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lives after the flesh; therefore they only can be justified that are alive; from whence this follows, if the living are justified and not the dead, and that none can live to God but such as have mortified the deeds of the body through the spirit, then none can be justified but they who have mortified the deeds of the body through the spirit; so that justification does not go before, but is subsequential to the mortification of lusts and sanctification of the soul, through the spirit's operation.
9. “For as many as are led by the spirit of God are the sons of God."*
How clearly will it appear to any but a cavilling and tenacious spirit, that man can be no farther justified, than as he becomes obedient to the spirit's leadings; for if none can be a son of God but he that is led by the spirit of God, then none can be justified without being led by the spirit of God, because none can be justified but he that is a son of God; so that the way to justification and sonship is through obedience to the spirit's leadings, that is, manifesting the holy fruits thereof by an innocent life and conversation.
10.“ But let every man prove his own work, then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. Be not deceived, for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he reap.”+ If rejoicing and acceptance with God, or the contrary, are to be reaped from the work that man soweth, either to the flesh or to the spirit, then is the doctrine of acceptance, and ground of rejoicing, from the works of another, utterly excluded, every man reaping according to what he hath sown, and bearing his own burden.
* Rom. viii. 14.
+ Gal. vi. 4, 7.
11. “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” He that will seriously peruse this chapter, shall doubtless find some to whom this epistle was wrote, of the same spirit with the satisfactionists and imputarians of our time—they fain would have found out a justification from faith in the imputation of another's righteousness; but James, an apostle of the Most High God, who experimentally knew what true faith and justification meant, gave them to understand from Abraham's selfdenying example, that unless their faith in the purity and power of God's grace, had that effectual operation to subdue every beloved lust, wean from every Delilah, and entirely to resign and sacrifice Isaac himself, their faith was a fable, or as a body without a spirit; and as righteousness therefore in one person cannot justify another from unrighteousness; so whoever now pretends to be justified by faith, whilst not led and guided by the spirit into all the ways of truth and works of righteousness, their faith they will find at last a fiction. 12. “Little children, let no man deceive you ; he that doeth righteousness is righteous, as God is righteous, (but) he that committeth sin is of the devil."* From whence it may be very clearly argued, that none can be in a state of justification, from the righteousness performed by another imputed unto them, but as they are actually redeemed from the commission of sin ; for “if he that committeth sin is of the devil," then cannot any be justified completely before God, who is so incompletely redeemed, as yet to be under the captivity of lust, since then the devil's seed or offspring may be justified; but that is impossible ; it therefore follows, that as he who doeth righteousness is righteous, as God is righteous, so no farther is he like God, or justifiable ; for in whatsoever he derogates from the works of that faith which is held in a pure conscience, he is no longer righteous or justified, but under condemnation as a transgressor, or disobedient person, to the righteous commandment; and if any would obtain the true state of justification, let them circumspectly observe the holy guidings and instructions of that unction, to which the apostle recommended the ancient churches, that thereby they may be led out of all ungodliness into truth and holiness, so shall they find acceptance with the Lord, who has determined never to justify the wicked.
* James ü. 21, 24.
Refuted from right Reason. 1. Because it is impossible for God to justify that which is both opposite and destructive to the purity of his own nature, as this doctrine necessarily obliges him to do, in accepting the wicked, as not such, froin the imputation of another's righteousness.
2. Since man was justified before God, whilst in his native innocency, and never condemned till he had erred from that pure state; he never can be justified, whilst in the frequent commission of that for which the condemnation came; therefore, to be justified, his redemption must be as entire as his fall.
3. Because sin came not by imputation, but actual transgression; for God did not condemn his creature for what he did not, but what he did ; therefore must the righteousness be as personal for acceptance, otherwise these two things will necessarily follow ; first, that he may be actually a sinner, and yet not under the curse ; secondly, that the power of the first Adam to death was more prevalent than the power of the second Adarn unto life.
4. It is therefore contrary to sound reason, that if actual sinning brought death and condemnation, any thing besides actual obedience unto righteousness should bring life and justification ; for death and life, condemnation and justification being vastly opposite, no man can be actually dead and imputatively alive; therefore this doctrine, so much contended for, carries this gross absurdity with it, that a man may be actually
sinful, yet imputatively righteous; actually judged and condemned, yet imputatively justified and glorified ; in short, he may be actually damned, and yet imputatively saved; otherwise it must be acknowledged, that obedience to justification ought to be as personally extensive, as was disobedience to condemnation ; in which real, not imputative sense, those various terms of sanctification, righteousness, resurrection, life, redemption, justification, &c. are most infallibly to be understood.
5. Nor are those words, impute, imputed, imputeth, imputing, used in Scripture by way of opposition to that which is actual and inherent, as the assertors of an imputative righteousness do by their doctrine plainly intimate ; but so much the contrary, as that they are never mentioned, but to express men really and personally to be that which is imputed to them, whether as guilty, as remitted, or as righteous. For instance; “ What man soever of the house of Israel that killeth an ox, and bringeth it not to the door of the tabernacle to offer unto the Lord, blood shall be imputed unto that man,”* or charged upon him as guilty thereof. “And Shimei said unto the king, let not my lord impute iniquity unto me, for thy servant doth know that I have sinned.”+
6. “But sin is not imputed where there is no law. From whence it is apparent that there could be no
* Lev. xvii. 3, 4.
+ 2 Sam. xix. 18-20.
& Rom. v. 13.