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take a different view of the subject, coupled with the baneful principle of believing no doctrine that is incomprehensible, seem to have been the source of most of the errors which have prevailed in the Christian world." To which may be added, that any text or texts which relate to a particular tenet, and seem to contradict other texts, or militate against the general scope or tenor of Scripture, in all such cases a strict literal construction should not be adhered to, but the particular text or texts should have such a restricted, or as may be necessary, enlarged or varied meaning, that the general sense and intention of all parts may be reconciled with each other.
To illustrate the principle that St. Paul's statements of facts or things are not to be taken or received in a strict literal or grammatical sense, let us see what he has written in
Col. i. 13. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.”
What is the real literal meaning of the words “ hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son?” The word “translated ” clearly means “ removed,” and the words “ kingdom of his dear Son” must mean “heaven.” Christ was then “received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.”. And heaven is called by Christ “my kingdom.” The persons who were included in the word “us” were himself, (St. Paul,) the saints and faithful brethren in Christ that were at Colosse; the literal meaning of the words then is, that St. Paul and the saints, and faithful brethren in Christ were then translated or removed to heaven: undoubtedly no such thing was intended by St. Paul, the proper reasonable construction of the words is, that they would hereafter be translated into the kingdom of his dear Son: and in the next verse he states the effecting means in these words:
• Refutation of Calvinism, p. 47.
f “But he that observes St. Paul's way of writing, who more regards things than forms of speaking."-Note by Mr. Locke on Rom. iv. 16.-"Forms of speaking” must mean grammatical sense.
Col. i. 14. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins."
In statements of this sort the matter, whatever it may be, is considered not to be restricted as applicable to the particular persons named, but to all Christians generally. 2 Tim. iv. 8. “ Henceforth there is laid
for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day,
& Mark xvi. 19.
and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
The word love is here put as in the present, or future tense, whereas the word in the original language is have loved.
Gal. v. 4. “ Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
Surely, after this quotation, it must be unnecessary to pursue the subject further to establish the principle or fact contended for, that the tense the verb is in cannot be in any way relied upon, but have such construction as the subject matter requires. Here we find St. Paul saying, whosoever of you are justified (or who justify yourselves) by the law. If these words have a literal and strict grammatical construction put upon them, what a contradiction does it make, according to his own words, who has repeatedly said that “no man is justified by the law "?" It would be a perfect absurdity to understand the words as they are written, when compared with the texts last referred to, unless the sentence is altered, and some word or words is or are added, such as hope, seek, or expect to be justified. Add whatever word or words you may, the verb must be put in the future tense, to avoid the absurdity and palpable contradiction ; the words, as they stand, upon an accurate and literal construction of their meaning must produce.
h Rom. iii. 20. Gal. ii. 16. iii. 11.
The change of the tenses is so common and numerous, in the translation of the Bible, that it must be admitted to determine this point, and to say more at present would be superfluous; but when the particular texts are quoted, which have been relied upon to prove remission of sins takes place in this life, it may then be necessary to make some further observations in confirmation of what has been stated above.
TEXTS OF SCRIPTURE IN FAVOUR OF JUSTIFICATION IN
THIS LIFE QUOTED AND ANSWERED.
Rom. v. 9. “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
1 Cor. vi. 11. “And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
Col. ii. 13. “ And you being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.”
1 John ii. 12.“ I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.”
Gen. xv. 6. “And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
James ï. 21. “ Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar ?"