HAVING considered the absolute or internal increase of the regenerate, I proceed to speak of that which is relative or external.

This increase has reference either to the Father exclusively, or to the Father and Son conjointly.

That which has reference to the Father exclusively is termed justification and adoption. Rom. viii. 30. "whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified-."

Justification is the gratuitous purpose of God, whereby those who are regenerate are planted in Christ are absolved from sin and death through his most perfect satisfaction, and accounted just in the sight of God, not by the works of the law, but through faith.

The gratuitous purpose. Rom. iii. 24. "being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." v. 16, 17. "not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification: for if by one man's offence <37> death reigned by one, much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." Tit. iii. 7. "being justified by his grace."

Of God, that is, the Father. Rom. iii. 25, 26. "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 passed, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus." viii. 33. "it is God that justifieth." In the Son through the Spirit. 1 Cor. vi. 11. "but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."

Through the satisfaction of Christ. Isai. liii. 11 . "by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities." Rom. v. 9. "much more then being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." v. 19. "by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." x. 4. "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."

As therefore our sins are imputed to Christ, so the merits or righteousness of Christ are imputed to us through faith.[1] 1 Cor. i. 30. "of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." 2 Cor. v. 21. "he hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Rom. iv. 6. "even as <38> David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works." v. 19. "for as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." It is evident therefore that the justification, in so far as we are concerned, is gratuitous; in so far as Christ is concerned, not gratuitous: inasmuch as Christ paid the ransom of our sins, which he took upon himself by imputation, and thus of his own accord, and at his own cost, effected their expiation; whereas man, paying nothing on his part, but merely believing, receives as a gift the imputed righteousness of Christ. Finally, the Father, appeased by this propitiation, pronounces the justification of all believers. A simpler mode of satisfaction could not have been devised, nor one more agreeable to equity.

Hence we are said to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. Rev. xix. 8. "to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the justification of the saints." For the same reason we are also called the friends of God. James ii. 23. "Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness, and he was called the friend of God."

Are absolved from sin and death. Acts. x. 43. "to him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." xxvi. 18. "that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith which is in me." Rom. v. 18. "by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." viii. 1. "there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in <39> Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." v. 34. "who is he that condemneth? it is Christ that died —." Coloss. ii. 14. "blotting out the hand —writing of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." Even from the greatest sins. 1 Cor. vi. 9-11. "neither fornicators, nor idolaters,... &c. and such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified." Jer. 1. 20. "in that time, saith Jehovah, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found; for I will pardon them whom I reserve." Isai. i. 18. "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow."

Accounted just in the sight of God. Eph. v. 27. "that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." On the same principle the faithful both before and under the law were accounted just; Abel, Gen. iv. 4. Enoch, v. 24. Noah, vi. 8. and vii. 1. and many others enumerated Heb. xi. Nor is it in any other sense that we are said not to sin, except as our sins are not imputed unto us through Christ.

Not by works of the law, but through faith. Gen. xv. 6. "Abraham believed in Jehovah, and he counted it to him for righteousness." Habak. ii. 4. "the just shall live by his faith." John. vi. 29. "this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent," Acts xiii. 39. "by him all that believe are justified from all things from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." Rom. iii. 20-23. <40> "therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin; but now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." v. 27, 28. "where is boasting then? it is excluded: by what law? of works? nay, but by the law of faith: therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." v. 30. "seeing it is one God which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith." iv. 2-8. "for if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God: for what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness: now to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt: but to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness: even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered: blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." ix. 30-33. "what shall we say then? That... Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness: wherefore? because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law: for they stumbled at that stumbling-stone." Gal. ii. 16. "knowing that a man is not justified by the works <41> of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law, for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." v. 21. "I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." iii. 8-12. "the Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed: so then they which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham: for as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them: but that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident; for, the just shall live by faith: and the law is not of faith, but, The man that doeth them shall live in them." Philipp. iii. 9. "that I may be found in him, not having mine own righteouness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." Heb. xi. 4, &c. "by faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain." Eph. ii. 8, 9. "that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." Throughout the whole of this multitude of passages we are said to be justified by faith, and through faith, and of faith; whether through faith as an instrument, according to the common doctrine, or in any other sense, is not said. Undoubtedly, if to believe be to act, faith is an action, or rather a frame of mind acquired and confirmed by a succession of actions, although in the first instance in- <42> fused from above; and by this faith we are justified, as declared in the numerous texts above quoted. An action, however, is generally considered in the light of an effect, not of an instrument; or perhaps it may be more properly designated as the less principal cause. On the other hand, if faith be not in any degree acquired, but wholly infused from above, there will be the less hesitation in admitting it as the cause of our justification.

