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Justification by Faith alone.
ROMANS IV. 5.
BUT TO HIM THAT WORKETH NOT, BUT BELIEVETH ON HIM THAT JUSTIFIETH THE UNGODLY, HIS FAITH IS COUNTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
HE following things may be noted in this verse: 1. That justification respects a man as ungodly: This is evident by those words.....that justifieth the ungodly: Which words cannot imply less, than that God, in the act of justification has no regard to any thing in the person justified, as godliness, or any goodness in him; but that nextly or immediately before this act, God beholds him only as an ungodly or wicked creature; so that godliness in the person to be justified is not so antecedent to his justification as to be the ground of it. When it is said that God justifies the ungodly, it is as absurd to suppose that our godliness, taken as some goodness in us, is the ground of our justification, as when it is said that Christ gave sight to the blind, to suppose that sight was prior VOL. VII.
to, and the ground of that act of mercy in Christ; or as, if it should be said, that such an one by his bounty has made a poor man rich, to suppose that it was the wealth of this poor man that was the ground of this bounty towards him, and was the price by which it was procured.
2. It appears that by him that worketh not, in this verse, is not meant only one that does not conform to the ceremonial law, because he that worketh not, and the ungodly, are evidently synonymous expressions, or what signify the same; it appears by the manner of their connexion: If it be not so, to what purpose is the latter expression, the ungodly, brought in? The context gives no other occasion for it, but only to show, that the grace of the gospel appears, in that God, in justification, has no regard to any godliness of ours. The foregoing verse is, "Now to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt." In that verse it is evident that gospel grace, consists in the reward's being given without works; and in this verse which immediately follows it, and in sense is connected with it, it is evident that gospel grace consists in a man's being justified that is ungodly; by which it is most plain, that by him that worketh not, and him that is ungodly, are meant the same thing; and that therefore not only works of the ceremonial law are excluded in this business of justification, but works of morality and godliness.
3. It is evident in the words, that by that faith, that is here spoken of, by which we are justified, is not meant the same thing as a course of obedience or righteousness, by the expression by which this faith is here denoted, viz. believing on him that justifies the ungodly. They that oppose the Solifidians, as they call them, do greatly insist on it, that we should take the words of scripture concerning this doctrine in their most natural and obvious meaning; and how do they cry out, of our clouding this doctrine with obscure metaphors, and unintelligible figures of speech? But is this to interpret scripture according to its most obvious meaning, when the scripture speaks of our believing on him that justifies the ungodly, or the breakers of his law, to say, that the meaning of it is performing a course of obedience to his law, and avoiding the breaches of