Nathaniel Mather

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Biographical Information

Nathaniel Mather {1631 – 1697} was an Independent Minister, and the second son of Richard Mather; born in Lancashire, on 20th March 1631. In 1635 his father took him to New England, where he graduated M.A. at Harvard College in 1647. He finished his studies in England, probably returning with his brother Samuel in 1650. In 1656 he was presented by the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell to the sequestered vicarage of Barnstaple, Devonshire, in which the vicar, Martin Blake {1593–1673,} was reinstated at the Restoration. At the Restoration, he lost all his preferments; and, retiring to Holland, became pastor of the English congregation at Rotterdam. Upon the death of his brother, Mr. Samuel Mather, in 1671, he went over to Ireland, and succeeded him as pastor of a congregation at New Row, Dublin, where he continued several years. In 1688, the year of the English Revolution, he left Ireland, and moved back to England, to take the pastoral charge of a large congregation in Lime Street, London, vacant by the death of John Collins. {1632–1687} Mr. Mather was likewise chosen one of the Merchants' lecturers at Pinners'-Hall. Several sermons which he delivered in his turn at that lecture were afterwards printed. At length, after a diligent and faithful discharge of his ministerial duties, for the space of forty-seven years, he died on 26 July 1697, and was buried at Bunhill Fields, London. Works: 1. The Righteousness of God through Faith, etc., Oxford, 1694, {his first lectures at Pinners' Hall.} Posthumous works: 2. The Lawfulness of a Pastor’s acting in other Churches, etc., 1698. 3. Twenty-three select Sermons … at Pinners’ Hall, etc., 1701.

Suretyship-Righteousness of Christ

Proposition: This Righteousness is the Righteousness of Christ, and not our own. So the Apostle useth those Expressions setting our own righteousness in opposition to this Righteousness, {Phil.3:9,} though there be a sense wherein this Righteousness may be said to be ours. When I say it is the Righteousness of Christ, I mean, it is the Righteousness whereof Christ is the original, first and native Subject; it is the Righteousness which he brought in, as the word is, {Dan.9:24,} a phrase taken from the Old Testament Ordinance wherein it was commanded that the Priest should carry the Blood of the Sacrifice which was shed at the Altar of Brass without the Tabernacle, into the Holy of Holies, and there present it unto God. And this Righteousness of Christ is justly called the Righteousness of God, both because it is a Righteousness of God’s ordaining and providing, or devising, as the word is, speaking of this very thing, {II Sam.14:14,} and also because Christ, whose it is primitively and originally, is by Nature God over all blessed forever. And I think the Apostle delights to set forth this Righteousness by that Epithet, that it is God’s, and of God, the more to commend it to our Consciences and Hearts, as that which beyond all comparison is to be preferred before, and rather chosen by us to stand in, than that righteousness which may, in a sense, be called our own; that is that which the Lord in conforming us unto Christ by his effectual Word & Spirit works within us; or wrought out by us, in works well pleasing unto the Lord through and in Christ by his Grace. But this Righteousness of Christ as it is called the Righteousness of God in another sense, and on another ground than our own righteousness can be said to be God’s, or of him; so this phrase is used of it for this end, namely to denote such a transcendent Excellency in it, that in comparison of, and in competition with this Righteousness, the righteousness of Men and Angels is to be despised and abhorred by us. And, it is that Righteousness in which we stand justified freely by Grace; and it is that Righteousness which contains a price of Redemption, and which hath Propitiation or Atonement in it, and whereof the Blood of Christ is a part; all which are true of the Righteousness of Christ and of no other. Proposition: This Righteousness of Christ is the Mediatory Righteousness of Christ; namely, that Righteousness which he as Mediator doth bring in for us and present unto God, and therefore in which he acts as Mediator between God and us. I mention this because I would set by and seclude the Essential Righteousness of Christ, from being any part of this Righteousness. By his Essential Righteousness, I mean that perfection of the Divine Nature which we commonly do also call Holiness and Justice; and this belongs to Christ as he is God co-equal with the Father and the Holy Ghost, being one