repentance to which the gospel calls them, as the Socinian, Arminian, Neonomian, etc.,* and other schemes expressly teach that we are forgiven before repentance; which is the case with various sorts of Antinomian schemes. But all false schemes, how much soever they differ among themselves, agree in promising eternal life to those who are destitute of true repentance.

VI. If, according to God's established method of dispensing pardon to his criminal, guilty creatures, repentance is before forgiveness, we may hence see the harmony between the impetration and application of redemption ; both exactly agree in their nature and tendency to honor God, to magnify his law, to establish his authority, to discountenance and imbitter sin, to humble the sinner, to glorify grace, and to exalt Christ.

The cross of Christ, in the sight of the whole intellectual system, declared, that God was wholly right, and that we were wholly wroug, and as much to blame as the divine law supposed ; and so declared, that God is an absolutely perfect, an infinitely glorious and amiable being; and that his law, which requires us to love him with all our hearts on pain of eternal

Of the counterfeit sorts of repentance which are preached up, these two are the chief: Ist. Some say, that the divine law, which originally required us to love God with all our hearts, and yield a perfect obedience to his will, is abated ; and therefore we are not to blame in not being perfectly conformed to it; and therefore it does not belong to us to repent of this non-conformity. And so the sinner is justified in being without that very repentance to which the gospel calls him. And now to repent wherein they fall short of a conformity to their abated law, is substituted in the room of true repentance. And they, being ignorant of the law of perfection, and the infinite evil of sin, are prepared to make a righteousness of their false repentance; and know no need of Christ only to purchase this abatement of the law, and to make up for their defects of obedience to it, thus abated. 2d. Others, who say the divine law is in full force, unaltered, unabated, yet exempt themselves from blame, by saying, “We have no more power to love God perfectly, than the man with the withered hand had to stretch out his hand;" and when they come to explain themselves, they make the inability of a sinner to be as innocent a kind of a thing as was the man with the withered hand. But who sees not, that the man with a withered hand was not at all to blame; for he could not help his hand being withered, let his heart be ever so well inclined to it. It would perfectly have suited his heart to have had that hand well. It was owing to no fault in him that it remained withered. He might be sorry for it as a calamity, but could not blame himself for it as a crime; and even after Christ had restored it whole as the other, although he might be thankful for it as a benefit done to him, yet he could not blame himself, neither could he repent that his withered hand had not been well sooner. And thus, while this is supposed to be an exact representation of the true nature of our inability, perfectly to conform to the divine law in heart and life, true repentance is forever secluded. No blame belongs to us in this case, nor can we on this scheme take any blame to ourselves, before, at, or after our supposed conversion, for not being perfect as our Father which is in heaven is perfect. And thus the sinner is justified in his impenitency; and in exact proportion as the sinner is justified, God and his law stand condemned. For there is blame somewhere ; and if not in us, it must be in him who blames us, even in him who says, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them."

death, is holy, just, and good; and that our disaffection to the divine character, and rebellion against him, is inexcusable, and even infinitely criminal ; in consequence of which, the gift of Christ to die in our room, that God might be just, and yet the justifier of the believer, appears to be an act of grace, infinitely great, and absolutely free. And because Christ humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, in this great work, therefore is he exalted to sit even at his Father's right hand, honored with all the honors of heaven; and repentance and remission of sins are granted in his name to apostate, God-hating, guilty rebels; and thus God is honored, Christ exalted, grace glorified, and sin condemned, in the work of our redeinption.

In exact harmony with which, the guilty criminal is, by the almighty power of divine grace, brought to view things in this light, and to be affected accordingly. To look upon God as an absolutely perfect, an infinitely glorious and amiable being ; upon the divine law as holy, just, and good; a glorious law; upon his own disaffection and rebellion, as entirely inexcusable and infinitely criminal; upon the gift of Christ, as an act of grace infinitely great and absolutely free; and in these views, and with an answerable frame of heart, to look only to free grace through Jesus Christ, now at his Father's right hand, for pardon, as of mere free mercy, to a wretch so infinitely odious and ill-deserving, as that it had been an act worthy of God to have cast him into eternal burnings. And thus all is exactly suited to exalt God, to honor the law, to imbitter sin, to glorify grace, and render Christ exceeding precious in the sinner's heart. And so, the same views, spirit, and temper, which were in Christ Jesus to perfection, when he wrought out our redemption on the cross, are in measure communicated to a dead sinner, when he is quickened and raised up to a new and divine life; and so he is made partaker of the divine nature, and becomes a living branch in the true vine, a living member of Christ's body; for of his fulness we all receive, and grace for grace.

For he and all the members of his body are one, not only one relatively, but one in heart, one in spirit, the same spirit which dwells in Christ being communicated to them. “For ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be the spirit of Christ dwells in you." In regeneration and conversion, these views and affections begin to take place, and from year to year, as with open face, they behold, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord; so they are more and more changed into the same image from glory to glory, till all come to be one with him, as he and his Father are one.

