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had placed him in that state, whereby he may obtain justification personally as from himself, and as a right through faith, and not from grace; but a greater error cannot be conceived; justification is to be by God, freely from his grace ; and like all other blessings, which man enjoys, not from merit or deserving, but freely from grace through the riches of his goodness and mercy, and from the great love, wherewith he loved us, and gave his only begotten Son, that we should not perish, but have everlasting life. It has been held by some that the word justify in Scripture means a purifying from vice, or freedom from the habit of sinning only ; but a freedom from sinning, and an absolution, or pardon of sins, are as different from each other as the light and heat of the sun, though produced from the same cause; and it is impossible to conclude that St. Paul, in many places where he uses the word justify, could mean any thing short of remission of sins, and acceptance of the man by God as perfectly just and righteous, from stating the cause, means, or instrument whereby justification is obtained, and concluding with salvation as the consequence, or effect.
It is very certain the word justify has been used in different senses, not only by St. Paul, but other writers in Scripture : and by some persons it has been understood to mean when it is said, man is justified, that he is in a justified state, and which will finally end in justification ; this, together with the present and past tenses being sometimes used, and at other times the future tense, have caused great difficulty to authors in their endeavours to reconcile different statements in Scripture, and particularly in St. Paul's epistles; to obviate and surmount this difficulty the idea that there are two justifications, one on earth, and another at the day of judgment, has been propagated by some writers on the subject of justification : in the New Testament we meet with the same word in the original language translated justification, and also righteousness : upon a supposition that the translators have misapplied these words in the translation, may not one of the greatest difficulties which theologians have had in the interpretation of Scripture, and in their endeavours to reconcile those parts which were apparently inconsistent with other parts, be greatly removed ? Upon this supposition the word justified will be the same as to be made, or become righteous : we will examine and see what the objections may be to this supposition, and not, by an attempt to clear up one difficulty, introduce a much greater, of which all writers should be most careful. That man is born in a sinful and fallen state is so clear and certain, that it must be unhesitatingly ad
mitted by all, and in that state he must remain until renewed by grace, and this must be effected by or through the sanctifying aid or assistance of faith, and being thereby renewed in the spirit of the mind, " ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called :” this is called being justified, or brought into a state of justification, by those who hold justification takes place in this life; but it must be seen this is being brought into a state of righteousness, not that state of righteousness which real justification effects, but in a state for improvement, and being by grace renewed and refreshed day by day, we should in this state go on to perfection: this state may aptly be called a state of reconciliation with God, but is not, cannot be justification, the latter is the finish or perfection of the former: it is stated that Christ hath made reconciliation with God for man; that is, Christ has done his part, but man has not done his, until by faith, which must be here considered a condition, he has performed the condition, by embracing faith, and thereby entitled to receive the benefit of Christ's reconciliation, and the first effective step to his obtaining justification with its
i Man being first brought into a state of grace must be by faith, and by some is called regeneration, by others renovation : by some regeneration is said to take place at baptism : but a first state of grace whether called regeneration, or renovation, must be the circumcision of the heart, not the flesh, and must be by faith.
Conciseness and certainty being always most desirable in the elucidation of truth, if we reduce all the various and different meanings which the word justification will bear, or have been attributed to it, to the following short exposition, it may greatly assist us in the present enquiry, and prevent many difficulties which we may otherwise fall into. We will begin with the sense in which the word is most generally used in scripture; justification before God; this is a remission or pardon of all sin, by or through the blood of Christ, by which the person is become perfectly just and righteous, and accepted by God as such; this must be the common received meaning of the word; and particularly when it relates to, or is connected with, the judgment or salvation of man: the second where it is applied, refers, or relates to a particular act, and is intended to steer toe quality of the act: and the third is to Ad Or Excuse the person under a charge, or #tits an act done, or omitted to be done: Hoppning in mind these three distinct senses, W'10'Wisme, it is conceived, erery meaning ay mo'simen, die wat may be applied, as far as it 348 345.6", connection with the subject widou 405431234 Kons, and applying that sense to