Page images

ness on account of our non-conformity to the holiness of God, because his vindictive justice is satisfied ? Have we no occasion to lament that we are no more prepared and ripened for heaven, because we hope to escape hell ? Have we no reason to lament the dishonour we do to God, because he has, in infinite mercy, been pleased to pardon our sins, and make us heirs of glory? And, in fine, have we no sins to repent of, when, in many things, we all offend, and when our offences are peculiarly aggravated by our distinguishing privileges and obligations?

I speak these things upon the supposition that we have an assurance of a justified state ; which (as I have before proved) no man ever had, or can have, while he makes light of sinning. It is little likely that they are true believers, who believe in Christ for a pardon only; or that they are true penitents, whose only motive is the penalty, and not the turpitude of sin, which should make us loathe it, and ourselves for it, though conscious of a pardon.

You further observe, that the 6 Antinomians argue from the doctrine of our union to Christ, as I have proposed it, that the sins of believers do really belong to Christ, as the sins of the hand really belong to the head unto which those hands are united. Accordingly, he actually bare our sins, suffered for us, and God laid upon him the iniquities of us all. The sins that the believer commits, do therefore truly belong to Christ, and not to the believer himself. They are his si They are already accounted for by him, and consequently are not now to be repeuted of by us. You

not ours.

suspect (you say) that there are too many among us, who quiet themselves with such dangerous pretences, while going on in sinful practices; that these seem to found their erroneous principles upon the doctrine taught in my last; and you desire me to consider, whether they do not naturally flow from it."

There needs no other answer to this, than to show you, that our sins are to be considered in a three-fold respect. They are to be considered with respect to their pollution, or contrariety to the holiness of God; with respect to their innate guilt, or contrariety to the preceptive will of God; and with respect to their desert, or relation to the penalty denounced against them by the justice and law of God. It is in the latter sense only, that our blessed Saviour bare our sins, and was made sin for us; and that our sins are, by virtue of our union to Christ, imputed to him, and esteemed as bis. If this be distinctly considered, the case will appear most plain and evident.

If we consider sin with respect to its blot or pollution, it is the abominable thing which God's soul hates. It is what he " is of purer eyes than to behold," and what he cannot look on but with abhorrence and detestation. Now, it were the greatest blasphemy to suppose, that our Lord Jesus Christ did in this sense take our sins upon him, so as to be polluted and defiled with them.

He was “ holy, harmless, undefiled, and (in this respect) separate from sinners.He was a lamb without spot and blemish.” He was

He was “God's beloved Son, in whom he was well pleased.” In this sense, then, sin be

longs even to the believer himself, notwithstanding his union to Christ. The pollution of his sin was never transferred to Christ. But every sin he commits, pollutes and defiles his soul, gives him new cause of humiliation and repentance, new cause to fly by faith to the blood of Christ for cleansing ; and to the grace of Christ for the sanctifying, renewing, and quickening influences of his Holy Spirit. Hence we find David complaining, that “ his wounds stink and are corrupt, because of his foolishness;" that “ his loins are filled with a loathsome disease, and there is no soundness in his flesh.” And hence we likewise find him so humbly and earnestly praying, that he may be “purged with hyssop, and made clean ; washed, and made whiter than the snow.” It is not the privilege of believers, that their sins have less pollution in them than the sins of others; or that they are less displeasing to God: but their privilege is, that they being united to Christ, have grace given them to apply for cleansing to the fountain set open for sin and uncleanness; and that they have an Advocate with the Father, to make intercession for them. It is therefore certain, that all such who do not improve this privilege, who do not repair to the blood of Christ for cleansing, but remain careless and secure in their sins, were never yet united to Christ, never cleansed from their filthiness; but are, notwithstanding all their vain dreams of a union to Christ, liable to meet with that final sentence, “He that is filthy, let him be filthy still.”

If we consider sin with respect to its innate guilt, or contrariety to the law of God, the sins of be

lievers, as well as others, are a transgression of God's law, a contempt of his dominion and authority, a repugnancy to his nature and will, a dishonour to his name, and an injury to his kingdom and interest in the world; in all which respects, they bring guilt upon the souls of the offenders, in proportion to the nature and aggravations of the transgressions. Now I hope none will be so daringly blasphemous, as to suppose that our sins are in this respect transferred to Christ; that the blessed Saviour of the world has transgressed the law of God, or dishonoured his holy name. “ For he did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. He always did those things which pleased his heavenly Father.”—There is no possibility, from the nature of things, that the innate guilt of sin, or the reatus culpæ, (as the schools express it,) can be transferred from one person to another. Whoever represents the person of the offender, and, as his surety, bears the punishment he deserved, yet the original guilt, the obliquity, the enormity, fault, or crime of the offence, lies at the offender's door, and can lie no where else. Whence it follows, that the believer's union to Christ can no way change the nature of his sinful actions, and make that guiltless and innocent, whilst repugnant to the nature and law of God. Though it deliver from the penalty, it cannot remove the native enormity of sin ; it still remains, and cannot but remain abominable to God, and worthy of eternal death. Whence God is displeased with believers, when they sin against him. “ The thing that David had done displeased the Lord.” “ The Lord was angry with Moses.” “ He was very angry with Aaron.” Though he be a Fa

ther, he is a provoked Father when his children “ forsake his law, and walk not in his judgments;" and therefore he “ visits their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes,” though he do not utterly “ take away his loving kindness from them, nor suffer his faithfulness to fail.”

Have not believers, therefore, cause to be deeply affected with their sins, to lament them before God, and penitently to fly to the blood of Christ for pardon, when they render them guilty in the sight of God, are provoking and displeasing to him, and justly deserve his eternal wrath? But if we proceed, in the last place, to consider sin with respect to its law, desert, or demerit, with regard to the penalty annexed to it by the justice and law of God, in this sense Christ bare our sins for us, and took upon him all the iniquities of those who are interested in and united to him. 66 He bare our sins in his own body upon the tree:" that is, he bare the punishment due to us for sin, when he offered himself a sacrifice


the cross. He was made a curse for us, and underwent the curse that was due to us.

He was made a surety of the better testament; and so the dreadful debt was transferred from the principal debtors to him, and he, being a surety for strangers, was made to smart for it. Thus believers partake of the blessedness ascribed to him. “ whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered, and unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity.” And “there is now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus." They are acquitted from the guilt of all their former sins, upon their exercising faith in Christ. “Through faith in his blood, Christ's righteousness is declared,

« PreviousContinue »