of the blessed Perfections of the Divine Essence. But this Righteousness cannot be said to be upon us, for then we might be said to be justified by the Righteousness of the Father and of the Holy Ghost, as we are by the Righteousness of Christ. Atonement or Reconciliation with God is not made for us by this Essential Righteousness of Christ, nor is it brought in before God for us, nor are we said to have it, nor do we stand accepted in it, nor is it imputed to us, all which the Scripture speaks of this Righteousness of Christ in the Text. I conclude therefore, it not being the Essential Righteousness of Christ as God, it is his Mediatorial Righteousness, that Righteousness which Christ as Mediator, and by Virtue of his being clothed with that Office, doth bring in before God for us. Christ doth administer his Kingly-Office in Righteousness; he gives Righteous Laws and Ordinances, and Executes Righteous Judgments, and administers all the Affairs of the World and of his Church most Righteously. {Isa.32:1} He is a King that reigns in righteousness. {Psal.145:17} All his ways are holy and all his judgments just. {Rev.15:3, 16:5,6} The Judgments which he executes on his Enemies, and for his People, are Holy and Just, and he is True and Righteous in executing of them. But this Righteousness of Christ in his Administering his Prophetical and Kingly Offices is not the Righteousness which here in the Text is said to be upon us. For in his Prophetical and Kingly Administration he acts from God towards us, but in bringing in this Righteousness which is upon us, and wherein we stand justified, he acts towards God for us, which is the proper work of his Priestly-Office, as the Apostle expressly declares and asserts. {Heb.5:1, 8:3} Proposition: Among the performances of Christ as a Priest, this Righteousness is his Sponsory, Fide-jussory, or Suretyship Righteousness, viz., that Righteousness, which as our Surety, he was obliged to bring in for us, and did so. I do thus bring down and confine this Righteousness of Christ which is upon us, unto his Suretyship-Righteousness, {which is somewhat narrower than the whole of Christ’s performances as a Priest} because there are some things which Christ did as a Priest, which yet cannot be said to be any part of this righteousness which is upon us. As for instance, Christ doth intercede, and in his so doing he fulfills the Law of his Priestly Office; for it was Typified by the Priests offering up Incense, and by his bearing the Names of the Twelve Tribes on his Shoulders, and on his Breast-plate. But the Intercession of Christ cannot be said to be any part of this righteousness which is here said to be upon us. Though it be of precious and effectual avail for us, and doth procure all our saving Mercies, yet it is not imputed to us; it is no part of his Suretyship-Righteousness which he hath brought in for us before God. Proposition: This Suretyship-Righteousness of Christ is his perfect Conformity to the Law in all that which the Justice of God did by virtue thereof demand in behalf of the Elect from Christ as their Surety; that they might not only in a way of Grace, but in a way of Justice, be brought to that Eternal Blessedness and Glory whereto God in his infinite love had appointed them. The ground of Christ’s bringing in this righteousness, is his being our Surety; so he is made by God the Father, and by his own undertaking; in that Covenant between God and him was he constituted a Surety. So he is called expressly, {Heb.7:22,} and the thing wherein Suretyship doth consist is abundantly affirmed of him in the Scripture. He who is obliged to pay another’s Debt, or any part of it, is properly and in strictness his Surety. Now so it is between Christ and us, he was obliged to pay our Debt, and hath done it accordingly. His name was put in, into the original bond, in which we by the Law and Covenant of our creation were bound. Herein as God hath in his Infinite Love and Grace consulted well for us, so he hath acted according to his own blessed Supremacy, and adorable Wisdom, without even the least impeachment of his Justice or his Truth in his Law. For though the Law name only us, and do directly, firstly and immediately bind us as the principal Debtors, yet God in substituting his Son to be our Surety, doth not in the least recede from his own Truth, or from the equity and justice of the Law. For as in Contracts between man and man, the end and intendment is that the debt be paid, whether by the original Debtor himself who contracted it, or by another for him, it is all one as to the rights of the Creditor, they are justly preserved and provided for either way. So it is here; the highest end and main