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First, I am to shew how many ways the commands may be broken. They may be broken three ways, in deeds, words, and thoughts.
1. In deeds, done contrary to the command of God, or not done, though required. God's commands are the rule of men's outward life and conversation ; and whatever we do or commit contrary to the law, is our sin, whether it be public, private, or secret, Psal. xiv. 2, 3.
2. In words, either speaking what we ought not, or not speaking what we ought, or speaking what we ought, but not in the manner commanded. (The same is to be said of actions or deeds.) God's commands are a rule to our tongues, and tell us what to speak, how to speak, and what not to speak; and by regardlessness of the rule, the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity,' Jam. iii. 6. i 3. In thoughts. Here God's laws goes beyond men's laws as to the whole kind; for our thoughts are open to God, who is omniscient, as words or actions are equally open to him, Heb. iv. 13. and liable to his law. For says Christ, • Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart, Matt. v. 28. And so one may sin by thinking what he ought not, by omitting of good thoughts, and by not managing good thoughts, in the manner required by the law.
Secondly, I shall shew in what respect the saints sin daily, in thought, word, and deed.
1. Negatively: not that the saints fall into gross sins daily, against the letter of the law, either in thought, word, or deed. God will disown those for saints who entertain vile thoughts daily, swear daily, lie daily, do unjust things, or neglect his worship daily, Gal. v. 19,–21; Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I also have told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.' Such spots are not the spots of God's people. Christ's dwelling by his spirit in them, the breaking of the reign of sin in them by the power of divine grace, and their habitual tenderness and watchfulness, hold them off that way of life. But,
2. Positively. Besides that saints may be surprised into
gross sins in thought, word, and deed, sometimes by inadvertency, weakness, and violence of temptation, which is the burden of their souls, they sin every day in thought, word, and deed, when they keep the strictest watch, and have most of the divine assistance. What day passes, if without vile thoughts, yet without vain ones; without idle words, if with out mischievous words; when there is not something done or undone, which God's law condemns, though perhaps the world cannot quarrel them? Besides, what good thought is thought, good word spoken, or good deed done by them, which the holy law will not spy a flaw in, as to the manner of its performance ?
Thirdly, I am to shew how these failures of theirs break thy commands, while they sincerely endeavour to obey them. Why, the moral law is the eternal rule of righteousness, and in whatever state the creature be, he is bound to obey his Creator, whether in a state of nature or grace, glory, or damnation. And though perfection be not attain, able in this life, yet it is the saints duty, as well as that of others, Matth. y. ult. Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.' $o every coming short of that perfection is their sin, needing to be taken away by Christ's blood.
And thus men daily break the commands of God in thought word and deed; which is the only possible way of transgressing the divine law; and our doing so in these respects shews the equity of that charge which the Lord has against every man, Behold thou hast done evil, as thou couldst,' Jer iii. 5.
IV. I shall now confirm the point, That perfection is not attainable in this life.
1. The scripture attests, that there is no man without sin, 1 Kings viii. 46; . For there is no man that sinneth not: and that in many things we offend all,' Jam. iii. 2; If any set up for it in himself, the Spirit of God says he deceives himself, 1 John i. 8; See an unanswerable question, Prov. xx. 9; Who can say, I haye made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
2. The best have a corrupt as well as a gracious principle, making the spiritual combat, never ending till death give the separating stroke, Gal. v. 17; For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are
contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.'
3. We are taught always to pray for pardon, · Forgive us our debts :' but sinlesss creatures needs no pardons. This clearly shews, that all sin, and so come short of perfect obedience.
4. Lastly, Consider the spirituality of the law, and its extent, with human weakness, and you will see this clearly. And hence it is that perfectionists are strangers to the spirituality of the law : for if they rightly viewed it, they would be far from dreaming of having attained to perfection, which never a mere man did in this life.
Object. Noah was perfect, Gen. vi. 9 ; * Job perfect, Job
* In order to illustrate the character of Noah as a righteous and perfect man, and to thew the fignification of these epithets, it will not be improper to subjoin the following note, taken from a manuscript work of the author's, which he left prepared for the press, and has been esteemed by proper judges, both at home and abroad, a work of very great learning and merit, but has not yet been printed, entitled “ A new trandation of the first twenty-three chapters of Genesis, with notes explanatory and critical,” according to the principles of the Hebrew accentuation as de. livered in his treatise entitled, Tractatus Pigmologicus Hebræo-Biblicus, printed at Amsterdam in 1738.
