteousness. Thew, how far Circumcision is from being necefsary to a Share in it. For (when] we say, as above,

that Faith was imputed to Abraham for Righteoul10 ness (e);

How and when was it thus imputed, 10 How was it then and charged to his Account, in this View? When reckoned? When he was be was in Circumcifion, or in Uncircumcifion? in Circumcision, or in Un[Truly] the History plainly shews us, that it was cumcision, but in Uncir .. not in Circumcision, but in Uncircumcifion; for it re- cumcision. lates this important Circumstance of Abraham, as taking place many Years before Circumcision was

instituted

(d) Whofe Iniquity is pardoned, and whose Sin is covered.] Archbishop Leighton has so elegantly and beautifully illustrated these Words, that I must þeg leave to refer those of my Readers, that cannot use his Latin Meditations on the 32d Plalm, to review the English Translation of it, in the 2d Volume of his Expository Discourses ; printed at Edinburgh, 1748.

(e) Imputed to him far Righteousness.] I think nothing can be easier, than to understand, how this may be said in full Consistence with our being justified by the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ, that is, our being treated by God as righteous, for the Sake of what he has done and suffered: For though this be the meritorious Cause of our Acceptance with God, yet Faith may be said to be imputed to us.sk disaloouuni, in order to our being justified, or becoming righteous: That is, according to the View in which I have elsewhere more largely stated it, as we are charged as Debtors, in the Book of God's Account, what Christ has done, in fulfilling all Righteousness for us, is charged as the grand Balance of the Account; but that it may appear, that we are, according to the Tenor of the Gospel, intitled to the Benefit of this, it is also entered in the Book of God's Remem. brance, “ that we are Believers :" And, this appearing, we are graciously discharged, yea and rewarded, as if we ourselves had been perfectly innocent and obedient. Şee my Sermons on Salvation by. Grace, pag. 147-19. which Account is perfectly agreeable to, what Witfius has remarked, Oecon. Fæd. Lib, iii. Chap. viii. $ 36.

(f) Many

1

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He is the Father of all Believers tho' in Uncircumcision. 53 II. And he received the instituted (f). And it assures us, that he re- Sect. 8. Sign of Circumcision, a Seal ceived the Sign of Circumcifion, not as the Means

Rom.IV. II.
Faith, which he had yet be- of making him acceptable to God when he was
ing uncircumcised : That he not before so, but as the Token of his being al-
might be the Father of all ready accepted; and therefore as the Seal of the
them that believe, though Righteousness of that Faith, which he had in Un-
that Righteousness might be circumcision (g): That so be might be the Father
imputed unto them allo:

of all those who believe in Uncircumcision, that
Righteousness may also be imputed unto them, that
they may be justified in the same Means, and
that it

may

be written down in the Book of God's 12 And the Father of Remembrance, that they are so.

And he reCircumcision to them who ceived this Rite by Divine Appointment, that he only, but also walk in the might also be the Father of the Circumcision, that Steps of that Faith of our is, to those who should afterwards practise it, and Father Abraham, which he were not only Partakers of the external Ceremony had being yet uncircumcised.

of Circumcihon, which in itself indeed can have
no Efficacy; but shall also walk in the Footsteps of
that Faith of our Father Abraham, which he had
in Uncircumcifion, and which rendered him fo
dear to God, while he was in that State.

I 2

IMPROVE M E N T.

F there be indeed such a Thing as Happiness to be enjoyed by mortal

of him, whose Iniquity is pardoned, and whose Sin is covered, and who Ver. 7, 8.
enjoys the Manifestation of that Pardon. Well may he endure the great-
eft Afflictions of Life with Chearfulness, and look forward to Death with
Comfort ; when the Sting of all these Evils is taken out, and the return-
ing Tokens of the Divine Favour convert them into Blessings. Oh let
us earnestly pray that this Happiness may be ours : That the great and
glorious Being whom by our Sins we have offended, and in whom alone
the Right and Power of Pardon resides, would spread the Vail of his

Mercy

(f) Many Years before Circumcision was instituted.] 'Tis said this Imputation was made on Abraham's believing the Promise, Gen. xv. 6. about a Year before the Birth of 'Ishmael ; but he did not receive Circumcision till Ishmael was thirteen Years old, Gen. xvii. 27. and consequently, Abraham was declared justified at least fourteen Years before he was circumcised.

18) Seal of the Righteousness of Faith.] This seems an uncontestable Proof, that Circumcision was a Seal of the Covenant of Grace, and not merely of temporal Promises ; and consequently obviates the most considerable Objection that hath ever been urged against Infant Baptifm.

