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(2.) To be justified, as the word is rendered by the Vulgar, 'let him be justified' more (as it must be rendered, if the word Sikaιolnrw be retained) respects an act of God, which neither in its beginning nor continuation is prescribed unto us as a duty, nor is capable of increase in degrees, as we shall shew afterward. (3.) Men are said to be Síkalo generally from inherent righteousness; and if the apostle had intended justification in this place, he would not have said ó Síkalos but ὁ δικαιοθεὶς. All which things prefer the Complutensian, Syriac, and Arabic, before the Vulgar reading of this place. If the Vulgar reading be retained, no more can be intended, but that he who is righteous, should so proceed in working righteousness, as to secure his justified estate unto himself, and to manifest it before God and the world.
Now whereas the words Sukaιów and Sikaιówμai are used thirty-six times in the New Testament, these are all the places, whereunto any exception is put in against their forensic signification; and how ineffectual these exceptions are, it is evident unto any impartial judge.
Some other considerations may yet be made use of, and pleaded to the same purpose. Such is the opposition that is made between justification and condemnation. So is it, Isa. 1. 8, 9. Prov. xvii. 15. Rom. v. 16. 18. viii. 33, 34. and in sundry other places, as may be observed in the preceding enumeration of them. Wherefore, as condemnation is not the infusing of a habit of wickedness into him that is condemned; nor the making of him to be inherently wicked, who was before righteous; but the passing a sentence upon a man with respect unto his wickedness; no more is justification the change of a person from inherent unrighteousness unto righteousness, by the infusion of a principle of grace, but a sentential declaration of him to be righteous.
Moreover, the thing intended is frequently declared in the Scripture by other equivalent terms which are absolutely exclusive of any such sense, as the infusion of a habit of righteousness; so the apostle expresseth it by the 'imputation of righteousness without works,' Rom. iv. 6. 11. and calls it the 'blessedness,' which we have by the pardon of sin, and the covering of iniquity,' in the same place. So it is called 'reconciliation with God;' Rom. v. 9, 10. To be justified by the blood of Christ, is the same with being re
conciled by his death.
Being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath by him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.' See 2 Cor. v. 20, 21. Reconciliation is not the infusion of a habit of grace, but the effecting of peace and love, by the removal of all enmity and causes of offence. To 'save,' and 'salvation' are used to the same purpose. 'He shall save his people from their sins; Matt. i. 21. is the same with, by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses;' Acts xiii. 39. That of Gal. ii. 16. We have believed that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law,' is the same with Acts xv. 11. 'But we believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved even as they;' Eph. ii. 8, 9. 'By grace ye are saved, through faith, and not of works;' is so to be justified. So it is expressed by pardon, or the remission of sins,' which is the effect of it; Rom. iv. 5, 6. by 'receiving the atonement;' chap. v. 11. not coming into judgment' or condemnation; John v. 24. Blotting out sins and iniquities;' Isa. xliii. 25. Psal. li. 9. Isa. xliv. 22. Jer. xviii. 23. Acts iii. 19. Casting them into the bottom of the sea;' Micah vii. 19. and sundry other expressions of an alike importance. The apostle declaring it by its effects, says, δίκαιοι καταστηθήσονται οἱ πόλAo Many shall be made righteous;' Rom. v. 19. Síkaιoç KalíaTaTaι, who on a juridical trial in open court, is absolved and declared righteous.
And so it may be observed that all things concerning justification are proposed in the Scripture under a juridical scheme, or forensic trial and sentence. As, (1.) A judgment is supposed in it, concerning which, the psalmist prays that it may not proceed on the terms of the law; Psal. cxliii. 2. (2.) The judge is God himself; Isa. 1. 7, 8. Rom. viii. 33. (3.) The tribunal whereon God sits in judgment, is the 'throne of grace;' Heb. iv. 16. Therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, ' and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you; for the Lord is a God of judgment;' Isa. xxx. 18. (4.) A guilty person. This is the sinner, who is úzódikoç гý Oε so guilty of sin, as
to be obnoxious to the judgment of God ; τῷ δικαιώματι τοῦ Orov. Rom. iii. 19. i. 32. whose mouth is stopped by conviction. (5.) Accusers are ready to propose and promote the charge against the guilty person; these are the law, John v. 45. and conscience, Rom. ii. 15. and Satan also; Zech. iii. 2. Rev. xii. 10. (6.) The charge is admitted and drawn up in a handwriting in form of law, and is laid before the tribunal of the judge, in bar to the deliverance of the offender; Col. ii. 14. (7.) A plea is prepared in the gospel for the guilty person. And this is grace, through the blood of Christ, the ransom paid, the atonement made, the eternal righteousness brought in by the surety of the covenant. Rom. iii. 23-25. Dan. ix. 24. Eph. i. 7. (8.) Hereunto alone the sinner betakes himself, renouncing all other apologies or defensatives whatever; Psal. cxxx. 2, 3. cxliii. 2. Job ix. 2, 3. xlii. 5-7. Luke xviii. 13. Rom. iii. 24, 25. v. 11. 16-19. viii. 1-3. 32, 33. Isa. liii. 5, 6. Heb. ix. 13-15. x. 1-13. 1 Pet. ii. 24. 1 John i. 7. Other plea for a sinner before God there is none. He who knoweth God and himself, will not provide or betake himself unto any other. Nor will he, as I suppose, trust unto any other defence, were he sure of all the angels in heaven to plead for him. (9.) To make this plea effectual we have an advocate with the Father, and he pleads his own propitiation for us; 1 John ii. 1, 2. (10.) The sentence hereon is absolution, on the account of the ransom, blood, or sacrifice and righteousness of Christ; with acceptation into favour, as persons approved of God; Job xxxiii. 24. Psal. xxxii. 1,2. Rom. iii. 23-25. viii. 1. 33, 34. 2 Cor. v. 21. Gal. iii. 13, 14.
