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fore reason to suspect their union to Christ, and to conclude that they are not in the path of life. Their eternal interest does therefore loudly call upon them to mourn for their sins, to hate and forsake them, lest they perish eternally. True believers will not finally perish; for whom God justifies, he will also glorify. But then the believer's perseverance is subserved by a fear of caution; nor are there any true believers but penitent believers : and, therefore, whoever are habitually careless in their walk, and impenitent for their sins, will fall short of salvation, whatever pretences to faith in Christ they may make. There is but one way to heaven ; and whoever gets there, must attain the glorious salvation, by obtaining assistance from the powerful influences of divine grace to keep that way. They must be enabled to go "weeping and mourning, with their faces toward Zion.” They must offer to God “the sacrifice of an humble and contrite spirit.” They must “ loathe themselves in their own sight, for their iniquities and abominations." Every other road but this leads down to the chambers of death. Believers, therefore, as well as others, have cause to pass the time of their sojourning bere in fear. They have not cause indeed (as is before observed) of a legal and slavish fear; but they have cause of a jealousy of themselves, lest they miss their way and fall short of their hope. They have cause to - watch and pray, that they enter not into temptation." They have cause “to keep under their body, and bring it into subjection, lest by any means they themselves should be cast-aways ;” and to “ judge themselves, that so they may not be con
demned with the world.” They have cause to “ follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” They have cause to “repent, and turn themselves from all their transgressions, that their iniquity do not prove their ruin.' Believers themselves would fall into condemnation, and their iniquities be their ruin, should they live careless, sinful, impenitent lives. There is no salvation promised, there is no salvation possible, to any
who live such lives. They who are kept by the power of God, are kept through faith (an operative faith, which is accompanied with all the graces of the blessed Spirit) unto the salvation which shall be revealed in the last time. The doctrine of our union to Christ, does therefore allow no plea for licentiousness, since Christ is a Prince as well as a Saviour, to all who are in him, to give them repentance, as well as forgiveness of sins. And they who do not live in the exercise of repentance, whatever pretences they may make to a union to Christ by faith, have not the faith of God's elect, are none of liis, nor are they likely ever to partake of his salvation. It therefore concerns such filthy dreamers to awake, and consider their danger, who are at ease in Zion, who flatter themselves in their own eyes ; for their iniquities must, first or last, be found hateful.
You go on to argue—“ It appears a contradiction to teach, that the believer is perfectly righteous in the sight of God, by virtue of his union to Christ, and by the imputation of his righteousness, and yet that he is sinful and polluted in God's sight at the same time.
If he be united to Christ, and inter
ested in his righteousness, he is perfectly righteous ; and if he be perfectly righteous, he cannot be sinful; and therefore cannot have cause to repent for his sins, to grieve for them, or seek pardon for them.” In answer to this, I would entreat you to consider,
1. That this is to blend together justification and sanctification, as if they were the same thing. There is not the least shadow of a consequence, that because believers are interested in a perfect righteousness, and are thereby perfectly justified in the sight of God, therefore their sanctification is complete, and they perfectly holy. God may blot out our transgressions as a cloud, and cast our iniquities into the depths of the sea, by a gracious pardon ; when yet we have cause to acknowledge ourselves altogether as an unclean thing, and that if he should mark iniquity, we could not stand; that if he should contend with us, we could not answer him one of a thousand. And is that an arguinent why we should be bold and careless in sinning, because God has been infinitely gracious in pardoning our sin ? Is it an argument why we should securely and ungratefully abuse our heavenly Father, because he has laid us under the strongest obligations to love and serve him ? But it seems to be the drift of those whom you would personate in this argument, that the believer's violation of the law of God is no sin; that their not being under the law, but under grace, makes it no ways criminal in them to transgress the law; and their being united to Christ, legitimates even the grossest transgressions both of the law and Gospel. If this be intended, I
must observe to you, that, in order to a just deducing of this conclusion, it must be supposed that the law of God is wholly vacated, and ceases to be a rule of life; though the Apostle assures us, that the law is not made void by faith, but established. It must also be supposed, that holiness of life is not required by the Gospel of Christ, though the whole design of the Gospel is to promote holiness; and we are expressly told, that the “grace of God which brings salvation, teaches us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” And it must even be supposed, that the nature of the glorious God himself must be changed ; that he can look upon sin with approbation, and be pleased with what is most opposite to his own purity and rectitude. It must be supposed that David's murder and adultery, that Peter's denying his Lord, with cursing and swearing, &c. were acceptable to God. What blasphemy! what subversions of the very light and law of nature are contained in such principles as these !
But you will say, perhaps, that it does not obviate the difficulty, to show the inconsistency and incongruity of these principles, while the question yet remains, whether they do not (how wicked soever) necessarily follow from my doctrine of our union to Christ? To which it is sufficient answer, that, by virtue of a believer's union to Christ, his righteousness is imputed, to answer the demands of the justice and law of God; and thereby to reconcile the believer to God, but not to legitimate his sinful actions. It is to procure him a pardon for past sins, and not a license for future transgres
sions. It is to free him from the guilt and condemping power of sin; but not to change the nature, and destroy the inseparable essential desert of sin. It is true, that the believer is hereby interested in God's covenant, mercy, and love; therefore secure of a gradual sanctification, whereof his repentance, hatred of, and sorrow for sin, is a peculiar and principal part. Whence it follows, that we must mourn for our sins, repent of, and hate them, in order to evidence our union to Christ and interest in him ; and not live contentedly in sin, from a vain dream of our union to him. There can be no such thing in nature as an impenitent true believer, and therefore all conclusions of this kind are groundless and impious.
2. It is a fact most notorious, and admits of no dispute, that believers have not a perfect personal and inherent righteousness in the sight of God; and therefore the doctrine under consideration affords no handle for such licentious pleas as you have suggested. Christ's righteousness imputed to us, it is true, is perfect; and therefore our justification is perfect loo, by virtue of our interest in it, so that on that account we have no cause of any disquietment and uneasiness. But what is our own personal righteousness? It is filthy rags. It is loss and dung. Aud“ if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." Have we no cause, therefore, to lament the imperfection of our own righteousness, because Christ's righteousness is perfect ? Have we no cause to lament the great defects of our sanctification, because our justification is perfect ? Have we no matter of uneasi