But on the contrary, if, as some plead, pardon is granted to the impenitent sinner, while such, a belief of which is the foundation of his love and of all his religion, then, in the application of redemption, God and his law are dishonored, the import of Christ's death is denied, sin is justified, the sinner's self-justifying spirit is gratified, and the grace of the gospel kept out of view. For this is the native language of such a sinner's heart; “ There is no loveliness conceivable in the divine nature, but what results from his love to me; and it is impossible I should love God from any other motive, nor is it my duty, nor is the gospel designed to bring me to it, nor am I to blame that I do not, nor do I need the atonement of Christ in the case, or pardon for not loving God for the loveliness of his own nature; for there is no loveliness in his nature, but as he loves me, and designs to save me." Thus the absolutely perfect, the infinitely glorious and amiable being, who is by nature God, in himself, let me be saved or damned, infinitely worthy of supreme love, and honor, and universal obedience, according to the united import of the divine law, and of the cross of Christ, is at once stripped of all the original, independent, eternal, immutable glories of his Godhead, the divine law is virtually pronounced tyrannical, the import of Christ's death impiously denied, his atonement pronounced needless, and himself virtually declared to be an impostor, our being dead in sin justified, our disaffection to the divine character declared to be no crime, or reconciliation to be no duty, no pardon no atonement, no sanctifier needed in the case. No; for we are right; God and his law are wrong: if God will repent and make restitution; if God will deliver us from the curse of the law, and give us heaven, we will forgive him, feel no more heart-risings toward him, but love him if he will thus love us. Otherwise, it is impossible we should love him, impossible but that we should hate him and his law; for there is no loveliness conceivable in his nature, unless he will love and save me." Thus the impenitent, proud, haughty wretch, ungods the Deity, condemns his law, blasphemes the cross of Christ, justifies himself, denies his sin, his need of atonement, of regeneration, of repentance, of pardon, and is filled with love and joy in a firm belief that God Almighty looks upon things as he does. And this impious, blasphemous love and joy he calls by the sacred name of Christian piety.





The nature and effects, the cause and cure of a selfrighteous spirit, might have been collected from the principles laid down and proved in the other sections of this Essay, by the judicious reader; but for the sake of weaker capacities, it may not be amiss, if these things are briefly stated ; and the rather, as it is of great importance this subject be well understood.

In general, a self-righteous spirit consists in a disposition to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think ; and so, it is pride. And it stands in opposition to humility, which is to think soberly of ourselves, and as we ought to think, as St. Paul defines it. (Rom. xii. 3.) And a self-righteous spirit arises from blindness to the divine glory, and ignorance of our true character and state, as they appear in the sight of God, and as they really are, compared with his holy law. The spiritual knowledge of God and his law, and a view of ourselves in contrast with God and his law thus known, is the cure of a self-righteous spirit. When the divine character, as exhibited in his law, begins to appear in its infinite glory, our character will begin to appear in its infinite odiousness. And this begets a disposition to think soberly of ourselves, and as we ought to think. And so we, through the law, become dead to the law, that we may live to God. But to be more particular,

I. A self-righteous spirit consists in a disposition to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. How we ought to think of ourselves hath been already stated. (Sect. III.) When a man thinks more highly of himself than he ought to think on the account of his fine clothes, he is called by the odious name of fop. But when, in the exereise of the same temper, he thinks more highly of himself than he ought to think, upon religious accounts, he is called by the more odious name of a self-righteous man. (Luke xviii. 9, 14.) The same spirit of pride, which leads one to be proud in a view of his fine clothes, inclines another to be proud in a view of his large estate, or honorable parentage, or good bodily features, or superior genius, or great acquired mental accomplishments. And it is the same spirit which leads all mankind in general to think more highly of themselves than they ought to think in

religious respects; for a self-righteous spirit is common to mankind in general, although in different men it operates differently; and in some more than in others. It reigns in all unregenerate men : and it is mortified in saints no further than they are sanctified, and will not be entirely eradicated out of their hearts until they become perfectly holy. It operates differently in different men.

In the profane, it operates to keep them secure, to fortify them against the fears of death and hell, and guard them against the terrors of the divine law; that they may take their full swing in sinful pleasures unmolested. For thus it inclines them to think : “I can break off my sins when I please ; and whenever I break off, God will be obliged to forgive me." Herein he thinks more highly of himself than he ought to think, in two respects. First, he thinks his heart to be much better than it is, even that he can find in his heart to give up all sin and turn to God. But if he would make a thorough trial, he would find it to be a mistake. He would find that sin has full power of his soul; that he loves it so entirely, that it is not in his heart to be inclined to forsake it. To forsake sin, in general, I mean ; for he may be inclined to change one lust for another, turn out a black devil and take in a white one, leave profaneness, and become a civil, sober, self-righteous hypocrite. But to turn from all sin in general, and to turn unto the Lord, is not in his heart. • For the carnal mind is enmity against God; is not subject to his law, neither indeed can be.” And, secondly, he thinks too highly of himself in another respect, namely, that there will be so much virtue in his repentance and reformation, as to atone for all his past wickedness, and entitle him to the favor of God; whereas, according to the divine estimation, there is so much blame and ill-desert in one wilful transgression, as to make an eternal forfeiture of his soul, and plunge him into a hopeless, remediless state, according to a rule of strict justice. So that, if he had no more interest in Adam's sin than in Noah's, yet, after one transgression, he is a lost creature, liable to die and go to hell in a moment; and God absolutely unobliged, if he lives, te grant him any assistance of his Spirit, or ever to regard any of his prayers. For if one transgression exposes a man to the curse of the law, according to Gal. iii. 10, then the transgressor may be justly sent to hell immediately; and therefore God is unobliged to show him any favor of any kind; and it is entirely owing to pride and self-conceit, that sinners are inelined to view things in another light. They think more highly of themselves than they ought to think ; and this, which

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