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our dealings with God by him, we must be furnished with our sacrifice out of his store; we must offer up all to God by him as our Priest, Heb. xiii. 15.; for they are only acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. ii. 5. And we must have and use Christ as our altar to sanctify our gifts, Matth. xxiii. 13. It is grievous to hear what sad ground there is to fear, that some professors think more oft, and think more highly of their own tears, than of the redeeming blood of the Son of God. Lastly, There are afflictions of God's inflicting and laying on; always laid on justly and righteously. No man should complain of them, or of God, when under them. All believers should neither despise nor faint under them, Heb. xii. 6, 7. But no man must think of appearing before God with acceptance, merely because he is afflicted. God afflicts his children in love; and he loves them not the less that they are afflicted. But affliction itself, and our own cross, must not rob Christ's cross of its glory, of making peace with God for sinners, Col. i. 20. I should not mention this, but that you know, that there are some so ignorant as to say when greatly afflicted, “ I am now enduring the punishment of my “sins ;” yea, when dying, they think that the very agony of death is a punishment of, yea an expiation for all the sins of their life. So grossly ignorant are many that live in a land of light. It is true, that all the miseries of this life, yea death itself, to an unbeliever, are the punishment of sin; yet they are but a small and short part of that punishment. But, alas ! where is the payment of sin, and the satisfaction that God demands, and will only accept? Nothing a sinner can do or suffer, can ever amount to that.
I would conclude this exercise with these two words :
1. All that adventure to appear before God as they are in and of themselves, are ignorant both of God and of themselves. They neither know how holy and just he is, nor how vile they are. If they did, they would never venture stubble fully dry before this consuming fire.
2. All that dare not adventure on Jesus Christ, and on his representing them to God for acceptance, know neither the Father nor the Son. This is the glorious contrivance in his eternal counsels, and is delivered to us in his word, as the re
cord of God, 1 John v. 10, 11. extracted out of these counsels, that a great number of sinners, vile and unworthy in themselves, shall be accepted in that beloved, and shall be beloved for his sake, and in him. How hard a thing do believers themselves find it to believe this firmly and constantly, what a glorious representation Jesus Christ can make of such vile creatures as we be in ourselves, when he clothes us with his righteousness? It is no easy thing for a true Christian, when he is digging into the dunghill of his own heart, and lothing himself for all his abominations; at the same time to believe, that he stands accepted before the throne of God, as found and seen in Christ, clothed with Christ's garment of a spolJess righteousness, that no fault can be found with, even 2: the highest tribunal, nor any condemnation can come from thence to the happy man that wears it. There is no condemna. tion to them that ore in Christ Jesus; because it is God that jusa tifieth all that believe on him, Rom. viii. 1, 33, 34.
SER MON XII.
JOHN xvii. 24.
Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be suit), 114
where I am; that they may behold my glory which thcu hast given me : for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
I AM yet on the third thing in the matter of our Lori's
for: Those whom thou hast given me. The second is, the blessing he prays for to them: That they may be avath me where I am. The third is, the end for which Christ prays for this blessing to them. What shall they get by being with Christ where he is ? What shall they do, and how shall they be employed ? That they maij behold my glory which tku kast given me. That will find them work crough, and bliss enough,
to eternity. On this I proposed two things to be handled. 1. The glory of Christ. And, 2. The beholding of his glory.
On the first of these, the glory of Christ, I have spoke a little on two heads. 1. Christ's glory as he represents God to meni. 2. As Christ represents men to God. There a:e two most important questions that rise in the niind of every serious man; and he is a sinful and miserable person that never found them in his own heart, and knows not how to answer them rightly. 1. How may a sinful man so take up God as to know him truly and savingły? And, 2. What way may God look upon a sinful man graciously ? Both answered
It is only in his Son Jesus Christ. If we look on God out of Christ, we are confounded; if God look on us out of Christ, we are destroyed. We are not able to behold the glory of God, but in the face of Christ; and we are not able to avoid his wrath, unless we be found in Christ, and accepted of God in him.
