Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

BOOK III.

ON JUSTIFICATION, FAITH, AND GOOD WORKS.

CHAPTER 1.

INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS.

It may be conducive to perspicuity in what I shall have occasion to remark on these subjects, to explain in few words that doctrine which I intend to maintain and vindicate, on the several particulars contained in the title of this book.

Justification is, in our view, the act of God, in dealing with men (though in themselves guilty of many crimes, and in nothing completely obedient,) as with persons righteous, and entitled to the reward of perfect righteousness ; not only “not im“ puting sin" unto them, but also “ imputing “ righteousness without works.”! It therefore denotes much more than forgiveness ; even as the title to a rich inheritance is much more than the pardon granted to a rebel or traitor.

It is commonly said to be a forensic term,2 taken from the proceedings of human judicatories: yet, in human courts of justice, a pardon and justification cannot possibly go together : for he that

[ocr errors]

Rom. iv, 5—2.

2 Cor. v. 21.

?, Ref. 98.

is justified as a righteous person, or honourably acquitted, (being one against whom no charge can be maintained, or ought to have been brought,) has no occasion for a pardon, and would be insulted by the offer of one ; while, in the dealings of God with his true servants, pardon and justification, though distinct, are inseparable. This act of God, “who justifieth the ungodly," is entirely, in our view, “ by grace," from first to last; not only undeserved but contrary to our deservings; not only to our deservings before we began to repent, and submit, and believe, and obey, but to the end of life: as, according to the most perfect, and holy and just and good law of God, the best things which we do have in many respects need of pardon, and can therefore effect nothing for our justification before God,

As the source of justification is the most free mercy and grace of God, so this act of grace is granted to us entirely for the sake of Jesus Christ; for the sake of his merits and atonement ; his righteousness and sacrifice, of infinite value and efficacy, as the righteousness and the atoning sacrifice of him who is “ God inanifest in the flesh." Through this redemption, and the mediation grounded on it, the dire nature and deserved punishment of sin are shewn, the justice of God is satisfied, the law of God is magnified, the holiness of God is glorified, and he appears in full and resplendent honour as “ a just God and a Saviour.” “He “who knew no sin was made sin for us, that we " might be made the righteousness of God in

[merged small][ocr errors]

“him."1 • Such,' says the judicious Hooker, we * are in the sight of God the Father, as is the very

Son of God himself. Let it be counted folly, or • frenzy, or fury, whatsoever ; it is our comfort and

our wisdom; we care for no knowledge in the 'world but this ; that man hath sinned, and God hath suffered ; that God hath made himself the

Son of man, and that men “ are made the righ* teousness of God.”2_God now looking on them

there appears nothing but Christ; they are, as it were, covered over with him, as a man is with the

clothes which he has put on; and hence in the 'next verse it is said, they are “all one in Christ Jesus," as if there were but that one person.'3

The language of these quotations, from two persons peculiarly eminent each in his line, is peculiarly energetic and decided ; and indeed more so, in some respects, than can be produced from • the writings of modern Calvinists ;' or than would even meet with the unreserved approbation of many among them ; especially the language of Hooker.

Again, as we are justified by grace, and “ made “ the righteousness of God in Christ,” so we are “justified by faith," and faith alone.-- Faith is the ‘only hand which putteth on Christ unto justifica* tion; and Christ the only garment which, being

so put on, covereth the shame of our defiled na'tures, hideth the imperfection of our works, pre

serveth us blameless in the sight of God, before

Rom. iii. 21, 22. 2 Cor. v. 21. Phil. iii. 9. See also Is. xlv. 24, 25. Jer. xxii. 6.

? Hooker, of Justification, $ 6. Locke on Gal. iii. 27.

whom otherwise the weakness of our faith were cause sufficient to make us culpable, yea, to shut ‘us from the kingdom of heaven, where nothing

that is not absolute can enter.' Thus the apostle says, “ The righteousness of God, which is by faith “ of Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all that believe: “ for there is no difference.” 2

The Refutation, indeed, admits and maintains a great part of that which has been hitherto advanced; but, in opposition to the doctrine contended for by his Lordship, we must also strenuously avow our full and decided persuasion, that not only our first pardon and justification, our admission into a justified state, is wholly of grace, as “made the righteousness of God in Christ,” and by faith alone; but that we are preserved' unto the end in a justified state by faith, and faith alone, and not by works. So that, if faith should wholly fail, nothing which we had done, or could do, would justify us, or do any thing towards it; “ for we through the Spirit wait for the hope of “ righteousness by faith.” 3 Indeed we must also maintain, that, in whatever sense our words or our works may be spoken of as justifying us, even in the day of judgment nothing will “justify us in “ the sight of God," so as to constitute us righteous, and entitled to the reward of righteousness, except, “ being found in Christ, not having our “ own righteousness, which is of the law, but the “ righteousness which is through the faith of “ Christ, the righteousness which is of God by

Hooker, of Justif. $ 31.

Gal. v. 5.

? Rom. iii. 22.

« EdellinenJatka »