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imputed to him ? Answer: The law as a covenant of works, cannot now require of him obedience for life ; but the law as a rule of duty can require of him even perfect obedience from life.

5th, The final cause or end of justification is, that the glory of Divine justice, and of redeeming grace, may be illustriously displayed, and boasting on the part of the sinner entirely excluded.-Believing sinners are justified, chietly that the glory of Divine justice may be displayed in the manner of their justification, or to declare his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus," Rom. iii. 26. In the justification of a sinner on account of a perfect righteousness imputed to him, the glory of infinite justice will eternally shine. They are justified, too, for a righteousness wrought out by another, that the glory of rich and sovereign grace may be displayed. “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved ; in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace," Eph. i. 6, 7: They are justified in this way also, that boasting may be for ever excluded. “By grace are ye saved through faith,-not of works, lest any man should boast.“Where is boasting, then ? It is excluded. By what law? Of works ? nay; but by the law of faith,” Rom. iii. 27.

6th, Lastly, the instrumental causes of justification are two, the Gospel and faith. The Gospel is the external instrument of it; “ for therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” 6. But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy heart and in thy mouth; that is, the word of faith which we preach. In the gospel, the righteousness of Christ is brought near, and offered to condemned sinners for their justification. In the gospel the way of justification is clearly stated, and an offer of perfect righteousness for justification is made.

I bring near my righteousness ; it shall not be far off.” They who receive the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” The internal instrument


« The

is faith. « Being justified by faith," says Paul, “ we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen by faith,” &c. “ Therefore we conclude, that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Faith is not the proper condition of our justification ; for we are not justified on account of our faith. It is not faith itself that is imputed to us; for it is evidently distinguished from that righteousness on account of which believers are justified. Hence we read of “the righteousness of God by faith ;" and of “the righteousness which is by the faith of Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all them that believe." Here righteousness for justification is plainly distinguished from faith. Were a sinner to be justified on account of his faith, he should be justified on account of it, either as it is a habit in his soul, or as it is an act or work performed by him. As a habit, it is a principle and a part of inherent holiness; and to be justified on account of it in this view, would be to be justified by inherent righteousness. Neither can he be justi. fied by it as an act performed by him, as if his act of believing were accounted to him for righteousness ; for then he would be justified by an imperfect righteousness, by a faith far from being perfect. Besides, faith as an act is one of the works of the law : “ This is the work of God, that ye believe,” &c. It is a duty, a work required in the moral law. The very first commandment of this law is a command to believe : - This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ," &c. To be justified, then, by the act of faith would be to be justified by a work; a work commanded in the law, and performed by the sinner himself. But this is contrary to the express declarations of Scripture; for there all sorts of works, whether of the moral or ceremonial law, whether performed before or after conversion, are excluded from the affair of justification.

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works 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,” Gal. ii. 16. Faith, then, does not justify as an act or work ; for in the article of justification it is distinguished from works ; but it justifies in these three respects : relatively, instrumentally, and objectively.

Faith justifies relatively. A sinner is not said to be justified for faith, but only by faith. Faith justifies in relation to Christ and his righteousness; justifies as it is a bond of that union with Jesus Christ, upon which the believing sinner has communion with him in his righteousness. It justifies instrumentally. It, and no other grace, is the instrument appointed in the eternal covenant, for applying the righteousness of Christ to the conscience. It is the very office of faith to appropriate and present this glorious righteousness as the only ground of title to justification. As the hand is said to nourish, because it is the instrument of applying food to the body; so faith justifies, as the hand or instrument of applying the Redeemer's righteousness to the soul. It also justifies objectively. It is not the act but the object; it is not faith itself, but the righteousness which it appropriates, and on which it relies, that justifies. A sinner is justified before God, not by the act of receiving, but by the righteousness received. When we read in Scripture that the faith of the believer is counted to him for righteousness, the meaning is, not that the act, but that the object of faith, is so accounted to him: the righteousness on which it relies is accounted in law his righteousness. It is usual in the Scriptures often to put the act of the mind for the object on which it terminates. In 1 Tim. i. 1., Christ is called our hope ; that is, the object of our hope ; and in Heb. vi. 18., believers are said “to lay hold upon the hope set before them," that is, the object of hope. When believers, then, are said to be justified by faith, the meaning is, by the object of faith ; and when faith is said to be counted for righteousness, it is the object of it which is so counted. Add to this, if the believer were counted righteous for the sake of his faith, he might depend on his faith for justification; and then there would be as many righteousnesses as there would be of persons justified: but the righteousness by which many are justified is the obedience of One. Faith, then, justifies relatively, instrumentally, and objectively. But why is faith, rather than any other spiritual grace, thus said in Scripture to justify ? Faith alone has been selected to be the instrument of justification, that the glory of redeeming grace might the more illustriously shine. “ Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace.” It is the nature of faith, only to receive, but of the other graces only to give. It is the property of faith never to present itself as a condition, but to receive the spotless righteousness offered in the gospel as the only condition of a man's justification.




In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall

glory.Isa. xlv. 25.

III. I now go on to the third general head,—To consider the parts of justification. The constituent parts of a sinner's justification are these two,—the pardon of his sins, and the acceptance of him as righteous in the sight of God.

1. The pardon of sin is a part of justification.“ Even as David 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,” Rom. iv. 6, 7. When God pardons sin, he absolves the sinner from the condemnation of the violated law; He dissolves his obligation to suffer eternal wrath, denounced in the curse of the law; and that, on account of the infinite satisfaction of Jesus Christ in his room. That there is forgiveness with God, is a truth plainly taught in the Scripture." To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him.” The pardon of sin is a capital blessing of the covenant of grace. In Heb. viii. 8–12. after several other blessings have been promised, Jehovah saith,"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness," &c. This inestimable blessing is, in the sacred volume, described by a rich variety of expression. Is the guilty sinner compared to an insolvent debtor, owing ten thousand talents to the justice of God? His pardon is described by a blotting out of the boundless debt, Psal. li. 9. Is he a rebel

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