« PrécédentContinuer »
other at embracing faith. His lordship has stated that the term justification, is by the Scriptures synonymous with remission of sins; this, it is conceived, cannot be correct. Christ had the of remission of sin, and exercised it. He also conferred this power upon his apostles, John xx. 23.; and although it may be truly said, there can be no justification without remission of sin, it does not consequently follow, that justification is remission of sin only, or that remission of sin is justification. If either of these expressions has a more extensive meaning, or comprises matter the other does not, they cannot be said to be synonymous. Was remission of sin actual justification, not only Christ but his Apostles had the power of justification. This is directly contrary to the words of St. Paul, who has told us, “it is God that justifieth,” Rom. viii. 33. By Scripture there appears more than one requisite on the part of man, which may effect remission of sin, as repentance, baptism, faith, &c. These must be deemed to be conditions, and if indispensable, must all be complied with ; it is then certain, the act of remission does not take place at the time any one of these conditions take place or is performed. This is one of the great difficulties or objections to justification in this life, because no precise time can be fixed upon for the act of justification to take place, and no condition can be left to be fulfilled after justification. This must be an undeniable fact, and cannot be brought into doubt; and as some of these conditions have a continuance as long as the existence of man, the reasonable conclusion must be, that justification cannot take place in this life, because there are conditions during life remaining to be fulfilled. This is a most unanswerable argument against justification in this life, which is understood to be a remission of all sin, past, present, and future. This argument does not affect a remission of sin in this life by Christ, or his Apostles, which might have had all the same effects as justification, otherwise the power would not have been perfect; but which could not, in any sense of the word, be justification, that being the act of God only. In another point of view, we may safely conclude, that remission of sin by Scripture is not synonymous with justification, although an indispensable part, and may consequently follow. Justification is not only a remission of sin, but must be an acceptance of the sinner by God to the rewards promised and assured to the righteous, in and by the Gospel of Christ.
a Letter, p. 6. and Preface, p. xvi.
The different heads proposed in this discussion being passed through, for the sake of perspicuity we will run over the same in rather a cursory manner, making such observations or remarks as may occur, either to explain or elucidate such parts, which, from ambiguity, abstruseness, uncertainty, or any other cause, may seem to require it, as well as to confirm and establish the inferences, deductions, and conclusions, from the arguments used.
In considering the first head, Definition of Justification, there can be no doubt of the importance of this head, which may be said to be the foundation upon which the whole fabric rests, and unless this is good, a failure may reasonably be expected. From what is stated on this head, , it is to be inferred, that justification is an act of God, previously taking place to the sentence of salvation, and indispensable, which shews its great and momentous consequence; and when we are duly impressed with its importance in this point of view, no labour, time, or attention we give to all matters relating to or connected with the subject, can be said to be unnecessarily bestowed or uselessly applied. According to Scripture no act seems necessary to be done, nor any matter whatever to intervene between justification and salvation, consequently, the man who is justified must be in that perfect state of righteousness to be fit and meet for salvation; this must be apparent from many parts of Scripture. How can man be fit for salvation, unless he is purified from all his sins ? and this must be by pardon ; this pardon must come from God; and when this is passed upon the sinner, he is then accepted of God as just and righteous; this is justification. St. Paul's words, where he says, “it is God that justifieth,” most fully confirm this statement. We may then conclude, that our definition of justification before God is a remission or pardon of all sin, and an acceptance by him of the person as perfectly just and righteous, whereby he then becomes entitled to all the celestial blessings promised the righteous in and by the Gospel, is correct. The two other senses of the word
justification” are so plain and certain, that they cannot require any observation upon them.
Upon the next head, “ Connexion of Justifi
cation and Salvation,” it may have been observed, that some writers have considered the words justification and salvation as having the same meaning, and have used the words indiscriminately, and in which they are strongly supported both by St. Paul and St. James in many instances, where the words have seemingly been used to that effecto; but, as Bishop Tomline has observed, they are as distinct as they are important", though at the same time, notwithstanding they are distinct, yet that will not and cannot affect their connexion. In many cases, two or more things or matters, quite distinct and different, must necessarily be connected or united to produce the required effect; such is the connexion of justification with salvation, the former must precede, and is an essential and indispensable part in the attainment of the latter, which, from the authorities of Scripture advanced under this head, is so plain and conclusive, that no further authority or argument can be required to establish their connexion than what is there stated.
Our next head is “ Definition of Justifying Faith,” we now approach or enter upon a subject of great expansion and fertility, in whatever
a See Rom. v. 9. Gal. iii. 11. Titus iii. 7. James ii. 14. 24.