[ocr errors]

Rom. iii. 27. Neither can we say that any one
is justified, unless he is acquitted, according to
the law by which he is tried, whether that be
the law of Moses, or Christ. In one word, no
man can be justified, or acquitted, unless he has
obeyed the law by which he is tried d ;” neither
can he be justified, nor acquitted without a trial;
and Christians must be tried by the law or gospel
of Christ,“ in the day when God shall judge the
secrets of men by Jesus Christe.” The word
"justify” seems to be the scriptural term to
" acquit,” or at least is the nearest in meaning
to any word in the English language, but is not
used scripturally; the word “ acquit,” it is be-
lieved, only occurs twice in the whole Bible, and
acquittal or acquitted not at all; but acquit, and
justify are not synonymous; acquit is to dis-
charge from punishment; justify to clear, or
absolve from imputed guilt. And when the word
justification occurs, and relates to, or is con-
nected with the salvation of man, unaccom-
panied by other words to designate a different
meaning, it should be understood to signify a per-
fect absolution, or purification from all sin, as is de-
scribed by the prophet Jeremiah, chap. xxxiii. 8.
“ And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity,
whereby they have sinned against me; and I will

d Har. Apos. chap. iii. Sect. 1.

e Rom. ii. 16.

pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me."

When the word justify, or justification is used, and it is stated in plain terms; or from whence it must be concluded, that salvation is connected with, and will be succeeded by such justification, it is impossible to put any other construction upon the word than the above, as must plainly appear upon considering the following texts:

Acts xiii. 39. “ And by him all that believe are justified from all things from which ye

could not be justified by the law of Moses.”

Rom. iv. 25. “ Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Ibid. iii. 24. “ Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."

Ibid. ü. 25. “ Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.”

Tit. iii. 7. “ That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Sanctification being considered the effect of justification, and necessarily a consequence of it, there did not appear auy ground to notice it in defining justification,

Rom. v. 9. “Much more then being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."

From these texts it is seen that Christ was delivered to death for men's offences, raised again for their justification, was made the propitiation through faith in his blood for the remission of sins, and, through the forbearance and grace of God, are made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. How is man to be “justified from all things,” and “ freely” by the blood of Christ, did not the justification mentioned in the above texts, and all others where salvation is to be succeeded by such justification, include a remission of, and perfect purification from all sin? Is it possible that we can be made heirs to the hope of eternal life, or saved from wrath, while our sins are cleaving fast to us? By what other act, or name, can the pardon of a sinner be known, or described, than justification? It is most certain “ all have sinned and come short of the glory of God 5," and, therefore, man cannot be made perfectly just and righteous except by pardon, no act of faith, or work will wipe away, or obliterate his sins, but forgiveness, and that freely from God's grace through the blood or death

& Rom. iii. 23.
b That it is God who is to justify every sinner is so plain

of Christ. Such must be the obvious meaning of the word justification in Scripture, where it relates to, or is connected with the judgment, or salvation of man; but there is another sense in which it must be understood, when it relates, or is applied to a particular act, which the following text will shew :

Psalm li. 4. “ Against thee, thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight; that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”

The justification here stated must refer to the quality of the act, that the person doing, or the act done will be approved, or is right; and in common language we say of all rightful acts, that those who do them are justified, or free from guilt, or even of any charge, and in such cases pardon is not wanting : but how different with fallen man ! in his case there must be remission of sins, and it is certain St. Paul has in

many instances used the word with this latter meaning, yet it is clear he has used it to

the quality of the act, or that no charge could be sustained by the act, as is seen by the following


and certain, that authorities are deemed unnecessary, but those who wish may examine the following texts: Exod. xxiii. 7. 1 Kings viii. 32. Isai. 1. 8. Rom. iii. 26. 30. iv. 5. viii. 30. 33. Gal. iii. 8.

when ex

text, which seems to have the same meaning as the last text from the Psalms :

Rom. iii. 4. “ God forbid ; yea let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, that thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."

Here neither pardon, nor remission of sins could have any relation to the word “ justified," which must mean, that God's sayings, or word, were true, and so they would appear amined; which is strongly expressed by the words, “ when thou art judged;" but nothing can be more different than the justification which is intended only to shew the quality of the act, that it is good, or that the person is free from any charge of blame on account of it; and justification in the sight of God, when man is to be cleansed from all his impurities, and to be made perfectly just and righteous, which must take place before he can be admitted into the mansions of eternal glory. The word justify, not only in common use but in Scripture, very frequently means to defend or excuse; as in Job ix. 20. Luke x. 29. with many other places. Upon this last construction in the manner the word has been used, it is conceived, many have been led into error, and to suppose or conclude that our acts are to justify us, and that the free gift, which God hath bestowed upon man by the sacrifice of his Son,

« ElőzőTovább »