An important question here arises, which is discussed with much vehemence by the advocates on both sides; namely, whether faith alone justifies? Our divines answer in the affirmative; adding, that works are the effects of faith, not the cause of justification, Rom. iii. 24, 27, 28. Gal. ii. 16. as above. Others contend that justification is not by faith alone, on the authority of James. ii. 24. "by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." As however the two opinions appear at first sight inconsistent with each other, and incapable of being maintained together, the advocates of the former, to obviate the difficulty arising from the passage of James, allege that the apostle is speaking of justification in the sight of men, not in the sight of God. But whoever reads attentively from the fourteenth verse to the end of the chapter, will see that the apostle is expressly treating of justification in the sight of God. For the question there at issue relates to the faith which profits, and which is a living and saving faith: consequently it cannot relate to that which justifies only in the sight of men, inasmuch as this latter may be hypocritical. When therefore the apostle says that we are justified by works, and not by faith only, he is speaking of the <43> faith which profits, and which is a true, living, and saving faith. Considering then that the apostles, who treat this point of our religion with particular attention, no where, in summing up their doctrine, use words implying that a man is justified by faith alone, but generally conclude as follows, that " a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law," Rom. iii. 28. I am at a loss to conjecture why our divines should have narrowed the terms of the apostolical conclusion. Had they not so done, the declaration in the one text, that "by faith a man is justified with out the deeds of the law," would have appeared perfectly consistent with that in the other, "by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." For Paul does not say simply that a man is justified without works, but "without the works of the law;" nor yet; by faith alone, but "by faith which worketh by love," Gal. v. 6. Faith has its own works, which may be different from the works of the law. We are justified therefore by faith, but by a living, not a dead faith; and that faith alone which acts is accounted living; James. ii. 17, 20, 26. Hence we are justified by faith without the works of the law, but not without the works of faith; inasmuch as a living and true faith cannot consist without works, though these latter may differ from the works of the written law. Such were those of Abraham and Rahab, the two examples cited by James in illustration of the works of faith, when the former was prepared to offer up his son, and the latter sheltered the spies of the Israelites. To these may be added the instance of Phinehas, whose action "was counted unto him for righteousness," Psal. cvi. 31. the very same words <44> being used as in the case of Abraham, "whose faith was reckoned to him for righteousness," Gen. xv. 6. Rom. iv. 9. Nor will it be denied that Phinehas was justified in the sight of God rather than of men, and that his work recorded Numb. xxv. 11, 12. was a work of faith, not of the law. Phinehas therefore was justified not by faith alone, but also by the works of faith. The principle of this doctrine will be developed more fully hereafter, when the subjects of the gospel and of Christian liberty are considered.

This interpretation, however, affords no countenance to the doctrine of human merit, inasmuch as both faith itself and its works are the works of the Spirit, not our own. Eph. ii. 8-10. "by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast: for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." In this passage the works of which a man may boast are distinguished from those which do not admit of boasting, namely, the works of faith. So Rom. iii. 27, 28. "where is boasting then? it is excluded: by what law? of works? nay, but by the law of faith. Now what is the law of faith, but the works of faith? Hence, wherever after "works" the words "of the law" are omitted, as in Rom. iv. 2. we must supply either "the works of the law," or, as in the present passage, "of the flesh," with reference to xi. 1. (not "of the law", since the apostle is speaking of Abraham, who lived before the law.) Otherwise Paul would contradict himself as well as James; he would contradict himself, in saying that Abraham had whereof to glory through any <45> works whatever, whereas he had declared in the preceding chapter, v. 27, 28. that "by the law of faith," that is, "by the works of faith, boasting was excluded;" he would expressly contradict James, who affirms, as above, that "by works a man is justified, and not by faith only;" unless the expression be understood to mean the works of faith, not the works of the law. Compare Rom. iv. 13. "not through the law, but through the righteousness of faith." In the same sense is to be understood Matt. v. 20. "except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven;" whereas their righteousness was of the exactest kind according to the law. James. i. 25. "being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed." Heb. xii. 14. "follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." Hence perhaps Rev. ii. 26. "he that keepeth my words to the end, to him will I give power —." 1 John iii. 7. "little children, let no man deceive you; he that doeth righteousness, is righteous."