Wherein Christ represents his church to God, how fit be is to make this representation, and what Christ's glory is in making of it, I spoke of last day. This representation that Christ makes of his church unto God, is for their acceptance with God; and that acceptance never fails, where this re presentation is made. It is acceptance with that God that knoweth all things, and judgeth rightly of all things and persons. How then can a just God accept a man that in himself is a sinner, and therein do justly? A hard question, that only is answered in the gospel. It is, because Christ represents a sinner to God for acceptance; and this acceptance must be, where this representation is made by Christ. l. Because Christ covers all that is sinful and lothsome in the man, by his righteousness. And, 2. By the same righteousness, not only covereth his nakedness and deformity, but puts a beauty upon the man; though it is not in him, but in Christ, yet is on him by grace; as Ezek. xvi. 14. Thy beauty was perfort through my comeliness which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord, By this imputed righteousness of Christ put upon a believer in Christ, his own sin is covered, and the believer stands clothed, and so is beautiful in God's sight, in this gifred righteousness, and is justly justified by God the Judge of it.
See Psal. xxxii. 1, 2. with Paul's comment on it, in Rom. iv. 6, 7, 8. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the inan unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not inpute sin. A few remarks on those two scriptures, shall be all I shall say on the doctrinal part, and then proceed in application: The first thing I remark, is this : That the apostle names only those words of the Psalmist that belong to his present purpose. He is handling the doctrine of the justification of a sinner. This blessed doctrine he had taught in the preceding chapter, with so clear a light, that all the darkness of hell will never be able to put out, or quench, in the church of Christ. This blessing, he teacheth, comes by the free grace of God, in and by the redemption made by Christ; and is given by God and possessed by men, by faith in Christ's redeeming blood, without any interest of the works of the law therein. Christ indeed dealt with the law, and fulfilled all the righteousness thereof, for our justification ; but we have nothing to do with the law, in our dealing with God for our justification ; but to come with its condemning sentence in our guilty conscience, that we may lay hold of Christ's righteousness; which, as it fulfilled the law, when wrought out by Christ; so it sprinkles our consciences, when applied to us by his Spirit and grace, and when it is applied unto by us by faith. And those two applications are inseparable, and both the fruits of the saving grace of God. This doctrine Paul confirms by two instances, in two eminent saints, in this fourth chapter; Abraham before the law, ver. 1,-5. and afterwards in this chapter ; and David under the law, ver. 6, 7, 8. Whatever difference there was in the dispensations they were under, (and there was a great one); yet there was none in the way of their justification before God. Both were by God's grace, without the works of the law, without work, without hire, without any glorying before God. Now, David hath said in Psal. xxxii. 2. Blessed is the inan also in whose spie rit there is no guile. But this pertaining to the blessing of sanctification, though inseparable from that of justification, (which is the apostle's distinct theme in this context), is
therefore wisely omitted by the apostle. A second thing I remark, in comparing these two scriptures, is this : That whereas David lays the blessedness on the pardoned man, the man whose sins are covered, the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity: Paul tells us, that herein David describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works when he said so. David saith nothing of the imputing of righteousness, but only of the not imputing of sin. Paul teacheth, that the not imputing of sin, is the same with the imputing of righteousness, and that without works also. A few things will serve to clear this. 1. Every man's state before God, is as God judgeth and reckons of him. His account and reckoning of a man is always right and true; and it is always decisive and determining; for it is the highest Judge's sentence. Thus is it now, thus will it always be. 2. This judgment of this supreme Judge concerning them, is always about sin, or righteousness. His condemning sentence is for sin ; his approving sentence is for righteousness. To clear the guilty, and to condemn the righteous, are both an abomination to the Lord, in an earthly judge, Prov. xvii. 15. And who, without blasphemy, can charge the Judge of all the earth with it? Gen. xviii. 25. Every man therefore, even now, is in God's sight under a sentence, either of condemnation, because of sin; or of approbation, because of righteousness; that is, in the dialect of the Holy Ghost, hath either sin imputed to him for condemnation, or righteousness imputed to him for the justification of life, as Paul calls it, Rom. v. 18. 3. Sin and righteousness are contraries, and expel one another, and cannot consist together. Guilty, or not guilty, every one is, and must be in the
eye of God, and at the bar of God's law and judgment. If guilty, then not righteous, and therefore condemned: if not guilty, then righteous, and therefore absolved and acquitted. This alternative, sinful, or lawful, reacheth to all our thoughts and actions; and thus are they judged by God, as contrary or consonant to the law, the rule. And also guilty, or not guilty, or righteous, reacheth to the state of all persons before God; and thus are we all judged and accounted of by the Lord, as we are under sin, or under righteousness. 4. Now when man is fallen, and there is nothing but sin in