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tion of this blessing which a sinner enjoys, has nothing in the scriptures to support it. I think it will then be found on enquiry, that the former is that which the sacred writings term justification, and that the latter is denominated 'peace with God, which follows on it as a consequence.* A sensation of peace is as distinct from justification, as a sensation of wrath is distinct from condemnation. As some are justified, that is, exempt from the curse of the law, and entitled to everlasting life, according to the uniform declarations of the statute-book of heaven, while, owing to a cloud upon their minds, they are far from clearly perceiving it; so others stand condemned, that is, exposed to the curse of the law, according to the uniform declarations of the same statute-book of heaven, while, through ignorance and unbelief, they have no proper sense of it.
The question is not concerning any secret persuasion in the mind of man, or any secret purpose in the mind of God: but simply this,-Do the holy scriptures, which form the statute-book of heaven, and fully express the mind of God, pronounce any man pardoned or justified in his sight, while his heart is in a state of enmity against him.
“It is plainly implied,” says J. J., “in the Lord's justifying the ungodly, that they are ungodly until justified. But before any conclusion can be drawn from these words, it is necessary to ascertain the meaning of them, particularly of the term 'ungodly.' This term I apprehend is not designed, in the passage under consideration, to express the actual state of mind which the party at the time possesses, but the character under which God considers him, in bestowing the blessing of justification upon him. Whatever be the present state of a sinner's mind; whether he be a haughty pharisee, or a humble publican; if he possess nothing which can in any degree balance the curse which stands against him, or at all operate as a ground of acceptance with God, he must be justified, if at all, as unworthy, ungodly, and wholly out of regard to the righteousness of the Mediator. He that is justified must be justified as 'ungodly,' in like manner as he that is saved must be saved among the chief of sinners.'* But as Paul's using the latter expression of himself does not prove, that at the time he uttered it he was one of the worst of characters; so neither does his using the former concerning others, prove that they are, at the time of their justification, the enemies of God. If it be objected, that the term 'ungodly' is nowhere else used but to express a state of enmity to God; it may be answered, that God is nowhere else said to justify the ungodly. The interpretation put upon this term therefore is no more singular, than the phraseology of the text itself. Both the one and the other ought no doubt to be interpreted by the general tenour of scripture, and the particular scope of the writer. If the sense here given clash with either of them, let it be rejected. To me it appears in harmony with both. When the reader has considered the following observations, let him judge whether it be so or not.
* Rom. v. 1.
1. It is the uniform language of the scriptures, that without repentance there is no forgiveness. The very passage to which the apostle in the context refers, (Psal. xxxii.) as affording an example of the imputation on which he was treating, clearly holds up the idea of forgiveness as preseded by repentance. It is of no account to allege the difference between pardon and justification; for whatever difference there is between these blessings, there is none which affects the argument. They are not so distinct as that the one can in any instance exist without the other. He that is justified is pardoned. If therefore repentance presede the one, it must presede the
1 Tim. i. 15. + Psal. xxxii. 5. Prov, xxviii, 13. Mark i, 4. iv. 12. Luke iii. 5. xxiv. 47. Acts iii. 19. v. 31. viii. 22. 1 John i. 9.
other. But if justification be preseded by repentance, it cannot be said that a person is an enemy to God “until he is justified,” for enmity and repentance are inconsistent.
2. It is the uniform language of the new testament, that those whom God justifieth are believers.* The very persons referred to in the text under consideration, are supposed to believe in him who justifieth the ungodly. But faith workéth by love,' and is therefore inconsistent with a state of enmity to God. If the uniform language of scripture had been, we believe by, or through being justified; we should certainly have concluded, that justification in the order of things preseded believing, and consequently that those who are justified were at the time enemies to God. And as it is the reverse, or that we are justified by or through believing, why should we not equally conclude, that faith in the order of things presedes justification; and consequently, that they who are justified were at the time, not the enemies but the friends of God.
3. The apostle, in the same epistle as that which contains the passage in question, speaks of justification as preseded by vocation or calling. Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate : whom he did predestinate, them he also called : and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.'po It cannot be pleaded, that the order of things is not here preserved. It is allowed on all hands, that predestination is preseded in the order of nature, by foreknowledge, calling by predestination, and glorification by justifica4. The design of the apostle in the context was, to establish the doctrine of free justification by faith in Jesus Christ, without the works of the law; a justification that should exclude boasting, or glorying. Now this design is equally accomplished by the interpretation here defended, as by the contrary. I am aware that this ground will be disputed; and let it be disputed. The principle on which I rest my defence, on this part of the subject, is the following :---WHATEVER BE THE STATE OF A PERSON'S MIND AT THE TIME, IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE AS TO THE GROUND OF JUSTIFICATION. J. J. will not deny this : he has acknowledged as much himself. “In this case,” he says, “ all works, good and bad, are out of the question;" and if so, doubtless all dispositions are the
on. What good reason then can be given, why justification should not from hence be concluded to be preseded by vocation? But the vocation here spoken of is a holy one, the same with that mentioned in 2 Tim. i. 9. 'He hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling ;' which must therefore be inconsistent with enmity to God.
* John iii. 18, 36. v. 24. Acts xiii. 39. Rom. iii. 26. 28. iv. 24. v. 1. x. 4. Gal. ii. 16. ii. 24. Phil. iii. 9, + Rom. viii. 29, 30.
None of them, be they what they may, can avail any thing towards justifying one who has not continued in all things written in the book of the law to do them. But if so, of what account is it to the doctrine of justification by grace, to maintain their nonexistence at the time? The existence or nonexistence of things that are out of the question," can signify nothing to the argument, and afford no ground of glorying. Moreover: if the existence of a holy disposition at the time of our being first made partakers of the blessing of justification detract from the grace of it, why should it not operate in the same way afterwards? Justification is not of so transient a nature as to be begun and ended in an instant. Though not progressive, like sanctification, yet it is a permanent privilege, or state of blessedness bestowed on believers. As condemnation is a state of exposedness to the curse, un, der which every unbeliever, remaining such, continues ; so justification is a state of exemption from it, in which every believer in Jesus abides. It is true we are introduced to this blessed state at the moment of believing: from that instant we are no more under the law, but under grace ; the curses of the former stand no longer against us, and the blessings of the latter become our portion. But though our introduction to the blessing be transient, yet the
blessing itself continues as long as we continue believers in Christ, and united to him, which is to the end. Hertce justification and condemnation are each described in language expressive of their continuity. It is God that justifieth ; who is he that condemneth? He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. Hence also believers, in every stage of life, deal with Christ for justification, desiring nothing more than that they may be found in him, not having their own righteousness, which is of the law; but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. And this accounts for Abraham's believing for righteousness, as we shall see presently, not merely when he first believed in God, but after he had loved and served him a number of years; and for David's having righteousness imputed to him without works on his recovery from a state of blacksliding. Now do the holy dispositions of christians detract from the freeness of their continued acceptance with God? If not, why should the existence of any such dispositions detract from the freeness of their first acceptance? If it be necessary that the mind be at enmity with God, “until” we are first introduced to this blessing in order to its being merely of grace; why should it not be equally necessary that it should remain so through life, in order to its continuing to be merely of grace?
5. Neither Abraham nor David, whose cases the apostle selects for the illustration of his argument, were at the time referred to, the enemies of God. Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness;' and it is concerning his justification that the following reflection is made. Now to him that worketh is the reward reckoned, not of grace, but of debt.' It is here plainly supposed of Abraham that if he had worked,' and so obtained the reward, it had been a matter of debt, and he had had whereof to glory. And did not Abraham work, prior to the period to which this refers ? He certainly should not