Nor does this doctrine derogate in any degree from Christ's satisfaction; inasmuch as, our faith being imperfect, the works which proceed from it cannot be pleasing to God, except in so far as they rest upon his mercy, and the righteousness of Christ, and are sustained by that foundation alone. Philipp. iii. 9. "that I may be found of him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." Tit. iii. 5-7. "not by works of righteousness which we have done, <46> but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs —." 1 John. ii. 29. "ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him."

The Papists argue, that it is no less absurd to say that a man is justified by the righteousness of another, than that a man is learned by the learning of another. But there is no analogy between the two cases, inasmuch as mankind are not one with each other in the same intimate manner as the believer is one with Christ his head. In the mean time they do not perceive the real and extreme absurdity of which they are themselves guilty, in supposing that the righteousness of the dead, or of monks, can be imputed to others.

They likewise contend, on the authority of a few passages of Scripture, that man is justified by his own works. Psal. xviii. 20, 24. "Jehovah rewarded me according to my righteousness." Rom. ii. 6. "who will render to every man according to his deeds." But to render to every man "according to his deeds" is one thing, to render to him "on account of his deeds" is another; nor does it follow from hence that works have any inherent justifying power, or deserve any thing as of their own merit; seeing that, if we do any thing right, or if God assign any recompense to our right actions, it is altogether owing to his grace. Hence the expression in the preceding verse of the same Psalm, "he delivered me, because he delighted in me;" and Psal. lxii. 12. "unto thee, O Lord, be <47> longeth mercy, for thou renderest to every man according to his work." Finally, the same Psalmist who attributes to himself righteousness, attributes to himself iniquity in the same sentence; xviii. 23. "I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity."

As to the expression in Matt. xxv. 34, 35. "inherit the kingdom... for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat," &c. our answer is, that the sentence which Christ shall pass on that day will not have respect to faith, which is the internal cause of justification, but to the effects and signs of that faith namely, the works done in faith, that he may thereby make the equity of his judgment manifest to all man kind.

When a man is said to be perfect, and just in the sight of God, as Luke i. 6. of Zacharias and his wife, "they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless," this is to be understood according to the measure of human righteousness, and as compared with the progress of others; or it may mean that they were endued with a sincere and upright heart, without dissimulation, (as Deut. xviii. 13. " thou shalt be perfect with Jehovah thy God") which interpretation seems to be favoured by the expression "in the sight of God," Gen. xvii. 1. "walk before me, and be thou perfect." Psal.. xix. 13. "keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins, let them not have dominion over me; then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression." Eph. i. 4. "he hath chosen us... that we should be holy and without blame before him in love." Or, lastly, it may <48> mean that they were declared righteous by God through grace and faith. Thus Noah found grace in the eyes of Jehovah, Gen. vi. 8. compared with v. 9. "Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God," and Heb. xi. 7. "he became heir of the righteousness which is by faith."

With regard to Luke vii. 47. "her sins which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much," it is to be observed that this love was not the cause, but the token or effect of forgiveness, as is evident from the parable itself, v. 40. for the debtors were not forgiven because they had loved much, but they loved much, because much had been forgiven. The same appears from what follows; "to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little;" and still more plainly from verse v. 50. " thy faith hath saved thee." That which saved, the same also justified; namely, not of love, but faith, which was itself the cause of the love in question. Compare Book II. Chap. i. on the subject of merit.

From a consciousness of justification proceed peace and real tranquillity of mind. Rom. v. 1, &c. "being justified by faith, we have peace with God." 1 Cor. vii. 15. "God hath called us to peace." Philipp. iv, 7. "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Coloss. iii. 15, "let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body." This is that peace for which the apostles pray in their salutations addressed to the church.


... His obedience

Imputed becomes theirs by faith. Paradise Lost, XII. 408.

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