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possible as that man should be able to turn the sun from his daily course.
We can have no difficulty to conclude from what has been stated, that pure justifying faith is a firm assent or belief of the mind in the existence of a SUPREME BEING governing the Universe, called GOD; that JESUS CHRIST is his only begotten SON; that the Gospel is the word of God, and that there must be in the heart a perfect love of him and all his works, with an earnest desire to obey his most righted ous will and commands in all things, and religiously to do, and persevere in doing, all those duties imposed upon man in and by his most holy word; this is the faith, the only faith, man can rely upon to become a partaker of the great boon, the rich banquet of love, which his heavenly Father through Christ hath provided and set before him ; the rejection thereof, and a continuance in the broad way of sin, will most assuredly bring final and eternal destruction upon his benighted soul.
DIFFICULTIES TO JUSTIFICATION IN THIS LIFE.
The doctrine or tenet of justification, taking place in this life, will appear to be productive of many great objections and insurmountable difficulties, when we enquire and investigate the matter upon Scriptural authority, that they may be said to be almost innumerable, we will state a few which are most striking. According to our definition of justification, it is a certain distinct act of God; that it not only insures, but is inevitably succeeded with salvation; and unless it is so succeeded, it cannot be perfect justification to effect remission of sins, and acceptance of the man by God, as just and righteous. Upon the supposition that justification takes place in this life, and that salvation will inevitably follow, it seems impossible to reconcile such a principle with those parts of Scripture, particularly the statements both of Christ and St. Paul, where a continuance in well doing, and perseverance unto the end, are made absolute conditions for man to comply with, to give him even a claim or expectation of salvation. Upon the above supposition, another difficulty of no small magnitude will occur ; justification, we must conclude, must take place upon some particular act being done, and generally conceived at the time of having, or embracing faith; to salvation there are undoubtedly more than one condition necessary to obtain it; we find St. Paul, in one instance, says, without holiness no man shall see the Lord. We also find, in other parts of Scripture, that baptism doth now save us; also, that we are saved by hope; we then see there are more than one matter necessary to obtain salvation; and as justification will inevitably be succeeded with salvation, all those conditions, whatever they may be, which are necessary to obtain salvation, must be complied with or performed, before justification can take place; consequently the difficulty that must occur, upon justification taking place in this life, whether at baptism, embracingfaith, doing works, or upon any other occasion, seems to be insurmountable; and particularly when the Scriptural doctrine, which is most plain and certain, that man can at any time during life commit sin, and wholly fall from faith and grace is considered; by his justification he has effected the remission of all sin, past, présent, and future; a man who has the sentence of justification passed upon him is become perfectly just and righteous, and accepted by God as such, and being so accepted, it seems a perfect contradiction to say, he can be capable afterwards of committing sin; it would be uttering the greatest absurdity that can exist, to say a man has effected the remission of all sin, and yet having done so, he can commit sin. Faith being an indispensable requisite in justification, all who are justified must possess faith ; and if justification takes place in this life, it is most reasonable to conclude, it must be upon embracing faith ; but it is most truly certain and clear, from the cases stated in Scripture of persons being justified in this life, that they did not take place upon any particular occasion, or act being done. It is more than once stated by St. Paul, that Abraham was justified by faith; that is, his faith was counted to him for righteousness, which is understood to be justification. St. James asks, whether Abraham was not justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son; and, from what follows, it is plain St. James meant to show that Abraham was justified by works; and in this case of Abraham, that his works and faith cooperated in his justification. It is most certain his first justification neither took place when he embraced faith, nor did it take place when he had performed a work, which he did by or through his faith; this difficulty, or objection to the tenet of justification taking place generally on earth, seems to be incapable of admitting an explanation, to show to a precision when earthly justification does actually take place; and if this point cannot be clearly established by the authority of Scripture, and the time distinctly shown, it will then appear to be uncertain when it did take place. What can be a greater objection to any system than uncertainty ? In theology it is considered that justification is not a transient but a permanent act of God. If there is any ground for this opinion, which is generally admitted by theologians, justification in this life will produce a difficulty of no small extent, particularly to those who hold, that justification takes place upon having faith, when we know to the greatest certainty by Scripture, that man can, at any time during life, wholly fall from faith and grace, and be totally lost”. It surely will not be said that the man who is justified cannot fall from faith ; if it should be so said, how can it be proved from Scripture ?