intendment of the Law is the preserving and securing unto God the honor of his Supremacy, Wisdom, Holiness and Justice; and this is not departed from but provided for and pursued {and that with much advantage unto God’s glory as well as our good} in his constituting Christ our Surety. And therefore in God’s calling Christ unto the work of bringing in this righteousness for us, he doth neither revoke nor make void the Law, nor recede from his own immutable Truth and Holiness shining in it, but establishes it, as the Apostle declares. {Rom.3:25,26,31} Proposition: The end of this Suretyship-Righteousness of Christ is, with reference to us, that we might; and its attainment is that we must and shall be brought in a way wherein Justice as well as Grace is glorified unto that blessedness to which God in his Infinite Love hath fore-appointed us. Hence it appears that Electing Love is not the effect or fruit of this righteousness, but is indeed the cause and spring of it. Election is not procured by it, but the bringing in of this righteousness for us is ordained by the Electing Love of God to us; so the Scripture speak. {Jn.3:16, I Jn.4:9,10} God in his electing us, appointed us unto a higher bliss and glory than was proposed to the first Adam in his Covenant or than he could ever have brought his Seed unto. He was of the Earth Earthly, Christ is the Lord from Heaven, {I Cor.15,} and the Elect are appointed to be married to the Son of God, made members of him, and co-heirs with him, and to be Sons of God, as in Christ their Head, to whom they are predestinated to be conformed in their Dignities and Privileges, as well as in their qualities, spiritual Principles, and the frame of their Hearts. {Rom.8:29} They are to judge the World, yea, to judge Angels at the great day, {I Cor.6:2,3,} and in the meantime while they are here they are to be served and ministered unto by them. {Heb.1:14} And at last there will be a day when the love wherewith the Father hath loved Christ shall appear to be in them, and Christ in them, and the World shall know that the Father hath loved them as he hath loved Christ. {Jn.17:23,26} These are things higher than Adam or his Covenant would have brought them unto. Yet unto these things must they be brought in a way wherein not only Grace but Justice also shall shine forth and be glorified. And therefore God in setting a Crown of Glory on their heads exerts his Justice as well as his Grace, his Righteousness as well as his Mercy, {II Tim.4:8,} it is a Crown of Righteousness given by the Lord the Righteous Judge. And as in our being glorified, the righteousness of God is exerted and shineth forth, so it is likewise in our being justified, {I Jn.1:9, Rom.3:25,26,} and indeed throughout the whole of our Salvation, he is a just God and a Saviour. {Isa.45:21} Hence appears the necessity of this Suretyship-Righteousness of Christ. It must be provided and brought in that God may be Just in showing Mercy, and appear Righteous in extending Grace unto us, and saving us with that great Salvation, to which he hath appointed us. For it is the unchangeable Constitution of the unchangeable God, to glorify the one Attribute as well as the other, Justice as well as Grace in our Salvation. Proposition: Of this Suretyship-Righteousness of Christ there are two parts, without either of which, it would not be complete and perfect, and would not serve our turn; and the reason thereof is, because Christ being our Surety, is thereby under an Obligation to pay our Debt, and we owe a double Debt unto the Law; viz. a Debt of Satisfaction, by suffering the penalty, as transgressing guilty Creatures, and a Debt of Service and Obedience to the Precept of the Law. Hence there are two parts of Christ's Suretyship-Righteousness. This is that which the Apostle saith, and on which he puts so much Remark and Emphasis. {I Jn.5:6} This is he who came by water and by blood, Jesus the Christ, not in water only, but in water and in blood. The Language and Phrases are Levitical, and we conceive the meaning of them thus. The first Adam came by Water, in a Spotless Cleanness, and Purity, as to all that the Precept required of him; but Jesus Christ came not by Water only, not only in such Purity and Cleanness as fully answered all the Demands of the Precept of the Law; but he came by Blood also, {which neither Adam nor Angels did,} Jesus Christ the Son of God came in a way of satisfactory Sufferings to Expiate and make Atonement for the Sins against the Precept which we were guilty of; this he did by his Blood. The reason is that he was made our Surety! Proposition: His subjection to and suffering of the penalty of the Law. This is commonly called the Passive