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To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
The Scrivus Inquirer in your number for January last, seems to have received some instructions concerning “ faith in the righteousness in Christ, which many, who are zealous for that doctrine, do not insist upon; and which are not, as they con- . ceive, at all essential to it or indeed implied in it. Content with the language of the Apostle “ we are “made the righteousness of God in him;" or that of our articles' we are accounted righteous before 'God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour 'Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own
works or deservings;' we do not say, that " we “ have perfectly fulfilled all righteousness in him;" which phrase does not so well express the idea of imputation as that of personal obedience.
Perhaps your correspondent does not exactly mark the line of distinction between being accounted righteous and being made holy: for if he did, he would hardly suppose, that being accounted righteous implied being really with
out spot before God;' for this expression, as Į understand it, signifies being perfected in holiness.' I consider the righteousness of Christ, or bis
Eph. v. 27. Col. i. 21.
personal abedience to the divine law, apprehended by true faith, as so imputed to the believer, that it constitutes his title to eternal life, which neither oblivion of sin, nor full acceptance of duty' could do. It is the meritorious ground of his being dealt with as an heir of eternal happiness; notwithstanding all his sins and imperfections : for eternal happiness is properly the reward of perfect righteousness. But this act of God, in “justifying the ungodly," and imputing “righ
teousness without works,” neither alters the rule of duty, nor the nature of a man's actions; while it increases the believer's obligations to obedience, and aggravates the guilt of his subsequent sins; and while God looks on believers as in Christ, in respect of justification; he views their character and actions in all respects as they really are in themselves. “The righteousness of God," which “is unto all and upon all that believe,” is merely a provision for the honour of the divine law and justice, in making sinners heirs of that happiness, which is properly and exclusively the reward of perfect obedience. The justified believer is also adopted: he is a son and heir: and the title to his inheritance is given him, on the ground of his brother and surety's meritorious services, and for his sake. But this no more renders personal abedience or sanctification unnecessary, than the entail of an estate renders obedience to a parent, or a good state of health superfluous. In these respects the obedience of Christ is not, and cannot be, imputed; or if it could it would be of no use.
But he, who has the title to the inheritance, under the hand and seal, so to speak, of his hearenly Father, still remains an accountable creature, fallible and peccable, depraved, (though not enslaved to sin,) exposed to temptation; and consequently, he is often, more or less, betrayed into sills, negligences, and omissions. He has, however, a tender conscience, and a holy taste; and thus when he reviews his conduct, he feels ingenuous sorrow and shame, for having offended his heavenly Father, lie repents, and humibles himself with tears and prayers, he welcomes rebukes and corrections, kisses his chastening rod, craves forgiveness, and blesses the gracious care of him, who “ restores his soul, and leads him in the paths of
' righteousness for his name's sake.” No man, who is wholly a stranger to this experience, has scriptural proof that the righteousness of Christ is in any sense imputed to him; and all who are deeply acquainted with these conflicts, and this consciousness, must be convinced, if they have a right view of the divine holiness, and the perfection of the divine law, that all their obedience needs forgiveness, and is utterly insufficient and unsuitable to form a title to eternal glory. From first to last they must “ count all things but loss; that they
may win Christ, and be found in him, not hav"ing their own righteousness, which is of the law, " but that which is through the faith of Christ, the "righteousness which is of God by faith.”
But your correspondent objects to what is said respecting the title to heaven, and says that ' every loyal subject is not admitted to live at court.' As, however, I really do not understand this latter part part of his argument, I hope I shall be excused for not attempting an answer. I have, for a long course of years, counted the righteousness of Jesus Christ, imputed to the believer through faith, and sealed on his heart by the progressive sanctification of the Holy Spirit, the only meritorious ground of hope, that he shall at last inherit eternal life, of which the very imperfection of his faith proves him unworthy: yet he will daily feel that very sense of sin, those challenges of conscience for omissions and transgressions, and that need of daily and earnest prayer for pardon, through the atoning blood, which your correspondent speaks of with great feeling, but thinks inconsistent with a state of complete justification. I am persuaded, however, that we do not mean very differently, though the unscriptural views given of imputed righteousness by some, seem to excite unscriptural prejudices against it in others. But I must add, that I cannot think any loyal subject of Christ will be willing'always to be absent from court; and that, through the righteousness of Christ and the sanctification of the Spirit, he will be expecting shortly to arrive in the presence of God where is fulness of joy, and to share those“ pleasures which “are at his right hand for evermore.”
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
The duty of trusting the promises and providence of God in giving to the poor, even when one's circumstances are moderate and precarious, especially on urgent occasions, and the still higher duty of relieving parents in distress, as far as children have it in their power, seems to be generally acknowledged: yet it is to be feared, that few so entirely rely on the promises of God on this subject, as to risk much in obeying his plain commands; and those who do, are often censured by their brethren as imprudent. It is to be feared also, that to expect any remarkable interposition of Providence in case of poverty, occasioned by such conduct, however consonant to the divine precepts, would scarcely be exempted from the charge of enthusiasın. I have, however, known several instances, in which these promises of scripture have been literally understood, relied on, and fulfilled, even beyond expectation. The case that 'follows, fell under my own immediate observation.
A woman servant who was past the prime of