Of what use the declaration of this process in the justification of a sinner may be, hath been in some measure before declared. And if many did seriously consider, that all these things do concur and are required unto the justification of every one that shall be saved, it may be they would not have such slight thoughts of sin, and the way of deliverance from the guilt of it, as they seem to have. From this consideration did the apostle learn that terror of the Lord which made him so earnest with men to seek after reconciliation; 2 Cor. v. 10, 11.
I had not so long insisted on the signification of the
words in the Scripture, but that a right understanding of it, doth not only exclude the pretences of the Romanists about the infusion of a habit of charity, from being the formal cause of our justification before God, but may also give occasion unto some to take advice, into what place or consideration they can dispose their own personal inherent righteousness in their justification before him.
The distinction of a first and second justification examined. The continuation of justification whereon it doth depend.
BEFORE We inquire immediately into the nature and causes of justification, there are some things yet previously to be considered, that we may prevent all ambiguity and misunderstanding, about the subject to be treated of. I say, therefore, that the evangelical justification which alone we plead about, is but one, and is at once completed. About any other justification before God but one, we will not contend with any. Those who can find out another, may as they please ascribe what they will unto it, or ascribe it unto what they will. Let us therefore consider what is offered of this
Those of the Roman church do ground their whole doctrine of justification upon a distinction of a double justification, which they call the first and the second. The first justification, they say, is the infusion or the communication unto us of an inherent principle or habit of grace or charity. Hereby they say, original sin is extinguished, and all habits of sin are expelled. This justification they say is by faith, the obedience and satisfaction of Christ being the only meritorious cause thereof. Only they dispute many things about preparations for it, and dispositions unto it. Under those terms the council of Trent included the doctrine of the schoolmen about meritum de congruo,' as both Hosius and Andradius confess in the defence of that council. And as they are explained, they come much to one: however the council warily avoided the name of merit, with respect
unto this their first justification. And the use of faith herein (which with them is no more but a general assent unto divine revelation) is to bear the principal part in these preparations. So that to be 'justified by faith' according unto them, is to have the mind prepared by this kind of believing to receive Gratiam gratum facientem,' a habit of grace expelling sin, and making us acceptable unto God. For upon this believing, with those other duties of contrition and repentance which must accompany it, it is meet and congruous unto divine wisdom, goodness, and faithfulness to give us that grace whereby we are justified. And this, according unto them is that justification whereof the apostle Paul treats in his epistles, from the procurement whereof he excludes all the works of the law. The second justification is an effect or consequent hereof. And the proper formal cause thereof is good works, proceeding from this principle of grace and love. Hence are they the righteousness wherewith believers are righteous before God, whereby they merit eternal life. The righteousness of works they call it, and suppose it taught by the apostle James. This they constantly affirm to make us justos ex injustis,' wherein they are followed by others. For this is the way that most of them take to salve the seeming repugnancy between the apostle Paul and James. Paul, they say, treats of the first justification only, whence he excludes all works, for it is by faith in the manner before described. But James treats of the second justification, which is by good works. So Bellar. lib. ii. cap. 16. and lib. iv. cap. 18. And it is the express determination of those at Trent. Sess. 6. cap. 10. This distinction was coined unto no other end, but to bring in confusion into the whole doctrine of the gospel. Justification through the free grace of God by faith in the blood of Christ is evacuated by it. Sanctification is turned into a justification, and corrupted by making the fruits of it meritorious. The whole nature of evangelical justification consisting in the gratuitous pardon of sin and the imputation of righteousness, as the apostle expressly affirms, and the declaration of a believing sinner to be righteous thereon, as the word alone signifies, is utterly defeated by it.
Howbeit others have embraced this distinction also, though not absolutely in their sense. So do the Socinians.