Gen. vi. 9. “ Noah was a juft man, and perfect in his generations.” "As for Noah ; [being] a righteous man, he was found in his generations :" q. d. found ; (lound] in his generations. A sound man is a man of integrity and Godly Gimplicity, wholly for God, entire in his obedience, keeping himself uncorrupted and unspotted from the world, in which he lives. Such a man was Noah ; and such he was, in both the generations wherein he lived, before and after the food. Thus his character confifts of two parts : he was a sound man, and preserved to the end in his soundness. And both these are traced to their common spring. head, namely, his righteous state. Being righteous by faith, a justified man ; he was a sound man, in true holiness of heart and life ; and a preserving man : Agreeable to which is that of the prophet, Hab. ii. 4. “ The-righteous (i. e. by) bis faith, shall live." Tzaddik, an adje&ive righteous, a subitantive a righteous one, is derived from the root Tzadak, in the form Pihel (Txiddek), as appears by the Dagefch forte in it. Tzadak (Kal) is not to be reputed righteous ; that agrees not to it, chap. xxxviii. 26 ; nor to do righteously; that agrees not to it, Job ix. 20. Psal. xix. 10: but to be righteous ; which agrees to it every where. Only it is to be observed, that being righteous is sometimes underftood fimply of existing righteous, as Gen. xxxviii. 26. Psal. xix. 10. sometimes of appearing righteous, as Job ix. 20. xiii. 18. & xl. 3. Plal. li. 6-4ch; and this agreeable to the scripture style in other cases, as Matth. v. 45. • That ye may be (i. e. appear to be the children of your Father.” To fate the formal notion of righteousness fignified by this root, it is to be
i. 8. Ans. They, and all saints, have a gospel-perfection, which is a perfection of parts. They had a comparative perfection; that is, they were more holy and circumspect than many others. But that they were not legally and absolutely perfect, is clear from Noah's drunkenness and Job's
observed, that it is used of men, as Gen. xxxviii. 26. Job ix. 20. of God himself, Psal. li. 6-4th ; of his laws, Pfal. xix. 10; and once it occurs in Niphal, Nitzdak, which, as a neuter' verb of being (as Gen. i. 15.) is to become righteous, and is used of God's sanctuary, viz. Dan, viii. 14. « And it shall become righteous, the sanctuary,' i. e. in such a state or condition as, by God's appointment, it ought to be in. From all which it appears, that the formal notion of righteousness is conformity to the law given concerning the subject, as concerning men, or the fan&uary or to the eternal idea of righteousness, in the miod of God, as in the case of God himself and his laws. Txiddek (Pih.) Hitzdik (Hiph.) are both active, and found to justify or make righteous, the action in Kal being the complement of both, as chap. viii. 14. But the difference lies here. In no forma wbatsoever doth this verb import a moral or real change: but in Pihel it fgnifies manifestatively, Hiphil, declaratively. In Pihel it occurs five times, and accordingly fignifies to thew one righteous, or to make appear righteous, Job xxxii
. 32. “ I have defired to thew the righteous," viz. as one thews a thing that is hid, by taking away the cover. Thus Jerusalem shewed Sodom and Samaria righteous, Ezek. xvi. 51, 52; namely, comparatively righteous, the holiness of Jerusalem being gone, which, while it lated, quite darkened them. And so the backsliding Israel, Jer, iii. 11. “ fewed her own soul righteous : from the treacherous Judah," namely, as a servant ruoning away from a master whom he hath served but a short while, fhews his deserting of him just, by an old servant's running away from the fame master at length. : Thus understand the ground of Elihu's anger against Job, chap. xxxii. 2. His fhewing his soul righteous ; from God, i. e. his juftifying himself in his grievous complaints, from the way and manner of the Lord's dealing with him. Hereto agrees Hirstaddek (Hitbp. the relative of Pih.), which is to shew one's self-righteous, occurring only, Gen. xlv. 16. What (i. e. how) how shall we Thew ourselves righteous ? Comp. Luke xvi. 15. & xx. 20. Thus expound, Rev. xxii. 11. And the righteous, let him shew himself righteous ftill, viz. by continuing in the practice of good works. And this is the justification the apofle James writes of, to his own countrymen, (Jam. i. 1.) who, knowing the manner of their own language, were in no hazard of miftaking his meaning: Now Tzaddik, being immediately derived from Tziddek, formally denotes one appearing righteous ; the holy language hereby teaching, that whether righteousness be imputed or inherent, it must needs shine forth, not only from the divine appointment, but from the nature of the thing, as a light must Deeds give light. "And to carry along this notion of the word, I write it righteous. Mean while, Gince there is a false as well as a true appearance of righteousness, one may see how Solomon might forbid a man to be righteous much, Eccl, vii. 16. meaning it of the mere appearance or few of righ. teousness, from the notation of the word. Accordingly he adds, ibid. And do not (Tithh-haccam) make thyself wise ; for which compare Luke xx.