Obedience or Righteousness of Christ, because it consists in his Suffering the penalty or curse of the Law. The Scripture calls it the Blood of Christ, {Eph.1:7,} and the Death of Christ, {Rom.5:10,} under that eminent part including and intending the whole of his Sufferings. And also Christ's being made Sin, {II Cor.5:21,} and being made a Curse. {Gal.3:13} The ground and reason of this Suffering of Christ under the Curse of the Law is because our Guilt, our Sins were upon him, and thence he suffered in our stead for them. {Isa.53:5,6} God the Father with his own consent put upon him the Garments of us Sinners, and then awaked his Sword against him, even the Sword of his Revenging Justice, and ran him through, and poured out his Blood as if he had been guilty. {Zech.13:7} The end of it with reference to God is the restoring to him the Honor of his Authority and Supremacy over us, and of his other perfections which shine forth in the Law, which we by disobeying him had robbed him of. {Psal.69:4} With reference to us, the end and attainment of it is reconciling us to God. {Rom.5:10} Thence Christ is said to reconcile us, and make peace between God and us by the blood of his Cross. {Eph.2:14-16, Col.1:20,21} The necessity of this part of Christ's Suretyship-Righteousness being brought in for us, ariseth partly from the glorious Holiness and Justice of God’s Nature, whence he cannot but maintain his own Supremacy, and the Rational Creatures Moral dependence on, and subjection to himself; which being violated by Sin, can no way be restored but by satisfaction, nor satisfaction be made, but by the suffering of Punishment; and partly from the veracity of God in his threatening, wherein he hath in Wisdom and Justice established a connection between Sin and Death, and made the latter to be the wages of the former. {Gen.2:17, Deut.27:26} Insomuch as in regard of the Sanction of the Law, that of the Apostle, {Heb.9:22,} takes place, and holds true, without blood there is no remission. Proposition: His subjection to, and fulfilling the precept of the Law is also a part of Christ's Suretyship-Righteousness. This is commonly called Christ's active obedience, and by the Apostle his Obedience, {Rom.5:19,} viz., obedience not only in Suffering, but Obedience to the precept of the Law; as Adam’s Disobedience, to which it is there opposed was a violation of the precept. By Christ it is called his fulfilling all righteousness, {Mt.3:15,} and his doing the will of God. {Psal.40:8, Heb.10:7,9} The reason and ground of Christ’s obligation to bring in this part of righteousness for us, is, because he is our Surety and we owe this Debt to the Law of God. And there is a necessity of it, because God will magnify his Law, and make it Honorable in his being well pleased in Christ with us for his righteousness sake. {Isa.42:21} And because it is the unchangeable constitution of God that all the saving Good and Blessing which shall be given us, shall be given not only from Free Grace, but by the hand of Justice, and in the way of being purchased for us by a just price. Thence, as in the former part of Christ's Suretyship-Righteousness, God's vindictive justice appeared and was glorified, so in this part of it his remunerative justice shines forth and is exerted. For by this part of Christ's righteousness he hath obtained for us in a way of purchase or merit, by paying down a just price, Salvation and Eternal Life. {Heb.9:14, Eph.1:14} Proposition: This righteousness itself is upon Believers by the free and gracious gift and imputation of God. The Holy Ghost useth both these expressions in this matter. You read of the Gift of Righteousness, {Rom.5:17,} and of the Imputation of Righteousness. {Rom.4:6,11} With respect to us it is wholly free and gracious, for those to whom it is given and imputed do no more deserve it than those who never shall be interested in it. Though with respect to Christ it is just and equal that it should be imputed to us; in as much as he did bring it in for us, and that under an Expectation and Assurance built upon God the Father’s Covenant with him, that it should be accepted, and of avail for us, and given and reckoned to us. By being imputed, I mean that it is looked on by God as belonging to us, in order to our being judicially dealt withal according to the merit thereof. To deny that Christ’s Suretyship-Righteousness itself is imputed to us, is to fall in with the Socinians, and the very thing which they contend for. And indeed the thing is plain, that in our being justified, either this Righteousness of Christ itself, or a Righteousness of our own must be imputed to us. For there cannot be Justification without the Imputation