54

Reflections on the Happiness of a justified State. Sect. 8. Mercy over our Provocations, and blot them out of the Book of his Re

membrance !

Let us on the one Hand fix it in our Mind, that it is the Character of that Man, to whom this Blessedness belongs, that in bis Spirit there is no Guile; and on the other, let us often reflect, that it is in Consequence of a Righteousness which GOD imputes, and which Faith receives and

embraces. We are saved by a Scheme, that allows us not to mention Ver. 1, 2. any Works of our own, as if we had whereof to glory before GOD, but

teaches us to ascribe our Salvation to believing on him who justifieth the Ungodly. Nor need we be ashamed of flying to such a Method, to which

Abraham the Father of the Faithful had Recourse himself, and on which Ver. I, 3. he built his eternal Hope. May we share his Disposition of Mind, that

we may inherit the same Promises ; walking in the Footsteps of our Father Abraham. So shall we also be called the Friends and Children of GOD, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in his beavenly Kingdom.

Ver. 5.

Ver. 12.

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In Order to recommend the Scheme of Justification, by believ

ing GOD's. Promises, the Apostle Mews, that it was an illustrious Aet of Faith, which entailed everlasting Honours on the great Patriarch Abraham ; in which he was intended for an Example to us. Rom. VI. 13, to the End.

Sect.9.

Abraham

ROMANS IV. 13.

ROMANS IV. 13. I

HAVE spoken of Abraham, as the Father F het should berie Heir of uncircumcised Believers, as well

' as those of the World, was not ta Rom.IV.13. of the Circumcision ; (Ver. 11, 12.) and that

with evident Propriety; for the Promise to Abra-
ham and his Seed, that he pould be Heir of the
World (a), that is, that he should inherit all the
Nations of the Earth, as a Seed that should be

blessed

(a) Heir of the World.] Koomos cannot here signify, as yn fometimes does, one Country, or Land, how fine or large foever. It must therefore imply his inheriting a Seed out of all Nations, whom he might be said to possess, in such a Sense, as Children are said to be an Heritage, Psal. cxxvii. 3. Compare Gen. iv. 1. Prov. xvii. 6. See also Pfal. lxxxii. 8. Where God is said to inherit the Nations that are taken into his Family on the Profession of the true Religion,

(6) Cannot

but

Justification only by the Law makes void the Promise.

55 Abraham, or to his Seed blessed in him, was not, and could not be by the Sect. 9. through the Law,

Law of Circumcision, or of Moses; being as through the Righteousness

Rom. IV.13 of Faith.

we have already observed prior to both ; but it
was by the Righteousness of Faith. God gave
him that Promise on his exerting a remarkable
Act of Faith, on which God in the most graci-

ous and honourable Manner declared his Accep14 For if they which are tance of him as righteous. Now if they who 14: of the Law be Heirs, Faith are of the Law, and depend upon that alone, is made yoid, and the Pro- Care] Heirs, exclusive of all others, as (some so of

eagerly contend;) then that Faith, which in the
Instance before us was so eminently honoured of
God, is made useless, and treated as a Thing of
no Value ; and so the Promise made to it is in
Effect abrogated, the Performance of it being put,
not only on new Conditions, but on such as can-

not be perfectly performed in this finful State (6). 15 Because the Law For the Law of God, considered in itself alone, worketh Wrath : For where and without any Regard to that Grace, which,

is greffion.

tho'it was in Fact mingled with it, yet makes no
Part of the legal Dispensation as such, is so ex-
tensive and difficult, and we are so weak and sin-
ful, that in Fact, instead of securing to us the
promised Blessings, it only worketh Wrath, that
is, it becomes to us accidently an Occasion of
Wrath, and exposes us to Punishment as Trans-
gressors; for where there is no Law, either reveal-
ed or intimated, [there is) no Transgression ; but
the Multiplication of Precepts increases the Dan-
ger of offending, and the clearer Declaration of

those Precepts aggravates the Guilt attending the
16 Therefore it is of Violation.
Faith, that it might be by mise, and the Inheritance to which it relates, [is]
But therefore [it,] that is, the Pro-

16
of Faith, or annexed to it, that it [might be] of
Grace, that God might magnify the Riches of
his Grace in proposing Justification and Life to
us in a Way, that might in Multitudes of In-

stances

15

(b) Cannot be perfectly performed.] This is here said with Reference to a moral Impossibility. It seems evident from what follows that the Law is to be considered as insisting on an Obedience absolutely perfect; so that these good Men who were justified under it, were not justified by it, but by the Difpenfation of Grace under which Abraham was, which, tho' not a Part of the Covenant of God by Mofes, was not and could not be abrogated by it. Compare Gal. iii. 17.

(c) Like

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