impatience. And where is the saint whose history we have at any length in scripture, but we see their imperfections recorded, to stain the pride of all glory?
But it is not said, 'Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin?' 1 John iii. 9. Ans. The meaning is not, that
20. Should feign themselves juft men, which in Hebrew would be expressed by Hitztaddek, to thew or make one's self to appear righteous; But Goce ng false appearance can take place before the Lord, in all cases wherein God testifies of one righteous, the appearance muft be understood to be true, as the thing really is : and so it is in this case of Noah. Hitzdik (Hiph.) is once used intranGtively, viz. Dan. xii. 3. every where else tranfitively. The object of it, in its intransitive use, is the conjugate noua Tr'dakake understood, as Gen. iii. 6. and it is q. d. to righteous righteousnefs, i.e. to do righteoudy. So the formal signification of it, agreing thereto in its twofold use, is, to make righteous. The sense whereof in the intransitive use, is, according to what is already remarked to do righteoully, Dan. xü. 3. 'They that make rigbteous, of the many, i. e. Those who do righ. teoully, of the many, ver. 2. comprehending all, and divided into two forts, those that do righteously, and those that do not so. But in the transitive use, the leuse of it, is not to make righteous, by infusing of righteouforso into a person, making a moral real change on him, as is manifeft from Exod. xxiii. 7. I will not make righteous, an unrighteous one, Prov. xvii
. 15. Isa. v. 23. This word is never so used. On the contrary, the only proper personal objeđ of it is Tzaddik, a righteous one, rigbteous, and appearing righteous, antecedently to the adion thereby fignified, Deut. xxv. 1. They shall make righteous even the righteous one. So 1 Kings viij. 32. 2 Cbron. vi. 23. • And for to make righteous a righteous one. So the true sense of it is legally to make righteous, to declare or pronounce righteous ;" which natively follows on the back of the action crgnified by Pihel, viz. Phewing righteous, and occupies the first and primary fignifica tion of Kal. And this is the juftification Paul treats of. This phrase of making righteous the righteous, is used in the matter of the jukification of a finner before the Lord, Isa, liii. 11. In his knowing ; make righteous ? righteous one, shall my servant ; to the many. The construction and seose of which words is, q. d. “ In his being known to the many ; my servant shall justify any righteous one to them."? In which few words, there is, (1.) The author or efficient cause of justification, viz. Jesus Chrilt the Fa. ther's servant, litring Judge. Comp. John v. 22. Matth. ix. 6. A&s y 81. (2.) The obje&, the elect, all the elect, the many for whom Chrift died, rer. 12. (3.) The character in which they ftand before him, one by one, to be juftified, viz. righteous and appearing righteous. This is no wise incon. filtent with the juftifying of the ungodly, Rom. iv. 5. if one confidera, (4.) How they come to be righteous before bim, viz. in his knowing, i. e. by the faith of him, whereby the soul is united to Christ and thereby hath communion with him in his righteousness, and so appears righteous in the borrowed garments before the throne. And for this faith they are debtors to free grace, as well as for the righteousness : for the word knowing, though active in its form ; is paflive in its sense; as is clear from the conftruction of the words, In his knowing to the many, fhewing the faith to