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against the King of kings, a rebel condemned to die? The remission of his sins is the absolving of him from the charge, and the remitting the penalty due for his crime. Is he represented as impure and loathsome ? His forgiveness is said to be a covering of his sins, Psal. xxxii. 1. Are his transgressions represented as clouds, dark louring clouds.? The remission of them is described by blotting them out as a thick cloud, so as no more to be seen, Isa. xliv. 22. This inestimable benefit is further represented by God's removing sins as far from us as the east is from the west ; by his casting them behind his back ; by remembering them no more ; and by his casting them into the depths of the sea. This pardon is completely full. When a gracious God forgives sins, he forgives all sins. “I will pardon all their iniquities whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me," Jer. xxxii. 8. Ó what an invaluable, what a transcendently glorious blessing is this ! All the sins of a believer are together and at once pardoned in his justification : his past and present sins are formally forgiven. “Thou forgavest the iniquity of niy sin.” His future sins are forgiven too, by securing the not imputing of them, with respect to that guilt which is a liableness to eternal wrath. “ Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” This pardon is not only complete, but irrevocable and eternal. The guilt of sin once taken away, can never recur again upon a justified person. “ He that believeth on Him that sent me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation,” John v. 24. The sins which the pardoned sinner afterward commits may indeed provoke the Lord to suspend the sense of former pardon; but they will never make him revoke that pardon itself. Hence, saith Jehovah, “ Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. The iniquity of Israel shall be sought for and there shall be none, and the sins of Judah and they all not be found; for I will pardon them whom I reserve.” The sentence of pardon, then, can never be revoked: the believer's security for the non-imputation of his future sins can never be lost. One will say, If this be so, why are believers taught to pray daily for the pardon of their new sins ? Answer: We are not to imagine that as often as the believer commits, confesses, and bewails his new sins, God passes new acts of pardon ; and therefore, when he prays for the pardon of sins lately committed, he prays that he may be delivered from the guilt of paternal anger, for this he daily contracts. He prays also that he may enjoy the sense or manifestation of his first pardon, which he is in danger of losing by the commission of additional sins. This pardon is absolutely free; it is suspended upon no works or conditions, to be performed by impotent sinners. Paul was an eminent instance of the truth of this. He was pardoned and converted, when he was so far from performing any condition, that he was persecuting the church of Christ : and he informs us, that in him Christ showed forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them who should hereafter believe. Let no awakened sinner, then, be deterred from coming to Christ.

2d, The second part of justification is God's accepting a believing sinner as righteous in his sight.-When God justifies a sinner, he not merely absolves him from guilt or a liableness to eternal death, but he pronounces him righteous, and as such, entitled to eternal life. He accepts him as righteous, and considers him as legally entitled to life. Hence it is called “the justification of life.” O how superlatively valuable, how transcendently glorious, is this blessing! In his justification, the be liever is not only declared innocent but righteous, yea, the righteousness of God in Christ.

Were he only pardoned, and no more, he would indeed be innocent in legal estimation, as Adam was before he fell ; he would be under no legal charge of guilt ; but still he could have no legal title to eternal life. But in justification, he is declared not merely innocent, but righteous ; not only secure from eternal death, but entitled to eternal life. Adam in his innocence had no right to life eternal, for he had not yet performed all that perfect obedience that was the condition of it; but a sinner the moment he is justified has an irreversible title to it, because in his justification he is pronounced not only innocent, but righteous in law. The passive obedience or death of Christ, his adorable Surety, is imputed to him, and this secures him from eternal death ; and the active obedience of Christ to the precepts of the law is placed to his account, and this affords him a legal title to everlasting life. Or, to be more explicit : it is the satisfactory death of the Lord Jesus imputed that secures a believer from eternal wrath ; it is the perfect holiness of his human nature imputed that entitles him to be presented to God holy, and without spot; and it is the perfect obedience of his life imputed that founds his title to the consummation of eternal life. Though these are not to be separated, yet they may, and ought to be, distinguished from each other. Among men, a criminal may be pardoned, and yet never admitted to favour with his of. fended sovereign ; but this is not the manner of our gracious God. When He takes away all iniquity, he at the same time receives graciously : he receives into special favour, and accepts in the Beloved. Rejoice then, believer; you stand entitled to life, eternal life ; and as it would be unjust to deprive you of your right, the righteous Lord neither can nor will do it. Justice now pleads for you, as well as mercy. This is owing to nothing in you, but to the surety-righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to you.

