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nions will be more easily placed in a train for agreement, as to what are the particular duties incumbent upon man to perform on his part to obtain justification. As long as there remains a difference of opinion as to the time when man is to have the sentence of justification passed upon him, there can be no expectation of an appearance of unanimity of opinion, as to what are the necessary means for man to use to effect this most interesting, desirable, and happy attainment.
Upon these grounds, any attempt, however feeble, which may be used to obtain so great, so important an object, must meet with the approbation of every true Christian. A principal intention of the author by the present discussion is to set right the tenet before stated, that justification takes place in this life, or on earth, which has very generally prevailed in the Christian Church, but which he conceives is erroneous, and will founded by Scripture. In the discussion of this question, there are other tenets or principles so interwoven and connected with the subject of justification, such as, whether faith alone justifies, or whether faith must necessarily be united to, and accompanied by good works to effect justification ; what is real justifying faith ; the connection of justification and salvation, with other important doctrines, which seem so immediately to bear
the question, there appeared no mode or means to separate or keep them apart, but an absolute necessity to embody them in this discussion, which will herein after be fully seen.
It is proposed to arrange the whole subject under several general heads or chapters, for consideration and investigation, and thereby endeavour to establish a doctrine free from objections and difficulties, as far as facts and circumstances will admit, founded and supported by the authority of Scripture, interpreted and explained upon the best and most solid footing of reason and sound argument. Upon this ground, we must first ascertain what is the true meaning, sense, or signification of the word itself, justification. When this is satisfactorily obtained, we may
then proceed to see, how, by, or through what cause, means, instrument, or conditions it is to be obtained, and the effect when obtained. For the attainment of these matters, it will be necessary to enquire, first, the connexion between justification and salvation, and next to have a definition of real justifying faith; a true construction upon
this head, in the Christian system, is of the first importance and greatest concern, and consequently requires our utmost endeavours to ascertain truth, and certainty, as far as the aid and assistance of Scripture, by a dispassionate examination, will enable us to do, which will necessarily cause this head to. be extended to a considerable length : but no time or trouble should be spared, or can be more profitably bestowed, than upon this subject, which is of so much moment, that an error may have the most dangerous and fatal consequence or effect. In the investigation of this head we may get an insight into the necessary means, instrument, or conditions to be used or pursued by man for his justification, and upon arriving at this point, the next object of our enquiry will be the time when justification does, or is to take place; for this purpose it will be desirable to consider the difficulties and objections to jus
tification taking place in this life; also to enquire into the nature, purposes, and effects of remission of sins and the day of judgment; and next to proceed to make some preliininary observations previously to quotations from Scripture, either in support of the tenet or principle of justification taking place in this life, or of shewing, that it does not take place in this life, and when it will take place. After these different heads are gone through, it is proposed to bring forward quotations from the works of some of the most eminent theologians, who have written on justification, stating their opinions, whether in opposition to the arguments or principles here advanced, or in confirmation of them: and, in conclusion, to take a summary view of each head, making such observations as may occur, and be judged adviseable, either to explain, elucidate, correct, strengthen, or support the statements or arguments used to establish the principles, tenets, or doctrines contended for.
The author having now stated the plan, object, and intention of his publication, it will remain to be seen how far he has succeeded in establishing from Scriptural authority the doctrines and principles he has advanced : and, he would particularly address those who may widely differ from him, as to the use, purpose, and efficacy of good works in man's justification and salvation, in the language of the great Apostle, St. Paul, “ Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report ; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things *.”