of a Righteousness, any more than there can be Condemnation without the Imputation of a Crime; and besides, the Scripture speaks so much of Imputation in the Business of Justification, that I know not any who would be called Christians that have denied Imputation in that matter. And thence it is, that those, who have either out of Darkness, or out of Hatred against standing in the Righteousness of Christ denied the Imputation of that very Righteousness itself unto us, have all of them substituted another righteousness, even a righteousness of our own for us to stand in before God, and be justified in. Proposition: This gratuitous Imputation is valid and effectual to constitute Believers righteous. So the Apostle tells us most expressly. {Rom.5:19} As by one man’s disobedience many were made Sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. The word which the Apostle there useth, and is rendered ‘made,’ signifies constituted, and points to Imputation, as the way how we are made Righteous. And besides, he tells us it is in the same manner, as we are constituted Sinners by Adam’s disobedience, so in like manner we were made Righteous by Christ's Obedience. But the former, namely our being made Sinners is by the Imputation to us of Adam's disobedience, by it Judgment was, or Criminalness came upon all Men to Condemnation, as ver.16 & ver.18, and therefore by the free gift and gracious Imputation of this Righteousness of the Second Adam doth Justification, even Justification unto life come upon us. Such a validity and efficacy there is in God’s Gift and Imputation, that by this Righteousness of Christ it being imputed to them, Believers have a Title and Right to pardon, to the Favor of God, to Adoption, and to Eternal Life. On account of this Righteousness being thus made theirs, it is, as I conceive, that they are said to be Worthy, {Rev.3:4,} to walk with Christ in white; worthy of Joyful Communion with Christ, not in themselves, but as in him, and having his Righteousness upon them, in whom they are made the Righteousness of God. Of this mind was the Apostle Paul, when with so much vehemence and patheticalness he renounces his own Righteousness, and shuns standing in it for Justification unto Life, {Phil.3:9,} as dross that was of no worth, as loss that would undo him, yea, as dung which would defile him, and render him abhorred. This he speaks of his own Righteousness, and thus his heart stood affected towards it in the business of his Justification. Bellarmine {Robert Bellarmine, 1542 - 1621, an Italian Jesuit and a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church,} indeed would have Paul there by his own Righteousness, to mean nothing but his own hypocrisy or formality, and is so very angry with Chemnitz, {Martin Chemnitz, 1522 –1586, a second-generation Lutheran theologian, reformer, and confessor,} for interpreting Paul's own Righteousness there, and the {all things} which he renounces as comprising them under his Grace of Sanctification, and his new Obedience, that he charges him for it with blasphemy. And indeed 'tis no wonder, if depreciating and crying down a Man’s own Righteousness be resented as Blasphemy by a proud Cardinal, a haughty Jesuit and blind Papist. But the Light and Pregnancy of the Apostles Expressions are so strong and clear, that it is somewhat surprising, that any pretending to be a Protestant should lick up that Popish Self-justifying vomit. Grotius indeed goes the same way; and I learn by Mr. Rutherford, {in his Covenant of Life Opened,} that Arminians and Socinians do so too; but I do not reckon them among Protestants. But vain man would be wise, though he be born like the wild Asses Colt. There is in us an obstinate adherence to our own Righteousness, and a desperate loathness to forego it, and be beaten off utterly from it. And thence, if we see we cannot have anything of our own before Conversion to bring us into a justified State, yet we struggle as for Life, that somewhat of our own, something done by us, or inhering in us, may some way or other be our Justifying Righteousness, or a part of it, may have some hand in continuing us in that Estate, though it could do nothing to bring us into it. But doubtless David’s heart was under the conduct of the Blessed Spirit of Wisdom and Grace, when he resolved to make mention of the Righteousness of God, and of it only, for his acceptance, as well as to walk in the strength of the Lord God, for his Assistance. {Psal.71:16} Arminians will have Faith to be a condition, as that the foresight thereof moves the Will of God as a Judge to give us the reward of Life. And another among us asserts that all the benefits of the Covenant of Grace {among which surely Justification, Adoption, the Righteousness of Christ being upon us, and our being united to him, are none of the least} are rewards given. Another, who speaks clearly and less covertly, saith expressly, that God justifies and saves none but for their believing. And another who searched and saw as far as either of them, and speaks out, saith plainly, that we are Pardoned, Justified and Adopted to Eternal Life as a reward to Believers for their Faith and Obedience; and withal tells us in the same Book, that Reward and Merit are Relatives, so as that wherever there is Reward following, there Merit went before, and that there is no Reward, but it is a Reward of Merit. 