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sins take place in this life? The word justification has most clearly that meaning according to the most approved authorities, but should it be said not to have that meaning, the question cannot be raised. It is true Grotius did not hold this construction of the word to be correct, which gave occasion to Bishop Bull to observe strongly upon Grotius's opinion, and who, after giving his (Bull's) definition of the word justification, states, “So that it is strange to find a most learned man, who, in other respects, has with great truth explained this doctrine of justification, denying it, and contending that the word justification generally signifies, especially when connected with the word faith a purifying from vice, or a freedom from the habit of sinning. Grotius, indeed, does allow (for him I mean) that to justify in the 2nd of St. James, signifies to treat one as just, and adds, that the whole context of his argument renders this sense absolutely necessary. Still he entirely denies that this is its general sense, especially in the Epistles of St. Paul b.”
It must appear quite clear that the above construction put by Grotius, particularly the latter part," a freedom from the habit of sinning," had nothing to do with a remission of past sins; how
Bull's Har. Apos. ch. i. S. 2. English translation.
can it be reasonably accounted for, that so great a man as Grotius should put a different construction upon the word from all others, or the common received opinion, unless he saw the difficulty which must arise upon the general construction, that it was to absolve from sin, or pronounce guiltless, and carried with it remission of sins in this life, and which he knew would be unscriptural with respect to the day of judgment; from whence it may be fairly concluded, that he could not hold that remission of sins took place in this life. No such conclusion could be drawn from any other word or words in Scripture except justification. Was the construction put by Grotius correct, that justification was a purifying from vice, or freedom from the habit of sinning, no one being justified in this life could afterwards commit sin which is clearly unscriptural, consequently his construction of the word must be erroneous.
We will, by making another quotation from Bishop. Bull, endeavour to learn what his own opinion was, whether justification does, or does not, take place in this life. In enforcing his argument against Grotius upon the meaning of the word, he says, “I will add another argument for this interpretation, in my opinion at least unanswerable. The word justify both with Paul and James has exactly the same force as to impute a reward, to impute righteousness, and to impute for righteousness. Now it is well understood, that imputation denotes the act of God regard ing a man as just, not making him just; and this Grotius neither can or will deny. He only contends that it is one thing when a man is said to be justified by faith, but another, when faith is said to be imputed to a man for righteousness. But every one will see the contrary who compares Rom. iv. 2. with ver. 3, 4, 5, 6, and 22. with ver. 23, 24, 25. and James ii. 21. with ver: 23. On which last passage Grotius himself observes, that to be justified, and to be called the friend of God, mean the same thing; adding that in Rom. v. 1. to be justified, is the same as to have peace with God. To these you may add Rom. iii. 20. “Wherefore from the works of the law no flesh shall be justified in his sight.” Where it appears that justify is used as a law term, both from the words in the sight of God, that is, at the judgment-seat of God, and also from Psalm cxliii. 2. (to which Grotius allows, and the words shew, that St. Paul alludes) where David deprecates the severe judgment of God. This passage should be particularly observed, since from it clearly appears what St. Paul means by justification in his argument on faith and works.
“ The justification which Paul denies to works we ascribe to faith.
“But the justification which he denies to works is a phrase of law by which any one is pronounced just at the judgment of God.
“ Therefore the justification which he attributes to faith is of the same nature."
The two last quotations which the Bishop makes from Scripture to prove the meaning of the word justify, shew most clearly, that justification takes place at the day of judgment, the first is, that “ from the works of the law no flesh shall be justified in his sight,” and that the words “in his sight,” should not be misunderstood, he says, “that is, at the judgment-seat of God;" and those in Psalm cxliii. “for in thy sight no man living shall be justified,” have the same import, and it is certain writers have generally considered these two texts refer to the day of judgment: and what is the conclusion from the Bishop's argument, that the justification which we ascribe to faith is of the same nature as that which St. Paul denies to works, but that the latter “is a phrase of law, by which, any one is pronounced just at the judgment of God;" or in other terms is justified ? And from whence it must be concluded, if the Bishop's argument is
• Har. Apo. ch. i. S. 5. p. 8.
good, these justifications are of the same nature, and that they must take place at the same time.
Again, the Bishop states, where he is treating of St. Paul's rejection of the Mosaic law from justification. “ From these premises then the Apostle deduces his conclusion, which is this : that neither Jews, nor Greeks, (all flesh) can be justified by the law of Moses in the sight of God; which words are decidedly significant, because the law had a certain justification peculiar to itself, before men, and effectual in obtaining earthly happiness but not in the kingdom of heaven; which the author of the commentaries attributed to Ambrosius, well explains thus, It is true, that no man is justified by the law, but this is before God, for he is justified before men, so as to be secure in this life; but if he would be justified before God he must study faith, otherwise though he would be safe here he will be guilty hereafter.
“ The whole of the Apostle's argument may be comprehended in this syllogism :
“At the judgment-seat of God no man can be justified by the law of Moses, who is guilty of those sins for which no remission is provided at that judgment-seat by that law.
“But all, both Jews and Greeks, are guilty of those sins for which no remission is provided at that judgment-seat by the law of Moses.