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can lead to the kingdom of heaven. We must have a more excellent righteousness than this, if we would obtain admission there; even that to which the Apostle refers, when he says that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth ; and which he denominates the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all them that believe; who are justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.11 This is the righteousness which exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, and which must be imputed to us in order that we may enter into the kingdom of heaven. Into the nature of this righteousness we were to inquire
Secondly. On this subject we are informed, that God hath made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the rightcousness of God in Him ;12 and that to us righteousness shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification ; and that being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.13 The righteousness which is required in order to the enjoyment of peace with God, must be a perfect righteousness, without any defect. A partial and outward obedience,
11 Rom. iii. 22, 24. 122 Corinth. v. 21. 13 Rom. iv. 24, 25. v. 1. and such only can a sinner render, cannot be accepted by Him who is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity. And therefore, the Apostle argues, that by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in the sight of God, for by the law is the knowledge of sin;14 by it we are convicted of being transgressors, and therefore cannot be justified by it. And he further informs us, that as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous.15 This is a righteousness far exceeding that of the scribes and Pharisees. It is an infinitely perfect righteousness; the perfect obedience of Emmanuel, God with us, 16 God manifest in the flesh,17 to the holy, just, and good law of God. This is a meritorious righteousness, such as no merely finite being could have wrought; and being the righteousness of God, iť is, so to speak, a work of real supererogation; unlike the false and impious works so called by the church of Rome; as exceeding what could have been required of Him who fulfilled it; and this Divine righteousness is imputed, or put to the account of all who believe in the name of the only-begotten Son of God, so that they “are accounted righteous before God for the merit of our Lord Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for their own works or deservings.”
This righteousness must be accounted ours, we must obtain an interest in it by faith, in order to our entrance into the kingdom of heaven; and indeed in order that we may walk with God on earth. For we cannot be admitted into the Divine presence in any other character than as righteous persons. And if the meritorious obedience of Him who is called the Lord our righteousness18 be the ground of our hope and confidence; if we rely upon it for our justification and acceptance with God; as well as upon the bloodshedding and death of our most adorable Redeemer for the forgiveness of our sins that are past ; then we may draw nigh to God, and may be satisfied that He will draw nigh to us ;19 for then we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, and may rest assured that He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, will with Him also freely give us all things 20 that we need, both for this life and for that which is to come; that He will give us His Holy Spirit when we ask Him; and together with this most excellent gift, will bestow all things needful for life and godliness; will guide us with His counsel, will watch over us by His good Providence, and afterward receive us to His glory,21 to behold His face in righteousness, and to praise Him for ever.
18 Jerem.xxiii.6. 19 Jamesiv.8. 20 Rom. viii.32. 21 Psalmlxxiii.24.
How great is the blessedness, then, which the righteousness of Christ sets before us! If any among us are conscious that they are strangers to it, let them be persuaded to seek earnestly for an interest in it by faith, that this blessedness may be their portion. And let those who rely upon it, continually plead its efficacy, that they may enjoy that communion and fellowship with their heavenly Father in Christ Jesus, which it is their privilege to maintain at all times, and may rejoice in hope of being at length admitted to the glory of God, for the sake of the Lord our righteousness, in whom they put their trust.
SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
THE SEVEN LOAVES AMONG FOUR THOUSAND.
Mark viii. 1, 2.
AND SAITH UNTO THEM, I HAVE COMPAS-
The miraculous manner in which our Lord Jesus Christ fed multitudes of persons on what would have sufficed for only a very small number, afforded undeniable evidence of His Divine power. There were two distinct occasions on which He did this. He referred to them both shortly after He had wrought this last miracle ; in consequence of His disciples misunderstanding a caution which He had given them. He asked