'Tis true indeed, he will have the Merit of our repenting and believing, but a subordinate Merit, and Christ's the principal. But what is this better than the old Popish Notion that Christ Merited that we might Merit, and we Merit in the virtue of his Blood, and by God’s Grace? And indeed he expressly owns this Tenet of theirs. But surely this is another Gospel, that we are pardoned, justified, adopted, and vested in the Privileges of the New Covenant Estate as a reward of or for our believing, repenting, or new obedience; and a Doctrine grosser than many Learned Papists hold, as great Merit-mongers as they are; for they insist upon it as one condition requisite unto Merit, that the Person Meriting the Reward must first be in a State of Grace and Favor with God; and therefore Justification and Adoption cannot be Merited by us, nor are conferred upon us as a reward of anything that we do. Yea, methinks it is a very pernicious and Soul-destroying Error, if there be or ever have been any such in the World. For if a Man’s Heart be influenced by it, and molded according to it in all his treating with God and applications to him for pardon of Sin, and Justification and adoption, he is wholly led aside quite off from the way of the Gospel, and it is utterly impossible he should ever truly believe. For Faith receives and looks for Union to Christ, interest in this Righteousness of his, Pardon of Sin, Justification and Adoption, not as a reward for or of anything that we do, but merely of Free Grace, and wholly for the sake of Christ and his Righteousness. Proposition: This free, effectual, valid, abiding imputation of this righteousness unto Believers is such that they are thereby constituted as righteous as Christ is righteous as their Surety. When I say they are by its being upon them made as Righteous as Christ is Righteous, as he is their Surety, I mean it not in a way of Similitude only, but in a way of Equality. I am well aware that this is looked on as a monstrous absurdity and horrid impossibility by Papists and others, who contend against the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ unto us at all; and no wonder, for Christ and his Righteousness are a stumbling stone and rock of offence to many in Israel; it was so of old, {Rom.9:32,33,} and it will be to as long as that word, {I Pet.2:8,} stands firm, that there are many in the World who are appointed to stumble at that stumbling stone. But we must not forego a truth so certain, so clear, so comfortable, though all the Unbelievers in the World stumble and quarrel at it. It is a clear and certain Truth that believers by the Imputation of it to them are as righteous as Christ is Righteous as their Surety. For as he is perfectly righteous, having fully paid their Debt and being fully discharged, so are they in him. There is no condemnation to them no, not one. {Rom.8:1} Their sins though in themselves as Scarlet, red as Crimson, are yet made as Snow and white as Wool. {Isa.1:18} Their Iniquities though sought for, yet are as if they were not, and though searched for, yet shall not be found. So perfect and full is God’s pardon, so complete is God's justifying of them. {Jer.50:20} There is none can condemn them, there is none can lay anything to the charge of those Elect of God. {Rom.8:33,34} They do stand before the Throne of God without fault, {Rev.14:5,} for they are made the Righteousness of God in Christ, {II Cor.5:21,} then which no higher, no more full or emphatical Expressions are anywhere used of Christ's being righteous as their Surety, nor can be readily invented. Moreover those very words which the Holy Ghost useth by the Prophet with reference to Christ's acquittal and righteousness, as the Surety of Believers, {Isa.50:7-9,} viz. that he shall not be confounded, that he shall not be ashamed, that he is justified; that there is none that shall condemn him; these very words doth the same Spirit by the Apostle use, and that in the same sense concerning the discharge and righteousness of