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fiah's prophetic office. 2. A state of peace and favour with God, including remission, reconciliation, and justification before God, access to him, and acceptance with him ; which things inay be more peculiarly ascribed to the Messiah's priestly office, If. liii. and xlv. at the end. 3. A state of holinels and purity, subjection to the law of God, and conformity to his will, in which true liberty consists, and which, together with the most desirable safety and protection, is the effect of the kingly office of a fovereign of so great power and glory, joined with so great kindnefs and mercy to his people, if. iv.
Concerning these comprehensive benefits it is proper to observe, first, That as the above-cited prophecies affirm the Messiah to be in a peculiar manner the cause and author of the bleflings of God's covenant, so when the prophets explain more particularly what these blessings of God's covenant are, it is not temporal advantages, but the spiritual comprehenlive benefits just now mentioned, that they insist on; as will be evident to any who will consider If. lv. 2. 3.7. &c. lix. 21. Jer. xxxi. 31. Ezek. xxxvi. 25. 26. &c. and other passages to the fame purpose. It is not worldly wealth, honour, or conquest, that these passages insist on as the blessings of God's covenant; but God's causing his people to know him, from the least to the greatest; his bestowing abundant pardon ; his being merciful to our iniquities, and remembering our fins no more ; his putting his law in our in ward parts, and writing it on our hearts; his sprinkling clean water on us, to cleanfe us from our filthiness and our idols; his giving us new hearts and new fpirits; his taking away the itony heart, and giving a heart of flesh ; his putting his fpirit within us, and causing us to walk in his statutes; his giving us his word and spirit, so as those inestimable blessings fhall never depart from us, nor we ever depart from God, If. lix. 21. As all the things fignified by that
useful * Pfal. xxxii. 1. xxvii. 4. cxix. 1. & lxv. 4. 5.
uleful variety of expressions are evidently included in the three comprehensive benefits above mentioned, namely, the true knowledge of God, the favour of God, and the image of God; so it is by these things that the Old Testament, as well as the New, explains the nature of true blessedness or happiness * : while, on the other hand, it teaches, that it is in the Meffiah that sinners shall be blessed; which is evidently contained, not only in the passages where it is more expressly affirmed, but in the various passages which assert the above-explained doctrine of the Messiah's offices, and particularly his priestly office. And it is proper to observe, that though the scripture had not expressly affirmed, that true blessedness consists in the things in view ; yet it might be proved from the chief principles of natural religion itself; it being evident, that nothing can give full and solid satisfaction to the chief desires of the foul, without joyful contemplation of God's infinite glory, joined with well-founded hope of his favour, (which, when bestowed on a sinner, necessarily implies remission of fin), together with conformity to him in holiness:
When the Apostle Paul speaks of the righteousness which is of God by faith in Jesus Christ, he tells us, that the law and the prophets bear witness to it: but at the same time he distinguishes betwixt the gospel manifestation, or more clear discovery of that righteousness, and the prophetic teftimony given to it. After mentioning what he calls the righteousness of God, Rom. iii. 21. 22. he explains it by what he adds afterwards about justification freely by God's grace, through the redemption that is in his Son. In order to see the harmony between the prophets and the apostles in the doctrine of justification, it is proper to observe, that in the Old Testament, as well as in the New, justification
is taken in what is called the forensic sense ; or, that it signifies, acquitting or assoilzieing a man by an act of the authority of a judge ; and that it is opposed to condemnation, as will be evident to any who duly considers the passages cited at the bottom of
*. These pallages Thew, that justifying a wicked person, which is said to be an abomination to the Lord, cannot be the same thing with fanctifying him, or making him really good and holy; but passing a sentence of absolution in his favour : fo that in the Old Testament, as well as the New, justification and sanctification, though inseparable, are distinguished from one another.