IV. Under the fourth general head, I was to consider the manner of a sinner's justification.

The elect were justified,

1. Intentionally, or in the absolute purpose and decree of God. It is called “the justification of life.” It is legal life, in opposition to legal death under the condemning sentence of the violated law, and as such is a constituent part of eternal life. Now, we are told that eternal life was promised and given to the elect in Christ, or to Christ as Representative of the elect, before the world began. “In hope of eternal life, that God who cannot lie promised before the world began.” “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and

grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” Hence justification, as a fundamental part of that life, was according to the purpose

and grace of God, promised and given to the elect'in Christ, before the world began. It was promised to Christ their Representative, in their name, upon condition of his fulfiling all righteousness for them in time. Thus on the ground of their federal union with their adorable Surety, they were justified according to the purpose and grace of God, even from eternity. Hence is this cheering declaration, « The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all,” Isa. liii. 6. The Father, in making the covenant of grace, laid the guilt of the iniquities of all the elect upon him, and that from everlasting. But this load of guilt could not be considered as transferred to him, without being in some sense transferred from them. The same delightful truth is hinted in the first promise, Gen. iii. 15. There the elect are comprehended under the seed of the woman; and are represented in Christ their Head, as the enemies and conquerors of Satan. Now this presupposes the suretiship of Christ, and the guilt of their ini. quities already laid on him. It implies that in the decree of God they are set free from the guilt of sin ; otherwise they could not be represented as delivered from the dominion either of sin or of Satan. That promise implied a declaration, that on account of the suretiship of Jesus Christ, God never intended to execute the sen. tence of the broken law upon any of his chosen. Whenever a surety is admitted, the principal debtor is understood, intentionally at least, to be free from obligation to advance the debt.

2d, They were justified virtually, in the resurrection of Christ from the dead. When Jesus died, he died in order to satisfy Divine justice, as Surety of the elect: when he rose, he rose us their Representative, and in him they all virtually arose. In his resurrection, he was publicly and solemnly acquitted ; and he received a full discharge from the hand of his righteous Father, for the debt which he engaged to clear. Hence the Father is represented as the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the Lord Jesus, through the blood of the everlasting covenant; and as having raised him up,

loosing the pains of death. When vindictive justice had now no more to demand from him, his Father, as an evidence thereof, knocked off the fetters of the grave, and released him from that prison-house. “ He was taken from prison and from judgment,” Isa. liii. 8. His righteous Father, having accepted the payment of the infinite debt at his hands, solemnly absolved him at his resurrection from every judicial charge.

“ Then was he justified in the Spirit : He was raised again for our justification." As he was one with the elect in law, his justi. fication was fundamentally and virtually their justification. They were crucified with him in his death, and justified with him in his resurrection. Then were they all virtually absolved from guilt, and virtually accepted as' righteous. Then it was that God, declared that full satisfaction was given by Christ. “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them," 2 Cor. v. 19. Then he reconciled to himself the elect world, and declared that he would not impute their trespasses to them for condemnation. Having rent the veil of the temple, and torn the handwriting of ordinances, he took it out of the way. And is not tearing the hand-writing, or the bond, an evidence that the creditor has no intention to demand payment from the principal debtor ?

3d, They are justified actually, when they apply this justification, each of them to himself by faith. All who believe are justified from all things;" that is, are justified actually, so as to have the sentence declared, both in the court of heaven and in the court of conscience. Though our adorable Surety has merited pardon of sin, and a title to life, for all his elect, so that God hath

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