Believers, through this righteousness of Christ’s being upon them, namely, that they shall not be ashamed, and that they shall not be confounded, that they are justified, and that there is none that shall condemn them. {Rom.10:11, I Pet.2:6, Rom.8:33,34} Indeed the thing is so obvious and plain, that the Original Debtor is as clear and free as his Surety is, considered as his Surety, when the Debt is paid and that Payment accepted for, and adjudged to the Original Debtor by the Creditor; that I see not what can possibly cause any to doubt of Believers being as righteous as Christ is, considered as their Surety, if he be not influenced by a secret disbelief of our being constituted Righteous by this Suretyship-Righteousness of Christ being upon us, and imputed to us, or by a loathness of heart to stand justified in it only, and a desire to stand righteous in some righteousness or other of his own. And it is but too manifest that this lies at the bottom with many who exclaim against it as an impossible thing, and a monstrous paradox. Proposition: This Doctrine shows you the reason and spring of that precious acceptance and sweet communion with God which Believers are admitted into and do enjoy; and also of their humble rejoicings, and gloryings, and triumphings before God; notwithstanding their guiltiness and vileness in themselves by their many and great sinnings against him, and notwithstanding their abasing Convictions, and heart-wounding, heart-breaking sense thereof. Though they were afar off, yet they are made nigh, {Eph.2:13,} and they have boldness and access with confidence unto the Father. {Eph.3:12} Now if you ask whence is this, and how comes it to pass that God deals with them in a way of such marvelous Grace, this Doctrine tells you, the righteousness of Christ is upon them. Moreover, the hearts of Believers are sometimes raised up unto, and filled with enlarged rejoicing, humble glorying and triumphing, and that before God, and so the Apostle declares. {Rom.5:2,3,11} We rejoice or glory in hope of the glory of God, and not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; and he comes over with that word ‘again,’ {vs.11,} saying, and not only so, but we glory in God; 'tis the same word in the Greek in all the three Verses, though differently rendered in our Translation. How do they thus glory in God? It is through Jesus Christ, who hath brought in this righteousness for them, and by whose Death they were when Enemies reconciled to God, and by whom they have received the Atonement; {that is, the Reconciliation.} They do glory before God in him only, in whom they are, and who is of God made righteousness unto them, {I Cor.1:30,31,} and in the unchangeableness of the Love of God towards them in Christ, they do triumph even while they have before their eyes their own guiltiness in themselves, and how much matter for Eternal condemnation there is in them; for it is upon Christ's not being spared or abated anything but being delivered up and dying, and God's justifying {all which plainly speak them in themselves obnoxious to condemnation, and worthy of Death} upon these things it is that the Apostle bottoms that challenge, and raiseth that triumphant persuasion, and Song of assurance which he there uttered in the Name of all Believers. {Rom.8:32-39} Believers have given them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, and they do greatly rejoice in the Lord, even in the Lord. Whence is it then and how comes it to pass that Believers are made even in the view of their own endless sin and guiltiness yet to triumph and rejoice with Joy unspeakable and full of Glory! It is hence, God hath clothed them with the Garments of Salvation, he hath covered them with the Robe of Righteousness, as the Prophet, speaks. {Isa.61:10} This righteousness of Christ is upon them, and thence they have the consolations of God, delighting their Souls, and abounding in them. Conclusion: It may be that some or other who do believe these things to be blessed and glorious Truths may think it had been better not to have spoken them out. I must crave leave in this to dissent from them; I do not think that in such a Subject we should at such a time be mealy-mouthed. Had Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Zanchy, and others of the first Reformers been as faint and complying in their expressions, as some very great and good men then were; and as Peter Martyr himself for some time was, the precious truths of God had been greatly obscured, and the Light thereof not propagated down to us, as it is at this day. Nathaniel Mather {Righteousness of God, etc., Oxford, 1694}    


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