The harmony between the doctrine of the prophets and the apostles as to the ground of justification, is evident, partly from the account which the prophets give of the evil deserving of fin t, and of the necessity and efficacy of the Messiah’s facrifice; and partly from their expressions concerning that righteousness of God which was to be revealed, or more clearly discovered, in the days of Messiah ; which expressions are neither applicable to that infinite eternal justice which is an essential attribute of the divine nature, nor to that inherent holiness, which is fo absolutely necessary, and is the chief perfection of our natures; but are very applicable to what the Meffiah was to do and suffer for the redemption and justification of finners. That it is not the essential righteousness of God that is meant in the passages in view, is evident; because these passages speak of a righteousness, which is indeed from God, but at the same time is supposed, in some respect, to become ours; as when the Messiah is called, « The Lord our righteousness,” Jer. xxiii. 6. and it is declared, that « surely fhall one " say, In the Lord have I righteousness,- and in « him shall the feed of Israel be justified,” Il. xlv. 24. 25.; and in If. lxi. 10. God's people are said to be clothed by him with the robes of righteousness, and garments of salvation. Nor can it be faid of God's essential justice, that it was not revealed, or clearly discovered, under the Old Testainent; which is supposed to be the case as to the righteousness meant in the passages in view ; of which it is said, that it would be revealed and brought in, in the times of the Messiah, If. lvi. 1. Dan. ix. 24. 1. lxii. 1.
* Prov. xvii. 5.; Deut. xxv. I.; 1 Kings viii. 38. t Pf. cxxx. cxliii.
Several of these reasons fhew, that it is not mens own inherent holiness, though absolutely necessary, that is meant in those passages; seeing the nature and necessity of that holiness is clearly revealed in the Old Testament, as well as in the New.
In order to shew, that the justification taught by the prophets, includes not only freedom from condemnation and misery, but also a right to true happiness from God, and in the enjoyment of God himself, it is proper to observe, what is so oft mentioned by the prophets, as the sum of all the divine promises to those who take hold of the divine covenant, namely, that he will be their God, and that they fhall be his people, Jer.xxxi. 33. Hof.ii. 23.; and that, suitably to this, his people are represented as his adopted children, or as standing in such a relation to him as children are in to a father. Not only do the prophets teach, that God should be honoured by his people, as parents are honoured by their children, but also that God delights in them, loves, pities, and spares them, as parents do their children; particularly, that sinners employed in the exercise of true repentance are pleasant children in his light * : yea, that God's love to his people far tranfcends the most tender parental affection; such as that of a mother to her sucking child, 11. xlix. 15.; that the happiness of his people is the object of his complacency, that he rejoices over them to do them good, Jer. xxxii. 40. &c. The titles given them are, HEPHZIBAH, BEULAH, or Delighted in, Married, Sought out, Not forsaken, 11. lxii.
See Pl. ciï. 13. Mal. iij. 17. Jer. xxxi. 20.
The usefulness of these things, for proving, that the prophecies contain the doctrine of immortality, or that God will not annihilate his people, but bestow the most lasting happiness on them, will be considered more fully afterwards.
As to fanctification, it was proved already, that the prophets speak of holiness, not only as our duty, made necessary by God's precepts, but also as a blessing promised in his covenant"; seeing it is a chief thing in the prophetic description of that cove. nant, that God promises to put his law in our inward parts, to write it on our hearts, and to cause us to walk in his statutes. But of this more after. wards, in speaking of the superior advantages of the New Testament church state.
The various concomitants and fruits of the benefits already mentioned, such as assurance of God's love *, peace of confcience, access to God, acceptance with him, divine joy flowing both from the hope of God's favour, contemplation of his glory, and conformity to his will, perseverance and growth in grace, and the like fpiritual blessings, are mentioned in the Old Testament as well as the New, as the blessings of God's covenant, and the fruits of the Meffiah's undertaking and offices.
All these things abundantly refute the notion of a mere temporal Messiah ; the enjoyments that have been mentioned as the Messiah's benefits being evidently of a fpiritual nature, whether we consider the object, the causes, the means, or the effects of them : They give us the idea of a happiness, of which the objective cause is the manifestation of the
• If. xlv. lvi. xxxv. xliv.