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Of all the definitions which have come under my eye, none does reach so near to the strict etymological sense of the term, as that contained in our own eleventh Article, entitled, “Of the Justifica* tion of Man. For herein it is declared, that we • are accounted righteous (JUSTI-says the Latin) • before God, only for the merit of our Lord and • Saviour Jesus Christ. But if we consult the analogy of faith, what part of Christ's merit can be so applicable in this respect to us, as his righteousness? One prophet expressly terms the Messiah, « Jeho• hovah's righteous servant, who shall justify many'. Another calls him · Jehovah our righteousness,' or

our righteous one"? But St John affirms our ad· vocate with the Father' to be • Jesus Christ, the

righteous ?.' While St Paul explicitly asserts that Jesus Christ is made unto us wisdom and righteousness *,' &c. Our thoughts being thus at once directed to the righteousness of Christ, we shall find that the whole of the momentous discussion in hand, depends upon a proper explication of this inestimable quality in God our Saviour.

Here I feel it incumbent on me to observe, with becoming deference to the learned translators, that in the English version of the Scriptures, their

promiscuously rendering the same word sometimes RIGHTEOUS,' at other times .JUST,' has been the

means

i Isaiah liji. 11.
3 1 St John ii. 1.

2 Jerem. xxiii. 6.
4 I Cor. i. 30:

means of asfixing to the original Hebrew and Greek terms the exclusive idea which custom has long affixed to the word “JUST,' viz. the idea of

equity,' of honesty,' of fair-dealing,' &c. and that consequently the word righteous' signifies the same, and no more. Hence it is that the term righteousness has become but another name for moral worth; and in our popular discourses and dissertations on religion, the expression of The moral "righteousness of Christ' is received and avowed to be standard language. Yet how suitable such language is to the scriptural character of Christ, I shall refer to every sober-minded christian, after putting this one question to him, among many others which might be put, · Whether Christ's being baptized

in Jordan, (which act of condescension was sanctioned by a voice from heaven'), was with no other view than · TO FULFILL ALL MORALITY ?'

I forbear to teaze the reader with

any

learned criticism upon the Hebrew term pys, or the Greek term fixaclosi' neither of which ought to be restricted to a moral acceptation; I shall only observe, that even our English term ' RIGHTEOUS,' being a derivative of the word “RIGHT,' includes in it (as its root does), one idea, at least, different from its moral acceptation, and not necessarily connected with it. Thus we say, a' right, or

righteous cause,' a' right, or righteous heir,' a 'right

of

1 St Matth, iii, 15.

• of inheritance', &c. None of these applications of the terms ' right' and righteous,' are connected with a man's moral worth, which stands expressed by another derivative from the same root, viz. ' UPRIGHT.'

The Latin word • JUSTUS,' (from which comes our English vocable JUST), does also bear two different senses ; being derived from ‘JUS right, title, • or claim,' all of them distinct from moral rectitude, as the following paradoxical maxim in the Roman law sufficiently shewsPrætor, in tribunali, JUS • dicit etiam cum INIQUE dicit,' The judge, on the , bench, decrees RIGHT, even when he decrees WRONG;' i. e. establishes a right, where there was previously no right. In this sense therefore, which is unquestionably the scriptural sense of the words translated * righteous,' and which, in my humble conception, even the term itself, when properly defined, is fully adequate to express, I could wish it applied to Christ, as incontestably and peculiarly belonging to him, who, “having all POWER in heaven and in earth (right, authority, ešovo la *) given unto him,' possesses all right in his own immaculate person. He is therefore the RIGHT,’‘RIGIITFUL,' and 'RIGHTEOUS Heir of the everlasting and incorruptible inheritance, to which he does authoritatively convey a right in reversion to all his faithful members; who thus hold

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1 See Deut. xxi. 1. Ruth iv. 6. Jerem. xxxii. 8. 2 See St Matth. ix. 6. Revel, xxii, 14. : St. Matth. xxviii. 18.

of him,? (to speak in the language of territorial conveyancing), and derive right from him, as their rightful superior; and thus being made partakers of their redeemer's righteousness, they • become • heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.'

This deduction is enough of itself to exclude good works' from affording any antecedent claim to, or concern in, the great blessing of our justification. Nay, this truly scriptural mode of reasoning, confirmed as it is by legal usage in matters temporal, is sufficient to free the evangelical, yet ill-understood doctrine of imputed righteousness, from the silly cavil to which the moral idea attached to the word righteousness ' has not failed to expose it : namely, “ that it is unreasonable to suppose, and

impossible to conceive how the good deeds, or moral qualities of one person can, in propriety either of speech or of fact, be imputed or ascribed to another

person, so as to become that person's own. For, in the sense, above shewn to be the true sense of the terms ' righteous,' and · righteousness,' it is well known, that a right, a Jus, a title, or claim to a gift or inheritance, may be conveyed, and given, and derived, (if imputed shall be thought an unappropriate vocable), by a just and righteous author: while such as are thus entitled are really and truly persons JUSTIFICATI, justified, that is, made · JUST, RIGHTEOUS,' and ' RIGHTFUL' heirs.

The next term which claims our notice, is the • FAITH.' Faith, in the abstract, has ever been held to denote the simple act of believing. According to St Paul's authentic definition of it-Faith is the • substance of things hoped for; the evidence of

term 1 Heb. xi. 1. This definition the apostle pursues through the whole of this instructive chapter.

things not seen'. When coupled with the term justification, the word faithe has been, however, for particular reasons, made to embrace the whole system of gospel-ethics, and to denote an universal obedience to the evangelical law, in opposition to the law of Moses ; whereby “good works' fall to be included, not as fruits springing from the root of faith, but as qualities incorporated in its very nature and essence.

In my humble opinion, this is really to extend the term beyond the limits assigned to it; and, if such extension is permitted, every important doctrinal term in scripture may be racked to whatever purpose a particular system may require. I know well that some insulated passages of scrip ture', and some common modes of expression 'may be adduced, as authorising the extension of the term. But the expression, `justified by faith,' does neither require, nor can admit such an extension. The admission of it, indeed, so far from being required, would go to prevent the blessing, to the ob

taining

2 See Gal. i. 23. 1 Tim. i. 19. Jude ver. 3.
3 Such as, ' The christian Faith,' • The catholic Faith,' &c.

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